Thoughts Before the Dawn

What is Truth? Most people like to think they know what is true, especially in this present age: to each his (or her or zir) own.

But the Truth, when it does come to us, is often so strange, so unexpected, so disruptive, so offensive, so revealing that it causes one of several reactions.

A few recognize it immediately and drop everything they’re doing to know more. For them, it is life-changing.

Others accept it as one of many truths, adding it to their collection, gathered like so many coffee-table books, to be thumbed through from time to time and referred to at cocktail parties or play dates, unaware that it contradicts everything else they like to talk about.

Perhaps the great majority feign interest for a while but become distracted by the business of life. To them, the truth is an uncomfortable inconvenience, better left to another day, maybe another season in life. That is, until the next catastrophic event, when they try to remember what it was, but can’t quite recall.

Still others, however, are deeply troubled by it. They have one of two reactions, especially when the truth threatens to disrupt their lives, to interfere with what it is they think they know. They either scoff, deem it foolishness and wash their hands of it; or they seek to destroy it, and will stop at nothing until they do. 

No matter what, however, the Truth lives on forever, unchanged and unchanging, whether we know it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we pay it any mind.

Such is the story of Easter, the gospel Truth.

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Well Done, Nephew

My Dearest Wormwood,

You have, at long last, redeemed yourself in the eyes of your adoring uncle. I had all but lost hope, poppen. Your latest report pleases me, almost beyond words.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten your efforts to draw our patient out of his church, although it took far longer than it should have. Indeed, you have competently succeeded to convince him, despite the urging of the Enemy, that he needn’t bother to attend, or to observe any longer the ancient relics of tradition in his worship. He has finally come to realize that he is, as Our Father Below would have it, “a god unto himself.” He worships as he chooses nowadays, which usually is not at all. When he does worship, it is on his own terms. Well and good. We’ll take what we can get, at least for now. I commend you for that success.

However, let us focus on this pesky thing called “freedom,” which has always been a bit of a nuisance, and to which you have, at least until now, paid far too little attention. Yet, what a brilliant inspiration by your former preceptor, the inimitable Slubgob, who has managed to shut down the freedom of the entire world through fear, with the use of a tiny microbe. Magnificent. Even beyond limiting commerce and industry to the point where our patient is likely to suffer future deprivation, and perhaps even starvation (dare we imagine?), Slubgob has deftly convinced those in charge to shutter the churches, so these so-called Christians could not worship freely if they wanted to. If only he had taught you to be so resourceful. I do now expect you, my dear nephew, to make the most of the situation, before our patient comes to his senses. As I have said many times, never allow a good crisis to go to waste.

Fortunately for us, until the present our subject has used his freedom, such as it is, for his own selfish purposes, which has worked to our advantage in so many ways. Yet, these things can so easily get out of hand. It has always been of great concern to me that he would someday recognize that his quaint notion of liberty (which we would commonly refer to as “license”) hardly comports to the freedom offered by the Oppressor, who likes to think of himself as the author of freedom, yet demands that it only come through obedience to him, alone. Been there, done that, as they say. Such freedom is as much a self-contradiction as the notion of love. What utter nonsense; yet humans can be so gullible, as we know. 

Happily, our patient’s seemingly insatiable desire for freedom (which thankfully seemed to peak in the last century) has at last been exceeded by his desire for security, lately because of this new virus. Such has been our plan all along, as you know. We now have him enthralled. He has made his “choice,” as it were. Those in power, under the leadership of the High Command, will find him much more compliant today than in the past, I venture to posit. 

Meantime, I leave it to you to exploit the acute “social distancing” (what a delightful term) to which he has subjected himself at the behest of those in authority. You must take every opportunity to make it appear that this tactic of isolation is for his own good and for the good of others. Whatever you do, keep him mindful that he must remain in isolation from others, so he cannot possibly join with them to conduct the so-called higher “civic duty” (what idiocy) of caring for those in need and protecting those who are most vulnerable in society, et cetera. 

Again, I leave it to you, nephew. I look forward with great relish to your next report. I am quite sure that you do not wish to disappoint me again, Wormwood. Need I remind you what happened the last time? 

Your affectionate uncle,

//S: Screwtape

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