Screwtape Letter #10 – Questions


Letter #10

Screwtape talks about “friends”.

Not the TV series –

but the real people in our lives.

 


 

My dear Wormwood,

I was delighted to hear from Triptweeze that your patient has made some very desirable new acquaintances and that you seem to have used this event in a really promising manner. … That is the kind of betrayal you should specially encourage, because the man does not fully realise it himself; and by the time he does you will have made withdrawal difficult.

 

10.1) General discussion – talk about the friends we have / the things we do – how we can be influenced by them. The first parts of this paragraph relate to the times and events when the book was written. Today, it may be other things that could influence us. The important thing is – how do we relate to them? Especially, discuss the highlighted sentences.

 

 

 

         

 

No doubt he must very soon realise that his own faith is in direct opposition to the assumptions on which all the conversation of his new friends is based. … But if you play him well, they may become his. All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be. This is elementary.

10.2) What happens when we first start to realize that “something isn’t quite right” – that our new friends / activities / ?? don’t really match up with what we believe?

Being silent when we shouldn’t be – or laughing when we shouldn’t – both are like double edged swords. It’s bad for us – as C. S. Lewis points out, because it can lead us to the point where we actually start to believe what we’re saying (or not saying).

 

 

 

 

         

 

The real question is how to prepare for the Enemy’s counterattack.

The first thing is to delay as long as possible the moment at which he realises this new pleasure as a temptation. … By it we rescue annually thousands of humans from temperance, chastity, and sobriety of life.

10.3) Speaking of silence when “something isn’t quite right” – that our new friends / activities / ?? don’t really match up with what we believe. How does this fit in with the things you see in the world today? How does it compare with what’s in the Bible? For starters – check out Matthew 6:19-24; Ecc 1:1-4 & 12:13-14; and look for the word “friends” in Proverbs.

 

 

 

 

         

 

Sooner or later, however, the real nature of his new friends must become clear to him, and then your tactics must depend on the patient’s intelligence. If he is a big enough fool you … Finally, if all else fails, you can persuade him, in defiance of conscience, to continue the new acquaintance on the ground that he is, in some unspecified way, doing these people ‘good’ by the mere fact of drinking their cocktails and laughing at their jokes, and that to cease to do so would be ‘priggish’, ‘intolerant’, and (of course) ‘Puritanical’.
Meanwhile … Her jealousy, and alarm, and his increasing evasiveness or rudeness, will be invaluable for the aggravation of the domestic tension

Your affectionate uncle

SCREWTAPE

10.4) What does Screwtape mean by saying Wormwood should get the patient to lead “two parallel lives?” What are some of the dangers of trying to do this?

 

 

 

 

         

 

Vocabulary:

I gather that the middle-aged married couple who called at his office are just the sort of people we want him to know—rich, smart, superficially intellectual, and brightly sceptical about everything in the world. I gather they are even vaguely pacifist, not on moral grounds but from an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men and from a dash of purely fashionable and literary communism.

ingrained: firmly fixed; deep-rooted;
Related Words: ingrained deep-rooted, deep-seated, implanted, planted

 

 

I gather that the middle-aged married couple who called at his office are just the sort of people we want him to know—rich, smart, superficially intellectual, and brightly sceptical about everything in the world.

sceptical – is the old English way of spelling skeptical, which means not convinced that something is true.

 

 

In modern Christian writings, though I see much (indeed more than I like) about Mammon, I see few of the old warnings about Worldly Vanities, the Choice of Friends, and the Value of Time.

Mammon is the name of an ancient Deity worshiped by the Sumerians. He is the God of wealth and his name translates as “property”. The Christians began to use the Holy Name of Mammon as a pejorative, a term that was used to describe greed, avarice, and unjust worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament.{Mt.6:24; Lk.16.13} The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence.

 

 

 

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