i’ve been terrified of the devil ever since i was a little kid. i think it started with the sunday school and christian summer camps that my parents put me in when i was little. i believe that because the only stuff i remember from those things is oatmeal cookies and glasses of orange juice after church, and seeing a picture from an overhead projector of the devil stoking a fire while jesus pours water on it to keep it under control. i liked the cookies alright (although chocolate chip would have obviously been far better) but the pic of jesus in an endless battle with satan for balance scared the hell out of me. i also remember a christian kids show called circle square that scared me too.
i remember one segment on circle square where they had a drawing of the paths a person could choose in life. one was the right way, and it was a nice idyllic scene, trees and birds and grass and shit. the other path was the bad way, and it was dark and covered in thorns, with piles of rubble and boulders blocking the path. of course i was scared of the bad way and worried, what if i end up on that one?
those are the earliest memories i have of being scared to death of evil. i think about them a surprising amount, probably due to how traumatic they were for me. over time, my fears have blended with a morbid fascination of all things evil, malevolent, satanic. i am still scared to death of the stuff but i am now also obsessed with it. it’s why i’ve watched the exorcist more times than i can count, even though i still get nightmares from it. i don’t mind nightmares and being scared anymore but i think it’s god damn despicable that adults used such brutal fright tactics to try to steer me and the other kids towards christ. how un-christian of them. it’s that sort of behaviour that makes me skeptical of christianity in general. i’ve met lots of great christians but i’ve also met lots of sanctimonious shit-rat christians so you have to be as careful of christians as you do of anyone else.
but here’s what i wanted to get to: if i was a christian and believed the devil was the ultimate liar and trickster, how could i hope to tell the difference between him and the things and people i can trust? i mean, if he was that good at deceiving, i don’t think it would be obvious where he was lurking. i think he’d be clever enough to capably disguise himself as my fellow christian, or my pastor or priest, or a powerful government official that i supported, or my friends, or my family, etc, and use such positions to sway me without me recognizing it. and if that’s the case it would mean that ultimately, i couldn’t trust anyone, especially those closest to me because they could very well be shadow puppets. i would be absolutely paralyzed with paranoia that the devil could be present in every aspect of my life, and tirelessly working to subvert me.
i would probably end up in a straightjacket in a psychiatric institution, and you can bet your ass i’d believe that all the doctors and orderlies and other patients there were all shadow puppets too. but being a good christian, i wouldn’t give in. i would wait them all out until god himself delivered me from their sham world. that’s what i think would happen if i was a christian who really believed in the devil.
i want to ask every single christian how they feel about this possibility. i want to know if they think they are savvy enough to sniff the devil out wherever he hides, because i think it would be the height of audacity to believe that such a powerful foe is somehow also a bumbling, easily-caught fool. but i don’t dare ask the christians i like because i don’t want to come off as insulting their beliefs, and i don’t want to bother talking with the idiot christians i already hate. so instead, i sit here and ruminate on it, contemplating a life of fear and misery. i bet that’s what daily life is actually like for a lot of christians who share my line of thought on an omnipresent devil. that might explain why some of them are so fucked up, so hateful and fearful.
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