PURGATORY – A peace treaty of truly biblical proportions was signed today by the Supreme Being and the Prince of Darkness to end their multi-millennium long battle of good versus evil, both said in a joint statement to the inhabitants of Earth. “Our long eschatological nightmare is over”, they were quoted as saying.
Meeting on neutral territory, God and Satan finally decided to put their differences aside and come up with an agreement to end the war between the two spiritual factions. The deities shook hands after the signing.
The agreement is the culmination of 2,000 years of ongoing, and often tense, negotiations between the two sides. Several attempts have been made over the past few millennia to finalize a peace deal, but neither side seemed willing or able to achieve a consensus on the details.
Archangels and demons closely involved in the meetings, issued a press release praising both God and the Devil for their leadership and wisdom in finally reaching a compromise.
“To be honest, I never thought I’d see this day come”, said Azazel, one of the chief demonic diplomats involved in the deal. “The issues were so complex, and the wounds so deep, it seemed as if we’d never see an end to it”, he continued.
The archangel Gabriel seconded those words and added, “After a long and oftentimes difficult battle for the soul of man, we can now finally put our differences aside and say enough is enough. This is a great day for both Heaven and Hell.”
Indeed, the battle between good and evil has been a long one, and many in heaven and hell wondered if it was even possible to reconcile the vast metaphysical chasm that seemed to separate them. There were however, a few close calls.
Almost everyone is aware of the story of Adam and Eve. However, few realize that just after the controversial Creation of Man, which led to the infamous “Tempt Offensive” in the Garden of Eden, a peace proposal was put forth by the Lords of Limbo, a sort of quasi-diplomatic faction in the neutral zone between the infernal and astral planes. The so-called Switzerland of the spiritual world, as some describe it.
An armistice was almost reached, but partisan bickering and a stubborn refusal on both sides simply led to further intransigence and friction, eventually leading to all out war. The two sides have been fighting ever since.
But all that ended today with a simple stroke of a pen. It was a momentous occasion for both sides, and the celebrations were naturally supernatural. Revelers say the stories of this day will surely live on in myth and legend for all time.
However, not everyone is celebrating. Religious leaders from all faiths questioned what this actually meant for man’s very soul. They say the battle between good and evil was the cornerstone of man’s search for meaning, his very reason for being, and without it, there’d be no purpose to life at all.
Things like free will, choice, and the whole notion of right and wrong would be thrown into chaos without these opposing forces. In fact, the entire philosophical and religious canon of all mankind will have to be rewritten, and possibly tossed out altogether. Many of them asked what we’re supposed to do without these important and necessary ontological concepts.
The answer, according to the agreement, is… nothing. Man is still free to do whatever he wants it’s just that angels and demons will no longer be fighting over our souls. In other words, we still have a choice to be good or evil, but God and Satan won’t have a stake in it anymore. We have to have faith in ourselves now, they say.
And statistics from the Diabolical and Divine Alliance (DADA), an independent think-tank of angelic and demonic scholars, seem to bear this reasoning out. Their findings demonstrate conclusively that mankind already chooses one path or another entirely of his own free will, despite the influence of spiritual forces. That’s good news for those who’ve always believed in their own individualized manifest destiny, but bad news for everyone still dependent on the literal interpretation of dogma.
Many Christian believers also wanted to know how this agreement affected the whole notion of Jesus dying for our sins. A good question, as according to Gabriel that was one of the major sticking points during the negotiations. “The idea that Jesus would now have died in vain, certainly didn’t sit well with our Lord. But Jesus agreed to let it go for the sake of peace. That’s the kind of guy he is”, said the heavenly diplomat.
Of course, not everyone has the ability to sacrifice their own self-interests for the greater good. Religious fanatics from all stripes have been absolutely apoplectic over the news of the treaty. Many of them patently refuse to believe it, as it profoundly interferes with their hopes and dreams for Armageddon.
In fact, the very idea that God would make a deal with the Devil to call off the most epic battle of all time in the name of peace, certainly doesn’t sit well with the more extremist elements of the world’s major religions. Reactions ranged from severe suicidal depression to calls for violence and an immediate holy war. Apparently, the true believers are hell bent on having their apocalypse anyway.
Satanists bemoaned the fact that they can no longer conjure up demons to take possession of a person’s soul, and criticized Satan for, “selling out to God”, vowing to protest The Great Deceiver’s betrayal with mass sacrifices and lots of ominous chanting.
“We expected this kind of negative reception”, sighed a spokespirit for both parties. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s our fault really, so we can’t sit back and judge them. Our goal was to finally set an example for mankind to follow, and we feel confident that with this agreement they’ll eventually ‘get it’ and follow our lead. If not, then so be it. Man’s fate is no longer in our hands.”
So, no rapture, or raising of the dead. No four horseman of the apocalypse, or the return of Jesus, or trumpet blasts, bowls of wrath, antichrists, plagues of locusts, ten-headed beasts, or anything like that. Heaven and Hell have finally made peace.
Although, as both sides agreed, this doesn’t preclude us from killing ourselves with nuclear weapons or environmental degradation. Nor does it prevent any catastrophes from external physical threats like say: asteroids or alien invasions. So, we’re not completely out of the woods yet. But both God and Satan assured us that if anything bad does happen to us, it’s no longer their fault.
At least that’s some comfort.
Agnostics greeted the news with a bit of skepticism, and said they’d take a wait and see attitude before making any decisions on whether or not to believe in the agreement, or any of this for that matter.
Representatives for the Atheists and Secular Humanists Society (ASHS) however, we’re more unequivocal in their response, issuing a resounding and emphatic, “No comment.”