Thursday, August 06, 2009

C. S. Lewis on Demonizing Our Opponents: A Universe of Pure Hatred

"Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred." — C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity: A Revised and Enlarged Edition, With a New Introduction, of the Three Books the Case for Christianity, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality)


Unknown said...

That has always been my favourite passage of Mere Christianity, and often also the most challenging.

Ben said...

Ain't that the truth.