The Tapescrew Letters (inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters)

January 8, 2016

What follows is a cautionary bit of fiction, inspired by C.S. Lewis's fiction The Screwtape Letters, Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil, which are entertaining and often very insightful.

I refer in places to specific mechanisms explained in my book Believing Bullshit, such as "I Just Know!" and Going Nuclear (follow these links if you are interested, or better still buy the book!) 

The Tapescrew Letters

Letters from a Senior to a Junior Guru

(Inspired by C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters)


 

Preface

I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands. One or two details have been changed to save reputations, but the letters are substantially unrevised and intact.   

Bear in mind that the author—an eminent guru within some minor, recently invented cult—is a charlatan, as are her colleagues. She cannot be trusted to tell the truth, not even to her nephew. Her views about mainstream religion—and Christianity in particular—are clearly cynical and no doubt unreliable. I leave you to judge what is true and what is not.

The letters contain few clues as to the specific teaching of the cult. There is a limited amount of jargon. “Glub” seems to be the name of some sort of deity or god, “Boogle” the name of some particularly evil and terrifying being, and “doob” a term that members of this cult use to refer to outsiders. Glub and and Boogle may be two facets of a single cosmic being, or two separate, competing beings involved in some sort of cosmic battle—it’s hard to be sure.

Be warned—the letters make pretty depressing and sickening reading. Still, they do usefully reveal just how manipulative and scheming some people can be. Thank goodness such deliberate charlatans are few and far between.

Stephen Law

Oxford

19 August 2010



The Bodgers Centre

Newcastle

2 January 2008

 

My Dear Woodworm,

How pleased I was to hear of your graduation from our guru training college—and with a distinction too. Great things are expected of you, as I’m sure you’ve made aware. I see you have been assigned to one of our newest recruitment centres—in Oxford. That is also excellent news. There’s plenty of fodder there. But you now need to prove yourself. And that is where I come in. As you know, our Leader prefers Juniors to be mentored by a Senior they know well. As I am your aunt, I have been asked to watch over you and provide assistance wherever I can.

I cannot be there in person, I’m afraid. We are having something of a crisis here at Bodgers—one of our Juniors was caught indulging in some questionable activity with a couple of young recruits and we’re having a hard time keeping a lid on it. It’s all hands to the pump at Bodgers, at least for the next few months. Still, I can correspond with you, and advise wherever I can. Just send me regular progress reports, if you will.

After your intensive training, you will be intimately acquainted with both our aims and methods. And you now possess your own copy of the Handbook (which, I need hardly add, you must guard with your life—it must never fall into the hands of a recruit). We have spent thousands of pounds and a year of our time honing your skills, so you won’t be surprised to hear we now expect results.

Our aim is to ensnare human minds, to make them true and faithful servants of our teaching. Let me focus your attention on our Leader’s opening remarks in the Handbook:

Our aim must be to instil in our patients such patterns of thought that their minds become wholly ours—so that they become impregnable fortresses to anyone else who might try to prise their way in. But we must do this while all the time maintaining the illusion that these ways of thinking are perfectly ‘rational’ and ‘reasonable.’

Creating that illusion, Woodworm, is the clincher, the real trick. We must make minds that are fortresses to those outside and prisons to their occupants. We must forge minds in which we have succeeded in entrenching such effective mental roadblocks and self-perpetuating habits of thought that their owners will never be able to think their way free again. For then they will be our willing servants. But our “patients,” as our Leader likes to call them, must never suspect. The faithful must fall for the illusion that they are the ones whose minds have been set free and that it is everyone else who remains mentally imprisoned!

To become the jailer of another’s mind—what a prospect! An impossible task? By no means. Difficult, yes. But armed with your training, the Handbook, and a firm determination to succeed, let me assure you that you will succeed! I have converted literally hundreds of doobs over the last few years, and I am confident that you will do better still.

Which brings me to our movement’s current Achilles’ heel, and my sternest word of warning. As I say, the key to your success lies in maintaining an illusion—your patients must not suspect, not even for a second, that you are deliberately deceiving and manipulating them, that you intend to become their mental jailer. We have one very obvious disadvantage compared to the promoters of most other self-sealing bubbles of belief. We know we are deceivers. We know exactly what we are doing as we pull our patients’ strings. Your local religious minister may use many of the same techniques as you, but he really believes the doctrines he promotes. He is quite convinced he is doing nothing more than opening people’s eyes to the truth—setting them free. Which means he does not need to fake anything. His voice conveys real warmth. His eyes glisten with genuine fervour. The same is true of the political zealot peddling her leaflets on the street corner. At least she believes the claptrap she peddles. She doesn’t have to pretend.

We, the first generation of Followers, know that the beliefs we are selling are an ingenious fiction concocted by our Leader. While we plan that future generations will be sincere devotees, we, the First Wave, must unfortunately learn to fake that brand of misty-eyed enthusiasm. Take it from me, it’s an illusion difficult to sustain for any length of time.

Knowing you as I do, I think this is what you will find most difficult, the challenge you will have to work hardest to overcome. As that unfortunate incident involving your father’s car made clear, you are not a good liar. And you are prone to overintellectualize. That might have proved an advantage in the academic world of our college, but out there in the real world, it produces pitfalls.

True, because we know we are deceivers, we have a great advantage over our sincere counterparts in other cults. We have studied the techniques necessary to enslave minds coldly and dispassionately—even scientifically—and have thus became far more knowledgeable and skilful than our competitors in their application. But do not underestimate the advantage our counterparts have over us. An advantage that will become quickly apparent to you as you embark on your first project. The truth is, it is only later that the intellectual traps and snares come into play. You will doubtless be eager to apply the bogus arguments, seductive fallacies, and other intellectual sleights of hand that you have mastered so well. But patience, patience! Take that route too quickly, and your victim will smell a rat.

The first step in ensnaring any mind is to focus on your patient’s emotions. Emotion is the unlocked door on which we need only gently push to gain initial entry. Your patient must be seduced into feeling comfortable with you, liking you, admiring you. You must appear to exude warmth and compassion. You must seem to possess both depth and sincerity. You must be able to touch their sleeve, look into their eyes, and make that special connection. If they suspect, even for a second, that you’re a fake, the game is up. Their critical defences will come crashing down and your job will be one hundred times as hard. Fake sincerity—that’s the thing. If only we could bottle it.

Here’s my suggestion. Focus on one patient to begin with. That’s a far more effective way of sharpening your technique. But how to find your first recruit?

My advice is to join some clubs: chess, model making, hiking, dance, acting, that sort of thing. It doesn’t matter what, just so long as there’s plenty of opportunity for one-to-one or small group chat. Strike up conversations with people in cafés and bars. Keep returning to the same places, so that you become a familiar presence. Slowly, you will build a circle of acquaintances. Appear confident and positive. Be fun to be around. And remember—no mumbling into your coffee. Be direct. Above all—make eye contact. Then, without appearing to pry, begin to ask them about themselves. They’ll be more eager to tell than you might imagine. Slowly build up a picture of their emotional life, of their hopes and fears, of what they most care about. Pretend to open up to them, you’ll find that they will then open up even more. The more they come to trust you, the more vulnerable to your wiles they will become. Then, slowly and carefully, begin to draw up your plans.

Good hunting!

Your affectionate aunt,

Tapescrew

 

 


 

The Bodgers Centre

Newcastle

4 March 2008

 

Dear Woodworm,

My congratulations! You have assembled an impressive collection of “friends,” built up a picture of their emotional vulnerabilities, and even selected your first patient. A thirty-two-year-old woman somewhat unhappy at work, few close friends, feeling a little lonely, still waiting, with increasing anxiety, for that “special someone” to come along and fill her life with love and meaning. She looks an excellent prospect. You have even let her half imagine that the special someone might be you!

The idea of the dinner party was a masterstroke, Woodworm. A small, intimate setting in which the conversation can be steered gently in the direction you desire without anyone becoming particularly suspicious. Just you, your patient, and two other Juniors playing the role of “friends.” I have no idea why, but sharing food with someone always helps create a special bond. A little wine to lower the inhibitions, just the right questions asked, seemingly in a casual, offhand way: “Do you think that when you’re dead, that’s it?” I particularly approve of “I used to worry about where my life was headed.”

You say your little fake confession of earlier torment caused a tear to appear in her eye. Luckily, you didn’t overdo it. You gave just a hint that perhaps you had a deep secret, a source of inner contentment and security, of which she had managed to catch a momentary glimpse. And, once her curiosity was fired, you changed the subject, so she got not even a whiff of the fact that she’s the fish on your hook. She was intrigued and left wanting to know more.

Most important of all, she left feeling good. She thought she’d communicated in a special way. She felt she had really been given a rare opportunity to address things that had been gnawing away at her. That feeling, Woodworm, that emotion you caused her to have, is our Archimedean point—the fulcrum on which our whole enterprise now turns.

In a few weeks, you will invite her to the Retreat. But not yet. I want to hear you have made real progress in the meantime. First, she must want to know more about that “inner strength” you seem to exude, that quiet certainty you have. Get her wondering where it comes from? If she could acquire it too? Leave clues. But no details just yet.

Why not? The truth is that the core beliefs of almost any cult or religion, if written down in unvarnished prose on the back of an envelope, will strike anyone unfamiliar with them as ridiculous. “You believe that?” they’ll say, dumbfounded. “Why on Earth do believe that?!”

            That is precisely the reaction you’ll get from this doob if you play your hand too soon. “If only . . .” I often find myself thinking. If only we had access to them when they are children, when their intellectual and emotional defences are so much weaker, while they exhibit such uncritical, sponge-like eagerness to accept whatever a grown-up tells them. One day, I hope, we will have our own schools. Portraits of our Leader will beam serenely down from our classroom walls. Each day will begin with the singing of one of our enervating anthems. The curriculum will devote time every day to the study of our Leader’s inspiring words. Think of the opportunity such institutions will give us! But it’s early days. We don’t have them yet.

What such schools are after, of course, is usually not, as some of you novices seem to think, the opportunity to churn out mindless automata uncritically devoted to the cause. No, no. Desirable though that would be, it is an entirely unrealistic expectation given the unfortunate fact that the little darlings are exposed to so many rival ideas and pressures outside the school gates. Such ideas and pressures have a powerfully corrosive effect on those in which they’re indoctrinated inside school.

No, it’s impossible for a school to achieve a high degree of mindless acceptance without, say, the assistance of a family with very tight control over to whom their children speak and to what ideas they are exposed, a family that reinforces the indoctrination with further psychological manipulation both inside and outside the home, including subtle or not so subtle threats of complete social ostracism should the child ever leave the faith. This is the kind of assistance most faith schools don’t have.

Today’s post-Enlightenment, secular culture is wonderful in that it offers new movements such as our own a voice in the marketplace of ideas. It thus gives us a chance to enslave the minds of the unwitting. But, at the same time, it puts pressure on us to sign up to certain liberal ideals that are, in truth, a great obstacle to our mission—ideals such as that people should be encouraged to think and question, should make their own judgements, should not to be heavily psychologically manipulated as children, and so on. Which is why we have to pretend that we want only to give young people an “opportunity to explore their spiritual side” and other such nonsense.

Mindless followers are, I repeat, not what the schools of the schools of the mainstream religions usually aim for (though some do). They aim merely to till the soil and sow the seeds of faith, seeds that they hope may one day bloom.

Here’s the real secret, Woodworm—gain access to the mind of a child and you can apply the anaesthetic of familiarity, enough to last a lifetime. To a child, the barmy doesn’t seem barmy. Get the child to feel that our beliefs are actually perfectly natural and sensible and then, when the child grows up, the harsh, barmy edges of doctrine will no longer stand out like a sore thumb. Our thoughts will seem comfortably familiar, particularly if they have been endlessly associated with powerful emotional experiences and rites of passage—weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, and so on, For such an adult, ludicrous beliefs no longer seem particularly ludicrous. In fact, such beliefs can feel like “coming home.”

But I digress, Woodworm. Our own schools remain a fantasy for the time being. I mention them only to flag up a further advantage the mainstream religions have over us on the emotional front. Their schools may not churn out true believers. But they do produce minds that have at least been tilled and prepared, that are at least not entirely unreceptive to their doctrines. Indeed, their belief systems have in many cases successfully been woven into the fabric of the societies they occupy. To nonbelievers raised in such a society, accepting even a ludicrous set of beliefs can seem remarkably “natural.”

The harsh edges of our nuttiest doctrines, by contrast, would be blindingly obvious to our patients to begin with, were we to reveal them—which is why you must keep them under wraps for the time being. Our patient is not yet ready. The emotional soil must first be tilled.

But it’s not all bad news, Woodworm. We do have at least some advantages over many of our competitors. Remember that, unlike that of the mainstream religions, our own teaching will seem alien and exciting. While we lack the advantage of our patients having been previously anaesthetized to the utter barminess of what we teach, we do at least have the advantage that our doctrines, presented in the right way, can seem exotic and new.

So let’s proceed slowly with your patient. Don’t reveal too much. Otherwise the frankly ridiculous character of some of the beliefs we peddle will be detected and she’ll be off. But we do want to convey a sense of the exciting and exotic.

Here’s what I suggest. Randomly drop feel-good words like “peace,” “contentment,” “spiritual” and “moral,” into your conversation rather more often than might be expected. Keep working on exuding that sense of inner strength and certainty that you have been faking so effectively. Radiate warmth. Touch her sleeve. Find some excuse to mention, seemingly only in passing, that you meditate. For goodness sake don’t use the word “pray”—that’s far too familiar and fuddy-duddy. “Meditate” will sound far more exotic, far more mystical, to her naïve ears.

We want her to sense that there’s something exhilaratingly different hidden away inside you—that provides you with a source of inner strength and contentment. Something that, perhaps, she could have too.

The questions will come. . . .

Your affectionate aunt,

Agatha Tapescrew

 


 

The Bodgers Centre

Newcastle

23 August 2008

 

My Dear Woodworm,

Yes, as you say, she is hooked. She has heard you speak the name of our movement and she has not flinched. Most importantly, she has agreed to accompany you to the Retreat to “explore her spiritual side.” Fear not—our people at the Retreat know what they are doing.

The key, of course, is to produce a feeling. I once saw a bishop engaged in a debate on the whether Jesus was “the way, the truth and the life.” The bishop, along with a Christian philosopher, was up against a couple of atheists. The atheists were clearly getting the better of the argument and many of the Christians in the audience were beginning to look uncomfortable. In one or two cases, doubt was creeping in. You could see it in their eyes.

The bishop, as last to speak, was masterful. He forgot about reason and argument and all the trappings of “winning” by intellectual means. He lowered his voice and appealed instead to personal experience—an experience relating to what he called “the meaning of life.”

I’ve seen this done before, but the bishop was particularly good at it. He started with jokes, but then gradually began to speak more softly and with feeling. In our quietest moments, he said, each one of us—yes, even a cynical atheist—is aware, deep down, of a light. It’s an awareness of something fundamentally good, of a yearning to be something better than we are. This something is . . .

 . . . Jesus!

There was much sombre nodding from the Christian Union contingent. I noticed their eyes were now strangely lit up. When the bishop sat down, there was moment of quiet, reflective calm before the applause broke out.

Now, at the time, I made the dreadful mistake of thinking that the bishop had lost the debate. The arguments had all gone against him. Only much later did I realize that the bishop had won—spectacularly so, in fact. The truth is that the bishop was not out looking for new recruits that day. His real aim was to shore up the faith of waverers—to ensure that the application of reason didn’t result in the raising of significant doubt. And in that he succeeded.

How? By invoking a feeling. It all begins with a feeling. No one really comes to sincere belief in religious doctrines on the basis of an argument. They come because of how they feel deep down inside.

Different cults rely on different feelings. Some focus in anger and resentment. Others on feelings of helpless, insignificance or submission. But more often than not, the feelings that really do the trick are hope and, most importantly, joy.

The bishop reminded his Christian brethren of a feeling. It didn’t really matter what it was. It could be a sense of loss or disappointment. Of a “hole” in their life. A sense of justice, or injustice. It might even be something as tacky and sentimental as “the strength to carry on” that Mariah Carey sings about in the song “Hero”:


And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

 

Of course, the Muslims and Jews in the audience had such feelings too. But when they looked deep inside, they found Allah, or Yahweh or whatever. And the atheists, puzzled, could find nothing more than a feeling. I could see them sitting there, scratching their heads, wondering what on Earth the bishop was on about.

But of course the bishop wasn’t interested in them. His concern was with only the Christians in the audience. The bishop spoke softly and with sincerity and conjured up a feeling—and then reminded the assembled Christians of what they already knew in their hearts—that this inner light is Jesus. And why did this work? Because calling such feelings “Jesus” is such a familiar part of their cultural landscape. They have so often felt such feelings and had it suggested to them that they are experiencing Jesus, that, when they have such a feeling right now, well that’s just how it seems to them. They know it’s Jesus. They can just see him there, deep down at the bottom of their soul, glimmering. Nothing could be more obvious to them.

That, my boy, is how the bishop won. At the Retreat, your patient will be isolated and disorientated. Her mind will be messed with. She will be taught a little about Glub. But, much more importantly, we will ensure that she has feelings. The fasting, music, chanting, incense, meditation, ritual, the sense of community, of belonging, of that special, felt connection with others that is so rare nowadays—all these things will combine to produce powerful and unusual feelings in her, particularly feelings of hope, and above all, joy. Then, when she is deep in a reverie of such emotion, you will take our patient by the hand, look deep into her eyes and say, in a calm, steady voice, “My dear, in your quietest moments you’re aware of something, aren’t you? You might try to deny it, but you know there’s something down there, at the bottom of your soul, don’t you? It’s a light, isn’t it? A small, still light. Can you see it there, glimmering, like the evening star? Look closer. . . . Closer still . . . See . . . ? Can you see what it is yet . . . ?

It’s Glub, isn’t it?”

And as she looks more and more closely, the recognition will finally break over her: “Oh my gosh! Yes . . . yes. . . . it really is Glub!”

Once she knows through personal experience the truth and reality of Glub, she will very probably be ours forever. No mere argument will ever be able to loosen our grip on her. For whenever any such intellectual threat pops up, we need only gently remind her of what she already knows deep in her heart! When critics present her with rational challenges to her belief, she will quietly and confidently reply with the words of Blaise Pascal: “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”

Of course, I am simplifying. The recipe we cook up at the Retreat is a complex and heady brew into which is mixed many other important ingredients.

For example, the patient will be shown the good works our Followers do—the compassion they exhibit, helping out in their local community, providing food to the homeless and so on. That will further lower her guard. “These are good people!” she will think. “So much more generous and caring than the people I have spent my life with up to now.”

And then we will repeatedly ask her the question: “But what if this teaching were true? How wonderful would that be! What a prospect! And you have nothing to lose, do you? So why not make the bet? Why not at least give it a try? Go on take the plunge!”

Chances are, she will take the plunge, particularly if she’s surrounded by others whom she sees joyously jumping in. Who wants to be the sad, solitary frump standing at the poolside when everyone else is in there splashing about in delight? She’ll jump. And then we’re in!

But as, I say, it is above all the cultivation of the feeling that we must focus on. Without the feeling, she’ll may only take a quick dip. What we require is a lifetime’s immersion.

Your affectionate aunt,

Tapescrew


 

The Bodgers Centre

Newcastle

4 October 2008

 

My Dear Woodworm,

Everything appears to be going swimmingly. The Retreat has worked its magic. Your patient has a new circle of friends, and is becoming immersed in the new, structured, lifestyle that we had created for her—the endless round of meditation classes, talks, socials and so on.

As we planned, the patient believes she is finding value, meaning and purpose within the social, intellectual and moral framework into which she has now firmly been plugged. She has entered what must seem to her to be an enchanted garden. Of course, the enchantment will eventually wear off somewhat. She will begin to see that it’s not all wonderful inside this cosy world we have created for her. Which is why we must now begin to cultivate another emotion: fear. Even if she comes to see that not everything inside the garden is entirely rosy, she must learn to fear what lies outside its walls. She must eventually become so emotionally dependent upon our garden that the prospect of leaving it must appear to her to be a truly terrible thing. While joy may be what brings them in, it is often fear that keeps them here. Our patient must feel that to leave would be to fall from the light back into darkness—into the cold, lonely, meaningless oblivion from which we have rescued her.

But now to a more specific concern of mine. You write in your last letter of how you have been reasoning with the patient, thereby convincing her of the truth of some of our doctrines. Well, you are a gifted and able thinker. I don’t doubt that this naïve doob, entirely untrained in philosophy and the dark arts of persuasion, is putty in your hands. But you are making a terrible mistake if you place too much emphasis there.

Don’t misunderstand me. Yes, it is desirable that she believes reason is largely consistent with our doctrines, perhaps even supports our doctrines to some extent. But don’t go beyond that. For then she may end up supposing our doctrines rely on reason for their acceptability.

Which, reading between the lines, seems to be precisely what you have been suggesting to her, you fool. Once she believes that it’s only reasonable to believe such things because they are reasonable, well then we are in big trouble. The next time some smart aleck doob comes along able to pick apart these dainty confections of intellectual bullshit you have been serving up to her, her faith will crumble in a minute!

You have been teaching her unqualified respect for reason. That is not the right attitude to instil. A better attitude is fear. She should fear applying reason, particularly on her own, unsupervised by an appropriate authority such as yourself who can set her back on track should she err. At the very least, should made to feel uncomfortable or guilty about “going it alone” with reason.

I don’t mean she should be concerned about applying reason generally, of course. There’s no reason for her to think twice about applying reason when filling in her tax return, calculating how many tiles she need for her bathroom or any other mundane matter. There’s no harm, either, in her respecting the role of reason in science. At least up to a point. But get her to acknowledge that there are limits to what reason can reveal. Quote Shakespeare at her—“There are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” That sort of thing. But also imply something further. Imply not just that reason cannot properly be applied beyond a certain boundary, but also that it is wrong even to try. It is arrogant and sinful to attempt to exercise reason and freedom of thought beyond a certain point.

Take a leaf out of this book written by these two Jewish scholars, for example:

We have been commanded not to exercise freedom of thought to the point of holding views opposed to those expressed in the Torah; rather, we must limit our thought by setting up a boundary where it must stop, and that boundary is the commandments and the instructions of the Torah. . . . if a person feels that the pursuit of a particular argument is seriously threatening his or her belief in what is clearly a cardinal principle of Judaism, there exists an obligation to take the intellectual equivalent of a cold shower. . . . [Jewish scholars quoted by Solomon Schimmel in his The Tenacity of Unreasonable Belief (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 47]

Note this idea of setting up a boundary in the patient’s mind. She must feel that, as she approaches this boundary armed with reason, warning bells are going off and red lights are flashing. She must feel that reason, fine in everyday contexts, is downright dangerous when applied to matters of faith.

Remember those Bible Belt church signs that read, “A freethinker is Satan’s slave”? Preachers erect those signs to encourage the belief that, when it comes to thinking freely about matters of faith, Satan will be at our elbow in a moment, leading us away from the Truth. Such preachers want their followers to suppose that, when it comes to their religion (it doesn’t matter about other religions, of course) a freethinker is a fool whose arrogance will lead him to hell. A simple, trusting faith must prevail.

True, we have no Satan or hell with which to threaten our Followers. But we do have the reverse side of Glub: Boogle. Talk about Boogle to her. But remember, fear works best when aimed at something hidden and mysterious. Once the monster in the sci-fi film is seen, its terrifying qualities are inevitably diminished. Monsters from your own Id are always far more terrifying. Boogle must remain a cipher in the shadows. Hint at the existence of Boogle, but be vague. That way, her imagination can take over. Boogle will become her own Room 101.

Actually, none of this is to say that the patient should suppose her powers of reason can never be applied to our doctrines. They can be used, but only in the service of those doctrines, to deepen our understanding of them, not to challenge them! Given the tiresome, post-Enlightenment respect for this overrated thing called “freedom of thought,” people will eventually accuse us of thought-control—“You want to enslave minds, even children’s minds. You want to turn off their ability to think and reason.” To this, we can, truthfully, if very misleadingly, reply: “No we want individuals to be able to reason and think well! In fact, we encourage them to question! Come along to one of our sessions and you’ll see.” What we don’t mention, of course, is the boundary: the boundary that we have set up in the minds of our Followers, the boundary that is marked by a sign that reads: “By all means think as freely and as often as you want, but up to here and no further!”

And of course, having officially signed up to the virtues of reason and freedom of thought, we have the perfect excuse to endlessly fire off at our opponents what our Leader describes as the Blunderbuss. “Look!” we can say to our new recruits as we let off salvo after salvo of irrelevant or invented “problems” at the unbelievers. “See how they struggle to answer our questions! Their respect for ‘reason’ is ironic, don’t you think, when they cannot use it to answer us? You see, in the final analysis, both our belief systems are faith positions. Both require a leap of faith!”

Let our opponents try to dig themselves out from under that load of ordure.

Your affectionate aunt,

Tapescrew


 

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