When someone does something evil, does the devil make him do it? Most Americans believe that’s possible, as the Washington Examiner reports.

According to a poll recently conducted by YouGov, 57 percent of Americans believe the devil exists. For some groups, the percentage is even higher: 72 percent of blacks and 64 percent of southerners believe the devil exists. A full 86 percent of “born again” Christians believe the devil is real. Seventeen percent of Jews do too.

And most Americans believe the devil can play an active role in human life. A slim majority (51 percent) believes “someone can be possessed by the devil or some other evil spirit,” and a large minority (46 percent) believes that exorcism can “drive the Devil or evil spirits out of a person” (19 percent said that’s not possible, and 36 percent said they don’t know).

It is hard to believe that, in this day and age, Americans accept such irrational, mystical, dangerous nonsense.

Historically, beliefs in demonic possession have led (among other things) to “witches” being burned at the stake and children being killed during “exorcisms,” efforts to extract “demons” from their souls. Recently a Florida man imprisoned his girlfriend and tried to exorcise the devil from her. In Africa belief in demonic possession is widespread, and “exorcism” often involves the torture and murder of alleged witches.

In modern-day America, where we witness the fruits of reason all around us every day—and where a fully rational, observation-based philosophy is available for all to learn and live by—belief in the devil or ghosts or the like is insanity.

It is not the devil but mysticism that America needs to cast out. And we need to replace it with an unwavering commitment to reason.

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Creative Commons Image: Bob Jagendorf

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