Friday, November 1, 2013

A Voice from the Past - Lewis

(advice of an expert devil to a junior devil on tempting his human charge)

I don't mean on really doctrinal issues; about those, the more lukewarm he is the better. And it isn't the doctrines on which we chiefly depend for producing malice. The real fun is working up hatred between those who say 'mass' and those who say 'holy communion' when neither party could possibly state the difference between, say, Hooker's doctrine and Thomas Aquinas', in any form which would hold water for five minutes.

C. S, Lewis, 1898-1963, The Screwtape Letters, Letter 16, Harper, San Francisco, 1996, p. 84)

Is there a tendency like this for people to argue over words they do not understand? How can we avoid it?


  1. I think that there is a tendency Mike. I like to discuss and debate. I don't really like to argue but I do find myself arguing when I lose sight of the discussion and take things personally. Maybe the way to avoid arguing is to not identify too closely with our theological point of view?

  2. I agree it helps if I can avoid taking things personally. I find it helps if I see if is not primarily about me, but I am representing a position which sincere people through the ages have held positions on both sides and they are merely taking another side in the controversy and are not really attacking me in particular.