In 1965, Paul Harvey broadcasted, “If I Were The Devil” (Click to hear audio). That’s 49 years ago, if you were counting. At that time much of what he said seemed laughable for being so extreme. Edited over the years, below, I've posted his 1996 version. Still that's 18 years ago. Read it, and see if it makes you laugh or cry now. And ask yourself based on how our nation has morally crumbled in the last half century, “where will we be in the next 50 or 20 years, or if we will even survive at all?” Here's what he said . . .
If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of it’s 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 vice versa. I’d pedal 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 that 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 intellects, 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 symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
“If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I could get whole states to promote gambling as thee way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work, in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the 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’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing.
Paul Harvey, good day.”
None of this is a prophecy. It was all occurring in the United States long before Paul Harvey. And if he really wanted incite on how to destroy an empire, he could've just studied the fall of Rome. First off, God has been challenged since the beginning, even stated in your Bible. The issue of "bad" and "good" has also always been up for debate, obviously. We still argue over morality and ethics, nothing new here. TV and movies will become violent or overly sexual? As you could see if you researched any historical society, humans have always had an appetite for sex and destruction, i.e. gladiators, blood-sports involving dogs, chickens, bulls etc. Pornography has been traced all the way back to 16th century Rome. Sex and violence are in our nature.
Drugs were huge at the time of this recording, the middle of Vietnam. Opiates such as heroin and marijuana were at a record high in American history. In the 1960’s the use of dogs in law enforcement took a foothold in the United States. Now they are considered a part of the police force, and in many departments they even have their own badges. And while drugs were popular among youth, of course he would see this being a problem with schools.
He then goes on to say how religious leaders and politicians would lose their "morals" which would begin to remove religion from commonplace. This has happened repeatedly throughout history as we have seen religions arrive and disappear. Such is the case in the year 312 AD. Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly had a vision of the sign of Christ in a dream after a great battle. After which he dropped his worship of Sol Invictus, the Sun God, and took on support of Christianity with some zeal. He declared that his victory was owed to the god of the Christians and set about adopting an imperial policy to advance its cause. Some claims have been made that Constantine 'converted to Christianity simply for political means, and that justifiably may have played a part. Arguments have been made that Constantine was baptized years after the fact, just before his death, as a political tool to aid the accession of his sons. Christianity has been challenged throughout history such as during the Age of Enlightenment in 17th century England, which was a movement that challenged tradition and faith by the means of scientific method and reason. He then mentions Easter becoming more of a holiday surrounded by the Easter egg. The Easter egg was officially adopted by the Roman Catholic Church as a custom, regarding the eggs as a symbol of the resurrection. The Christian adaptation of decorating eggs can be traced as far back as the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood shed at Christ's crucifixion.
He then goes on to talk about the government taking from the rich to give to the poor and essentially destroying the ambition to work hard. The social security system and the welfare system were created in 1935 under President Roosevelt. These programs, even if abused, still stimulate the economy. These citizens using these programs put the money right back into the economy from the bottom. If these recipients did not have this problem, we could definitely guarantee a rise in crime. Take your pick.. Obviously entrepreneurship is still alive and well, even though we may be in a recession which is a common in a capitalist society as we have waves of prosperity which lead to recession, then to depression, and then back to recovery. These are simple economic cycles because we cannot assume an everlasting prosperity. Depression has been removed from the cycle in America because of these programs created in 1935.
He then places blame on gambling which came to America with the first colonists. Colonists established lotteries to expand colonization with the profits. Lastly, he then goes on to "foresee" the fall of marriage in America. Is this really something we need to look into? Marriage was long abused by Kings and Queens especially in renaissance Italy. Marriage was a predetermined business venture. Not based on life long love and commitment. Even the pope abused marriage and distorted morals and biblical passages at their convenience. Disease and STD's have been around as long as sex has existed. All of his "insight" isn't necessarily insightful if you have some historical knowledge and a common sense since none of this is new.
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