Monday, August 16, 2010

The trouble of being "merely Christian" according to Screwtape (Letter 25 snippet)

My dear Wormwood,

The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. Homer-Simpson-and-the-Stonecutters You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing....

Your affectionate uncle,

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (originally 1942; this edition: Harper Collins, 1996) 135.


  1. Hey, this is a very important reading from Lewis. It is so true! Christians are so easily distracted from the mission Christ has given us. A while ago there was a book about "dangerous detours" which Christians take, off doing what appear to be good things, but things which in fact keep them from doing what is best.

    Thanks for the reminder. We need more Mere Christians today.

  2. I too think Lewis is hitting on something which is very big today. How many Christians are "mere Christians" compared how many are Republican Christians, or anti-abortion Christians, or Green Christians, or in Toronto we even have a group of Christians that don't even believe in the deity of Jesus.

    Perhaps the church is failing in The Mission Christ has given us because we are so busy pursuing so many other secondary causes.

  3. This post means EVERYTHING to me. It's Lewis at his most insightful, and just what I needed to hear today. Thank you, Ken!

  4. This reading from Lewis really speaks to what it means for us to be "Christians." I have friends who are Baptists, a few charismatics, one former Baptist, lots of Anglicans, a slew of Catholics, a couple Adventists and others, but very few who self-identify as "Christians."

    Denomination used to matter a lot to me. Nowadays I am more than content to be merely Christian. I attend an Anglican church, but I can't imagine being called an Anglican! I'd rather just be a Christian and do my best to represent mere Christianity.