Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Screwtape Letters

CS Lewis's classic Christian apologia is now available online.
From a review:
Who among us has never wondered if there might not really be a tempter sitting on our shoulders or dogging our steps? C.S. Lewis dispels all doubts. In The Screwtape Letters, one of his bestselling works, we are made privy to the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, tempting his "patient" away from God. Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings. On the other hand, the goal of the Creator is to woo us unto himself or to transform us through his love from "tools into servants and servants into sons." It is the dichotomy between being consumed and subsumed completely into another's identity or being liberated to be utterly ourselves that Lewis explores with his razor-sharp insight and wit. The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings. --Patricia Klein
One of my favourite books, and an Internet Gem.

7 comments:

Laserlight said...

To the best of my recollection, there are two books I've read so much that their covers fell off. Screwtape is one; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the other.

Zoe Brain said...

Yes, me too, on both.

I'm no Christian, yet I think this book is an excellent guide for everyone.

While I do not have Faith, I believe that it would do no harm to act as if this book was a literally true account of what actually is going on. I think on it often - and try not to fall into *too* many of the traps it warns of.

Anonymous said...

that link tries to install spyware on my computer, thanks but no thanks for that irritant.

Blankety Blank

Zoe Brain said...

What spyware? My AVG and other protections don't detect any, just a tracking cookie.

Anonymous T-Girl said...

That's not a tracking cookie i got. It was spyware.

4simpsons said...

Yes, this is a great book. After "Mere Christianity" it is my favorite work of Lewis. I reference "Screwtape" often. The theology in this satire was sound. Satan hates our souls, but even if he loses them to Jesus then he wants to minimize our witness, tempt us to harm others and make us miserable.

Adrian Ravensoul said...

I remember reading that book as a twelve year old....my teachers thought I was completely mad! ^_^