Supreme Court Judge: Of Course I Believe in the Devil! ...Do You?
For Christians, the Devil is God’s opponent. He tricked Adam and Eve to eat the Forbidden Fruit, causing humanity to lose its place in the Garden of Eden. In Christianity, this being is the cause of all evil. But is this still his role in today’s world?
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia held a strong belief on the subject. In 2013, he declared:
“I believe in the Devil…Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that…. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore…. What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.”
A spooky devil with a victim. Source: Public Domain
The interviewer for New York magazine expressed his shock and asked Scalia, "Isn't it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?" In response, Scalia retorted:
“You're looking at me as though I'm weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It's in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.”
- Danila Prepeleac – The Man Who Tricked the Devil
- The Devil Walks Among Us: The Myth of The Jersey Devil
- Krampus, Son of Hel: The Ancient Origins of the Christmas Devil
Satan before the Lord (ca. 1750) by Corrado Giaquinto. (Public Domain)
There are many people who still believe in the Devil in today’s world. A 2007 Baylor Religion Survey asked Americans about their perspective on Satan and a shocking 54% said they “absolutely believe in Satan.” For many others, Satan is not a real being, but he is a symbol of evil.
William Blake's illustration of Satan as presented in John Milton's Paradise Lost. (Public Domain)
Also known as the Devil or Lucifer, Christians see Satan as the evil that fights against God and those who wish to follow him. Several people believe he was an angel that led an unsuccessful revolt against God. That rebellion led to the Devil being kicked out of heaven.
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- Stan Patitul and his Infernal Pact with the Devil
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Even though the Catholic Church has moderated their view on interpreting the Bible, many people still take the text literally. Those individuals may believe that the Earth was created in just seven days, transubstantiation is real (bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Jesus as they consume it), and Satan walks the earth as a real being who incites people into “unclean thoughts”, depression, disease, and death.
‘Saint Wolfgang and the Devil’, by Michael Pacher. (Public Domain)
It seems Scalia was one of those people. He was a conservative who obtained degrees from Georgetown University, the University of Fribourg, and Harvard Law School. Scalia was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan back in 1986. He held this role until his death in 2016.
Top Image: A red devil. Source: ]V[orlock Zernebock/ CC BY NC ND 2.0