My friend is here. Do you see him?
Yes, your friend has red hair
I know. That’s bad.
’cause the Devil has red hair.
Is your friend bad?
I don’t think so but I did hear someone call him a little devil because of his red hair.
There’s no such thing as THE Devil.
Wasn’t the Devil one of God’s angels who fell from grace, whatever that is?
Then why are people bad if the Devil doesn’t make them that way?
God, the Creator, the Great Spirit, Elohim, El-Scheddai, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai or whatever name you want to use, gave man free will.
Free Will? What’s that?
Man can make his own decisions, take his own actions. He and he alone chooses to do bad things, not God.
And not the Devil?
Didn’t I just tell you there is not such person or thing? The Devil is a made-up character by religions of the world.
Now, why would religions do that?
Yes, simple. Those who created the religions wanted to control their members. Creating a Devil to punish “wayward” church members helped keep them in obedience to church rules. You understand?
Well, sort of. But why would they have to have control if people willingly joined a religion? And why so many religions, to begin with?
Good questions. First, let me talk about control and then we’ll look at the reasons we have 50,000 different Christian churches in the United States. By controlling membership through the threat of damnation and removal, the religions demand financing. Money allows the building of massive edifices, fancy homes, and cars for the leadership. Some leaders of these “churches” go so far as to demand their own private jets.
Just because a person is a minister, priest, rabbi or imam, or swami doesn’t mean they have to live at the poverty level.
Of course not, but it also doesn’t mean they should live better than their membership. Back to your second question of why there are so many different Christian churches in the United States. Basically, I believe they exist because people become disgruntled with their current church and start a new one, one in which they may interpret Christian scriptures the way they want. Just as there are so many Bibles, it is difficult to sort out what is believed. By the way, congratulations on naming the various leaders of religious organizations. However, you left out one other major world religion.
A leader in the Buddhist religion is called bhikkhu for the male and bhikkhuni for the female.
Okay, cool. Suppose I go along with this control business, no devil, and the thousands of churches because of individual or group interpretation of doctrine, what next?
And isn’t that free will?
You nailed it.