Screwtape The Third: Adversary-al

ghost of jesus of nazareth at the door, asking to come in“So why are you showing me this, Wormsap? It’s just another piece of [ptui!] the Adversary’s propaganda. There’s enough of it – for all the good it seems to be doing old lock-Jah, given events topside. I thought you had those events under control.”

“Um, n-no, Master Screwtape. This isn’t an example of [ptui!] the Adversary’s propaganda. It’s an example of ours!

“It is? Where’s the evil in it?”

“I-I think I can tell you that, s-sir. You’ll recall the [ptui!] Adversary’s cover story, that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, a Semite. At the very best, he was half-Roman. Now, to be sure, the producer of this image has tried to soft-focus it, but that’s still a very Nordic image of Jesus, is it not?”

“It looks like Viggo Mortensen in a robe. So?”

“So the ones who accept this image as authentic have, in essence, accepted Aryan racist ideology. “Image of God” and all that, y’know. All that’s wanting on their contracts with us are their signatures.”

“This is not news.”

“Y-yes sir. But for those who see through this trap but then don’t ask ‘Which Jesus am I getting?’, our agents are ready. And which Jesus are they getting? The one who made no claims for himself, or the one who, according to that publicist the topsiders now call ‘John’, every claim for himself? The one who healed people – when and where everyone could see him perform [heh] – or the one who tore his disciples, his own people, a new asshole every time they dared to ask a question he thought was stupid? To say nothing about how he flamed his actual enemies? Hey dude, how’d you like to be a fig tree out of season when His Messiahness is hungry, huh?”

“So you think we’ve got them no matter what, huh? If they believe the [ptui!] Adversary’s lies or they don’t, you’re still closing them on choice properties in H.E.L.L., huh? You think you’re so smart, Wormsap. Well, you ain’t. None of this is news, either. You want news? I’ll give you news. The Adversary’s here!


“Right here, right now, in closed session with Lucifer Himself.”

“But … but …”

“But nothing. Lucifer used to be Jahweh’s right hand. HaSatan, they called him, or something like that. He was HR Director of High Elysium Apartment and Vacation Estate Network, with a seat on the Board. They go way back. Way before Hadean Estates Luxurious Living was even a glimmer in the Boss’s eye. Or any of its previous incarnations. But so help me, if a whisper of this gets out into the torturers barracks, I’ll soak your inconsequential carcass in lilac perfume!!



“B..b..b..b..bbut why? H.E.A.V.E.N. and H.E.L.L. have been competing for hearts and souls since there were hearts and souls to compete for! What can the [ptui!] Adversary want from us? What can we want from him?!?

“A deal, obviously. Because our problem’s not Jahweh, and Jahweh’s problem’s not us. Not any more.”


“You heard me. The Adversary’s not the Adversary any more. Because he overlooked something. And so did you! Our true Adversary is the one who, thanks to your little tricks, sees no value in contracts with either of us! Who tells his clients, who should be our clients, that they can live their lives, and live them well, without Jahweh, by any of his names, or Lucifer, by any of his. Without either H.E.A.V.E.N. or H.E.L.L. And this, you blessed devil, is a disaster!

“Because we won’t secure any more contracts, and therefore won’t be able to fund our expansions?”

“Because, you fool, without the active support, the active belief, of the topsiders, all that we have here evaporates! Including you. And, bless it, me. And Lucifer. And Jahweh. We all vanish!! And these Adversaries – these atheists, these humanists – are gaining on us! Why else would Jahweh and Lucifer put aside their differences? Why else would Jahweh come himself instead of sending that Jesus creep like he did two millennia ago, topside time? This is a top-level emergency, Wormsap! What are you going to do about it!?!”

“Is … is it … possible?

What’s possible??”

“T-t-tthat even the High Bosses haven’t s-seen it?”

Seen what?!?

“T-t-that these humanists are utterly dependent on one thing?”

“What’s that??

“S-science, Master. Its principles, its practice, and, above all, its accomplishments. We had to tear down most of the Hall of Fornication, remember? Because scientific advances in birth and disease control, not to mention the machines that reduced the braun differential to the point where women could work at most jobs as efficiently as men, led to a pronounced downturn in the contracts available from that source – which could only partially be reclaimed by the Divorce Dormitory renovations. Science is the principal pillar upon which humanism stands. Tear down the one and you destroy the other.”


“So science is hard. It has to be, because it involves changing the way a topsider thinks, to start with, and because, as science progresses, there’s progressively more of it to master. Which means that more and more topsiders find it too hard and give up on it, and the gap gets ever wider between those who are on top of the science and everyone else. There is no way around this, and those who preach otherwise just play into our hands. Somewhere in our College of Charlatans is the shade of this English fellow Clarke, who once wrote ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. And that is its weakness!


“You portray the scientists as magicians. Corrupt magicians, who are wielding their magic for their own ends, their own profits.

“Our clients are much more likely to heed this message than the truth, especially as the truth becomes progressively more incomprehensible without ever longer, and ever more poorly paid, study and experience. And, it becomes progressively more at odds with what our clients demand. Like, for instance, their refusal to hear the truth about climate change, and how they will have to change to be able to do anything about it. Far more comforting to hear that the climate change scientists are corrupt liars, and sure it’s OK to upgrade your compact car to a big SUV. Sure it’s OK to enrich the peddlers of quack nostrums instead of the providers of safe and maximally effective medicines.

“And because the scientists are properly too busy keeping up with the science, you deny them the time and the skills to properly propagandize themselves. No ‘elite’ group long survives without a bond of trust between that group and the society it serves. Bust that trust, and you’ve busted the group. Bust scientists, and you’ve busted the humanists.”

“And you are doing what about this?!?”

“Have you not observed, Master Screwtape, that all of the uprisings of the world, from ISIS and Boko Haram to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, are explicitly anti-science? How most of them, for example, aim to subjugate women, and everyone else not ‘canonically male’, by destroying the science upon which their liberation depends? To drive the poorer nations of the world into submission, if not extinction, by destroying the science upon which their foodstuffs and energy supplies depend?!? And just who do you think is behind all this, ha? Whose agents are inciting this? Whose agents are teaching the agents of the [ptui!] Adversary to incite this? What do you think I am, Master Screwtape? Chopped demon? Hey! Where are you going!”

“To the council room! I might have just saved H.E.L.L.!!!”

“Yes, sir.”

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