Monday, August 04, 2003

"The Devil made me do it!"

When did we decide that Demonic possession is mostly a bunch of stories in the Gospel stemming from a misunderstanding of epilepsy and/or mental illness? I didn't get that memo, even though I have seen that the idea is a mere punchline for Rationalist jokes about religious people. ("I comMAYAND the demons to come out of this may-an!" always in the Southern accent that is Intellectual code-speak for "Moron.")

Among the many reasons I won't even go so far as to suggest that Uday and Qusay, evil sociopaths though they most certainly were, are now roasting for eternity is, I don't have any ability to say whether "Uday" and "Qusay" existed as real personalities capable of free will and choosing right from wrong. Am I responsible for my actions if the Devil himself is directing them, against my wishes but out of my power to stop?

We'd all have a healthier view of the world, I think, if we acknowledged not merely sin, but the existence of a force in the universe (still a creature, but a force nonetheless) actively engaged in the increase of sin, sometimes by acts of direct intervention in the material world. We don't want to get all Flip Wilson about our actions, of course, but we should be aware that there is an Enemy, and he sometimes takes rather direct action.


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