I wonder what C.S. Lewis would have made of our twisted world in which some adherents of a globe-spanning “monotheistic tradition” believe they can enter heaven by spilling the blood of innocents.
Not long ago, a husband and wife in Indonesia, simultaneously attacked three different Christian churches. Yes, three. There, in the world’s largest Islamic nation, they killed all four of their own children to work ISIS-inspired jihad.
The father blew himself up at one church in a car bomb. The two teenage sons exploded at a second congregation. And the woman who had given birth to these willing murders, ushered her 9 and 12 year old daughters into a Christian sanctuary and . . .
CNN has some video related to the incident, accompany their article on the attacks.
The horrific event describe above—the mass murder accomplished by a single family—leaves us speechless. How can this be? How can a group of people be so deceived as to think the suffering of others will purchase their entrance into heaven? How can they wantonly sacrifice their own children on that altar of hatred?
The only answer to these questions is that it is caused by evil. Not confusion, evil. And not even merely evil—but Evil. The precedent for such vile acts go all the way back to humanity’s first family.
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:12)
A dozen victims died that morning. More than forty more were wounded. And this murder/suicide will surely not be the last of its kind.
C.S. Lewis’ View
Lewis was acquainted with evil. He recognized it bears many faces. Yet, it seems to me, that he too would find this murderous abomination incredible. Incredible in its most naked sense—impossible to believe.
I believe Lewis would be stunned. Just like we are.
This is true, despite the fact that Lewis was prescient about the decay of the life-affirming core of civilization. In the words of an insightful article by Richard Weikart:
Many Christians recognize that we are living in a “culture of death,” where—especially in intellectual circles—there is easy acceptance of abortion and increasing support for physician-assisted suicide, infanticide, and euthanasia. . . .
When C.S. Lewis cautioned about the dangers of dehumanizing secular ideologies in The Abolition of Man and his science fiction novel That Hideous Strength . . . on the whole, the intellectual world paid little heed, careening further down the fateful road against which Lewis warned.
Few of us, by God’s mercy, see this sort of evil face-to-face. Military personnel and first responders are more likely to encounter it.
Despite our personal insulation from this violence, we too are targets of the Evil One. However, the tactics he employs against us are usually far more subtle and insidious.
Lewis recognized this well. The Screwtape Letters is his masterful exploration of the way the Devil attempts to corrupt even those among us who do not believe in his existence.
It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts . . .
No one who reads Mere Inkling will be tempted to immolate themselves. Much less to steal the life of innocents. Still, the more conscious we become of this world’s self-destructive inclinations, the better equipped we should become to consciously become life-affirming influences in our cultures.
This, I believe, is our common prayer.