Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Than Just Entering into the Underworld

Dear reader,

I have been meaning to post this for almost a month. My lazy behind and maybe some sly remarks in my imagination from the cousin of Wormword have caused a month's worth of procrastination. Nonetheless, The Screwtape Letters by renowned Christian novelist, philologist, philosopher, and theologian, C.S. Lewis holds within it much more than a possible introduction to spiritual warfare and the very scary topic of demonology.

The book is a series of letters from a very experienced and high ranking demon named Screwtape. This "affectionate" uncle is providing advice for his "young nephew" who is charged with his first soul to damn. Screwtape speaks in opposites. What is actually good (as in participating in the infinite goodness of God) is bad, and what is actually bad (a privation of God's infinite goodness) is good. He calls God, the Evil One. Every time I read that I would shudder. It really got me thinking as to what evil does. It slowly erodes reason and goodness and turns it into irrationality and emptiness. The odd thing is that Screwtape spoke very rationally. He explained himself very well to Wormword, his nephew, about how to lead the soul to hell. Hell is described as a demonic feast. Demons are feasting on souls as if they were at table with a great king. Its puts an interesting perspective on the opposites with regards to the eternal wedding feast. In hell, souls don't participate in the feast but are the feast. Interesting thought, I must say.

There is another level, not immediately tangible, but very present. It seems that Lewis, through the lens of a demon, is critiquing modernity. Countless times he makes reference to how the hordes of demons orchestrated the focus on self that occurred in modernity. That they planned the total irrationalism of the Romantic period that still lives on today. In fact, that is a main focus of temptation. Try to not let the human use reason. Let him stay on his emotions. (Also, an interesting thought for me being in the emotion driven CPE program.) Lewis connects all the problems with modernity to demonic influence. He also pokes fun at the cultural defects of the English, which are indeed quite comical because of their semi-comparability to American cultural defects.

I would definitely suggest this book to anyone. It can give insight to spiritual warfare and what to be aware of in regards to possible ways we can be tempted. It also gives a good critique of modern man, than can open our eyes to cultural and sociological defects that can lead us to sin.

Your affectionate blogger,

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