“Beelzebub and them that are with him shoot arrows.” – Illustration from Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
In writing my new mystery novel, When Demons Float, I became ever more convinced that the demonic is very real in our time. And so, I gave it one of its names, white supremacy.
As Jesus knew, if you call a Demon by its right name, you can cast it out. (Mark 5:1-20). Now, one novel is not going to do that, but together, if we call the Demon of white supremacy by its right name, we can greatly reduce its power.
As a theologian, I see white supremacy as I see the tempting forces that prey on human beings, drawing them in and down into the depths of depravity. Indeed, to write this fiction book, I ended up drawing on classical theologians such as Thomas Aquinas more than contemporary ones for mapping how the demonic actually works. I do not agree with Aquinas on demons having an ultimate divine purpose, but when he is describing how demons go about their business, I felt he was often spot on.
Now, we all know human beings do not live a perfect paradise, a Garden of Eden if you will. Instead, people live between love that we sometimes name Heaven and hate that we often call Hell.
Over centuries, human beings have come to make these forces of love and hate into characters, such as Angels who represent love, and Satan and Demons who are the forces of hate. Satan and his Demons seduce human beings away from love and into hate. They do this by trickery and deceit for, as scripture says, Satan is “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Lying is becoming normalized in the United States. Just calling that out doesn’t seem to be enough, so I decided to write a work of fiction that could show what happens in a community when hate takes over. This novel explores what happens when some people are so deluded by the falsehood that their race or their religion is superior that they will commit violence and even murder to protect that lie. These people are often called white supremacists or neo-Nazis.
I became more and more conscious in writing this novel and reading the news side by side of the dynamic of temptation. People get drawn in and over lines they would not ordinarily have crossed as the hate is spewed out and made to seem acceptable.
It is not.
Demons do their work by making people think it is.