by Larry Peterson
In the traditional form of baptism the Church of England has always asked the parents and godparents to "reject the devil". Now, in keeping with the sophisticated and upscale politically correct world of the 21st century there is a new format for the ceremony. An optional, alternative text has been introduced that allows for the name of Satan to be eliminated so no-one is "offended", including the Demon in Chief. Oh yeah, they kind of left the word "sin" out of the new format too. Fascinating stuff, don't you think. If you think there is no devil and that "evil" is just some abstract concept based on what we as individuals think is right or wrong, you do not have to mention any of that at the Baptismal ceremony. Golly gee, we must not hurt anyone's feelings, including our own and especially Beelzebub's. (I'm not sure if this is true but I heard that some satanist told the Church of England's hierarchy that his boss, Asmodeus, had a whole bunch of lawyers ready to go to court to sue if the church kept using his name without authorization.) I cannot help but wonder if John the Baptist had people come up to him before he dunked them in the river Jordan and first ask if they could forget the "Satan and sin" thing and only worry about committing the sin of NOT recycling used newspaper?" I would think not.
I think I am being somewhat flippant here because this seems to me to be so out of whack with reality. As a Catholic I know for sure that in the Rite of Baptism and in the renewal of Baptismal vows the following words are used: "Do you renounce Satan?" The answer is, "I do." "And all his works?"----"I do." "And all his empty show (promises)?"----"I do." This is cut in stone. The traditional form for the Church of England uses the words, "reject the devil". The person answering does not say, "Uh, well, I'm not sure" or "Um, Nah, I don't think so." When you are baptized, whether in a Catholic church or in another christian church, you accept God, His Son, Jesus, and reject Satan. End of story. Using the new, alternative text all the person has to do is "reject evil". It is up to the person. But what is evil?
I was always under the impression that the Bible was used as the pathway to what is good and evil and right and wrong. Remember Moses and those tablets God gave him on Mount Sinai? How about Jesus giving us the two GREAT commandments about "loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself" and that other one about "turning the other cheek". Things like that were used as the basis for our moral compass and the churches were the universities that disseminated this information to their spiritually ignorant pupils.
But now we live in a new, secular world where "relatavism" rules. In this world "good and evil" are reversed. "Good" is anything that satisfies your natural appetites. "Evil" is anything that tells you NO. "Evil" also attempts to lay waste to a hated word that keeps trying to stay in its world. That word is morality. Oh, religion promotes that word, doesn't it? Why, the nerve of that sanctimonious institution. In the "goodworld of evil" Satan (aka Lucifer, Mammon, Leviathan, and others mentioned) is a mythological character dreamed up to keep folks under control and living in fear, and the Bible is a bunch of outdated rants written by former slaves and sheepherders without any education. Even some modern-day pundits and TV personalities have called Christians, "idiots" for believing all that "nonsense". But we Christians (and Jews too) have always had our churches and synagogues as our guides, our lighthouses if you will, guiding us through the stormy seas of "good and evil". We knew what "good and evil" was and we could choose which way to navigate our personal ship. The light shined brightly and the more one followed it the brighter it became.
But now, a Christian church has folded. It has been swallowed up by the powerful seas of pride and ego. The secular fools who approved this and who think they "know best" have been duped by the empty promises of self-gratification. They would rather avoid hurting someone's feelings than stand true to the church they are supposed to represent and defend. They are cowards. They have allowed the light from their beacon to be extinguished. Satan smiles. Even he did not think it would be this easy.