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The Devil's Gonna Getcha! - Page 2

post #21 of 60
One way of looking at evil, without going into a black/white, good/bad, god/devil thing (look at life, see it's mostly grey areas, after all): life is messy. Life feeds on life. Humans eat meat and living plants, animals eat each other. We all fight for our hunting and feeding gounds. Men have lots of testosterone, and will fight over who is superior, who has more stuff, who gets the women. And whose god is the best! Life is messy, and only humans have to insist this or that is good, or evil. Animals kill too, but it's all about survival for them, and really it comes down to that for us too.

As far as works vs faith getting you into heaven, look honestly at your bibles. They have it both ways, sometimes you only have to follow the commandments (Jesus himself said that), sometimes you just have to say the magic words. ( I can't take anything Paul says seriously, sorry. He is so crabby and un-Jesus like. He says the effeminate won't get into heaven! Yet he was celibate. Hmmm..).

Jesus also said he came to save the lost sheep of Israel, not the Gentiles. But when the Jews rejected him and killed him and he came back, he decided to go for the Gentiles!

The commandments say to honor your parents, then Jesus says to hate them (and your siblings) and only love him. He didn't bring peace, but a sword, and that's the truth. So many innocent people have been killed over this religion, and it's various interpretations.

Please check out the Biblical Errancy website, and keep your thinking caps on. Does having faith mean sacrificing your rational faculties?

post #22 of 60
Whatever direction this thread takes next, I think an us vs them attitude is counterproductive. These religions are not in opposition to each other. To act as if they are is to cut off chances to learn from each other.

I asked a question because someone's statements made no sense To Me. If they make sense to That Person, that's fine with me.

I read what she had to say. I disagree, but that's what freedom of religion is all about. If I agreed with that perspective I'd be Christian of that denomination. If those posters agreed with my perspective they'd be practicing Celtic and Goddess religions.

The only thing I really object to that I've seen in this thread is the implication that if a person is not following a particular religion that they are by default following that religion's Devil. Ummm NO, that's a false dicotomy. There are Way more than the two options.

Believe whatever, but state the belief as Belief, not as Fact. Remember that not everyone defines the world the way you do--and I'll do the same.
post #23 of 60
I certainly believe in the devil. Jesus himself was face to face with the devil in the wilderness and had to choose not to fall to his temptation. I believe he is responsible for temptation in the world. hier wasno sin or death untill satan butted in and told Eve she really did want the freaken forbiddin fruit and alas because of Satan putting those thoughts in her mind sin entered the hearts of people and now we have to struggle daily to fight it off.

Horns, hoves, pitchfork, and red suit. Who knows? Someones over active imagination or perhaps a tale from another religion where some bad guy looks like that. (not so far fetched when you consider people believe Jesus has fair skin and blue eyes : ) Anyway if satan was that obvious and hideous no one would have trouble resisting that so I would have to say IMHO he must blend a little better than that.
post #24 of 60

I take your point and agree everyone has to come to god in his or her own way. Or just reject the idea of god(s) altogether.

But people can change. I did. I was raised a fundamentalist Lutheran, but as soon as my indoctrination was over (at confirmation) and I was freed to pursue my own truth, I began to find out, surprise! Christianity isn't the only religion in the world! The devil doesn't live in the Catholic church (as the kids would whisper). Anti-Semitism exists. Christianity isn't the world's most prevalent religion. Witches arent' green with warts. Buddhism is a kind and gentle religion. Hindus believe in maya. Joseph Campbell is a genius. The Wiccan godhead is both male and female. What we call Greek myth was actually a religion. Christianity shares archetypes with ancient Egyptian and Mithran religion. Etc.

I think many Christians are Christians b/c they know no other way. Not b/c they have really studied other religions. They may be afraid to, b/c their pastors tell them other religions are all of the devil (or myths), and not worth their time of day. And fundamentalists affect my life. They have lots of money, they are on school boards, they vote, they have TV shows, their pastors say a christian prayer at the opening of the Senate.

If Jehovah's Witnesses and others can proselytize, why can't those of other faiths sometimes educate others too? Now that there are so many immigrants coming into the country with their various faiths: Shinto, Hindu or Krishna Consciousness, Buddhist, Muslim, Haitian voodoo (sorry, voodoo isn't the real name), the religions of the peoples of Africa, (not to mention Native American beliefs which have really been stifled), isn't it time for some real religious tolerance? While id-ing as pagan, I feel free to borrow concepts from all religions. Yes, there is goodness and wisdom in the Bible, but it is not the only source of same. And IMO, it is chauvinistic to believe so.

If I seem angry, I guess I am. I was damaged and terrorized in my tender youth by the fear of God, the Devil and a lake of everlasting fire. I shivered in my little white sox. And God telling his follower to sacrifice his son really scared me too!

Not that I'm going to go door to door. I just assume people like to learn, and this is a pretty non-invasive way. they don't have to read this to the end.

but thanks if anyone did! Blessed be...
post #25 of 60
Just want to say THANK YOU to DaryLLL!!

I have learned more from your two posts here than I've learned in the last six months!

I, too, was scared to be alive b/c of my Xian upbringing and have enjoyed about 10 years of liberation from those chains of fear but have a long way to go before I am thankful for life as it truly is.

Please continue to post for those, like me, who find tremendous learning from your wisdom.

My empathies for your Luthern upbringing, scare tactics and all.

post #26 of 60
DaryLLL, I agree with sharing and educating 100%.

I was just trying to defuse the potential oppositional feelings I was starting to see. I have to remember these things too.

I was raised Catholic, but our school took a field trip to the local synagogue and did Passover Seders. So, while it wasn't too far afield spiritually, I did grow up with a sense that there are other beliefs and that they are just as legit as my own.

I learned so much more in college and after! and continue to do so online and in books and in my own thinking things out for myself. and my thoughts in that last post weren't directed at you.

If I seem angry, I guess I am. I was damaged and terrorized in my tender youth by the fear of God, the Devil and a lake of everlasting fire. I shivered in my little white sox. And God telling his follower to sacrifice his son really scared me too!
I hear you. I agree that fear is a poor basis for a faith and a poor teaching method. I hope you can get past this level to seeing the validity in all faiths as well. edited to add: I have the same hope for the Christians I've seen here and elsewhere and in RL expressing fear or distaste or disrespect(as in equating them with the Christian devil) for other religions.

A really good book for both sides of this artificial divide to read is Pagans & Christians by gus De Zerega.

When I was watching Frontline's Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero I was struck by much of what Rabbi Hirschfeld had to say. One of his points was that all religions have a shadow side and if that is not acknowledged then that shadow side will destroy that religion and the rest of us.

Now, Wicca (and Feminist Goddess religion) being young religions don't have the same traditions that support that shadowside that the Abrahamic faiths have, but the potential Is there. A few years ago Green Egg ran an article in which the author discussed her experience with a Wiccan couple who had a "chosen people" philosophy within their Wiccan beliefs. "How lucky we are to have been chosen by the Goddess." shudder

The exclusivist thinking is something we ALL have to watch out for. It's that attitude that leads to atrocities.

It's been my experience that Good people find the strength within themselves to do Good and find support for that from their particular religion. It's been equally my experience that bad people, or people who choose to do bad things, find support for their badness withing their religion. Someone else said it more succinctly, but I can't find the exact quote.
post #27 of 60

The devil: (As archetype: a not-specifically-christian-religious-figure): I think it is a pretty potent archetype. I could go on & on about that. As a member of a 12 step recovery group, I really *feel it* when someone shares about the disease of addiction as "the devil." It is like the devil card in tarot. It is an aglomeration (is that a word?) of fears & disempowerment. Is anyone getting what I'm saying, cause I'm not putting it that well. I think we can all feel the personality of the devil in our lives when we "give in" to something that our higher nature does not chose for us, when we act out of habit or resignation.

evil: (as philosophical? concept.) where do the horrors of life come from? why do we (humanity) do such things to ourselves & each other? does evil sit in all of us or in certain people? Is evil a natural force that must exist to balance goodness? yin/yang style? Or can evil be cordoned off & controlled, kept @ bay? no answers here folks, just questions. is it the uncertain terror evil brings us the force that drives us to "make sense" of it by creating a spirit being to blame for it?

Satan: (as theology, a religious figure in Christianity): I think an earlier post summarized the story of the much loved & talented angel who wanted to fly too high & be god himself. Moral of the story: be grateful for what you have, & don't be your own divinity, you will be the enemy & the villian if you do. Satan suffers the ultimate banishment for daring to say what pagans believe: I am God. Satan, like Eve, attempts to blow the lid off the scam & say, we are all beings of light, each & everyone.
off topic, but does anyone think this little dilemna is behind the antagonism between Christian & Pagan belief systems & the reason why paganism (ie: immanence, the divine is everywhere & in everything, including the self) is so villified by Christianity (ie: emmanence, the divine is held apart from all creation & seated in one unknowable being- that *is*not*you*)

thanks for another rockin spirituality discussion!
blessing, maria
post #28 of 60
Interesting questions Maria!

My first thought is that evil is needed in order for us to truly know what Good is, along the lines of the need for dark in order to know light. Each helps define the other. Frankly I think I could figure out Good with a whole lot less evil to stand in contrast, but I'm being trite now.

Satan suffers the ultimate banishment for daring to say what pagans believe: I am God. Satan, like Eve, attempts to blow the lid off the scam & say, we are all beings of light, each & everyone.
????I've heard the phrase "Thou art God." but it is not meant to mean that the person so addressed is literally The God the way Christianity usually understands "God". It's a recognition of the spark of Divinity that resides in all people. I've read that the Hindu greeting Namaste means the same thing: "I recognize the Divine within you."

off topic, but does anyone think this little dilemna is behind the antagonism between Christian & Pagan belief systems & the reason why paganism (ie: immanence, the divine is everywhere & in everything, including the self) is so villified by Christianity (ie: emmanence, the divine is held apart from all creation & seated in one unknowable being- that *is*not*you*)
There is a tradition/perspective within Christianity that also sees God/The Divine as being within all persons and all of Creation. I was in high school and college before being exposed to such concepts in the adult discussion groups at church, but immanense is not Only a Pagan concept.

There are also Pagans/Neo-Pagans who view the Divine as transcendent rather than immanent. That is a legit perspective within these groups along side the immanent view of Divinity.

Soooooo, while I can see how this is part of the antagonism, I think it's sad that we can't see past our own particular views to recognize what our traditions do hold in common, the things we can agree on.

To phrase it relevently for this website: Are we not all breastfeeding moms, supportive of breastfeeding, practicing various degrees of attachment parenting or at least being as loving of our children as possible?????

The Christian mommas here draw inspiration for parenting this way from their religious beliefs. The Pagan mommas here draw inspiration for parenting this way from their religious beliefs.

Now, both perspectives are leading to the same parenting style...

Why should we waste our time with antagonism????
post #29 of 60
I have read the other "lost" books of the Bible and it has had no impact on my faith. I have also looked into other religions and while I am aware and understand their beliefs yet I still chose Christianity. WHY??? Because of my love for Christ. Not any fear of burning fires or little red guys poking me with sticks. While I feel it is important to be educated about the Bible I do not feel that many of its opponents are very accurate in their assesments.

As for Lucifer, which is actually the topic of this thread, yes I do believe in the existance of satan.

Paul did have his good points, he made most of the anti-circ comments that are in the Bible and he was the first to allow women in evangelistic roles

As for the antagonism, well I really think a lot of that comes from the whole "I am right you are wrong" thing. Or even worse "I am righteous, you are going to hell" thing. Coming from the Bible belt it can get pretty bad. But the Bible speaks against fanatism and passing judgement.

I have quite a few friends who are pagan, and many of them were turned off of Christianity for that very thing. Very sad.
post #30 of 60
Thanks for your kind words, livinluvin.

For those who have investigated other religions and prefer Christianity anyway, perhaps you are a cafeteria christian? Take what you like and leave the rest? Fundies have to accept every word as coming directly from God, but liberals can take the nice stuff and ignore the rest.

Such as, when Lot's daughters got him drunk and raped him, b/c they just had to be pregnant and since they were hiding in a remote cave, couldn't get husbands. Of course they conceived and of course, with sons.

Such as, when God got mad at all humankind and drowned everybody in a flood, even all animals and plants. What did he have against those innocent animals and plants, just minding their own beeswax?

Such as when God ordered or caused the deaths of thousands of children, b/c they were the children of the enemies of the Jews. Not to mention the "taking of" their women. In other words, God approved of rape.

Such as when, in Genesis, the sons of the gods (yes, gods plural)mated with the daughters of men and started a race of giants on the earth. Hello?

Such as when Satan tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit in the Garden, telling her it would not kill her, and he was right? And God was wrong. Adam went on to live for hundreds of years. Of course, we don't know how long Eve lived, b/c, of course, women don't count in the Bible. If you think Adam died spiritually, not physically, that is not what God said would happen. He said Adam would die instantly.

Yes, we can take all these as charming myths with underlying spiritual meaning, not as literal truth. But then you go down a slippery slope, as Jesus himself seemed to believe in these (and/or other "myths") literally, and if he was God, he should know! His claim is he was directly descended from Adam, physically, and there are (well, flawed and contradictory) geneologies to prove it.

Did he really talk to a physical manifestation of Satan? Do liberal Christians believe that?

I like Wicca for many reasons, one important one being, there is no holy book. I have heard covens often write their own Books of Shadows, or journals of rituals and celebrations they have had. It is more personal, and seems healthy, like Oprah's journaling reccomendations.

When you have a religion with thousands of absolute pronouncements, and then the pronouncements contradict each other continually, it is a recipe for disaster. I couldn't live with that. In fact, I started pointing out contradictions to my pastor at the tender age of 12, and he got really mad, had no answer except blind acceptance, and threatened not to confirm me, if I continued to upset the catechism class!

post #31 of 60
Dary, my family was 'invited to leave' three Xian churches simply b/c I asked questions! My 'faith was weak' and I was 'in rebellion', among other things. I was also a 'Jezebel' and called many other Biblical mean words.

There certainly are a ton of mean things to say to people from Bible verses; I know that first hand! :-D Especially from the non-peacemaker Jesus. His words are some of the harshest, cruelest things I've ever read. But then, he didn't claim to be a peacemaker.

Anyway, I believe in everyone's right to follow whomever and love whomever they wish. If someone wants to follow and love X(christ), that's fine. But so often, I've found that those same lovers of X do not take him for his complete life. Meaning, they cherry pick out the words and examples they find meaningful (a la the cafeteria style of spirituality) and ditch/ignore the rest.

Which is a major disservice to whatever deity one subscribes!!

I think that one should either know the sacred text of their religion EXTREMELY WELL, in it's entirety, or not be a professed follower at all. If one claims that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then know it back and forth and reconcile the immense contradictions inherent in that flawless, God-inspired 'holy' book.

I just don't think it's enough to say 'God is Love', therefore, I love God'. One really needs to know of whom they love before ever claiming such allegiance.

Original Sin is a concept that serves a socioeconomic service quite well and has been employed to oppress people for some time. If one is born bad and can only be redeemed via 'the blood of X', then anyone outside that relationship is damned, any which way you cut it.

And of course, there is the Xian Tradition and then there is the Biblical texts. Many self-proclaimed Xians are well versed (pun intended) in the Xian Tradition but do not know they sacred text very well at all. Or know just a few key verses to go out and 'witness' with a colored book (black for 'sin', red for X's blood, white for 'sins washed away', gold for Heaven's streets, etc.)

I had to laugh at the idea of 'unoriginal sin'. Indeed! As Solomon is alleged to say, there is nothing new under the sun.
post #32 of 60
Since when is it okay to spew prejudice on these boards and make unfounded assumptions about entire groups of people? Since when is it acceptable to trash others' beliefs, culture, and tradition? Believe what you want to believe but please refrain from attacks on other faiths.

It's called TOLERANCE.

post #33 of 60
post #34 of 60
I would appreciate it if we could keep on track here. This thread is about whether or not you believe in the devil. It is not about what faith you are and why. It can be difficult to seperate the two, I know, but we should at least try. I'm hoping this can be a civil thread.

Thanks in advance everyone!
post #35 of 60
Thanks Meiri. You illustrated exactly how I feel when a thread that was originally supposed to be about divierse views of the devil/evil turned into a hate-fest directed against CHristians and Christianity.

Words like "mean," "cruel," "chauvinistic," "absurd," and "silly" are simply not appropriate when discussing other peoples' faiths. Nor are condescending admonitions to "Look honestly at your Bibles" and "keep your thinking caps on." To make sweeping generalizations that all believers in a particular religion are sheeple and can't do any better because they simply "know no ther way" is extremely disrespectful and brimming with contempt.

Just imagine how a person of, say, the Hindu faith would feel if someone came into the Spirituality forum ridiculing Hinduism. Would you EVER write something like, "I find it ridiculous to pray to blue elephants and 8-legged idols....people in India must be really stupid to buy that crap, must be because they've never been exposed to rational thought..." No! That would be not only disrespectful and intolerant but also would display a very superficial understanding of the religion and would not give a person credit for having a mind. All I am asking is that people extend the same courtesy to Chrisians as is extended to the members of the other minority faiths here--like Islam and Hinduism.

post #36 of 60
Sorry, Ekblad! I was typing as you were posting your admonition to keep on track.

As far as I'm concerned the matter has been laid to rest.

Back to Satan....
post #37 of 60
In case anyone is interested, these are helpful, scholarly sites for learning more about biblical problems

Biblical Errancy

Skeptic's Annotated Bible
post #38 of 60
It seems we have opened a can of worms. I have said repeatedly, as has Meiri, that people have every right to believe in whatever is their choice. Sorry about the links I just posted. I posted that before I read the latest posts.

If I find christianity to be "mean and scary", and others have been equally traumatized, well, that is just our exp.

Sorry to have gone OT.

My main complaint with Christianity is it's exclusivity (God's Chosen People), and all the fear mongering I read in the Bible, threats of hellfire for those who don't believe, and that ties back in to the original thread.
post #39 of 60
Christians do not believe that they are God's Chosen People, they believe the Jews are God's Chosen.

While everyone knows the story of how he appeared as a snake in Genesis, I do not think the Bible is specific on whether or not Lucifer took Physical form during the temptations of Christ. It states he came to him but does not say whether or not he took form.
post #40 of 60
Let me preface this by saying that no, I do not believe in the devil, at least in the way that I was taught as a child.

I think that regardless of our particular spiritual beliefs, many of us feel that the threat of the devil was used to manipulate us in the past. It is one thing to believe in the existence of the devil--quite another to put great fear into children. I had an uncle who came back from a missions trip full of tales of demon-possessed children. Anytime I had questions about religion (such as, "Will my friend who goes to church X go to Heaven, too?") I was warned that the devil was planting these thoughts in my head. Now, I think that questioning religion is important part of spirituality, but back then I felt terrified and powerless. About this time, I became irrationally afraid of the dark and would chant hymns to overcome my fear. It was too much for a five-year-old.

I would never suggest that a belief in the devil is somehow inferior or vice versa, but I do think that some caution should be used when presenting the concept, especially to children.

I couldn't feel at peace spiritually in a religion that includes the devil, but we all find peace in different places.
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