Pretty much all of C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is ridiculously quotable.
Yet these Screwtape Letters quotes uniquely apply to Christians who want to do good works in the world.
As usual, with long-paragraph book quotes, I’ve occasionally added extra paragraph breaks.
Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.
The Enemy [God] loves platitudes. Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous? is it prudent? is it possible?
Now if we can keep men asking ‘Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?’ they will neglect the relevant questions. . . .
As a result, while their minds are buzzing in this vacuum, we have the better chance to slip in and bend them to the action we have decided on.
We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is in the least danger, and fix its approval on the virtue that is nearest the vice which we are trying to make endemic.
The game is to have them all running around with fire extinguishers whenever there’s a flood; and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already gunwale under.
If I find more Screwtape Letters quotes about Christian social action, I’ll add them.