Mere Christianity – Book I – Chapter 5 (“We have cause to be uneasy”)

Book 1

These are my notes from reading through “Mere Christianity” with a local San Diego book club.

Notes & Quotes

1. The Moral Law points to something beyond the material universe

“…in the Moral Law somebody or something from beyond the material universe…[is] getting at us”

2. Some readers might complain that Lewis tricked them

“…that I had been carefully wrapping up to looking like philosophy what turns out to be one more ‘religious jaw’…but if it turns out to be only religion…the world has tried that and  you cannot put the clock back”

(a) Sometimes you have to go back to go forward

“…progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer…it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake”

(b) We have not yet reached “religion”

“We have not yet got as far as the God of any actual religion… We have only got as far as a Somebody or Something behind the Moral Law…

(i) We are trying to discover more about this Something behind the Moral Law from the universe. From this, we see the Being is…

(A) An Artist

“…we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place)…”

(B) Dangerous

“…but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place)”

(ii) We are also trying to discover more about this Being from the Moral Law itself.

(A) The Being cares about Right and Wrong

“…the Being behind the universe is intensely interested in right conduct…”

(B) We cannot yet call this being forgiving

“The Moral Law does not give us any grounds for thinking that God is ‘good’ in the sense of being indulgent, or soft, or sympathetic. There is nothing indulgent about the Moral Law. It is as hard as nails… if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do”

(C) He’s not a tame lion

“God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and thing we most want to hide from”

(c) Christianity doesn’t make sense until you understand the questions it attempts to answer

“Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It there has nothing…to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness…. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor”

Discussion Questions

1. Given what you’ve learned in Book I, what can you say to friends and family to make the case for Christianity? What illusions can keep us from recognizing the truth of this book?

2. Why does a God behind the Moral Law both attract and terrify us?

3. How does the Moral Law make sense within the context Christianity specifically?

C.S. Lewis Doodle

I know it looks broken, but it does work, honest!

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