Here are twenty quotes from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

20 Quotes from The Screwtape Letters:

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

“Suspicion often creates what it suspects.”

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”

“A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all—and more amusing.”

“Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”

“No man who says, ‘I’m as good as you,’ believes it. He would not say it if he did.”

“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.”

“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”

“The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them for eternity.”

“All is summed up in the prayer which a young female human is said to have uttered recently: “O God, make me a normal twentieth-century girl!” Thanks to our labors, this will mean increasingly: “Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite.”

“It is in some ways more troublesome to track and swat an evasive wasp than to shoot, at close range, a wild elephant. But the elephant is more troublesome if you miss.”

“It is always the novice who exaggerates.”

“The search for a “suitable” church makes the man a critic where God wants him to be a pupil. What he wants from the layman in church is an attitude which may, indeed, be critical in the sense of rejecting what is false or unhelpful but which is wholly uncritical in the sense that it does not appraise- does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects, but lays itself open in uncommenting, humble receptivity to any nourishment that is going.”

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“I sometimes wonder whether you think you have been sent into the world for your own amusement.”

“A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all, since he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame… [Man] did not create themselves… their talents were given them, and they might as well be proud of the color of their hair.”

“We want the Church to be small not only that fewer men may know the Enemy but also that those who do may acquire the uneasy intensity and the defensive self-righteousness of a secret society or a clique.”

“His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth, which is just what we want.”

“Every dictator or even demagogue—almost every film-star or crooner—can now draw tens of thousands of the human sheep with him. They give themselves (what there is of them) to him; in him, to us. There may come a time when we shall have no need to bother about individual temptation at all, except for the few. Catch the bell-wether and his whole flock comes after him.”

“As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance.”