As Halloween approaches, a timely question: Do you believe in the devil? You might be surprised to learn that 47% of professing Christians do not.
I discovered this odd percentage while preparing notes for our Bible study 'Twisting the Truth: The Source of Deception' by Andy Stanley. Since I live in South Carolina, the buckle of the Bible belt, I was astonished to learn of the study quoted in Jennifer Riley's article 'Most U.S. Christians don't believe Satan, Holy Spirit exist ' published in 2009 on ChristianityToday.com in which she cites a Barna research study.
“The majority of American Christians do not believe that Satan is a real being or that the Holy Spirit is a living entity, the latest Barna survey found. Nearly six out of ten Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil,” the survey found. Forty percent strongly agreed with the statement while 19 percent of American Christians somewhat agreed.
In contrast, about 35 percent of American Christians believe Satan is real. Twenty-six percent strongly disagreed with the statement that Satan is merely symbolic and about one-tenth (9 percent) somewhat disagreed. The remaining eight percent of American Christians responded they were unsure what to believe about the existence of Satan.”
How did the enemy achieve such numbers? What tool did he use to sway the opinion of so many professing Christians? The answer is deception. It started in the garden and because the devil found it so successful, he has never changed his method.
Why should you pay attention to this? Because the ultimate result is loss of human life. That is the only goal of the enemy.
To get the numbers, I ran to my Bible. Searching for the word 'devil', I found 106 references of the word devil, devils, and devilish and 47 references of the word satan. How then can 47% of people professing to be Christian have any doubt that the devil is real? Could it be that those who profess to be Christian have not read their Bible?
My prayer is that all those that profess the name of Christ actually read His word. These percentages give me cause for concern and remind me of a comment from my husband: “It's a dangerous thing to own a Bible and never read it.”