The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a timeless piece of religious satire that uses a unique perspective to highlight human weaknesses.
The book follows Screwtape, an important assistant to “Our Father Below,” as he provides sly and ironic commentary on human behavior. Despite its comedic tone, the book also tackles serious themes and offers valuable insights into the nature of temptation and how to overcome it.
You do not have to read the entire book if you don’t have time. This book review provides an overview of everything you can learn from it.
Let’s get started without further ado.
In this The Screwtape Letters book review, I’m going to cover the following topics:
Table of Contents
Lesson 1: The Dangers of Relativism
One of the key lessons from The Screwtape Letters is the danger of relativism in one’s belief system. Screwtape urges Wormwood to encourage his human subject to see morality and truth as subjective and relative to each individual’s circumstances.
This approach, according to Screwtape, will weaken the human’s faith and make him more vulnerable to temptation. This message is as relevant today as it was when Lewis wrote the book.
In today’s society, relativism is often presented as a virtue, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that there is no objective truth or morality. However, as Lewis shows, this kind of thinking can lead us away from the path of virtue and towards moral confusion.
Lesson 2: The Power of Small Sins
Another lesson from The Screwtape Letters is the power of small sins to lead us astray. The book emphasizes the importance of paying attention to our everyday actions and attitudes, as it is often these small sins that can gradually erode our faith and moral character.
For example, Screwtape advises Wormwood to encourage his subject to take small acts of selfishness and pride, which can lead to a gradual erosion of his faith. This lesson is particularly relevant in today’s society, where small acts of selfishness and self-interest are often celebrated and rewarded.
Lesson 3: The Importance of Broad Thinking
Lewis’s approach to religion in The Screwtape Letters is notable for its broad and nonsectarian approach. He does not advocate for any particular denomination or branch of Christianity, but instead emphasizes the importance of the message of Jesus as a universal message that transcends any particular religious tradition.
This message is particularly important in today’s society, where religious divisiveness and sectarianism are all too common. The book reminds us that the message of Jesus is one that can be embraced by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Lesson 4: The Role of Humor in Conveying Serious Messages
Finally, The Screwtape Letters is a reminder of the power of humor to convey serious messages. The book is written in a satirical style that is often funny and irreverent, but this humor is used to convey serious messages about faith and morality.
The use of humor can make difficult or abstract ideas more accessible and engaging, and can help us to see the world in a new light. In today’s society, where serious discussions about religion and morality can often be fraught and divisive, the use of humor can be a valuable tool for promoting understanding and dialogue.
1. Insightful and Practical Advice
The Screwtape Letters is full of insight after insight about how we as humans work and are subtly tempted in the Christian life. Lewis offers practical advice and illustrations about the Christian life that are worth revisiting over and over again.
Each chapter has its own main argument, shedding much insight on the Christian faith. I marked 15 of the 31 chapters as really great, and I will keep this book close to me on my bookshelf because it is so full of practical advice and illustrations about the Christian life.
2. Fuel for Contemplation
The Screwtape Letters provides fuel for contemplation, making it a great read for those who want to delve deeper into moral and spiritual teachings.
Lewis’ work as a great man of Christian thought is providing readers with a lot to think about, offering lessons on moral corruption and how to resist it. This book is not a traditional novel but instead is religious and philosophical in nature, making it a great read for those who want to engage in deep thinking and reflection.
3. A Beautiful Ending
The last chapter of The Screwtape Letters is different from the rest of the book, as it is not about how to tempt the Christian man but rather what happens to him after death.
This chapter beautifully captures the Christian’s final deliverance from all evil and the moment when the Christian will finally see God himself, Jesus Christ, and be finally home. Lewis so clearly and cleverly shows the shining glory of God, especially as it is contrasted with the backdrop of darkness. This chapter is a perfect ending to the book and almost made me cry tears of joy.
1. Mean-Spirited Criticism
The relationship between Screwtape and Wormwood is a central feature of the book. However, Screwtape’s constant criticism and browbeating of his nephew Wormwood can come across as mean-spirited and relentless. The criticism is so severe that it’s surprising Wormwood doesn’t just quit his job as a Tempter on Earth. This constant negativity can make the book difficult to read, and some readers may find it off-putting.
2. Sexual Speculation and Objections to Music
Throughout the book, the letters are laced with sexual speculation, which may make some readers uncomfortable. The book also includes objections to music, which may seem outdated or irrelevant to modern readers. While some of the advice on moral corruption and temptation may be relevant, the book’s focus on these outdated topics may make it less appealing to some readers.
3. Lack of Luminosity
Despite being widely praised as a profound work, I found The Screwtape Letters to be lacking in luminosity. While the format is inventive and the letters are often quotable, they lack the luminous quality that characterizes Lewis’s other works, such as Mere Christianity. The book’s emphasis on criticism and negativity can make it difficult to engage with, and the overall tone may not appeal to all readers.
The Screwtape Letters is a unique and profound book that offers practical advice and insight on the Christian life. It provides fuel for contemplation and offers a beautiful ending that captures the Christian’s final deliverance from all evil. Although it may not fit the wishes of every reader, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who want to engage in deep thinking and reflection on moral and spiritual teachings.
Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.
He was a fellow and tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.
He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics, the Chronicles of Narnia.
Buy The Book: The Screwtape Letters
If you want to buy the book The Screwtape Letters, you can get it from the following links: