Supreme Court Judge Scalia and Why People Believe in the Devil
In an interview in New York magazine, published on 6 th October, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared his belief in a living, breathing Satan.
Scalia said that “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.”
When the interviewer appeared a little surprised, asking Scalia, "Isn't it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?", Scalia was shocked by the interviewer's incredulity:
“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.”
In some respects, Scalia is right – there are many who do still believe in the Devil. According to a 2007 Baylor Religion Survey, over half of Americans (54%) “absolutely believe in Satan.” Many others believe that Satan is not a real person but just a symbol of evil.
Also commonly known in Christianity as the Devil, the Serpent that tempted Eve, a fallen angel or Lucifer, Satan is said to be the name of an evil being opposed to God, and those who seek to do God's will. Most Christians believe the devil is an angel who was kicked out of heaven to roam the earth, after leading an unsuccessful rebellion against God.
Though the Catholic Church has gradually moved away from more traditional and literal interpretations of Hell and Satan, some people still form part of a trend of biblical literalism. That is, they believe that Earth was created by God in only seven days less than 10,000 years ago, that eating bread and wine literally becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus as they put it in their mouths (transubstantiation), and that Satan is a real entity who influences people and the world on a daily basis and causes a wide variety of ills ranging from marital strife and “unclean thoughts” to depression, disease and death.
Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan and was confirmed by the Senate as an associate justice in September 1986. He is considered one of solid conservatives on the court. Holding degrees from Georgetown University, the University of Fribourg, and Harvard Law School, he is married and the father of nine children.