Sunday, December 13, 2020

Disguised as the Holy Ghost

Walter Hooper sought out essays C.S. Lewis had written for occasional publications and collected many he found in God in the Dock (1970). Today I read Lewis's "Meditation on the Third Commandment" (1941) and some passages seemed particularly relevant to my last post. Lewis is responding to a proposal for an explicitly Christian political party.
.... By the mere act of calling itself the Christian Party it implicitly accuses all Christians who do not join it of apostasy and betrayal. It will be exposed, in an aggravated degree, to that temptation which the Devil spares none of us at any time — the temptation of claiming for our favourite opinions that kind and degree of certainty and authority which really belongs only to our Faith. The danger of mistaking our merely natural, though perhaps legitimate, enthusiasms for holy zeal, is always great. .... The demon inherent in every party is at all times ready enough to disguise himself as the Holy Ghost.... And when once the disguise has succeeded, his commands will presently be taken to abrogate all moral laws and to justify whatever the unbelieving allies of the 'Christian' Party wish to do. If ever Christian men can be brought to think treachery and murder the lawful means of establishing the regime they desire, and faked trials, religious persecution and organized hooliganism the lawful means of maintaining it, it will, surely, be by just such a process as this. The history of the late medieval pseudo-Crusader, of the Covenanters, of the Orangemen, should be remembered. On those who add 'Thus said the Lord' to their merely human utterances descends the doom of a conscience which seems clearer and clearer the more it is loaded with sin.

All this comes from pretending that God has spoken when He has not spoken. ....
C.S. Lewis, "Meditation on the Third Commandment," God in the Dock, 1970.

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