Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“a little religion often does more good than no religion at all”

May 18th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

In 1998 Peter Kreeft published The Snakebite Letters, an updated version of C.S. Lewis’ 1942 classic, The Screwtape Letters.  Where Lewis had Screwtape focus on personal sin as a means of turning souls away from God, Kreeft’s senior demon, Snakebite, suggests that the same end may be achieved through perversion of society and, especially, the Church.

Five years ago put Chapter 1 of the Snakebite Letters online as, I suspect, something of a teaser to drum up new interest in the book. I came across this article recently and the following excerpt caught my attention.

By way of setup, junior demon Braintwister has recently been assigned to a new “Patient” who, it seems, has just converted to Catholicism and senior demon Snakebite is offering his protégé some advice.

There’s little chance your patient will slide back into conscious unbelief anytime soon. But prospects are very good indeed that you can erode his faith to such an extent that he’ll end up even more securely under our influence than a total atheist. How can this can be? Consider the facts:

What happened to him when he believed nothing and knew it? Why, he snapped like a hungry fish right onto the Enemy’s hook! Unbelievers who know they are unbelievers are in constant danger of questioning their own emptiness and considering the alternative in the clear light of day. But unbelievers who think they believe–these are our securest prey. Right now, No. 66,589/ ADFgm is a believer who knows he’s a believer. The goal is to make him an unbeliever who still assumes that he believes.

Therefore, do not attack his faith head-on but rather subvert it, carefully leaving enough residue so that he’ll still think of himself as a believer-an “advanced” or “sophisticated” or “nuanced” or “modern” believer, or even a “dissenter”. But not an unbeliever. Thus he’ll grow increasingly smug, self-satisfied and immune to any more of the Enemy’s blandishments.

You see, a little religion often does more good than no religion at all.

Chapter 1 of The Snakebite Letters may be found here.




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