Is Satan Real?

ImageImageImageWe grew up fearing the monsters under our bed. Stories filled our Sunday school class about the teenagers who dressed in black, who would kill animals in the woods, turn over historical cemeteries and spray paint pentagons on the ruble of headstones.  Judgement Journey, tribulation trail, heavens gates and other weird autumn festivals scared the shit out of me as a teenager. I would see monsters everywhere as a child.  Movement in my closet. The shadowy creature hovering above my bed.Waking up screaming. Mama entered my bedroom, turned on the lights, brought out the Pompeian oil and made the sign of the cross on the wall. Just the name of Jesus would ease my fears, and send me to sleep.

As a child, I would have dreams I was being choked by monsters and shadows having sex with me. I could not speak. They would taunt me. Finally I would say “Jesus” and wake up.

I believed in the devil. But that was what I was taught.

I went to Bible College after my drug overdose all fired up to be a great evangelist hopefully landing a gig with Benny Hinn or on TBN.  Central Florida’s evening heat added to the passion of our prayer meetings. And maybe our lust. Every youth service talked about abstinence and sexual sin. I would find myself in tears at the altar daily.

My father loved God and loved us despite being emotionally absent and an alcoholic. He was anointed, however. I begin to sexualize authority figures when I was 12. I wanted to dominate men so bad and my horniness  raged to the point that pornography could never satisfy my hunger. People did not know about Polycystic ovarian syndrome in the 80’s and 90’s. And if a girl masturbated, she was Jezebel incarnate. I thought I was evil.

Back to Bible College: I had a steamy affair with a man who was 20 years my senior. He was very sexy to me. Maybe it was his power or authority.  I prayed over and over again that God would let me have him. He did not answer. So one night, I said “Satan, I want to have this man.” The man called me within one hour. One sultry evening, I snuck out of the bible college’s gates of hewn stone, lit my cigarette, and let my finger tips glide down my freshly shaven legs. I anticipated his call. It was hypnotic. Our sexual immorality. It made me feel beautiful and electrified temporarily. I never felt beautiful. Everyone called  me names like “Dyke” or “tomboy” growing up.  I remember pulling into the dunes around Mulberry to hide from all the legalists as I was soon to have a sexting session- followed by cigarette smoking- and if I felt like the spirit of God had left me, I would be all suicidal and find a bar to drink away my guilt until the next prayer meeting.

 my feet dangled front the car window underneath the Spanish moss. I glanced into my rearview window.  I saw a shadow materialize. Suddenly, the slickest dressed man I had ever seen strolled up to me. Now, This was all my hyper imagination- but no less real. He had dice in his hand and he rolled them as he walked. His suit so clean and pinstriped and glowing white. He looked at me and said “You really just want that man. You can have him. Just agree to go on about your life and neglect the path your own. You can even be a Christian.”

I had a strange moment of clarity.

My professor of theology told me that Satan was merely a frustrated tool in the hands of God.

Then I started studying the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures in seminary. I read about the origins of Satan. My thoughts begin to change about the “reality” of the devil.

But other traditions talk about evil. I have fought paranoia, fear, rejection and many other evils. Greed, power lust, and the desire to use my SEX to abuse others. I do not believe there is necessarily an evil archetype so much anymore. I do believe in Evil. I think language neglects to connote what evil is. I still occasionally am plagued by “demonic” dreams. I have walked into a room and sensed evil, whether that be a vibe, a spirit, a thought or an energy- but i know it when it happens.  I have watched myself give over to rage until my blood boiled and my rational mind left. Is Satan real? Maybe. I think real is all a matter of perspective. I hope unicorns are real.


4 thoughts on “Is Satan Real?

  1. I think one should ask the questions in the following order:

    1) Does God exist?
    2) Are there spiritual beings other than God?
    3) Are some of these beings hostile?
    4) How accurate is their description in the Bible?

    If you answer “no” to one question it logically follows you will have to answer “no” to all the following ones.
    Of course, agnosticism is a viable option too.

    I believe that Jesus throught demons were real, but as I argue he was a man of his time:


  2. I would be very concerned about any history of early abuse, especially sexual abuse, of the author of this posting. She speaks very convincingly of encountering energies that are “trans” or “supra” personal. This isn’t unusual for victims of early abuse, dissociative phenomena allows the essence or “soul” if you will of the person to survive an otherwise ego shattering experience. Some writers refer to these traumatic events as ” soul murder”. So I hope the writer is finding a way to integrate the emotional fallout of these and potentially other experiences. Fundamentalist practice fractures the essential wholeness, the good AND the bad of each individual into an ” either/or” experience/identity with an anxiety driven “salvation” as their only chance at redemption. I hope this person can be guided by some Virgil through the evil of their hell into a fully integrated paradise of a whole person. The word “whole” is related etiomologically to ” holy”, which can be defined as “complete” rather than just as ” without flaw or error”. Shalom.

  3. Also I suggest you read Dr. Elaine Pagel’s, of Princeton University, book on the origin of Satan. Truly eye opening. Also try Dr. Donald Kalsched’s amazing book “Trauma and the Soul” and a book whose author escapes me, entitled “Embrace of the Daemonic”. Pagel looks more to the sociopolitical development of the concept of a “Satan”, while the other books are a more experiential exploration of the psychospiritual dimensions of what we traditionally thought of as evil. Of course, can’t recommend Lord Jeffrey Russell’s book on Satan highly enough. I hope these references can give you tools useful in exploring your question of “Is Satan Real?”

  4. Reblogged this on progressiveredneckpreacher and commented:
    The journey of Lent begins with an image of Jesus being tempted by the devil. Growing up in conservative Christian family in the south, I too grew up with the sense that the devil was out there, ready to lead us all astray. Recently, during my daily Bible reading, I wrote the following about my journey, which I posted on facebook — “Mark 3 talks a lot about demons. The more I try to follow God, the less certain I am what that means. As a child I imagined bogeyman out to get us. Older I imagined evil beings we fight through doing good. Now I wonder if its just a metaphor for the shadow sides of ourselves we must face to be whole and the shadow sides to our society that unless we combat bring oppression. How do you understand the demons Mark pictures resisting Jesus, his followers, & his work?”
    In this blog Rebecca shares about her struggle over the question of the devil as another progressive redneck preacher. Though I don’t share all her experiences, there is much I can relate with. In particular I remember waking up with a gripping fear and sense of being pinned down, which I connected with a sense of the devil. I have also seen things in life I can’t explain. Yet in alot of my work, especially when I’ve worked as a mental health worker and now as a psychiatric chaplain, I’ve seen so much of what we equate with the devil as often having psychological explanations. I think she raises some important questions. How do you deal with this vexing image in Scripture & tradition?
    And, most importantly, how do you confront the shadow sides of your life, your own temptations and frailties, as you journey through this season of preparation for Easter?
    I’m not just whistling Dixie here,
    your progressive redneck preacher,

well, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s