As long as we have an image in our head of the "devil" having horns, a red cape and a pitchfork, we will not be able to recognize his true attacks. He often appears to us as a voice of reason, of intellect, and of misguided justice.
This is a wonderful book.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is certainly a different kind of book than any I've read before. In the form of several letters, Mr. Lewis relays the tale of Worm wood, a novice tempter. Screwtape, Wormwood's uncle, narrates through the letters as he advises Wormwood on the best ways to tempt the "patient." Many topics are covered by these letters, as they appear throughout the patient's life up to the time of his death. Screwtape repeatedly corrects his nephew, and in so doing gives us brief insights into several things that are not commonly discussed. For example, Screwtape writes of family relationships and the importance of prayer. He also indirectly shows the foreignness of love to one dwelling in Hell.
One of the things that bothered me the most about this book was the way the author implied the possibility of losing one's salvation. Although those who were not really saved in the first place can be lost in that way, the true children of God cannot be plucked out of His hand. There were also some other points where I disagreed with Mr. Lewis' theology, but that was the most disturbing one. All in all, if you're reading for enjoyment, The Screwtape Letters is really an interesting book; but those who would read it for the theology had better be a little wary.
I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is a series of letters written by a senior demon to an underling in charge of corrupting a human being. It offers great insight into the subtle ways our mettle is tested moment by moment. A great reminder that our big decisions in life are the result of dozens of "smaller" choices we make day in and day out.
Though written from a Christian point of view, the insights are helpful for anyone.
From back cover: A masterpiece of satire, this class has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man.
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to 'Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original.
Christian satire by C. S. Lewis first published in book form in 1942. The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior tempter named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of an earthly man, known only as "the Patient."
Screwtape (along with his trusted scribe Toadpipe) holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy ("Lowerarchy") of Hell, and acts more as a mentor than a supervisor to Wormwood, the inexperienced tempter; almost every letter ends with the signature, "Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape." In the body of the thirty-one letters which make up the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith and promoting sin in his Patient, interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine.
If I didn't know Lewis was such a devoted Christian, I could swear this was a satire of that very same religion- and a classic one at that! In this book, he has structured the battle for our eternal souls as a demon working tirelessly on one shoulder and an angel on the other- not unlike later parodies seen on Tom & Jerry or Bugs Bunny or The Simpsons.
Putting my religious cynicism (mostly) aside, it is a brilliant study on human motivation and how these motives can become warped if we're not self-aware, asking ourselves the right questions. Screwtape's observation about humility is such an example:
"...humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it and we have the chance to keep their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible... [God] wants him, in the end, to be so free of any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour's talents- or in a sunrise, an elephant or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to recognize all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things."
If Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion is the popular voice and blueprint for atheists, this book is it's equal literary opposite. Though, I do realize this is a work of fiction and Dawkins' book is not. However, this work is a metaphor for Lewis' beliefs and when illustrating a point, isn't metaphor and allegory what religion does best?
My only criticism of this read is, while it is obvious Lewis put a lot thought into Screwtape, his voice becomes monotonous and dry after a while which is an unbearable combination when you are being preached towards.
Finally, a quote from Screwtape directed towards his fellow Gentledevils that resonates on many levels:
"All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by 'religion' ever vanishes from Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighborhood of the Holy. Nowhere do we tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the altar."
The concept behind The Screwtape Letters is intriguing and amusingly executed, but anyone who considers this a serious, convincing work of apologetics is kidding themselves. Yes, that includes the author.
The letters of the infernal Screwtape, a senior devil from a highly organized, computerized Hell, deftly instruct his nephew Wormwood, a junior demon, in the art of winning over a young man's soul - not by a sudden fall into mortal sin, but by the routine and undramatic temptations of daily life. By focusing on the immediate, familiar, and amusing, Lewis exposes the true nature of evil and the very real devils in all of our lives.
This was an interesting book in that it reviews many ways that the devil may tempt a human and the emotions that may be played upon. I didn't agree with many things stated and sometimes it just seemed like the author just wanted to use a bunch of big words in the same sentence.
Much of the book was fluff and it wasn't as intriguing as I expected it to be.
All in all I give it a B-
This book is fun and insightful. Lewis explores humanity's most mundane, common flaws without preaching at the reader. The Screwtape Letters beautifully explores the natural challenges every Christian must strive to overcome to truly follow the teachings of Christ.
I enjoy the concept of this book being from a demon uncle to his demon nephew. It was a unique take of what spiritual warfare would be like from the intelligence of a demon as he attacks a human and what ways might be best to have success in bringing a "patient" to hell. Although I liked it, a lot of this book bored me. I blame the fact that I have read Frank Peretti books.
This is my second C.S. Lewis book (Mere Christianity was the first) and I came away much as I left the first,...desiring more. I took away a few things that will help me in my daily walk as a Christian,..and as in the other book I read,...a few things that really got me thinking.
This is a weird but intriguing book I think. His letters are signed Your affectionate Uncle but his perpose in writting his nephew is this: To win young lives to the devil.
This has earned a place in Christian Classics. CS Lewis- his witty observations continue to confront and challange believers and non believers alike.
I love C.S. Lewis, however, this book is one that would be best read with a group to decipher what is going on. I had heard about the book and thought it would be a must read...I got to the third or fourth chapter and gave up.
This is a great "instruction manual" of what NOT to do to wind up in Hell. Seriously, it contains lots of things to think about for people who are interested in being good Christians (might work for other religions too, but C.S. Lewis is definitely Christian)
If you are familiar at all with C.S. Lewis's other writings, this is another classic of his. I have to admit, I was very disappointed with the "droll boringness" of the reader of this audiobook. Hence, I placed it back into circulation. Very disappointed.