The Issue Of Morality In Mere Christianity By C. S. Lewis

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In his classic work “Mere Christianity,” C. S. Lewis describes a basic Christian worldview. A significant theme Lewis discusses is the issue of morality and its meaning in relation to God and to one another. Where does morality come from and how does one become moral? Lewis contends that all ethics originate with God and that human beings cannot be truly moral apart from the transforming work of Jesus Christ.
In a chapter entitled, “The Three Parts of Morality,” Lewis proposes that one part of morality is the “tidying up” of one’s self on the inside, in other words, first cleaning “the inside of the cup” (Matthew 23:25-28, New International Version). Further, in the chapter I wish to discuss “Nice People or New Men,” Lewis asserts that this
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Everyone’s behavior is deficient at some point or another. One individual’s lifestyle may have a greater degree of virtue than another, however, this may be attributed to outside influences rather than to the person himself. Take, for example, an individual who grows up in a brutal environment, whose physical and psychological needs are abused and neglected, and, through poverty, basic needs for food, clothing, and education are only sporadically met. This individual has been exposed to little kindness and nurturance, and may grow up hard and uncaring toward others. Whereas a child in a loving home who is treated with respect and care and who’s economic condition allows for the consistent and ample provision of physical and educational needs, has greater opportunity to learn to treat others with kindness and respect. Even this person, however, is subject to the same selfishness to which we all fall prey. How do all individuals develop greater ethical behavior regardless of their station in life? Lewis suggests that the internal condition is what determines moral actions. Even decent behavior done for the wrong reasons is not virtuous, rather self-serving. Honorable actions derive from honest motivations. How does one alter one’s motivations? The only genuine method, Lewis contends, is through the process of inner …show more content…
Christianity, as I have come to understand, is not about becoming an increasingly moral person—the “nice people” to which Lewis is referring. The problem of virtue, according to the Bible, is sin, and sin goes deeper than merely behavior. Sinfulness is a state of being, not simply one’s actions. One’s deeds are reflective of one’s being. Therein lies the real issue, as sin, according to the Apostle Paul, produces death (Romans 6:23). Further, Paul teaches, all are dead in their sins (Col. 2:13). The solution, therefore, is not to change one’s behavior, but rather, to receive new life. A corpse cannot behave as if it were alive as its core is lifeless. In Colossians 2:13, Paul writes, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (New International Version). Jesus Christ came not to produce virtuous people from the immoral, rather, to bring life to the

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