“All the fathers of the church believed in devils. All the saints won their crowns by overcoming devils. All the popes and cardinals, bishops and priests, believed in devils. Most of their time was occupied in fighting devils. The whole Catholic world, from the lowest layman to the highest priest, believed in devils. They proved the existence of devils by the New Testament. They knew that these devils were citizens of hell. They knew that Satan was their king. They knew that hell was made for the Devil and his angels.”
As late as the middle of the sixteenth century, every infant that was baptized was, by that ceremony, freed from a devil. When the holy water was applied the priest said: “I command thee, thou unclean spirit, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that thou come out and depart from this infant, whom our Lord Jesus Christ has vouchsafed to call to his holy baptism, to be made a member of his body, and of his holy congregation.” At that time the fathers — the theologians, the commentators — agreed that unbaptized children, including those that were born dead, went to hell.
And these same fathers — theologians and commentators — said: “God is love.”
These babes were pure as Pity’s tears, innocent as their mother’s loving smiles, and yet the makers of our creeds believed and taught that leering, unclean fiends inhabited their dimpled flesh. O, the unscarchable riches of Christianity!
For many centuries the church filled the world with devils — with malicious spirits that caused storm and tempest, disease, accident and death — that filled the night with visions of despair; with prophecies that drove the dreamers mad. These devils assumed a thousand forms — countless disguises in their efforts to capture souls and destroy the church. They deceived sometimes the wisest and the best, made priests forget their vows. They melted virtue’s snow in passion’s fire, and in cunning ways entrapped and smirched the innocent and good. These devils gave witches and wizards their supernatural powers, and told them the secrets of the future.
Millions of men and women were destroyed because they had sold themselves to the Devil.
No man has genius enough to describe the agonies that have been inflicted on innocent men and women because of this absurd belief. How it darkened the mind, hardened the heart, and poisoned life! It made the Universe a madhouse presided over by an insane God.
Think! Why would a merciful God allow his children to be the victims of devils? Why would a decent God allow his worshipers to believe in devils, and by reason of that belief to persecute, torture and burn their fellow-men?
Christians did not ask these questions. They believed the Bible; they had confidence in the words of Christ.
How did your Devil, who was at one time an angel of light, come to sin? There was no other devil to tempt him. He was in perfectly good society — in the company of God — of the Trinity. All of his associates were perfect. How did he fall? He knew that God was infinite, and yet he waged war against him and induced about a third of the angels to volunteer. He knew that he could not succeed; knew that he would be defeated and cast out; knew that he was fighting for failure.
Why did God create those angels, knowing that they would rebel? Why did he deliberately sow the seeds of discord in heaven, knowing that he would cast them into the lake of eternal fire — knowing that for them he would create the eternal prison, whose dungeons would echo forever the sobs and shrieks of endless pain?
Robert Ingersoll late 1800’s
Remember people God never changes and he is a God of love….right….right???
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