Over Seventy Years Ago, CS Lewis Accurately Described Today’s Culture

25 May

Lewis’ fictitious letters from a demon named Screwtape to his apprentice demon nephew Wormwood the devil form the basis of Lewis’ delightful and prescient book The Screwtape Letters. I believe the excerpt below could have been written in 2015 rather than 1940 . . .

The demon Screwtape writes . . .

“What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And.” You know — Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring . . .

[God] “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 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 very largely on just those choices which they now invoke the future to help them 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. And the great work has already been done. Once they knew that some changes were for the better, and others for the worse, and others again indifferent. We have largely removed this knowledge. For the descriptive adjective “unchanged” we have substituted the emotional adjective “stagnant.” We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favoured heroes attain — not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

One Response to “Over Seventy Years Ago, CS Lewis Accurately Described Today’s Culture”

  1. creatorworship June 3, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    I think that he pegged our times in “This Hideous Strength” as well. We will worship any animated figurehead as long as God is not the center.

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