A new Screwtape Letter??

There is a bang and puff of smoke as the letter is opened:


I do hope you liked my little surprise. A little bit of theatre always helps to distract our patients from our more serious but secret business of winning them for Our Father Below.

And winning I believe we are. Since I wrote to you seventy years ago both religion and science have changed a lot – and a lot of how the change has gone in the mind of our two-legged patients is down to us. Our colleague Gruntsnot in the Department of Obfuscations reports that priests and professors alike are in despair at how the general public repeatedly fails to understand what they are about.

So keep on making sure that our charges see as many biased and silly stories in the press and on Facebook as possible, so that they will feel that Bishop Armless is no different to a terrorist and probably a threat to their children too, who believes all kinds of things (remember never to let your patients ever check just what sort of things exactly) that no-one in today’s world can possibly go along with (and remember too to keep them away from any actual real believers who might spoil their imaginings).

And as for Professor Frackaway, whatever fracking is (and don’t let your people look it up too closely) it is obviously harmful to their children too, and playing God with the environment (not that they actually believe in our Enemy, or change their actual behaviours to preserve the environmental balance in any serious way).

What’s more – and the Department of Alternative Realities has worked wonders here – most of our patients seem to think that Armless and Frackaway are deadly enemies with totally incompatible beliefs, so do be careful not to let any of your own subjects near Durham at the moment where they are dining together.

With Durham in mind – and I am watching carefully to make sure that you are not taken in yourself by the ramblings of our Enemy’s servants like Wilkleish who teach there – I am alarmed to have no report from you on any attempts to disrupt the research of such targets as Kasper and Guite there who are in danger of reminding patients that science and religion have a long history of working in partnership. Be sure to keep on planting vague but colourful ideas in their minds of the persecution of Galileo or the routing of Huxley and keep your charges away from real history, not to mention real science and real religion, at all costs.

What we must work on all the time are feelings not thinking. If any of our patients really started to analyse the rantings of some of the atheist comedians old Windbag in Counter-Evangelism has recruited, they might start to laugh at them themselves, and we would be sunk. If you can’t suppress thought entirely in favour of another glass of wine or the latest Twitter storm, make sure your charges soon meet someone who has been put off religion by a bible-bashing fundamentalist – Counter-Evangelism have had some success with them too – and all being well they will write our Enemy off completely.

What we don’t want, above all, is sensible and serious conversation, and patients starting to listen to each other and not to us. Use any unsurenesses they’ve got to feed their need to feel secure in what they already know, not take on something new. If you don’t feel sure yourself about the mechanism, and I accept that disembodied beings like us will find it hard, take a revision course in the Extra-Infernal Studies Department on what the two-legged ones call psychology and you’ll soon get the hang of it. Remember: if we’re not sure of something, one of our seniors will soon correct us; when these humans aren’t sure they mostly try to correct someone else.

The biggest danger, though, my dear young cousin, is not our incompetence – and you are particularly incompetent sometimes – but Enemy activity itself. For us and any right thinking downwardly-mobile person, it is quite clear that truth is what you make of it, and disorder is the natural state of things. It isn’t too hard to talk about it relativity, Schrodinger’s Cat, entropy and chaos in a way that makes those sound the entirely obvious and ultimate nature of things. Just don’t try it on a real scientist or you may get your tail pulled.

Our Enemy, though, persists unaccountably – if only we could really understand why – in promoting the idea that the universe has an underlying order and purpose, and that there is one reality and one truth, even if there are many viewpoints on it. And what is worse, he seems to have the power to awaken the same ideas in our patients. So that little nuisance from somewhere called Huntingdon gave our boys the slip and keeps on blogging about science and religion both shine light (light – ugh!) on the same one reality and has rounded up a motley gang of people who think the same. Snotrag who should have stopped him is now pursuing other interests – mostly mine – but I’m sure Earwax will soon trip him up and put things right again.

But be on your guard. There are a lot more so called religious leaders who are far better qualified and can very easily turn someone’s mind just enough to distract them from our soundtrack, and all of a sudden a nasty ray of light shines in and we are lost.

So remember the mantras: feelings not facts; religion is twaddle or worse (don’t whatever you do put in a direct appearance yourself); stick to what you know, and damn the rest.

Your ever-watchful uncle,


One thought on “A new Screwtape Letter??

  1. I have always loved the Screwtape letters and this addition is just a joy! Thank you Bishop David!

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