Q & R: Satan?

Here’s the Q:

… when you have a moment, would you bless me with some insight on the following passages in John where Jesus using the term “You are of your father, the devil” I believe he calls them children of satan. That’s something I struggle with. I am not sure I believe in Satan or The Devil in the traditional sense. I think I agree more with the Jewish version of the satan and have a hard time understanding it as an opposing force outside of God or against God in the form of a demigod. So those passages in John really mess with me. Would love to gain some insight.

Here’s the R:
Great question. I’ve addressed this question in various ways in Secret Message of Jesus, Everything Must Change, A New Kind of Christianity, and Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? It will also be addressed in my upcoming book, We Make the Road by Walking, which will be released on June 10.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Chapter 48:

Jesus told his followers to “count the cost.” He promised that those who walk his road would experience push-back, even persecution. And he often described that push-back as demonic or Satanic in nature. Some people today believe Satan and demons to be literal, objective realities. Others believe they are outmoded superstitions. Still others interpret Satan and demons as powerful and insightful images by which our ancestors sought to describe shadowy realities that are still at work today. In today’s terminology, we might call them social, political, structural, ideological, and psychological forces. These forces that take control of individuals, groups, and even whole civilizations, driving them toward destruction.
… Now, imagine a … spirit of racism, revenge, religious supremacy, nationalism, political partisanship, greed, or fear getting a foothold in a community. You can imagine previously decent people being possessed, controlled, and driven by these forces, mind-sets, or ideologies. Soon, individuals aren’t thinking or feeling for themselves anymore. They gradually allow the spirit of the group to possess them. If nobody can break out of this frenzy, it’s easy to imagine tragic outcomes: vandalism, riots, beatings, lynchings, gang rapes, house demolitions, plundered land, exploited or enslaved workers, terrorism, dictatorship, genocide. Bullets can fly, bombs explode, and death tolls soar—among people who seemed so decent, normal, and peace loving just minutes or months before.
You don’t need to believe in literal demons and devils to agree with Jesus and the apostles: there are real and mysterious forces in our world that must be confronted. But how?

I hope that gives you some room to think about what Satan might represent – in the pages of the Bible, and in the world of today.