One of the things I, as a young man, came to love about C. S. Lewis, and for which I will always be grateful to him, was that he made things plain which I had been given cause to intuit, but had never been brought out to the sunnier clearings of the mind for consideration. He did this service for millions with the Screwtape Letters, in which he exposed some of the more common stratagems by which the souls of men are snared and secured, thus making the work of the devil at least a bit more difficult, and becoming an instrument of deliverance for many.
Here I will add a note on the devil and his minions as scoffers to his catalog of diabolical flummery. Scoffing--the scornful treatment of what is worthy--is based on an illusion whereby falsehood is made to look large and important and truth small and stupid, not by thorough and studied reason, but mere belittlement. Christian beliefs are made out to be uneducated, even if many of those who hold them are scholars of the highest repute. That most Christians are undistinguished is treated not as a sign of the catholicity of a faith that is for everyone, but evidence that Christianity is nothing with which the talented should concern themselves.
Faith in God is attributed to mental disease or deficiency, or viewed as an anodyne for misery, when examination of the lives of the most devout would show abounding mental health and unusual levels of happiness and stability. The morbidly or insanely religious are identified as the True Believers, while in fact Christianity regards the loss of sound mind and sober judgment (and probably also the capacity for humor) as a sign of the loss of faith rather than its perfection. Likewise unbelief is associated with talent, learning, urbanity, and good sense, when in fact, whatever the gifts of the unbeliever may be, it is still only--unbelief. Mockery is the energy that puts this illusion on display, and scoffing the display itself, declaring the Christian faith to be the province of the ignorant, ignoble, and maladapted, using the appearance of evidentiary reasoning while keeping its reality at bay.
I can think of no more transparent example than materialist scientists who loudly declare it is obvious to anyone with a modicum of learning that no personal deity could be involved in the coming-to-be of the cosmos, then immediately set about to make their own creative entity of astounding power--Nature or the Cosmos, or Evolution, or whatnot--with accidental qualities that in any conceivable analogate would be attributed to the designing intelligence of an actual being.
What one may be sure of in this, er, Muchbig Scientific Thingamajig, is that while possessing unthinkable powers of what the ignorant would identify as creative intelligence, it is otherwise a dim bulb. It can generate intelligence, will, and moral opinion, but (once again, obviously) can have none of these itself, and it is only the stupid, including, one presumes, the stupid with science Ph.D.’s, who think it might be otherwise. It especially has no moral opinions on atheists who declare that it is what the less advanced would call “wrong” to believe in God--no opinion at all--and most assuredly has no powers of ideation or control concerned with the destiny of people who deny the existence of God and encourage others to do the same.
Come to think of it, this business can go two ways, but when one is dealing with that Proud Spirit who cannot endure to be mocked, turnabout, when it can be managed, is fair play. Only in that case let us not call it mockery and scoffing, but something else, a form of truth and not illusion: the devil, as in Screwtape, hoist on his own petard.