C. S. Lewis Effectively Remarks on Mueller Report Reactions

If we hear that our enemies actually didn’t do a terrible deed, do we “wish that black was a little blacker”?
on Mar 28, 2019

This isn’t a political site, but certain responses to the Mueller Report™ sparked this remembered C. S. Lewis quote.

This quote is verified, and comes from Mere Christianity.

C. S. Lewis observes a characteristic of human behavior. It cuts across all faiths and political parties, and it challenges us especially when we are tempted to feel disappointed about some terrible enemy being proven not-terrible in at least one way.

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper.

Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out.

Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?

If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.

You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything—God and our friends and ourselves included—as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.1

  1. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. I’ve added a few paragraph breaks.
E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of Lorehaven.com and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.

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