Teen class - CS Lewis "Screwtape letters"

The material is prepared for 9 weeks, but it may be stretched to go slower or condensed to go faster depending on the number and preparedness of the students. Feel free to modify the material in whatever way fits - assign questions to each student instead of asking them as a group, or assign the chapters individually and have them explain the meaning of their assigned chapter.

The 18th letter, and the 11th, to a smaller extent, touch on the topic of sexual temptations. The kids should be old enough and had these topics discussed at home, but it might be a good segue to discuss with them the Orthodox morality and the holy matrimony.

The full text of the book is available on the internet for free, for example here - http://www.truechristianity.info/en/the_screwtape_letters_download.php or http://www.epubsbook.com/fantasticfiction/The-Screwtape-Letters.html

Week 1.

Read the introduction, letters 1 through 4

Think/analyze/discuss the following questions:

  1. Why being an ardent materialist is as bad as a devoted magician?
  2. Is human reasoning a good thing, a bad one, or neither?
  3. What is a common perception of 'real life'?
  4. What is the immaterial church Screwtape is talking about?
  5. How is self-perception different from observing others?
  6. What makes a prayer useless?

Week 2

Read letters 5-8, included, and prepare answers to the following questions:

1. What are the good and bad that come about in a war, judging from the spiritual point of view?

2. Role of the will, intellect and fantasy in a human life. How are they different and how we use them?

3. Why are the most extremes undesirable?

4. Give examples of your own experience of the law of undulation.

Week 3

Chapters 9-13. Describe main points.

  1. When does satisfaction works against a man?
  2. What is a danger of pretending to be someone you are not?
  3. What is a difference about joy, happiness, and flippancy?
  4. What could be the result of dim uneasiness if it is not corrected?

Week 4

Chapters 13-16. Describe main points.

  1. What is the difference between God's desire to have us detached from ourselves vs demons wanting the same?

2 What is humility and how is it different from low opinion of oneself?

  1. What is living in the present and what is a danger of living for the Future?
  2. Who is a "church connoisseur"?

The text does not give full answers to these questions. Ask your friends and parents, inquire around, think.

Week 5

Chapters 17-20

  1. How does the fasion and "fasionable things" distort reality? What is the danger in following the cultural trends?
  2. What is the gluttony of Delicacy and how is it different from the gluttony of Excess?
  3. How do demons understand the love of God for humans? Is it good for a human to be in love?

Week 6

Chapters 21-24

  1. How do humans "own" their time and what comes from the sense of this "ownership"?
  2. What is the 'deadly odour' in the girl's house?
  3. What is "historical Jesus". Why this concept is flawed?
  4. Describe "spiritual pride" and how it comes about.

Week 7

Chapters 25-28

  1. What is the "Same Old Thing" and how can it be used against humans?
  2. What is a difference in understanding "unselfishness" and difficulty in applying it among sexes?
  3. Does God pre-destine people? How is the future formed?
  4. What is a difference about a young human and an older human in their approach to living life?

Week 8

Chapters 29-31

  1. What feeling is often the cause of hatered in men?
  2. What do people tend not to pay attention to in the times of peace and prosperity?
  3. What state of men is a great triumph for demons and why?
  4. What causes a tired man to become angered?
  5. Describe the two meanings of the word "real".
  6. What parts of life do demons want us to qualify as "real" and "imaginary"?
  7. What happens after death?
  8. What death is preferrable, a quick one or a slow and gradual one?
  9. What will happen to Wormwood?

Week 9

Read "Screwtape proposes a Toast" and answer the following

  1. What are the "limbo", "failed" humans?
  2. How can the "democracy" be used against humans?
  3. What type of democracy do demons like and what type they do not?
  4. What do demons want to be labeled as 'undemocratic' and why?