“If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree—Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States.
I’d subvert the churches first—I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to pray after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to (make) lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war that themselves, and nations that war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flame.
If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, and neglect to discipline emotions—just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography—soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress.
And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money.
If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. What do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would question against extremes and hard work, and Patriotism, and moral conduct.
I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
In other words, if I were to devil I’d keep on doing on what he’s doing.
Paul Harvey, good day.”
Over the subsequent 50 years, how many of Harvey’s speculations have come to pass.
So called churches where the Bible is considered a myth, everyone does what is right in their own eyes, pornography addiction runs rampant, marriage is regarded as a civil construct devoid of sanctity and the elderly pray but they do not mount a spiritual battle for the lost souls of the generations who follow them not in faith. Devilish, isn’t it?
Educational systems from cradle to college that teach evolution theory as truth, sexual gratification as happiness, medicates high percentages of children simply for being children, and advocates post-modern tolerance that robs children of the ability to think for themselves and discern between good and bad ideas. Devilish indeed.
Paul Harvey’s litany is haunting in its accuracy of describing the realities of our day, 50 years after he spoke the words.
- “Good” and “bad,” as originally defined by God, have been functionally redefined to mean the very opposite thing.
- The Bible is no longer the final authority for the faith and day to day life decisions of most Americans. Sure, the majority still say they believe in God and heaven, but a very low percentage are applying the Bible to life in moment-by-moment thoughts, words and deeds.
- Historic mainline churches are leading the way in replacing what God says in the Bible with “individual personal conscience” as the litmus test for “right” and “wrong.”
- Lurid literature? Only one proof is necessary here: 50 Shades of Grey
- Narcotics, alcohol, tranquilizers, anti-depressants…we live in a drug addicted culture, illegal and prescription.
- Families, churches and nations are indeed at war with themselves and they are being consumed.
- Media has become utterly mesmerizing as screens draw our attention away from conversation with real people and real relationships.
- We are indeed entertaining ourselves to death.
- Metal detectors at every school? Yep.
- Overflowing prisons? Check.
- God ejected from the courthouse the schoolhouse and Congress? Uh-huh.
- Psychology replacing religion? Indeed.
- Pastors and priests molesting children? Horrifyingly, yes.
- The symbol of Easter is indeed the egg and Christmastide sales of alcohol outpace all other seasons of the year.
- Gambling, via Lottery, is legal in most states.
- Hard working Patriots and those of traditional moral conduct are suspect, taxed, and even penalized for success.
- Traditional marriage is considered not only old-fashioned, but bigoted. And sex before and outside of marriage is considered “normal.”
When he said that good would be redefined as “square” he hit the nail on its proverbial head. How square are those who adhere to a supernatural worldview, believe in absolute truth, desire purity in their relationships and an undefiled life that is pleasing to God? The nicest things we’re called is “prude.”America was once the land to which the prudes fled. The Puritans left Europe for a myriad of reasons. Some were fleeing religious persecution, others it seems desired to create a deeply religious, socially tight, and politically innovative culture in the new world. They saw America as holding the hope of a sanctuary, a refuge, even a redeemer nation. They hoped to live into the reality of a nation of saints that would serve as an example to others around the world (or for them, Europe). America would not have done all the good for others she has done had it not been for the prudes who came to these shores from 1620-1640.
I suspect that today they would have been considered horribly intolerant. After all, they called sin “sin” and they were not afraid to distinguish truth from error and vice from virtue. A refresher on Jonathan Edwards “The Nature of True Virtue” is helpful here. But I digress.
The question today for cultural observers who share’s Paul Harvey’s Christian worldview, what would you do if you were the Devil? What’s left to be undone, mocked, defiled, questioned, destroyed and killed that a nation of religious liberty might be brought to her proverbial knees and made to bow before Baal?
Now, lest we despair it is essential to note that even with all the progress made on Harvey’s satanic agenda, the “ripest apple on the tree” has yet to fall. Tides that rise will fall and ideas that win for a time always fade. What stands forever? What will never be shaken? You got it: the Word of God.
On this side of Easter there is nothing to fear. Oh yes, there is work to do, there is truth to tell, there is error to rebut, there are schemes to unmask, but there is nothing to fear. Perfect love has already cast out fear. We need only live authentically as agents of His grace, ambassadors of His Gospel, citizens of His Kingdom – even as resident aliens here and now. Let us be prudes, let us be square – and let us be far more concerned about the standing on the right side of the Holy God than what those around us perceive as the right side of history. Remember, their “right” is often “wrong” when the righteous definitions of God are applied.