Friday, August 05, 2011

Devilish Advice for Keeping People from Becoming Christians

I note what you say about guiding your patient's reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïve? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy's clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning.

But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily "true" or "false," but as "academic" or "practical," "outworn" or "contemporary," "conventional" or "ruthless." Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous--that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about.


B. Prokop said...

How quaint Screwtape's use of the term "weekly press" sounds today. Just imagine the havoc he could have created with his patient, had he access to the internet, instant messaging, and never-ending cable news channels!

Hmmm... I guess we don't have to imagine. We're seeing the results all around us.

Anonymous said...

Victor I realize this is not directly relevant to the quote in the OP, but ... speaking about materialism and keeping people from joining the Church ... I want to recommend, and *very much so*, listening to
Jennifer Fulwiler's story
(45 min), a long- life atheist who converted to the Catholic Church. It's really good (definitely will ring a bell, in terms of New-atheist type of thinking) and she tells her story in such a natural, relatable way.

Ilíon said...

This seems an appropriate place to post this --

Mr Reppert, you may be interested (or amused) by this attempt to refute my version of the AfR, and perhaps by the comments it has received.