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The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis

Every word is golden, not a single word wasted. One of the few books that is both incredibly entertaining, and very disturbing at the same time. To crawl into the mind of a devil, and so aptly describe the brokeness of western civilization, is a skill not bestowed on many. 

The devilish world that Lewis creates is an eat or be eaten world. Screwtape writes to his nephew a novice tempter named Wormwood. He gives him counsel on how to successfully corrupt human souls, the reward for this task is the eating of those souls for all eternity. Failure to harvest human souls through corruption means that Wormwood becomes the food. Everything is officially polite, but hatred and evil is everywhere through the correspondence. 

Through this exchange of devilish correspondence Lewis is able to effectively expose a litany of evils that corrupt and destroy. For example

  1. The devils think it best if humans measure everything according to “feelings”
  2. Humans must be kept in a constant state of fear and worry.
  3. Humor is a great tool in a demons arsenal to justify evil
  4. The key is to keep the human in the fuzzy middle ground of apathy. “The safest road to hell is the gradual one”
  5. To keep the human thinking only of the future. If he can be kept from thinking of  the present, and from dwelling on eternity, and only always be concerned about the future, he will never be satisfied or content. This is a tremendous way to corrupt a soul.
  6. To get Christian’s to fight with one another over “candles, clothes, and other inconsequentials” is a thing of beauty to a devil. 
  7. To get a human to be totally focused on “My rights” is a master stroke in the corruption of a soul
  8. To keep the human from thinking about the deeper things, by keeping him busy doing, even social justice, but don’t allow him to embrace “truth” -- Liberalism is Satan’s game. 
  9. Let culture be the great determiner of right and wrong
  10. The finest wine of a devils drink is one that is brewed with the blood of a Pharisee. “some were all rules, relics, and rosaries; others were all drab clothes, long faces, and petty traditional abstinences from wine or cards, or the theatre. both had in common their self-righteousness and the almost infinite distance between their actual outlook and anything the enemy (God) really is or commands.