I wrote a post about one of George Barna’s surveys a while back. It has been a minute source of hits ever since. The above quote is my most common search term hit, and it bugs me a bit, so I take this opportunity to respond, on in book titles, rather than a blog title:
“Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth”- Great title, not a favorite book.
“Sense and Nonsense About Angels and Demons” This book is NOT about that Dan Brown book, and all the better for it.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” is The Usual Suspects loosely quoting French poet Charles Baudelaire, who puts it in the mouth of a priest during a sermon in a story.
Normally, the work of the Devil is divided into two broad categories:
1. Ordinary activity: Temptation, seduction to evil
2. Extraordinary activity: possession, obsession, para-natural things they make movies, TV shows and books about.
It’s always a question for many: why does the Devil ever stick his head up long enough to do these extraordinary things? Don’t they prove his existence, thus hindering his most effective undercover guerilla warfare for souls?
I am not alone in suggesting two answers:
1. Direct encounters with para natural evil are not necessarily the Devil’s idea. Many a pastor of many a religious tradition suggests that the Devil only shows himself openly when forced to by God, who plainly means to improve the faith of those involved and bring people outside the church within her walls.
2. So many people are so turned off by the reports of the goings on in these encounters (both Evil and Good’s methods) that they are an effective tool of the Devil in keeping people away from God, at least looking at things from a distance.
And that’s more than I typically like to say about spiritual warfare, a subject that I feel gets entirely more interest than it deserves. Or, as everyone quotes from C.S. Lewis:
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe,and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight.” The Screwtape Letters, pg. ix