Like I said in my last post, I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’d only ever heard of the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, so I didn’t know he’d written anything more ‘serious’, but this was definitely a lot different to Narnia.
Lewis was asked by the BBC during World War Two to give a series of lectures about Christianity and this book is a collection of the lectures. There is a foreword by Lewis where he lets us know that he has re-worded the lectures to make them easier to read (instead of easy to listen to), changing a few words here and there.
The book in the first part spends a lot of time arguing the case for Christianity and why there must be a God. If you had any doubts before reading it, he does a very good job of persuading you. I think this book is based a lot on his conversion to Christianity after spending much of his life as an atheist, so it has a lot of personal feeling in it, but still very carefully structured and well thought out.
He then goes on to talk about Christian virtues and behaviours. First of all the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. After talking about these, he then moves onto the three theological virtues: hope, faith, and charity.
One of the most memorable parts of the book for me was this one:
“That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or – if they think there is not – at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.”
Apart from the fact that this verse really got stuck in my head, I love the way that Lewis used the metaphor of the greenhouse to sum up exactly what he meant. He does this a lot throughout the book to make his points clearer or easier to understand, which I can imagine was helpful when listening to the BBC broadcasts. It’s similar to what Jesus did when he told his parables, to make sure that everyone can understand what is being said.
I’m extremely glad that I picked up this book after reading so many recommendations about it, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. It definitely makes you think a lot about your actions and the things you have been doing in your life. If you’re one of the blogs that recommended the book – thank you!