Posted by: George Angel | January 23, 2010

C.S. Lewis on inner peace

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as Jack, was an Irish-born British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist. 

He is also known for his fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy

C.S. Lewis was baptised in the Church of Ireland but fell away from religion and became an atheist. With reasoned arguments his academic friends including J.R.R. Tolkien convinced him the Bible and Christianity stood the test of scrutiny and he converted to Christianity. 

He is now considered one of the most convincing and well-known Christian theologians and apologists which refers to the study of apologetics the greek word meaning reasoned argument backed by evidence. 

In his book The Screwtape Letters, Lewis uses a reverse type of playbook. Screwtape is one of the leading demons under the head of all demons Satan. 

Screwtape gives advice to Wormwood a demon underling in how to foul up humankind. 

The book is how demons connive with each other to make life for humans meaningless, and hopeless. 

Here is how Screwtape recommends Wormwood deal with the issue of human anxiety:

 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.

 Your patient will, of course have picked up the notion that he must submit with patience to the Enemy’s will. What the Enemy means by this is primarily that he should accept with patience the tribulation which has actually been dealt out to him—the present anxiety and suspense. 

It is about this that he is to say, “Thy will be done,” and for the daily task of bearing this that the daily bread will be provided. It is your business to see that the patient never thinks of the present fear as his appointed cross, but only of the things he is afraid of.

 Let him regard them as his crosses: let him forget that, since they are incompatible, they cannot all happen to him, and let him try to practice fortitude and patience to learn them in advance. 

For real resignation, at the same moment, to a dozen different and hypothetical fates, is almost impossible, and the Enemy does not greatly assist those who are trying to attain it: resignation to present and actual suffering, even where that suffering consists of fear, is far easier, and is usually helped by this direct action. 

Anxiety, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis 

I will share some of my thoughts about this passage in my next post and how it relates to my book, God’s Guide to Inner Peace

But I would appreciate hearing what you think about what C.S. Lewis is saying here and if you have a favorite book by C.S. Lewis.


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