Friday, February 8, 2019

Social Justice & Screwtape II


My Dear Wormwood.

Now that you’ve decided on Social Justice as the course for your man the task is straightforward. Let him begin by treating Social Justice as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the cause, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favor of the Cause. Once you have made the Cause an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what else he’s involved in. Provided that meetings, blogs, policies, movements, causes, and articles matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more "religious" (on those terms) he becomes the more secure he is. I could show you a pretty cageful down here.

Stoke the fire of this as often as you can. We want to keep all Christians in a state of mind I call Christianity And. You know—Christianity and Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Racial Reconciliation. Substitute for the faith itself some fashion with a Christian coloring. This has the happy effect of quietly corrupting your man while removing the Enemy from His own religion. You may wonder if this is possible since His very name is on the title, but it is Wormwood, it is! Once you create a Jesus who approves of your man’s Cause his fleshly desires (and not the Enemy’s instructions) those desires become supreme. Encourage him to clear away the accretions and perversions of the historic faith and draw near to the Jesus he imagines. This should not be difficult since it’s the historic faith which is racist and at fault, after all.

This new Jesus has the ill effect of feeding his vanity in every circumstance. He can be taught to enjoy praying beside the orthodox on Sunday as he remembers that the conservative could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabited yesterday; and contrariwise, he can be taught to enjoy the sharp and cruel statements with his sophisticated friends all the more because he visits a world to which they cannot travel. You see the idea—the liberal friends touch him on one side and the conservative on the other, and he is the complete, balanced, complex man who sees round them all. Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least two sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction.

A little time spent signaling his identity to each group and it won’t be long until the man cannot bring himself to say anything which is not calculated to mock, grieve, puzzle, or humiliate the group he is not with. He will then cease to regard either group as a possible source of knowledge as the very idea of having modify his innermost thoughts or behavior is rejected as unutterably foolish. Further along he will cease to believe altogether, even as he confesses it with his mouth.

Your Affectionate Uncle,

Screwtape

Next: Part III


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