Connecting the Spiritual to the Political: Are Demons the Gods of the Nations?


Over the past couple of days, has been publishing stories that have dealt with, in one form or another, the Satanic. Today’s edition includes an excerpt from Murray Rothbard’s An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, in which he discussed, among other things, Karl Marx’s youthful poetry that contained Satanic themes or imagery. Yesterday, the site carried an RT News article discusses the disturbing rise of Satanic worship in America.

The timing of these articles is interesting, especially because they coincide with a fascinating series of posts by Richard Beck, a progressive theologian. In these posts, entitled “Idolatory, Oppression, and the Development of Demons”, Beck explores the development of demons in the Bible.

Beck begins these posts by writing:

In my book Reviving Old Scratch I make the claim that spirituality and politics have to be looked at together.

It seems hard for us to do that. When it comes to evil conservatives tend to spiritualize the issue, looking for demons behind every door and under every rock. Liberals, by contrast, tend to politicize evil, reducing spiritual warfare to the political fight for social justice.

And yet, throughout the Bible the spiritual and the political are interconnected and woven together. The political and the spiritual form a gestalt, a bigger picture greater than the sum of the individual parts. And as I argue in Reviving Old Scratch, when we miss the bigger picture we compromise our ability to become agents of light in a dark world.

One way to see the interconnection between the spiritual and the political is to examine the way demons develop in the Bible. In Chapter 11 of Reviving Old Scratch I tell a bit of this story, but I wanted to devote a series to this topic to bring in other material that I didn’t include in the book.

Specifically, I want to show how idolatry and oppression are woven together in how we see demons develop across the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

As a Catholic and libertarian, Beck’s claim that spirituality and politics are interconnected is fascinating to me. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense. If a person is healthy spiritually, he or she will interact with others in a healthy way. The inverse (i.e., if a person is not spiritually healthy) is also true.

While I’m not going through the specifics of Beck’s arguments, I’ll use this post to list all of Beck’s posts on this topic.

If you’re interested in how spirituarlity and politics intersect, I encourage you to read Beck’s posts.