Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Screwtape Letters 

I started C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" last night. The book is a collection letters from an older demon to a younger demon. The younger demon is trying to corrupt human subjects and the older demon is giving him/it advice on the best ways to do that. So we're to perceive the converse from the letters, we're to take advice on how best to thwart the devil in our lives.

Although I think it will be an interesting read, I'm not one who thinks focusing on demonic influences is a good idea. I used to have an older co-worker who was always going on about encountering demons in his house and casting them out. Leave me out of that. But Lewis has good insights and I'm not taking the demon-talk all literally. In talking about keeping humans away from Christianity, Lewis says to focus them on the faults of their neighbors (which are much easier to focus on than their own faults), focus them on the offenses against them rather than their own offenses against others, and don't let them reason, focus them on feelings, etc.

It's very easy, if you ask me, which you didn't, to start seeing the devil in every flat tire and God in every found penny... but seeing the devil in all your conflicts is no way to work toward loving your neighbors, and seeing God in every found penny is a pretty insignificant glory.

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