Now, who is this devil? I have never met him, he has never tempted me. I don’t think any of you have ever met the devil, or that he has tempted you. Desires come from your own nature, it is not some devil who is tempting you. But it is a strategy of religions to throw the responsibility on an imaginary figure, the devil, so you don’t feel you are being condemned.
You are being condemned, but indirectly, not directly. He is saying to you that you are the devil, but he has not the guts even to say that. So he is saying that the devil is something else – a separate agency, whose only function is to tempt people.
But it is very strange…millions of years have passed and the devil is not tired, he goes on tempting. And what does he gain out of it? In no scripture have I found what is his reward for all this arduous work for millions of years. Who is paying him? By whom is he employed? That is one thing….
And the second: Is not your God omnipotent? That’s what your scriptures say, that he is all-powerful. If he is all-powerful, can’t he do a simple thing? – just stop this devil from tempting people. Rather than going to every person and telling every person, “Don’t be tempted by the devil,” why not finish this one person? Or whatsoever he wants, give it to him. This is something to be decided between God and the devil. What business is it of ours to be unnecessarily trampled between these two?
God has not been able in millions of years to convince the devil or to change the devil or to finish the devil. And if God is so powerless before the devil, what about his poor people to whom these representatives of God go on saying, “Don’t be tempted by the devil”? If God is so powerless and impotent before the devil, what can ordinary human beings do?
For centuries these people have been telling these lies, and not even once have they themselves tried to be responsible. This is irresponsibility – telling young people, “Be aware, the devil is going to tempt you.”
In fact this man has put the temptation already in the minds of these people. They may not have been thinking right then of drugs, alcohol, premarital sex. They had come to listen to the pope, to some spiritual sermon. They will go back home thinking of premarital sex, how to get tempted by the devil, where to find the drug dealers.
And alcohol is certainly not a temptation of the devil, because Jesus Christ was drinking alcohol – not only drinking it but making it available to his apostles. Alcohol is not against Christianity. Christianity accepts alcohol perfectly because to deny alcohol would be putting Jesus in jeopardy. Jesus was not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He enjoyed drinking, and he has never said that drinking is a sin – how could he say it.