The Screwtape Letters Chapter 25: Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Chapter twenty-five of 'The Screwtape Letters' covers how to take advantage of the rhythm of change and permanence which are innately wired into humans as a tool for luring the patient away from the Enemy.

Christians with a Difference

In chapter twenty-five of The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape draws attention to the problem with having the patient in a social group that focuses on only Christianity without having any sort of a fashionable flare. 'If they must be Christians,' Screwtape writes, 'let them at least be Christians with a difference.' Wormwood needs to work on their hatred of the bourgeois.

The Screwtape Letters
Book Cover

Rhythm of Change

The Underworld's goal is to take the pleasure created by God and to twist it into something useful. In order to enjoy the experiences in life, God (the Enemy) made change pleasurable to the humans, but balanced that with a love of permanence to prevent change from becoming the dominating reason for living. Rhythm, a repetitive movement, was contrived by the Enemy so that spring will always feel new even though it occurs every year.

Screwtape writes of how the Underworld (Hell) takes advantage of humans and the love of chagne, saying 'The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart - an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship.'

Wormwood needs to change the natural tendency towards change and turn it into an expectation of complete novelty. 'Only by our incessant efforts is the demand for infinite, or unrhythmical, change kept up,' Screwtape says. The demand for novelty is the ultimate tool for developing the law of diminishing returns, which is that the patient will never feel fully satisfied, will spend money to attain frequent change, and be all the unhappier for it.

The Latest Fashion

The demand for novelty is required in order to produce fashions. 'We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation...and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic,' Screwtape says.

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