A Dialogue with Mephistopheles II

Joe?

Oh! You again?

Yeah, it’s me. Got a few minutes?

I would think you would know that one way or another.

Me? No, I’m not omniscient, only the Big Boy.

That’s interesting. Didn’t give you all the goods then?

I have other talents.

Like being the embodiment of “the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin…”

Why don’t we start there again. Seems like the jury is still out on that one.

I’ve been thinking about this since we talked. From my perspective there are two fundamental choices: either there is a basic force of evil, embodied by you, in the universe, or there isn’t. If there isn’t, then it seems like you are a scapegoat.

Ever noticed the horns, and the little “goat”tee?

Sure, but what’s with the tail?

Lots of religious symbolism throughout the ages. Perhaps associated with a bull, which was oft an icon in various pagan religions. But we’re getting off topic.

Okay, let’s say evil does exist and can influence what we do. Doesn’t that play havoc with the whole sense of having Free Will?

You really want to talk about Free Will, don’t you?

BIG topic in religion.

We’ll get there; but let’s iron out “evil” first.

Okay, how about we start with the second perspective: that there is NO “force” in the universe that gives rise to wickedness and sin. That seems to me to say that wickedness and sin come from within, from each person. It kind of gets you off the hook, if I’m thinking of this the right way.

How do you feel?

That we all are, or should be, responsible for our lives. Anything else seems like a cop-out.

That would take a big weight off my shoulders.

Not so fast, Mephy. We really need to define wickedness and sin if we’re going to get the big picture.

Please, I prefer Bub.

Okay, Bub. How do you define sin? Or wickedness? Should we look at Daniel again?

By all means.

Wicked: “1. evil or morally bad, sinful.” That’s helpful. “4. unjustifiable, dreadful, beastly.” Not real helpful, either. I’ll try sin: “1. transgression of divine law. 2. any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful violation of some religious or moral principle. 3. any reprehensible action; serious fault or offense…” Seems like we’re digging a big hole here.

Now you’re beginning to see my problem. So, what do you think “sin” is?

“Unjustifiable” sort of leapt out at me. I’d have to say an “unjustifiable; action that is harmful or injurious to another.”

Good starting place. So who defines “unjustifiable.”

Morally? Most often religions. Often, another person.

You want to start with religion? That’s the root of who I am, where I came from: the Devil, Satan. Mephistopheles, and so on.

Any name in particular you are fond of?

Most of them are wrapped around each other in one way or another, even dating back to antiquity.

Okay, how about starting with the Ten Commandments?

Pretty universal tenets by most standards. They certainly hit on  codes of belief from Christian religions and Judaism, and many other religions have similar beliefs.

Then we can branch out from there?

Sounds like a blast.

Here’s a short list:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet (neighbors wife, goods, etc.).

Seem a bit old-fashioned today, don’t they.

They could use a bit of updating. You think this covers everything? Sin-wise and wicked-wise, I mean?

Not by a long-shot.

Oh? What would you add?

How about, “Thou shall not injure thy neighbor, blow him up (or his goods and servants, etc.), take his money, make him feel bad… there could be an awfully long list.

You’re back to the whole notion of ‘injury” and ‘harm” to others.

That’s the foundation, I think.

That would leave out the first four above, unless you think God is offended by man ignoring him, calling him names, or missing a day of prayer or two.

Well, you see, there’s another conundrum. I always wondered that if God was omniscient and all-powerful, why he would give a rat’s ass about whether human’s kowtowed to him.

He doesn’t.

How would you know? Do you talk to him too?

Off and on.

You good buds, Bub?

Not really, but we’re both dealing with the same concerns — from different perspectives, of course. Helps to touch base now and again.

Wow, now you’re really starting to blow my mind.

Keep in mind that I’m supposed to be deceitful, cunning, and so forth.

Don’t worry, I’m the original Doubting Thomas, anyway. Or at least a first cousin.

Good way to be when discussing religion. .. How about we get back to SIN. Want to have a little fun and start listing things you/we consider sinful?

Sure. How about we alternate. I’ll go first: cheating.

Cheating?

Lots of kinds of cheating: on tests, taxes, on a spouse or significant other…

That last one’s kind of covered under “adultery” above.

Yup. And all kinds of other forms of cheating: fudging this or that… Here’s a good example: I had a plumber come over to do a job. When I got his bill, he had charged me (without telling me before hand) for travel to my house, and travel away from my house. If he’s doing that to all his customers, he’s double dipping on this whole “travel” thing, which is a nasty “hidden charge” anyway. Needless to say I never used him again.

Well, looking at all my “clients” here, I’d have to add people from just about any profession to the “cheating” list: air-conditioner repairmen, car repairmen, used car salesmen, lawyers (heh, heh), even doctors… It’s a long list.

Did you just laugh?

Couldn’t resist.

Okay, your turn. What’s the first sin on your list?

Could I ask you something first?

Sure.

Why are you doing this?

Doing what?

Talking with me.

You asked me… Oh, I see. I guess because of what you said in our first dialogue.

About?

Setting some things straight.

Yes?

It’s just that the whole world seems to be “going to hell in a hand-basket.” Sorry about the bad pun, but it’s another expression my Dad used alot.

To tell the truth, I guess I’d like your perspective on the problem. I figure as long as I keep an open mind, and avoid your deceitful charms, I might learn something. Plus, if all these other people who have talked with God are right, I can always ask him for his side of the problem too.

Okay. I was just curious. How about we break here for the nonce. I’ll start with some sin next time that IS filling my world from a hand-basket.

Catch you later, Bub.

Joe

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “A Dialogue with Mephistopheles II

  1. “I always wondered that if God was omniscient and all-powerful, why he would give a rat’s ass about whether human’s kowtowed to him.” This has been a question I’ve asked myself and others (mostly priests, ministers and Bible thumping Christians) and the only conclusion I can come up with is that God doesn’t need or want our worship. So glad you mentioned that!

  2. Pingback: A Dialogue with Mephistopheles II | Dialogues with Mephistopheles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s