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The Screwtape Letters (Bantam Classics)

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The letters of the infernal devil Screwtape (a senior demon from a highly organized, computerized Hell) deftly instruct his nephew Wormwood in the art of winning over a young man's soul--not by a sudden fall into sin, but by the routine, undramatic temptations of a mortal's daily life.


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The letters of the infernal devil Screwtape (a senior demon from a highly organized, computerized Hell) deftly instruct his nephew Wormwood in the art of winning over a young man's soul--not by a sudden fall into sin, but by the routine, undramatic temptations of a mortal's daily life.

30 review for The Screwtape Letters (Bantam Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joanie Rich

    It's great to read fiction that gives you a punch in a gut! It's not often a book will hold up a mirror to you and show you some things you'd rather not see. The Screwtape Letters was that book for me. Every Christian needs to get a hold of this book and read it through! It's helped me gain a deep understanding of how the forces of darkness try to undermine joy and truth. I'd especially recommend it to readers new to C.S. Lewis, as this is a good sample of his writing and a good place to start fr It's great to read fiction that gives you a punch in a gut! It's not often a book will hold up a mirror to you and show you some things you'd rather not see. The Screwtape Letters was that book for me. Every Christian needs to get a hold of this book and read it through! It's helped me gain a deep understanding of how the forces of darkness try to undermine joy and truth. I'd especially recommend it to readers new to C.S. Lewis, as this is a good sample of his writing and a good place to start from when reading his work. One of the great things about C.S. Lewis is that, having not been born into the church, he comes with a gritty, logical look into Christianity and how the world operates, having been deeply entrenched in it himself. He understands where people are coming from and brings to light a lot of the contradictions people tend to say about the church (and intellectuals for that matter). Personally, I took away a number of lessons from the book, including some understanding about what it means to be charitable and caring towards my family and friends instead of doing things purely out of some spiritual pride (aka holier than thou philosophy) -- what an eye opener! In a good way though. One of the best points he makes is that the "Father Below's" main goal is to keep your from thinking for yourself, to go along with the crowd and to do what "the smart, the pretty, the bold and the powerful" say you should do instead of being an individual. What a powerful (and relevant) statement for today's culture!

  2. 4 out of 5

    MelissaS

    I love this book - it really makes you think. For those who have not read it, the book is written as a compilation of letters from a "tempter," Screwtape, to his nephew, a "junior tempter" named Wormwoood. In the letters, Screwtape gives Wormwood adivce and counsel on how to best tempt his "subject" - a young man who converts to Christianity, and then falls in love with a Christian woman. Through the letters, you are constantly reminded and made to think about how the adversary tempts us. What i I love this book - it really makes you think. For those who have not read it, the book is written as a compilation of letters from a "tempter," Screwtape, to his nephew, a "junior tempter" named Wormwoood. In the letters, Screwtape gives Wormwood adivce and counsel on how to best tempt his "subject" - a young man who converts to Christianity, and then falls in love with a Christian woman. Through the letters, you are constantly reminded and made to think about how the adversary tempts us. What is truly excellent about the book, though, is that the cunning plans are not centered around obvious sins, that so often are what we think about when we think about temptation and sin. Instead, the tempters focus on much more subtle forms of sins - vanity, pride, distraction, insincerity, forgetting God, and how these can achieve the same effect as more obvious sins ... to lead us away from God. Ultimately, the tempters in this story do not care what sins are committed by their subjects - so long as they accomplish their goal of separating people from God, and leading them to the adversary. In fact, they seem to prefer the more subtle means of leading people astray, as they sense that this is a more hidden and thus secure way to accomplish their ultimate design. You cannot read this book and not think of how extremely pertinent it is to your life. C. S. Lewis has thought deeply about the things we do each that lead us away from God, and he articulates them very well. As you read the book, you are in a constant introspection of your own life, and the things that are put before you daily that lead you away from what we all desire - a close, personal, consistent, and deep relationship with God, that leads to happiness now and the hereafter. I love this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    If not for the fact that this is a satire in earnest, it would serve as a powerful absurdist invective against humanity itself. If this book improved my view of Christians it was only because it points out that all the faults conspicuous in the rabidly faithful are equally well-represented in the uninformed agnostic, if less readily apparent--Lewis does his best to drag everyone down to a common level. The sharp weapon of Lewis's rhetoric tears down humanity through all its self-righteous hubris, If not for the fact that this is a satire in earnest, it would serve as a powerful absurdist invective against humanity itself. If this book improved my view of Christians it was only because it points out that all the faults conspicuous in the rabidly faithful are equally well-represented in the uninformed agnostic, if less readily apparent--Lewis does his best to drag everyone down to a common level. The sharp weapon of Lewis's rhetoric tears down humanity through all its self-righteous hubris, denial, misdirected hopes, and easy mistakes. However, one begins to develop the impression, slowly at first, that Lewis has nothing to offer in return. There are scarcely words of alternatives, let alone improvements. Lewis does give us a house which disgusts the devils and redeems the sinful, but this perfect representation of Christian values is just a lack of badness, not a profusion of goodness. It is 'suffused' by some sort of magical glow which infects the cat, but magical glows do not a life philosophy make. I got the impression that Lewis hoped to fill in with the good parts later, but couldn't think of any. Human beings have a cognitive bias for avoiding punishment, even to the point where we will avoid a small punishment rather than seek a great reward. Perhaps this fear consumed Lewis, as it does so many people. That would explain why his books seem more concerned with avoiding small errors instead of seeking out grand achievements. But then, Lewis has a similar failing with grand villainy. Sure, he's able to point out all the little, foolish errors we make, but he seems to have no ability to understand actual malice or hatred. His demons, like all his villains, just do bad things because it's required of them. Lewis is unable to develop any motivation for them to do evil, which means that, in the end, his vision of evil is silly, petty, and dismissive. He cannot give us a vision of a truly dangerous devil, like Milton's or Hogg's, just an arbitrary (and easily blamed) antagonist. Lewis said writing these letters was more unpleasant than any of his other books, and that he could not bring himself to write a sequel. I find little surprise in this, because one can see how, as the book goes on, Lewis more and more recognizes the failures of mankind but when he tries to express what makes him or his faith any different, cannot find anything to say. The 'suffusing glow' becomes a metaphor for Lewis's own righteousness, but whenever Lewis isn't basking in his own self-righteousness, he is ridiculing someone else's. Lewis' rhetoric is most deficient when he scorns one of man's many faults, then calls it a virtue in the next chapter. For example, the book begins with the demon advising that humans should be encouraged to think of things as being 'real' without ever questioning what that means. The term 'real life' is meant to act as a self-justification for assumptions, not as an introspective view. This is 'bad' because 'real' has no meaning beyond the opinion of the user, and hence it can be used to justify anything. Then Lewis begins to talk about how the Christians should make sure to follow what is 'natural', but fails to define what 'natural' is supposed to mean. Like 'real', 'natural' can be used to justify any idea or position, but Lewis does not turn a skeptical eye on himself. This can hardly surprise, as Lewis maintains a philosophy of Duality. Dualism presents the 'with us/against us' ideal by which any two groups may grow to hate one another despite the fact that they have relatively few differences. As long as one defines the other as bad, there is no need to define the self as good, as in the Dualistic system, there is only good and evil, and you are either one or the other. Lewis often falls back on this defense, showing how some men are bad, how he is different from them, and then assuming 'different' equals 'better'. He uses rational, skeptical argument to show how flawed his opponent is, but tearing down others is not the same as raising yourself up. That being said, it would still be refreshing to meet a believer who had put as much thought and work into attempting to understand and explain themselves. It is rare to find thoughtfulness and skepticism, believer or no. Atheists and scientists can be just as troubled, flawed, and deluded as anyone else. The lesson I will pull from this is that it is important for me to concentrate on myself and my own growth, because worrying about everyone else didn't help Lewis, and it isn't going to help me, either. I must not simply tear down those who are different from me, since this doesn't prove that I am right, any more than a bully proves his superiority by his insults and threats.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ❄️Nani❄️

    It's always the books that I randomly come across or the spur of the moment reads that almost always end up (pleasantly) surprising me. This book was so out of my range and certainly not the kind I usually pick up but I wanted something different and wow, was it that. It was thought-provoking (and very unnerving at times) with an interesting premise that had me questioning a lot of the things that we do without even realising and the effects of these actions. You know, there are many reasons why I It's always the books that I randomly come across or the spur of the moment reads that almost always end up (pleasantly) surprising me. This book was so out of my range and certainly not the kind I usually pick up but I wanted something different and wow, was it that. It was thought-provoking (and very unnerving at times) with an interesting premise that had me questioning a lot of the things that we do without even realising and the effects of these actions. You know, there are many reasons why I love Fantasy books, one of which is that it's a form of escapism. However dark and/or bleak [enter said world] is, it draws me in and gets me focusing on problems far different from anything to do with my world. Well, this certainly was not that kind of a read. The Screwtape Letters is a purported collection of 31 letters written by a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew and protégé, a younger demon named, Wormwood. These letters were written for the express purpose of instructing the young demon on the finer points of how to corrupt the human soul, whose name is simply referred to as the "patient", and remains unnamed throughout the story. One of the fundamental insights of this story is that this Infernal Bureaucracy is founded on the principle of consume or be consumed and it gives us a look into the battle for souls from the other side of the trenches. Various letters explore the use of subtle distractions. Screwtape heavily emphasizes that the best, most efficient way to fully corrupt the human soul is to do this as subtly as possible rather than frontal attacks, and that Wormwood’s goal is to make the patient believe in the doctrine of Materialism. These letters are short and concise, written in a way that any reader will be able to relate to many of the temptations that these devils throw at the "patient". Lewis masterfully uses a unique and amusing style of writing to present many of mankind’s greatest weaknesses that we often fall prey to. This is one of the few books that I’d automatically recommend to everyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Young Wormwood is on his very first demonic mission and is at a bit of a loss as to how to do this. There's so many ways to corrupt, but which is the right way to do evil? Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts... Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape. Luckily, he has his Uncle Screwtape to consult. Under Screwtape's gentle guidance, Wormwood hopes to bring another soul to their Dark Fathe Young Wormwood is on his very first demonic mission and is at a bit of a loss as to how to do this. There's so many ways to corrupt, but which is the right way to do evil? Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts... Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape. Luckily, he has his Uncle Screwtape to consult. Under Screwtape's gentle guidance, Wormwood hopes to bring another soul to their Dark Father. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out. While I do not fully agree with everything said in this book, I do think that this was an absolutely fascinating look into the small ways that corruption reaches out to us in everyday life. Those little things build up and if they are allowed to fester, will certainly turn into something more. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel. There was just so much religion and philosophy packed into such a neat little package - I'd highly recommend reading it just once. Even if you are not particularly religious, the wisdom that C. S. Lewis imparts is applicable to all areas of our lives and this is certainly one of his better novels. When they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours. The 2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge - A book with an ugly cover Blog | Instagram

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Screwtape Letters, Clive Staples C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters is a Christian apologetic novel by C. S. Lewis and dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien. It is written in a satirical, epistolary style and while it is fictional in format, the plot and characters are used to address Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز ششم نوامبر سال 2016 میلادی عنوان: نامه های اسکروتیپ - نامه های یک شیطان عالیمقام به شیطان دون پایه؛ نویسنده: The Screwtape Letters, Clive Staples C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters is a Christian apologetic novel by C. S. Lewis and dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien. It is written in a satirical, epistolary style and while it is fictional in format, the plot and characters are used to address Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز ششم نوامبر سال 2016 میلادی عنوان: نامه های اسکروتیپ - نامه های یک شیطان عالیمقام به شیطان دون پایه؛ نویسنده: سی.اس. لوئیس؛ مترجم: شهریار روحانی؛ تهران، نشر اشراقیه، 1369، در 141 ص، موضوع: نامه ها ، مسیحیت، قرن 20 م نامه هایی ست از سوی یک مقام عالی رتبه ی وزارت شیطان (اسکروتیپ)، به یک شیطان کارآموز جوان (وارم وود). اسکروتیپ شاگردش را راهنمایی و روشهای فریب انسانها را برایش مینویسد. ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    To MR. SOURPUSS Most Revered Lower Secretary Ministry of Temptation Dear Sir, At the outset, let me express my deep regret at a set of my letters (to my wayward nephew Wormwood) having fallen into the hands of a loyal servant of the Enemy and getting published. I will take the liberty of saying most emphatically that this is not due to any lack of foresight from my part: Your August Person used to know Wormwood, and what a nincompoop he was. I must state with no little pleasure that our current set o To MR. SOURPUSS Most Revered Lower Secretary Ministry of Temptation Dear Sir, At the outset, let me express my deep regret at a set of my letters (to my wayward nephew Wormwood) having fallen into the hands of a loyal servant of the Enemy and getting published. I will take the liberty of saying most emphatically that this is not due to any lack of foresight from my part: Your August Person used to know Wormwood, and what a nincompoop he was. I must state with no little pleasure that our current set of tempters are built of much tougher material, and consequently we have been on the winning side in our struggle with the Enemy for the past few decades. One only has to cast one's eye over the world once. However, the affair of "The Screwtape Letters" (as they have come to be known) are a matter of no little anguish to my own person, and I make no hesitation in stating that I am willing to accept whatever punishment Our Father may seem fit to disburse. But it is gratifying to note that the human race, in its infinite stupidity, have not taken them seriously: indeed, it is described as a "humorous novella"! One just has to visit the Goodreads website where even people committed to the Enemy are heaping wholesome praise on it! So, in my humble opinion, we need not worry our heads on that account. One more thing. Let me take this occasion to congratulate Your August Person and similar dignitaries of the Lowerarchy on the new method of subversion which is working so brilliantly on humanity: that of subverting the love of the Enemy into hatred of all others who did not subscribe to that particular version of the Enemy! Humanity is indeed too dumb to understand that Love is the Enemy (even though they display posters to that effect all over, as a platitude) and that Hatred is Our Father. Why the Enemy loves these idiots and wants them to attain everlasting happiness, one can only wonder! Your Obedient Servant SCREWTAPE.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cary

    This is my first book of C.S. Lewis outside the Chronicles of Narnia Series. I want to balance my reading list with good, wholesome and inspiring Christian books so I decided to try the works of Lewis and look for an e-book. Fortunately, I was able to find one online so I started with Screwtape Letters. The Screwtape Letters is a series of letters written by Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew and a neophyte tempter, Wormood, about the different ways to tempt a newly converted Christian they This is my first book of C.S. Lewis outside the Chronicles of Narnia Series. I want to balance my reading list with good, wholesome and inspiring Christian books so I decided to try the works of Lewis and look for an e-book. Fortunately, I was able to find one online so I started with Screwtape Letters. The Screwtape Letters is a series of letters written by Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew and a neophyte tempter, Wormood, about the different ways to tempt a newly converted Christian they referred to as "Patient". Their objective is to secure the "Patient's" eternal damnation in hell. In this book, C.S. Lewis tried to describe the spiritual battles between Christians and the forces of evil in a different point of view. At first, I felt uncomfortable reading the parts where Lewis referred God as "the Enemy" and Satan as the "Father" because being a child of God, I know it's the other way around. But looking at it as a literary piece, this is actually the spice of the story and this what makes the book special to me, that I really can't help but admire Lewis for his wisdom and creativity. After reading the book, I was really enlightened and reminded of the truths that we humans should believe about God: 1. God loves us and He does not want anyone of us to perish but He wants us to have eternal life with Him and so He his Son to die for us and pay for our sins (John 3:16). In order to have eternal life, we have to accept Jesus in our life and believe that He is our Lord and Savior. By dying on on the cross, he redeemed us and provided the forgiveness of our sins - past, present and future. 2. God promised that for us who receive Jesus, He gave the right to be called His Children.No one can separate us from His love thus, our salvation through Jesus is assured and no one can take it away from us, not even Satan. 3. What Satan only wants from every human is to steal, kill and destroy. He is like a lion who is always looking around for prey, ready to devour anytime thus we should always be on guard. He will try all possible means for us to turn away from God. 4. God promised us victory. What Jesus did on the cross is already complete. Because of that, we are victorious in Christ so we have the power to win any battle including spiritual battle with the real Enemy. Therefore, we must not lose hope and stand firm on our faith that God has already given us the holy life through Jesus and all we have to do is to live it and stop doing the things that are not pleasing to Him. This book provided some examples of the unpleasant things that may seem insignificant but can eventually lead to our own destruction because the devil knows how to manipulate our thoughts so we really need to be careful. 5. Of course, the best way to defeat the Enemy is to lay down all our battles to God by praying and petition. The Bible said, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6:10-18). This is actually the passage that keeps on popping out of my mind the entire time I was reading the book. This book only wants to point out that we need to recognize that just like Heaven, Hell is also real and Satan also exists. He is continuously looking for possible "recruits" and deceiving people by suggesting different lies in our minds to keep us from turning to God. But God is loving and gracious. He will never let His children fall if we will only remain in Him. God wants all His children to be reunited with Him in eternity, but sadly, not everyone can go to heaven because not everyone has accepted the Truth. He gave us free will to choose how are we going to live our life here on earth. So in every moment and every action of our lives, we are given two different options: to do His will or to follow our own will? And we need to choose well because one may be the highway to hell. If you are looking for a book about living a Christian life, then I highly recommend this one but of course living a holy life according to God's standard can only be achieved if we continuously seek to know our Creator an Savior more through reading his written Word.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    Where do I begin unloading this colossal bag of thoughts that are raging in my mind since yesterday? Well, my friend, you seem to be the victim today. So be it. Don’t term me evil; it is just the scent of one, I lived with for the last five days. Actually, this work is hardly anything except for a bunch of letters, from a senior to a junior; it is nothing more than a series of succinct correspondence, gathered cannily and disbursed even more astutely to the promising newbies. Now, have we all not Where do I begin unloading this colossal bag of thoughts that are raging in my mind since yesterday? Well, my friend, you seem to be the victim today. So be it. Don’t term me evil; it is just the scent of one, I lived with for the last five days. Actually, this work is hardly anything except for a bunch of letters, from a senior to a junior; it is nothing more than a series of succinct correspondence, gathered cannily and disbursed even more astutely to the promising newbies. Now, have we all not rubbed shoulders with atleast once such genial senior in our lives? Incidentally, this exchange happens to be between Uncle Screwtape and Wormwood who, well, under a generous dignity granted by Lewis, call themselves “Tempters”; I refer to them as Devil (Spirit). And they are up against “Him”; the one who lives in the churches and to whom the world attributes its goodness and life. Essentially, this work chalks out some theories on how the Devil should lure the “patient” or the human, away from his allegiance towards "Him" and secure him firm and consistent with himself. This very concept takes my bow for it takes a lot to stand on both sides and view a situation without apathy or bias. In this deliciously curated work, the satire, the cynic, the comic and the subtle; all find place, and rightfully so. As for Screwtape, the breaking fragments of the world and the striking resemblance it holds to a colored hoax, is the doing of “Him”, and so he takes the fundamental ingredients of daily life like belief, love, marriage, gluttony, cowardice, fidelity, freedom, unselfishness and ownership and holds them, not aloft, instead face down. Screwtape draws sinister pleasure in observing the perpetual longing of the human to be star-struck about future and in the process, losing the all-important, all-pervasive present. He also makes a mockery of prevalent falsities in society where something as harmless as jazz can chain its women to strive for svelte figures at the expense of vitality; something as uplifting as art and fresco can underline the derisive palpability of nudity. He also takes a dig at the preconceived notions of love and marriage and the obtuse manner in which the happening of one is regarded as a prerequisite for justification of the other. He basks in the hackneyed idea of ownership that drives the callous human. He spells it eloquently: “It is as if a royal child whom his father has placed for love’s sake, in titular command of some great province, under the real rule of wise counselors, should come to fancy he really owns the cities, the forests, and the corn, in the same way as he owns the bricks on the nursery floor.” This book is a goldmine of veiled satire and I chuckled at the expressions, if not always at the latent intentions. Most of, what I call lyrical sarcasm, emanates from the failures of Wormwood and the wise senior never fails to pull him up. While explaining him the nuances of “Unselfishness”, he says: “A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others." And he suffixes it with, “She’s sort of woman who lived for others – you can always tell the others by their hunted expression.” However, for all the chinks in “His” armour that Screwtape so vehemently drills into Wormwood’s head, there are certain things he himself cannot fathom and hence, cannot overcome. He admits that the power of love, which flows freely from “His” altar, is a puzzle Evil’s years of research have failed to crack. It is a kind of impregnable shield; a sort of ultimate immunity. The simple pleasures of life like reading a book, drinking tea or taking a stroll uplifts humans’ spirits to such insurmountable levels that reaching them becomes a distant dream; conquering them, then, gets out of question. There is also an all-numbing admission of “His” influence when Screwtape writes, “As you ought to have known, the asphyxiating cloud which prevented your attacking the patient on his walk back from the old mill, is a well-known phenomenon. It is the Enemy’s most barbarous weapon, and generally appears when He is directly present to the patient under certain modes not yet fully classified. Some humans are permanently surrounded by it and therefore inaccessible to us.” I am not giving away what culminates at the end, not because it would foil interest but because it is not significant. The picture that Lewis paints by the time he puts his last stroke, is a mélange of ideas which although tilted to project one side as glorious, does not undermine the merits on the other. It is more of a congregation of two schools of thought on a line where students (and teachers) can change side at any instant. Even for a believer in Supreme Power, I paused at many points and examined the validity of the arguments earnestly. Let me say all said was not lost. Thank you, C S Lewis; I realized I was not all that wood after all. --- Patting the impact this work created, Time Magazine featured Lewis on its cover, five years post publication of this work, with a, Devil of course! :D

  10. 5 out of 5

    Iryna (Book and Sword)

    Feb 23 , 2018 I just picked this up again to read through some of my highlights. I also wanted to mention that this book is dedicated to J.R.R.Tolkien. One of the biggest literary influences dedicating his book to another one of biggest literary influences, who also happens to be his friend. If that doesn’t warm your bookish heart I don’t know what will. __________________________________________________ I will be honest, this was not the easiest read. While the book itself is quite small, the ol Feb 23 , 2018 I just picked this up again to read through some of my highlights. I also wanted to mention that this book is dedicated to J.R.R.Tolkien. One of the biggest literary influences dedicating his book to another one of biggest literary influences, who also happens to be his friend. If that doesn’t warm your bookish heart I don’t know what will. __________________________________________________ I will be honest, this was not the easiest read. While the book itself is quite small, the old English language and the style is written in, made me reread some of the paragraphs more than once. That said, this book is full of gems. It makes you think of yourself in a way you might have never thought before. It makes you question all of your choices, because somehow you are finally more aware of them. It makes you question the government and it makes you question how you do life as a person. It is as if someone exposed all of your dirty laundry and made you go through it after, in public. Lewis points out all of our human flaws, and he is not shy about it. But he also gives you the reasons of those flaws and how to overcome them. In the end, this book was nothing I thought it would be. It's not a light read, it's more of a "I gotta highlight the heck of some pages" kind of a read. I can't wait to go back and reread some of the hard truths over and over again. My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I didn't particularly enjoy this book but am glad that I read it. In fact, at times the book made my skin crawl. For those who have not read it, the book is written as a bunch of letters from a tempter, Uncle Screwtape, to his nephew, a tempter in training, named Wormwoood. Screwtape tutors Wormwood on how to tempt the "patient" he is assigned. Through the letters, you are constantly reminded and made to think about how the adversary tempts us. What is poignant is that the cunning and evil plans I didn't particularly enjoy this book but am glad that I read it. In fact, at times the book made my skin crawl. For those who have not read it, the book is written as a bunch of letters from a tempter, Uncle Screwtape, to his nephew, a tempter in training, named Wormwoood. Screwtape tutors Wormwood on how to tempt the "patient" he is assigned. Through the letters, you are constantly reminded and made to think about how the adversary tempts us. What is poignant is that the cunning and evil plans are not centered around obvious sins, that so often are what we think about when we think about temptation and sin. Instead, the tempters focus on much more subtle sins such as vanity, pride, distraction,insincerity, forgetting or being too tired say prayers,and how these can achieve the same goal as the more obvious sins which is ultimately to lead us away from God. That's how cunning and evil the devil is. He knows that by chipping away a little at a time he has a better chance at gaining us as his own. You cannot read this book and not think of how pertinent it is to your life. It was a little frightening to find myself in the book as someone who has succumbed to some of these suttle temptations (many times). Perhaps thats why I didn't enjoy the read but still found it very insightful. I found this "Beatitudes" in someone elses review (Jenelle) and thought it was great so I copied it from her review to mine. Really hit it home for me. Screwtape Counterfeits 1. Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians — they are my best workers. 2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked — I can use them. 3. Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church — they are my missionaries. 4. Blessed are the trouble makers — they shall be called my children. 5. Blessed are the complainers — I'm all ears to them. 6. Blessed are those who are bored with the minister's mannerisms and mistakes — for they get nothing out of his sermons. 7. Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church — for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution. 8. Blessed are those who gossip — for they shall cause strife and division that please me. 9. Blessed are those who are easily offended — for they will soon get angry and quit. 10. Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on God's work — for they are my helpers. 11. Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister — for he shall be with me forever. 12. Blessed are you who, when you read this, think it is about other people and not yourself — I've got you too!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    Okay...so I've probably tried to read this book at least ten times over the years and never actually finished it. I started the book again this week and even tried the audio version by John Cleese on Youtube--didn't get very far as I kept thinking about Fawlty Towers, which I happened to have watched relatively recently, and therefore couldn't take him seriously as a devil. I'm now analysing what it is about this book that I don't like as I usually know straight away. I'm wondering if I'm not suf Okay...so I've probably tried to read this book at least ten times over the years and never actually finished it. I started the book again this week and even tried the audio version by John Cleese on Youtube--didn't get very far as I kept thinking about Fawlty Towers, which I happened to have watched relatively recently, and therefore couldn't take him seriously as a devil. I'm now analysing what it is about this book that I don't like as I usually know straight away. I'm wondering if I'm not sufficiently intelligent for the mental gymnastics required to see things from a demonic perspective. That does seem to be one of the stumbling blocks as I examine and re-read each sentence carefully reminding myself that I'm now Screwtape and that he is bad which means that everything is reversed.....But is that the key issue--my non-Lewis like brain power? I mean, I should like this book for all the obvious reasons--it's meant to raise awareness of Satan's work, prevent Christians from falling to temptation, encourage Christians that God is more powerful and that the demons know it etc etc. So what exactly is my problem? I guess I don't like the idea of a Christian author putting himself into character as the devil--apparently Lewis himself felt uncomfortable, maybe with good reason. I think the humourous, satirical approach undermines the deadly serious subject matter--the battle between good and evil is eternal life and death for all people whether they acknowledge it or not. Maybe Screwtape (despite the author being at pains to avoid this,) will still remind people of caricatures of the horned devil in a red-suit with a pitchfork as he rubs his hands together gleefully whilst composing his letters to Wormwood. Is that a helpful image considering the subject matter? John Cleese recently stated that he didn't think much of organized religion and told he was not committed to "anything except the vague feeling that there is something more going on than the materialist reductionist people think." The fact that Cleese, a secular comedian and atheist (or at least agnostic) was able to read The Screwtape Letters aloud and find it amusing without apparently being convicted by its content probably speaks volumes more than I could write. Oh, maybe I do know why I don't like this book after all. I think I will just accept that now and stop attempting to read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Fantastic book! C. S. Lewis' first "novel" (actually Pilgrim's regress was first but it's a rather oblique allegory). It was and still is a best seller. I can recommend it to Christians and non-Christians alike. It's full of (yes I know it's a cliche, but here it's just true) "wit and wisdom". You'll see yourself and everyone else you've ever known well. You'll see situations that come up in everyday life. I recommend it highly! This is probably my second favorite novel by Lewis...after The Great Fantastic book! C. S. Lewis' first "novel" (actually Pilgrim's regress was first but it's a rather oblique allegory). It was and still is a best seller. I can recommend it to Christians and non-Christians alike. It's full of (yes I know it's a cliche, but here it's just true) "wit and wisdom". You'll see yourself and everyone else you've ever known well. You'll see situations that come up in everyday life. I recommend it highly! This is probably my second favorite novel by Lewis...after The Great Divorce The Great Divorce, and rates up there in my favorite books of all time list. Okay...did you get that I like it? :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    More fun and playful than I'd anticipated. As a platform upon which to discuss his beliefs and thoughts on theology, government, society and the nature of mankind in general, C.S. Lewis constructed The Screwtape Letters, an epistolary novel in the form of instructive letters from senior demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, a sort of demonic trainee. For all intents and purposes, they are lectures, but lectures jazzed up and made more palatable for the student's mind. It was about 20 years ago More fun and playful than I'd anticipated. As a platform upon which to discuss his beliefs and thoughts on theology, government, society and the nature of mankind in general, C.S. Lewis constructed The Screwtape Letters, an epistolary novel in the form of instructive letters from senior demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, a sort of demonic trainee. For all intents and purposes, they are lectures, but lectures jazzed up and made more palatable for the student's mind. It was about 20 years ago that I'd read about The Screwtape Letters in college, taking a mental note of its subject matter and filing it away as "to be read sometime in the far off future." Well that future arrived in June '12 and I'd plum forgotten Lewis' literary machinations in regards to this book. So I spent the first few pages somewhat perplexed, trying to figure out who the characters were and then once accomplishing that, reordering my brain to think backwards, because essentially everything written by Screwtape is in reverse of what Lewis means and feels about whatever subject it may be. So as Screwtape advises Wormwood on methods of securing the damnation of a British man, my wee little brain was sprinting to keep up with the conversation as I decoded it, considered Lewis' thoughts, and matched them with or against my own beliefs. Ever since reading his The Four Loves I've enjoyed picking at Lewis' theories, so for me this was a fun exercise, especially when immersing it in such a entertaining forum. Since I surely missed a few things, I'll no doubt be going back to this...probably in the 2030s.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    With infatiguable British wit and the king of unreliable narrators, C.S. Lewis harrows Hell to tell us how a demon’s mind works in The Screwtape Letters. Years ago I thought this book was about possession, but it turns out to be far more concerned with that nagging little voice inside us that makes us mistrust our friends and family, encourages regrettable decisions, and makes us feel alone, adrift from our fellows and from God. Screwtape is a masterfully written character, revealed as much but w With infatiguable British wit and the king of unreliable narrators, C.S. Lewis harrows Hell to tell us how a demon’s mind works in The Screwtape Letters. Years ago I thought this book was about possession, but it turns out to be far more concerned with that nagging little voice inside us that makes us mistrust our friends and family, encourages regrettable decisions, and makes us feel alone, adrift from our fellows and from God. Screwtape is a masterfully written character, revealed as much but what he hides or distorts as what he says outright. He is full of hate and enjoys others’ misery, but he’s so petty and self-serious you can’t help laughing at him—especially when he gets transported with rage and accidentally transmogrifies into a giant centipede. Speaking of transmogrification, this book has been a big influence on not only spiritual thought in certain circles, but secular fiction. Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus and Garth Nix’s Mogget are Screwtape’s cousins from Purgatory. Brimstone and his crew in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone remind me a bit of him too, although I’ll have to finish the book to know if they are as damned as he. And Bill Watterson named Calvin’s teacher, Miss Wormwood, after Screwtape’s nephew—an apprentice who tried to poison a young man’s soul, only to have the lad die and sail straight Heavenward, while himself being pulled back to Hell to be eaten alive by the other fiends. Most editions also include a diabolically delightful epilogue, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” in which Lewis predicts 99% of what’s wrong with modern education. To quote another of his characters, “Bless me, but what do they teach them in the schools these days?”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    This classic was surprisingly intriguing, definitely different from Lewis' usual works with its themes of religion and satire.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Original post at One More Page Ah Screwtape. I've heard so much about this book but I never got to buy it because the print copy was just too expensive for something so thin. I remember splurging on the ebook instead a couple of months ago, but true to form, it took me a while to read this. I know a Lewis book is never easy reading. What better time to read this one than during the Lenten season, right? The Screwtape Letters is an epistolary novella that contains the letters of a demon Screwtape Original post at One More Page Ah Screwtape. I've heard so much about this book but I never got to buy it because the print copy was just too expensive for something so thin. I remember splurging on the ebook instead a couple of months ago, but true to form, it took me a while to read this. I know a Lewis book is never easy reading. What better time to read this one than during the Lenten season, right? The Screwtape Letters is an epistolary novella that contains the letters of a demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood with detailed advice on how to lead his assignment, a man only named as "the patient" to sin and eventual eternal damnation. In these letters, Screwtape tells Wormwood of particular human weaknesses and how they can exploit it, of religious weaknesses and how to make it their patient's downfall, of how they're just not in it for general mischief but snatching human souls from their Enemy. I was discussing this book with a friend a few days before I finished reading it, and he told me that while he liked the book, he didn't have the heart to review it because it struck too many familiar chords. I could say the same for me, too. The Screwtape Letters is almost humorous in some ways, especially whenever Screwtape would scold Wormwood for messing up, but it's more chilling in more ways than it is humorous. Screwtape outlined ways on how Wormwood could lead his patient to eternal damnation, and the ways he listed were a little too familiar that it borders on being uncomfortable. I admit that it really made me think of the times when I fell for the same things -- the feeling of "owning" my time that I get mad at any interruption, or worrying too much about tomorrow instead of focusing on today, self-righteous thinking. This book poked a little too much at the parts of my heart that I try to not look at, and helped me see myself for all the ugliness with all the sin that I've fallen into. I remember cringing as I highlighted the parts of the book that struck me the most, like these: It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds; in reality our best work is done by keeping things out. (p. 16) There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them. (p. 25) It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one -- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. (p. 60) Now you will notice that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him...They anger him because he regards his time as his and feels that it is being stolen. (p. 112) It's not that this book is not without hope -- in fact, it ends quite hopefully. But seeing it in the eyes of the "protagonists" it doesn't feel like it. This book is not really for fast reading -- each letter is meant to be read slowly and reflected on, maybe even discussed with other people of faith. Like other Lewis books, I think The Screwtape Letters is one for re-reading, because I'm sure different passages would hit people depending on what is the state of their life when they read this. Of course, this is still considered as fiction, but like all other Lewis books I've read, it's one that made me think. I can't help but remember Ephesians 6:12 as I read this book: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." The Screwtape Letters is a book that definitely needs to be read more than once.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rowena

    I loved this book! It's a collection of letters written by a senior demon (Uncle Screwtape) to his nephew, junior demon (Wormwood). Wormwood is assigned a young man to tempt and the letters turn into a kind of study on how spiritual warfare works. I've always heard that C.S. Lewis was a great Christian apologist, and now I see why. This book gave me so much to think about. I think it's the kind of book you have to read at least twice to really appreciate the gems of wisdom. So glad I finally got I loved this book! It's a collection of letters written by a senior demon (Uncle Screwtape) to his nephew, junior demon (Wormwood). Wormwood is assigned a young man to tempt and the letters turn into a kind of study on how spiritual warfare works. I've always heard that C.S. Lewis was a great Christian apologist, and now I see why. This book gave me so much to think about. I think it's the kind of book you have to read at least twice to really appreciate the gems of wisdom. So glad I finally got round to reading it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I really really like this book. It's such an interesting perspective on Christianity and CS Lewis is a phenomenal story teller! I listened to the audiobook for part of this read, narrated by John Cleese, and I would highly recommend it. He is such an amazing narrator!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Satire. Well, it's not for everyone, but considering that this was meant for uptight Christian prigs from 50 years ago, it's pretty good and timeless. Enter Satan, AKA Screwtape, and listen to him extolling or deriding his demon nephew on the virtues of corrupting his human charge. It's okay! Some of it is really funny and some of it just feels dated. But we need to put this kind of thing in its proper time and audience. The points are still valid but the people they're about are all dead. :) ... w Satire. Well, it's not for everyone, but considering that this was meant for uptight Christian prigs from 50 years ago, it's pretty good and timeless. Enter Satan, AKA Screwtape, and listen to him extolling or deriding his demon nephew on the virtues of corrupting his human charge. It's okay! Some of it is really funny and some of it just feels dated. But we need to put this kind of thing in its proper time and audience. The points are still valid but the people they're about are all dead. :) ... well, maybe not all, and there's always people more concerned about appearing Christian versus being Christian and most people are remarkably demonstrative about never actually having a real thought in their head, but isn't that the same everywhere? :) So. It was okay as a satire. Probably much more scathing to the whole world way back when. :) Big bad Satan giving brotherly advice. LoL.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shovelmonkey1

    *slightly ashamed face and twisting of foot in the dirt* So I didn't actually finish this book. I was looking forward to reading it and it has been on my bookcrossing wishlist for a while but when it finally arrived I found that the anticipation had outweighed the the delivery of the end product to such an extent that I gave up. Shame on me? Well maybe. I read all the Narnia novels when I was a child and my parents never told me that it was all metaphorical, allegorical and many other -als for Ch *slightly ashamed face and twisting of foot in the dirt* So I didn't actually finish this book. I was looking forward to reading it and it has been on my bookcrossing wishlist for a while but when it finally arrived I found that the anticipation had outweighed the the delivery of the end product to such an extent that I gave up. Shame on me? Well maybe. I read all the Narnia novels when I was a child and my parents never told me that it was all metaphorical, allegorical and many other -als for Christianity. This seems like a strange oversight as my mother used to go to Church every Sunday and she had read the Narnia series too so I'm assuming that she must have picked up on it. My Dad only went to church because he was made to go and he liked to sing hymns really badly, loudly and out of tune to amuse myself and my sister. This amusement was only normally surpassed by the arrival of the Vicar from the wings. I believe the hidden bit at the side of the church is actually called the vestry, but church was always like a sort of theatre for me with people dressing up and fulfilling roles not always truly representative of their actual selves. The Vicar himself was not overtly funny but the fact that he looked exactly like Alan Rickman provided me with great scope for reciting endless chunks of script from Die Hard which was then, and still is now one of my favourite films. The Screwtape letters are a series of epistles sent down (or up, I suppose) from a Senior Devil, instructing a more Junior Devil on the art of temptation in order to bring about the downfall of one specific individual who they call "the patient". The cover of the book shows an ugly gargoyle style grotesque, presumably as a representation of the devil. It strikes me that should demons and devils choose to pretty themselves up and present a more aesthetically appealing canvas then they would probably have a lot more success. Note to Satan: if you recruited your tempters and temptresses at Hooters, the Playboy mansion and wherever Daniel Craig and Jensen Ackles hang out, then you'd probably increase your success rate quite noticeably. Jensen I will do whatever you tell me to. That goes for you too Daniel. While CS Lewis tries quite seriously to highlight in the letters, the areas in which sin can accidentally come upon us, the general tone is a little to meek and mild but that can probably be attributed to the period in which CS Lewis was writing. When it came down to it there just was not enough devilment for my liking (I suspect Screwtape would find me to be an all too easy convert). On reflection I'm not really sure why I would have expected stories of unparalleled lusts and evil from the man who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia; those cuddly childhood tales of resurected (christ-like) lions and snowy wardrobe strewn landscapes where turkish delight is the equivalent currency to 30 pieces of silver. I am sure Senior devil, Screwtape, is offering sage advice to the trainee tempter Wormwood but his letters were too amiable and samey and without enough fire and brimstone to hold my attention.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    I began The Screwtape Letters many years ago and only ever managed to begin three or so pages of it before finding the style too difficult for my younger self. It is a sign to me, therefore, of my development as an individual and reader, that I was able to sit down this afternoon and finish it off in two sessions. The Screwtape Letters is perhaps, C.S. Lewis' most nuanced and subtle work. Through providing a narrative that covers advice from a senior devil to his junior nephew, Lewis explores iss I began The Screwtape Letters many years ago and only ever managed to begin three or so pages of it before finding the style too difficult for my younger self. It is a sign to me, therefore, of my development as an individual and reader, that I was able to sit down this afternoon and finish it off in two sessions. The Screwtape Letters is perhaps, C.S. Lewis' most nuanced and subtle work. Through providing a narrative that covers advice from a senior devil to his junior nephew, Lewis explores issues as deep as in any of his other books but with a creative twist. He explores the nature of evil, of demonic forces, as all so human - but yet spiritual at the same time - revealing that evil exists in the seductive qualities that threaten our everyday life. Evil, as Lewis explores it, is good twisted against its own powerful purpose. It is for this very reason that I can only recommend reading this book. It is a collection of creative and thought provoking letters which, as mentioned, cover the concept of Good and Evil. Where Mere Christianity should appeal more to the Christian and the 'seeker', this is one of Lewis' works that should appeal to anyone, I believe. Therefore I definitely recommend this as a classic of fantasy mixed with faith - the best type of work that Lewis always did. As Lewis himself said, the greatest success of the Devil was to convince the world that he does not exist...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    3.0 stars. I was a little baffled by this book as I went into it thinking it was supposed to be humorous. Apart from a few places where I believe the author was trying to evoke a laugh, I did not come away from this thinking that the author was shooting for funny. Therefore, from that standpoint, the book was a let down. That said, from the standpoint of a serious piece of "Christian fantasy" the book succeeds much better. It is very well written and the arguments used by the writer to explain m 3.0 stars. I was a little baffled by this book as I went into it thinking it was supposed to be humorous. Apart from a few places where I believe the author was trying to evoke a laugh, I did not come away from this thinking that the author was shooting for funny. Therefore, from that standpoint, the book was a let down. That said, from the standpoint of a serious piece of "Christian fantasy" the book succeeds much better. It is very well written and the arguments used by the writer to explain mankind's failings and how best to lead individuals into sin was interesting. Bottom-line, as comedy not so good, but as an exploration of the causes of sin and vice pretty interesting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Guy Austin

    My first dip into C.S. Lewis – I have to say I was a bit surprised. It was not what I had thought it would be. I had read the Chronicles of Narnia with my daughter. I enjoyed that. I had heard about his other writing but never felt compelled to try them. My mind has been changed. The Book or rather letters from Uncle Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood seemed silly to me at first glance. Instead I found a very humorous telling of advice in the form of letters in securing the damnation and soul of “ My first dip into C.S. Lewis – I have to say I was a bit surprised. It was not what I had thought it would be. I had read the Chronicles of Narnia with my daughter. I enjoyed that. I had heard about his other writing but never felt compelled to try them. My mind has been changed. The Book or rather letters from Uncle Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood seemed silly to me at first glance. Instead I found a very humorous telling of advice in the form of letters in securing the damnation and soul of “The Patient.” An unsuspecting man who is in the midst of becoming a Christian. In doing so Screwtape reveals a typical human life full of temptations and doublemindedness. I found it thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking. I think regardless of your leanings on Christianity one would be hard pressed not to find this at least a unique peek at human nature and all its glorious virtues and failings. Some wonderful insight in to us silly people here on the planet earth. “Your Man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines a primarily “true” or “false” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous-that is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.” I believe I will have to read other novels of his. Great writing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    I don't know how many times I have read this, but the last time was listening to it on audio in May of 2015. Crammed with wisdom.

  26. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    They say that there are two types of literature: escapist (entertainment) and meaningful (life-enriching). Some books are either one of them. However, many are somewhere in between like most of C.S.Lewis works. For example, his children's book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is more of an escapist rather than meaningful while his Mere Christianityis more, if not purely, meaningful rather than escapist. In my opinion, this book, The Screwtape Letters is exactly in the middle. Thus, I rated t They say that there are two types of literature: escapist (entertainment) and meaningful (life-enriching). Some books are either one of them. However, many are somewhere in between like most of C.S.Lewis works. For example, his children's book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is more of an escapist rather than meaningful while his Mere Christianityis more, if not purely, meaningful rather than escapist. In my opinion, this book, The Screwtape Letters is exactly in the middle. Thus, I rated this as follows: As an Escapist Book: 2 STARS (It's okay) Epistolary in form, The Screwtape Letters is composed of 31 letters written by a senior tempter Uncle Screwtape to a new tempter called Wormwood. We don't know why the coaching is through letters and not in person or telephone. All the letters are written by Screwtape so we don't know if there are responses from Wormwood that Screwtape ignores. I thought it would have been more interesting if Lewis included the responses of Wormwood. Despite the name of the characters and the events that happened latter in the story to Screwtape, I found nothing funny about the book. Or maybe my funny bones are already too brittle that tickling them take much more than this? I don't know. However, what makes this interesting and engaging especially at the beginning is the fact that these are letters of an old devil to a younger devil. Think of God instructing Moses on top of the Sinai, giving the prophet his ten commandments. Or if in the form of letters, think of the books in the bible in letter format like The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, The First Letter of Paul to Timothy, etc. So, this book is like the Bible of the Devil! But, in context, it is far from that. While reading, you would realize yourself to be the subject of the letter as if Lewis brings out a mirror and puts it in front of you. It's like a reminder that we are all sinners and we will continue to be sinners. However, the book makes us all aware that we just don't have our own guardian angel telling us the right choices but we also have our own tempter trying to entice us to sin. Awareness is the first step to making the right decision. So, the rest is up to us. As a Meaningful Book: 4 STARS (I really liked it!) Reading this book can be disastrous if you don't know the equivalent of what God must have responded to each of the 31 letters of Screwtape. If you read it as-is, you will be in danger of just knowing one side of the coin. So, without giving the plot of the book, I summarized below the main message(s) of some of the letters and right below, the applicable bible verse. Then I put some my personal reactions to the chosen letters.Letter I: Screwtape: By the act of arguing you awake the patient’s reason. Do not attempt to use science as a defense against Christianity. Bible: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts, is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. - James 1:5-8 K.D.: We have to ask questions and discuss about our faith (Christianity or other religions) including how science can make it stronger. Science and religion as reconcilable and they don’t sit in the opposite sides of the pole like what is depicted in the issue in the courtroom drama, “Inherit the Wind.” Letter II: Screwtape: Never let the patient ask what he expected Christians to look like. Let him wander how to reconcile the people, sitting on the pews near him in Church, who have lots of vices. Work on the emotional disappointment during his first few weeks as a churchman. Bible: God says in Isa. 9:17: “… for everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.” God loves the hypocrite in and outside the church and wants them to repent to become part of the Church. K.D.: We are our brothers’ keepers. We need to spread the word of God to the people we encounter as much as possible. There might be vices or sins around us, but if we show ourselves as examples, somehow, we can turn this world into a better place. Satan is always lurking and waiting for us to commit sins. Letter III. Screwtape:a. Keep his mind on the inner mental state of mind, where he won’t discover any of the facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone else. b. Make sure he is always concerned with his mother’s soul but never her rheumatism. c. Work on being annoyed at minor physical nuances, not realizing that he has them himself. d. He must demand his utterances be taken at face value while hers be suspected intention. Bible on “c”: And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” - John 8:7 K.D.: We are all created in the image and likeness of God so we are inherently strong. However, most of us do not know ourselves. The devil perpetuates that by not challenging us so we think that we are weak. We tend to criticize, condemn and complain about others without seeing that we ourselves are not faultless. Letter IV. Screwtape: a. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling. b. They are animals, their bodies affect their souls. Bible on “a”:”And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” - 1 John 5:14-15. K.D.: God always hears us. Sometimes we think that our prayers are unanswered. No. Sometimes, God works on mysterious ways and we are just incapable to discern or understand His answers. Our body sometimes gives in to temptation (lust, gluttony, greed, etc) and the devil celebrates whenever we succumb to these things. Letter V. Screwtape: What permanent good does war do unless we make use of it to bring souls to our father below? Bible:”A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace." - Ecclesiastes 3:8 K.D.: War is crazy. The devil uses it to his advantage to gather the souls of those who participate in it particularly those who take advantage of it to their benefits. Letter VI. Screwtape: a. Have him deal with future fears. b. Have him love humanity, but not his neighbor. Bible on “a””Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - Matthew 6:34 K.D.: Consider the lillies. Letter VII. Screwtape:a. Encourage him to be a materialist magician. b. Make the world the end and faith the means. Bible on “a”:”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” - Matthew 6:19-21 K.D.: I guess, “materialist” means materialistic or giving extreme importance to the riches here on earth. “Magician” means that Wormwood should make himself concealed because the Patient should find it easy to believe on him. I actually don’t know what this means. I read the passage twice and I just settled for that biblical passage from Matthew as its counterpart. Letter VIII. Screwtape:a. The Law of Undulation is: since man is spirit (eternal) and physical/natural (temporal), then undulation (consolation/desolation) is natural. Desolation occurs because God cannot ravish, he can only woo. Bible:”For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” - Hebrews 6:4-6 K.D.: The devil encourages us to continuously sin against God. Letter IX. Screwtape: Any pleasure in its normal, healthy form is God’s territory. The father below encourages improper times, ways, degrees Bible:” For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11 K.D.: God wants us to be happy in the right way. Letter X. Screwtape:a. All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be. b. By vanity get him to see himself as balanced and complex because he can relate to both his worldly and Christian friends. Bible:” Some people pretend to be rich, but have nothing. Others pretend to be poor, but own a fortune. The rich have to use their money to save their lives, but no one threatens the poor. The righteous are like a light shining brightly; the wicked are like a lamp flickering out. Arrogance causes nothing but trouble. It is wiser to ask for advice. The more easily you get your wealth, the sooner you will lose it. The harder it is to earn, the more you will have. When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed, but a wish come true fills you with joy. If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe. The teachings of the wise are a fountain of life; they will help you escape when your life is in danger. Intelligence wins respect, but those who can't be trusted are on the road to ruin. Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance. Unreliable messengers cause trouble, but those who can be trusted bring peace. For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." - Proverbs 13:7-17 K.D.: Let’s all be real at all times. Don’t pretend. Letter XI. Screwtape: Joy, fun, joke, flippancy: "Jokes can be used to cover other sins; flippancy is always bad. Bible:” Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” - Proverbs 26:18-19 K.D.: Joke only when it is appropriate and not to mask the truth. Letter XII. Screwtape: a. Men shun God just as men in financial embarrassment shun the sight of a bank book. b. The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without milestones, without signposts. Bible:” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” - James 4:7 K.D.: Listen to what God says, Screwtape. How dare you assume that we shun God. We don’t. Letter XIII. Screwtape: Always try to make him abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favor of ‘the best’ people, the ‘right’ food, the ‘important’ books Bible:”There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death..” - Proverbs 14:12 K.D.: Choose who you associate with. Some of them can bring you to temptation. Choose the books that you read. Some of them are poisons to your brain. Choose the food that you it. Some of them are poisons to your body. Letter XIV. Screwtape: Humility is self-forgetfulness, not low self-esteem. Even if his sins he should not think too much. Bible:” Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. ..” - Philippians 2:3-11 K.D.: Screwtape tells Wormwood that when the latter patient humbles himself, catch him in action. Say “wow, you’re the man!” and the patient will be proud of himself. Pride is a sin. The other way is what he Screwtape says above: make man think that being humble is a sign of weakness. Letter XV. Screwtape: Get man away from the eternal and from the Present. The Future is the thing least like eternity. Bible:” "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." - 1 John 5:20 K.D.: Screwtape tells Wormwood that men are busy on glorifying God in his present daily life (God tells men to focus on the present. See Letter VI.) because of the promise of eternity. Therefore, the devil wants men not to associate God’s promise to the Future. Nice try, Screwtape! Letter XVI. Screwtape: The search for a suitable church makes the patient a critic when God wants a pupil. Bible: Question: Are there any Bible verses for not choosing any religion other than just Roman Catholic? Answer: No. The Scripture never told that Religion will give you salvation nor did it say it shall save you. However it is said in the Scripture in John 3:3 “that no one will enter the kingdom of God unless he is Born Again.” It should be understood that the term ´Born again´ there does not pertain to the religion. It pertains to the spiritual rebirth of a person where his old sinful and unworthy self dies and is baptized and is renewed in Christ Jesus as he accepts him as his Savior. DO NOT fool yourself with the shallowness of religion, or being religious. Instead, invest your life on Faith in God and in Jesus. Go to church, worship the Lord, give him his tithe and sow your seeds, have your devotions and share the Gospel and testify to God's greatness and get people saved! K.D.: Screwtape wants men to not be contented with his or her religion. He wants us to go shopping! I dunno. I don’t see the value of changing the religion that my parents taught me. Letter XVII. Screwtape: The ’All I want’ type of gluttony is never recognized as a determination to get what you want however troublesome to others. Gluttony can be: (a) not necessarily excess, but delicacy; (b) the belly dominating the life; (c) it is also an artillery prep for an attack on chastity. Bible: ”Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 23:20-21 K.D.: Guilty! Letter XVIII. Screwtape: Hell’s philosophy: one thing is not another thing especially one self is not another self. My good is not equal to your good. God: though many, is one. Love is this: The good of oneself is the good of another. The feeling of being in love is not love. Bible: ”So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 7:12 K.D.: The Golden Rule says it all but the Devil is making it more complicated. Letter XIX. Screwtape: What is the enemy up to? It can’t be love! Bible: ”Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” - 1 John 4:8 K.D.: Devil, you shut up! Letter XX. Screwtape: Make sex more important and its demands more impossible by unattainable women; get him to marry one. Bible: ”But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.” - 1 Corinthian 7:2 K.D.: Better to stick to just one. Period. Letter XXI. Screwtape: Zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption that ‘my time is my own .’ Bible: ”Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” - Proverbs 16:3 K.D.: Time is gold. Better treat it as precious. Idle minds are easy targets of the devil. Letter XXII. Screwtape: In Heaven anything that is not music is silence. Bible: ” See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” - Matthew 18:10 K.D.: Screwtape says that the devils should make a lot of noise to distract the people in hearing “melodies and silences of heaven.” Bah! Let’s have our iTunes tuned in to Heaven101.1! Letter XXIII. Screwtape: Make Jesus just a teacher, a teacher can’t be worshipped. Bible: ” A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” - Luke 6:40 K.D.: I had really good teachers when I was in school but Jesus is the best one I ever had. Letter XXIV. Screwtape: 'How different we Christians are’ must mean ‘my sect’ which promotes self-congratulation. Bible: “When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.” - Deuteronomy 12:29-31 K.D.: All roads lead to one God. Letter XXV. Screwtape: God has created a balance of permanence and change. And the father below takes change and perverts it into insisting on change, otherwise boredom must result. Bible: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [changed] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” - Romans 12:2 K.D.: The only permanent thing in this world is change – my favorite motto regarding change.Aha! GR does not allow me to continue because of the space limitation. Anyways, I think you got the drift. Just like the other C.S.Lewis meaningful books, it is better to read this if you already have a good grasp of the Holy Bible. Otherwise, you might get lost. Also, there is nothing funny here! Overall, nice and short read. I read the book twice. The second one was while composing this review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bagger

    I have read this book twice before but after my worship pastor mentioned a quote that I had forgotten in one part of the book Wormwood writes his uncle Screwtape with great fear that his subject has begun going to church, his uncle quite easily assures him that the best thing to do is keep him in church, but keep him proud of the fact that he always attends the services or sits in the same area, as long as Wormwood keeps him in the building and away from God. I think Lewis is one of those authors I have read this book twice before but after my worship pastor mentioned a quote that I had forgotten in one part of the book Wormwood writes his uncle Screwtape with great fear that his subject has begun going to church, his uncle quite easily assures him that the best thing to do is keep him in church, but keep him proud of the fact that he always attends the services or sits in the same area, as long as Wormwood keeps him in the building and away from God. I think Lewis is one of those authors you have to reread at different stages of your life, at some points it my seem a silly work of fiction, but I think that it shows what we know but don't want to admit that there is a force actively working against us, so just reaffirming that with this book is a good reminder.

  28. 5 out of 5

    El

    This book has probably one of the easiest premises around to understand: The senior devil, Screwtape, writes advise to a junior devil, his nephew, Wormwood. The letters are his advice to Wormwood how to prevent a human from reaching his full Christian capabilities, and to turn the human to their "side", as it were. Screwtape is one of the best villains in literature, and the epistolary format of this book helps to see the world through the demon's eyes. Apparently C.S. Lewis had a hard time writi This book has probably one of the easiest premises around to understand: The senior devil, Screwtape, writes advise to a junior devil, his nephew, Wormwood. The letters are his advice to Wormwood how to prevent a human from reaching his full Christian capabilities, and to turn the human to their "side", as it were. Screwtape is one of the best villains in literature, and the epistolary format of this book helps to see the world through the demon's eyes. Apparently C.S. Lewis had a hard time writing this book, and after a brief sequel or continuation later, he was not able to return to the whole Screwtape thing because it "hurt" him too much to write from the point of view of the devil. For someone like myself who is in no way religious, I'm more fascinated by that than anything else. He certainly did not write this book in order to garner sympathy for Screwtape, and it's meant to be satirical anyhow, so I'm not sure I understand his reasoning. Still, it's a good book, religious or not. In fact, reading some of the reviews of it here I find that to be a true Christian this is the book that must be read. A lot of people go on about how this book helped them see more clearly how the devil can lead one astray, and how there are such negative forces preventing good people from being fully happy. The part which trips me up about the whole thing and makes me snicker as I read some of these reviews is that this book is comprised of letters from a devil to another devil. It's the devil's advice. It even says in the Preface: "Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar. Not everything that Screwtape says should be assumed to be true even from his own angle." The devil lies, so... his words shouldn't be taken as truth, so... Maybe it's just late and my mind is playing tricks on me. The end result is this is a great little book, and a quick read. Clearly non-Christians can benefit from reading this just as much as a Christian can, so don't let the reviews throw you. It's a satire and should be read as such, and like I always say, just enjoy the read. Then again, I felt the same way about the Narnia books too. They were just a fun read and I don't care who Aslan was supposed to represent.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    [Listened as an audiobook from Overdrive / library] Solid insight into humans and faith. Some of it seemed more like C.S. Lewis' thoughts about education and moral and intellectual decline, BUT for the most part, it stayed on course with Screwtape telling his nephew how to get the "patient" to live their way. I thought it was also interesting that Screwtape called God "the enemy." Mostly because in church, you hear people call Satan "the enemy". It's also a good study of how we define right/wrong [Listened as an audiobook from Overdrive / library] Solid insight into humans and faith. Some of it seemed more like C.S. Lewis' thoughts about education and moral and intellectual decline, BUT for the most part, it stayed on course with Screwtape telling his nephew how to get the "patient" to live their way. I thought it was also interesting that Screwtape called God "the enemy." Mostly because in church, you hear people call Satan "the enemy". It's also a good study of how we define right/wrong, how we can tend to judge others who are sitting on our church pew, how we think it's easier to conform to this world rather than striving to live a better life, etc. The "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" was a good conclusion / overview of the book as a whole. It was helpful to me. Live show discussion April 24 at 9pm EDT here: https://www.youtube.com/user/chapters...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Shores

    "THE SCREWTAPES LETTERS is a treasure of wisdom as it was penned to young Tempter Wormwood by his worldly-wise old devil of an uncle, Screwtape." It feels weird to review this classic. So, instead, I will simply reference a few quotes that made me go, "hmmmmm..." "When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other... Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does "THE SCREWTAPES LETTERS is a treasure of wisdom as it was penned to young Tempter Wormwood by his worldly-wise old devil of an uncle, Screwtape." It feels weird to review this classic. So, instead, I will simply reference a few quotes that made me go, "hmmmmm..." "When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other... Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy—if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her." "Humor is for them the all-consoling and (mark this) the all-excusing, grace of life. Hence it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame. ...almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke." "As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repitition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel." Whether you're a Christian or not, it seems to me that C.S. Lewis' insight into the general human condition is pretty astute. And, yes, I feel the inevitable weight of guilt.

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