A FORMER Jesuit turned university professor has set himself an ambitious project: rehabilitating the devil.
Henry Ansgar Kelly says Satan is the most maligned figure in history and has endured 17 centuries of unjustified character assassination.
"For 1700 years Satan has been the enemy of God, whereas in the Bible he works for God, he’s his prime minister or attorney-general, in charge of policing the world," Professor Kelly said.
"He is one of God’s angels, and his job is to test people."
The 71-year-old University of California professor has played devil’s advocate for four decades, and is the author of many books and scholarly articles.
The devil did not have a kingdom, did not rule over hell, and did not try to damn people, Professor Kelly said. These ideas had developed from the second to the fourth centuries AD, and were refined for the next 1000 years. Professor Kelly said it was important to recapture the biblical understanding of Satan to combat the doctrine of original sin, "in which the whole human race is delivered to Satan".
"That’s the most immoral doctrine in Christianity, that the whole of the human race is doomed to hell for something they didn’t do. Once you get rid of that, Christianity becomes less unreasonable."
As if the devil needed anybody else doing PR work for him. He already has so many people volunteering their services. The diatribe against the doctrine of original sin is even sillier and the whole human race doomed to hell is a straw man argument against the doctrine. This doctrine was one of the easiest ones to understand as I moved away from atheism since it explains so much and can be frequently observed. As Fr. Groechel says to people who don’t believe in original sin that he invites them to come to the Bronxs.