The Screwtape Letters: In Less Than 600 Words

screwtape-lettersToday I was reading Andy Naselli’s blog and came across his wonderful summary of C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Screwtape Letters. In case you’re unfamiliar with C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters is written from the perspective of a demon/tutor. This “head demon” teaches his student, the recipients of the letters, how to lead a new Christian away from Christianity. Sounds a little strange. But it’s fantastic.

Here is Naselli’s “one sentence summary of each chapter.” I’ll post the first ten. Follow the link to see the rest!

  1. Make him preoccupied with ordinary, “real” life—not arguments or science.

  2. Make him disillusioned with the church by highlighting people he self-righteously thinks are strange or hypocritical.

  3. Annoy him with “daily pinpricks” from his mother.

  4. Keep him from seriously intending to pray at all, and if that fails, subtly misdirect his focus to himself or an object rather than a Person

  5. Don’t hope for too much from a war [in this case, World War II] because the Enemy often lets our patients suffer to fortify them and tantalize us.

  6. Capitalize on his uncertainty, divert his attention from the Enemy to himself, and redirect his malice to his everyday neighbors and his benevolence to people he does not know.

  7. Keep him ignorant of your existence, and make him either an extreme patriot or an extreme pacifist who regards his cause as the most important part of Christianity.

  8. Make good use of your patient’s series of troughs and peaks (i.e., “the law of undulation”), and beware that the Enemy relies on the troughs more than the peaks.

  9. Capitalize on trough periods by tempting him with sensual pleasures (especially sex), making him content with his moderated religion, and directly attacking his faith as merely a “phase.”

  10. Convince him to blend in with his new worldly acquaintances.

Read the rest here, and check out Andy’s blog here. And the book is pretty cheap on Amazon! Just 10 bucks.

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