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Disease by Degrees

Dearest Wormwood,

I smiled for the first time in a long while today. Can you guess what I was thinking? Of the impressive work you’ve done in removing that horrible stain of “good reason and common sense” from the torpid minds of our feeble enemies. That there are no longer any categories with which to define a discussion of high-quality Christian books is certainly cause for celebration, and your accomplishment of highest pride to me. And yet, not only have you convinced them there are no categories, you’ve conclusively proven that there is no one capable of interpreting even basic definitions of good and bad literature, the very thought of which has become ridiculous! Your skill for cunning suggestion seems matched only by your talent for fracturing thought. Any “qualified” monkey who might undertake the task of sorting out the truth of so-called Christian literature would be a mere mortal, and gleefully subject to the same prejudices and unbalancing biases as anyone else. Subjective judgments become completely valueless!

Brilliant! Everything “good” or “bad” is now in the eye of the monkey!

And had you seen me today, whistling Dixie down the scorched streets, you’d have heard me stop and shout, realizing a few of the less obvious extensions of our accomplishment:

  • The further slipping toward irrelevance of biblical sentiments about so-called “absolute truth.”
  • The plunging value of logic and intelligence.
  • Deeper apathy as more people stop working to discern the high quality of an art that isn’t there.
  • Bigger pitfalls of cynicism and potholes of ignorance.
  • The immediate irrelevance of Christian book reviews.
  • The soulful support by those who prefer the safety of uninventive reading material.
  • Cocoons of formula and ritual squelching beauty and meaning.

And the list goes on, my faithful one!

What a rare joy to think of all the work you’ve saved us! No more working to sabotage publishing efforts with prohibitive advance fees and book schedule crunches. No more worrying about undermining an authors’ personal credibility. No more struggling to isolate authors of rogue literary bestsellers from fans, painstakingly chipping away at their self-confidence until they crack. No more need for any of it since "high-quality books" are not an objective measurement, but simply what anyone prefers over other books! Our enemies can gorge themselves to popping on whatever pointless schlock they prefer and we won’t have a single worry about anyone convincing them to read something potentially dangerous. Without a true basis for high literary merit, there’s nothing to warrant a reader’s recommendation other than simple cheap thrills. The imbeciles will keep happy and quiet, knowing only that their books adhere to the standard Christian formula.

And—ho!—I just had a thought. I’ll bet it won’t be long before they won’t even need anything truly useful in their books at all. In fact, we could probably start writing those kind of books ourselves! Just a few a year to make sure there were enough on the shelves to keep them too distracted to notice the unfortunate anomalies. Sounds like fun, actually. What do you think of that idea?

I’ll end here with one last assertion of my deep satisfaction and humble gratitude for your continued service. And I’m sure you’ve already begun, but do prepare to give a full account of your triumph for His Hollowness upon your return.

Yours Forever Scheming,

Screwtripe

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(11.20.06) Please note the point being made here is about what happens where there is no standard of quality for Christian books. It is not a statement about Christian fiction in particular, nor is it intended to represent my personal opinions about the quality level of Christian books. It is simply a satirical post about what I believe goes on in the spiritual realm when we accept the lie that there is no standard with which to measure writing quality.