Some terms Lord Foulgrin uses in his letters, with translations:
Lord Foulgrin: A high ranking senior demon
Squaltaint: A junior demon who answers to Foulgrin
Vermin, sludgebags: Humans
Jordan Fletcher: A human target Squaltaint is responsible for destroying.
Tyrant, Enemy: God
Ghost: Holy Spirit
Carpenter: Jesus Christ
Forbidden Book: Bible
Forbidden Squadron: Church, believers
Forbidden Talk: Prayer
These excerpts from some confiscated letters expose Foulgrin’s strategies and provide us with a photographic negative of God’s point of view.
A Taste of Foulgrin
The Topics of Foulgrin
I see in Fletcher’s dossier the schools he attended. He’s proud of his college education, his master’s degree. He imagines himself an intellectual, despite how little time he’s actually devoted to thinking. Educated men serve us best, because they’re the most skillful liars. They draw from the deepest reservoirs of falsehood and rationalization. Seduce Fletcher with the ideas you place in him, making him think they’re his own. Let him imagine himself innovative and original, “his own man.” Never mind all he does is parrot the political correctness of his culture.
Use television, computer, telephone, newspaper, sports events, work-anything and everything to distract him from self-evaluation. Why do you suppose technology and media exist but as tools for distraction? The briefest moments of musing could lead him to consider the state of his soul, and-Beelzebub forbid-his eternal destiny. Reflection is the bane of Erebus. (Letter 3)
Distraction from the Enemy is better than overt argumentation against him. If you start arguing too loudly, Fletcher may catch a tone of the raging battle. If only for a fleeting moment, he may realize he’s more than a random collection of molecules, and there’s a whole universe of reality he’s never so much as considered. Worst of all, he might begin to hear the quiet voice of the Enemy. (Letter 3)
Give me a wish list, Squaltaint, and I’ll put absent, ignorant, self-occupied and passive parents right at the top. When it comes to Fletcher’s parenting, my only advice is, “Don’t change a thing.” Keep him right where he is-on the sidelines. He’s our ideal man, always trying to exercise control over those he has no right to, and failing to give leadership to those he has responsibility for. (Letter 4)
The human hunter cannot read the creature’s mind, any more than you can read Fletcher’s. But by studying your prey’s behavior you learn to anticipate his next move. We figure out what they’re thinking by watching how they act and listening to what they say. Having identified their vulnerabilities, we work on thought-projection and circumstance manipulation to set them up for the kill.
If the hunter thinks like the prey, he can predict his direction and lure him into the open, to the best position to take a clean shot. (Yes, we can’t know the future, but who’s in a better position to make an informed prediction than we?) He’s patient yet vigilant, knowing his opportunity will come, but knowing too it could be easily missed. The hunter endures temporary discomfort because his single-minded focus is on killing his prey. Is your focus fully on Fletcher?
The hunter asks, “Does the prey know I’m here? If so, is he alert to the danger I pose?” He avoids sudden movements. He hangs around long enough to blend into the scenery, where the prey pays no attention to him. If he moves too fast too soon, he may scare him off. If he moves too late, he misses his opportunity.
Foulgrin’s Three Predatory Strategies
Nomadic predators rove about, looking to inhabit just the right sludgebags we can use to abduct, abuse and murder.
Stationery predators are like spiders. The spider puts his labor into creating the biggest and stickiest web. Then he waits patiently for his meal to come to him.
Territorial predators choose an area, a house, a room, an office building, a strip joint, a legalistic Bible college-there’s something to be said for each. These predators are specialists, rarely deviating from their selected game reserve. (Letter 5)
It’s all about power, Squaltaint. Turf. Ownership. Words such as love and virtue and honesty are wallpaper, a thin veneer over the real substance-power, raw and throbbing. It’s control we long for, with a thirst insatiable. Dominion. Preeminence. Conquest. The strong devour the weak. (Letter 5)
The Key to Success
Hell forbid you should think it an easy task to establish strongholds in the vermin. I lived among them for millennia. Of the 147 beings I was assigned to, I inhabited nine of them, a remarkable percentage. Early in my career, eager for promotion, I attempted several hostile takeovers, to no avail. Exasperated, I finally learned I could establish strongholds only in those who first gave me a foothold. I then set my attention to cultivating such footholds. That was the key to my success. (Letter 5)
Our strategy in literature is the same as in education. It’s seldom wise to promote atheism. It works in some countries, but not this one. The best approach is simply to make no reference to a Creator or coming judgment. No absolutes and therefore no sin, no ultimate consequences, no afterlife, no accountability, no real hope.
If this novel is more serious modern literature, it’s likely to be dark, brooding, cynical, hopeless. Better still are those stories that offer hope, but false hope, interlaced with man’s goodness, karma, the notion there’s no hell and everyone goes to heaven. Beelzebub bless the New Age!
But beware-novels can stimulate imagination, foster thought and self-evaluation. This is never to our advantage. That’s why television-or an innocuous piece of nonfiction-is nearly always to be preferred over a novel. When they’re reading, the danger is, they may pause and reflect, consider changing their direction. Movies and television are usually nonreflective, undermining their values at the subconscious level, with minimal thought and self-examination. They do their work so well you hardly have to do anything.
Lull Fletcher to sleep. Let nothing wake him before the flames. Attached you’ll find our literature committee’s top 100 books-be sure to get several of them into his hands. (Letter 7)
Falsehood and Religion
Reverend Braun, that minister to whom Scumsuck is assigned-the one whose church Fletcher’s sister attends-teaches we are but “literary symbols of man’s inhumanity to man.” I couldn’t have said it better. Falsehood is at its zenith under the cloak of religion, best of all Christian religion, especially with a pseudo-intellectual twist. (Letter 6)
Moral Relativism...A Crowning Achievement
The forbidden book says when there’s no authority “every man does what is right in his own eyes.” This is moral relativism. It’s our crowning achievement-bask in it, Squaltaint. There’s no evil we can’t use it to justify, no good we can’t use it to condemn.
Notice the Enemy didn’t say every man did what was wrong in his own eyes. The beauty is, the sludgebags do wrong that’s right in their eyes, by revising the standards to whatever they want.
If there’s no Creator, or if the Enemy’s no more than some distant entity, there are no absolutes. That’s Fletcher’s belief, isn’t it?
Men become gods, for gods are the makers of right and wrong. The vermin make it up as they go, determining for themselves what is and isn’t moral. They base their ethics on their changing whims.
Relativism is even more valuable to us in the church than outside it. One of the goals of our Pastoral Training Department is to fashion future pastors into moral relativists. They may be relativists who profess to believe the forbidden book, but that does us no harm if they conform to the prevailing winds of culture. (Letter 7)
Lying, Cheating, and Stealing
You spoke of Fletcher stealing from his company, cheating a client and lying to his wife. Lying is a perfect example. It’s wrong to them until they find a situation where they really want to lie, and then it becomes an exceptional case where lying is right, the best thing, the noble thing. Cheating and stealing are normally wrong-they pride themselves on thinking this because it proves they’re moral people. But for themselves, they appeal to an exception clause. Fletcher tells himself he’s done so much for his company and his client, they owe this to him. He’s done so much for his wife, and she’s been so ungrateful, she owes him his brewing infidelity. (Letter 7)
The Forbidden Book
Be sure they see the forbidden book not as the Enemy’s guardrails to protect them, but as cattle prods to punish them. Twist their view of Him. (Letter 7)
No wonder the R-word is so important to the Enemy-bodies and spirits reunited in resurrection, spirits not restricted by bodies, but enabled by them. Enabled to explore greater depths of reality than even we can know. (Letter 9)
And with all the hundreds of nonfiction books written against slavery, do you remember the volume the Enemy used to change millions of hearts? Uncle Tom's Cabin, by that wretched little woman. A work of fiction, with truth bootlegged in, brought down our stronghold of American slavery. (Yes, we got a great war out of it, but that seems little consolation now.) (Letter 9)
Your best tactic is normally to say nothing bad about the Carpenter. Yes, I know, it’s entertaining to portray him as an immoral head-case preacher, as some of our movies have. But ultimately what does that do? It outrages the vermin or makes them so uncomfortable it gets them thinking and talking about who he really is.
Attack the Carpenter outright and your vermin is liable to remember his mother’s faith and become defensive of it. Your goal isn’t to make the man an atheist, but simply to distract him from thinking about the Carpenter. (Letter 11)
Don’t let Fletcher believe in the sort of angels who brought plagues on Israel, decimated armies, struck Herod dead, and are poised to pour out bowls of wrath. Let him believe in safe and manageable angels, tame ones-chubby angel babies, wish-granting genies, bodyguards who protect them with no strings attached. (Letter 12)