The Devil Is A Useful Creature

Some days I envy the Christians their Devil. He’s such a useful creature. All the evil deeds mankind does can be left on his doorstep. Everything we don’t like can be blamed upon him. He’s a one-size-fits-all scapegoat and I kinda wish I had one.

Doré's Devil for Paradise Lost

If I had a Devil I’d blame him for my hair not cooperating and looking sad and limp. I could spend more time on my hair, but it sure would be easier to blame a Devil for the frizzies. And when someone cuts me off in traffic, instead of reminding myself to be compassionate as the person may be rushing toward an emergency or just didn’t see me, I could blame it on the Devil and he’d just grin. And when I’m sick or stressed and I get short with people, instead of working on my patience and tolerance, I could just say that old rascal Devil got into me.

Really, the Devil is at least as useful as a dishwasher or microwave. I imagine once you’ve got a Devil, you’d wonder how you could ever have lived without him. I mean, he takes a lickin’ and just keeps on tickin’. Racism, homophobia, domestic abuse, substance abuse, or just plain meaness he’ll take the credit for and be ready and raring for more. His capacity to take the blame for your bad behavior is practically limitless.

The best thing about a Devil, though, is that when someone is strange or different, you can claim they worship the Devil. Which is rather ingenious, because you can treat the Devil like a doormat, scraping all the mud and dirt you have accumulated off on him and then say people you don’t like or understand worship your grimy, nasty doormat. Your doormat covered in your dirt. As an insult, it’s rather ingenious. Far better than telling someone to lick your boots or kiss your butt. You’re taking all the dirtiest, nastiest grimiest parts of yourself, placing them in a handy container and then claiming someone you dislike worships your jar of toe grime and bellybutton lint.

The best part, is while you can identify someone else with the filthly excrement of your own soul, you never have to improve your character or behavior. Because there is no capacity limit to the Devil! While the Gods can only answer a finite number of prayers and perform a smaller number of miracles, the Devil has infinite capacity to take the blame for the horrible things you can dream of doing. He is quite literally a hellacious Sham Wow.

Unfortunately, I am a Witch. I don’t get to have a Devil. I have to take full responsibility, in this life and beyond, for everything I do. I have no catch-all scapegoat to toss my bad deeds into and demonize someone with.

So when people are hateful to my faith, particularly when they are a Wordy Ninja trying to build their rep as a writer without taking the time to Google religions they are unfamiliar with, I can’t just say they worship the Devil. As a Witch, my faith tends to be a little stricter and more accountable. We have nothing so handy as a Devil.

Responsible journalism just in time for the "silly season!"

You see, the Devil is a Christian diety. And hey, if you believe that to worship the Christian God is to fear him, and you fear the Devil, then maybe it is totally accurate to refer to religious and/or cultural Christians as “devil worshipers, etc.” Or should that be christians, because the proper names of religions only get capitalized if they are your religion?

So, yeah, the Devil is a useful critter, much like a Sham Wow or those extend-able pole dusters. Some days I kinda wish I had one. But then, I have the flu and should never have popped online to write this, so maybe this is all wrong. If I can’t blame the Devil for this post, I can at least blame the flu meds…

UPDATE: Apparently the author is going to write a follow up piece, which given his response on Twitter isn’t likely to be a beacon of responsible journalism. And his editor apologizes for letting devil-worshipers “slip through,” yet she has left his On question in place.

He doesn't really care what he writes about.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Claudine

    Brilliant. Whether it’s flu meds or not, I really like what you wrote. Feel better soon.

  • Claudine

    Brilliant. Whether it’s flu meds or not, I really like what you wrote. Feel better soon.

  • Patrick Barry

    The connecting thread between Wordyninja and the useful of the devil is laziness. In WN’s obvious case it is being too lazy to do a Google search. I at least would rather chalk it up to lazy than to malice.

    With the Devil it is spiritual laziness. Examining your life and actions is hard work. It is work that can be be emotionally draining and lets face it. It’s drag.
    I don’t like it that much myself, actually taking an unflinching look at why I do things sucks ass.
    I could have come up with a better comment but hey…

  • Vanessa L Crosby

    “He is quite literally a hellacious Sham Wow.”  I’m still laughing so hard about this image that I can’t breathe!  Devil or flu meds to blame, this is fantastic!  Thanks so much for taking the time to read it!

  • Vanessa L Crosby

    “He is quite literally a hellacious Sham Wow.”  I’m still laughing so hard about this image that I can’t breathe!  Devil or flu meds to blame, this is fantastic!  Thanks so much for taking the time to read it!

  • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

    I’m with Claudine on this one.  Thank you for posting it and feel better soon!  <3

  • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

    I’m with Claudine on this one.  Thank you for posting it and feel better soon!  <3

  • David Kees

    First person to Photoshop a Luciferian image into the stain on the bottom of a sham wow Jesus-on-my-toast style wins my everlasting praise. 

  • David Kees

    First person to Photoshop a Luciferian image into the stain on the bottom of a sham wow Jesus-on-my-toast style wins my everlasting praise. 

  • kenneth

    In many sectors of the Christian world, Satan is not merely one of their deities, he is the preeminent figure and the senior partner of the Lucifer/Jehovah duality. They accord Satan enormous power over every aspect of everyday life, despite the fact that Christ’s sacrifice supposedly broke that hold. Many Christians show a much greater awe and even a kind of reverence toward Satan than their apparent one true god. I try to explain to them sometimes that they are in fact feeding supernova levels of energy into a thought form and thus giving life to their own nightmares. Predictably, giving metaphysics advice to fundamentalists is about as useful as tutoring pit bulls in calculus…..

    • Jack Heron

      You’re quite correct – I suppose it would be pretty futile to tell them that it is in fact a heresy to accord the Devil power that can even begin to compete with God. I can’t remember who it was who said that sometimes the greatest proof of the presence of the Devil was the desperate desire of those present to assert that he was.

  • kenneth

    In many sectors of the Christian world, Satan is not merely one of their deities, he is the preeminent figure and the senior partner of the Lucifer/Jehovah duality. They accord Satan enormous power over every aspect of everyday life, despite the fact that Christ’s sacrifice supposedly broke that hold. Many Christians show a much greater awe and even a kind of reverence toward Satan than their apparent one true god. I try to explain to them sometimes that they are in fact feeding supernova levels of energy into a thought form and thus giving life to their own nightmares. Predictably, giving metaphysics advice to fundamentalists is about as useful as tutoring pit bulls in calculus…..

    • Jack Heron

      You’re quite correct – I suppose it would be pretty futile to tell them that it is in fact a heresy to accord the Devil power that can even begin to compete with God. I can’t remember who it was who said that sometimes the greatest proof of the presence of the Devil was the desperate desire of those present to assert that he was.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    This is an interesting post, Star, and I’m glad you wrote, flu or no (and I hope you feel better very soon indeed!).

    But, I notice something that is a bit of an inconsistency.  From a Christian viewpoint, homophobia isn’t the devil’s doing–homosexuality is.  Homophobia isn’t a “sin” to them, it’s a virtue mandated by their god, and to fight against and discrimiate against homosexuals is to be doing their god’s work against the (or should that be “their”?) devil.  If they’re at all right about their devil, then I don’t think he’d happily take the blame for homophobia, I think he’d put that back on their god, where it belongs.

    (And, note, I’m not saying they’re right about the thoughts of their god on that matter, I’m only saying that from their viewpoint, this is how things stand.  On days like this, when topics like this come up, I’m even more overjoyed that I’m not a Christian.)

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      And, lest anyone object:  I certainly realize that many Christians have a version of their god who does not promote homophobia, and I think those Christian should be lauded–and yet also asked how all of that got into their scriptures, often directly in the mouth of the god in question.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    This is an interesting post, Star, and I’m glad you wrote, flu or no (and I hope you feel better very soon indeed!).

    But, I notice something that is a bit of an inconsistency.  From a Christian viewpoint, homophobia isn’t the devil’s doing–homosexuality is.  Homophobia isn’t a “sin” to them, it’s a virtue mandated by their god, and to fight against and discrimiate against homosexuals is to be doing their god’s work against the (or should that be “their”?) devil.  If they’re at all right about their devil, then I don’t think he’d happily take the blame for homophobia, I think he’d put that back on their god, where it belongs.

    (And, note, I’m not saying they’re right about the thoughts of their god on that matter, I’m only saying that from their viewpoint, this is how things stand.  On days like this, when topics like this come up, I’m even more overjoyed that I’m not a Christian.)

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      And, lest anyone object:  I certainly realize that many Christians have a version of their god who does not promote homophobia, and I think those Christian should be lauded–and yet also asked how all of that got into their scriptures, often directly in the mouth of the god in question.

  • http://wp.wiccanweb.ca Makarios

    Nicely done, Star, and I do hope that you’re feeling better. FWIW, it arguably may be worthwhile having a devil, if for no other reason than to be able to enjoy Paradise Lost  and Gounod’s Faust.

    • Anonymous

      Gounod’s Faust – gorgeous! I do want to say that the heresy of the protestant Satan (and, the folkloric one that Gounod explored) is a *heresy*.  The fallen, in strict interpretation of Biblical texts, shows the angels refusing to “bow to man” for for their great love of God and were thereby denied the presence and to look upon the face of God-as-Beloved.  It is a mystical text, and, as such, when interpreted literally, t becomes the childish hash of nonsense and superstition that we see played out daily. I lay the blame squarely on the Christian teachers for doing such a lousy job over the past 2,000 years.  Not to mention the inclusion of several blatant social control and political agendas cropping up (just about everywhere) over those 2,000 years.

  • http://wp.wiccanweb.ca Makarios

    Nicely done, Star, and I do hope that you’re feeling better. FWIW, it arguably may be worthwhile having a devil, if for no other reason than to be able to enjoy Paradise Lost  and Gounod’s Faust.

    • LezlieKinyon

      Gounod’s Faust – gorgeous! I do want to say that the heresy of the protestant Satan (and, the folkloric one that Gounod explored) is a *heresy*.  The fallen, in strict interpretation of Biblical texts, shows the angels refusing to “bow to man” for for their great love of God and were thereby denied the presence and to look upon the face of God-as-Beloved.  It is a mystical text, and, as such, when interpreted literally, t becomes the childish hash of nonsense and superstition that we see played out daily. I lay the blame squarely on the Christian teachers for doing such a lousy job over the past 2,000 years.  Not to mention the inclusion of several blatant social control and political agendas cropping up (just about everywhere) over those 2,000 years.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    You can have a devil, if you want one.  I want an all purpose savior that forgives me for everything I do, so I can get away with murder and repent five minutes before I die, and not have to make it up to anyone I hurt, and destroy lives and still have “Grace”, and ruin all kinds of things and still make it into Heaven.  Or NOT. 

    BTW your hair is fine, Star, and it was even cooler when it was pink.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    You can have a devil, if you want one.  I want an all purpose savior that forgives me for everything I do, so I can get away with murder and repent five minutes before I die, and not have to make it up to anyone I hurt, and destroy lives and still have “Grace”, and ruin all kinds of things and still make it into Heaven.  Or NOT. 

    BTW your hair is fine, Star, and it was even cooler when it was pink.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

    Puhleeeze. Devil worshiper my foot. All the Satanists I know are much more interesting and informed than Mr. Odegard. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

    Puhleeeze. Devil worshiper my foot. All the Satanists I know are much more interesting and informed than Mr. Odegard. 

  • Soliwo

    The latest twitter from WordyNinja: “Attn pagans: stop bothering me on twitter. Every time I get a notification, I think it’s something important.”

  • Soliwo

    The latest twitter from WordyNinja: “Attn pagans: stop bothering me on twitter. Every time I get a notification, I think it’s something important.”


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