Image by Patter Hill from Pixabay“If I were the devil,” said newscaster Paul Harvey in a 1965 radio broadcast, “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.” Harvey’s litany of devilment – of drugs, pornography, lurid novels and movies, pharmaceuticals, government-supported gambling, child abuse, drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors in schools – sounds surprisingly like today’s society, even though broadcast more than 50 years ago.

So how would the devil go about creating war among families, churches and nations? With a technique as old as mankind. A marriage, a nation, a people, or a religion can stand much stronger against attack if it is united than if it is at war with itself. So if you have an enemy, divide them and then conquer them.

While history is full of examples, the British were expert at divide and conquer, and used religious conflict to divide and rule India from 1608 to 1947, according to some accounts. “The creation and perpetuation of Hindu-Muslim antagonism was the most significant accomplishment of British imperial policy,” said Al Jazeera. “The colonial project of ‘divide et impera’ (divide and rule) fomented religious antagonisms to facilitate continued imperial rule.”

But how would the devil – or someone doing his work – create such division in the first place? Let’s start with a family, for instance.

A man covets another man’s wife, and so he says things to cause the husband and wife to distrust one another. To the husband, he might remark “who was that guy I saw your wife with the other night? It might not have been her at the restaurant, but it sure looked like her.” to the wife, he might say “I don’t know if we should be talking, I think your husband is suspicious of you around men.”

The husband, curious about what was said, asks the wife if she was with someone at a restaurant the other night. The wife remembers what the “friend” said about her husband being suspicious, and accuses her husband of not trusting her. He replies that he trusts her, he’s asking a simple question, why is she so angry if she didn’t do anything wrong? The wife and husband have an argument about trusting one another. Both are innocent, but the seeds of distrust have been sown – not by anything either have done, but by the malicious third party.

Once the seeds are planted by the hidden third party, ordinary disagreements the couple encounter will not resolve, but will build up over time, “helped along” by the third party. The “friend” continues to make casual remarks that inflame things, until finally, the couple separate, and the “friend” moves in to replace the husband – his purpose all along.

The “third-party law” was discovered by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. And while third-party meddling can perhaps be understood as something that happens on rare occasions, Hubbard asserts that it is not an isolated technique, but is found at the heart of every conflict.

“While it is commonly believed to take two to make a fight,” said Hubbard, “a third party must exist and must develop it for actual conflict to occur.”

So is it possible that third parties are creating and maintaining conflict even today on a large scale? A look at recent news would suggest they are. A recent story on CNBC, referencing a bipartisan Senate report, said the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) targeted African-American voters, attempting to divert votes away from Clinton in the 2016 election.

“No single group of Americans was targeted by IRA information operatives more than African Americans,” the report stated. “By far, race and related issues were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the country in 2016.”

And what about issues around religion? Is there a third party creating and inflaming those issues? One of the most contentious issues of late is the perceived clash of LGBTQ rights – to be given the same respect and rights as everyone else – vs. the right of people of faith to operate in accord with the teachings of their religion.

Perhaps these conflicts are orchestrated – deliberately fomented by hidden third parties to create division and animosity.

Also troubling is the continued conflict in the Middle East – Arab vs. Jew, Sunni Muslim vs. Shia Muslim, ISIS vs. seemingly the rest of the world, China vs. most religions, Science vs. religion, creationism vs. evolution, and on and on.

The issues, while important, seem to resist resolution, and in such cases, a question needs to be asked: Who would benefit from these conflicts? While conjecture may run wild, there is a technology of determining exactly who is the being or group at the root of a conflict.

“In marital quarrels,” said Hubbard, “the correct approach of anyone counseling is to get both parties to carefully search out the Third Party. They may come to many reasons at first. These reasons are not beings. One is looking for a Third Party, an actual being. When both find the third party and establish proof, that will be the end of the quarrel.”

Likewise, two groups or two nations in conflict, said Hubbard, “should each seek conference with the other to sift out and locate the actual third party. They will always find one if they look, and they can find the right one … There are no conflicts which cannot be resolved, unless the true promoters of them remain hidden.”

Unfortunately, conflict is addictive, like a drug it pulls people into its orbit, and in the clash of accusations, emotions and legal challenges, the actual cause is nearly always overlooked, even though if the hidden promoter is correctly spotted, the conflict will evaporate. As Paul Harvey states in his 1965 broadcast, media feeds on conflict, focuses on animosity, tragedy and horror while the hidden cause of the conflict moves about unsuspected, creating chaos.

People of good will attempt to resolve conflict, sort out issues and bring understanding and peace, and yet peace – in the presence of a third party – seems elusive, conflict inevitable. “I’d soon have families at war with themselves,” said Harvey, “churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves, until each, in its turn, was consumed.” With the Devil of hidden third-parties out of the details, people of good will could begin to resolve nearly any conflict using only the magic of communication and reason.