Writer And His Views On Evil Are Focus As Movies Is Released On a 'Christian Series'
The devil is the prince of misery and pride and so he does not like laughter, especially if the laughter is directed at him. This we are reminded by C. S. Lewis -- the Christian writer whose name will be everywhere this weekend as Disney releases a movie based on his work (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
What Lewis, who was born in Ireland in 1898, and died in 1963 (at the very onset of great darkness), had to say about evil was often brilliant. Did he really believe in it?
"If by 'the devil' you mean a power opposite to God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is No," he wrote. "There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael."
Is the concept too mystical? "The true religion gives value to its own mysticism," said Lewis -- a line we need to take to our clergy.
As for laughter, he quotes Thomas More: "The devil.. the prowde spirite.. cannot endure to be mocked."
Sometimes we need this perspective! And Lewis, who wrote a book, The Screwtape Papers (from the perspective of the devil's strategies), was an expert. One of Satan's great tactics, warned Lewis, is worldliness.
In fact, it is one of the devil's main strategies.
In addition to sensuality and materialism, we fall into this trap, warned Lewis, through the evil of bureaucracy.
"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint," said Lewis in his brilliant book. "It is not done even in concentration and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern."
It is worldliness that has ravaged nature (instead of placing us as the stewards), disparaged the poor, created a throw-away culture, and in general placed a value on the "economy" above all else.
Selfishness and worldliness all gets back to pride, said Lewis, and pride is the foundation of evil.
There is no compromise. We cannot think that we are smarter than others because we indulge in religion with one set of friends and then socialize with those who are involved in something untoward. Taking the role of "Screwtape" -- a demon instructing a lesser demon on how to corrupt a person -- Lewis warns on living "parallel" lives.
We are either Christians or we are not Christians. We can not hide it. When we hide it, we are not true to ourselves; when we display it, things may get rough, but God will take care of us in a way that is better than what we had before.
Such worldliness tempts us our entire lives and has infiltrated innumerable Catholic circles, where many try to follow Jesus while believing they are smart by imitating the manner and fashions of the world.
Forget it. They mix like oil and water. Does this mean that we reject everyone who doesn't believe as we believe? Does this mean that we all become hermits? Does this mean that we dump friends who won't kneel alongside us?
It means we judge the world wisely and keep our thoughts on Heaven.
It means that we live in the world as ministers and that we remember in all circumstances to minister and never to hide where we come from and to Whom we owe our entire allegiance.
Christmas is a great time to do this -- by making sure we say "Merry Christmas" when others try to take Christ out of His own holy-day!
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