For as long as I can remember Pagans of various stripes have been quick to point out that they don’t recognize the existence of (or worship) Satan, that an embodiment of pure evil just doesn’t fit into a nuanced polytheistic (or pantheistic, or duotheistic) model of the divine. Well it seems that we aren’t the only ones, according to the evangelical polling outfit The Barna Group, most Christians don’t believe in Satan either.
“Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.”
Interestingly, roughly half of the Christians who don’t believe in a literal Satan do believe that there are “demons” or “evil spirits” that can play havoc with your life. Does this mean that in a sizable portion of the Christian mind a pantheon of spiritual forces (good and evil) seems more likely a single living embodiement of supreme evil? Looks like Pagans and Christains have more in common than I thought! Not that it is helping us have better relations, only 5% of Christians have a positive view of Wicca (and by extension, I assume other Pagan faiths) while a whopping 55% percent don’t like us one bit. Still, it does open some interesting doors for conversation don’t you think?