I have received an email upbraiding me for an essay I wrote for WORLD titled "Matrix Re-reloaded." The sender writes, in part, "I'd swear you were taking credit for 9/11 and the whole financial mess." He cites, with particular disapproval, this excerpt from my column: "September 2001 and September 2007 were close calls---engineered by our best minds but twisted, as usual, by the Enemy for his own purposes."
I had to chuckle. I am no C.S. Lewis but it was fun to share the hot seat with him for a moment, and over precisely the same misunderstanding that he precipitated 60 years ago when The Screwtape Letters was published in serial form in a British newspaper. Lewis reports on the exhausting undertaking that it was to write an entire book from the perspective of the devil, climbing into and inhabiting the mind of Evil itself for a season. The author recalls:
It was during the second German War that the letters of Screwtape appeared in (now extinct) The Guardian. I hope they did not hasten its death, but they certainly lost it one reader. A country clergyman wrote to the editor, withdrawing his subscription on the ground that "much of the advice given in these letters seemed to him not only erroneous but positively diabolical."
Lewis was glad to report that "in general" the fictional work was well received---which, come to think of it, is the best any writer can hope for.
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