This piece of C.S. Lewis was my favorite so far that we have read in this class. We read Letter XII, The Lukewarm Letter, in which Screwtape (Satan) gives advice to his nephew, Wormwood (a demon), how to lead his patient through small habit forming changes that slowly and subtlety leads to Hell. I thought this piece of writing was very interesting because it is written from Satan’s perspective. It’s frightening to see how Satan is actually working to pull us away from our strong desire for God.
Screwtape begins his letter by congratulating Wormwood in the way he is slowly leading his patient away from the church. He warns Wormwood not to move to fast because the patient might realize what he is doing wrong. Screwtape writes that if his dim uneasiness gets too strong it may wake him up and spoil the whole game. Satan wants us to think we are Christians by acting like it outwardly, when really he is slowly bringing us inwardly to him.
Screwtape also writes to Wormwood, “You will be gradually freed from the tiresome business of providing pleasures as temptations… you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention.” This is how Satan works to tempt us. He offers us pleasures that seem more enjoyable and pleasing to us than worshipping God. He tempts us with vacations that keep us from church, an interesting book that keeps us away from our daily devotions, or a good-looking boyfriend or girlfriend that will lure one away from the church. While these things may fulfill our immediate pleasures, they are really just temptations of Satan that lead us on the path to destruction.
The “Enemy” according to Screwtape is God. Screwtape tells Wormwood that it does not matter that his patient’s sins are small sins, as longs as the patient is being separated from the enemy. He says, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” This is true of many people; they begin to accept more and more worldly things into their lives, and they eventually find no room for God in their lives.
This piece of writing was very interesting because it showed me how people in the church slowly die away from the truth. It is a serious warning to us because we have to be careful of the earthly pleasures that Satan is trying to tempt us with. The more we succumb to these pleasures and commit more and more small sins, the faster we will fall on our way to destruction.