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The Devil's Gonna Getcha!

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I guess this thread goes in the spirituality forum. I was wondering what everyone's beliefs are concering the devil, Satan, Lucifer whatever you wanna call him/it. Do you believe the devil exists? To me, (and pardon me if I step on anyone's toes) that the notion of a devil living below the hard earth waiting and creating chances to lure ppl in temptation is almost silly. I can understand the belief that there is evil in this world and that we must be careful of it but is the idea of there being character who instigates this still prevalent? I really don't know. Spirituality matters are not ones I talk about in my everyday life. I don't attend any type of church or group that talks about spiritual matters.

Personally I believe that people are the ones that we must look out for. They are the ones that hold the capacity to do wrong. Part of the reason I love this site is cuz of the plethora of differing views here especially ones I have never heard before so...Post away I want to hear all--Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Muslim etc etc beliefs on "the devil".

Kylix
post #2 of 60
I am (garden variety) Pagan. I don't believe in a "devil" or Satan character. (ironic that many folks associate Paganism with Satanic worship when most Pagans don't believe in Satan at all) I don't know, I just believe that good and evil reside in us all and it is our choice how we use it.
post #3 of 60
me too, what Khris said. I don't believe in the devil, I think it was made up by the church to keep people in line.
post #4 of 60
Hindus don't believe in the devil. They do believe in manifestations of evil in demons in some of the stories but even they are personifications of concepts, rather than actual beings. Some of them are also actual historical figures such as ancient kings or conquerors who have been made into demons or devils over the course of history-telling. Some Hindus do literally believe in demons but the ones who have studied their scriptures usually don't.

"That which appears as cold or as hot, fresh or spoiled, good fortune and bad, love and hate, effort and laziness, the exalted and the depraved, the rich and the poor, the well-founded and the ill-founded, all this is God Himself; none other than Him can we know."
--Agamas

And from the book Dancing With Siva by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami:

"Hell, termed Naraka, is the lower astral realm of the seven chakras below the muladhara. It is a place of fire and heat, anguish and dismay, of confusion, despair and depression. Here anger, jealousy, argument, mental conflict and tormenting moods plague the mind. Access to hell is brought about by our own thoughts, words, deeds and emotions--suppressed, antagonistic feelings that court demons and their aggressive forces. Hell is not eternal. Nor is there a Satan who tempts man and opposes God's power, though there are devilish beings called asuras, immature souls caught in the abyss of deception and hurtfulness. "

Darshani
post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
I had heard that most Pagans don't believe in a devil figure. It IS ironic that people think that Pagans are devil worshippers in light of this fact.

Kylix
post #6 of 60
Isn't it, Kylix? I don't believe in the devil.
post #7 of 60
<As Gossamer dons her flame retardant body suit>
I do believe in the Devil and Satan. I believe that even if you don't worship the Devil, you can be influenced by the Devil to commit evil deeds if you are not purposeful in your worship. As a Christian, for me that means if I am not purposeful in my worship of Christ, I can be influenced and distracted by Satan to commit deeds that are maybe not evil but definately not the will of God. Does that make sense?
post #8 of 60

Makes sense to me Gossamer!
I am also a christian. I do believe that the devil exists. But he can not make you do evil things. God has created us all with free will to choose which path we will follow!!!!
post #9 of 60
I do believe in the devil, not a red fiery guy with horns and a pitchfork but a strong, smart, attractive angel. "The father of lies and a murderer from the beginning."
post #10 of 60
Pagan checking in. I do not believe in the devil. I imagine god as a male/female entity. All things, "good" and "bad", come from god.

I think Christianity is a warlike, kind of scary and mean religion with thousands of inconsistencies, absurdities, cruelties and contradictions in its holy book. In fact, as I read it, I see that "God" comes off much worse in the Bible than the "Devil!" I have heard it said, if you believe in the devil, you may think he wrote the bible to put god in a bad light!

The bible once consisted of many more books. Church fathers, at one point decided what to leave in, what to take out. I just discovered, for ex, the Infancy of Jesus, by Thomas. Wherein Jesus strikes his playmates dead and blinds their parents. Obviously, that was not a pc book!

Ezekiel and Revelations are wacky! God tells Ezekiel to eat human dung!

Back to the devil.

The devil was depicted as a fallen angel in the Bible. Lucifer means Being of Light. Nowhere was he depicted as red, with horns, cloven hoofs and a pointy tail. And a snazzy goatee! The early church fathers borrowed the idea of a being like that from the horned god of the Old Religion, called Wicca. The horned god is the male energy of god (one of his incarnations), associated with the creative energy of a ram or stag, his horns also representing the points of a plow for the field.

Worship of the golden calf was depicted as an abomination in the Bible, but was in fact, the early and already ancient religion of the earth, which made sense for hunter/gatherers and farmers. Judaism was a religion appropriate for those Jewish wanderers, and had/has a war-god, perfect for smiting the Jew's enemies.

The idea of Christ as Messiah is controversial, and it is hard to equate the god of the Old Testament, with the Christ of the New.

I don't mean to disrespect anyones' beliefs. Everyone comes to god in their own way. Or, rejects the idea altogether and becomes an atheist. Diversity is healthy.

For a rational and skeptical view of the bible, see the Biblical Errancy website, by Dennis McKinsey.
post #11 of 60
If one believes that we are more than flesh and blood, then the spiritual rhelm becomes a reality. It is simplistic to say there is only good and evil fighting each other in the spiritual rhelm, although, it is often discribed thus with angels portraied as sweet children and satan as the red suited mischif maker. It makes for good t.v. I suppose.

Yet, if one can look beyon one's self and the physical rhelm, there is much to experience and learn. Surely there are forces at work in the world that are beyon our limited ability to see and understand.

For now I see in part, through a darkly colored glass....
post #12 of 60
Muslim in residence checking in.

I believe in Satan--he is not a powerful maker of all things evil, because all things, good and bad, come from God. Satan's "power" consists of "whispering" in our ears--you're not good enough, you're better than other people, go ahead, it won't hurt anyone, etc...I suppose, in essence, I see his role as more a test for people than anything else--since, when we take action against the whispering, it becomes powerless.

I also realize that Holy books have dual (and then some) meanings--literal and metaphor. They can appeal to people with many levels of understanding, to bring out the best of all. Kind of like Darshani's points about Hindusim. I think it is best and healthies for me to look at Scriptures with the eye and mind of a Lit student. Looking for the lessons, so to speak.

I think, if we can look at some of Satan's story as metaphor, we can learn from it. He was an angel, created of light. What great potential for good--but, when focused on doing bad--well, what a waste of potential good. How many times have I seen myself repeat that story...? Muslims refer to satan as Shaitan ar-Rajim, the Rejected. Cast out. The saddest part is that it was a choice he made.
post #13 of 60
I see that humans, through their choices and actions, bring evil into the world. I also see that humans, through their choices and actions, bring great love and beauty into the world too.

I don't see that an outside, transendent personification of evil is necessary to explain any evils in this world, but hey if that helps a person to cope with and find the strength to do good, then whatever works! My only problem with that is when it is projected onto others who do not share that belief.

The current Christian image of the Devil comes from many sources. Lucifer, the light-bringer, I think came from roman mythology??? The horned and hoofed image came from Pan, a Greek deity and also from the Northern European/Celtic Green Man images. Basically Christianity drew from the cultures it spread to to create the image.

Christianity did not in any way, shape or form draw from any Wiccan concepts for their devil because Wicca as such originated with Gerald Gardner back in the 1950's. The Christian image of the devil obviously is much older than that. {I recommend reading Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon if you want to see the historical roots of Wicca rather than the mythological}

There was no ONE early and ancient religion predating Judaism. Every culture and society had its own religion, and while there were similarities across many there was not a cohesive all-one faith with different names for the same Gods/Goddesses. Hunter-Gatherer cultures have a much different understanding of the Divine than agricultural cultures will.

In fact, the deeper I delve into this, the less I would say that these cultures would have considered their faiths to be "earth-based". To them(Celts, since that's what I'm studying) their religion had to do with their society and proper relationships within that society and with the Gods. Included within that proper relationship was the proper, respectful use of natural resources. Springs and streams and various locations were sacred, but the Gods(transendent individual beings generally) were the focus.

Now modern understandings are often different, and are just as valid, but that doesn't change the historical record. Let's own the modern as modern and study the history that really Was.
post #14 of 60
Meiri--

Thanks for bringing even more specifics to a point I was generally trying to make!

I've only been id-ing myself as a pagan for about 2-3 yrs. Before was more of a Buddhist/Hindu, New Age sort of gal, but now find I like the earthiness of "paganism." My teen daughter has turned me on to lots of books and websites.

Still got lots of reading and living to do. Will never get all it accomplished in this lifetime. Good thing I've got more lifetimes! ;-)

best wishes
post #15 of 60
The greatest trick the devil ever played was having us believe he didn't exist.

I'm not talking about the horned demon. According to the bible which i believe and some hold in contention, he was an angel , and he was the most beautiful angel who led the choral in heaven. He had the most beautiful voice. He was closest to god. And yet it was not enough for him and he though to rise above him... And so he was banished.

I think he still is real in his most beautiful way, and just as I think god manifests himself in a mostly spiritual way i think that the devil does as well. I think he uses the beauty of his mind to change peoples hearts, but in a way contrary to what god desires, and the worst part is that many people believe that they are dong what is just and right. I think he shows you the beauty that is not light, but because it is beautiful people think it is.

That is what i think and the hardest part is that i believe that God still loves him and wishes he is not what he is.

Dyan
post #16 of 60
I believe there's a Devil.

W-a-y too much evil in this world to deny his existance.

Debra Baker
post #17 of 60
Quote:
W-a-y too much evil in this world to deny his existance.
So people are not responsible for their decisions to commit evil acts?

Your belief puzzles me, and would have even back when I was Christian. I never got the bit about people crediting God for any benefit they recieved or good they accomplished and crediting their Devil with any evil done in the world.

Do we or do we not have Free Will?

If God is responsible for all the good(the correlary to the Devil being responsible of all the evil), then where does that leave Free Will?

And if the Devil is responsible for all of the evil, why the threat of Hell for those who commit evil acts? Why should they be punished for something the Devil made them do?

Why the promise of Heaven for those who do good? Why should they be rewarded for God's doings?
post #18 of 60
Quote: "So people are not responsible for their decisions to commit evil acts?"
Oh, we are absolutely responsible for our evil acts. If a demon tempts us to do something wrong, we absolutely have free will and can refuse to give in. And certainly not all temptations come from demons or the devil--most come from within our own hearts. But sometimes there occur such evil events that are so widespread that I have to believe the devil is behind it, deceiving people. The Holocaust, for example, or the genocide in Rwanda. Or slavery or abortion. These are instances in which entire peoples are committing terrible, unnatural atrocities against their fellow humans. There is a spiritual dimension to these things. Obviously, the people involved in them were not all, every last one of them, evil to the core. The battle is not against flesh and blood (individuals) but against the powers of darkness that are far greater than the human heart.

Quote: "Why the promise of Heaven for those who do good? Why should they be rewarded for God's doings?"
This is not exactly the point...You are right on that there is no sense in being "rewarded" for doing what we were supposed to be doing all along, or for carrying out that which God himself chose to do through us. But good works don't get you into heaven. Only faith in Christ's redemptive work on the cross can do that.
post #19 of 60
Faith versus Works is a whole 'nother discussion! and I don't think I want to go there tonight(especially since it's irrelevent to me)

Like I've said before, whatever helps someone make sense of the world.
post #20 of 60

YOU GO SUPER PICKLE!
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