I’ll start this post by saying I do not believe in “The Devil” when it comes to misfortune and death. What I do believe in is distance from God and the “Your Time Is Just Plain Up” (see “karma” and “Shiva”) principle. I think I came to this conclusion when I realized that people were attributing similar occurrences, randomly, either to God’s Will, or “The Devil”. By what criteria is this distinction made? From what I can understand of it, if you are a Christian and an unfortunate event comes into your life, it is God’s Will. Unless, for some reason you were not following God’s guidance at the time and you temporarily fell under the sway of the aforementioned Prince of Darkness.
Now, for everyone who is not a Christian, every misfortune is the work of the Devil.
Unless you are Rick Santorum, who famously appears to have suggested that the United States was the only nation important enough for Beelzebub to waste his time working his evilness on. In this case, all of the starving and AIDS affliction in Africa (even the Christians are subject to this!), all of the war in the Middle East (Non-American Christians get caught in the cross-fire) and the terrorism over the years in Ireland by the IRA (an organization of feisty Catholics, just like Santorum!) is just the Will of God.
Of course this is not just a paradox perpetuated by Christians. All members of the Abrahamic faiths are equally capable of this type of thinking. But I am most familiar with the Catholicism of “whatever world-view suits me best on any given day.”
I do not mean to offend, but a friend of mine has recently reinvigorated my quest for consistency in my world-view/philosophy/faith. Feel free to chime in.