sexta-feira, 3 de julho de 2015

DEMONS: ANCIENT AND MODERN


Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour..

1 Peter 5:8 (read 5:8-11) - NIV

The Bible speaks the language of the heart and covers all emotions from joy, love, hope and beauty to sadness, hate, despair and ugliness. It can be both comforting and scary. Its images are metaphors, not literal objects. They are a means of describing what is beyond logic. The statement that "God is light" does not mean that light is God, but that God illuminates all things. In this case, the light figure points beyond itself to the divine illumination.

The Devil is not a literal monster, loose on earth, whose mission is to turn people away from God and lead them to eternal damnation in hell. The demonic world is associated with darkness, the dark side of our lives. We all have our dark and unknown side. It is from there that the "demons" attack us.

Life is full of traps! With an almost infinite number of variables it is very easy for results to be different from expectations. Another problem is our subconscious, where we hide our true motives from ourselves. The juncture of these two factors puts us in a situation where life can be full surprises and should be seen critically and with an open mind.

I do not believe that there exists some monster out there walking around loose and plotting how to devour me. With the factors mentioned above there is no need for the existence of demons to explain all the evil that exists in the world. The Old Testament did not need these figures to explain evil. Human beings with their capacity for self-deception are sufficient. I do not need enemies or demons to make me destroy myself. I can do it alone without any outside help. The devil and his demons are mythological figures that help us understand the dynamics of evil within ourselves. The dark, hidden inner dimensions of us are factors to be faced and dealt with by all of us!

Peter was referring mainly to the diabolical action of the persecutors of Christians at that time. This caused much suffering. The price paid for being a Christian was high. The first generations of Christians suffered, often terribly, at the hands of their enemies. They needed a lot of courage and vigilance to resist the “persecution Devil”.

I doubt that any reader of this meditation is threatened with death by the mere fact of professing the Christian faith. Today's demons are different. They are fear, hate, social crises, hunger, crime, corruption, violence, injustice, poverty, apathy, ignorance, alienation, hopelessness, pessimism, etc.

Our surveillance today would be noncompliance and avoid acting in counterproductive ways. Many seek the prayers of pastors to expel the demons of disease, poverty, disasters and all the problems that afflict them. Wealthy people request prayers against the demons who threaten their prosperity, their health and their desires. While Christians are filling the temples in order cast out the demons created by the "Faith industry", the real demons are loose in the world devouring their victims. They love “pew religion”, because it gives them a free hand to act in the world.

It is up to us to face the devil where he is: within us and within all segments of the society in which we live. This is done through humility and living the divine love everywhere we walk.

1 PETER 5:8-11 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

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