The Irrelevant Letter
Examine your life!
What would anyone think if I said Screwtape’s twenty-ninth letter is now completely irrelevant? My statement is not given because the letter’s backdrop is WWII. Nor is it made because there was an epic fail in understanding human nature. Neither is it made because the concepts of fear, hatred, courage, cowardice, despair, virtue, forgiveness, and mercy no longer hold meaning. Something else has changed.
Screwtape does get in some good zingers, some valid insights before the letter becomes irrelevant. Tempters cannot create a virtue. So he cautions his tempter nephew to remember that allowing the introduction of virtue, even to bolster an evil stance, is to begin playing on God’s ground. However, a virtuoso tempter can add to a virtue in ways that twist it into something unrecognizable from its original intention and state. That is usually done by the careful splitting of hairs in order to introduce elements of…
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