The Devil’s Lonely Boy, part 5: Revelations

17 Jun

As I grew up I learned to put away childish things. After high school I stopped reading comic books. I stopped reading science fiction. I stopped believing in the Devil. Somewhere along the way I realized that much of what my mom taught me is wrong; that the universe with all its billions of planets and millions of stars cannot be so simple as she professes; that an all-loving God would never doom so many people to an eternity of suffering; that my father isn’t damned to spend his afterlife in hell; that in places the real Bible reads like a comic book. I have come to see my childhood for what it is: a mishmash of apocalyptic fundamentalism, backward superstition, and lots of love. I realized that Russia is just another country, that Bill Clinton isn’t a minion of the devil, and that Ronald Reagan isn’t the best man ever.

As an adult, God feels far away. He doesn’t seem to fit with the pattern of events. I still feel Him, sometimes, radiating goodness from some far corner of the universe. But usually I feel alone. Losing faith is like falling asleep in your lover’s arms and waking up alone, the lover having never existed. The prismatic nature of reality has ruined all the comforts of monochrome.

I certainly miss the Devil. There’s something strangely comforting about a reason for all the evil in the universe. As terrifying as Lucifer is, without him we are left with all the mundane unconnected terrors science can reconstruct. Sometimes I miss the Devil more than God. Because the Devil explained so much.

My mother still talks about the rapture. I now know to laugh inside. The world isn’t going to end, not with a bang and not with a whisper. It will slowly cool over time, millions and millions of years, as the universe burns itself out of its energy. Mankind will be long gone by then. The dark husk of the earth will simply rot to nothingness.

I’ve started reading comics again. I keep hoping that one day Superman or Spiderman or Doctor Strange will appear and explain the verities of existence, confirming my still-held belief that somewhere there’s still magic in the universe, that the nature of reality is fundamentally good, and that grand adventures await the grown-up versions of little boys who dared to believe in Jesus.

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