In C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, the Calormene villain Rishda cynically worships and promotes the human-sacrifice god Tash for political gain but doesn’t believe he is real. Eventually, to Rishda’s horror and surprise, Tash shows up, seizes him, and is then banished from Narnia in the name of Aslan. As he leaves, Tash takes with him the suddenly believing Rishda, who is most likely eaten.
This is somewhat of a recurring theme in Lewis’ fiction. Think of the N.I.C.E. scientists in That Hideous Strength, strict materialists who think that through their technology they have reanimated a severed head and created “god.” They worship the thing, which isn’t actually animated by their technology but by demonic forces, and eventually turn on one another in a murderous spasm when