Yesterday I had a blast from the past and found myself insisting that Harry Potter isn’t demonic. Also this week, I saw a post going the rounds on Facebook, claiming that a line of particularly unattractive unisex children’s clothing designed by Celine Dion is demonic. I’m transported back to the late nineties at the mention of Celine Dion as much as I am at Harry Potter– and as for the allegation that random things are demonic and will make you go to hell if you touch them, that goes back to the early nineties when my family first found themselves on the Planet Charismatic. My friends were hissing and chuckling at the idea of a demonic clothing line or of Harry Potter putting souls in danger. As for me, I posted my rebuttal and went about my business.
And this evening, I found that people were offended that my friends and I were poking fun.
I saw someone talking about how dangerous and foolhardy we were, alleging that we didn’t have any care for souls because we weren’t scared of the devil lurking around every corner. “Always be aware about who is concerned with actual souls and who isn’t,” she said. “Take careful note. And read the saints– those “Christianist” loonies who believed in the ever-present activity of the demons who “prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls…”
I found it remarkable that she presumed that people who poke fun of the idea of demons lurking in an ugly t-shirt were not concerned with “actual souls” or didn’t believe that demons existed.
I am concerned with souls.
And I know that demons exist and prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
The devil is real; I believe that.
But no, I don’t waste time worrying about him jumping out at me from random objects. I try not to worry about him at all, because I am concerned with souls. I think that Christians who spend their time worrying about the devil have exactly the wrong idea. That’s what the devil wants us to do– to focus on him and on everything that’s bad, instead of on Christ. He wants to distract us from what we ought to be doing, in any way he can. He wants to stop good things from being done, and to wreck good things that have already been done. That’s all he ever does.The devil negates. God says “I want to do a thing” and the devil says “No, not a thing.” Always. That’s all there is to the devil. That’s his whole plan. It honestly isn’t more complicated than that.
God says “Let there be light” and the devil says “I want to turn the light off, and since I can’t turn it off I’ll close my eyes.” God says “order” and the devil says “No, bring back disorder, and since I can’t destroy order altogether I’ll sabotage it in any little way I can.” God says “planets” and the devil says “No planets, no nothing, not even the awe-inspiring majesty of light years of empty space. Let there be nothing.” God says “trees” and the devil says “Cut the trees down down and don’t build something nice out of the wood either.” God says “Animals” and the devil says “Extinction.” God makes people in His own image and likeness, and the devil says “Then I’d like to annihilate people, but since I can’t manage that I’ll make people as ugly as I am inside, and if I can’t even do that I’ll at least make them suffer.” God says “Let people make families and families build societies to reflect the image of the Holy Trinity,” and the devil says “then families will abuse their members and societies will exploit their weakest members. I cannot annihilate human societies but I’ll make them work as hard as they can to annihilate each other. And where they don’t work directly for that, I will teach them to base their relationships on ‘enriching’ themselves with the accumulation of worthless things at others’ expense instead of on love. If I can’t annihilate families and societies, I will at least do everything I can so that the whole course of human history looks like me instead of you.”
To that, God says, “Then I Myself will walk with them in the suffering you will cause them and teach them to cause each other. I will heal them, and I will protect them, but I will also do better than heal or protect them: I will show them the path to Me, through their suffering. I will let Myself be the Victim of every terrible thing you’ve taught them to do to one another and I will make these terrible things yet another sign of My presence. I created Mankind in My image and likeness, to be beautiful and happy with Me, and you tried to make them as ugly and in pain as you have chosen to make yourself. So I will allow them to make me ugly and inflict pain on Me, as you have taught them to do, so even ugliness and pain will point to Me. In the end, they will be one with Me in paradise, and after every one of your works have passed away they will remain with Me, and their joy will have no end.”
And what is the devil to say to that?
But I make the devil sound too interesting even in that dialogue.