C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity is a perfect example of one of the most effective aspects of critical thinking skills: the use of reasoning to build a strong, logical argument. Lewis originally wrote the book as a series of radio talks given from 1942-1944, at the height of World War II. The talks were designed to lay out the most basic tenets of Christianity for listeners, and to use these to make a logical argument for Christian belief and Christian ethics. While Lewis was not an academically-trained theologian or philosopher (specializing instead in literature), his own experience of converting from atheism to Christianity, along with his wide reading and incisive questioning, power a charming but persuasive argument for his own beliefs. Whether or not one agrees with Lewis's arguments or shares his faith, Mere Christianity exemplifies one of the most useful aspects of good reasoning: accessibility. When using reasoning to construct a convincing argument, it is crucial that your audience follow you, and Lewis was a master at constructing well-organised arguments that are immediately understandable to readers. The beautifully written Mere Christianity is a masterclass in cogently walking an audience through an elegant and well thought-through piece of reasoning.
The Reverend Dr Mark Scarlata is Vicar-Chaplain at the church of St Edward King and Martyr, Cambridge. He holds a PhD in Old Testament studies from the University of Cambridge and is senior lecturer at St Mellitus Theological College in London. The Revd Dr Scarlata is the author of `Am I My Brother's Keeper?': Christian Citizenship in a Globalized Society (Cascade Books, 2013).
Ways in to the text Who was C.S. Lewis? What does Mere Christianity say? Why does Mere Christianity matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited