One of the principal advantages to the progress of evil accomplished by removing the devil, his minions, and their works, from human view, is the consequent inability of the deceived to recognize the historical recurrence of diabolical hatred of Christ. Cultured moderns, including professing Christians who regard themselves as such, do not believe in the devil; authorities like Schleiermacher have given them permission:
There is not a single passage in the New Testament where Christ or his Apostles definitely or indisputably refer to the devil with the intention of either teaching anything new or peculiarly their own, or of correcting or supplementing current beliefs. They make use of the conception in its current popular form. If, nevertheless, we wished to formulate a Christian doctrine of the devil we should be obliged to assume that this conception as known to Christ and his disciples corresponded perfectly with the truth and could not be improved. This position must certainly be taken up by anyone who is unwilling to admit that Christ made use of what we usually call accommodation. Such a complete development of the idea is the more improbable because its chief characteristics have no basis in the Old Testament, their origin being wholly apocryphal. It is apparent from the incidental way in which the subject occurs that neither Christ nor his disciples desired to give support to the idea or vouch for its truth. For Christ seems to introduce it for no particular reason into parables, maxims, and short instructions dealing with quite other subjects. . . . [Glaubenslehre, 2d ed., Mackintosh & Stewart, eds., §45, 1.]
Yes, I know—that’s the way these chaps talk. The work is meticulously constructed, immensely complex, and full of arresting notions tossed off as if they were obvious—as indeed they are—to the initiate. The sum of it is that informed, modern Christians, do not believe in the devil, but may find the concept useful, as Christ and his disciples did, not least for satisfying the expectations of those who cannot understand the Christian faith apart from the concretions that myth offers to understanding.
Believing or not believing in a fallen spirit of archangelic power and intelligence who involves himself deeply in human affairs has a profound influence on one’s view of history. If the modern, liberal view is correct, then one cannot legitimately suspect the existence of an attack upon Christ (and his people with him) that is concerted across generations by a single spiritual enemy, which takes different forms in different historical epochs, but is in fact the same phenomenon. Those who believe in the existence of evil spirits, however--regarding the existence of demons as no more remarkable than their own--can imagine such a thing well within the boundaries of reason, and while they can offer no forensic proofs for it, are able regard human history as something far more complex than the interaction of merely human forces. C. S. Lewis put the explanation in the mouth of That Hideous Strength’s Professor Frost:
I now have to inform you that there are similar organisms above the level of animal life . . . . including the most efficient animal, Man. . . . [T]hough there has been little intercourse, there has been profound influence. Their effect on human history has been far greater than that of the microbes, though, of course, equally unrecognized. In the light of what we now know, all history will have to be rewritten. The real causes of all the principal events are quite unknown to historians; that, indeed, is why history has not yet succeeded in becoming a science.
If evil spirits are what the Christian scriptures make them out to be, they know Christ to be their enemy, and are bent upon doing what they can to damage him. I believe that much of what is known as anti-Semitism is part of this campaign, and that to the eyes that are able to see it, the desire to harm Jews, to rend the flesh and shed the blood of our Lord’s natural family, arise from the same spiritual root as the persecution of the Church, his spiritual family. During the Nazi era this persecution rose to it highest levels, then under the influence of the pseudo-Christianity of a German national party that also persecuted faithful Christians. In the bloody defeat of Nazism and the public exposure of its atrocities, blatant anti-Jewishness fell into disrepute. The hateful images of Der Ewige Jude (the eternal Jew) promulgated by the Nazis, but easily recognizable by Christians as bearing a title that could only properly apply to their Lord, became themselves hateful. But has the attack subsided in our time?
It has not. The same campaign is now carried on under the ideological banners of those who must all costs and in every way put down the “white male,” the new ewige Jude, the victimizer behind so much human misery, and whose titles and image coincide so fully with Christ, the pre-eminent exemplar of the genus. He is the Western man who must be put in his place by multi-culturalism, the sovereign man who must be equalized by feminism, the Lord who must be brought down by egalitarianism, the king who must be commoned, the man of war who must be disarmed, the man of the harsh and stupid old Law that must be supplanted by the kindness and wisdom of the new Freedom, the elite man who must be democritized, against whom only discrimination is never unfair, the pastor whose place can be filled by a woman, the virile man who must be homosexualized, the pioneer and settler now damned as a destroyer, the begetter of new men who must be emasculated, the elect man of an elect race in a world where every man and every nation are equal, the man whose pretensions to pre-eminence must not only be done away with, but have become the new definition of evil.
Christ, the white male in his perfection, is the (as yet mostly) unnamed devil lurking behind every substantial evil that plagues the modern world, der ewige Jude, no longer the Abrahamic man through whom all the nations are blessed, but the source of the earth’s sorrows, the pale Galilean at whose breath the world turns cold, and we—we, who are too wise to believe in Satan have been trained in the name of every good thing to see the world through demonic eyes.