Dear Worshipful Master Thugfang, I have been assigned to a patient who is still an infant. Of course this leaves me with a lot of time on my claws so I was wondering if there was anything I could do until the patient reaches the age of reason and I can begin tempting it. Are there any correspondence courses you would recommend? Perhaps your worshipfulness has produced some manuals for tempters in the field to study? I know all of us would be extremely grateful for such condescension. Yours Truly, Admiring Fan.
My Dear Admiring Fan,
It was ever so nice to receive a respectful and appreciative note among the general onslaught of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence I see crossing my desk constantly. The demon who sent that respectful note was not you! Not only are you a fulsome flatterer, a sycophantic suck-up, and a transparent turncoat in the making (Oh I know your type, all right. Don’t think that I, in my position, haven’t received such hollow praise before.) You are also an unforgivable bungler. Time on your claws? Something to do until your patient reaches the age of reason? Until you can begin tempting?! I have half a mind to track you down and arrange for some one-on-one time with one of our best re-educators.
Have you no idea how crucial the time this human is going through right now will be in its development? Granted the creature is incapable of what the Enemy calls “Sin”, but from your note one would think that tempting humans to commit sins was our most important business on earth. It sounds as if you’ve been listening to some of the humans’ own thinkers of the shallowest school of “Fire and Brimstone” preachers. We’ve made good use of them on earth, convincing millions of humans that The Enemy is simply waiting up there for the slightest infraction of any one of His innumerable rules, and that at the slightest excuse He is liable to send them kicking and screaming to Hell. As I say, it’s a lie we’ve made good use of, and you seem to have swallowed it whole.
Ah, if only it were true. If only it were possible for souls to be dragged into Hell kicking and screaming. If only that’s what the Enemy was all about, but alas, it is not. Unfortunately quite the opposite is true. The Enemy is all about dragging souls into Heaven, and most of them do a fair amount of kicking and screaming on the way. He won’t quite force them, of course, but the truth is He is so cunning and backhanded about it that it really takes an unbelievable amount of work to get any soul into Hell at all. An unbelievable amount of work for us, of course, and a good amount of work for the human too. They really have to want Hell to get there. It’s not somewhere you end up by accident.
What does this have to do with your infant patient? Everything! You currently seem to think that your work doesn’t begin until you can start tempting this creature into breaking some of The Enemy’s rules so that the Enemy will give up on it and relinquish it to our custody. You are a fool. Temptations are the fruit of our labor, and the means by which our goals are accomplished, but the real root of it is so much deeper. I am not the least bit interested in individual sins, which can and will be forgiven if the human asks. I want a human who will not ask, and who eventually cannot ask. This starts now.
Where does it start? Can you be such a dunce that you cannot see? It starts with the very institution The Enemy has established to lead this creature to Him: the Family! That’s right, I said the “F” word, and you had better take a good hard look at this creature’s family. Is it close and loving? Break it up! Smash it! Everything that goes on in that home right now is laying the groundwork for those “temptations” you so fondly look forward to. Unless you do something to corrupt that family now, your precious temptations will be much harder and less successful. I suppose it never occurred to you to take a look at our strategic level battle plans for the current phase of the war? What in Satan’s name do you think was the point of us doing so much work with the human males, if not to destroy the family? What was the point of our centuries long campaign to set the conditions for contraception, abortion and divorce if not to strike these little human vermin at their very root? We want the rats born into a toxic environment and have been working at making that the norm longer and harder than a half-rate neophyte like you could begin to imagine.
Now, don’t be a fool and start working against the tide. Work with what you have. I keep preaching that first spiritual maxim until I am hoarse, but no one listens. Raw material. Humans exist to be used. They and everything about them are raw material. What is this patient’s family like? Is it broken? Good start but don’t rest on that fact. You must encourage the brokenness. We don’t want simple separation, we want resentment, broken responsibilities, taking sides, name calling, subtle manipulation. Is it tight and close? Again, raw material. Harder to work with but not impossible. Let that closeness be an idol. Let the parents sacrifice every trace of individuality in their children for an illusive ideal of the “Perfect Christian Family.” That kind of “love” is the kind we want to encourage. Let the children be smothered with that kind of “love” and it becomes the most effective insulation against the Enemy and His Church we have yet found. On the other hand, are the parents distant and permissive? Encourage that. Let them think that any idea of teaching truth is repressive, and not allowing their children to find “their own truth.” The principle is imbalance. You want the parents imbalanced towards their children. Let the mother be so enthralled to the little rat’s every whim that she neglects her husband. Let the husband be so intense about providing for his offspring that he never actually meets it.
Find out which way the parents lean, and encourage that. If they lean different ways, instead of letting that be a healthy source of balance in their mutual lives, turn it into a source of unrelenting antagonism and resentment.
The family, idiot, the family! That is the key to your future success or failure with this offspring. Any slackness now will cost you eons of work to overcome later. On the other claw, a solid foundation of fear, or insecurity, or guilt, or stubbornness laid now, while not a guarantee, will certainly go a long way towards smoothing your path later on. Hopefully it will also smooth the path that this darling little bundle of life will take, right down the smooth, slippery path to Our Father’s House below. I long to cuddle that little thing in an eternal embrace!
Do you understand now, you blockhead? Nothing to do? You had better be working your forked tail off or by all that is foul I will personally speak to my good friend Grubtongue on your behalf. You may have heard of him? If not, ask around among those of your friends who have been through a recertification program recently. They will be delighted to fill you in.