My Fondest Swillpit,

Your latest letter left me speechless! Can you believe it, me, speechless? Well, you can be sure, that was short-lived. After regaining use of my tongue, both forks, and hurling howls of oaths throughout our profane halls, it finally occurred to me why your man has been giving you, us, fits: He believes, still believes, in creation!

Swillpit, how can this be? This was so thoroughly covered in Tempter's Fundamentals 101 through 104, it is unfathomable that a field Agent, even an apprentice like you, could have missed the point: What these creatures accept about the origin of life and the universe will shape what they believe about everything else, including the meaning and value they attach to things.

Easily enough we can draw them into a continuous string of peccadilloes—gossip, sloth, intemperance, and the like—but until we uproot their nagging notion of creation, our gains will be shallow and, quite likely, unsustained.

Creation, with its teleological implications and human exceptionalism, explains why your host has been so slow to embrace abortion and embryonic stem cell research, despite my excellent—I'm sure you agree!—coaching to help you bring him around.

Your negligence puts us in the unenviable position of building a foundation for a house we already inhabit. Granted, you've given him some titillating images to hang on his walls, but without attacking his presuppositions on these matters, he is as likely as not to exchange them for ones that do not disturb his inborn sense of things. How much easier our task would have been with the proper groundwork in place from the get go.

You can thank me now that I deign to invest my time for your remedial training, but be forewarned: If you fail your commission, my good graces will not deliver you from the serving platter at the Stygian banquet! ...To continue reading, click here.