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In keeping with the theme of Science Fiction for the Human Condition we’re asking the question, what book significantly has changed your life?
I remember reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Man, did that book mess with my head! I’m glad it did though and I’ll explain why.
Many years ago my father told me a story about how much his faith had been shaken at a critical time in his life. At the time, there was no one to guide him since his father had already been living in a hospital due to his paralysis. As a side note, this is where the importance of having a father-figure was made clear to me. My dad had no one. In fact, once when we argued I asked him, “Why did you leave me?” His response was simply, “my father left me.” This, of course, was infuriating to me but at the time I hadn’t fully realized what he meant. In all the questions he had at that very important time in his life there was no one willing to answer them because of tradition or because the subject was taboo. He was a true out-of-the-box thinker.
This is where Screwtape came in. If you’re unfamiliar with the work it’s a collection of letters that the demon-mentor Screwtape writes to his nephew Wormwood who is seeking knowledge as to how to steer humankind away from God. The fact that it’s written from the point of view of a demon is probably what really messed with me! Alternatively, this book let me know that I can hold on to my faith and think outside the box and not be afraid to talk share my heart and the doubts that sometimes hide within. That I can do as Thomas Jefferson once said and “question the existence of God” and return to a confidence that He does and He’s watching over me. I can talk about the subjects that some may not want to talk about and I can even disagree while my faith is not shaken. I still belong. We don’t have to fear our doubts and we don’t have to condemn ourselves for our questions.
I just wish I could have been there for my dad when he had those questions. His faith was shaken and he didn’t find it again until just before he died. It was right before he left for the last time that I could see the love in his eyes once again. He knew he was loved once again and he was right.
And no one could take that away from him.
What book has changed your life?
Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Visit leonardoverse.com for info! Jupiter Chronicles is available now.
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