Is There Really a Devil?
By Amanda Thomas
Evil sometimes is in the eye of the beholder. Storms rage, typhoons swamp the land, earthquakes crush, and tornados sweep away the hard labors of our hands, as well as human life. In many faith traditions these are blamed on the judgment of a God, or thought of as acts of evil by some divine, supernatural adversary. These faith traditions assume an all powerful, omniscient God, that allows evil to happen, or allows humans to be tempted into evil, so as to test their devotion to the good.
My faith tradition does not have an all-powerful supernatural being, but instead many perfectly natural Deities that are subject to the laws of nature and physics. They can effect some change in bending those laws, but they cannot break them. Tornados, earthquakes, plagues, and other disasters are all by-products of the physical forces at work in our shared world. They are not divine retribution, nor are they evil in of themselves. They can often be tragic in the cost of life, and property, but they are not evil or good. They just are.
As for other types of evil in the world, I hold that human beings are creative enough to not need a supernatural being to tempt them into nasty and disturbing behaviors. Humans are perfectly capable of both acts of good and evil without any sort of divine help. As I have heard it said, "Heaven and Hell are here on Earth; it is we who decide which it will be."
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Amanda Thomas is an ADF Druid, and Wiccan. Amanda also happens to belong to a Unitarian Universalist church, where she leads a class on the Goddess and does ritual work for women in the church. She is a mother and general bibliophile.