The Devil Is A Useful Creature

The Devil Is A Useful Creature October 20, 2011

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.

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