The Screwtape Letters

Taking notes on what the devil does.
Thanks, C.S. Lewis, you da man :)

  • (1) The devil wants to make us not think. He wants us to just accept, or to think seemingly profound thoughts that aren't profound at all.
"Teach him to call it 'real life' and don't let him ask what he means by 'real' "
"...they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar when the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things. "
  • (2) The devil wants us to judge and assume and set low expectations. He wants us to go by what we "feel" and what is easily perceived. God wants us to look beyond, to dig deeper, to search the hidden places.
"The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His "free" lovers and servants- "sons" is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two- legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to "do it on their own". And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt."

  • (3) The devil wants us to believe we are examining ourselves very deeply, for this way we are blinded to our obvious lacking.

  • (3) The devil loves when we over spiritualize our prayers because they become a performance and lose honest integrity. He loves when we focus on only people's sin when we pray, because we fester the wound and disguise it as benevolent. He loves for us to sound so good when we pray that we forget to treat the person differently when we get up from our knees.

  • (3) He focuses on our selfish nature to set us against one another. We somehow begin to believe that everything "offensive" that someone does, they did just to get under our skin. And of course, we are oblivious to our own annoying and offensive behavior. We become one sided, where we can leave every argument earnestly believing we are innocent at all costs and from all angles.

  • (4) "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."

  • (4) He wants us to account how we feel to how true and real God's work is. He wants us to ask for something while at the same time we are working to get it on our own.
"Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask Him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave.

  • (6) He wants us to worry about ourselves, to be absorbed by worry and anxiety. He wants us to see not what our actions equate to, but see only our "intentions". 

  • (6) The devil wants to place virtue and benevolence into our imagination. Though we made read of it, none of it translates into our actual lives. All the while, we are deceived.
"The great things is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbors whom he meets everyday and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary." (28)

  • (7) The devil is perfectly fine with us not believing in his existence. he encourages the comic figure in red tights. This way he slips under the radar, there is no threat to watch for. (32)
  • (7) All extremes are encouraged. If he can push us over the edge on one issue and makes us ignore the rest, or if he can push us into being complacent or comfortable- either one is beneficial to His cause. (32)
"All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged." (32)


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