If I Were the Devil | Paul Harvey | The_Void (2024)

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A Warning from 1965

“If I Were the Devil” was a famous essay written and delivered as a radio commentary by Paul Harvey in 1965.

In the essay, Harvey imagines what the devil would do to undermine society and morality if he were to take human form. Some key points Harvey makes are:

The devil would promote a culture of self-indulgence and materialism, convincing people that happiness comes from unlimited acquisition of possessions.

He would blur the lines between right and wrong, making people believe there is no objective basis for morality.

The devil would make the supernatural seem like an illusion and convince people that a good life alone assures eternal destiny, regardless of faith.

He would make people believe the Bible is just a book written by man and that the church is a crutch for the weak.

The devil would make modern man self-centred, focused only on fulfilling his own desires with no room for limits on personal freedoms.

Harvey's essay is a good exercise in understanding our inverted world as it presciently describes many of the moral and cultural shifts that have occurred in society since 1965. The essay forces us to consider how the devil might subtly manipulate people's thinking to undermine traditional values and faith. Reflecting on the essay helps reveal how many of the devil's tactics described by Harvey have indeed come to pass in the form of rampant materialism, moral relativism, secularism, and self-centredness in modern culture. Analysing the essay is a thought-provoking way to recognise the spiritual battle being waged for people's hearts and minds.


“If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I'd want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I'd have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn't be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I'd set about however necessary to take over the United States. I'd subvert the churches first — I'd begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.'

“To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.' I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what's bad is good, and what's good is ‘square.' And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…'

“And then I'd get organized. I'd educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I'd threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I'd pedal narcotics to whom I could. I'd sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I'd tranquilize the rest with pills.

“If I were the devil I'd soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I'd have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you'd have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

“Within a decade I'd have prisons overflowing, I'd have judges promoting p*rnography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I'd make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

“If I were the devil I'd take from those who have, and give to those who want until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.

And what do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I'd just keep right on doing what he's doing.

Paul Harvey, good day.”

Source: If I were the devil – REMASTERED – Paul Harvey – 1965 – YouTube

TAGSpaul harvey


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If I Were the Devil | Paul Harvey | The_Void (2024)
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