In the past few generations of American society, these two, very distinctive world views have stood as paragons for Faith and Reason themselves. Faith and Reason repeatedly fall prey to our inclination to avert complexity. They can be cartoonishly foisted against one another in simplistic bifurcation. In the twenty-first century, the term “New Atheists” has […]
Ayn Rand applauded a culture in which the interests and desires of the individual take precedence over those of the family, group, or community. Frequently, I hear “I am spiritual, but not religious” or “I like Jesus, but not Christianity.” I applaud the courage and honesty of people who have had bad experiences with churches, […]
Mark is the author of The Soul of Atlas: Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground [Reason Publishing]. He also speaks to a variety of audiences about finding common ground in unlikely places. Mark has been vitally interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy for over three decades. He studied Victorian Poetry and Neuroscience at Brown […]
It’s debatable whether you are what you read, but it’s certainly true that what I read influences my writing style. A recent blog by Scott McKnight entitled Tips for Writers speaks to that point. Have you ever asked the question, “Who do I want to sound like?” Of course, the best answer is “be yourself,” […]
To understand any world view, one of the key questions that needs to be asked is “What does this world view say is wrong with the world?” The answer to that question tells a lot about what a person believes and how s/he looks at life. A primary concern in The Soul of Atlas is […]
Four questions helped me understand and compare each world view: What is the nature of the universe? What is an individual’s highest pursuit? What is wrong with the world? How do you fix it? Even as I recount them, my experiences with Dad and John afforded many opportunities to think, compare, and search.
Ayn Rand uses ‘selfishness’ to mean ‘self-interest‘. Even Christians are self-interested. Ayn Rand’s definition of sacrifice is more narrow than the common than the common usage of the idea. The more common understanding of sacrifice makes it easier to order our values. Most would agree that we should never subjugate something of greater value to […]
Mere Christianity (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1952)
Mere Christianity is C. S. Lewis‘s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. First heard as informal radio broadcasts and then published as three separate books – The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality – Mere Christianity brings together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of the religion. Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations, C. S. Lewis finds a common ground on which all those who have Christian faith can stand together, proving that “at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.”
It has become a classic for good reason. C. S. Lewis takes common questions, misunderstandings, and his own objections to Christianity, and answers them using the same rational approach that resonated with him as he crossed the line from unbelief many years prior. Be persistent. When I picked up Mere Christianity the first time, it was like pulling teeth. I put it down after two chapters. A year later, a friend of mine (for whom I have tremendous respect) confided that he reads the book straight through once a year to keep perspective. I thought, “Perhaps I should give this another try.” I did, and I couldn’t put it down! What a difference. It was easy reading, compelling, winsome. Of course, the book hadn’t changed; I had. And then, it when on to radically change the way I approach all other books.
In 1943 Great Britain, when hope and the moral fabric of society were threatened by the relentless inhumanity of global war, an Oxford don was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. Over half a century after the original lectures, the topic retains it urgency. Expanded into book form, Mere Christianity never flinches as it sets out a rational basis for Christianity and builds an edifice of compassionate morality atop this foundation. As Mr. Lewis clearly demonstrates, Christianity is not a religion of flitting angels and blind faith, but of free will, an innate sense of justice and the grace of God. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The late Lewis, Oxford professor, scholar, author, and Christian apologist, presents the listener with a case for orthodox Christianity. This is definitely not the shouting, stomping, sweating, spitting televangelist fare so often parodied; Lewis employs logical arguments that are eloquently expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection. Geoffrey Howard reads both works, and his performance is superb; he is clear and unhurried, giving just the right emphasis and/or inflection. The volume on the Blackstone edition is recorded at a higher level than HarperAudio’s. Otherwise there were no perceived differences in the recordings. If your institution can afford it, the Blackstone production would be preferred because of its sturdy case and the announcement of side changes. Whether or not one agrees with Lewis’s arguments, it is a pleasure to hear such a skillful reading of an eloquent work. Public libraries as well as institutions that teach religion/theology or speech should consider. –Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg
About the Author
Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.
I highly recommend Mere Christianity. It has become a classic for good reason. C. S. Lewis takes common questions, misunderstandings, and his own objections to Christianity, and answers them using the same rational approach that resonated with him as he crossed the line from unbelief many years prior. Be persistent. When I picked up Mere Christianity the first time, it was like pulling teeth. I put it down after two chapters. A year later, a friend of mine (for whom I have tremendous respect) confided that he reads the book straight through once a year to keep perspective. I thought, “Perhaps I should give this another try.” I did, and I couldn’t put it down! What a difference. It was easy reading, compelling, winsome. Of course, the book hadn’t changed; I had. And then, it when on to radically change the way I approach all other books.
You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.
Thomas Aquinas believed truth is to be accepted no matter where it is found. Many philosophical “bad guys” have come from the Christian tradition—on this, all can agree. But, unique among philosophers, St. Thomas Aquinas won the admiration of both Ayn Rand and the church. Aquinas helped reintroduce the teachings of Aristotle (“The Philosopher”) into […]