The following is a transcript from a lecture given by His Lowness Loterior the Lesser to the underlings in the class of 2019.
The location: Hell
How to Undermine a Christian’s Faith in 5 Easy Steps
Good evening students. Please make every effort to follow along in your notes. The test will be in all points taken directly from my remarks here. The following steps have been successful in all times and all places. Take care that you memorize and internalize the concepts as they will ensure your induction into the Dark Arts.
#1 Timing is Everything
The human subject often makes a decision to follow You-Know-Who in a moment of weakness. It is our job to undermine that faith at every opportunity. Our Enemy is more powerful than even our imaginations can comprehend. Take care then, that you use caution in every endeavor.
To launch an offensive on a human’s faith, it is best to begin after a they have made a ‘grand assertion’ or had some spiritual triumph. I use as an example my latest case study. (coughs modestly) My subject, a woman of faith (scoffs) for 56 years, apparently claimed to have ‘heard’ the word ‘joy’ in her heart projected for the year 2019. She then stood up amongst her peers at a faith gathering explaining this, and boldly proclaimed, “I will be joyful in 2019!”
Shortly thereafter we staged a very confusing and debilitating illness which neither the doctors nor the patient can fully understand. She is currently under the care of three doctors, none of whom have been able to successfully cure her, and indeed if they do, it will not be immediate if we have anything to do with it. It was a perfect storm. (Pauses, placing fingertips together, and smiles blissfully) But I digress. To repeat, rule number 1 is Timing is Everything.
The best time to plan an offensive is when the subject least expects it. After such a declaration there is a sense of accomplishment, of pride that one has publicly made his or her mettle. The disappointment and sense of betrayal by You-know-Who will be felt most keenly then. You can achieve optimum results from the sheer shock of it all. After all, what kind of a God would toy with His children as a cat with a mouse? We certainly know no such Being.
# 2 Know Your Subject
It is imperative that you know your subject. To continue my example of the current case, this particular subject is a woman who craves to understand, to learn, to know. In short, she is the perfect candidate for confusion. It is not so much the illness that distresses her, but the feeling that it struck ‘out of the blue’ with no hope of discovering the origin. So we chose an obscure illness with nasty side effects that keep her barely working every day so that she is just sick enough to be miserable and worried about what is wrong with her, but not ill enough to need bedrest for full recovery. There is almost always, thankfully, an issue of money for treatment with these humans and in this case it is delightfully uncertain. So, you see how this can play into the ‘Joy’ manifesto? If she had a hangnail that she couldn’t understand the hangnail would be the least of her problems. Soon she may learn that her love of knowledge clouds her devotion to God, which was the foundation for the Fall as we know, and then we may have to change our tactic. This leads to our third rule.
# 3 Attack the Thirst for Wisdom.
There is an insatiable craving for wisdom in the human heart that can be used for our purposes or, (Ahem) His. Indeed, He has told them to ask for wisdom, and as we all know they certainly lack it. (Rolls eyes)
Many humans imagine that asking for wisdom is like some easy door they will be able to open and walk through. But the path to wisdom is windy and often rocky, or so we assume, because it is leading to learning from one level to another and many of the deepest and most profound discoveries are achieved at the expense of the ego not during the preening of it. It is a bit like the old joke about the man who asked for patience to whom You-know-who replied, ‘Wait for it.’
So, our strategy is to keep them from asking for the next right thing, for any positive tangible step forward. Make wisdom the all-inclusive answer that will also alleviate immediate pain. That way it will forever elude them. Such fantasies are the stuff we pride ourselves in.
# 4 Isolate the Subject
Under NO circumstances should you allow your subject to have normal dependent relationships. This is death to any offensive. I take as my example the disastrous tale of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. This we consider an epic failure. But mistakes are to be learned from. If those humans had been made to cross the sea one at a time much more could have been exploited. One human alone with her fears is nothing to two, and what of two or more? You must not make this mistake. Plant in the world around them—many resources are available—the idea that one must go it alone. My subject is a perfect candidate for this. A classic firstborn, she has always considered herself a helper and not one who needs help. Most of our success lies in the fact that she has not built sufficient friendship and community to gain support. But be careful, desperate subjects learn this quickly. You can always plant a few ineffective and self-absorbed friends who are absolutely no help at all, or in the best-case scenario, a family member whose personality brings more confusion. (Rubs hands with glee)
Under no circumstances should you allow the subject to find others who can both sympathize and confront lovingly. Keep the subject brooding with little to do but think over his catastrophe, thereby building splendid negative neuropaths in the brain that can be travelled ad infinitum.
# 5 Use Holy Scriptures to Baffle
Number four is so brilliant I could wish I thought it up myself. Alas, it has been used for centuries by His Ultimate Lowness and even on the Divine himself. Remember how he tempted Him with legitimate words spoken by You-Know-Who? One can find a scripture for everything—even our own evil ends, if only the intention is carefully hidden, the motive disguised. Let your subject ruminate on scripture, by all means. Keep them away from the simpler ones about trusting Him. Instead, keep them wondering over obscure passages that scholars have puzzled out for centuries. They barely ever truly understand much of it anyway. It is a mystery as He is a mystery. If they see no unfathomable grandeur behind it, and do not bow their heart, it is harmless. And this leads us to number 5.
#5 Beware the Bowed Heart Above All.
We are entering now into uncharted territory. All indications suggest that subjects who undertake repeated and meaningful steps to surrender to You-Know-Who are beyond our reach. Until, of course, they begin to second-guess their decision and doubt creeps in. This inevitable. For as we know, surrender is an act of the will and not necessarily, and certainly not always, an emotion. But as long as they don’t realize that we have the upper (Smiles) or should I say the lower? hand. It is best when the first attempt to surrender is made that we launch an attack on the feelings. The subject must be made to question the validity of that first surrender at every pass. This can also effectively be done by introducing new circumstances that must again be surrendered. The more persistent the surrender the more relentless the circumstances must arise. You must keep up the barrage at all times of the day or night. Night is particularly useful for the Prince of Darkness. (Smirks)
In my current case I’ve arranged a nasty stew of domestic complications, money worries, along with a sprinkling of the inconvenience of having to change the diet due to heath concerns. When the natural comforts of food and home are removed wonderful results can be achieved. Take care your subject does not discover he or she must surrender those as well. Keep them thinking, ‘After all, it is 2019, one has limits, and surely He would not ask me to be some kind of martyr’.
In conclusion, I offer one parting nugget of advice. This is a freebie. (Bows modestly) Above all else guard your subjects from the idea that something good is being created behind the scenes of every disaster. This hope strengthens surrender like nothing else.
The idea for this post was borrowed respectfully and humbly from Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, no offense intended to that great man’s genius.