Yeah, I know! The Rolling Stones beat me to that title by a lifetime! I was originally going to title this “I think Satan gets a bum deal!” but something about that didn’t feel right.
Why do I think that? Well, he gets blamed for many things that have nothing or very little to do with him!
My son came to me with a video he came across about Satanic symbolism recently found… on an energy drink can! YES! I could not help but laugh, but not at him… I’ve been ‘around the block’ and seen it all… Proctor & Gamble… The Care Bears… Cabbage Patch Dolls… SpongeBob… Harry Potter… and that’s just off the top of my head! And who of our generation could ever forget backward masking? Though I did know a guy who turned his vinyl record player backwards by hand, and he did hear a message: “You are ruining your stylus!!“
[For the younger generation: vinyl records were flat disks that rotated slowly and the stylus was the needle that ‘read’ the ‘memory’ on them.]
Ozzy Osbourne: The Prince of Darkness!! Huh? Have you seen his reality show? These promotions of the ‘dark side’ and the rebellious spirit that goes with it, flipping two fingers to the ‘establishment’ is just that – promotions! Marketing promotions aimed at a demographic, usually the younger generation. And such subtle (or not so subtle) images and ideas do work in advertising or else they’d be dropped.
Satan is showing forth his power over the world by getting his wee symbols on marketed products, yeah! And real witchcraft looks exactly like JK Rowling portrayed it in Hogwarts!
If you wish to go looking for symbols, it ain’t that hard. Only today I noticed one; if you have the new Candy Crush Soda game on your phone, look down at the lower left corner on the home screen – if you’re heavily into ‘Zionist conspiracy’ you’ll latch onto that one! No, I don’t see evil in these markings any more than I could hear ‘Hail Satan’ in “tsud eht siteb eno rehtona” or any other ‘wop woo ebb wah nyek’ sounding recording that those guys kept playing until I was supposed to say “Oh, I hear it now!” just to make them go on to the next church youth group!
Where do I see evil then? Where might the influence of the Devil be found? I see it in individuals and corporations who have ludicrous amounts of money yet spend half their life trying to avoid paying tax on their fortunes (which Jesus unequivocally commanded us!). I see it in politicians who care not one jot for the poor. I hear it when Bob Geldof swears, but not in those expletives: in the incredulity he has at how little major nations are giving to help beat the scourge of ebola! I see it in the relative apathy shown by our press at atrocities in our world when there’s a better headline about The X Factor or Big Brother – it’s only when there’s little to report on celebrities or wannabes that real news takes centre stage. And I also see the evil in wanting to promote bad news above even the slightest good thing that might be happening out there. No wonder Christians today think “it’s all getting worse!”
Now there is something to address: how much of this ‘evil’ is within our churches too? How many preachers promote forms of politics or certain politicians whose record may not be squeaky clean? Right away, I find myself reflective, and is that not how we are meant to be? Recognising the sin within ourselves? If I’m brutally honest, that greed that is so apparent in the billionaire is present in me too. Who would turn their nose up at inheriting a good amount of cash? The apathy that I decry is also right there when I find myself switching the TV channel over from pictures of suffering to see that comedy show.
What exactly is Satan’s role in the universe? What is his ‘job’? His aim? Is it not to ‘deceive the elect’? How did he tempt Eve in Eden? Was it not by saying that she could become greater than what God planned for her? He tempted her to take pride in herself, in her ability to decide between good and evil, and to find pleasure in being able to judge others. It is actually in that recognition of his intentions, that his aim is to get us to look at others’ sins and failings and not our own faults, that we can defeat him. If he wants us to be blind to our own limitations and our need for Jesus and his forgiveness, then surely each of us seeking to change ourselves first and foremost is the most efficient way to defeat him? I shall repeat myself again: Revival is never about them, it’s always about you!
On second thoughts… all those things that Christians love to find and point out, out in the world that show the extent of Satanic influence, all those symbols and children’s shows and pop songs, maybe they are actually his ploys! Carry on as you were…
Grace be with you.
P.S. Here’s a wee poem what I wrote as a younger me, many moons ago (forgive the limited blog formatting, please):
When the darkness falls
The moon has gone
And the stars behind the clouds are hid,
The angel calls
My spirit on
And my anxious fears to death are bid
But will I stand
Against the tide?
Will courage fail me at the test?
Or fate demand
That flight will bide
And put my skittish soul to rest?
How can I know
If I’ll be strong
Before the day of judgement dawns.
Time will show
If I am wrong
To think I’m king among the pawns.
Through trying times
I’ll have to learn
To learn from every trial I face
And face my crimes,
Those crimes that churn
Within my darkest, hidden place.
The greatest voyage,
It is said,
Has to start with the first step.
But this wise adage
A truth which in our minds has slept.
To beat the rise
In everything I see
I must surprise
By seeing the sin in me.
Shanky’s Hollow, Mourne Mountains