What would happen if a Christian pursued a meeting with the Devil? It certainly doesn't sound like a good idea, but in his newest book, The Devil Wears Nada: Satan Exposed!, Tripp York tells of his pursuit of a face-to-face encounter with Satan himself.
York, a college professor, says the idea for the book began with a discussion between two of his students who had been arguing about the existence of God. One of his students suggested that if he could have a personal experience with Satan as others have with God, then he could, by association, prove the existence of God.
Sometime later York began to seriously consider that argument, and decided to make it his project to setup a meeting with Satan (something that, as he restates several time throughout the book, he was told is a bad idea).
The topic of his memoir isn't one that most would take lightly, but York's narrative is written in a witty and sarcastic tone, which he insists is just his personality shining through his writing, and offers comic relief for his readers as they follow his study of the most serious of subjects.
During his adventure, York meets with a number of Christian leaders from various denominations and traditions to talk about who Satan is and the impact that he has on the world. Some of the people he met with blamed the devil for everything from a CD that skips during Sunday worship to Hurricane Katrina.
He also discusses with those who think that things like organic foods and minority rights, among other things, are associated with the demonic. One preacher even suggested that Tripp himself was being led by Satan because of his belief in the theory of evolution.
During an interview with The Christian Post, Tripp said one of his goals in writing the book was to show “how incredibly far-fetched” some Christian beliefs can be.
“People seem to speak almost more about what they're against as opposed to what they're actually for,” he also said.
An example of this can be seen in political debates, he said, where 20 percent of the time candidates talk about “here's what I'm for” while 80 percent of the time they talk about “here's what I know I'm against.”
"It's the same thing with a lot of people,” he said. “If you take away the object of the protest it's pretty difficult to understand who they even are because they're so heavily dependent upon being opposed to something."
Throughout the memoir York frequently plays “devil's advocate” and asks questions of religious leaders that are both amusing and thought-provoking (and probably embarrassing to those who were stuck trying to answer them).
Though his tone may take a sarcastic turn at times, he insists that he never intended the book to be an attack on Christianity, “though it is a criticism of a number of beliefs and convictions that Christians entertain that I think are possibly at odds with much of the Christian tradition.”
To be fair, York is an equal-opportunity critic. In his pursuit of the Devil he also takes a look at those groups that others have labeled satanic: pagans, druids, fortune-tellers, Unitarians and of course, Satanists.
He criticizes Satanists who falsely believe they are “individuals,” and Unitarians who falsely believe they are being inclusive to others when their principles (if they can be pinned down) are actually quite exclusive.
York previously was a professor at Western Kentucky University in the Philosophy and Religion Department. He recently moved to Norfolk, Va., where he expects to find work teaching at a number of different schools. He's taught courses that include Christian Ethics and Contemporary Religions in North America, both of which are subjects that helped him in writing the book.
One of the points he seems to make in the book is to show that what many Christians are opposed to, and may even attribute to Satan, are sometimes things that Jesus was actually in favor of.
We "look at Jesus through the culture lens that we have available to us,” he said. “Unfortunately, I think that that lens in particular of this Republic of the United States has shaped our viewing of Jesus in such a way that's completely unintelligible, at least from, what I would say, is the early church's reading of Jesus."
In the book he says that he found, “among the saints no less, racism, sexism, homophobia, fear, hatred, pride, bigotry of all sorts, and a strong desire to make the world in one's own image.”
In the big climactic scene of the book, York goes out to a crossroads somewhere in North Carolina in an attempt to finally meet with the Devil. He brings with him a number of items, including books about Satan, an iPod complete with three playlists of what might be considered pro-satanic music by some, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a camera.
Certainly not everyone will agree with everything that York writes in his book, but he does raises some thought-provoking questions that are deserving of some reflection.
The Devil Wears Nada: Satan Exposed! is published by Cascade Books and is available on Amazon.com. Those interested in learning more can visit amishjihadi.com, a satirical website of York's, for more information.