May 20, 2007

No, I Won't Blame The Devil

Perhaps this woman is convinced that Satan made her husband commit an atrocious act of child abuse because the 19-year-old man wanted to become a preacher. I presume that the husband subscribes to this theory, too.

I can't absolutely disprove the theory, but it seems to me that there are some far more likely theories than that. And until and unless these people can affirmatively prove supernatural intervention -- or more likely, until the husband gets some serious mental health treatment and the wife learns to separate fantasy from reality -- I'm going to say that it's probably wiser to get the child in a foster family, at least for the time being, and applaud Child Protective Services for intervening in a truly heartbreaking situation.

I doubt there will be much disagreement with those propositions, at least with respect to this case. But I have a question for those Loyal Readers who are of faith, particularly for Christians who profess to believe in the existence of Satan: Do you agree with me that it's just too handy to blame supernatural entities for the evil that people do? That it's a great intellectual and moral cop-out?

We can all agree that the (very young) man who did this should probably see some kind of a mental health professional. If you believe in the existence of Satan, what should that mental health professional say to this guy when the subject of demons comes up? If the devil really exists, then maybe this woman (and presumably, her husband) are not being delusional to suggest that demonic intervention had something to do with the bizarre and terrible act of abuse. If the devil really did make the guy do it, then why hold him responsible for those actions at all?

I'm not trying to be glib or to make a pro-atheist point here. I am genuinely curious about how a faithful Christian thinks the subject of an incarnate evil can be coupled with the notion of individual responsibility -- and mental disorders -- in a modern, industrialized society. I can guarantee that I won't agree with you, since I no more believe in Satan than I do in God, but I'm really asking because in good faith, I really want to know where you are coming from.

1 comment:

wha...? said...

Cop-out to the max
I've tried to use this one as a kid, it just dosen't work. First, Satan is not omnipresent, he is one being on one plane of existence, and where that plane is, I cannot say. So it is doubtful that Satan himself had a little chat with this man.
I believe that we are opperating in a supernatural world under free will. My friend and mentor who has had many experiences with demon encounters suggested his theory on the subject. He said that mostly he has seen demon activity occur as a result of 3 cases: Extreme sexual abuse, extreme practice in the occult, and extreme drug abuse. I believe that demon possesion does exist, however they cannot control our every action. Some Christians subscribe to the theory of "a demon under every doily," where everything is an attack from a demon or Satan himself.
I think that God has interaction with His followers, therefore Satan and demons must have some sort of interaction with those who would listen. We are all accountable for our actions, and if the Devil told him to do it, he should have said "no."