Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-20 10:46am

[Answering the OP] I used to believe in the Devil's existence, then I stopped, and now I've started once more, and more firmly than before. I don't believe the devil is directly responsible for the sins of men. He's there to play the source of great temptation, but in the end the evil that men do is their own fault and they are held accountable.

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by TithonusSyndrome » 2008-10-20 11:35am

I know a lot of people who do believe in a supernatural force of supreme evil, mostly because they so deeply lack a sense of personal identity that they see no other recourse but to emulate that of certain musicians they admire. :wanker: I enjoy making them squirm more than fundies, but less than woo-woos.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Surlethe » 2008-10-20 10:52pm

What is a "spirit", anyway? How can I know one is there? If I can never know that a spirit of evil is there, then what is the point in thinking there is one?
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by General Zod » 2008-10-20 10:55pm

Surlethe wrote:What is a "spirit", anyway? How can I know one is there? If I can never know that a spirit of evil is there, then what is the point in thinking there is one?
Go to a liquor store sometime; you know that bottle that says tequila on it? Yep, that's your spirit of evil right there.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Stark » 2008-10-20 10:56pm

Even putting aside the nature of a spirit, if all it does is make people do things they were going to do anyway, how is it responsible for anything? How does abdicating personal responsibility to something that doesn't exist change the fact that you made the decisions? Can't lock up a spirit, can you? Someone kills my mum, I don't give a shit how many spirits were involved, because they're still a murderer.

It amuses me that so much primitive thought is about mitigation, particularly when it's so obviously insular. If someone who's a part of your monkeysphere did something bad, well, probably just a spirit right? He's still a good bloke. Not his fault he rapes his daughter. It was THE TEMPATION you see?

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by FSTargetDrone » 2008-10-20 11:02pm

SisterMiriamGodwinson wrote:This thread is not about Christian beliefs... Its about just one belief shared by many Christians. Do any of you believe in a Devil? Or something like it?
I no more believe in a Spirit of Evil than do I believe in a Spirit of Good or a Spirit of Indifference.
BountyHunterSAx wrote:[Answering the OP] I used to believe in the Devil's existence, then I stopped, and now I've started once more, and more firmly than before. I don't believe the devil is directly responsible for the sins of men. He's there to play the source of great temptation, but in the end the evil that men do is their own fault and they are held accountable.

-AHMAD
Everything after the comma in the last sentence above is reasonable enough, but what has convinced you that there is some entity that influences humans to do ill towards each other?
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-10-20 11:05pm

The problem with the idea of a Devil or "spirit of evil" is not just that it fails the logic test (which it does), but that it leads to socially deficient thinking.

Look around the world at the terrible things that happen in it. They have complex causes. Some of those causes are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to solve or even mitigate. Understanding those causes often requires the ability to step outside your own cultural zeitgeist and imagine the world from an alien perspective, ie- "walk a mile in another man's shoes": something which is easy to say, but not very easy to do, especially when the cultural gulf is large.

How much simpler must it be, then, to simply declare that all those terrible things people do to each other are simply due to "evil"? Just look at the 9/11 attacks: thinking Americans reacted by saying that millions of people in the Middle East undoubtedly hated our guts for interfering in their political and military affairs for the last hundred years. Overthrowing democratically elected governments in favour of dictators, befriending tyrants and supporting them with military assistance if it suits our needs, encouraging internecine warfare if it keeps the region weak, pouring billions of dollars into Israel, etc. And some kind of blowback was inevitable. But the Know-Nothings wanted to hear none of this: for them, it was sufficient to simply declare that these people were following an "evil ideology", and that they literally hated us for being Good instead of Evil. That's what all of that "they hate our freedom" conservative bullshit is about.

This kind of horrifically misguided, simple-minded super-polarized black and white ethical model is dangerous, stupid, irresponsible, and it leads to all manner of horrendously destructive social policies, which are designed to declare "war" on a social problem or divide up society into good and bad people, and then punish the latter no matter the consequences (after all, what are a few cracked eggs in the war against evil?). And this terrible, destructive, stupid, irresponsible idea finds its ultimate expression in the idea of an anthropomorphosized embodiment of Evil, such as Satan or whatever you want to call him. It's bad enough that people simplify social problems by thinking of them as a force of general "evil" rather than considering their specific causes, but when you imagine it being an actual person, that's just crazy looney-bin motherfucker territory.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Zixinus » 2008-10-21 01:58am

Of course such ideology suits dictators and consequentially hypocrite-personalities nicely.

Hypocrites see the world in black and white: with them or against them.

Convincing that whoever is with him is "good" and that whoever is against him is "evil" is much easier than convincing people that they are competent, honest leaders.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-21 04:36am

FSKTargetDrone wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote:[Answering the OP] I used to believe in the Devil's existence, then I stopped, and now I've started once more, and more firmly than before. I don't believe the devil is directly responsible for the sins of men. He's there to play the source of great temptation, but in the end the evil that men do is their own fault and they are held accountable.

-AHMAD
Everything after the comma in the last sentence above is reasonable enough, but what has convinced you that there is some entity that influences humans to do ill towards each other?
I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it. Faith is not something that requires rational proof. If anything, faith cannot exist if one simultaneously has absolute rational proof. And though I've resigned myself to refrain from discussing my beliefs on this board (on account of me already knowing I can't substantiate them logically or rationally), when the topic comes up or when specifically asked by other people, I'm not going to pretend to believe any less.

Unless and until my faith would-cause me personally (not 'could or should theoretically cause someone', but actually causes) me to do something that is harmful to others around me, I really don't care that I can't prove it or disprove it.

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by dragon » 2008-10-21 06:16am

Even though its amazing that alot of people belive in god but they don't want to belive in satan.

I like how my old pastor put it you have god and then you have his servent lucifier the prison warden. But neither one of these is a source for good or evil that is up to the person.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Singular Intellect » 2008-10-21 07:53am

BountyHunterSAx wrote:I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it. Faith is not something that requires rational proof.
Why is that? You hear this all the time, and it is said without any justification whatsoever.
If anything, faith cannot exist if one simultaneously has absolute rational proof. And though I've resigned myself to refrain from discussing my beliefs on this board (on account of me already knowing I can't substantiate them logically or rationally), when the topic comes up or when specifically asked by other people, I'm not going to pretend to believe any less.

Unless and until my faith would-cause me personally (not 'could or should theoretically cause someone', but actually causes) me to do something that is harmful to others around me, I really don't care that I can't prove it or disprove it.

-AHMAD
I know some people like to argue faith is something useful/productive for themselves, but to atheists like me, it's only useful in the context of a patch on a sinking ship. There has to be a problem first before it becomes a positive issue.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-10-21 08:56am

BountyHunterSAx wrote:I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it. Faith is not something that requires rational proof. If anything, faith cannot exist if one simultaneously has absolute rational proof. And though I've resigned myself to refrain from discussing my beliefs on this board (on account of me already knowing I can't substantiate them logically or rationally), when the topic comes up or when specifically asked by other people, I'm not going to pretend to believe any less.

Unless and until my faith would-cause me personally (not 'could or should theoretically cause someone', but actually causes) me to do something that is harmful to others around me, I really don't care that I can't prove it or disprove it.

-AHMAD
And how do you answer my charge that a belief in the eternal struggle of Good vs Evil has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies?
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-21 01:08pm

Darth Wong wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote:I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it. Faith is not something that requires rational proof. If anything, faith cannot exist if one simultaneously has absolute rational proof. And though I've resigned myself to refrain from discussing my beliefs on this board (on account of me already knowing I can't substantiate them logically or rationally), when the topic comes up or when specifically asked by other people, I'm not going to pretend to believe any less.

Unless and until my faith would-cause me personally (not 'could or should theoretically cause someone', but actually causes) me to do something that is harmful to others around me, I really don't care that I can't prove it or disprove it.

-AHMAD
And how do you answer my charge that a belief in the eternal struggle of Good vs Evil has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies?

I'd say that sounds reasonable enough. I'd clarify that it is one of many things that has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies. The root motivation isn't the belief itself, IMO, but rather the strong desire toward laziness and apathy in things not directly affecting you. That is to say, people are too lazy to dig at what actually causes "the others" to suffer (or your 'mile in their shoes' bit).

Once that is in place, *any* doctrine that oversimplifies the condition to a single sentence "They are Evil[tm]," "It's because they're black." , "Teenagers are rebellious shits.", "Jews can't be trusted.", "Muslims are terrorists", "Satan is a homosexual" can be and often *is* adopted. But it's not the cut-and-dried belief itself that is dangerous, it's the apathy.

As long as the policy-makers who believe in Satan as 'the whispering devil', but when faced with a conflict they don't simply stop at "oh, at the root of this is Satan" but rather dig to figure out the core causes, I don't see the problem in this belief. The same exact way that a God-fearing scientist doesn't stop at "Oh, God makes the rain come down from the sky." (a belief that he holds) but rather seeks out the earthly means through which God achieves this.


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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by General Zod » 2008-10-21 01:18pm

BountyHunterSAx wrote: As long as the policy-makers who believe in Satan as 'the whispering devil', but when faced with a conflict they don't simply stop at "oh, at the root of this is Satan" but rather dig to figure out the core causes, I don't see the problem in this belief. The same exact way that a God-fearing scientist doesn't stop at "Oh, God makes the rain come down from the sky." (a belief that he holds) but rather seeks out the earthly means through which God achieves this.
Why should "God" or "Satan" be a factor in explaining anything when there are perfectly viable natural explanations that require no supernatural involvement whatsoever? If you find a quarter in your couch no sane person would jump to the conclusion "God must be responsible somehow", so why is anything else different in this regard?
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-21 01:20pm

Bubble Boy wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote:I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it. Faith is not something that requires rational proof.
Why is that? You hear this all the time, and it is said without any justification whatsoever.
Which part? I made two statements that you might be referring to (correct me if I'm wrong): "Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence." and "Faith is not something that requires rational proof."

As to the first, I suppose I should clarify that by 'Allah' I refer to the entity described in Islamic theology as the divine - not the literal meaning of the word. Once that's cleared up, then belief in an Islamic 'Allah' necessarily mandates belief in the Qur'an. If I believe the Qur'an to have been preserved (as all signs indicate it has) from textual manipulation, then the devil is discussed too specifically and too frequently for me to deny his existence. I could quote you exact verses if you like, but I'm sure my point is made.


The second is even more straightforward 'Faith is not something that requires rational proof.' Let's pull out a merriam-webster online with regards to faith:
MW wrote: Main Entry:
1faith Listen to the pronunciation of 1faith
Pronunciation:
\ˈfāth\
Function:
noun
Inflected Form(s):
plural faiths Listen to the pronunciation of faiths \ˈfāths, sometimes ˈfāthz\
Etymology:
Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide
Date:
13th century

1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction ; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
By definition, "firm belief in something for which there is NO PROOF" constitutes faith. Faith in the presence of proof ceases to be belief, and turns into 'knowledge of.' I don't know God exists, I believe God exists. Unfortunately believe something strongly enough and you'll find you stray at times from belief to presuming it as knowledge. Now, obviously, when conversing with someone who does not believe the same thing that you believe it makes full sense for them to treat your belief as nothing more than a poorly-substantiated opinion at best. But to have the belief in the first place? No - that's every bit as much your right as your right to be opinionated without backing on *any* subject. And as long as you don't thrust your opinion on others, it doesn't make you an asshole either.

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-21 01:26pm

General Zod wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote: As long as the policy-makers who believe in Satan as 'the whispering devil', but when faced with a conflict they don't simply stop at "oh, at the root of this is Satan" but rather dig to figure out the core causes, I don't see the problem in this belief. The same exact way that a God-fearing scientist doesn't stop at "Oh, God makes the rain come down from the sky." (a belief that he holds) but rather seeks out the earthly means through which God achieves this.
Why should "God" or "Satan" be a factor in explaining anything when there are perfectly viable natural explanations that require no supernatural involvement whatsoever? If you find a quarter in your couch no sane person would jump to the conclusion "God must be responsible somehow", so why is anything else different in this regard?
Strawmanning. Did I say it should be a factor? That you - or anyone for that matter - ought to share in the beliefs I have? The reality is that it *is* a factor in many peoples' minds. I don't view this as a good thing or a bad thing - just a thing. Some people think black is a slimming color, some people think brunettes are hotter than blondes, some people prefer to introduce extraneous terms into a parsimonious situation. It's not the belief that's the problem, it's any wrong-action that it causes them to do. In the case of someone who believes God is behind what we see occur via the course of evolution, and thusly writes the *SAME DAMN ANSWERS* to the same exact questions - performs the same experiments and interprets evidence via the same lenses; why do you care what he believes?

And you may call me insane if that suits you, but as a Muslim I'd say that God permitted the coin to be in the couch. Doesn't mean I'm saying the omnipotent ruler of the cosmos personally made a house-call and put a penny on my couch; it means that I'm giving God credit for His omnipresence and omnipotence. Nothing happens without Him knowing; nothing can happen without Him allowing it.

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by General Zod » 2008-10-21 01:42pm

BountyHunterSAx wrote: Strawmanning. Did I say it should be a factor? That you - or anyone for that matter - ought to share in the beliefs I have? The reality is that it *is* a factor in many peoples' minds. I don't view this as a good thing or a bad thing - just a thing. Some people think black is a slimming color, some people think brunettes are hotter than blondes, some people prefer to introduce extraneous terms into a parsimonious situation. It's not the belief that's the problem, it's any wrong-action that it causes them to do. In the case of someone who believes God is behind what we see occur via the course of evolution, and thusly writes the *SAME DAMN ANSWERS* to the same exact questions - performs the same experiments and interprets evidence via the same lenses; why do you care what he believes?
You were justifying your statements earlier, so mentioning that at all in that context makes absolutely no sense unless you agree with it somehow. It doesn't matter if the answers are the same or not though, factoring in "God did it" as a part of the explanation at all is irrational and not conducive to logical thought. In science the methods are just as important as the outcome, and adding in completely superfluous factors like "god did it" makes no more sense than "turning around three times and dancing the polka while mixing <x> chemicals to get the solution" makes sense.
And you may call me insane if that suits you, but as a Muslim I'd say that God permitted the coin to be in the couch. Doesn't mean I'm saying the omnipotent ruler of the cosmos personally made a house-call and put a penny on my couch; it means that I'm giving God credit for His omnipresence and omnipotence. Nothing happens without Him knowing; nothing can happen without Him allowing it.
The Bible disagrees with you.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Tanasinn » 2008-10-21 02:11pm

Evil being a relative concept and magic not existing, no.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by FSTargetDrone » 2008-10-21 08:19pm

BountyHunterSAx wrote:I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it.
I take it you've never considered that Satan may simply be misundestood?
What the Devil? Prince of Darkness Is Misunderstood, Says UCLA Professor

He's not the enemy of God, his name really isn't Lucifer and he isn't even evil. And as far as leading Adam and Eve astray, that was a bad rap stemming from a case of mistaken identity.

"There's little or no evidence in the Bible for most of the characteristics and deeds commonly attributed to Satan," insists a UCLA professor with four decades in what he describes as "the devil business."

In "Satan: A Biography" (Cambridge Press), Henry Ansgar Kelly puts forth the most comprehensive case ever made for sympathy for the devil, arguing that the Bible actually provides a kinder, gentler version of the infamous antagonist than typically thought.

"A strict reading of the Bible shows Satan to be less like Darth Vader and more and more like an overzealous prosecutor," said Kelly, a UCLA professor emeritus of English and the former director of the university's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. "He's not so much the proud and angry figure who turns away from God as [he is] a Joseph McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover. Satan's basic intention is to uncover wrongdoing and treachery, however overzealous and unscrupulous the means. But he's still part of God's administration."

The view runs in opposition to the beliefs held by many Christians and others about key religious concepts like original sin and the nature of good and evil.

"If Satan isn't really in opposition to God and he isn't really evil, then that means the fight between good and evil isn't an authentic part of Christianity," Kelly said. "What I'm saying will be scandalous to some people."

But what would you expect of someone's whose 72nd birthday fell this year on June 6 (06-06-06) and who felt disappointed when nothing momentous occurred that day? Actually, Kelly is no stranger to bubble-bursting. After digging deep into the history of Valentine's Day, he pronounced 20 years ago that he had not only uncovered the holiday's origins but that it should be celebrated in May, not February.

Still, if Kelly could be considered scandalous, it's not because he doesn't know any better. Kelly started his academic career at a Jesuit seminary and was ordained in four of the seven holy orders on the way to the priesthood, including the order of exorcist.

"It was at that time that I started my campaign to rehabilitate the devil — to deliver him from evil, as it were," Kelly said.

"Satan: A Biography" is the culmination of more than 40 years of research into the devil and religious and cultural traditions that have grown up around him. The book is Kelly's third on the topic.

When it comes to the Old Testament, Kelly insists that Satan's profile is considerably lower than commonly thought and significantly less menacing. By Kelly's count, Satan only appears three times in the 45 books that make up the pre-Christian scriptures, the best known being in the Book of Job. On each occasion, Satan is still firmly part of what Kelly calls "God's administration," and his activities are done at the behest of "the Big Guy." But his actions aren't evil so much as consistent with the translation of "devil" and "satan," which literally mean "adversary" in Greek and Hebrew, respectively.

"His job is to test people's virtue and to report their failures," Kelly said.

Perhaps most surprising is not the figure Satan cuts, but his notable absences in the Old Testament. In the Bible's first reference to Lucifer, for instance, Satan doesn't appear — even by implication, Kelly points out. "'Lucifer' is Latin for light-bearer," he said, and was the name given to the morning star, or the planet Venus. Originally written in ancient Hebrew, the passage, on face value, refers to the tyrannical Babylonian king who boasts of his conquests but who is "about to be cast to the ground." Kelly insists there's nothing more to the reference than an apt use of metaphor, but the third-century Christian philosopher Origen of Alexandria argued in his best known work, "On First Things," that the reference applied to Satan.

"Origen says, 'Lucifer is said to have fallen from Heaven,'" Kelly explained. "'This can't refer to a human being, so it must refer to Satan.' Subsequent church fathers found this reasoning persuasive, and so did everyone who followed them."

Ironically, the only mentions of Lucifer in the New Testament — and there are three of them — refer to Jesus, Kelly said. "Jesus is called 'Lucifer' or 'the morning star' because he represents a new beginning."

Another prominent omission in the Old Testament, Kelly said, can be found in Genesis. "Nobody in the Old Testament — or, for that matter, in the New Testament either — ever identifies the serpent of Eden with Satan," Kelly said. "The serpent is just the smartest animal, and he's motivated by envy after being jilted by Adam for Eve."

Kelly traces the correlation of Satan and the serpent to not long after the New Testament was completed. In his "Dialogue With Trypho," the second-century Christian martyr Justin of Samaria first argued that Satan appeared as a serpent to tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God, according to Kelly.

"This is what I call 'The New Biography,'" Kelly said. "It starts with Justin Martyr, who implicates Satan in the fall of Adam and Eve. By causing Adam and Eve to fall, Satan caused his own fall.

"The second step in this new and phony biography comes with Origen, who said, 'No, Satan's first sin was not deceiving Adam and Eve or refusing to go along with God's plan of creating Adam in his own image,'" Kelly said. "'It was to sin out of pride like the morning star, like Lucifer in the passage from Isaiah.' Turning Satan into God's enemy is a two-step process."

Meanwhile, in passages in Luke, Matthew, Corinthians and elsewhere in the New Testament, Satan continues to act as a tester, enforcer and prosecutor but not as God's enemy, Kelly points out.

"Everyone else has said that by the time Satan gets to the New Testament, he is evil, he's an enemy of God, but that's not so," Kelly said. "The whole biblical picture of Satan is that of a bad cop to Yaweh's good cop in the Old Testament, and to Jesus' good cop in the New Testament. Throughout, Satan is someone who works for God."

A scene in the New Testament's Book of Revelation is often cited today as evidence that Satan was the deceiver of Adam and Eve, but the interpretation stems from a fundamental misunderstanding, Kelly argues.

"'That ancient serpent' refers to the giant sea serpent Leviathan, not the garden snake of Eden," he said. "In Revelation, Leviathan has morphed into a dragon, or large serpent, with the seven heads and 10 horns, which is still further removed from the seductive serpent who deceived Eve."

In addition to linking Satan with the Garden of Eden, the passage from Revelation also has been used to prove that Satan fell early on in the Bible, but Kelly insists that is not accurate.

"Satan's ouster from heaven in Revelation is explained as taking place in the future," Kelly said. "In Revelation 12:10, a voice says that 'the accuser of our brothers is cast out, overcome by the testimony of martyrs.' Since there were no martyrs until Christ died, that has to be in the future."

Similarly, a passage in the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus reports having seen "Satan fall like lightning," has been misinterpreted, according to Kelly. "Jesus saw the fall in the past because he had the vision the day before he describes it to the apostles," Kelly said. "But Jesus is referring to a future fall [of Satan] from his position as God's attorney general."

This is not to say, however, that Kelly contends that Satan is likeable.

"Jesus doesn't like him, and Paul doesn't like him," Kelly explained. "He represents the old guard in the heavenly bureaucracy, and everyone longs for him to be disbarred as the chief accuser of humankind."

Source: UCLA
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-10-21 10:55pm

BountyHunterSAx wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:And how do you answer my charge that a belief in the eternal struggle of Good vs Evil has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies?
I'd say that sounds reasonable enough. I'd clarify that it is one of many things that has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies.
So? The fact that it's one of many harmful things does not exonerate it from the charge of being harmful.
The root motivation isn't the belief itself, IMO, but rather the strong desire toward laziness and apathy in things not directly affecting you. That is to say, people are too lazy to dig at what actually causes "the others" to suffer (or your 'mile in their shoes' bit).
Bullshit. If you believe in a motivating spirit of evil behind harmful actions in the world, you are OBLIGATED to use it as an explanation for unethical behaviour on a fairly regular basis, otherwise this spirit of evil would be a meaningless concept. What the hell kind of Devil influences people to commit evil acts ... never? A useless one. And we wouldn't want to turn that same logic on your God now, would we? Nope, you NEED to believe that this Devil is a viable explanation for other peoples' unethical actions; it's not just laziness which would lead you to this conclusion. A lazy person who does not believe in the Devil does not have that option, and he is certainly not compelled to use it.

You're just looking for excuses.
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-22 02:33pm

Darth Wong wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:And how do you answer my charge that a belief in the eternal struggle of Good vs Evil has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies?
I'd say that sounds reasonable enough. I'd clarify that it is one of many things that has led to destructive social policies and foreign policies.
So? The fact that it's one of many harmful things does not exonerate it from the charge of being harmful.
You're misunderstanding me. It is *NOT* the direct cause, nor the harmful one. The fact that it happens on the road is true, however the root motivation isn't the belief. Further, getting rid of the belief doesn't get rid of the problem. "Wood in houses can make houses burn," may be true, but that doesn't mean we get rid of the wood in houses to stop arsony. Similarly, a belief in Satan may be used (I say may, not must) to justify laziness with regards to trying to solve problems to which one is apathetic; but eliminating belief in Satan will not end the apathy and thus will not fix the problem.
Darth Wong wrote:
The root motivation isn't the belief itself, IMO, but rather the strong desire toward laziness and apathy in things not directly affecting you. That is to say, people are too lazy to dig at what actually causes "the others" to suffer (or your 'mile in their shoes' bit).
Bullshit. If you believe in a motivating spirit of evil behind harmful actions in the world, you are OBLIGATED to use it as an explanation for unethical behaviour on a fairly regular basis, otherwise this spirit of evil would be a meaningless concept. What the hell kind of Devil influences people to commit evil acts ... never? A useless one. And we wouldn't want to turn that same logic on your God now, would we? Nope, you NEED to believe that this Devil is a viable explanation for other peoples' unethical actions; it's not just laziness which would lead you to this conclusion. A lazy person who does not believe in the Devil does not have that option, and he is certainly not compelled to use it.

You're just looking for excuses.
Insofar as trying to prove his existence to other people it matters, yes, but just because a term is not necessary does *NOT* mean I cannot believe it exists. People have qualities that can push them toward good and bad (or ethical/non-ethical if you prefer the term) actions; these exist regardless of whether or not the devil is acting upon you or not. When the devil is trying to make you sin he makes it harder to overcome your inclination to do wrong. Quite like in the case of belief in God, I cannot show any outward or visible manifestation of this effect.

Do you *really* think I care if the concept is 'an unnecessary extraneous term that can be Occam's Razored out'? If that's what you mean by looking for excuses to justify my belief, then why should you care that I do it? Or I care that I do it, for that matter?

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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by General Zod » 2008-10-22 02:56pm

BountyHunterSAx wrote: Insofar as trying to prove his existence to other people it matters, yes, but just because a term is not necessary does *NOT* mean I cannot believe it exists. People have qualities that can push them toward good and bad (or ethical/non-ethical if you prefer the term) actions; these exist regardless of whether or not the devil is acting upon you or not. When the devil is trying to make you sin he makes it harder to overcome your inclination to do wrong. Quite like in the case of belief in God, I cannot show any outward or visible manifestation of this effect.
Then why believe in it at all? What makes your belief any more valid than belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or verruca gnomes?
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-22 02:57pm

FSTargetDrone wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote:I believe in Satan because I opt to believe in Allah. Believing in Allah makes it necessarily impossible to reject Satan's existence and so, by extension, I believe it.
I take it you've never considered that Satan may simply be misundestood?
Actually no, I haven't. The very notion is completely absurd - though it's an interesting note about the bible that I'd never heard before, so thanks for the link. Though one may effectively argue that Satan does not exist at all as an atheist, if you're accepting the Muslims' sources on the Devil, then he certainly is a wrongdoer, is a tempter, is the enemy of God and Mankind, and is not a 'jolly-good bloke'. The only understanding of Satan that a Muslim can actually draw on would be from their holy scripture (the Qur'an) and the sayings of the Prophet (Hadith). Here's what I line up as proof for all of my above claims. As far as what modern-day Christians ought to think of the devil, modern day Christians believe a whole *BUNCH* of stuff that isn't in their holy book. Try 'hell' for instance, and see how infrequently its mentioned.


Qur'an [7:11 - 7:24 + 7:27]
Qur'an wrote: 11. It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bow down.

12. ((Allah)) said: "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay."

13. ((Allah)) said: "Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures)."

14. He said: "Give me respite till the day they are raised up."

15. ((Allah)) said: "Be thou among those who have respite."

16. He said: "Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way:

17. "Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies)."

18. ((Allah)) said: "Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee,- Hell will I fill with you all.

19. "O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish: but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression."

20. Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever."

21. And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser.

22. So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: "Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?"

23. They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost."

24. ((Allah)) said: "Get ye down. With enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood,- for a time."

25. He said: "Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die; but from it shall ye be taken out (at last)."

26. O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness,- that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition!

27. O ye Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as He got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the evil ones friends (only) to those without faith.
Here the Devil (Iblis by name), openly refuses to obey God's order. Though it's *possible* at that point that he didn't know he was to be included in the list, his subsequent actions of not seeking forgiveness for his arrogance, and openly declaring war on Adam and his progeny clearly put him into the enemy category. And these are not isolated verses either. Here's another smattering:
Qur'an wrote: Say to My servants that they should (only) say those things that are best: for Satan doth sow dissensions among them: For Satan is to man an avowed enemy. [17:53]

Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents, that they may become Companions of the Blazing Fire. [35:06]

"Did I not enjoin on you, O ye Children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan; for that he was to you an enemy avowed?-
"And that ye should worship Me, (for that) this was the Straight Way?
"But he did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did ye not, then, understand? [36:60-62]

Let not the Evil One hinder you: for he is to you an enemy avowed.[43:62]


Also, proof that Muslims are told not to blame Satan for what is their own fault:
Qur'an 59:16 wrote:(Their allies deceived them), like the Evil One, when he says to man, "Deny Allah": but when (man) denies Allah, (the Evil One) says, "I am free of thee: I do fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!"
-AHMAD

PS: (Note: All Qur'an quotes are the Translation(s) of Abdullah Yusuf Ali -- the original text and purest meaning of God's word can only be found in the Arabic.)
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by BountyHunterSAx » 2008-10-22 03:18pm

General Zod wrote:
BountyHunterSAx wrote: Insofar as trying to prove his existence to other people it matters, yes, but just because a term is not necessary does *NOT* mean I cannot believe it exists. People have qualities that can push them toward good and bad (or ethical/non-ethical if you prefer the term) actions; these exist regardless of whether or not the devil is acting upon you or not. When the devil is trying to make you sin he makes it harder to overcome your inclination to do wrong. Quite like in the case of belief in God, I cannot show any outward or visible manifestation of this effect.
Then why believe in it at all? What makes your belief any more valid than belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or verruca gnomes?
A quick aside - how does one choose to start or stop 'believing' in something? the fact is that even if - for arguments sake - I decided that I needed to stop believing in Islam, it's not like I have a magic light switch that I can flip to 'off' and make my belief disappear. I could stop practicing that easily, yes, but not beliving.

And to answer your question - I believe because of two things:

1.) The bad reason - that's what I was brought up with. Harsh, but true no doubt - I wouldn't have begun believing in Islam if I hadn't been brought up with it, no doubts there.

2.) but the bigger reason: The Qur'an and Seerah. I find it inconceivable for such a book to have been written by a man in Muhammad (S)'s time given Muhammad (S)'s resources. I refuse to get into a discussion on the subject of "what about the Qur'an is so amazing to you?" with somebody who can't read it (in it's Arabic) or couldn't be bothered to read it (due to apathy) - so for the time being you can just take it as my irrationality (and thusly a premise, if a stupid premise). Further, for a man of Muhammad (S)'s straightforward honest character to suddenly start spouting a pack of lies is another leap in logic I can't accept. What possible motivation could he have to do so? Especially seeing as to how he refused kingship, a 50-50 deal, women, power, and wealth in favor of continuing his mission.

Once I accept that the Qur'an couldn't have been written by someone in Muhammad (S)'s time and place with his resources, then where do you go from there? The Qur'an was edited/modified over time and so those specific things that I find inconceivable for him to have written were updated and upgraded? No - absolutely not. The Qur'ans transmission was heavily monitored cross-checked and guarded. It's more likely that dinosaurs were faked than that the Qur'an was. From the point of its revelation there were always *several* people who memorized all that had been revealed in its totality. To change the Qur'an at least 60% (arbirtrary number, but it's reasonable when you consider just how diligently these people took their faith) of them would have to agree on the modification (and the other 40% be silenced or marginalized). That would require a very very very elaborate conspiracy. Nor is it something that could just be 'forgotten' or accidentally changed, as there were so many people to cross-check it on. No, we are forced to accept that the Qur'an we hear today is the same as it was 1425+ years ago.


That's why I believe in the Qur'an and God. And God tells me about Satan, so I believe in that too. Of course it's always possible I'm entirely wrong about all of this - it is merely a belief after all. So I try to live my life such that if I die and wake up and there's absolutely nothing there, I have no regrets over my life as a Muslim.

-AHMAD
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Re: Does anyone here believe in an Arch spirit of Evil?

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-10-22 03:35pm

BountyHunterSAx wrote:You're misunderstanding me. It is *NOT* the direct cause, nor the harmful one.
I have explained precisely how it can be harmful. You have failed to show anything wrong with my explanation. In fact, you have not even tried; you seem to think that simply stating your divergent opinion is sufficient rebuttal; it is not.

Once more, since you are either too stupid or too dishonest to recall what I said before: if the option exists to blame Satan for acts of evil, some people will take it. Not everyone will take it, and there are other reasons why people might choose oversimplistic explanations, but as long as that option is taken seriously, there are those who will take it.

Moreover, as long as "evil" is anthropomorphosized into an actual person, like Satan, it will be much easier to think of social problems in a manner akin to a war, complete with an enemy leader.
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