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Of Screwtape’s Letters and Satan’s Study Bible

C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters is a marvel of Christian apologetic satire. Only a man who spent many of his adult years as a self-professed Atheist would have the faith to write a novel for a Christian audience about the correspondence from a demon named Screwtape, who gives under-worldly advice to his nephew Wormwood, a “Junior Tempter”. What did the editor at The Guardian, an Anglican periodical, believe would be the reaction to these letters being published serially in his newspaper? There was, no doubt, a strong knee-jerk reaction against the letters’ diabolical motif. Why would a faithful Christian reader want to enjoy such devilry? What could possibly be gained from reading theology on human temptation from a devil’s point-of-view? As Christians since the letter’s first publication in 1942 have discovered, Christian theology can be taught through wickedly diabolical satire. Many churches have and continue to teach study courses on The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis was correct, as Martin Luther opined, “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”

While Satan’s Study Bible is of more serious tone than The Screwtape Letters, our book is still satire- howbeit biting satire. It is satire of the more Juvenalian satirical school of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick. Juvenalian satire is defined as “any bitter and ironic criticism of contemporary persons and institutions that is filled with personal invective, angry moral indignation, and pessimism.” How many of the readers of Swift’s pamphlet mistook his words as serious policy? This is the power of Juvenalian satire we are embracing with Satan’s Study Bible.

How many of our readers will mistake our words for genuine hatred of God, His Only Begotten Son, and His Church? We have merely taken on the masque of the Devil to communicate our diabolical yet devout Christian theology. What will be the reaction to Satan’s Study Bible from Christian scholars, pastors, and laypersons? There will, no doubt, be an vehemently oppressive knee-jerk reaction to our book. We will suffer not only condemnation, but damnation as well. However, when the fervor for threatening us with excommunication or burning-us-at-the-stake dies down, we believe we will be vindicated with Christians flocking to our book and Christian churches teaching Bible studies on Satan’s Study Bible.

About Fridthjof Dyr Jorden

“I hear the voice of the Devil!” These words could have only ever been spoken by the Messiah Himself (cf. Mt. 4:1-11) and madmen. I was reared a devout Roman Catholic. I was an altar-boy. I took Communion every Sunday. I studied the Bible. I prayed the rosary. I intended to enter the seminary and become a Priest. My faith in God was unflappable and my fear of the Devil was inescapable. After years of self-professed Atheism, I have returned to my faith in Jesus Christ, albeit different. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, but I also recognized the role Satan has in my life. Praise Jesus, hail Satan.

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