“ . . . and that is why the numbers of humans entering the kingdom of Hell continually increases to this day,” stated the Devil as he finished up his talk and puffing out his chest with great pride.
The crowd of fiends gave a thundering round of applause after the Devil finished his annual oration. Hand-made signs could be seen everywhere with the slogan, “Hell is what’s hot!”
“I will now take some questions from the audience,” stated the Devil, as he cleared his throat with a refreshing glass of Tabasco sauce.
A hand goes up towards the back of the auditorium.
“Yes. What is your question, sir?” asked the Lord of Darkness.
“There is a rumor on earth that the long-awaited Second Coming is commencing on earth,” said the voice at the back of the room. “Should we be concerned?”
“Hell, no!” came the Devil’s quick answer. “Let me explain why.”
The crowd became totally silent.
“Some of you may be familiar with the Lord God’s strategy of returning to earth, not physically, but through the theological writings of His servant, Emanuel Swedenborg,” The Devil continued. “You see, the Second Coming is actually a new heavenly dispensation whereby the Lord’s Second Advent represents an enlightening of the human heart and mind. Whoever wins the hearts and minds of people gets to control the human race—that is where the great battle of Armageddon actually takes place.”
“Why are you so confident that the forces of hell will win this battle?” asked the same voice at the back of the auditorium.
“Because few humans will grasp what stands in their way of entering this great battle. You see, those on earth have dual consciousnesses—an ‘inner’ consciousness and an ‘outer’ (or ‘worldly’) consciousness.” The Devil then smiled wickedly at the assembly showing his nasty, cavity-ridden fangs. “I have personally intervened to make sure that earth-beings become focused only on their outer or corporeal/sensual consciousness. People believe that because they use this habitual level of mind most often during their daily lives that this acquired, artificial consciousness is who they really are. So even when they read Swedenborg’s theology, under this split psychical condition, God’s new and revelatory influences are merely captured and contained within their memory function, which keeps it from going any deeper.”
“How can you be sure that God’s new heavenly input will not penetrate deep enough into the human psyche, where it can uproot us and our hellish practices?” came the same voice from the back of the room.
The Devil confessed, “I have read Swedenborg’s writings which state that the human heart and will is nothing but evil and that God alone is good. People on earth will have lots of serious problems with that anti-intuitive concept—especially when they look at family photos of their cute smiling children and their grandparents. People want acceptance and affirmation from others, whereas God wants to stress the importance of self-examination and the discovering of one’s dirty underwear. Without such examination and causing an inner conflict between what a person knows and how a person really feels, no contact is made between a person’s inner and outer realities. And without such contact, no spiritual growth can be obtained. I honestly want people to seek goodness—as long as their good deeds find a detour around the process of spiritual cleansing and regeneration.”
The Devil then let out a most hideous laugh. “Students of Swedenborg’s writings will mistakenly gravitate towards promoting love, good works, and usefulness in society, believing that their doctrines of charity are superior to the notion that “faith alone” saves. That kind of debate will only take people down a rabbit hole. Here is what is overlooked—neither faith alone nor good works helps anyone if contact is not made between an individual’s two levels of consciousness. This contact and purifying friction is the only way one’s faith and good works can acquire heavenly innocence. And furthermore, I have ingeniously tricked humans into preferring to express ‘hope’ repeatedly, over choosing to take part in the more uncomfortable operation of spiritual regeneration and digging out one’s personal dirt.
The entire crowd then gave the Devil a standing ovation!