My Dear Headmaster,
I am flattered and humbled to find that my proposed curriculum has attracted much attention, even so much as to pique the interest of Screwtape himself. I am proud to say that these methods have yielded excellent results in America, and I believe they would prove useful in training up our youth at Underworld University. Allow me to highlight the core classes and summarize each of them briefly for your consideration. I have thousands of success stories to back the effectiveness of these techniques, and I would be happy to appear before the committee to present the ideas personally. Paired with other standard core classes such as Complacency and Entitlement, I assure you, these make a deadly combination that many in the Enemy’s clutches cannot resist. So without further ado, here are my recommendations.
1. Affluence. In other parts of the world we have tried the opposite of this–poverty. Yet I cannot help but note with a bit of alarm that very often the Enemy’s servants are quite willing to live with less. We’ve even paired physical persecution with poverty, but alas, the strategy has not proven as effective as we’d hoped. The weaker servants of the Enemy fall away, yes, but those firmly in His clutches hold tighter still to His inane promises of how suffering on earth will give way to eternal glory in Paradise. Such poppycock! But they fall for it nonetheless and gladly endure poverty and suffering, even to the point where some of our own defect to the cause. We have seen far too many painful examples of persecutors turning from our side to the Enemy’s. But affluence is another matter entirely. I have found a delightful paradox at play here–the more money a patient has, the less charitable he tends to be. This is especially true of those in the middle-class. Although the American middle-class has more money than most of the rest of the world, many are refreshingly tight-fisted. Remind them that they need to save for vacations, college educations, retirement, and just plain old pleasure. Tantalize them with all the “toys” out there–bigger cars, better homes, summer cottages, new clothes, the latest technology–the list goes on and on. Convince them that they cannot possibly save the world and so there’s no need to bother contributing to charity or even worse, the Enemy’s Church. I cackle with delight when an Enemy’s servant splurges on an outing to the spa or the country club one day and then slips a five-dollar bill into the offering plate the next. Indeed, the mindset is starting to take root that material wealth and possessions are far more to be desired than helping one’s neighbor or supporting the wretched Church.
2. Busyness. I find that busyness goes hand in hand with affluence. Those patients who can afford it (and those who pretend they can) will keep themselves busy with everything from their toys to their activities. Parents will put their children in every conceivable activity–sports, music, drama, dance, summer camps, and so on. Throw in both parents holding full-time jobs and volunteering for worthy causes, and they’ll quickly fray. Yes, even encourage church activities. All the better! They burn out and get resentful that everyone takes them for granted and that their service in the Enemy’s cause really isn’t worth it. Patients buckle under the stress of jobs, running their children from one thing to the next, volunteering, meetings, cooking, cleaning, socializing, and trying to figure out how to squeeze in family time to “relax.” It’s quite amusing, in fact. Some even choose to blog about their chaotic lifestyle, ironically adding more to their workload. Hold up one more tantalizing activity in front of them, and their eyes widen–I must have this, even though I cannot possibly fit in one more commitment. But patience is critical here. Slowly build up a patient’s stress level and eventually they will cave in. Church attendance will slip and sometimes fall into neglect altogether. Private and family devotions and personal prayer are among the first casualties as well. Convince them that if they listen to a semi-religious podcast or radio station during the week that this is good enough to feed their “spiritual” needs. Trust me, many in the Enemy’s camp have slipped into complacency and indifference as a direct result of the busyness of their lives.
3. Technology. This is a wonderful tool that has been efficiently wielded by many in our cause. With the continued advance of technology and the increasing access patients have to the Internet, it is quite possible to lure them in for hours at a time, shutting others out entirely as the hours fly by. It is not difficult to convince them that technology is imperative to their enjoyment of life. There are so many different ways to use technology to our advantage that it really merits four classes–one for each year of instruction. Start with Movies and TV to dull their sense of morality by constant bombardment of swearing, violence, and promiscuity. Then move on to Social Media, which is a goldmine of opportunity. This flows naturally into Addiction–patients become obsessed with social media, blogs, gaming, and the like, that they don’t realize they are addicted to the glowing screen. I have seen entire families ignore one another while staring at their own technological devices at a so-called family meal. What a glorious sight to behold! And top all that with a class on Vices, and you have a winning combination. Admittedly, this one is a challenge, especially for staunch servants of the Enemy who are instilled with a strong sense of the Enemy’s standards. But I can cite for you a number of success stories where even such servants eventually cave in to online temptations. Pornography tops the list. They naively believe no harm can come from it, so if a pop-up from a website flashes across their screen enough times, they just might click on it out of curiosity. And then the rest, as we say, is history.
4. Tolerance. I’ve saved the best for last. This strategy has proven wildly effective, even beyond the predictions of some of our seasoned field workers. But it is imperative that this be an upper-level class. Patients can only be effectively indoctrinated once they have bought into the notion that the media is accurately portraying the feelings and beliefs of the majority of the country. They must see that many people are promoting tolerance on social media and that those who disagree are immediately and forcefully condemned. To my great delight, even entire church bodies have wholeheartedly accepted behaviors and lifestyles that are explicitly forbidden in the Enemy’s Handbook, all under the guise of “Christian love.” Naturally, those who are loyal servants of the Enemy will not be easily persuaded, but they can be made examples to the weaker servants. Slander their reputation and livelihood and so thoroughly chew them up that others are shamed into silence and acceptance. Human beings are incredibly prideful and often even the threat of being mocked is enough to cause them to keep their opinions to themselves. Introduce tolerance slowly enough that they buy one white lie after another, rather than feeding it to them all at once. Their consciences will be silenced ever so slowly, and it becomes that much easier to win the patient to our cause.
As for electives, I see no need to change the course offerings on Resentment, Discontent, and Family Relationships, but I suggest adding Relevancy as well. The Enemy’s subjects can be surprisingly eager to throw out His Handbook in favor of topics they consider to be more “relevant” to their daily lives. They claim they tire of hearing the same message every Sunday, namely that of His Incarnation and Passion. This is wonderful news for us, since we know the power that unfortunate episode holds over us. But His servants need not know that. Let them believe there is more value in hearing positive and upbeat sermons about how they can lead better lives on this earth. Basically, keep the focus on themselves and what they can do, rather than on the Enemy and what He has done.
I could go on, but I understand you are busy in considering all your options for next year’s curriculum. Thank you for the opportunity to explain my proposal, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or for further clarification.
Your humble servant,
Photo is Stacked by jev55
May 1, 2017 at 10:05 am
Always read your blogs, Ruth. Always find them provocative. Was introduced to ‘Screwtape Letters’ by our first Pastor, Clifford Brueggemann. He even called his black cat ‘Screwtape.’
May 2, 2017 at 3:07 pm
Wonderful parody to Screwtape Ruth!!