Fighting Imaginary Battles With The Devil

The fundamentalist war against Satan is as unceasing as it is uninformed. The field of conflict is so often located in such unlikely places that one has to wonder if Satan has even been told that he’s supposed to show up to fight.  Satan is evidently much like the Taliban who are known to win a strategic battle against the American way of life every time someone buys a smaller car, skips a vacation, or eats a salad. You may not even know you’re playing, but you’re losing just the same.

Allowing children to attend a secular college? The hordes of hell advance in dread array.

Canceling mid-week service? Christians tremble in fear as the fiery host drives back the faithful few.

Discontinuing your door-to-door outreach? You can almost see devil spiking the ball and doing an evil endzone dance of glee.

Gird your loins and prepare to do battle in whatever patch of lentils your pastor has chosen to defend. Maybe this time the devil will actually show up.

74 thoughts on “Fighting Imaginary Battles With The Devil”

  1. As with many of the doctrines and beliefs of the IFB, satan’s role in our lives, the mental masturbation one has to go through to understand and agree with the IFB stance is simply mind-boggling. As I have heard it taught (preached would be a better description):

    If you are saved, you are protected from satan. Unless of course you are increasing your christian life, then the devil will attack you because he doesn’t like christians doing really christian things. Hence the phrase – “new levels, new devils”. In other words, the more you try to do for christ, the more the devil will throw roadblocks you’re way.
    Now, if you are a lukewarm christian or not saved at all, then the devil doesn’t have to worry about you so he will leave you alone and not get involved in your life.

    So by the IFB thinking (at least what I have been exposed to) the only time satan will interfere in your life is if you are a chrisitian doing more christian things than you are now.

    I don’t know how any of this has to do with rock music, drinking, dancing, smoking, pants on women, long hair on men, short hair on women, not attending ALL church functions etc. etc. etc. etc., because I was always told (preached at) that the devil will destroy your life if you partake in any of the aforementioned activities. I am so confused. :/

  2. If you go to the “moving picture houses”, your money will go straight to Satan (even if you go to see a G-rated flick). He will then use the money to buy nuclear weapons for the battle of Armageddon, all the while accepting unto himself sacrifices of granny’s kittens.

  3. So long as Christianity is based on performance, as the IFB ascribes, then there is the necessity to have an antagonist to strive against otherwise one would never see his/her great progress as a “maturing” Christian. (How else can a fundy keep score?) Also, there needs to be someone or something to blame for sin since in the performance based religious cult one is striving for perfection. To recognize that one is a sinner by one’s very own nature and still sins everyday, even after being saved, is tatamount to heresy since at that point one has to recognize it is all by grace, and not of works. If not of works then there is no need for 90% of the self-anointed M-O-G that stand and tell their sheep what to do, and how to do it each week, three times a week.
    All we need to do is look at Billy Sunday…
    http://persifler.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/your-favorite-fighting-fundy-as-the-black-knight/

    “If you want to drive the devil out of the world, hit him with a cradle instead of a crutch.

    I’m against sin.

    I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist.

    I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth.

    And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!”

    – Billy Sunday

    The fundy sees sin as something external to be fought against and conquered… it that were possible then what was the need for Christ to come and die on the cross? If we can conquer sin and defeat Satan then that is works sancitifcation. Performance religion.

  4. The thing that always bugged me growing up was that it was almost a literal fight. The devil was everywhere, and was always trying to trip up a good Christian. However, while believing that the devil is literally trying to get you, they would make fun of Catholics and other denominations that had exorcisms and believed in modern day miracles. So, which is it? Is the devil an actual being who is influencing people to this very day, or is it some fairytale that is funny when somebody else is trying to exorcise a demon? I asked this as a kid and always just got “the look” and never got an explanation.

  5. Usually if confronted with the fact that Satan is not omni-present they mutter something about him having “lots of demons to help out” and change the subject.

    It’s sort of like Santa and the elves, I guess.

  6. S-A-N-T-A = S-A-T-A-N every IFB worth his salt knows that. Taught early on that the letters just need to be tweeked a bit and voila’…. and we all know from LOR and Narnia that Elves are demonic literary divices from Masonic authors teaching sorcery and witchcraft! That is basic Fundy 100 and 200 level course stuff. 🙂

  7. Some of the videos you post highlight this to an absurd degree. They’ll make a minor point that may or may not be valid and then call it satanic or demonic…at the very least wicked. For instance, “Girls, you shouldn’t be wearing pants that’s wicked. And whoever said they are more modest than skirts is a lier straight from the pit of hell. Satan wants you to believe that.” I always wondered how one person could be so omnipresent. I mean he is everywhere. Anything you don’t like as a fundie or any sin you are tempted with has Satan himself behind it. “Oh Satan was really on to me today. I had such a hard time waking up to do my devotions, but I triumphed over Satan.” Whew that was a close one.

    I really like the one about attending a secular college. Not only is that totally true, but not only are you being influenced by Satan if you want to attend there, but everyone that is at these colleges, students, faculty and staff are also pawns of Satan. Christianity just doesn’t happen outside of BJU, Maranatha, Northland and if we have to because parents can’t afford the others we’ll include PCC. Any other school is either apostate or outright demon possessed.

    Good post!

  8. Things supposedly “hatched in the pit”:
    rock music
    country music
    opera
    the Thee-A-ter
    the internet
    computers
    TV
    cable TV
    women’s slacks
    women working
    Harry Potter
    Mary Poppins
    The Wizard of Oz
    the ACLU, NAACP and NOW

  9. Ron – in my african experience, I can add all denim material, all “music with a beat” (never mind that all music has a beat, a beat is a duff – duff – duff sound by their definition), dating, perming your hair, growing a beard (well, that was borderline in any case), long hair (for men) etc etc.

    I well remember the line in a sermon “If God shows me that it is wrong to wear red jerseys, I will stop wearing red jerseys!”.

    It is Pelagianism. IFB’s and all their ilk, in spite of all the rhetoric, are pelagian to the core. It took me many, many years to get over some of those hang-ups.

  10. Are YOU ready to storm the gates of hell with a water pistol!
    Then you’d better get right with gawd, and give the devil a black eye!
    Are YOU a Born again Devil Fighter?
    http://johnnythebaptist.com/index-2.html

    I wanna be a Sermonator! Cadence: Fundy style
    “I wanna be a Sermon-a-tor” (echo) i wanna be a sermon-a-tor
    “I wanna cut off all-ah my hair” (echo) i wanna cut off all-ah my hair
    “I wanna be a dev-il fighter” (echo) i wanna be a dev-il fighter
    “Kick ‘im where it counts and don’t fight fair” (echo) kick ‘im where it counts and don’t fight fair
    “Git some!” (echo)
    “oh, yeah” (echo)

    Now is not the time to slack off and give up, the battle is hell hot and close at hand!
    Did our parent’s give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor! NO!
    (“Germans? Pearl Harbor?” “Forget it, he’s on a roll”)
    All Right! Who’s with me! Let’s GO! GO! GO!

  11. As much as we were taught to fear the Devil at all times, I always found him to be hilariously ineffectual as a scary villian. If demonic evil could be so easily “cast-out” and “bound” by a sweaty fat guy yelling in front of a microphone, I figured there was nothing to ever fear. Seeing the devil’s influence everywhere is the realm of schizophrenics, and sane people should never stoop to such histrionic behavior.

  12. @ Tyler
    “…by a sweaty fat guy yelling in front of a microphone,”
    I’m reading the Puritan Baxter right now, and he makes a statement that made me smile when I read it, and smile again when I read your post.
    “Perspiration is no substitute for inspiration”

  13. I still remember when it occurred to me that James 1:14, properly understood, implied that we got ourselves into messes quite easily without diabolical involvement. Maybe the reason I couldn’t get myself straightened out wasn’t because I had a demon–to the Devil himself–constantly at my elbow, but because I was sinful and had to exercise self-control. That turned my world on its head. The idea of the Devil or devils constantly tempting people may be inferred from the Bible, but it doesn’t explain everything or even most of the temptations in your life.

  14. In a church I attended far too long (still struggling through the PTSD) the pastor used the whole spiritual warfare thing as a tool to intimidate and manipulate people. Anytime anyone had the temerity to disagree with him out loud or in “gossip”, he trotted out his entire collection of overhead transparencies with pictures of gargoyles and gave the whole long speech about how to tell if you are under demonic oppression (one of the biggies being “criticizing” or disagreeing with the pastor). You could almost hear the entire congregation thinking, “Lord, is it I?” If anyone left the church, mingling with them might bring about a transference of the demonic oppression. If you dropped out of a ministry, you were under demonic oppression because it’s never God’s will for you to quit a ministry. If you thought out loud that singing the same 15 hymns and choruses all the time was tiring, demonic oppression was the culprit. I could go on, but I won’t. In the end it was a variation of all of the above manipulation that brought me to the point of walking out never to return.

    Most people from the church no longer bother with us. And that’s a blessing.

  15. My former fundy church had a “motto” I guess. Three to thrive. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. One couldn’t possibly go from sunday to sunday without having the midweek gospel recharge. They must attend lest they falleth into sin. I say three to thrive is weak and it doesn’t even rhyme. 5 to thrive! That’s what I say. Or how about 365 to thrive! Yeah that’s better. Its the only way to keep on the strraight and narrow. To a fundy, church is like base in hide and seek. You don’t make it back to that base in time and someones gonna getcha.

  16. “*hordes* of hell”, not “*hoards*”.

    Yes, I’m obnoxious that way. And I guess this crowd won’t accept the excuse that the devil made me do it. 😉

  17. @Ron Bean–Now, in all fairness, fundy women are allowed to work. They can cook, clean, watch the kids, wait on the man, clean up after the man, feed the dog, take out the trash. Then there’s church work. The VBS, women’s visitation, women’s Bible study, cleaning the church, nursery, children’s Sunday School…the list goes on. It’s all ok as long as there’s no paycheck involved (if there is a paycheck, it must be used to buy stuff for the aforementioned church work.)

  18. “The simplistic view of good and evil are just silly beyond my ability to describe. I don’t know why adults fall for this.”

    Even as a kid I didn’t fall for it. I asked questions, and was dismissed. It is really crazy when you think about it, having things be so literal…slides of gargoyles, sheesh! That kind of stuff was all-too-common in my church. I’m surprised it didn’t spiral out of control though, where if anybody disagreed with the pastor , or any other little thing, that meant they were then under demonic influence…but why stop there? I mean, I would think that if you pursued the logical path from that point, then every single person in the church would be in a constant state of paranoia about the devil’s conspirators being around every corner and to start questioning everybody else’s motives…oh wait…

  19. I’m surprised it didn’t spiral out of control though, where if anybody disagreed with the pastor , or any other little thing, that meant they were then under demonic influence…but why stop there?

    Carry it on to the ultimate conclusion… Satan is as powerful as, if not more powerful than God.
    You have to at least conclude Yin/Yang with the fundy reasoning.

    That thinking makes for a weak, anemic, pathetic, pitiful, powerless god whose creation is beyond his control. That is the conclusion one must come to with the fundy’s god of their imagination. Now wonder they have to help out their god in matters of salvation, justification and sanctification. Work, work, work Workin’ my way back to your Lord…. (sorry, got carried away there)

    Nope! That’s not the God of Creation, not the God of Scripture , Not the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and definately not the God I know. I can see why the fundies have such a problem with an Omnipotent, Ominipresent, Omniscient Sovereign Creator God who does all things according to His purpose and His will.

  20. I don’t want to strike terror in your hearts but apparently I am pawn of satan. Yes. Its True. My pastor told his staff to cut all ties with me, destroyed my name and shared confidential information I shared in private counseling with his entire staff…oh yea and my blog is poison among other things.
    Now, I don’t want to scare you again but I think being a pawn of Satan is “catchable” , meaning if you communicate in any way with me, the evil one, you will become a liberal, bitter demon possessed poisioness Ex IFBer.
    Be afraid, be very afraid.

  21. Wow.. I had only read three before posting the above. This guy is hilarious…

    “You hear very little about missionaries because no one really cares and the pastor can not remember who they support but Pastor knows 99% of his moochinarys go to Mexico or Philippines or Montana, which everybody with a pea size brain knows there are more missionaries in Mexico than Mexicans they are all here in the USA so missionary take your siesta and run to the mail box and raise your children to be parasites like your self, JESUS people will pay you.”

  22. All of the above plus: marriage licenses makes state head of home, Christ doesn’t have preeminence when church is incorporated, women cannot witness to men on visitation because it’s exercising spiritual authority over a man, and we couldn’t even use the Joy, Joy, Joy song because it was making ‘light’ of the devil by telling him to ‘sit on a tack’.

    If the ‘devil’ could have felt at home anywhere……it would be there.

  23. This is a lot like the idea I discussed with you.

    Any “change” is forbidden because it means, “THE DEVIL WINS!”

    “No one is coming to church for Super Bowl Sunday. Let’s have an early service and a Superbowl Party for fellowship!”

    “NO! THAT MEANS THE DEVIL WINS!”

  24. @ I am His beloved:
    Did they have you at “1John 2:19” status to start with and systematically run you down to “From the Pits of Hell” status or did they just send you straight to “From the Pits of Hell” status?

  25. @Bill
    Oooo, good fundy proof text out of context! Shows an imperitive requiring “works” sanctification when used as a stand alone like that. Great example!

  26. I think Satan is a real figure, limited by time and space and is limited in knowledge. He has “helpers” of fallen angels who will oppress Christians. One would have to be pretty special to warrant a direct attack by Satan himself. As for Satan = Santa, anyone who knows anything about Germanic history will know the story of St. Nikolaus, but fundies don’t bother with things like historical accuracy and choose to forget their literal interpretation of Scripture when it suits their needs.

    @ Mark R. Most IFBs I know have written off BJU because they now sell other Bible versions in their bookstore and allow the girls to wear pants at certain events. In the IFB circles I know, it’s PCC all the way, since we know they can’t go wrong with the KJV 1611 at their side…

  27. Once again, I have little to add but saying I laughed out loud.

    However, some of the comments from believers surprise me. I mean, you guys do believe Satan exists, right? I know the Fundamentalists have turned him into a cartoon, but there is a devil, and there are demons. And they are adversarial to us. The Fundamentalists have imbecilized (new word I invented) the concept of Satan, but I’m not sure that writing him and his legions off entirely is wise, either. I thought that Satan and the demons were all about suffering and affliction against mankind, rather than lusty temptations. I agree with James, we do our own tempting.

  28. @BASSENCO…..based on all the fundie teaching and preaching (yelling and more yelling) that I have been subjected to, I’m not sure if I know who or what the devil is or where he resides.
    Like you said, fundies have turned him into a cartoon character. He’s in my TV (actually he invented TV), he disables anyone’s car when they are trying to be a better Christian, he’s made pacts with certain rock musicians etc. etc. etc. Actually my favorite satan “story” his how he has tricked scientists into believing anything that may contradict the kjv (i.e. the earth is not 4 billion years old, dinosaurs lived side-by-side with man etc.) by “placing” evidence to support the scientists theories.

  29. Even Christ referred to Satan. As best as I understand the person, he is the accuser of mankind, a fallen angel in subjection to God who either makes it his job or is given the job of pointing out mankind’s failings as loudly as possible before God. This role includes the agency of persecuting mankind and bringing catastrophe upon man. Christ specifically spoke of “binding the strong man” in reference to His power over Satan by casting out demons. He explained this role as part of His victory. Christ warned Peter that Satan desired to sift him as wheat. So once you get away from Fundy silliness, you’re still left with Biblical references to Satan.

    If you take the angel’s greeting to Daniel, in which he references “the Prince of Persia” who withstood him, you make the leap of theology to the concept that this world is divided up into zones of occupation by fallen angels, and the idea that they are still trying to hold on to their claim, in spite of being daunted by Christ’s victory over sin and death.

    None of us are perfectly sure of the role demons play, but just because Fundamentalists exaggerate and caricature them, it doesn’t follow that they are not real, or that the passages in Scripture that describe them are worth ridicule. All ancient religions recognize an adversarial force that afflicts mankind.

  30. @BASSENCO….thank you for your well thought out and intelligent description. 🙂 That has given me something to actually look into. Unlike fundy preaching that would have me believe that this very website is the work of satan.

  31. @BASSENCO

    I absolutely believe there is a Satan and that he has an agenda or what not. But I don’t believe he is the boogie man. In other words I don’t attribute that much to him. Partly because I think we humans do a fine job at f-ing things up ourselves we don’t require a lot of help and partly because Fundamentalism has bastardized the entire concept of Satan and satanic influence.

    I believe satan is far more subtle than we realize, but then again I don’t go out of my way to look for him.

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