If I Were the Devil

Take a listen to these prophetic words written by Paul Harvey nearly 50 years ago. It’s almost like these were his instructions, and they have been followed with precision. (Transcript follows)



If I were the prince of darkness I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness, and I’d have a third of its real estate and four fifths of its population. But I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree: thee.

So I’d set about however necessary, to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.” To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is square. And the old I would teach to pray after me, “our father which art in Washington…”

And then I’d get organized: I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies, and visa versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves; churches at war with themselves; and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellect, but neglect to discipline emotions; just let those run wild, until before you knew it you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing; I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls—and church money.

If I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who want it, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich.

I would caution against extremes, and hard work, and patriotism, and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old fashioned—that swinging is more fun. That what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

In other words, if I were the devil I would just keep on doing what he is doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.

(Originally written 1964,  broadcast 1993)


  • Shums

    Funny too how words of prophecy are never regarded as such at the time of delivery.  A lack of being able to discern prophecy… a HUGE accomplishment of the devil?… or… maybe just an immaturity in the church!  I very rarely give the enemy credit where we ourselves are fully to blame.  Awesome Post Scott!!!!!!!

  • Not sure I’d categorize these as prophecy, per se. I just meant in the popular meaning of the word that what he said has actually happened.

    Shocking how he was right in so many different areas though. Perfect ingredients to destroy a society.

  • That really is amazing. Great video—thanks for passing it on.

  • Good post very powerful message in that video. It is very timely for the place America is in.

  • Rapha

    I find his list of things the Devil “would caution against” fascinating, particularly “patriotism.”  So … patriotic as in loyal to whatever country you happen to live in, or to America?  If the latter, then what if you’re Christian and Zambian, does the Devil want you to be anti-American or anti-Zambian?  Hypothetically, if you are convinced that the best future for America is through liberalism (political, not moral/theological) is it possible to be liberal and patriotic?  Socialist and patriotic?  Communist and patriotic?  What about those who are patriotic in their own eyes but disagree with Harvey’s political views, are they deceived by the Devil?  Would the Devil prefer them to agree with Harvey’s political views out of selfish reasons or disagree out of patriotic reasons?  Who determines the appropriate political views of the patriotic, anyway?  What the heck is “patriotism” supposed to mean?

    Also worth not skipping past is: why America is so key on the Devil’s plans in the first place when American Christians are often over-comfortable and nominal already, and the way Harvey seems to imply that de-stabilizing churches is a way of de-stabilizing the nation … as if destroying churches is simply the means of destroying the Devil’s real end prize: America.

    Strikes me as another case of conservative politics so intertwined with (often evangelical) Christianity that it becomes difficult to tell them apart, or which one is driving which.