When I listen to the news, and hear stories about criminals being caught, I often think of the way that I could have committed the same crime without being caught. I'm not sure why I do this since I never plan on turning to a life of crime. After reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, I started to wonder if applying this 'what would I have done' to Satan's tactics might be a good way to help me spot his influence in our society, and on myself. So, if I were Satan, how would I go about dividing and conquering the true church of God? Especially what would I do to make sure that no one would take the true church seriously? Here's my plan.
Step 1: Make at least two new churches. The more churches the better. Here's the really important part, make sure each church has some eternal truth in it's main practices/doctrines.
Step 2: After you have a collection of churches with at least one eternal truth, build up a lot of things that go along with that church's specific truth. More specifically things that contradict the truths found in other churches. For example there is church A and church B. The truth found in church A is the proper way to perform baptism. The truth found in church B is that forgiveness can be found through prayer. Church A will teach that forgiveness can only be had through baptism, and Church B will teach that forgiveness can only be had through prayer.
Step 3: Make beliefs about proper behavior as wildly divergent between the churches as possible. For example one church celebrates through dance, another church believes dancing is a sin.
Step 4: Put some eternal truths in other religions that worship false Gods. Make sure those truths are a major part of that religion's practices, and are easily associated with that religion.
If each church has some truth to it, then perhaps the spirit cannot help but bear witness that at least that one part is true. Therefore people will have a belief in the truthulness of their church because they have a testimony that their one practice is true. Also the individual will have a deep mistrust of other churches because the other churches overlook a practice that the individual has a testimony of. The person will begin to associate the practices of other churches with wickedness, especially the practices of religions that worship false Gods. Then when the true church of God appears on the scene people will be so trained to look for the practices of other churches that contradict the teachings of their church that they will dismiss it as false. It is especially effective if people hear the truths that were practiced by the false god religions.
For example: church A members will look at the true church and see that it preaches forgiveness through prayer (while ignoring the proper way to perform baptisms) and will dismiss it as a false church like church B. Church B members will look at the true church and will see that it teaches the proper way to perform baptism (again ignoring the forgiveness through prayer) and dismiss it as a false church like church A. It's really great when the members of church A and B see the true church teaching something they've associated with, say, witchcraft (secret rites and ceremonies) and dismiss the true church as heretical. The practices associated with the heretical churches are really great. They can make people who already belong to the one true church loose faith because the members of the one true church saw themselves belonging to a mild church like church A and B, and had never had the idea that even heretics could have a kernel of truth.
So simple, yet so effective.