1942年,C.S.刘易斯写了一本小说,讽刺book entitled, “The Screwtape Letters.” This book was about a seasoned demon named “Screwtape,” who was trying to advise his nephew, “Wormwood,” an inexperienced demon, how to be an effective tempter.
In the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ classic work, I began to wonder, “What if the events of 2020 were the results of a demonic dialogue that took place behind the scenes between Screwtape and Wormwood in 2019?” Here’s how I would imagine it, with one change from C.S. Lewis’ format. Screwtape and Wormwood are no longer writing letters to each other. Instead, they are texting. After all, this fictional dialog takes place in 2019, not 1942.
Of course, I also want to offer my apologies to C.S. Lewis and his readers. There is a reason why these thoughts are entitled, “From the Editor’s Trash Can.” It was not my intent to “improve” upon C.S. Lewis, but to use his genius approach to address a modern concern.
螺丝螺纹：Great hearing from you, Wormwood, and what an honor for you to be selected for this task! Congratulations are in order! Certainly, I’d be happy to help you out in any way I can. Could you tell me what ideas you already have?
蒿：Great! Thanks for being willing to help me out! As for ideas, I was thinking of manipulating a massive persecution against the church, like has not been seen since the days of the Roman Empire. The faith of Christians in America has never really been tested. They need to know the fear that comes from the steely, sharp edge of a sword! While the implementation of such a persecution may require a little time, it won’t be nearly as long as most would think. Judging from how quickly long-held moral values have been jettisoned by America, I don’t think our wait will be too long. I think history bears this out. Remember how the unthinkable became a reality in Germany during the last century? That’s what I want to recreate, only this time making Christians the object of the hatred and persecution. With just a little patience, I believe I can change the way the nation thinks, blind their eyes, callous their hearts, and stir within the general population a violent hatred of Christianity. So, what do you think of my idea? Please speak freely and offer any suggestions. I value your input.
螺丝螺纹：While I think your heart is in the right place, it is my opinion that your plan is destined to fail. The reason is that it is too direct, too “in your face,” and the persecution comes from without and not within. These factors have typically strengthened the resolve of Christians. When faced with “deny or die” ultimatums, Christians have historically embraced martyrdom, and their martyrdom strengthened and rallied other Christians to greater boldness and faithfulness. I will say this, your plan will certainly cause a great exodus of many nominal Christians from the church, but our master already has them. There is no “net” advantage in driving them away. In fact, have you considered that with their departure, we will lose the powerful impact of their leavening influence within the church? No, my nephew, for these reasons, I think your plan would be an utter failure.
蒿：Uncle Screwtape, this is why I wrote to you for help. I knew with your experience and good judgment; you would be able to help me. I’m a little embarrassed, but I must admit that I never even considered the counterpoints you made, but having considered them, I believe you are right. So, it’s back to the drawing board for me. Do you have any suggestions for me?
螺丝螺纹：Well, if it were me, I’d plan something far more indirect, less consequential, and instigated from within and not from without. This approach will catch the church off-guard and with her defenses down. I think this approach will be far more effective.
蒿：I think I may understand what you’re saying, but can you give me some concrete examples?
蒿：A medical facemask? I was with you up to this point, but now you’ve lost me. Can you explain how a facemask can be used as an instrument of evil?
蒿：Brilliant, Uncle Screwtape! Just brilliant! I knew I could count on you, and you proved me right. Thank you so much for your advice. I plan to get right on it!