Is There a Devil?

Below are excerpts from Wanda Pratnicka's book
"Possessed by Ghosts - Exorcisms in 21st Century" 

Very many people are of the opinion, and this includes some priests I have met, that Satan is an invisible entity with a great power to do things, its strength being sometimes greater even than God's. And if God isn't always able to cope with it then what chance have me, mere people. It is the priests who created the idea of Satan. Its purpose was to keep the society of the time disciplined, and it was successful in that. People were then still at the stage of development where explanations would have had little effect. Mankind, however, has progressed in its spiritual development and what once was good now has the opposite effect. When we think of the devil as a creature (or person) then though people fear it the fear is not constructive, merely paralyzing, disarming. It brings more harm than benefits. Instead of leading to understanding, it leads to giving up, and it sows fear among many priests. That is one of the reasons why there are so few exorcists in the world willing to help people. They are panic-stricken about Satan. When they understand the idea of the devil correctly then the time needed for exorcisms will shorten markedly, needless suffering experienced by the possessed person and the ghost alike will end, as it will for the exorcist priest. If the devil really did exist then God could not be God Almighty. He would rule over just a part of the Universe and Satan would rule over the other part.

But the devil exists only in our minds. Whatever is to be found there will be manifested outside. One can't say that evil is either inside or outside us. When it is real to us then it is inside and outside. There is no way that one can separate it. Depending on what our leading thoughts, actions and words are so will our reality be. It is our perception of the world that governs our reaction to our surroundings. That's why two people finding themselves in the same enclosed space may react completely differently to the situation. One of them may be morbidly unhappy and the other may see nothing but joy. Everything depends on our conception which drives our perception. It is that which ensures that inside us there is either good, or God, or evil, or "Satan". If we think good thoughts, speak well and perform good deeds then there is no need for us to fear the devil because we'll always be safe in God's hands. (...) 

Many people turned to me because they were very afraid of demonic possession. What always transpired was that it was the ghost of an exceptionally angry person. It felt it had been cheated by the Church, by its religion, by God, because it had believed in something which, after death, proved to be untrue. It was equally furious with itself, so furious that it was capable of killing someone. (...) 

In my view evil ghosts are not devils or satans, but "ghosts of evil" like hatred, jealousy, enmity, feeling of hurt, desire for revenge, bad will. Those are the devils tormenting people. It is with them that we have to come to terms inside us and not to succumb to them. Religions explain the presence of evil in the world by the presence of Satan as a spiritual entity. That way we personify the devil giving him a personality. Satan is not an identity and does not have a personality. It is a force that comes out of our negative thoughts, actions and speech. It exists everywhere. If we create hatred, if we are accompanied by vengeful, insistent, destructive thoughts aimed against others, when we are jealous, desirous of revenge, when we are inimically disposed, feel unfairly treated, ill-will, then we create around ourselves negative currents. They join up with similar energy currents from other people and thus they accumulate. This constantly flowing energy intensifies creating a great, terrifying force. It is something that everyone can feel when they are near it, or when they come into permanent contact with an environment that's full of hatred and dark, oppressive power. This bad energy brings about in the person who creates it sicknesses and accidents. When it succumbs to the process of accumulation which stems from a large number of people then it becomes the cause of catastrophes. When the energy emanates from a whole society it becomes so intense that it causes cataclysms or wars.
From our positive thoughts, actions and words also comes an enormous force which may neutralize this negative force. Nature always tends to want to establish equilibrium and harmony. (...) 

Many people find it impossible to believe that a good God could have created evil, too. That's why they find it easier to believe in the existence of the devil and to ascribe to him the creation of evil in the world. Nevertheless it was God who created good and evil. Even though God can do "evil", He has chosen to do only "good" since He has unlimited power. Even if "good" assumes the form which could be interpreted as "evil" then it is still "good" and comprises part of the Divine Plan. God's Project. God knows what to preserve, what to take away, what to mend and what to destroy. Even if He destroys something He will create it again in contrast to some people who, when they have broken something, are unable to recreate it. It is hard for us to see the "good" in "evil" at the moment in which it is happening. That comes from a lack of understanding, only and exclusively that. It's only when we look at the thing we interpreted as being "evil" from time's perspective do we comprehend the total meaning of the appearance of that "evil". "Evil" is a kind of shock, the consequence of errors that we have committed. When we experience the effects of our errors we are shocked and we realize that what we once did was not appropriate. We don't have to persist in our errors. Even if we commit them a hundred times it doesn't mean we have to continue to do so. From the time we become aware of this and we start to think, speak and do what is good then, in the future, we will avoid "evil". The appearance of that which we interpret as "evil" is our lesson, something we had to learn. When we understand that we will also notice that it is our errors that are the causes of our suffering and our misfortune, and not the devil or Satan. We will see that in reality everything in this world is for us a good, even "evil". We will also see that we are the creators of every event that happens in our lives. If we do not understand the lesson, in other words if we don't draw from our experience of "evil" the appropriate meaning which God has given us for the growth of our souls, then another opportunity will come along. If we understand it this time then there will be no more "evil" happening to us. I am not the only who thinks this way. In the Bible, too, it is written: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things" (Isaiah, 45, v.7).
As you can see, God created all opposing pairs like, for instance, white and black, hot and cold, long and short, healthy and sick, as also good and evil, just so that every human being can fully experience everything. If everyone was happy then how would they know that what they are experiencing is indeed happiness? How would they recognize it? If only good existed then you would not find out that what you are going through at this moment is indeed good and not something else. You would not experience joy if sorrow didn't exist, you wouldn't know what health was if there was no sickness. You would not know what safety was if you were never in any danger. By analogy, you wouldn't know what good was if there was no evil. So it is that good is nothing other than the diametrically opposite pole of good. On the line between good and evil there are very many shades of good and evil, depending on the direction in which we are moving. (...) 

Many of you will say that the devil is mentioned many times in the Bible. That's true, but the Bible, like other Holy Books, was written in the language of those times and the meaning of the words used in it isn't always the same as it is in the contemporary world. The Greek word to describe the devil is diabolos - creating barriers. Stretching back as far as we can into antiquity, secret knowledge was concentrated in the hands of the priests. They guarded it like it was the most precious treasure and they passed it down from mouth to mouth, from generation to generation, in the strictest secrecy. The entire contents of this knowledge was encoded through the use of allegory and symbols. This made certain that it wouldn't pass into unauthorized hands. Oral accounts and the explanations of the master ensured that its deep contents would not be lost. When the alphabet was invented (about a thousand years before the birth of Jesus), the stories that had been passed down from mouth to mouth by the elders started to be written down on parchment scrolls. The priests were unable to contain this avalanche and they started to censor everything that was written down. The Bible received its name in honor of the town Byblos where the alphabet was invented. The New Testament was written down in the same way long after the death of Jesus. None of the evangelists describing his life knew Him personally. The writing of it was finished nearly three hundred years after His death. Throughout the period when the New Testament came into being, the priests censored and selected its contents. Nevertheless not everything that was written found its way into the final document since several churches had already sprung up out of Jesus' teachings. Within each one of them, the priests decided which elements of Jesus' history could be told and in what way. Even many centuries after the first books had been written down, the Church's Great Council was prescribing again which truths and doctrines could be contained in the official Bible - and which disclosures would be "premature" or "unhelpful".
Besides which, the Church has often declared its faith in something which was later discredited when it turned out to be false, e.g. that the Sun moves round the Earth, or that the Earth is flat etc. Subsequent discoveries overturned the significance of those that existed previously. Is it not the case also that in the matter of the devil and of the possession of people by ghosts that the Church is in error? (...)