[The Screwtape Letters written by C. S. Lewis present the tale of a demon-tutor (named Screwtape) who serves Satan. Screwtape’s task is to instruct his student Wormwood in the ways of evil. My previous post provides background material explaining the letter reproduced below, sixth of seven in a series of posts.]
I cannot imagine how Grendvald ever made it through the Training College! Old Slubgob must have seen something much different than the shoddy performance you and I have been witnessing of late. That feckless lump of demon mass could have stopped her from bringing the blasted book into that house. I don’t really care if he’d caused her to misplace her shopping bag or to drive her minivan off a cliff. The end result would be the same, and you would be well on the way to a full Capture. But no! Grendvald fails to accurately assess the danger! His explanation to me was that he thought the book was harmless.
Harmless? Sure, if they’d used it for kindling or a door stop or toilet paper. Instead, Grendvald now has made your assignment many times more complex. Your man picked up that “harmless” paperback book, and you are now on the precipice yourself because he is reading it. Left Behind. Why would he read such juvenile screed? To please the woman, perhaps. He is attempting to act out the part of the perfect hubby: flowers, love notes, and the weekly dinner date. Now he’s reading her book.
Could be he’s just curious. (You are aware that the book has been a bestseller, aren’t you?) That’s where you must apply some pressure. Make his eyes heavy before he’s read the first page. Convince him that all the characters are annoying and unrealistic. Besides, the scenario is completely bogus. People disappearing from the earth — what is this, the Bermuda Triangle? You get the idea. Your patient is a grown man, and he knows better than to believe some mumbo-jumbo religious superstition about a sudden event They call the Rapture. Even the Enemy ought to be capable of conjuring up a better story than that.
In fact, let me suggest an altogether better tale, a movie with a similar name: Cast Away. Being the resourceful fellow your patient is, he will understand and empathize with the main character of this tale. Still, it’s more than a simple Robinson Crusoe tale. There’s a difference between being a castaway and being cast away. The movie’s main character discovers he needs no one to survive. He makes it on his own, thank you. Self-reliance is the means for casting away all pretense and any need for the Enemy. That’s your man. You must keep him independent, self-reliant, an island unto himself.