“At this point of her research, Pagels had an epiphany, she said: The concept of Satan emerges when communities split. Radical groups want a clean break between themselves and their enemies, and so they describe their enemies as Satan, as devils who will one day face God’s wrath.

Turning an enemy into Satan is useful, she added. It suggests that “our opponents are not just people we disagree with — they’re bad. You can’t negotiate with them. You can’t do anything with them, because they’re essentially evil.”- Read the rest of this fascinating article here