The Ricochet Weekend Essay Assignment


stllewisIn C. S. Lewis’s classic work the Screwtape Letters, you’ll recall, Screwtape, a senior demon, offers advice to Wormwood, his nephew, on the most useful techniques for leading humans, by slow degrees, to hell. Here, just a couple of sentences — and note that when Screwtape refers to “the Enemy” he is writing about God.

“There’s nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

Your assignment: To demonstrate the applicability of these two sentences (if indeed you see any at all) to the duties of a citizen in a democracy.

Published in General, Religion & Philosophy
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There are 33 comments.

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  1. user_51254 Member

    I wanted to come back to this since I had a busy weekend and more to say.

    These two sentences are applicable because they refute the progressive’s vision of a gov’t which “protects us from ourselves” (Reagan). It’s a kind of gov’t which is based on the premise that people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions. A special class of people who’ve been endowed with the nobless oblige of planning our lives must decide what we eat, what we teach our kids, or what contracts we can make.  It’s a transaction in which I give up my liberty in order to gain security through a gov’t program to meet my needs.

    Conservatives need to make it clear to everyone that we can, and must, make the important decisions in our lives if we expect to be happy. If we want someone else to do it all for us then we are not fit to be free. As a Christian, I believe that while you can enjoy the benefits of political freedom you’re not really free until you’ve been set free by God.

    • #31
  2. user_657161 Inactive

    Peter, I give up.  And the correct answer is?

    • #32
  3. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum

    Sorry I’m late, Peter! We see Screwtape’s strategy at work – or playing havoc – daily. Since Lewis seems to be writing about the everyday ordinariness of life, both statements are true by Screwtape’s reckoning. I submit that both are wrong. As members of the body politic – because we believe – we are called to something else. We are not here to obsess about what was or will be (since the Enemy is simply known as “I AM”.) Nor are we necessarily concerned – as Screwtape thinks the Enemy is – with some sort of cosmic balance sheet.

    Rather, as those created in God’s image and likeness, we are convinced of our infinite worth in Him (on an ongoing basis) so that our actions reveal to a greater and greater degree God at work in the world. CSL may, indeed, share this outlook. These two statements, it seems to me don’t reflect the understanding of the committed believer; who’s grown in relationship, as much as the nominal/social adherent to Christianity or Judaism, sad to say.

    Thanks for asking! ST, you may crib notes, if you’d like…

    • #33
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