What you need to know:
- As God’s dog, my interest is whether Satan is roaming all over the place and doing his mischief when God is not looking. Could evil Satan find energy when his counter, the benevolent God, is ‘asleep’?
As God’s dog, it is only natural that I should be interested in the condition of Satan, God’s supposed ancient adversary. My findings are both reassuring and alarming, but extremely simple.
Perhaps we should glance back to two, three and four thousand years ago.
The great civilisations of the East, the Middle East and the Mediterranean area were already literate; not universally, but in some social and occupational classes.
From the architecture of those civilisations and other evidence, they had experts in mathematics and engineering.
But beside their technical and artistic achievements, these people had rich religious traditions. Indeed, the magnificent temples and tombs of the time were dedicated to gods, and for powerful men in their supposed post-mortal second life.
Their world was teeming with all manner of gods and spirits, some of which greatly influenced the spiritual imagination of the Israelites and (later) the Christian and Islamic traditions. God Himself, Yahweh, was a creation of that rich imagination.
A rebellious angel, a malevolent perpetual presence that countered the perpetual presence of God, was created in the figure of Satan, or Lucifer.
It was an uncompromising symmetry. Either you were with God, the benevolent one, or with Satan, the ultimate Devil.
It was a choice between life and death; sometimes literally, as the victims of many theocracies through history demonstrate.
As God’s dog, my interest is whether Satan is roaming all over the place and doing his mischief when God is not looking. Could evil Satan find energy when his counter, the benevolent God, is ‘asleep’?
I would have been very surprised if I found the symmetry of the forces broken. And I am glad to report that I found Satan and his agents asleep.
As I have suggested, it is both a good development and an alarming situation.
It is a good development because we now have no active all-powerful dark force driving us into evil. We are free to ignore all the fake prophets who, to remain relevant and employed, scare us by daily hammering it into our ears that Satan and his gang are alive, awake and or the rampage.
The scaremongering is aimed at vulnerable followers who buy any kind of superstition that comes from the mouth of their priest or cult leader.
However, thus liberated, we are left to our wits. We choose to be good, or to do evil.
Satan is not pushing us to do anything; and God is not paying attention to our swollen little egos or planning to reward us because we have not got drunk and driven and endangered our lives and the lives of other people on the road.
Nor is Satan awake to lead us to steal our neighbour’s goat or taxpayer’s money to meet our Christmas needs and fancies.
Be alarmed, if you thought the Devil was out there working like some dark puppeteer who would be held responsible for your reckless turns.
And as God’s dog, I can confidently tell you that God will not stir from his rest to rescue you from any consequences of your designs just because you were celebrating the birth of His Son; or because you were witless enough to give all your savings to your pastor so that he may buy you a plot in heaven or cause some other miracle.
Neither will God punish the pastor for conning you. All the events of this season are a matter of total indifference on the cosmic scale. You are on your own.
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.