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"The Screwtape Letters"

Updated on October 5, 2008

When I was a child I loved the stories written by C.S. Lewis. Actually why kid myself or you, I still love reading his books. I think, as "childrens" books go, C.S. is still the best writer. It wasn't until I was older, did I realize the religious undertones his more popular writings had. As a child, I was more into the images of magical places and adventure, that were conjured up in my imagination, than in the lessons or moral of the stories that were read.

One of my favorite C.S. Lewis books may be more blatant in it's religious message, but still it's so entertaining; is "The Screwtape Letters"

During the 1940s, C.S. Lewis wrote a series of letters, which originally appeared in a newsletter. These letters were the correspondence(because in the 1940s, you had correspondenece and not just conversation in letter form) between a senior level devil(who woulda thought hell was run corporately? It makes sense now, the term "corporate hell")named Screwtape, and his apprentice devil, his nephew(nepotism in "corporate hell" who woulda thought)Wormwood. The 31 letters were later published in the form of a book entitled "The Screwtape Letters."

In the letters, Screwtape is advising Wormwood about the produre, for winning a soul away from God, and toward hell both on earth and in enternity. At one point, Wormwood is trying to think up all types of exotic ways to tempt the man who has been assigned to Wormwood. Screwtape being a good mentor, explains to him, that there are methods that have long been used and established. One such method, Screwtape explains, is to create so much noise in the life of the man that he can no longer hear the voice of God. In one letter, the senior devil announces, "We will make the whole universe a noise in the end."

Now looking back, I wonder if C.S. Lewis had somekind of cosmic insight when he expressed this idea more then 60 years ago.

Today, we wake up to clock radios, we listen to music in, or maybe you sing, while in the shower. We watch T.V. while eating. We turn on the radio in our cars when driving. At work we listen to music or talk radio. We have "white noise machines" at night to help us sleep. We have iPods, cellphones, computers, portable DVD players and video game players. Most homes have multiple T.V.s, and they are on constantly; We leave them on even when nobody is watching them.

Our world is filled with noise and as a result we can longer here the voice and we've lost our conscious contact with God in our lives.

Our lives and world are spinning out of control, and one of the biggest contributors to the chaos and confusion is noise. Those tricky devils. Our lives are filled with it. We have become a world that is afraid of silence. I tell you the two greatest discoveries you can make for yourself right now is silence, and God by reestablishing our conscious contact (through being silent). I'm not talking about epiphany-type moments. Just gradual, peaceful, little by little rediscovery.

This rediscovery through quiet meditation and prayer will help make sense of life. Is not this point, even in The Steps? Or, are we so used to hearing the reading of The Steps, that we no longer truly listen to them? Have The Steps, also become just noise? No matter how many meetings I go to, I truly do listen.

Step 11. "Sought through Prayer and Meditation to improve our Conscious Contact with God,as WE understood him, Praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the Power to carry that out."

Screwtape and Wormwood must be so proud of the job they have done. Imagine the size of the egos these two devils have for accomplishing their goal and for doing such an outstanding job.

The Screwtape Letters Foreword: Read by John Cleese


Submit a Comment
  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    C.S. Lewis originally was not a religious man. The more he learned and studied while working on research the more religion made sense to him. Both C.S. and J.R.R. Tolkien taught for the same university. Both infused much into their writings, and novels.

  • SparklingJewel profile image


    9 years ago from upper midwest

    There is complete "spiritual teaching" on the "ways" of the universe in his books. Religion and human psychology and spiritual truths all wrapped up together.

    Revolutionary works indeed, relevant forever.

    Thanks for the hub...great job!

  • 2patricias profile image


    9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    Thanks for writing about the Screwtape Letters. It is on my bookshelf, and every now and then I get it down and read a letter or two, and there is always something new. They are as relevant today as when they were first written.

  • Jessica W profile image

    Jessica W 

    9 years ago

    Thank You for this hub St. James!

  • Benjimester profile image

    Benji Mester 

    9 years ago from San Diego, California

    I love C.S. Lewis as well. I think my favorite by him would have to be the Great Divorce. That book is just fascinating. That was a good insight about the white noise all around us. Thanks for the hub.

  • G-Ma Johnson profile image

    Merle Ann Johnson 

    10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

    I love C.S Lewis...always have and read everything he wrote...I just can't beleive all the things we have in common...but alas...thanks..G-Ma :o) Hugs & Peace

  • profile image

    mike reay 

    10 years ago

    Great hub! I just wrote e brief review of Mere christianity.. another lewis work..although mine does not compare to yours/it is called mere christianity by c s lewis a book review ..on hubpages..! Thanks!

  • Paraglider profile image

    Dave McClure 

    10 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

    It's a fine book. I've read it many times. He also wrote a sequel, many years later, called 'Screwtape proposes a toast', which is something of a retrospective look at his Screwtape period. Also worth seeking out.


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