Tempers Flare at Debate on the Devil

"I guess if Satan himself shows up, then I will say well, I guess you are right," countered Danielle Wilken. "But otherwise I don't think you can convince me that you can go to hell and there would be Satan."

The debate quickly turned contentious as all four participants presented uncompromising positions.

Driscoll opened by saying that the dichotomy between Satan and God "is the essential belief of Christianity, that Satan is real but so is Jesus, and he works out all things for good and ultimately he will redeem all that has been lost through Satan, sin and death."

Chopra, on the other hand, said that "Healthy people do not have any need for Satan. Healthy people need to confront their own issues, understand themselves and move towards the direction of compassion, creativity, understanding, context, insight, inspiration, revelation and understanding that we are part of an ineffable mystery. …So I would say be done with Satan and confront your own issues."

Lobert began with her personal story: "I am a former escort, prostitute, stripper, what have you...and I lived this lifestyle for 16 years. I saw 10 of my friends die. A night came in my life where I faced death. I OD'd on cocaine because I hated myself and I kept hearing voices to tell me to kill myself," she explained.

And then Lobert said she realized," that [it] wasn't coming from inside of me. There was a diabolical force speaking to me and I truly believe it was the Devil and his demons, and the Devil almost got my life. You know, that night I made myself real to God and I asked him to come into my heart and save me. Save me from him, myself and the bad decisions I had made, and he did."

"I'm from four generations of Demon caster-outers," Pearson countered. "I had tremendous faith in the Devil and his power and his omnipresence … I have reassessed all of that and I think that the best way to get people free is to get them to stop believing so much in this hairy, horny, freaky, scary, omnipresent entity and it will not manifest the way we have believed it to. And that will bring an element of peace."

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Belief vs. Experience

"I don't think of him as the man with the horns or the weird gargoyle face or anything like that," Lobert said. "My experience personally I never saw his face. I saw demons and I don't even want to tell you what they look like. I was held down by demons at night, raped by them. I know this might sound crazy to some of you but it really happened and it happens to a lot of the women in the sex industry."

When asked why a loving God would create Satan, Driscoll said it comes back to the concept of free will.

"For there to be virtue, there must be the possibility of vice and that's what distinguishes those of us, people and angels, from other forms of creation, trees, animals and the like," he said. "I think if you don't allow choice, the theologians will say you don't have love."

Chopra found that philiosophy to be "in contradiction to what we know about the physical universe that began about 13.8 billion years ago in something called the Big Bang. I've been hearing all this terminology. How come you're all so convinced that God is a He and Satan is a He?" Chopra asked the panel.

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