Listening in on another conversation at the coffee shop. It’s what I do. Fuzzy new age seekers happy that there is an all-loving entity watching over everyone and our only job as his spoiled children is to pray and seek and trust and have faith and know that there is great abundance awaiting when we arrive in the moist, oozing, spiritual hereafter.
Sounds too easy. Trivial.
Can you have a reward without the option of punishment?
If you believe in God, how can you not believe in the Devil? Satan. Moloch. Mammon. Lucifer. Beelzebub. There are more names for the Devil than for God, which indicates that we’ve been thinking about this for a long time.
If you are certain that there is a benign heavenly entity looking down on you with love, forgiveness, guidance, if He (cause it’s always a fucking “He”) listens to your prayers and grants wishes and cures disease and performs miracles and has a giant open door policy for people and dogs that die and get to ascend to rewards unimagined, all Love, all caring, all easy well-fed calm reunification with every family member and friend who has gone before, there has to be a contrasting phenomenon.
Otherwise everything would be terrific; low cholesterol, cancer free, high self esteem. If He’s in charge and is all good where the hell does all the shitty stuff come from? Bad hair and infections?
Is your deity a total dick, offering great sex and good vibes and cool movies and at the same time overdosing actors, blowing up restaurants, sexually abusing children, causing car accidents and tooth decay and AIDS?
He is one screwy bastard and avoiding Him would be in all our best interests. Right? I mean, Jesus, a schizoid, nasty, disrespectful, vindictive, punishing, whimsically cruel divinity? Nope, no thank you very much.
Satan on the other hand, makes a lot of sense. Read the news. Add up the happy stories, and then add up the horrors and stupidity and terror. Subtract the small number from the big number. It comes out to about 6 to 1 in favor of Evil.
The evidence indicates that the world is a complicated, dysfunctional place; overpopulated, dirty and terribly dangerous in many places. The randomness of birth drops some people in lethal situations permanently and forever. Lucky you if your god didn’t force you to be born in fucking North Korea.
We should be grateful for the supposed existence of Satan. The Father of Lies. Old Scratch. As long as he’s looking up at us, ready to catch us when we fall, we don’t have to question why things happen; we don’t have to debate the nature of evil and afterlife and where uncle Billy is living since he died. If the ongoing battle between decency and wickedness is tipping a little towards the Pit it just means that the other guys are winning for the present.
If Uncle Billy was an abusive asshole, he’s in hell. Unless you don’t believe in the hell, and the Devil and evil and everyone is beautiful and gets forgiven.
Then uncle Billy, the old prick, is kicked back in heaven.
And waiting for you.