On The Satanic

I’ve shared on here before that when my ex-wife and I were going through our divorce we used a mediator. We were luckier than many couples. Some couples are forced to use a judge. In either situation, however, it is clear that when two people disagree, the best–sometimes the only–solution is for an outside party to make the decisions.

This last week the seminary put on both a seminar and an evening service on the topic of racism. Racism is like a divorce proceeding; except that in racism every single human ever is a petitioner. Who is wise enough to act as judge? Who is impartial enough? Who is not the victim or the perpetrator?

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I’ve also shared on here that I am in a Christian apologetics class right now. We’ve moved on to Christian ethics, but there is still a heightened feeling of pressure to constantly evangelize. This feeling, for me, has been accompanied by a unique thought. Every once in a while I think to myself, “Boy, this evangelism would be so much easier if I could do it without using the words “Bible”, “God”, “Sin”, “Jesus Christ”, “Resurrection”, and the like. Those words, to most of us, are so hot-button that people can’t think clearly after they are uttered, moreover, people often don’t want to think about them at all .

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Back to racism as a divorce proceeding involving the entire human race.

Do you understand that there actually does exist an outside Judge and Mediator? Do you understand that sin is the only reason you and I segregate ourselves? Do you understand that a book many people take to be the very revelation of God–the Bible–says we are all created in God’s image and likeness? Do you understand that this necessarily implies that our self-segregation means that we’re willfully looking away from divine beauty? Do you understand that the outside Judge and Mediator–the concretely risen Lord and Savior of you and me, the very Son of God, Jesus Christ–made his ruling on racism known to the world in the Bible? And do you know which race he singled out as worth dying for? The human race.

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George Clooney has a great line in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” in which he says of the devil, “Well, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork.” To this description, the escaped convicts’ new-found, soul-less, hitchhiking, black companion replies, “Oh, no. No, sir. He’s white, as white as you folks, with empty eyes and a big hollow voice. He likes to travel around with a mean old hound. That’s right.” If I was given a turn in the conversation, I’d describe Satan as Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park when he is picking up the barbasol  shaving creme can with which he’ll steal the dino DNA. Remember that? His entire body jiggles in a giddy laugh at how easy the theft will be.

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Can you understand post-enlightenment, post-age-of-reason, what the satanic is? The satanic is anything other than the truth. It is lies, distortions, half-truths, diversions, and denials. Take racism. Even widespread knowledge of science’s revelation that “pure” races don’t exist hasn’t helped the problem of racism. The only possible solution to racism must come from some manner of transcendent being. Christianity goes to great lengths to announce that this transcendent being is the triune God who created the universe and sent His Son to die for the sins of mankind some two thousand years ago. Resurrecting from the grave on the third day, Jesus the Christ gave us the victory–if only we choose it.

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So, no, Satan (the adversary), I am not going to water down the gospel. The good news is only *and precisely* that Jesus Christ is risen. And it is only through Him that humans can be free.

 

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7 comments

  1. geistkleid

    First off, I wanna say that I appreciate your blog. I’m a Christian but also quite a cynic and tend to believe that people speak out of a bias that limits truth and evolution in thought. So, I appreciate that you think about these things and how you think about them.

    Second, I actually wanted to write the other day, after I read what I think was your most recent post about humility. While reading it, I found myself wanting to suggest a book called “The People of the Lie,” written several years ago by M. Scott Peck. He is mostly famous for his Road Less Traveled books and for self-help stuff but I think this book he wrote on evil has merit.

    I originally thought to suggest it, as mentioned, because of your words on humility and submission. Peck’s book is about evil and, although he is very openly a Christian and speaks about evil as such, he is coming at it from a psychological stance, as that is his chosen profession. While reading your words I thought about what he said about evil, particularly how when people are evil, they serve themselves. And yet, he says, people are not happy unless they serve an outside force. His quote:

    “Mental health requires that the human will submit itself to something higher than itself. To function decently in this world we must submit ourselves to some principle that takes precedence over what we might want at any given moment…Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs…”

    I think this speaks very much to the issue of humility and submission. But, of course, I forgot to follow up and suggest the book. I also sometimes second guess myself because people are always suggesting that I read things and I find it kind of annoying when they do…so maybe I put it out of my head. Anyway, when I saw your discussion on satan today, I thought, “Maybe I really need to send something.”

    Magic works that way, or some would call it God.

    So, People of the Lie is a good quick read on the issue of evil in everyday life that you might wanna pick up. Interestingly enough, I started reading the book because my soon-to-be-ex husband read the book many years ago and spoke about it often in conversation. I may not have thought about the book much except he actually found it originally sitting on my mother’s bookshelf. Now that it is many years later, I have had the perspective to see both of those people in a new light and I find it interesting that they both, I think, are people who have manifested evil in my life on a regular basis. It is interesting then that they both read and liked the book. I decided that in the healing process of extricating them from my life, I would read this book that meant so much to them.

    And, I happened at the time to also pick up “Mere Christianity,” by C.S. Lewis. I am sure you have covered him somewhere in your studies; probably that apologetics class. CS Lewis is definitely a great companion to Peck. In fact, while reading him I wonder if Peck was purposely using some of Lewis’ thoughts as foundation for his theories. Either/or, I thought I would pass that on as well.

    I also wanted to speak to your words on racism. This is where you really had me:

    “Do you understand that sin is the only reason you and I segregate ourselves? Do you understand that a book many people take to be the very revelation of God–the Bible–says we are all created in God’s image and likeness? Do you understand that this necessarily implies that our self-segregation means that we’re willfully looking away from divine beauty?”

    And I will tell you why…I feel most of the time that I am talking to the wall. As a Catholic, I have the advantage of understanding the communion host as the actual body of Christ. Obviously Protestants feel differently about this but even if one sect believes it’s the actual body (after consecration) or a symbol of the body, it doesn’t completely matter. That is, no other religion in the history of the world suggests that we are both made in God’s image (that we actually are made in the divine image) or that, during ritual, human beings get to actually take a piece of God inside of their body’s. And, this is what differentiates Christianity from other religions, probably why it has spread like it has and why it is so important. (Although the more I read about Sikhism, the more I am encouraged by it in this context).

    What I am getting at? Basically, by dint of the fact that we are taking a piece of God inside of us, or a symbol of the divine, and by dint of the fact that God made himself man as a way of saying we are made in his image, it is wrong and counter-intuitive to, as you say, turn away from that divine beauty. You are, in essence, when you hate someone for their appearance or skin or whatever, hating the divine.

    So, if I take the host inside of me, or even if I know I am made in God’s image, I will respect myself, my soul, my body. I will do all I can to preserve that soul and body. I will eat right, not destroy this thing of divine beauty, not sleep around, not hurt myself. AND, I will do the same to respect every human being around me. So, even if I see a homeless person on the street, I will know he has this divine nugget in him and that he deserves the same reverence that I deserve since we are both divine beings.

    So, how do you tell people this? And, why should you? Well, I will answer the second question first. We should tell people because currently our society is one where our self-worth is defined by things that it shouldn’t be defined by. Meaning, a man’s self-worth is based on his earning potential, his status, his car. But, what if he has none of that? Does he no longer have self-worth? NO. Because doesn’t his internal divine nugget say otherwise? YES.

    And, this has major implications. For instance, a man who knows he has worth beyond his things, his house, his job will be less likely to hoard those things so closely; so closely that he may do bad things to preserve them. This need to hoard is insidious. It may be what is tearing this country apart; there are too many examples to name here.

    So, HOW do we tell them? This is the most important question. For one thing, all the major religions need a major overhaul. We are dealing with some pretty old material. Some of it is golden and old and carries with it much wisdom. But, some of it is just old. Musty. And, is certainly not going to speak to generations of today with our short attention spans and access to every vice imaginable.

    One way I like to think about it is something simple. I like to tell people, “Here’s the thing about Christ. Christ is a representation of every human being. When we love him, we love ourselves and we each other because we are loving the mortal manifestation of God. And, what is Christ but this amazing, glowing, sexy fruit. Beautiful. As we are beautiful.” I like to then equate him with spring. While the trees bud, Christ glows because he represents, as the trees do, NEW LIFE. And not just new life but ALL LIFE. Christ and LIFE are synonymous.

    Then, I like to say, “What if a man who knew nothing of Christianity at all encountered a manger scene on someone’s lawn around Christmas time? What would he think of it? If he was using his heart and not his mind, he would see all of these people/angels inside the manger staring at one thing: a baby. And, what does a baby represent? LIFE. So, in the place of the plastic glowing infant in the manger seen, any human being could put himself. EVERYONE is the baby in the manger because EVERYONE is divine. EVERYONE IS THAT BEAUTIFUL SEXY FRUIT.

    Thank you for listening. These are thoughts I have that never seem to go away but always seem to go ignored. And yet, they seem so obvious to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      Thank you for writing. I have read Peck’s two Road Less Traveled books. I google’d him afterward and when I discovered that he got very involved with exorcisms etc, I have to admit I was a bit turned off/scared. I am a very extremist personality, and that’s why I refrain from dabbling too much in the study of evil etc. But you and I (and Peck it seems) are in agreement about the nature of these things. Service to others seems to be paramount and Americans for one are definitely avoiding this observation. (BTW, a Godly man I know says his dad taught him, “Service is the rent we pay for life.” I’ve always liked that expression of the concept.)

      The single most valuable thing seminary has revealed to me is how much bullshayt I was making up to make sense of life. So much speculation. Christianity embraces life. Laugh, cry, lament, rage, but sin not. There is no call to ignore facts or history or your mind. There is simply a call to observe and learn and consider “why”. These days it’s becoming very clear very early in the conversation which part of life a non-believer is ignoring, or fancifully speculating about.

      Anyhow, thanks for reading my post(s). It’s always nice to find someone who’s brain works in the same manner. Good luck with the soon-to-be-ex reality. Don’t lost hope through it.

      Pete

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    • Brother Dave

      I guess a person would have to believe in magic if they believe in transubstantiation.

      The Scriptures declare that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial to the body and blood of Christ (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25), not the actual consumption of His physical body and blood. When Jesus was speaking in John chapter 6, Jesus had not yet had the Last Supper with His disciples, in which He instituted the Lord’s Supper. To read the Lord’s Supper / Christian Communion back into John chapter 6 is unwarranted.

      The most serious reason transubstantiation should be rejected is that it is viewed as a “re-sacrifice” of Jesus Christ for our sins, or as a “re-offering / re-presentation” of His sacrifice. This is directly in contradiction to what Scripture says, that Jesus died “once for all” and does not need to be sacrificed again (Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18). Hebrews 7:27 declares, “Unlike the other high priests, He (Jesus) does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins ONCE for all when He offered Himself.”

      Sadly, religion and traditions of men have been injected into Christianity because people just cannot accept the fact that their salvation comes solely by grace and not by works. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Most Christians have been taught that you have to do some type of work to be saved. That plays well for those in church hierarchies because it reinforces their control over congregants.

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      • Pete Deakon

        Hey Brother Dave,

        Thanks for reading. I have to confess that I very nearly removed this comment though. In a word, “geistkleid” and I were having “a moment” and it appears that you kinda took the opportunity to attack her. If you read her comment, you surely have to assume that she’s aware that not all Christians hold the same belief about the Lord’s Supper.

        I guess I’m confused as to your motivation for directing a comment towards her instead of my post or simply not commenting at all. If because of her beliefs about the Lord’s Supper you question whether she’s one of the people of God, (Christian), then surely an attack (specifically the word “magic”) is unhelpful to evangalism. But if I’m not off the mark in trusting that she’s not misrepresenting herself when she says, “I’m a Christian” then isn’t the burden on you and I to fulfill Paul’s wish in Galatians 5:26 “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other”?

        I’ll happily remove this comment and your comment if you see where I’m coming from. Or I can leave them. I think there’s value to both options.

        Pete

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        • Brother Dave

          Personally, I have never removed any comment on any of my social media venues. As for her comment, to even remotely consider the possibly that the elements of the Lord’s Supper could be actual blood or flesh defies volumes of Scripture that would refute such errant theology. I have great patience with the minors (white shirts, neckties, alcohol, tobacco, etc), but concerning the majors (salvation by grace, eternal security, the Lord’s Supper) I believe it important to shine the light of the Scriptures on darkness.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. RON PRITCHETT

    Hi Pete – In this last week, the good pastor from Atlanta said something that sticks with me – “Marriage isn’t made by love of each other – it’s made by a commitment to love.” It has taken Mary and me 41 years to appreciate this wisdom. And then a good friend died on the 11th, and his memorial service was in Castle Rock on Saturday. Father Winter of the Episcopal church said, “Preach Jesus. Sometimes use words.” I, too, find those hell-fire words put people off, yet we are counseled to find a way. St. Peter’s words ring true: believe, then deliver with gentleness and respect. Lately, a better purpose for me has been to craft messages in ways that carry the Word without scaring anybody. I think that’s a good way. Thanks for the opportunity to see good preachin’ last week. You are on your way! Best regards,Ron(P.S. Wasn’t it the Satanic that hit a devil-shaped iceberg?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      I hope this post didn’t come across as trying to scare people. I was trying to demonstrate how I perceive evil in post-modern 2016 wealthy America. If I were to re-attempt with simple clarity and a lot less grounding, my post would go, “Evil (satanic) thinking is to consider leaving out Jesus during evangelism. This is because the historical figure Jesus is precisely the good news worth sharing.”

      Pete

      Like

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