Efficient Windows

Efficient Windows

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Screwtape Afternoon tea and Biscuits Session

The Screwtape Afternoon Tea and Biscuits Session

I wrote this for a class at Indiana Wesleyan

“Ah my dear Professor Lewis, please join me for a spot of tea.’’

“A spot of tea you say, sorry for my laughter, Old Sport, you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suite you. Priceless Professor Lewis, you are a man of simple pleasures and great talents. I toast you. I have some biscuits here also; freshly baked by the Oxford Ladies Auxiliary, in honor just for you.”

“Oh this meat in my jacket pocket? This, my dear Clive, if I can be so bold, is a recipe that I have entitled, Wormwood Jerk. I find its taste satisfactory, but your palette would not find it acceptable.”

“Oh I beg your pardon, Professor Lewis. I was hoping to get to know you better. You want to remain formal, it shall be. I humbly offer my regrets. If you would like to join me for a drink after the Socratic Club meeting this Wednesday I will share the story behind it. You will find it remarkable. I again find myself needing to ask your forgiveness. I do not desire to make you uncomfortable around me. You do not agree with my research or maybe my person even. I wanted to ask you about your lectures on the BBC. We are living in such trying times, yes? I admire you in wanting to bring some hope and comfort to those so desperately in need.”

“You are welcome; let me ask do you truly believe man has a universal law of nature written on his heart. It seems to me man is a very selfish and simple creature and respect for the law must be beaten into him with fear and propaganda. What about sin? It appears to me that man can be turned from this heart written law relatively easily. All one has to do to fail is to walk into a church. If a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. The search for a "suitable" church makes the man a critic where God wants him to be a pupil. If someone sings off key, their clothes are wrinkled, or cough during prayer, all give the person to have the thought, at least I am not like that. One thought, and the law is violated.”

“You say my dear Professor that all societies throughout time have had the same basic foundations on how people behave to one another. I can agree with that.” It is when man dehumanizes another race or peoples when the same laws that drive their own society is not bestowed on an enemy.”

 “Yes, yes, yes, you are correct. This natural law is common throughout all peoples and races. I wonder does anyone keep the law. My research demonstrates that to turn away from this law is easy.  It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. Wasn’t it your Jesus who said to want someone to die is equivalent to murdering them themselves? To think it is to do it.  No one could keep the law, impossible, thank the master.”

“An old acquaintance of mine, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, it does not exist.”Are morals different between societies? Are we to say what Germany does within their own borders is their business. We do not want it. Why not live and let live.”

“No Professor Lewis, I am not saying they have the right to bomb us. We fight because it is an offence against us. If they would have honored the treaties then do we have any right to judge their behavior within their borders? They believe they have evolved into the master race. Their morals and natural law would have evolved along with them. Who is to say they are not the moderns, and we are ancient and obsolete.”

“Ok, I will agree with you no one wants to be murdered, raped, or enslaved. We should be kind, honest, and helpful.  I am sorry, for the coughing, something was stuck in my throat; it may have been an almond from the biscuit. Thank you for understanding. Let me re mediate the rest of your statement. ‘The morality inside each individual.  What is the good of drawing up, on paper, rules for social behavior, if we know that, in fact, our greed, cowardice, ill temper, and self-conceit are going to prevent us from keeping them? You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society. So you are telling me that if a man or woman does not have a moral interior compass or foundation, then they will eventually ignore the law and society and relationships will suffer.’ “

“Thank you for spending this time with Professor Lewis. You speak powerful words. if I could quote, ‘And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another.’  I may study and research it; it may prove helpful for my education students in the near future”

“Good day professor, good health I look forward to sharing a drink with you and telling my story this Wednesday eve.”

Lewis, C.S. (1941) Quotes from The Screwtape Letters Retrieved April 5, 2014 from http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/philosophy/ph0036.htm
Lewis, C.S. (1944) Quotes from Mere Christianity Retrieved April 5, 2014 from http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/civilization/cc0109.html
Lewis C.S. Quotes retrieved April 5. 2014 from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2467-you-can-never-get-a-cup-of-tea-large-enough

Editors Note; One may ask how could Professor Screwtape be asking Professor Lewis to meet him after the meeting of  The Socratic Club when the Screwtape Letters was published in 1941 and the Socratic Club did not start meeting until 1942? We think that ‘time’ for Screwtape may not be lineal; which sounds a good as any excuse we could make up.