Scared of the Devil

No one talks about the devil anymore.  No one believes that he exists.  If anyone were to talk about the devil, he’d be considered a religious fanatic, unscientific, and old-fashioned.

Lord Voldemort on the back of Professor Quirre...
Lord Voldemort on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the devil was real, then what a victory for him!  Isn’t that a principal in warfare?  Convince your target that no threat exists.  The devil, if he exists, has so thoroughly convinced the world that he doesn’t exist that I had to resort to using a work of fiction as an analogy: what Lord Voldemort did in Harry Potter is what the devil is doing in our world, today.  By the time popular culture admits that the devil exists, it would be too late — just like it was too late for the wizarding and Muggle world in J.K. Rowling’s story.  Fortunately, the wizarding/Muggle world had Harry Potter.  We have Christ.

So, I was pleased to hear the leader of the Catholic Church talk about the devil so unabashedly:

There can be no dialogue with the prince of this world: let this be clear!  Today, dialogue is necessary among us humans, it is necessary for peace.  Dialogue is a habit, it is an attitude that we must have among us to feel and understand each other… and that [dialogue] must be maintained forever.  Dialogue comes from charity, from love.  But with that prince, it is impossible to dialogue: one can only respond with the Word of God who defends us, for the world hates us – and just as he did with Jesus, so will he do with us. “Only look,” he will say, “just do this one small little scam… it is a small matter, nothing really” – and so he begins to lead us on a road that is slightly off.  This is a pious lie: “Do it, do it, do it: there is no problem,” and it begins little by little, always, no?  Then [he says]: “But… you’re good, you’re a good person: You [get away with] it.”  It is flattering – and he softens us by flattery: and then, we fall into the trap.

Pope Francis went on to say that the Lord asks us to remain sheep, because if one decides to quit the fold, then he does not have, “a shepherd to defend him and he falls into the clutches of these wolves.”

How can we defend ourselves?  Pope Francis continues:

You may ask the question “Father, what is the weapon to defend against these seductions, from these blandishments, these enticements that the prince of this world offers?”  The weapon is the same weapon of Jesus, the Word of God – not dialogue – but always the Word of God, and then humility and meekness.  We think of Jesus, when they give that slap: what humility!  What meekness!  He could have insulted him, no?  One question, meek and humble. We think of Jesus in His Passion. His Prophet says: “As a sheep going to the slaughter.”  He does not cry out, not at all: humility. Humility and meekness.  These are the weapons that the prince and spirit of this world does not tolerate, for his proposals are proposals for worldly power, proposals of vanity, proposals for ill-gotten riches.

[Source: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-at-mass-fighting-evil-with-meekness-a]

Harry Potter, Gay Marriage, and Social Media

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ...
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of my friends recently have come out on Facebook in support of gay marriage.  I suspect that my friends, like myself, are appalled by the persecution, demonization and condemnation of homosexuals in modern history.  It is our strong sense of justice and love of our neighbors, families, friends and co-workers who happen to be homosexual that stir us to stand by them as California’s Proposition 8 is being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Lord Voldemort uses Harry and other people’s sense of justice and love against each other.  Lord Voldemort is the epitome of

evil and a genius at warfare.  Voldemort successfully convinced the magical world that he did not exist.  In the meantime, Voldemort quietly infiltrated all the institutions designed to protect the world from his return.  When the magical community realized that Voldemort indeed was alive, it was too late.  He was too powerful, and all the good wizards and witches went into hiding.

What if Satan was real?  Then, Satan would be our real-world equivalent of Rowling’s fictional Voldemort.  Satan would do well to convince the whole world that he doesn’t exist, that he is just a superstition of a bygone era while he quietly infiltrates all our public institutions designed to hold our society together.  What better way to destroy the fabric of society than by unraveling the very basic unit of community: the family?  What better way for Satan to get good people to fight for his cause than by appealing to their sense of justice, equality, and love of neighbor?

Satan_at_the_Holy_Land_Experience

Back in high school, I competed at the National Championships in forensics by playing a homosexual character.  It was Harvey Fierstein’s Torchsong Trilogy, and I played the part of Arnold Beckoff and my partner played Ma Beckoff, Arnold’s mother.  It’s funny now that I think about it: a Chinese-American teenager play-acting as a gay, adult Jewish man arguing at the gravesite of his murdered lover with a Latina from Alhambra who is supposed to be a typical Jewish mother.  We were good enough to go to Nationals, though, and I really got into the part.  From that point forward, I was always sensitive to the persecution of homosexuals.  Why can’t two committed gay men or lesbians get married?  Who are you to tell others whom they can love?  Promiscuous heterosexuals are no less immoral than promiscuous homosexuals, but if two people want to be in a life-long commitment, why should we stop them?  A child growing up in a loving household of two gay men or two lesbian women is just as good as a loving household with a father and mother.  Studies that show differently probably can find cause from the child being bullied for growing up in a different type of household.

I was so convinced by my sense of justice, so disgusted by religious people violently condemning homosexuals like the Pharisees who were ready to cast the first stone.  Even if homosexuality was a sin, where was their compassion for the sinner?

Fast forward, I became a Catholic.  I never even tried to reconcile what the Church and God teaches about homosexuality, until recently.  My friends on Facebook forced me to look at my internal contradictions.  Why did I have a change of heart?  The most compassionate explanation of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality came from this segment produced by Catholic Answers.  Still, it wasn’t enough to explain why I so quickly adopted God’s teaching on homosexuality.  Even the non-religious arguments against gay marriage, although compelling, did not explain my change of heart.

After much reflection and a meaningful conversation with my wife, I’ve come to understand my change of heart is because of Lord Voldemort — Satan.  I believe that the devil exists and that he is actively trying to unravel the very fabric of our society.  It’s crazy, I know: how can any person in this day and age still believe that the devil exists?  It was easier for the Ministry of Magic to refuse to believe the return of Voldemort than to acknowledge the existence of someone so evil and so powerful.  Just as Harry’s sacrifice at the end of the book protected his friends at Hogwarts, so Christ’s sacrifice on the cross inoculated us from the worse effects of Satan’s powers.  But, we’re not completely immune.  Just as I know the Harry Potter series ends happily, I know the war ends in Christ’s victory, but all the battles in-between are undetermined; my soul and those of my friends and family are still up for grabs.

How does changing the definition of marriage affect society?  I’m not smart enough to foresee the consequences.  I just get the stinking feeling that our real-world Voldemort is trying to use our love for each other against us.

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