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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Screwtape on Democracy!

During this year, I am using a book of Daily Readings from the works of C.S.Lewis as a part of my personal devotions.  Some of it, of course, is very difficult to fully understand (he was a "rather clever chap"!).  However, there are some of the excerpts that are all too easy to grasp.  Such a one was the reading for today.

It's an excerpt from "Screwtape proposes a toast".  For those who are unfamiliar with any of the works of C.S.Lewis (apart from the Narnia Chronicles, of course!), Screwtape is a senior devil who passes on advice to his juniors (see The Screwtape Letters).  The passage to which I was directed this morning is on the topical topic of Democracy!  Here is the final paragraph:

"You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power.  It is a name they (humans) venerate.  And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men should be equally treated.  You then make a stealthy transition in their minds from this political ideal to a factual belief that all men are equal.  especially the man you are working on.  As a result, you can use the word democracy to sanction in his thought the most degrading(and also the least enjoyable) of all human feelings ... The feeling I mean is of course that which prompts a man to say I'm as good as you.  The first and most obvious advantage is that you thus induce him to enthrone at the centre of his life a good solid resounding lie."

That, it may be argued, is the problem with modern democracy.  It moves the goalposts.  The American Declaration of Independence to which I referred earlier this month, has those well-known words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, ..." However, is this really true?  One does not require the brain of Einstein to know that it is not.  I am certainly not considered by anyone of whom I am aware, to be the "equal" of Bill Gates (certainly not by my bank manager!).  I am not the intellectual equal of Stephen Hawking; I do not have equal political influence to the Prime Minister; I am far from the spiritual equal of many of the believers whom I am privileged to know!

However, in any "democratic" society, I ought to be treated equally with everyone else.  If I commit a crime, I ought to be punished for it - and not "let off" because I am the spouse of a former president of my country, and a current candidate for that same high office.  If I do the same work as my fellow- employee, and do it as well, then I ought to be paid the same rate - and not less on the basis of my gender.  If I spend my spare time helping those who are in difficulties of one kind or another, then I ought to be deemed as worthy of a civil honour as some failed politician, mediocre "celebrity", or "party benefactor"!

This is one of the wonders of the Christian Gospel.  We are all equal, and are treated equally, by Almighty God.  He knows that each one of us (yes, even you!) is a sinner in His sight.  He sees our rebellious nature.  He recognises our attempts to make ourselves the centre of the universe.  Yet He still loves each and everyone of us (yes, even you - again!), equally, and with an everlasting love.  He doesn't love Bill Gates more than He loves me because Bill Gates is a billionaire, and I am never going to be even a mere millionaire.  He doesn't love Stephen Hawking more than He loves me because Stephen Hawking has an IQ of around 160 while I linger at a lowly 125 (last time I checked!).  He doesn't love the Prime Minister more than He loves me because she has an authority that effects the whole of the UK while I have authority over no-one.

There is only our place where we will not be treated equally - because we will not be equal!  That is at the Great White Throne of Judgment.  John records, for us, the great vision he received while he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos: "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it; from His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done." (Rev 20:11-13).

David Robertson, minister of St Peter's Free Church, Dundee, has been mentioned - and quoted - by me before.  I was interested to read (after I had decided to publish a post along these lines) his most recent posting.  It is on the subject of hell, and he also quotes from C.S.Lewis: "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ” “The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." (The Great Divorce).

Are all people created equal?  In the sight of Almighty God, we are - and He treats us as such.

Will all people spend eternity in the same place?  No!  That is the great distinction. The written Word of God (the Bible) makes it perfectly clear.  Those who have established a living, and loving, relationship with Him in this life, through the salvation that is offered in the Lord Jesus, the Christ, will continue in that relationship (enhanced beyond our wildest dreams!) in eternity.  Those who reject - or even neglect, Him here will be rejected by Him on that Day.

Where will you spend eternity?  In the heavenly realm, worshipping the Lamb?  Or will it be in hell, with the devil and all of his minions?   I trust that, as you have read this post, you will have either the assurance of full salvation - or the desire to make that salvation your own.  If the latter, please feel free to contact me at or check out some of the relevant links further down the page.

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