Further to last night's post on Lewis - I recognise I haven't created a very welcoming atmosphere there for any Christians or Lewis fans who'd like to comment, so if you'd like to respond to *this* message, I'll ask all visitors to refrain from flamage, indignation etc. (Those are still very welcome in responses to the previous message. Let's be honest, I'm pretty indignant myself.) Or, to steal wise words, come, let us reason together.
Lewis' comment brings up the relationship between "faith" and "works". (I'm going to do some very loose and ill-informed theology here, so please forgive me.) There are two components to his hypothetical witches: firstly, they have sold their souls to the Devil, and secondly, they commit evil acts, including murder. Obviously one is a matter of faith and one is a matter of works. (It's tempting to mock the trivial nature of "bringing bad weather", but in a subsistence farming community that's no laughing matter.) In English law, witches were prosecuted not for heresy, but for their supposed harmful actions. When Lewis calls witches "quislings", he seems most disgusted by their apostasy - by their bad faith. But he doesn't discount bad works, which for at least some Christians, seem to come a very distant second. If I'm understanding what I've read in various sources correctly, there's some dispute amongst Christians about the relevance of "works" to salvation, which I think dates back to Luther.
I mentioned the concept that, by worshipping a deity other than Yahweh, I'm actually worshipping the Devil in disguise. That was certainly the belief of the folks who conquered the Aztecs - the Mexica were literally worshipping devils. Here we come to a crucial point. Aztec religion was bloodthirsty and macabre in the extreme (even by local standards); even Torquemada might've been taken aback. To a European wading through all that ritualised killing, flaying, cannibalism etc, the connection between bad faith and bad works would have been gut-wrenchingly obvious.
Now presumably in the case of Lewis' hypothetical witches, the connection is equally obvious. You don't betray God and then go about your business quietly; that's not the Devil's plan, which is to disrupt and destroy the community. So if you are worshipping a deity other than Yahweh, and therefore are worshipping Satan, you are a pervert, an evil-doer, a committer of bad works. This connotation is why Lewis' remark is offensive, and why the idea that "other gods" are the Devil in disguise is so upsetting.**
What I don't know is how widely the other gods = Devil concept is still held by modern believers. It may be that "false gods" are thought to be lumps of stone* or meaningless ideas, and the Devil only inveigles us into worshipping them, like chasing bubbles.
Again, cool-headed responses here, please. And a prize for the first person to work the Dark Mark into all this somehow.
* Yul Byrnner as Pharoah trying to get that statue to bring his son back to life eh. A lot of bereaved parents must've bitten their lips at that scene.
** It's equally offensive to be told, as in one recent OG thread, that you're a superstitious idiot. Here Christians and Pagans probably have a common experience!