Mere Christianity

For book 3 chapter 5...

How does Lewis account for the fact that while modesty is a universal law, different cultures or times have different conceptions of modesty (or propriety)?

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In this chapter, Lewis is speaking to the differences between chastity and propritety, noting that although chastity is always the same at all times for all Christians, social propriety dictates the definition of modesty. He also notes that propriety changes. By using the example of women living in the islands in contrast to the women of Victorian England, Lewis states that both groups might be considered modest by the standards of their own society, and that regardless of their dress, they may be equally chaste. According to Lewis, these differences are innocent, even careless. This is, however, in direct contrast to women who purposefully break rules of propriety and change their dress to excite themselves or others. Women who act and dress to purposefully evoke a response offend the Christian rules of chastity. 


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