No more do I believe in the Devil than in God, but I know very well there is evil in our world. It is not easy to locate the evils in our selves and foil or eliminate them. We help ourselves by apt use of language and valid reasoning with clear perception of facts distinct from fiction or fantasy. People without true grit and honest intent cannot follow when I say: *Everything metaphysical is fantasy.* Fantasy is the imaginary realm of our hopes and ideals, but also of all our troubles, with self and each other, with sound thinking, decision and action.
Sadly, in our natural, physical world, there are psychological and social devils. The former are disruptive process-entities in various individuals’ unconscious mentality. The latter are people in the grip of these unconsciously disruptive “devils” who may not seem pathological but whose action or speech has bad effect on our national polity. Though they see themselves as virtuous and beneficient, their effects are destructive. In the context of human social life, then, what is a devil? A devil loves bad maps. A devil thinks bad maps are good if they serve his self-idealized purpose. Good maps go bad.
A devil is someone who knows how to start something he cannot finish properly. He or she doesn’t envision or foresee the result fully enough to exclude the unexpected, unwanted effects not accounted for from the start. Today, successful scientific work and engineering projects seldom proceed in social vacuum. Isolation deprives the initiator of critical input and creative suggestion. Not even Einstein whom we think of as a lone genius at the pinnacle of achievement stood alone. He worked with everything that had gone before and kept abreast of current papers and journals, communicating with other physicists and mathematicians in letters or conversation. Now, we have CERN.
But devils, too, work in groups. Churches, associations and movements impact parties, especially on the far right. Much evangelical religion now seeks to break the wall of separation between religion and government. In the guise of righteousness and national betterment, fundamentalists endanger the Constitution, the economic future and political integrity of the nation. They dwell in fantasy, a utopian dreamland of how wonderful things will be if they get their way with everyone’s morals. They want to pass laws that restrict women’s choice and require uniform submission to authority and the puritan tradition; the “rugged individualism” of people alike as peas in a pod who can be governed by the touch of emotional buttons. Evangelism does not evolve.
It is somewhat oversimple but mainly accurate to say Christianity in the United States has split between Jesuarians who manifest wisely empathetic love and Paulists who manifest belief in ego-salvation, conformity and obedience. Don’t look for free exercise of intelligence among Paulists except in rationalization and foxy plans for reaching their goals. They play into the hands of diabolical planners, the worst of our mega-rich folks who aim to subvert democracy and dominate through the corrupting power of money.