AAJ Podcast: Screwtape Speaks at Demon-Chapel
February 7, 2014
Back in 2012 it was the 70th anniversary of The Screwtape Letters book being published on February 9th. In celebration of this I offer the following recording (link above, text below) of Screwtape reflecting on the occasion.
My Fellow Junior Tempters,
As this semester at the Training College has gotten underway, Slubgob has asked me to close this morning’s demon-chapel. I come to you on a most delicate subject. As you know it was seventy years ago that some fool named C.S. Lewis released a book with my name on it. At the time I was not able to prevent this landmark event and have consistently tried to distant myself from it. However, I am here today to announce that I have been able to not only embrace the affair, but in some ways stand proud because of it!
Sure, there have been some unfortunate things that happen as a result of the book. Because Lewis first had my letters printed over the course of thirty-one weeks in The Guardian he managed to grow enough interest for the first printing of 2,000 copies to sell before it was published. This was followed by it being reprinted eight times that year alone! He gain such popularity from this that only helped gain him more listeners over the BBC where he shared what would become known as Mere Christianity.
Allow me to explain why I have learned to embrace the whole matter…while it was unfortunate for us that Lewis got his hand on the letters to share some of our best secrets, I do essentially stand by what I wrote. Why? Because it actually served as warning to other lazy tempters, like Wormwood was, to know the seriousness of their jobs. Our Father Below wants us to keep human souls from the hands of our enemy!
I must be quick to say that I do distant myself from what Lewis said in his preface to the book. Especially the second preface from the early 60’s. Fortunately it is not too common for current editions of the book to contain this second preface. But, no matter, for those who happen to have that copy; for it has become the kind of book that many people buy and don’t read or give as gifts that gather dust on book shelves.
Because I’ve only been given a short time to address you, I am not able to go through the many points you young fiends should be aware of. So all of you will get a special edition of The Screwtape Letters that I personally approved. Allow me a moment, however, to highlight something of special importance. First of all, I want to proclaim that we have nearly been able to create our greatest achievement…the Materialist Magician! People who worship forces yet they don’t believe in spirits!
Next I must point out something that I came up with a new way of expressing the other day that you should find useful in you workings with human vermin; keep in mind that for many of them perception is 9/10th of reality! That is, they often don’t see the obvious because of their own bias. This, of course, even affects Christians after their conversion to the Enemy’s camp because of the habits they developed when in our clutches. Thus, the person will fail to see something that might be plain to another because of having a warped perspective. It is especially useful when Christian argue among themselves…for example, should they change their service time when Christmas falls on Sunday or how about cancel Sunday night service when the Super Bowl is on?! One group questions the other’s commitment while the world looks on and doesn’t want to belong to either party and becomes more securely ours!
Finally, I’ve heard some of you ask about Lewis and whether or not those of his fans of him should take their worship of him all the way or not and start their own denomination. After all, they have their own “C.S. Lewis Bible,” so why not have them start a church! I will have to quote myself by saying, “that is the sort of question one expects them to ask!”
Well…this concludes this morning demon-chapel…now go and have a rottenly productive day!
- Free Study Guide to The Screwtape Letters
(Above guide is from C.S. Lewis Institute)
- Purchase The Screwtape Letters
- Purchase C.S. Lewis Bible