Category Archives: Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis

Here they are again…

More quotes from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity… As you may have noticed, I created a category just for quotes from this book! Yeah~
 
On how hard it is to be Christian
 
Book 4 Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity
 
9 Counting the Cost
 
"This Helper (Christ) who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty. As a great Christian writer (George MacDonald) pointed out, every father is pleased at the baby’s first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown-up son. In the same way, he said, ‘God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.’"
 
"God’s demand for perfection need not discourage you in the least in your present attempts to be good, or even in your present failures. Each time you fall He will pick you up again. And He knows perfectly well that your own efforts are never going to bring you anywhere near perfection. On the other hand, you must realize from the outset that the goal towards which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal."
 
"I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. … As we say ‘I never expected to be a saint, I only wanted to be a decent ordinary chap.’ And we imagine when we say this that we are being humble. But this is the fatal mistake."
 
"Before we were born, when we were inside our mothers’ bodies, we passed through various stages. We were once rather like vegetables, and once rather like fish: it was only a later stage that we became like human babies. And if we had been conscious at those earlier stages, I daresay we should have been quite contented to stay as vegetables or fish — should not have wanted to be made into babies. But all the time He knew His plan for us and was determined to carry it out. Something the same is now happening at a higher level."
 
"To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or megalomania; it is obedience."
 
"You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
 
 On whether being Christian makes you a nicer person

 
Book 4 Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity
 
10 Nice People or New Men
 
"When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The war-time posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself."
 
(Haha, I like the following a lot…)
"If Christianity is true then it ought to follow (a) That any Christian will be nicer than the same person would be if he were not a Christian. (b) That any man who becomes a Christian will be nicer than he was before.
 
Just in the same way, if the advertisements of Whitesmile’s toothpaste are true it ought to follow (a) That anyone who uses it will have better teeth than the same person would have if he did not use it. (b) That if anyone begins to use it his teeth will improve.
 
But to point out that I, who use Whitesmile’s (and also have inherited bad teeth from both my parents) have not got as fine a set as some healthy young negro who never used any toothpaste at all, does not, by itself, prove that the advertisements are untrue: Christian Miss Bates may have an unkinder tongue than unbelieving Dick Firkin. That, by itself, does not tell us whether Christianity works.
 
The question is what Miss Bates’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian and what Dick’s would be if he became one. Miss Bates and Dick, as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Chritianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so."
(So that applies to me as well, even though I have temper of a lion’s, that doesn’t say being Catholic is the problem… That just means that my temper would be worse than a lion’s if I’m not Catholic.)
 
"As long as Dick does not turn to God, he thinks his niceness is his own, and just as long as he thinks that, it is not his own. It is when Dick realizes that his niceness is not his own but a gift from God, and when he offers it back to God — it is just when that it begins to be really his own. For now Dick is beginning to take a share in his own creation. The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose."
 
"That was what people objected to about Christ during His ife on earth: He seemed to attract ‘such awful people’. … Do you not see why? Christ said ‘Blessed are the poor’ and ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom,’ and no doubt He primarily meant the economically rich and economically poor. But do not his words also apply to another kind of riches and poverty?"
 
"Often people who have all these natural goodness cannot be brought to recognize their need for Christ at all until, one day, the natural goodness lets them down and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are ‘rich’ in this sense to enter the Kingdom."
 
 
1 chapter left… I have to say I’m gonna miss it… But I got 4 other C.S. Lewis’ books last Fri
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C.S. Lewis Rocks even more…

I’m amazed at this guy’s ability to explain concepts and ideas that are often misunderstood. He manage to explain by examples very well. And his examples are humourous…
 
More quotes (sorry if you’re tired of this, but I must blog these to make me remember all the great quotes)
 
On Love
 
Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
6 Christian Marriage
 
"No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centredness. But as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thinig you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’. Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling."
 
"If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?"
 
"Love in this second sense–love as distinct from ‘being in love’–is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself."
 
"People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. … In this department of live, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. … it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction."
 
On Forgiveness
 
Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
7 Forgiveness
 
"I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate the bad man: or as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that they were one man to whom I had been doing this all my life–namely myself."
 
"Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treahery. We ought to hate them. … But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again."
 
"I admit that this means loving people who have nothing lovable about them. But then, has oneself anything lovable about it? You love it simply because it is yourself. God intends us to love all selves in the same way and for the same reason: but Hehas given us the sum ready worked out in our own case to show us how it works."
 
On Pride
 
Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
8 The Great Sin
 
"Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkedness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind."
 
"Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.
 
"As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."
 
"Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good–above all, that we are better than someone else–I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether."
 
On Charity 
 
Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
9 Charity
 
"Natural liking or affection for people makes it easier to be ‘charitable’ towards them. It is, therefore, normally a duty to encourage our affections–to ‘like’ people as much as we can (just as it is often our duty to encourage our liking for exercise or wholesome food)–not because this liking is itself the virtue of charity, but because it is a help to it."
 
"The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did…. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him even more."
 
"Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thos shalt love the Lord thy God.’ He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not."
 
On Hope
 
Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
10 Hope
 
"There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want ‘to spend eternity playing harps’. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold etc) is, of course, a merely symbolic attempt to express the inexpressible."
 
"People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs."
 
On Faith – beginner level
 
Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
11 Faith
 
"Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods."
 
"The first step is to recognize the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then someo of its main doctrins shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and church-going are necessary parts of Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed."
 
"I think every one who has some vague belief in God, until he becomes a Christian, has the idea of an exam, or of a bargain in his mind. The first result of real Christianity is to blow that idea into bits."
 
"If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything for God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, ‘Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.’ Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction."

C.S. Lewis Rocks

I can’t help but keep posting his quotes here… I’m at the part of Mere Christianity where C.S. Lewis talked about Sexual Morality… Two quotes that make a lot of sense and made me almost laugh out loud…
 
 Book 3. Christian Behaviour
 
3. Sexual Morality
 
"You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act–that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plateon to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of sex instinct about us?"
 
"If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once. But, of course, when people say, ‘Sex is nothing to be ashamed of,’ they may mean ‘the state into which the sexual instinct has now got is nothing to be ashamed of’.
 
If they mean that, I think they are wrong. I think it is everything to be ashamed of. There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent there time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smaking their lips."

What a quote

I started reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis finally~ And it’s such a great book. And there’s this quote (which I’ve seen before) that is so powerful:
 
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.
 
This 2nd time that I look at it, I think it applies to love as well..
 

If you look for truth, you may find love in the end: if you look for love you will not get either love or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.
 
Not sure if my readers would agree… oh well… What else does it apply to?