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I have thought of the devil as a metaphorical character rather than an actual being as far back as high school, despite my fundamentalist upbringing. My explanation to those who disagreed was that my unbelief was the worst insult I could heap on the devil if “he” did exist!
But I am taken with Hildegard of Bingen’s notion that Satan can’t sing, because he opposes all harmony. Editor Barbara Newman explains that Hildegard’s morality plays predate commonly known morality plays by 150 years. One of them, Ordo Virtutum, is entirely sung except for Satan’s monologues, because Hildegard didn’t think the devil could carry a tune!
Opposed to all harmony, Satan could never join a choir or quartet, band or orchestra. He could never play well with others, so he could never join a team or a cause or a community or a theater troupe. He couldn’t dance or weave or paint or write—because all require some kind of harmonizing.
But he could join the conflicts in Washington, the Middle East, and dysfunctional churches. He could be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, elitist, bigoted, hierarchical, autocratic, intransigent, uncooperative, greedy, misanthropic, and more. So many bad things, so little time!
Satan is too often a role model for us. No wonder so many people believe in him.
Visit the first two posts of this blog:
Other posts referencing Hildegard of Bingen:
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