Teen class - CS Lewis "Mere Christianity"

Week 1
Introduction, meet-n-greet. CS Lewis and his legacy.

 

Week 2
"Mere Christianity" ("Просто Христианство") by C.S. Lewis.

English - http://lib.ru/LEWISCL/mere_engl.txt_with-big-pictures.html
Russian - http://lib.ru/LEWISCL/mere.txt_with-big-pictures.html
Audio version (russian) - ftp://ftp.predanie.ru/mp3/K_S_Lewis/prosto_hristianstvo/

The book is not long, but is not the easiest to comprehend. We'll be reading and discussing parts of the book each week, including some questions that I will send ahead of time.

This week read the introduction and first chapter. The Law of Human Nature. You can read ahead if you like.

 

  1. What is the The Law of Human Nature?

 

Week 3
Read Chapters 2 and 3

Week 4
Read Chapter 4

This Sunday we'll go over just one of the chapters that I've asked you to read, namely, chapter 4. Please, continue with the reading of chapter five as discussed last week. We'll catch up with the reading when we meet the week after the next.
Here are the question that I want each and every one of you to ask yourself and come up with an answer, as it relates to the topics of the chapter four.

 

  1. What is the chapter about?
  2. What two main views on the nature of things and how they came to be are generally held by mankind and how they differ?
  3. What question is science can not answer?
  4. How can we learn something by not using scientific method (observation and deduction)?
  5. What is that ultimate knowledge about the universe that we can derive from the law of human nature?

 

Week 5
This Sunday we'll be discussing book 1 chapter 5 and book 2 chapter 1. Here are the questions I want you to be able to answer:

What evidence do we have about "sombody" who is a creator of this world? What does this evidence show show?
What is the burden atheists must prove about the world religions, but Christians do not have to?
What does it mean to be "like a person" or "not like a person"? Why do we believe in a "personal" God?
What are the two views on the Gods' nature regarding good and evil? What is pantheism and what are the problems with it?

Week 6
Book 2 Chapters 2 and 3

What is dualism? Think of an example of dualism, from fiction or religion.
Where does Christianity agree with dualism and where does it differ?
Why is there evil? Were do people search for happiness?
What's unique about the claim to forgive sins?

Week 7
Review week
As planned we'll do a review session this time. Here are the questions for this Sunday to help us through the review:
(note this review might be a bit too early in the class - you might want to move it to later)

What is the evidence for the Law of Human nature (book 1, ch 1)?
What is the "terrible fix" that the human race is in, in relationship to God (book 1, ch 5)?
What is dualism (book 2, ch 2)?
How do we know most of the things that we know (book 2, ch 5)?

Week 8
Please continue reading chapters 4 and 5 of book 2, thus completing book 2 for our next class.
Here are the questions you'll need to have the answers to by next Sunday (some come from the content of the chapter 3):

What is one of the reasons civilizations fail? List some civilizations that have collapsed in the past and what lead to it?
How do we learn and believe? Can we learn everything ourselves?
How can God die? Why does God became a man?
How are Christians different from other people who are just trying to be good?
Why did not God create us, so we can only do good and no wrong?

If I may suggest, write down the answers as you work on them. This will make it easier for you to recall what was actually asked, when the Sunday comes rolling in.

Week 9
Read the chapters 1 and 2 of the Book III and answer the following:

What are the three things morality is concerned with and how are they connected?
What is wrong with the "it can't be wrong because it doesn't do anyone else any harm" premise?
What are Justice and Fortitude and why are they important?
What's good about Prudence and Temperance?

Describe the the three wrong ideas about acting virtuously.

Week 10
This time it's chapters 3 and 4 from the third book.

What new moral ideas do moral teachers come up with?
What are the two types of feelings and impulses influence people's moral choices? How are they different and reflected in a person?
Why are Christians told not to judge?
What is needed for a person to know if they are bad or good?
Why is it important to work on the "central", "core" of oneself?

Week 11
You've got two big chapters to read, chapters 5 and 6 of the book 3,
If I may suggest, write down your questions and your answers for the class, so you do not forget it after all the holidays.

Here are questions I want you to think about.

What is worse, the sins of the flesh or the sins of the spiritual kind? Why?
Why is divorce considered a tragedy in Christian churches across the world?
What is a difference between "falling in love" and "being in love"?
Why should there be a head in a Christian marriage?

Week 12
We are resuming the Sunday school classes this semester. We will be changing the format slightly, where you will read the chapters and send me the questions you have for the text.
The questions can be anything that pops into your mind when you are reading the book, as long as it is relevant to the topic.
Send the questions to me in an e-mail or bring them to the class and we will discuss them. I expect at least one question from each one of you.

This Sunday we'll read Book 3, chapters 7, 8 and 9.

1- If a man were very humble or self-hating, how should he interpret the phrase, “Love others as you love yourself.”?
2- If a father were more proud of a son than another father of a boy who accomplished the same deed, would that be considered bad pride?
3- To provide charity in the complete Christian meaning, we must give and treat every single person in the world the same, or else that is unfair. But does that mean that if we give a dollar to one man, that we must mail out billions of dollars, one to every person in the world, or not?
4 - Why is Pride the root of all sins?

Chapter 7:

Is not hating the sin nor the sinner better, worse, or the same as than hating the sin but still not hating the sinner?
Lewis says, "It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy." Earlier in the course of our Sunday School sessions, we discussed that if one is in the army and is in the defending position, it is right to kill the attacker(s). What if you are the enemy?
"Thou shalt not murder." Why isn't that version used instead of "Thou shalt not kill?"
Why could people think that "if you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it?"

 

Chapter 8:

How does Pride lead to e.g. murder and lying?
Could Pride be an enmity to oneself?

 

Week 13
This week we'll be discussing the next three chapters of Book 3 - 10, 11 and 12.
Questions I'd like you to think about and write answers for:

 

  1. How could a hope of Heaven can make this life better for you?
  2. What are the two understandings of faith and why Faith is a virtue?
  3. What is more important, Faith or good deeds?

 

Chapter 1: By saying,"Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in, but if you aim for earth, you will get nothing," is that like 2 types of deals? Like if you get buy the earth deal, you get nothing, but if you buy the heaven deal you get the earth deal as well? Does he mean that if we aim at the earth we won't get earthly pleasures?

Chapter 2: Why is it widely thought that good people don't know what temptation is?

  1. Are all men on earth divided into the three categories described in chap. 10, Fools, Disillusioned "Sensible Men", and Christians?

 

Chapter 3: By "bankruptcy", does it mean that we are bankrupt in the way like we can not give God anything he does not already have because he is the banker or the bank owner?

Week 14
This week we are reading Book IV, chapters 1, 2 and 3.

 

  1. In chapter 1, when the R.A.F officer said that he had a sense of God in the desert, how did he know it was the Christian God, and not Muslim, Buddhist, for example?
  2. Why is Theology needed at all?
  3. Are we the Sons of God like Christ is?
  4. In the Second chapter, when Lewis talks about Dimensions, would the 1 and 2 dimensional worlds be without God, but the 3 dimensional world be with God?

 

Week 15
This week we are reading Book IV, chapters 4 through 6.

1 According to Lewis, doctrines, dogmas, creeds, etc. are like a map of Christianity?
2 Do Christians believe that after one or more lives, humans will be absorbed into God, or do Christians not believe that?
3 Is God's life like an infinite line and humans lives are like line segments?

 

  1. How is a Christian God considered "more than personal"?
  2. He says that God shows himself to some more than others, and gives an example of how a sun shines more clearer in a clean glass rather than a dusty one. By this, I suppose he shows himself more often to the more faithful people, but isn't it the opposite, he shows himself to the ones that the guiding the most?
  3. He says God is too real to have a history, and that in order to have one, we must loose a part of our reality. One part in the past, and one in the future, does that make us not real?

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present." (c) Kung Fu Panda ;)

 

  1. If God did not beget us, but rather make, does that mean that in a way, we are God's tin soldiers?

 

 

  1. I don't understand how if God can see our future, how do we still have our own free will to do what we want?
  2. What does it mean when people say God is inside of us?
  3. What does C. S. Lewis mean when he says the devil sends errors in the world in opposite pairs to encourage us to spend time thinking which is the worst?

 

Week 16
Read book IV, chapters 7-9
In the beginning of chapter 7, Lewis says that when we say Our Father, we "put ourself in the place of Christ, or dress up as Christ." Isn't this a sin?

Week 17
Chapters 10 and 11 are the final chapters of the book.

  1. If when we Christians behave bad, then non-christians think we're bad. Does that mean that if we behave well we are thought of well?
  2. In chapter 10, is Factory A God and Factory B satan?

 

What does it mean, "Careless Lives cost Talk "?
When Lewis says that we cant be "ourself" does he mean that without christ we are nothing?