Early in my walk with Christ, I suffered continually from various temptations. Multiple priests recommended I read The Screwtape Letters, where C.S. Lewis imagines how the demons tempt us to sin. The book helped me understand how serious spiritual warfare really is.

Hiding death through comfort

How much better for us if all humans died in costly nursing homes amid doctors who lie, nurses who lie, friends who lie, as we have trained them, promising life to the dying, encouraging the belief that sickness excuses every indulgence, and even, if our workers know their job, withholding all suggestion of a priest lest it should betray to the sick man his true condition! And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death which was enforced. One of our best weapons, contented worldliness is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.

When death is hidden, you don’t have to think about your life, and when you don’t have to think about your life, you don’t worry about what will happen to your soul after you die. Compare that state of affairs to the monastics, who keep death close, sometimes by storing and viewing the skulls of the monks who died before them. The more Satan can conceal death from you, the less likely you’ll be concerned about your salvation.

Distraction separates you from God

Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to [someone] than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours.

If only we could go back to an era where pamphlets occupied our attention! Now, thanks to the internet and smartphone, we can browse through photos, videos, and low-effort content all day without even using our minds. Days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, spent mostly in front of a screen. If we’re lucky enough, we can open our eyes before it’s too late and wean ourselves away from that which fails to nourish our souls.

Why God withdraws from new converts

He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayer offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.

[…]

He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we [the demons] do to vice. He wants them to learn to talk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.

This happened to me. When I first came to God, the grace was overflowing in spite of still possessing beliefs, thoughts, and habits that were conducive to sin. I was on cloud nine yet knew practically nothing and wasn’t even receiving communion. In time, God removed the lofty feelings and allowed me to start working on all my problems and sins one at a time, at a level where I never felt overwhelmed or in crisis.

If I stopped progressing at the moment God entered my life, my virtue would be quite small. It’s through my daily spiritual work, often in dryness, that I am able to ascend closer to God by using the will and conscience He gave me.

The descent into hell is gradual

It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is not better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Committing small sins is often combined with Satan’s lie of “moderation.” He will have you convinced that a little bit of sex or masturbation is okay, a little bit of status-seeking is okay, and next thing you know, your time on this earth is finished and Satan comes to collect your soul. “But I didn’t know a little bit of sex is bad!” Yes you did, but you didn’t want to listen, and allowed your pride and ego to make all manner of exceptions, deluding yourself into thinking that an expensive bill would never come due.

You are “yourself” only when you serve God

…when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.

A woman does online pornography because she believes displaying her naked body to men allows her to express her “true self.” This is a lie. Your true self is being in communion with God as He originally created you, not serving the will of Satan.

Devout Christians want to primarily serve God and allow their faith to be who they really are without attempting to select a worldly identity and evaluate if it is “natural” or “biological.” If you’re using your body or hobbies to define yourself, I would wonder if you even depend on God at all.

Worldly success bonds you to Satan

[If] the [middle-aged] years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressures of absorbing and agreeable work, are building up in him a sense of being really at home in earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.

If worldly people call me “successful” then I must assume that I’m serving Satan instead of God. They see me as being of the world, in possession of various accolades and possessions that are coveted by those who also prize the world. Neither my work nor my achievements should ever garner acclaim by the multitude, and if they do, I must have made a wrong turn and forsaken God in exchange for earthly treasures.

Don’t seek heaven on earth

So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or ‘science’ or psychology, or what not.

Man was once in Paradise and so we desperately long to go back, but the return will not happen in this life or on this earth, and any attempt to seek it here, whether it be through politics or ideology, is demonic. Ask God to help you endure the trials of this world, keep your faith steadfast, and you will experience the Kingdom once you pass the test of earthly existence.

Overall, The Screwtape Letters helped me realize that the demons will battle for my soul as long as I live. They have nothing else to do but to use me and other humans to spite God. Nothing personal, I suppose. I lament that I have to fight these creatures for the rest of my days, but fight them I will.

Learn More: The Screwtape Letters on Amazon

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I have often used C.S. Lewis's fleet of ships analogy to explain why it is important not to have the morally bankrupt leading society and how our private indiscretions are not private at all, as they affect our neighbor through the steering of our own personal ship.

"The voyage will be a success only, in the first place, if the ships do not collide and get in one another’s way; and, secondly, if each ship is seaworthy and has her engines in good order. As a matter of fact, you cannot have either of these two things without the other. If the ships keep on having collisions, they will not remain seaworthy very long. On the other hand, if their steering gears are out of order, they will not be able to avoid collisions." - Mere Christianity

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One of my favorites:

“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

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I was sent a number of C.S. Lewis' writings including "Screwtape" by a friend while in prison and found them to be very persuasive. He also wrote, "Mere Christianity" which was really decisive in motivating me to attend Sunday mass while I was in county jail for 30 months awaiting a plea bargain. Both are highly recommended as sources for rationalizing ones experience of the world with the naivety of faith.

Lewis was Anglican and his own faith was encouraged by his friendship and association with J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis' "Narnia" series and Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy are both suffused with Christian (Lewis) and pre-Christian (Tolkien) sensibilities. If you liked Lewis as a Christian commentator, your appreciation of Tolkien is greatly deepened by understanding how his Catholic faith shaped the "Lord of the Rings" narrative. The podcast at the end of this post was a great listen on that topic.

"The Lord of the Rings" is great literature in my estimate because its insights into human nature are universal revelations based in large part on Tolkien's Christian faith. "Lord of the Rings" has been called the most important fiction written in the English language in the last one hundred years and I agree with that hierarchical ranking.

Lewis, however, was a great polemicist and one hundred years from now his "Screwtape Letters' and "Mere Christianity" are still likely to be more persuasive than any of the turgid garbage written by Marx and Engels. Certainly, those who have actually lived under the regimes built by Marxist dictators and the Western democracies will likely find Lewis the more persuasive advocate.

I'd highly recommend the podcast below for its insightful commentary on Tolkien's Christian ethos in, "Fellowship of the Rings". Very much of a piece with Lewis and intriguing because of their personal friendship and small community of faith, Anglican and Catholic, mutually supportive and reinforcing.

The Great Books -- Episode 161: ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ by J. R. R. Tolkien [Rereleased Version] | National https://www.nationalreview.com/podcasts/the-great-books/episode-161-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-by-j-r-r-tolkien-rereleased-version/

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C.S. Lewis was based.

He knew about the NWO and their demonic conspiracy.

See here:

https://inklesspen.blog/2020/11/18/a-hideous-conspiracy/

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Thanks for this, Roosh. It was an enjoyable read. I’ll add the book to my list.

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Screwtape Letters was the first Christian book I read, and it presented such a strong evidence for the reality of demonic temptation it wasn't really possible for me to ignore.

Also Roosh, is it possible that instead of linking to (((Amazon))) you could link to books for sale on other sites? I think most of us here would agree that enriching Amazon is enriching the enemy.

Great article though!

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A prior poster alluded to it, but That Hideous Strength is a dystopian novel that pre-dated 1984. It is book 3 of Lewis's space trilogy, but one can read it without reading the first two and not miss much.

Mere Christianity was based on radio talks he made during WWII, so the prose was designed more to be read out loud than to read, but still a good introduction.

Screwtape is great. I used to have an audio book of John Cleese reading it--I so wish I had not given it away. He made a great devil. There are a couple on eBay right now, but out of the UK and kind of pricey.

Some people love it and some people can not stand it, but The Pilgrims Regress is one of my favorites. I think I have read it half a dozen times at least.

The Shadowlands film with Anthony Hopkins was revisionist, in my opinion. The early film with Jos Ackland was far better.

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Can anybody tell me how come this book is described on Amazon as a:

is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

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I am constantly listening to people like RauchV, Jay Dyer, Owen Benjamin etc. and I recently (~5 months) have been experiencing some really strange emotion that I never used to have. Its this feeling of someone from the inside driving me to buy certain books and I truly mean certain. The story goes something like this. Whenever one of the people mentioned are describing a book, I tend to write down that book into my reading list. Most of the time there are no emotions just archiving the list of books that I would like to own in the future. But I think I have gotten two times this feeling of inexplainable push to buy it as if someone is pushing me to do it as if being possessed. All of those books were are related to Christianity in one way or another. One of those urges were to buy a box set of 7 Christianity books by C.S. Lewis. I Don't Know to whom to contribute these feelings to... Holy spirit Guiding me or the other guy... I am a new convert I think I felt the holy spirit and since that time I do try to do at least the morning prayer (used to do both morning and evening but I am still working through my sins). I feel unsure following these feelings... as if I am acting rash.... I probably wanted to just write a thank you to Rauch for the streams and articles that have helped me a lot and to express my thoughts and doubts on following these feelings.

If anyone have any advice or thoughts on things of this nature I would gladly accept your input.

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Thanks for a succinct overview of the demonic domain from someone who has been put through Screwtape's wringer, but came out the other side redeemed. Screwtape is most displeased with your conversion! The Focus on the Family dramatized audio version of TSL is excellent with Andy Serkis voicing Screwtape being very captivating.

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Great insights, and I appreciate the application of the highlighted excerpts to your personal experiences. I always enjoy hearing how a written work by a single person can be utilized and interpreted by readers innumerable to understand and improve their situ ation. God bless, Roosh and every contributor to this post for your perspectives.

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Like Jacob up above said, if you can find the audiobook read by John Cleese, it's a great way to 'read' this book. He's perfect for it, makes it very funny and entertaining.

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