The Devil Likes to Sing is laugh-out-loud funny at places and clever throughout. It’s the story of Timothy McFarland, a student at University of Chicago Divinity School. After failing to get a dissertation approved, he hangs around Hyde Park, Chicago, developing a career as a writer of schmaltzy gift books.
Comparisons between C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and Thomas Davis’s The Devil Likes to Sing are inevitable, but I can’t go there. When I tried reading Screwtape years ago, I just couldn’t get into it. (Let me assure the Lewis fans who just gasped in horror that I have read many of his other books.)
Not long after graduating from college, I found myself editing Christian History magazine, a richly illustrated quarterly where most of the contributing writers were academics but most of the readers were not. Honestly, I had more in common with our readers than with our authors. On my way to a B.A. in English literature, I had taken one class in Christian thought, one in Western civ, and zero in church history. I also had basically no exposure to Christian traditions other than evangelical Protestantism.
Parents are the largest factor in whether youth remain religiously active as young adults, according to the National Study of Youth and Religion. When parents talked about faith at home, were active in their congregations, and attached great significance to their faith, 82 percent of their children were highly religious in their mid to late twenties. Two-thirds of young adults raised by black Protestant parents and one half of those with conservative Protestant parents had high or moderate levels of religious commitment as young adults. Seventy percent of young adults raised by mainline Protestants showed minimal or lower levels of religious commitment (Huffington Post, October 29).