Tags: The | Screwtape | Syndrome

The Screwtape Syndrome

Tuesday, 17 February 2004 12:00 AM

Although she was fair and allowed Gibson to fully explain his faith and what led him to make "The Passion of the Christ," she failed to disguise her own skepticism, which is the blind skepticism that afflicts most of the media and academia. Let's put it this way: she was wide-eyed with disbelief whenever Gibson delved into the spiritual aspects of his faith.

Everything was fine as long as Gibson was speaking about the film and why he made it and why neither he nor the film are the least bit anti-Semitic. But every time he entered the more esoteric realm of his spirituality in an effort to explain his motives and reasoning you could sense that he and his interlocutor were in different worlds.

Sawyer's world is rooted in the material, Gibson's world, as every Catholic's must be, is a temporary stopping off point - something of a boot camp where recruits are prepared for eternal life. In his world, the spiritual both dominates and explains the material.

Perhaps the biggest shock Sawyer experienced, as revealed by the tone of her questioning, came when Gibson matter-of-factly noted that all around us, above and below us, on one side of us and the other, in the heavens above and the netherworld below, an ancient and gigantic struggle is being waged between good and evil.

And there, as Mr. Shakespeare put it, lies the rub. Diane Sawyer's world does not accept the reality of evil as defined theologically. To them it is perfectly obvious that Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and in liberal eyes to a lesser extent, Josef Stalin represented evil.

Abortion, the deliberate slaying of an innocent unborn infant, is not in the least bit evil. On a material plane, tyrants can be classified as evil, but spiritual crimes such as abortion or euthanasia are seen merely as a matter of personal choice, neither good nor evil - matters to be decided purely on the grounds of practicality.

Fr. John Corapi, one of the most gifted Catholic evangelists of our day, insists that "truth is not a thing; it is a person, and his name is Jesus Christ."

It can also be said that evil is not a thing, it is a being, and his name is Lucifer.

But of course, to the ever-so-enlightened modern liberal mind, Lucifer or Satan or Old Scratch or whatever you want to call him is a myth no self-respecting member of our self-appointed elite would for one second accept as a reality.

In his magnificent "Screwtape Letters" C.S. Lewis writes about an experienced demon who is instructing an apprentice demon let loose on the world. He tells the apprentice, Screwtape, that the greatest victory their master Satan has won is having convinced the world that he does not exist.

But Gibson knows that he does exist - and like all sinners - that's you and me and everybody else on the face of the earth - he has met him face to face.

We meet him when he whispers in our mind's ears and tells us that whatever evil thing we are tempted to do is perfectly acceptable and that his enemy - that person Fr. Corapi identifies as Truth - is a spoilsport who doesn't really mean it when he warns us that adultery or abortion is a sin that, unrepented, could land you in Satan's slammer for all eternity.

Gibson met him when, like Christ taken to the summit by Satan and told that he could have the whole world at his feet if he would only worship him, he stood at another summit surrounded by adulation, gifted with enormous wealth and the power it confers and realized that it was all dust in his mouth.

And when he despaired after having learned the truth of Christ's admonition that there is no profit if you have the whole world at your feet but face eternal damnation, the tempter has another suggestion: kill yourself and it will all be over.

Maybe like Gibson, you have to have that confrontation with the spiritual reality to understand that the struggle between good and evil is real before you can begin to understand why you're here and what you have to do to get to the eternal There.

In their devotion to the here and now - to only that which what can be seen and heard and felt - the elite of which Diane Sawyer is a member, have blinded themselves to the struggle going on around them, unseen but unrelenting. All human history testifies to the reality of that struggle, but as the saying goes there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Gibson regained his sight, and what he saw not only restored his sanity, but drove him to compose a powerful hymn - a film that has the power to transform many of those trapped in a pagan age. He says he was just the instrument, that he was moved and guided by the Holy Spirit - that as a fallible human being there was no way he could have done it on his own.

And when he explained that, Diane Sawyer was wide-eyed. The Holy Spirit? Do you really believe that? her expression asked.

Yes Diane, he does. Let's all pray that you will too, some day.

He can be reached at phil@newsmax.com


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Although she was fair and allowed Gibson to fully explain his faith and what led him to make "The Passion of the Christ," she failed to disguise her own skepticism, which is the blind skepticism that afflicts most of the media and academia. Let's put it this way: she was...
Tuesday, 17 February 2004 12:00 AM
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