I don’t know how many of you remember Flip Wilson. He was a very popular comedian, becoming internationally known in the early 1970’s. He was hilarious and an acute observational comedian that would, when telling a story on himself, something funny, but supposedly bad, would say, The Devil made me do it. Is it possible that all the things we as individuals do, not following scripture, as caused by a malevolent being?
Jack, from Atheist Revolution, and I were going back and forth over a tweet from him about the Pope blaming Satan for those Bishops who’ve covered up, even allowed,pedophiles to serve. Whenever I see something like this, my ire, is full blown. Instead , we made jokes to one another over Twitter about how Satan is responsible for everything: Christian oriented or not. Ask a woman for coffee in a elevator? Satan. Man spreading? Satan.
That had me thinking, even though we were joking, about how believers are taught. Sex out of marriage? Satan. Go ahead, think about anything that is prohibited in the text, and if you were ever a Christian, think how it was presented to you. Satan is whispering in your ear.
Yes, it’s another mythological being, telling you that it’s okay to have sex out of wedlock, do drugs, drink. But none of these that speak of this Satan can absolutely define him. The bible itself is mostly silent about him. In the Old Testament, the best picture we have of Satan is in the Book of Job. Jesus, in the Gospels, refers to Satan, and of course, there’s the story of the 40 days in the wilderness where he is tempted. But beyond those, we have no actual idea of who or what this being is supposed to be.
Many of us grew up as Christian and believed at some point in our lives that Satan was always there, working on all of us, to disregard what we were being taught in church. Sermon after sermon. Week after week. And we believed it, at least for a while.
It’s easy for some to believe that their is an external force enticing them to do wrong, in the eyes of their peers. It’s sometimes harder for believers to understand that they do those things their friends and family may disapprove of, by their own volition.
I’m just going to start saying, whenever I’m in an awkward situation, yes, The Devil made me do it. It seems to work for some, why not for all of us?
6 thoughts on “The Devil Made Me Do It”
It was Geraldine Jones (Flip Wilson in drag) who said the devil made her do it.
Here’s the audio clip.
Catch that suave voice of the devil “Oh, I say, Mamma … ”
And here’s a bonus video: “More Geraldine”
Yes, but he also used it on ocassion in his stand up. I saw him in the early 90’s.
What would poor Christians do without Satan? Without him and his essential role as the universal boogeyman, none of this delusional nonsense of theirs would even be possible. So in a sense, Satan is their savior, not Jesus.
For some Christian, Satan seems to be the personification of temptation. Instead of saying, “I gave into temptation” and leaving it at that, they turned temptation into a monster. I guess it sounds better to say, “Satan tricked me” than to admit that they screwed up and that no monsters were required for them to do so.
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Satan is the ever constant whisperer of sinful suggestions and instiller of doubt in the believer and hence the need to be ever vigilant and fanatic about spiritual warfare. It is a mental illness that breeds the other ever present need for prayer to ask for God’s protection against Satan, even as believers submit to God’s will to hold their lives to God’s plan…whatever that brings to them.
To say “the devil made me do it” is to admit failure to be vigilant, to be prayerful enough and to trust God to deliver them from evil, even as they die from Satan’s power over them. The rituals of spiritual warfare are time consuming for those who think they are unworthy sinners who must always plead with God to have mercy, to protect them and to keep Satan away.
Mental illness brought on by their own desires to be safe and sure about everything in their lives. Always a win-win situation for God.