By C. S. Lewis
C.S Lewis is probably best known for his series of children’s books, The Chronicles Of Narnia.
The Screwtape Letters, which whilst intended for adult readership could also appeal to teenagers, takes a look at Christianity from the outside or perhaps I should say ‘from the other side’.
Now “from the other side” might make you think of another religion like Islam perhaps, or maybe it makes you think of atheism, especially the modern, aggressive atheism which, in my opinion, is beginning to behave like a religion itself, but that’s another story. It is neither of these things.
The Screwtape Letters takes a wry look at Christianity through the eyes of a demon, Screwtape, high up in the service of “our father below”, writing to his nephew, Wormwood. The letters give advice and instruction to his young relative, who is learning his trade and attempting to turn his first human away from ‘the enemy’. We only see the letters from Screwtape and are left to surmise for ourselves the content of Wormwood’s reports to his uncle. It is interesting to note that, as Lewis himself points out, because demons are liars, not everything in the letters to his nephew is necessarily true, or for his nephews benefit.
Set around the time of the Second World War The Screwtape Letters are, nonetheless, completely relevant today, as well as just being a cracking good read. It gave me, and might give for many a Christian, a whole new perspective on some aspects of my Christianity that for years I had taken for granted. It turns out that some ‘innocent pleasures’ really are just that; innocent. Whereas some things that at first sight seem to be pretty innocuous, if not thought through properly can easily have unintended consequences.
The humour in the book masks a thought provoking publication but the letter format makes the ‘chapters’ quite short, so it is an ideal book to pick up and put down, even when time is limited. I very much enjoyed it and I have already bought another of C.S. Lewis’ books, Mere Christianity, which I will also review in due course.
“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.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.