My wife and I have been listening to the newly released audio drama of CS Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”–it’s very well done and enjoyable. Below is an important thought I heard last night. For those who haven’t read this great book, Lewis creatively uses a fictional demon named Screwtape to mentor his young nephew Wormwood in the art of temptation, and therefore provides round-about advice for Christians.
(from Chapter 25…)
“But the greatest triumph of all is to elevate this horror of the Same Old Thing into a philosophy so that non-sense in the intellect may reinforce corruption in the will. It is here that the general Evolutionary or Historical character of modern European thought (partly our work) comes in so useful. The Enemy loves platitudes. Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous? is it prudent? is it possible? Now if we can keep men asking ‘Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?’ they will neglect the relevant (emphasis mine) questions. And the questions they do ask are, of course, unanswerable; for they do not know the future, and what the future will be depends laragely on just those choices whcih they now invoke the future to help them to make. As a result, while their minds are buzzing in this vacuum, we have the better chance to slip in and bend them to the action we have decided on.”