I love watching travel shows on TV. With no exertion on my part, the shows take me places I will never go and hear from people I will never meet. At the end of one travel show, they quote Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts." In Twain's book, "The Innocents Abroad: Or The New Pilgrims' Progress," he elaborates: "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

I've learned much about cultures, religions and wars from these shows.


Globe Spirit TV recently introduced me to a yearly pilgrimage in Peru and another in India. I was taken aback learning about the drudgery believers go through observing these yearly traditions. In India, at the Ganges River bank, believers oblige over 200 worshipers daily by burning their dead bodies and depositing of their ashes in the river.

Facebook too is broadening our perspective and overcoming our narrow mindedness. We have to be aware of our judgmental mind.

One can easily read something that is posted and wonder how much they have traveled and associated with other religious people and cultures. One such questionable post got me wondering what the pastor taught in the church he/she attended since birth. The remark was about the casual statement printed on a toy: Recommended for age 8+. They posted: "The recommended age to have a Ouija Board is 8+ years old. So, you need to be 21 years old to drink alcohol and 8 to summon the devil."

Her remark started my research, wondering who believed in the devil these days.

Immediately, a YouTube by Alphlond appeared with a transcript. I don't know who/what Alphlond is after searching for a half-hour but this is what Alphlond printed on YouTube, published on April 12, 2013: "There is no devil. I do not believe in the devil, for two reasons: First, despite what many have been misled to believe, the idea of the devil comes from a pagan origin, more specifically Greek paganism. As I'm sure many of you have, no doubt, noticed by now, modern depictions of the devil closely resemble ancient Greek depictions of the minotaur and the satyr. Our word 'devil' comes from the Greek 'diabolos,' meaning 'slanderer,' which is derived from the Greek verb 'diaballein,' meaning to throw across.' Now, this was no doubt a translation of the Hebrew 'satan,' from which we get our word 'Satan,' and which means 'accuser' or 'adversary.' This is probably why modern depictions of the devil resemble the satyr, because 'Satan' sounds a lot like 'Satyr.' That alone should give you a clue as to the pagan origin of the devil.

"The other reason why I don't believe in the devil is as follows; to quote Joseph Conrad, 'The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.' I would amend this by saying that it is not only unnecessary, it is also irresponsible, immature, foolish, and downright dangerous to believe in a supernatural source of evil such as the devil. After all, why take responsibility for your own evil actions, which is what everyone should be doing in the first place, when you can simply blame on a supernatural source of evil like the devil?

"So there you have it folks, proof positive that there is no devil, and that you should no longer believe in the devil if you still do. Take responsibility for your own actions; don't blame them on the devil."

I once counseled a man who blamed the devil for everything ... even his moods and emotions. He would wake up thinking the day was going to be a good day, but whenever he encountered a glitch or a small stumble, automatically he thought the devil was out to get him again.

I made another attempt at enlightening a troubled nurse regarding her belief in the devil. She was having a difficult time with fellow employees at the hospital. We were making good progress only to hear that she had not slept good the previous night ridiculing the devil for her hearing strange noises and feeling rumbling near her bed.

Through the years, I've learned that we cause ourselves so much unnecessary suffering with our thoughts that aren't even true. I credit Byron Katie, founder of "The Work," with assisting multitudes of anxious people.

I like to keep things simple and Katie straightens you out with four simple questions to ask yourself after you write down your stressful thoughts:

Question 1: Is the thought you wrote down true?

Question 2: Can you absolutely know it's true?

Question 3: How do you react when you believe that thought? She is asking you to think about cause and effect, discomfort to fear.


Question 4: Who would you be without the thought? Katie asks you to turn the thought around which gives you an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe.

If you are troubled by old beliefs that cause you to suffer, I recommend looking at Byron Katie's, "The Work." My belief is that we cannot do God's work when we aren't with God. Break the circuit from debilitating thoughts and get on the same wavelength with God.

The Rev. Ellin M. Dize is executive director of nonprofit NRS Inc. and facilitates A Course in Miracles spiritual discussion group at St. Paul's UCC. She can be contacted at NRSsolutions@yahoo.com.