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Paved with Good Intentions

A Demon’s Road Map to Your Soul

Paved with Good Intentions by C. S. Lewis
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Temptation and Deception Made Easy

The demon Wormwood first became famous through his correspondence with his uncle Screwtape, published in The Screwtape Letters. We are now privileged to peruse his field notebook from that demonic training session, complete with scribbles, notes, and excerpts from his uncle's letters. Wormwood's instructions, mission statements, and maxims for special occasions create a "best of Screwtape" that offers witty and cutting strategies for how best to corrupt a brand new Christian and steal him from the "Enemy" -- God.

If the best defense is to know your opponent's game book, this is a must read for all those who want to retain their souls.

HarperCollins; June 2009
112 pages; ISBN 9780061950087
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Title: Paved with Good Intentions
Author: C. S. Lewis
 
Excerpt

Chapter One

Re: The Church as a Tool

Use the Church itself as a weapon
against the Human's Christian faith

One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the halffinished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather an oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like 'the body of Christ' and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy's side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father Below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous. At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of 'Christians' in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothes is a real-though of course an unconscious difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like. Keep everything hazy in his mind no and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.

The Strategy of Disappointment

Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His 'free' lovers and servants -- 'sons' is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to 'do it on their own'. And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.

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