A RECENTLY INTERCEPTED PIECE OF INFERNAL CORRESPONDENCE

Dear Wormwood,

It is now more than fifty years since I last wrote. How time flies when things are going well.

My present address causes me some embarrassment. These New Directions people are not my cup of gall. They are very foolish about telling the truth - that is to say, they tell it! And they don't miss a trick. They even have one of the daughters of dear Eve as editor.

So alarmed was our Father Below that he sent me here in case the Enemy establishes a foothold in the Church of England, where (I will not dissemble) we have had it pretty much our own way recently. The danger to us is that they are learning the technique of zero tolerance.

You and others have worked wonders by persuading many of the Enemy's closest supporters to advocate and practise toleration. The leading advocate of tolerance and dialogue in England is none other than their Archbishop himself. You have done well there - continue the good work. He and his peers clearly do not realise that tolerance is only three steps down the road from hate, and a hundred miles from love. And what, after all, are the limits of tolerance?

They even have begun to tolerate - even encourage - some sorts of sin (the personal sort, you understand). You may find that that is small beer; but sin, may I remind you, is sin. When you can get any sin tolerated, it warms the heart of our Father Below.

Having managed to make people tolerant, you may feel it wise to get them to enter into dialogue with the partisans of sin. So inadequate has been the teaching of moral philosophy in their theological colleges of late that a few hours' dialogue with a really committed sinner can persuade almost any bishop of the intellectual validity of his interlocutor's argument. (Or at least, if he does detect a fault, he will be too polite to point it out.)

They keep the rough edge of their tongue for our enemies, those wretched clergy and people who keep going on about fidelity to the Apostolic Faith.

I am convinced that tolerance and dialogue will prove to be invaluable weapons. They are born, after all, out of indifference to the real issue; which is WHO GETS THE PERSON'S SOUL - the Enemy or our Father Below. Concentrate your efforts there. I remember writing to you in my first letter (all those years ago) that you should major on feelings, and draw people's minds away from clear rational thought. Plus ca change, plus qu'il reste la mÍme chose...

Meanwhile, I am having some mild success with these Forward in Faith people, making them feel guilty about distancing themselves from others who are (whatever one thinks of their belief or lack of it) thoroughly amiable for the most part. If we can turn 'being nice' into a cast-iron, recognised virtue, we may establish a bridgehead from which we can very effectively counter-attack.

I have, of course, trawled the usual temptations of worldly glory and high office past them, but they just laughed at me. I suppose it was fairly unbelievable under the circumstances!

 

Your affectionate uncle
Screwtape.

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