George Pitcher is an Anglican priest who is also a journalist for London’s Daily Telegraph. He seems to be a pretty typical liberal sort of Anglican. He writes here about a fellow vicar who is upset because he thinks there is devil worship going on in his parish.

There was certainly a witches coven in the town where I worked as an Anglican priest, and England has always had a reputation for a lot of occult activity. The witches were not a laughing matter. They took their worship seriously, and when you heard what they were up to it made you shudder. While not becoming hysterical or silly about it, at the same time I would take such stuff very seriously. In that town I had direct experience of a teenaged girl who became infested with an evil spirit after messing about with the witches.

However Rev George pooh poohs the whole thing and makes fun of such an outmoded idea as devils and demons. He waxes pseudo intellectual about ‘dualism’ and ‘Miltonesque battles between Satan and God, supposing that if one believes in the devil and the battles against evil that one has to be dualist. He also ridicules the idea that the crucifixion was a victory over Satan. Never mind all that stuff in the New Testament… Instead of the devil, George tells us that, “Evil is the absence of the divine in humanity, made potent by the power of human imagination gone wrong.”

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up! It sounds just like that wonderful modernist bishop on the bus in C.S.Lewis’ Great Divorce. “Really, my boy, one can’t honestly conceive nowadays of a ‘god’ who is somehow ‘up there’ and a devil who is some sort of smiling fellow in red long johns with a pitchfork who is ‘down here.’ I mean to say, we now understand that all of this is really a projection of the conflict that goes on within all of our minds when we want something and realize we can’t have it….”blah blah blah.

I think The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington was at theological college with George Pitcher. They used to play croquet on the lawn and make googly eyes at the principal’s daughter. George used to take Humph  for a ride in his Morris minor estate out to a country pub where they’d have a half pint of lager shandy, eat a pickled egg and discuss the cricket scores and agree on how awfully brilliant Bultmann was.