Archive for April 24th, 2011

“According to a Gallup Poll, nearly 70% of Americans believe in the Devil. Do you? Why or why not? Why do you think 70% of Americans believe as they do on this issue? Do you think this number is higher or lower than other countries in the world? Why? Do you think the devil is behind the choice of this topic?”

To answer the last question first:  No.  I think that someone over at Post-a-Day has too much time on her hands.

Moving backwards…  Probably this figure (70%) is actually lower than the rest of the world.  Excluding Western Europe, which still suffers from the effects of the “Enlightenment,” every other culture has some form of personification of evil, and it seems to me that, in terms of the Collective Unconscious (thank you, Dr. Jung), for every other culture in the world to have such a belief — there’s gotta be something to it.  Not every culture has the same version of the Creation story, but every one has an introduction of Evil into a fundamentally good world (interestingly, every other culture also has some version of the Great Flood recorded in the Bible.  Hmmm).

Continuing backward, I do think that Americans who believe in the Devil fall largely in the Fundamentalist camp, and at one point in fairly recent history, the Southern Baptist Convention was the largest denomination in the United States (still may be, for all I know).  And that’s just the SBC — that’s not counting other kinds of Baptists, Pentecostals, Holiness types (whatever that is), AME Zion…  Well.  There are nearly 400 Protestant denominations in the United States, and most of them are fundamentalist of one kind or another.  So 70% strikes me as a reasonable figure, considering that the devil figures prominently in the Fundamentalist culture.

As to me personally…  Define “believe.”  Do I believe in the red-tights-and-horns version of the devil?  Give me a break.  Do I believe in a force for evil?  I’m a product of the twentieth century; I’d have to be mad not to.  Do I believe in the devil in the same way that people express belief in God?  God forbid!!!

Do I believe that he exists?  I’m pretty sure that’s where this question was supposed to go, and the answer is:  Yes.  Absolutely.  People who have trafficked in evil have conjured up demons, for one thing, and for another, I certainly believe that there is a force in this world that is steering it steadily towards a path of destruction; and I further believe that without God, mankind is powerless to stop that force to destruction.  By ourselves, we can’t even bring ourselves to believe that such a thing is possible, so how could we be expected to withstand it, alone?

So the real question should be, Do you believe in God?  And on a related topic — why was this question posed on Easter Sunday?!

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