Test 1 Screwtape Letters Study Guide Questions & Answers

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Screwtape reflects that people’s thought and behavior were at one time related in what way:
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Lewis suggests that a person’s thought and behavior used to be connected. That is, what a person did was based on what they thought. Their actions flowed from their beliefs. The implication, of course, is that people nowadays are far more fickle in life. They do not \”think\” about what the right thing to do is. This makes people far more vulnerable to being duped into doing things that ultimately are not good for them.
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Screwtape encourages labels like ‘practical,’ ‘outworn,’ ‘strong,’ or ‘stark.’ How are these terms different than ‘true’ or ‘false.’
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True and False are clear. If something is really proven True or False it compels commitment. But if something is claimed to be ‘old fashioned’ a person can \”kinda agree\” with it. These looser terms require no specific commitment. Furthermore, there are many MANY terms like this that are neither true nor false. The hazy, unclear nature of the terms make them the perfect tool to use to ‘hype’ a perspective.
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How does \”argument\” move \”the struggle on to the Enemy’s own ground?\”
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\”Argument,\” here, refers to logical thought. When people \”think\” they strengthen \”the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experience.\” By \”attending to universal issues\” Screwtape is talking about big picture philosophy stuff. These big picture topics tend to reinforce the reality of God.
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What is \”the pressure of the ordinary? How does it keep us from God?
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When Screwtape talks about \”the pressure of the ordinary\” he is referring to ordinary, physical life. The constant perception of the physical world feels deeply and undeniably real. It becomes almost mundane. We learn to respond to it and interact with it automatically – without even thinking about it. This overwhelming experience with the ordinary diminishes the sense of probablility that there could be a spiritual reality. We become spoiled by the ordinary world into doubting the reality of a spiritual world, because: Why isn’t the spiritual world more obvious? Our standard for what we can believe in is raised by the undeniability of the physical world. As Screwtape says: \”They find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes.\”
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What is the \”abominable advantage\” God has over Satan? Read Hebrews 2:14-18.
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God actually became a human in the person of Jesus Christ. By doing so, God has a first-hand understanding of human experiences of things like temptation, death, limitation, pleasure, and suffering. In this way, too, God can relate to our suffering on a very real and special way.
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Why do you think Screwtape encourages propaganda over argument?
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Propaganda appeals to the non-rational part of our mind. Propaganda and hype feed into our emotions and fears in ways that can cause us to commit to things even if those things are not rational.
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What is \”the anticlimax\” Lewis refers to?
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The anticlimax is a feeling of disappointment a Christian feels as they begin living their Christian life. The Christian, after have the inner ‘high’ that led them to commit their life to God, naturally returns to a normal internal state. In that normal state Christianity is not, on a day-to-day basis, what the new Christian expected. It is the disappointment of transitioning from concept to reality, and from dreaming to doing.
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What does Screwtape suggest happens to a Christian when they become less dependent on Emotions?
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Screwtape says that humans become harder to tempt when they become less dependent on emotions. When people depend on reasoning to make their decisions they are more likely to do what is right. When they base their decisions on their emotions they are more likely to do what makes them feel good.
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What does Screwtape mean by \”parrot talk\”? Matt 6:7
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Parrot Talk is when you say what you think you are supposed to be saying for the sake of ‘saying the right thing.’ It is insincere. We \”parrot talk\” when we are trying to sound religious.
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In what ways can church be an ally to Satan?
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There are many ways a church can be a bad example. They, of course, can be a bad example of what a Christian should be like. They can also, by simply being human, present the Christian with images that go against what his/her expectations might be (he might expect \”great people,\” only to be surrounded by very plain people; he might expect \”good people,\” but he might find nothing but troubled people). In fact, it is because the people in church are ‘plain’ or even ‘unappealing’ that the Christian can be vulnerable to a sort of phony humility: she can feel like she is being humble by associating with these ‘common’ people.
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How is focusing your prayers for others on \”spiritual\” topics like the state of a person’s soul potentially inhibiting to prayer?
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Praying for things like a person’s soul is to pray for something that is not really ‘real’ in day-to-day life. Hence, it is praying for something more ‘fake’ than real.
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Screwtape says the patient thinks \”his conversion is something inside him.\” Screwtape suggests that this is not fully correct. What is conversion if it is not something inside a person? See Matt 7:21, 1 John 5:2-3.
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Conversion is a deep change of self. It is a complete re- orientation of the whole person (not just a change in their mental state). Conversion is partly about what happens inside of the person, but it is even more about what happens outside: Are they striving to keep God’s commands? Are they looking upon others with the love and grace of Christ?
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What is the \”double standard\” Screwtape discusses?
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When Screwtape refers to the double standard he is talking about a person expecting others to judge everything that they say by the actual words used. But that same person will then judge what others say based on the talker’s tone, context, and an over-sensitive interpretation of intent. This allows one to say something intended to hurt, but then get defensive when the other accuses them for doing so.
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What does Screwtape mean by the prayer mood?
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The prayer mood is about trying to conjure a ‘feeling’ during prayer. It may be, for instance, a feeling of courage when the Christian is praying for courage, or it may just be a ‘spiritual’ feeling. Whatever that feeling is, it is conjured, superficial, and redirects our attention from God to ourselves.
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Screwtape states that humans \”are animals and whatever their bodies do affects their souls.\” What does he mean by that? Is it true? What other situations could our physical behavior affect our soul?
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The physical reality can alter attitudes, beliefs, assessments, sense of risk, etc. An old negotiating tactic negotiators will use is to give the visiting party shorter chairs to make them feel inferior (needy). Columbo, the fictitious crime solving detective, used to act clumsy and clueless to make suspects feel at ease and comfortable. This made them vulnerable to divulging information that Colombo would later use to convict them of the crime. We can say \”I like school,\” but if we go to class and slouch and sit in a lazy way our attitudes about school will change. What we do with our bodies affects our souls.
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What importance does Screwtape make of the phrase ‘Not what I think thou art but what thou knowest thyself to be?\” Exodus 3:14, 2 Samuel 22:26-28; 1 Cor. 13:11-12.
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It is spiritually dangerous to construct images in our minds of what God must be like. Being certain that we understand God is spiritually risky because God is the \”I am who I am.\” He exists independent of all human conceptions of him. Our petty conceptions of God are influenced by many crazy things.
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How does Screwtape propose using the past and present against us?
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Screwtape wants to use the past and future against us to create unjustified fear and grief.
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What does Screwtape think about war? Which is better for destroying someone’s relationship with God, according to Screwtape: going to war or going to a nursing home? Why?
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Contentment with the world makes it harder for us to be aware of the reality of death. We don’t take it seriously. But war makes spiritual issues blatant and important and hard to ignore. Nursing homes, then, destroy us more than wars do because they numb us to life’s most important issues.
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What does suspense and anxiety do to keep people from God? Mark 4:18-19.
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Suspense and anxiety compel us to think about \”what will happen to us\” instead of \”what we should do.\”
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What does Screwtape mean by diverting the patient’s mind \”from the thing feared to fear itself\”?
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When we are fixated on our fear we are powerless. If I am afraid, for instance, of of spiders and I see one crawling along the floor it does me no good to dwell on my fear. Rather, it is by focusing on the spider that I can now act. Fear itself is un-actionable.
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Why might hatred of mother be more damaging to one’s soul than hatred of Osama bin Laden, according to Screwtape?
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Mother is very real to us. Osama bin Laden is not very real to us. Hence, our hatred for the people near us (that we really know) is worse because it is a more real hatred.
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Screwtape says that God \”wants people to be concerned with what they do, our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.\” How is being focused on what will happen to us destructive? See Matthew 7:24-27, Eph 2:10, James 3:13.
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What will \”happen to us\” is outside of our will – it is out of our control. If we are fixated on things outside of our control we will remain powerless to it, AND we will squander our attention that we could be spending on things that are INSIDE of our will (like \”what we should be doing\”).
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Why would believing in demons keep a person from being \”a materialist or a skeptic\”?
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Belief in demons is an acknowledgement of spiritual reality. The same is true for things like ghosts. It is tough to say that you believe in ghosts while also saying \”that God stuff is nonsense.\”
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How does the media inhibit our belief in demons and spirits?
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The media offers truly ridiculous depictions of what a demon might look like (red tights, horns, etc). Such silly depictions make the belief in demons easy to reject.

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