Atheists don’t believe in the existence of God, and they might laugh at believers who have an ‘imaginary friend in the sky.’ If people don’t believe in God, we don’t even need to ask, they don’t believe in any other beings from the Bible. I find that most Atheist arguments are with Christians, but it is fair to say that other religions also believe in evil beings who cause destruction among us, and that includes Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others.
Most religious people believe there is something bad out there, and most Atheists don’t.
In 2009, a survey of people who identified as Christian, in the United States, showed they do not believe in the Devil:
I remember old rock songs like “Devil you” and “Beware the devil woman” but those are just entertainment on the radio.
So, does that evil person exist, and how does this question even matter today? Human beings do their own evil deeds, and we don’t need an evil ally for that.
Or do we?
I know I’m not a good person. At least I didn’t start that way. As a Christian, I believe I am forgiven. Sometimes I am bothered by things I said or did, long ago, and I wish I could go back and make things right. I know I can’t go back, so I turn up the radio, if I’m driving. All we can do is be forgiven, and forgive. I am impressed that so many good people in my life are willing to forgive the past, and still be my friends.
We can blame ourselves for all the evil in the world, and humans are always involved, in the worst things. The good news is, we are bad at being bad, we’re not good at it. One of the best safety features built into humans, is that when we go bad and do criminal things, we know we are wrong, and we become generally corrupt. Bad people are a package deal and they come with qualities like laziness and dishonesty. I grew up in a neighborhood with a large number of crimes. I could give murder tours, showing my friends the houses where someone had been killed.
In my church-going and Bible-reading family, we lived in a terrible neighborhood, and we learned to dodge the bad people. They were predictable.
So, back to the Devil. Does that invisible person exist?
For Christians, the Bible is very clear: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). There is something more evil than us in the world, and if we don’t see him, we can see his best work.
I think we are going to see the work of our partner soon. We all know this year is filled with anger and protests and hatred. I have never seen a time when politics were so filled with hatred. To a point this is the work of humans, dishonest and bumbling. But, our actions are also an invitation for a partnership.
This has happened before. Angry protests led to Communist revolutions in some countries, and that anger gave us the greatest mass murders in history; about 110 million in one century. Also, hatred of the Jews was common for centuries, but most people survived the hatred, most of the time. And then, some force stepped up the evil of corrupt human beings, and we had the Nazi killings, where millions died.
There is a force for evil that is willing to partner with us. That is clear in history. Our corrupt bumbling is only the beginning, we are playing with a dangerous fire.
It’s all a question of partnership. We have a choice of who we will work with, and the results depend on our choice. We all know there are evil forces in this world, always willing to take our work to a new level. A man named Jesus made us a counter offer. We do have a choice:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11: 28 to 30)