| According to Deepak Chopra in tonight's Nightline Face-Off debate, healthy people have no need for a Satan. The Devil is simply a mythical external projection of our own guilt that we as humans do not want to own. We simply need to dismiss Satan and deal with our own diabolical nature, which is a detachment from our own divine source.
Of course the biblical theist would agree in one sense with Chopra that healthy people have no need for Satan. A healthy person would never claim, "The Devil made me do it!" There is always some measure of responsibility at rock bottom for an individual whose faculties are functioning properly. Having said that, one may still grant the Devil's existence. Similarly, one can have no need for gangs, and yet still grant their existence and pernicious influence.
"Chopra’s" argument would equally cut against the existence of any external evil influence. Why think there are any destructive external influences? Atheists would argue on the basis of the collective experience of other destructive external forces, and then claim there is no real experience of a Devil (despite Lobert and others’ experiences). Chopra on the other hand knows that experience cannot be the final arbiter of ultimate truth. No matter what atheists say concerning the validity of experience, Chopra simply assumes pantheism and says that those destructive influences are mythical external projections. (Of course Chopra and even God would turn out to be mythical external projections by others on this view.)
One cannot help but wonder why Chopra would even make the effort to go and debate mythical external projections. What is he so adamantly against? In Chopra’s mind, the answer is none other than his own perceptions as part of Divine Consciousness. Yet it makes no sense that the Divine Consciousness can be so imperfect as to project and hold to any mythical externals at all on this view.
Further, at one point during the debate, Pastor Mark Driscoll asked Chopra if he thought the rape that Lobert suffered was really bad or not. Of course Chopra said it was bad, but he still assumed that it was something within her that she had to deal with. As such, Chopra was just reaffirming her dislikes. That is all that can really be said about the subject. There is nothing Chopra could tell the rapists that what they were doing was really wrong or evil. Their likes were completely different from Lobert’s. Chopra cannot correct the Divine Consciousness manifested in the rapists anymore than he can correct the Divine Consciousness manifested in those he was debating. All Chopra can affirm are descriptions, not prescriptions. All that is is; there is no what ought to be on Chopra’s view. Since that is what he affirms, we should all know from his actions of prescribing that his affirmation is totally unlivable. It is all pie-in-the-sky, hopeless idealism, which is totally inconsistent with the real world.
There is no real argument thus far why a person such as Satan cannot exist. From Chopra's opening statement, he simply begged the question against the religious believer who accepts the authority of the Bible, which clearly teaches the existence of Satan.
Chopra later gave an argument though--he attacked the authority of the Bible by what we know of science. We know from science that the Big Bang happened billions of years ago, that the earth is billions of years old, that humans are about 200,000 years old, etc. It really stretches credulity that Chopra can be this ignorant. Chopra assumes that everyone who holds to the truth and authority of the Bible has the same understanding of Genesis. NEWSFLASH: many believers do not share this understanding. For these believers who think the Bible allows for these modern scientific beliefs, Chopra sets up a straw man and rips it apart. This is a classic straw man fallacy.
Further, Chopra seems to have no understanding of the competing theories in philosophy of science. Many philosophers of science are anti-realist. In other words, theories are about something other than the real world. They may be about what works well for making predictions, for example. So for these philosophers, there are not really such things as quarks, electrons, etc. Similarly, one may be able to determine scientifically the age of the universe without really describing the universe itself. One may be describing our experiments and what results from them rather than the actual universe.
How would this work? Grant for example the mere possibility of God creating Adam as an individual that resembles a 30-year-old. (One does not have to actually believe in God's existence to merely allow for this possibility. There is simply no contradiction in the affirmation of it.) Let's say that the scientists were there 5 minutes after he was created. All their scientific tests would point to the fact that Adam must really be about 30 years old. However, such a determination would have to be taken non-realistically, since the reality under such a scenario is that Adam really is not 30 years old, but 5 minutes old.
Thus, Chopra needs a better argument against the authority of the Bible, and he also needs an argument for pantheism rather than merely assuming it throughout the debate. (After attempting to undermine the authority of the Bible, Chopra then used it to make the Jewish Carpenter out to be some Hindu guru.) Until then, belief in the reality of the Devil as an external non-mythological figure will continue to be based on the authority of the Lord Jesus.
R. M. Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United