The Devil's Greatest Trick - Not
"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - Roger "Verbal" Kint, The Usual Suspects (1995)
Or was it C.S. Lewis?
Actually, it was the French poet Charles Baudelaire, who said: "La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas."
"The finest trick of the Devil is to persuade you he does not exist." Le Spleen de Paris (1862). "Spleen" as in melancholy.
The Bear is hear to set your mind at rest. There are no devils.
How We Know Devils Don't Exist
The Bear knows nobody believes in devils anymore. The Bear has never seen one, and neither have you. (And this is coming from someone whose yorkie has been known to magically switch between a tiny dog and a gila monster before his very eyes.)
Look. Devils aren't real. Never existed. There is no such thing as possession, or obsession, or temptation from outside your own mind. In the Gospel, they didn't know about epilepsy, or mental illness, so they called them devils. The Bear is 100% positive there are no devils.
Why? Easy. If Christians were really facing a brilliant and relentless personal foe, the Church would be all over that. Do you honestly believe the Church is going, "Yeah, devils are just killing us out there, but, you know, we're going to keep it a big secret." Ridiculous. No, if devils were real there'd be some sort of special anti-devil prayer after mass. We'd be warned. If something really weird was going on in our life, the priest wouldn't play psychologist in the reconciliation room.
"But, Bear, the Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions devils somewhere, I'm pretty sure."
Maybe. But what they put out to satisfy the lunatic fringe is one thing. What we see the Church actually taking seriously is another matter, isn't it? A smart Bear watches what someone does, not what they say. No. What's real is Global Warming. How does the Bear know this? Because that's the threat that gets talked about.
So, like a modern Catholic, the Bear does not believe in devils. (Or angels.) But you had better believe he's real worked up by Global Warming. Global Warming scares the Bear. And he's not even a polar bear. But he knows we're all gonna die on account of it. Devils? No. Private gun ownership? Let's not even go there. Now that's terrifying. As a rule, the Bear only takes worldly threats seriously. All that supernatural stuff is all right, he supposes. But he can't help feeling the Church doesn't take all that seriously. A pastoral here, an ad lib there, and then comes the big wink.
Yeah, the Bear caught that. Wink: we don't believe all that crap, either.
Next: Tail Gunner Joe and the Myth of Communism.