Is the “Devil” a real “person” or just a concept? Big question, many answers. I have some opinions, no answers, but will lovingly share my opinions with any who will listen. The raven, my birth totem, is one of the well known tricksters in Native American cosmology. There are others, better known, i.e. the spider, and Old Man coyote. Depending on your feelings regarding these creatures, you may consider their ways enlightening, entertaining, funny, or nastily devilish. My own Dad was a rather well known trickster among his friends, and when I first read the medicine of the coyote, recognized him immediately; Prankster, contrary teacher, sarcastic wit, devilishly playful.
That is, in fact one of the very definitions of trickster medicine to a NA holy person. This is the one who comes along and teaches you the lessons you need to learn the hard way, if you refuse to learn them by a neater, easier and cleaner road. I find the whole concept of the trickster teacher so much easier to accept than the silliness of the Devil that comes out of a people that teach that the “devil” is responsible for everything you don’t happen to find palatable.
Do I believe there is a form of absolute evil? Well, actually, I believe there is. I just do not believe that the “Devil” made you or me do everything that we were not supposed to do. I am more responsible for my decisions than that. Even the very bad ones, and I have made more than my share of those. Actually, to me, pure evil is what is responsible for the awful accidents and horrible things that happen to good people anywhere in the world. It is mindless and without direction, striking where it will and randomly dealing with all and sundry, for good or ill.
The trickster is more personal, that is something that comes along to teach you, and seems quite evil to begin with, but brings some very good things with it when we learn from it. I also believe Creator is quite capable of bringing very good things out of instances that had no intent other than pure evil. We silly humans, who think that if we study something long enough can read the tea leaves and tell which or what just by the studying of it, generally cannot tell until one has allowed time to tell us by the fruit growing out of a situation whether it was a trickster or a devil that precipitated the incident.
So, no, I don’t believe the devil made you do anything. If I understand the New Testament, the devil goes around toothless, and has no ability to bite you, only whisper in your ear. You can say no to the evil thing suggested if you will seek the help that is usually there, if you will look for it. So, unless illness has compromised your mind, there is the capacity to say no.
I know this is an unpopular notion, but, if you are old enough to know better, say, perhaps over 10 or 11, don’t blame your Mama, or your Papa, at least not to me. You are already old enough to know that what you are feeling or thinking isn’t how things ought to be, and therefore old enough to ask for help with those feelings. Yes, I think our parents do influence us for good or ill, and no, I don’t think we begin to really grow beyond their influence until we begin to lead a self examined life. Some don’t even begin that process until the age of 40 or so. But there is much that has been written to guide those who would seek such guidance, some of it quite simplistic enough to be read by a teenager that chooses to be obtuse or simply obstinate.
I do, therefore realize that, though one can know the difference between right and wrong at as early an age as 10, and therefore not do things one shouldn’t do. I suspect that one will not truly know how to reverse the early training until one is much older. The pity of that is that we have usually had our children and made our share of mistakes with them before we can even begin to realize what makes us tick, so we don’t pass along bad habits.
We should have been made in such a way that we didn’t start having babies until we were thirty-ish, a sensible age all around, and we are therefore in our 40’s when they need the advice we might be mature enough to give. Oh well, it wasn’t until a few decades ago that one could expect to live long enough to see such maturity, so nature had to get us into the game before we were even remotely emotionally ready.
So, here we are, all muddled up, and without the ability to begin to straighten out the muddle until we figure out how to make it so that humans only procreate when they are ready mentally, not physically, we are probably a ways from that, thank Creator, for we have too many who would use that tool to propagate their own form of wickedness. So, as I said, lots of opinions, no answers.