The King James Holy Bible Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s Faust Dante’s Divine Comedy John Milton’s Paradise Lost Mark Twains’ Letters of The Earth and Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster are a small sample of the many works of world literature by authors philosophers and theologians that have attempted to explain and explore human suffering and good and evil as it pertains to the Judeo-Christian belief systems.
Seven years into the twenty-first century Charles Sabillon tackles the subject with his philosophical and theological treatise / novel In Bed with God and the Devil. Sabillon’s protagonist Roy Johansen is similar to Benet’s Webster in that they are powerful litigators that defend their clients against the Devil. Benet’s Webster defends a New Hampshire farmer. Sabillon’s Johansen defends himself the rest of humanity and eventually must debate and defend his position against God.
Roy Johansen is a highly celebrated Swedish-American attorney with an incredible intellect. Sabillon writes “ Roy was not normal… Since his early years he had started to display evidence of possessing a very unusual and highly developed brain. He was brilliant in many ways but it was his ability to debunk and trash ideas of even the most intelligent people what most stood out.“ With his hyper-intelligence and his superb oratory and debating skills Johansen is able to defeat the most seemingly logical arguments. He takes great pleasure in tearing apart the ideas of good and evil God and the Devil and Heaven and Hell. Destroying the religious faith of others thrilled him. Ironically when a fatal stroke kills him in his prime he is sent to Hell. He asks a minion of Hell “What is going to happen to me now?” The creature replies “We will torture you torment you mistreat you beat you kick you pummel you pound you strike you burn you squash you dissolve you cut you tear you eat you and many other things. You will endure grief and anguish for the rest of eternity and then you will experience it some more.
Johansen’s intellect and debunking abilities discourage the minions of Hell. After a series of other tortures from higher demons he manages to receive and audience with the Devil whom he debates and wins. Johansen is supposedly granted a chance to speak to God But there is a catch and he realizes his trials and tribulations are only beginning.
In Bed With God and the Devil is a book designed for readers with an open mind about religion. Sabillon shows the flaws in the system of Christianity that many people have noticed but are afraid to point out. Sabillon gives those people a voice through Roy Johansen.
Except for what one might consider unnecessary exposition during some of Johansen’s more private moments and Sabillon’s annoying habit of sometimes confusing the reader by not using pronouns but instead referring to Johansen as “the Blond” “The New Yorker” The Swedish American “the Lawyer etc all on the same page Sabillon’s writing is insightful and entertaining.
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