US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Does Satan exist?

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Satan’s existence was the topic of an ABC Nightline “face-off” last week. It’s an interesting topic, but it’s also interesting that a major television network decided to tackle it through such a face-off (perhaps a more market friendly term for “interfaith dialogue”?).

The face off pit self-help guru/philosopher Deepak Chopra and United Church of Christ Bishop Carlton Pearson on the no side against Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church and Annie Lobert, founcer of “Hookers for Jesus” on the yes side.

It’s hard to say if any minds were changed from the conversation. Certainly the opponents didn’t seem to concede any points, especially Driscoll and Lobert, evangelical Christians who take the Bible as the literal truth. Chopra wasn’t much better that the literalists and came off condescending. It would have been nice to hear more from Pearson, a Christian who doesn’t interpret the Bible literally.

It also would have been nice to have a Catholic priest on the panel. What church, after all, has been performing exorcisms for centuries? Just last week I skimmed through The Rite: The Making of Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio, which discusses the Catholic Church’s continued belief in exorcism (but perhaps not movie-like exorcism).

A recent U.S. Catholic survey on the afterlife found that 78 percent of readers believe in the existence of the devil, while 90 percent believe in angels. I’m not so sure what I think, though I wonder if everyone is simply using different words to describe evil forces in our world. The devil's in the details, or so they say. 

Does Satan exist? Did the face-off on Nightline influence your thoughts?