This short essay is an homage to C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters. A creative writing exercise from an undergraduate course.

By Arthur Kettelhut

Dearest Youngblood,

            I write to you now in the further instruction of leading your fresh charge to the rule of our father below. Be grateful for the task at hand, for it is much easier to sway humans away from our enemy in this time. I reflect on my nephew’s tutelage during a time of global strife, yet even he did not have the raw materials you wield. The proliferation of man’s communication mechanisms serves our purposes well. Use them all, for each has an insidious side-effect in causing doubt for the convert’s mind. On these details, I will further instruct you toward our mutually satisfactory goal.

            I hear your young female Jane begins her spiritual journey as a student at a friendly university with the enemy. Do not despair on this detail. The higher the human is toward seeking our enemy’s attention, the further they have to fall. Our father below receives more victories that taste sweet from the ranks of the Christian than the atheist! Your brothers, in revulsion, use every vile method and distraction to pick away at their infecting faith slowly. The lake of fire awaits your subject if you continue to focus on supposedly mundane details in her daily life.

            Let’s proceed through a typical day in Jane’s life to reflect on how she can pick at her scabs until they bleed. When she first arises, the human will think about their daily lot under the inflicted rule of our enemy. We want her to feel first of her daily duties toward her narcissism by checking her social media and using this metric to assess her worth. Despite her residency on an occupied campus, whisper her assurances that her morning prayers are not fashionable. She should instead think about her meal, her classes, or her social interests. Any text she receives during the sleeping hours must have a response. The tools of their small phone devices work to serve our interests, encourage them at all times. We set the tone of her day away from the enemy by reminding her these apps matter more than the object of her alleged worship.

            As Jane begins mentally staging the frame of mind for her classes, remind her of the party or her date tonight. See to this for all categories, but especially use these distractions in the instructions of the rules of our enemy. She must not consider the will of our opponent. Hell forbid if she uses prayer for guidance! During study or lecture, let doubt seep in through the conscious cracks. Remind her she isn’t worthy of knowing or studying our adversary. Take her mind to the pleasures and comforts of home to reminisce on her days of little responsibility. It is essential to fuel the fires of her self-doubt slowly, so they accumulate in the subconscious.

            Never underestimate the power of the frantic pace of a human’s life. They run to and fro, concerning themselves with all sorts of trivial matters. This pace will produce in them an anxiousness and a state of despair if you stage it properly. They must remain in this state of frenzy to our advantage. Jane must always believe she can handle anything put before her, and failing to do so is her weakness. As I hope you know by now, discourage any thought in seeking counsel in their vile book when she feels anxious or maudlin. At all times, Youngblood encourage her to consider only her alleged ideas with the aid of your whispers. Increase the pace of her day, thus increasing her susceptibility to our influence.

            Our discussion considers the human tendency toward emotional low points. While these are valuable for our cause, positive thoughts can also be your tool.  Use Jane’s vanity and self-confidence carefully to build her self-reliance and self-esteem. The admiration of her reflection in the mirror will focus her gaze inward as we desire. My dear Youngblood’s goal is to turn the attention toward themselves, their peers, or even their world, regardless of their mental state. Never must their attention gaze toward our adversary. On this point, I cannot be clear enough. Your target will possess many sources of counsel that could prove disastrous for us if she uses them. Continue to emphasize her self-reliance is paramount in all matters.

            When her day nears completion, and we have confirmed no activity directed toward our enemy, our challenge continues. The close of her day will often involve social interaction. We can use this by influencing her view of her world. Now that she is off at college and distant from those insidious parental influences, we focus on moral relativity. In her discourse with fellow students, she will often find the conflated reasoning that promotes secular humanism. In her mind, you will whisper that, of course, there can be many paths to our opponent. Convince her that every religion can be right, taking nothing from the attributes of the one with the inflated ego. Her ongoing conversations with fellow students can help reinforce doubt. While it is wise to consider an idea and not accept it, we must discourage the dismissal out-of-hand of any opinion against our plans.

            So, my dear Youngblood, you can use many sources for the ultimate distraction of the modern student. Unlike times past, Jane may even come from a family that doesn’t follow the enemy’s advice (Satan willing). Unlike the time my nephew Wormwood enjoyed, you will have the advantage of your charge being raised in the influence of the media and the many tools of their social networks. These networks provide invaluable aid in our cause. They sow the seeds of doubt, victimization, dependence, and bad psychological advice. What more could we want? In the end, never rely solely on these advantages. The human mind can be more cunning than we would desire. The current generation is unique in that they have more poor examples to improve upon than most any other. If they are genuinely aware of their imperfect world, they can go to our camp. So we must keep their introspection on the mundane matters of daily living accompanied by self-doubt. We still have the advantage, so use it wisely in your pursuit of their fate. Our father below demands no less.