’Nightline’ Tackles Satan and More

Our belief in God presupposes a belief in Satan, right?

Well, maybe.

At least that’s the answer ABC’s “Nightline” intended to leave viewers with last night in one of its “Face-Off” debates taped at Seattle’s Mars Hill Church.

Mars Hill is the home turf of tough-talking, biker-boot wearing evangelist Mark Driscoll. He was teamed up with Annie Lobert, a former Las Vegas prostitute whose organization, Hookers for Jesus, attempts to steer young women away from the life she once led.

On the other side of the aisle were best-selling spiritual author Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson, who has been stripped of his congregation for suggesting the devil is a myth.

And while the debate did have discussions about Satan, it was also grounded in a larger context of God’s sovereignty.

The way the debate was edited was predictable and safe. There were plenty of one-liners, such as when Driscoll was asked how he prepared. “Study. Pray. Drink Red Bull. Go,” he said.

Chopra repeatedly referred to belief in Satan as a “primitive” interpretation of an ancient belief system. He also derided the stereotypical image of God as a white man with a flowing beard on a throne. “Why couldn’t she be a black woman?” This, too, is how God is portrayed in William Young’s popular novel “The Shack”.

Pearson’s responses were a bit more theological, including: “(The Bible) is the inspired word of God about man as best as man can perceive it. The finite cannot perceive the infinite.”

Driscoll repeatedly argued, as many Christians do, about the inspiration drawn from the Holy Spirit in guiding their lives: “I have the joy of thanking someone rather than being proud.”

Lobert said she saw Satan’s influence projected in the faces of her former clients and felt a “diabolic force speaking to me” when she hit rock bottom during a cocaine overdose and began to turn her life around.

Certainly this is a debate that won’t be settled in a half-hour TV broadcast.

What is gratifying to see is a passion for seeking the truth, even when you don’t agree. People shouldn’t accept or deny God as a knee-jerk reaction, but rather through introspection and their perception of the evidence around them.

And if they don’t accept it?

Pearson may have summed it up best: “If there really is a devil and there really is a hell and I’m leading people there, then I deserve that.”

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