Joe Carter has a new post at Acton Blog where he comments on a recent New York magazine interview with Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. The New York magazine journalist is shocked to find out that Antonin Scalia, a faithful Roman Catholic, actually boldly expresses belief in a real person called the devil. Oh, the audacity.
But to simply believe there is a devil is not enough. Christians are commanded to believe certain facts about the devil as laid out by the biblical authors.
Scalia was asked,
Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.
It’s because he’s smart.
So what’s he doing now?
What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.
That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the Devil’s work?
I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.
Well, you’re saying the Devil is persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.
I understand the desire to not offend our Atheist friends by saying that they are the work of the devil. But the Apostle Paul, or St. Paul for Justice Scalia, would have told the New York magazine journalist, “Indeed! Atheists are the work of the devil!”
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
It is the devil who has blinded the minds of our Atheist friends. To deny Paul’s teaching here is to deny Christian doctrine, which, according to the interview, Scalia has no intention of doing.
The perceived foolishness of believing in the devil should not cause us to deny his existence. Good on Scalia for not backing down. However, neither should the perceived offense by Atheists cause Christians to deny biblical truths about the devil.
Let’s boldly express belief in the Bible and Christian doctrine in season and out. Even when it may seem foolish or cause offense. This pleases Jesus and frustrates the real, literal, devil.