Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Boundless-The Screwtape E-Mails

Boundless-The Screwtape E-Mails:
TO: "
RE: re: help

So you have finally come to ask me for help! I knew it was just a matter of time. Frankly, I'm surprised at how well you have done so far with your subject. I read her entire file with interest, but next time you really must remember to send it in Word format I can't tell you how annoying it is to read around all those little "&nsp" characters and such...."

I was reviewing my ever-increasing bookmarks, trying to organize them in a coherent way, and I came across this. It appeared in 2001, and is a humorous speculation of how C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters might appear if Screwtape used email to communicate with his minions.

The original was a much darker work than this parody, but a lot of the point gets across.

Many people don't believe that Satan exists, and I have to admit that, while I accept that there is evil in this world, and that it is supernatural, it is not something I think about a whole lot. It does remind me of something the French mathematician Blaise Pascal thought about concerning God.

Pascal's famous wager went something like this:

I can believe in God or I can disbelieve in God. What are the consequences of each?

  • The best I can hope for is eternal life.
  • The worst that can happen is that I live, I die, I simply cease to exist.
  • The best I can hope for is that I was correct and I didn't waste any time on faith and other trivial pursuits.
  • The worst that can happen is that I was wrong, and now have to deal with the consequences...
Therefore, it is in my best interest to believe in God, and to live my life accordingly.

Now, let's turn this around and mull over the consequences of believing (or not believing) that there is a personified evil in the world.

By believing that there is an evil in the world that tries to separate us from God, we can exercise vigilance and hopefully recognize the choices we see before us as leading us toward or away from God. At this point, then, we can choose, whether it be the right choice or not...

By not believing in the existence of Satan, Wormwood, or whatever name is applied to personified evil in our world, we have a lessened ability to evaluate the choices we face every day, and we are left with seeing moral equivalence between many of the alternative paths we take.

Enjoy The Screwtape Emails, but also consider reading The Screwtape Letters if you haven't already done so. It provides much food for thought.

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