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norwood1026

Too much power

72 posts in this topic

I’ve posted several topics on Satan/Lucifer here on UM. I think it’s because we don’t know much about him other then what the bible states.

I have always been of the mindset that Christian here in the west tend to give Satan too much power. Christians see Satan every where these days. Western Christianity seems to be unique among monotheisms in the power that they tend to give Satan. In Judaism Satan is totally subservient to God & evil if never allowed to attain such near-omnipotent status.

In Islam Satan is either a trivial creature, not be taken

seriously, or on the last day can be forgiven. He can never be a threat to Allah. But Christians in the west have not always attained that degree of confidence in their God.

I've seen several Christians talk about how Samhain is Satan's birthday & so forth. Why do Christians tend to give Satan more power with every post? If their God is so powerful why fear this deity so much?

I believe I have posted something close to this in the past. However I've been gone for a while & would love to see what the new people have to say.

So..... What say you?

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I’ve posted several topics on Satan/Lucifer here on UM. I think it’s because we don’t know much about him other then what the bible states.

I have always been of the mindset that Christian here in the west tend to give Satan too much power. Christians see Satan every where these days. Western Christianity seems to be unique among monotheisms in the power that they tend to give Satan. In Judaism Satan is totally subservient to God & evil if never allowed to attain such near-omnipotent status.

In Islam Satan is either a trivial creature, not be taken

seriously, or on the last day can be forgiven. He can never be a threat to Allah. But Christians in the west have not always attained that degree of confidence in their God.

I've seen several Christians talk about how Samhain is Satan's birthday & so forth. Why do Christians tend to give Satan more power with every post? If their God is so powerful why fear this deity so much?

I believe I have posted something close to this in the past. However I've been gone for a while & would love to see what the new people have to say.

So..... What say you?

I think you are close to the mark. God created Satan after all by whatever definition he is given. The idea of duality is an ancient one but my personal view is that Satan is more about neutrality and change than outright evil. It seems that at some point in history it was beneficial to start attributing all evil to Satan when the truth is all we've ever had is hearsay or speulative testimony. There may be something to man being lured away fom God but I don't see Satan as being the sole culprit for this. Ahriman strikes me as being a far more negative entity in his day. Some might say they are the same but I would have to disagree from my present research.

Whatever you wanna call him, life is a test and freewill reigns ultimately.

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Posted (edited)

It is my belief that Christians give Satan all this power over people because it keeps worshippers in line. He's the bogie man, the spook story. Behave and follow the rules or you will burn in a lake of fire. This obviously presents a problem because it does set Satan up on nearly equal footing with God, or worse, it makes them uneasy bedfellows because they ultimately work toward the same goal (keeping people in line through fear).

Ultimately, fear of the devil keeps people in check as much as a love for their god does.

Edited by Marby

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It is my belief that Christians give Satan all this power over people because it keeps worshippers in line. He's the bogie man, the spook story. Behave and follow the rules or you will burn in a lake of fire. This obviously presents a problem because it does set Satan up on nearly equal footing with God, or worse, it makes them uneasy bedfellows because they ultimately work toward the same goal (keeping people in line through fear).

Ultimately, fear of the devil keeps people in check as much as a love for their god does.

i agree....many preachers ust this because they lack a confidence in their own ability to spread the truth of God or they are not strong eonugh to stand for what they believe....the Gospel of Jesus does not center around satan or any other....i have no fear of satan or any other "bugger" that these preachers want to talk about...i do understand their place in the grand scheme but if you listen to God"s Word and the truth of His Word God He does not speak from a spirit of fear...anyone who walks in fear does nt walk with Jesus....

randomhit10

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i agree....many preachers ust this because they lack a confidence in their own ability to spread the truth of God or they are not strong eonugh to stand for what they believe....the Gospel of Jesus does not center around satan or any other....i have no fear of satan or any other "bugger" that these preachers want to talk about...i do understand their place in the grand scheme but if you listen to God"s Word and the truth of His Word God He does not speak from a spirit of fear...anyone who walks in fear does nt walk with Jesus....

randomhit10

I would have to agree that if one actually reads the Bible, there is very little in it to do with Satan as an entity out to mess with mankind.

I do believe that many churches use Satan as a way to explain why they are against anything that isn't clarified in the Bible itself. It's a "you're with us or against us" thing. The devil's hand wrote Harry Potter, that sort of thing. It's relying on the perceived power of a spook story in order to retain power over a congregation.

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Posted (edited)

I can't speak for other Christians, but my understanding of Satan is very much in line with the Jewish approach - that is, Satan is God's faithful servant carrying out his mission as the "accusing angel", to tempt us away from God. However, this does not lessen Satan's role as tempter! Satan is there to tempt us away from God and does his very best to try and make this happen. If there is a philosophical debate worth discussing here, it is in whether Satan actively wants us to fail, or whether he is privately hoping we succeed while carrying out God's orders. I tend to hold to the former view (to use a phrase, it's lucky for Satan that his job is also his hobby). But whether a reluctant accuser or a willing tempter, he is still just as dangerous to those who want to follow God. He is still just following God's orders, but these orders are to tempt us astray, as per the Jewish belief.

In short: Satan's job is to tempt us. Our job is to resist. God's job is to forgive us if and when we fail (assuming we seek forgiveness, that is). A tad simplistic, perhaps, but it covers the basics of the question presented within this thread.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Posted (edited)

For me satan is an independent sapient entity like us or god. Like us, and god, he has the ability to freely chose. He can defy god and did so. So can we, and many of us do.

I dont believe the literal story of satan in the bible but the literal story of satan in the bible is a simple one.

He opposed gods governance of heaven and the universe. He was beautiful, talented, powerful, and charismatic. And he drew a full third of all the sapient powerful and free willed angels with him. War raged, and eventually a "truce" was called.

While the rest of the universe was freed of satan and the fallen angels earth was mot(although satan obviously had the ability to come and go from earth to heaven unfettered and unobserved by god)

Via the proxys of adam and eve or directly thorugh each individaul humans choice, satan still has an opportunity here, and continues to wage war. He wants to show the universe that a peoples, given the knowledge of good and evil, can do well and prosper without direct connection to god. (unfortunately in comparison with the worlds under gods governance we dont look very impressive)

Although that may be in the eye of the beholder. Humans do have some advantages and get some benefits from the deal with satan That is why so many people chose to side with him. Yet we lost so much, physically and spiritually.

ANd eventully the result is inevitable, just as the result of ww11 was inevitable given the resources of america and russia. Gods power and tha tof the loyal angels is more than enough to crush satan on earth

In the end satan and the fallen angels wil be destroyed and consumed by fire So will all those humans who chose to follow him

The rest of humanity will be ressurected, transformed and reinstated on a newly cleansed earth in a stae similar to tha t of eden. Those saved wil be reuinited physically and spiritually with god, and through free choice become a free and equal part of the worlds of heaven Able to move frely betwen those worlds an dwith virtually immortal lives and a blend of spiritula na dphysicla harmony very fe w can attain on the present earth.

So satan is not a servant of god but a free willed enemy of god He is limited/ restricted by the power of god, but continues to believe he can win the battle for the hearts, minds, and territory of the universe.

As with all angels, he has a great many of the powers of god, and to humans can appear as a god in his own right. So too can the good/loyal angels, but they rarely chose to give this impression , almost always making clear they are agents of a higher power.

That is my understanding of a biblical christian perspective, although there are many variants of differing degrees of variation.

On a personal note i find that satan has no power over a person who is filed with the energies of god and under the protection of angels and god himself. Thus i am biased. I find no personal evidence of satan /evil in my life, but i observe his workings in the world, through the hearts, minds, and actions of those who follow him rather than god.

Or, if an athiest, i would say that if humans created god, they also created and chose to follow an almost equally powerful entity we call satan.

The hearts and minds of too many people are filled with harmful and destructive thoughts and purposes, desires and emotions. In god's presence (be it real or in faith), those things are impossible. At least that is my personal experience of life. Ps wise people rightly fear satans influence in their individual lives.

Every heart and mind is a battleground; between god and satan, evil and good, constructive/creative purpose and destructive purpose. This is true whether god is physical or metaphysical, or simply a human construct.

However we perceive satan he has great power if we give it to him. He can do great personal and social harm. This is easily observable. ON the other hand, equally observable is the creative/ constructive power of god for good.

Humans all, individually, have a critical choice. Whether there is any life after death or not, and whether god is real or a human construct, that choice will determine the shape and success of individual lives on earth and those of whole commnities and societies. it wil most likely determine whether humans survive and expand into the niverse or destroy them selves on this litle planet.

Each one of us, not god, not anyone else, is responsible for the choice(s) we make, and the consequences of each and every choice. We have the gift to be able to see, in advance, the consequences of every choice we make, and thus cannot escape responsibility for them.

Edited by Mr Walker

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I've seen several Christians talk about how Samhain is Satan's birthday & so forth. Why do Christians tend to give Satan more power with every post? If their God is so powerful why fear this deity so much?

Satan is basically the Boogie Man. He is used to terrify people into submission.

Samhain is the Pagan new year. It marks the end of the harvest (which, in agrarian culture, marked the beginning of planning to plant next year's crop). The pagans believed that since this was a nexus of the old and the new, it was also a point when the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest (ie- the point when the living could commune with their dead). The Christians probably painted this day as evil because they were competing with Paganism for members. Kind of an "if you aren't with us, you're against us" approach.

Ironically, many serious Biblical scholars think that Jesus was probably born closer to Samhain than Christmas. They base this on things like-- shepherds wouldn't have been out tending their flocks in December. December 25 was originally the holiday of several other non-Christian religions like the Roman religion, Hindu and Zoroastrian (Zoroaster = Mithra). It's a solstice.

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I can't speak for other Christians, but my understanding of Satan is very much in line with the Jewish approach - that is, Satan is God's faithful servant carrying out his mission as the "accusing angel", to tempt us away from God. However, this does not lessen Satan's role as tempter! Satan is there to tempt us away from God and does his very best to try and make this happen. If there is a philosophical debate worth discussing here, it is in whether Satan actively wants us to fail, or whether he is privately hoping we succeed while carrying out God's orders. I tend to hold to the former view (to use a phrase, it's lucky for Satan that his job is also his hobby). But whether a reluctant accuser or a willing tempter, he is still just as dangerous to those who want to follow God. He is still just following God's orders, but these orders are to tempt us astray, as per the Jewish belief.

In short: Satan's job is to tempt us. Our job is to resist. God's job is to forgive us if and when we fail (assuming we seek forgiveness, that is). A tad simplistic, perhaps, but it covers the basics of the question presented within this thread.

~ Regards, PA

PA, you may find this somewhat lengthy transcript of interest:

SATAN IN JEWISH AND EARLY CHRISTIAN THOUGHT

David B. Brooks

Ottawa Reconstructionist Havurah (09 August 2008) D’varim

Adath Shalom Congregation (06 September 2008) Shoftim

The Parashah for this week falls in D’varim (Deuteronomy). In this fifth and final book of Torah in its narrow sense, Moses gives three longish lectures to the Israelites that retell their history from the time they left Egypt until that time – Remember: Moses is about to die – when they are about to march into the promised land – Canaan or, as we have come to call it, Eretz Ysrael. Moses also restates many of the laws the Israelites have been told to follow, and he reminds them of how well, or more accurately how poorly, the people have responded to God’s wishes.

Moses is not easy on his people. He recalls their continual backsliding, their reluctance to obey the laws, their apparent readiness to follow false leaders, their lack of trust in God. On the one hand, he rails at them (9:24): “As long as I have known you,” he says, “you have been defiant toward the Lord.” On the other, he insists that they can do better (30:11-14): “Surely, this instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, ‘Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us’ . . . No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.”

Note that at no place in any of the entire three lectures does Moses attribute the failings of the Jewish people to any evil empire, to any external force, to anything but their own personal and communal weakness. Had some Israelite child been seen with a T-shirt with the message, “The devil made me do it,” no one would know what it meant. Judaism is, along with Islam, absolutely monotheistic, and there is simply no room in our belief system for any cosmic being other than God.

This absence of looking elsewhere for blame is remarkable, and it is the focus of my d’var today. In other hands and in later years, the all-too-easy need to assign blame led to the concept of Satan, and to the notion that there are powers close to, if not quite equal to, those of God that can take over the thinking and the actions of human beings in order to oppose the true path, God’s way. From that position, it took only a few more steps for early Christians to identify Jews as the agents of Satan and to initiate what became two millennia of anti-Semitism. But I am getting ahead of my story.

Let’s start with the Hebrew Bible, the Tanach as it is called in Jewish literature. What role does Satan play in our Bible? The first appearance of the root word s-t-n (ןטש) is not as an individual at all, but as a verb meaning to hassle or oppose. In the story of Bilaam and the talking donkey, which we read a couple of weeks back, the donkey keeps shying away from the path because he can see an angel with a sword in the path to oppose him – “le-satan-lo.” The word is used elsewhere, most commonly as a noun “meaning an adversary who opposes and obstructs” (Ency. Jud; Satan) but in some places as a verb with respect to prosecution in a court of law (Ps. 109:6).

There are only three times where Satan as an individual turns up in the Tanach, and all are late in the Biblical period. Satan’s most famous appearance occurs in the the story of Job. If you recall that wonderful book, Satan appears to act as God’s prosecuting attorney with the role not just to look for misdeeds on earth but to try to see if people (not just Jews; there is no indication that Job was Jewish) could be tempted into cursing God. However, and this is a big “however,” Satan did so only with God’s permission.

Satan’s other two appearances are a bit ambiguous. In one instance, the prophet Zechariah refers to the satan (השטן) as creating divisions between the Jews who had returned to Eretz Ysrael from Babylon and those who had never left (Zech: 3:1-2). In another, the author of Chronicles laid blame on the satan for inducing King David to take a census of the people when it had not been authorized by God (1 Chron. 21:1). In these two cases, Satan seems to have some independence of action, but he is still an angel and certainly no match for God. To quote from Elaine Pagel’s wonderful book, The Origin of Satan (New York Random House, 1995; p. 39): “As he first appears in the Hebrew Bible, Satan is not necessarily evil, much less opposed to God. On the contrary, he appears . . . as one of God’s obedient servants.”

Most post-Biblical Jewish literature pays little attention to Satan though the term occasionally appears to refer collectively to the forces of evil. There are scattered references to Satan in the Talmud, and in the classical Midrash, most often in aggadic comments about his role in tempting or accusing human beings. For example, Satan is given credit for the golden calf by telling people that Moses would never return from Mount Sinai (Shab 89a) and for David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba (Sanh 107a), among other places noted in Encyclopaedia Judaica. The liturgy in Orthodox prayer books still contains a few vague references to a satan, but they have been excised from the siddurim of most other denominations.

Before I go on, let me step back and be clear that there are plenty of references to mythological beasts and other cosmic forces in the descriptions of the enemy tribes and of idolatrous practices. However, I think we can take these references as examples of metaphor and other literary devices. Whether or not the authors believed that these creatures existed, the beasts never have any specific role except to represent the bad guys, and they certainly do not try to take over human souls.

It is only after the Biblical period and at the time of the Roman wars that we begin to hear of a bigger and more independent role for Satan. This was the time when the once reasonably united Hebrew people began to face schisms that drove wedges between one group of Jews and another, and that eventually led to one group breaking away completely to create Christianity. Jews were fighting one another at least as much as they were fighting external enemies. Some of the differences were political rather than theological, but the two overlapped. To the extent that any one group wanted to find a way of compromising with the Roman powers, it was charged with promoting assimilation – walking in the ways of the nations, as it was commonly described – rather than being on God’s side.

At the extreme, some of the dissident groups began to suggest that cosmic forces were at work. To quote Pagels again (p. 47): “More radical than their predecessors, these dissidents began increasingly to invoke the satan to characterize their Jewish opponents; in the process they turned this rather unpleasant angel into a far grander – and far more malevolent – figure. No longer one of God’s faithful servants, he begins to become what he is for Mark and for later Christianity – God’s antagonist, his enemy, even his rival.” In the extreme, and in the only case where a Jewish group with this world view gained any prominence, the Essenes created a whole theology built around a conflict between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. It goes without saying that they saw themselves as Sons of Light, and they saw other Jews as Sons of Darkness, consigned only to damnation.

Two things accompany the development of the notion that there is a second powerful cosmic being. One is a proliferation of names, as if everyone wanted to have their own anti-God: Semihazah, Azazel, Belial, Prince of Darkness, Diabolicus, Mastema. Samael. Some of these names have Biblical heritage; most do not. The other is an even more diverse proliferation of stories of this evil being’s origin, of which the fallen angel is the one that is best known today. Others go back to that highly questionable passage in Genesis 6 that relates that “When men began to increase on earth and daughters were born to them, the divine beings /lit: sons of God/ saw how beautiful the daughters of men were and they took wives from among them that pleased them.” You could not ask for a better opening than that, but there are lots of other stories too.

The important point is that, despite all the dissension and all the disruption of the first couple of centuries of the common era, such views were and remained marginal in Jewish literature and in Jewish theology. Some rabbinic figures spent a lot of time worrying about demons of various kinds, and most of the early rabbis certainly believed in what we would today call magic, but they never accepted the notion of any evil being or any collection of evil beings that was in any sense a rival to God. Indeed, the Pharisees, from whose thinking modern Judaism derives, explicitly denied any such notion and refused to consider their Jewish or their gentile enemies as anything more than that, human enemies, misguided certainly, perhaps malevolent, but not under the direction of anything supernatural.

Unfortunately, Judaism’s rejection of the concept of Satan was not duplicated in Christianity. Almost eagerly, Christian sects expanded on the concept and, by the time that the Christian Bible was canonized, Satan had become “the very personification of the spirit of evil, as an independent personality, the Antichrist. . . . the author of all evil” (Ency. Jud.). Moreover, they began to identify this newly empowered Satan with Jews.

As Pagels books shows, the earliest gospel, that of Mark, emphasizes a cosmic struggle between God’s people and Satan’s people with, ironically, both armies coming from the ranks of the Jews. God’s people are of course those who have accepted Christ as the messiah. A quarter of a century later, Matthew picks up the theme but is more explicit: Satan’s people are, or at least are led by, the Pharisees. Luke is even stronger. Only those people who have formally become Christian are really on God’s side; all others are witting or unwitting agents of Satan.

Finally, with the Gospel of John, the last and most difficult of the four canonized gospels, we come to a writer who speaks from a position similar to that of the Essenes. He simply sees the Jews, now undifferentiated, as the enemies of God. “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do'’ (John 8:44) – a phrase that is the origin of the saying that Jews are “the spawn of Satan.” How can one characterize such views other than to call them anti-Semitic. And as James Carroll’s exhaustive study, Constantine’s Sword, shows, the Catholic Church gave anti-Semitism a central place in Church history with disastrous consequences for Jews for the next 2000 years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000) .

That is a pretty somber note on which to conclude. As you may know, it is a rule that neither Torah readings nor haftarah sections should end on a downbeat. I believe that rule should extend to divrai Torah as well. Let me therefore offer one ray of light. You are all safe from Satan on Yom Kippur. How do we know that? Because the numerical equivalent of the letters in the three Hebrew letters sin-tet-nun add up to 364, one short of the number of days in a year. The 365th day is Yom Kippur, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, and it is therefore obvious that Satan has no power on that day.

Shabbat Shalom

http://www.adath-shalom.ca/Satan_dvim.htm

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I see Satan as yin to God's yang. I suppose, if you stretch it, it coincides with an end-of-harvest celebration, because, after that, you have cold and death and more darkness... things associated with 'badness' or 'evil.' I think it's much more of the old "there can be no light without darkness" bit.

The things I see Christians attributing to satan - temptation and the like - are also very human characteristics. Is peer pressure actually satan?

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Posted (edited)

PA, you may find this somewhat lengthy transcript of interest:

SATAN IN JEWISH AND EARLY CHRISTIAN THOUGHT

Hi mklsgl, thanks for the article. It was most interesting. I generally agree with the facts presented, but disagree in some of the inferences and conclusions the author makes on the basis of those facts.

I agree that the concept of "Satan" as an individual is not elaborated on until the latter years of Hebrew scriptures. But that does not mean it was "invented" at that time. To switch the argument around, did Abraham have the same information about God that Moses did? Abraham entered into a covenant with God, but he didn't really know a great deal about who God was (Moses had to ask God's name - thus Moses was given more information about God than Abraham). It is entirely consistent with scripture that knowledge of God, and God's plan (including Satan) is revealed slowly, not all dumped on just one person or group of persons at one stage in history.

Satan is first revealed in Job, and whether one considers Job as fact or fiction (I know you have used this text from a literary standpoint), the theology does not change - whether literal or metaphorical, the point is that God is in control, and Satan is his obedient servant (as I mentioned in my previous post, from my position, the most interesting philosophical discussion about the Christian and Jewish view of Satan is whether Satan enjoyed the task that God gave him, or whether Satan was a reluctant accuser, only acting because God demanded it).

Many Christians have made Satan out to be a figure very close to (or sometimes even equal) to God.... that is to say, a Dualistic approach of good-and-evil. And many Christians today still see it this way - hence as I also pointed out, I can only speak for my self as a Christian in this matter and agree with the Jewish concept of Satan as a faithful servant (the textual basis for Satan being a rebellious angel is rather slim, but to avoid taking us off-track I won't discuss the details here). I do not think I am the only Christian in the world who believes this, but I understand that there are some (or even many) Christians who do elevate Satan to near-god status.

My biggest issue with the article actually has nothing to do with the nature of Satan, but rather the "persecution complex" the author seems to have about Jewish beliefs. It appears to me that the author of the article was trying to put the agenda forward that Christianity was the primary cause for anti-Semitism for the past 2000 years. Obviously religion sometimes plays a part, but the implications brought forth by the article suggest that the New Testament (the Christian addition of the Hebrew scriptures) facilitates and encourages such anti-Semitic attitudes, and the author even alludes (albeit, subtly) that Christians are inherently anti-Semitic in nature, using a set of texts (the New testament) that the author believes paints the Jewish leaders (the Pharisees) as agents of evil (a view that I do not hold to, I should add).

As I said, this was an interesting article, and from an historical perspective it seems quite valid - the historical data appears at first glance to be accurate (though I am no expert on this). But on reflection of the concepts addressed, it is my conclusion that the author was making invalid conclusions based on the presented data. Satan as an opposition to God was only a later understanding of Judaism (and Christianity) but this is not unexpected within the Bible, which continually adds to our understanding of God and His Plan (from Abraham to David to the later Old Testament prophets [and for Christians] to the teachings of Christ and the early apostles - each period of Hebrew/Christian history reveals new details about God that we don't get simply from the first few books of the Torah). I do not take this revelation so far as to suggest a "war in heaven" or any kind of rebellion of Satan and a third of the angels (a popular understanding of Christians, in my opinion).

I hope this answer makes sense to you, mklsgl. As I said, my major issue with the article was not with the understanding of Satan but the links made between Christianity and anti-Semitism, which I think are unwarranted from a textual point of view.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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I hope this answer makes sense to you, mklsgl. As I said, my major issue with the article was not with the understanding of Satan but the links made between Christianity and anti-Semitism, which I think are unwarranted from a textual point of view.

~ Regards, PA

Your response, PA, makes perfect sense to me. What you read was only one rabbi's opinion given to a Shabbat audience in his synagogue. In the US until the late 1960s, it was taught in many parochial/Catholic schools that Jews were 'agents of Satan who killed Jesus.' Pervading Jewish culture for 2500+/- years has been the 'tradition' of being the persecuted Other. So, when you read something like this, that particular POV often shows itself without being contrived in any way. Essentially, it's an inherent defense-mechanism--if that makes sense?

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I think my view closely matches PAs. Satan is a created being, who was given his purpose by God, and is not God's opposite equivalent. He is dangerous, and Scripture does warn believers to be aware of him and his ability to mislead believers, "8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Where Christians get the idea that Satan is somehow equal to God, I have yet to understand.

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Your response, PA, makes perfect sense to me. What you read was only one rabbi's opinion given to a Shabbat audience in his synagogue. In the US until the late 1960s, it was taught in many parochial/Catholic schools that Jews were 'agents of Satan who killed Jesus.' Pervading Jewish culture for 2500+/- years has been the 'tradition' of being the persecuted Other. So, when you read something like this, that particular POV often shows itself without being contrived in any way. Essentially, it's an inherent defense-mechanism--if that makes sense?

That's a fair assertion, though I have not personally being witness to such views that Jews were "agents of Satan who killed Jesus". Maybe it's the time-period I grew up in, or perhaps the society. Either way, I was simply sharing the views I have been confronted with. Thanks for sharing :tu:

~ PA

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I think my view closely matches PAs. Satan is a created being, who was given his purpose by God, and is not God's opposite equivalent. He is dangerous, and Scripture does warn believers to be aware of him and his ability to mislead believers, "8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Where Christians get the idea that Satan is somehow equal to God, I have yet to understand.

I am not surprised. Though we do disagree from time to time on various interpretation/s of the Bible, we generally hold to the same core concepts of Christianity (this being just one of them). I wish you the best with your walk with God, IamsSon, and I hope that our agreement here as Christians may be of use to others, particularly since we don't always agree on exactly the same point/s of scripture.

~ Regards, PA

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Posted (edited)

I think my view closely matches PAs. Satan is a created being, who was given his purpose by God, and is not God's opposite equivalent. He is dangerous, and Scripture does warn believers to be aware of him and his ability to mislead believers, "8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Where Christians get the idea that Satan is somehow equal to God, I have yet to understand.

For me, personally, the answer is in two parts. The lesser part is my own understanding of the contextual whole of the bible, where i think the role of satan is clear from genesis to revelations . However, I recognise that the bible is open to subjective interpretations, no matter what it contains. So my more imperative reason for seeing satan as almost equal in power to god, is in observing human nature.

Humans are open to great good and great evil. In human hearts/ emotions and minds/ intellect, satan has equal power and influence to god. Every heart and every mind is open, and free to be convinced by either satan or god. It is in this, that the true power and danger of satan exists. If we had no free will, then satan would have no power over us. We do, and so he has power.

Satan is known as the great deceiver with good reason. His appeals include powerful logics and emotions which appeal to the way humans feel and think.

Gods way is too restrictive for some.

Even so the physical results of the choices people make for good and evil are observable every day; in our own lives, our local communities, and in the television, radio, and newspaper reports we see, hear, or read.

Satans way is not a subset of gods way or will. God does not want us to chose satan's way. He wants us to chose his way, but he leaves that choice entirely to us .

To do otherwise would abrogate the basic nature of humanity and its relationship with god. We are gods'd only if/ when we chose to be so.

While god welcomes all of us, he can not force us to come to him. It is this which gives satan the power he has.

God cannot be blamed for giving satan power That power exists only in the free will god gives all his sapient creations. It is part of the whole deal, without which we could not chose to love, or obey, god.

Edited by Mr Walker

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~~~ ...

... God does not want us to chose satan's way. He wants us to chose his way, but he leaves that choice entirely to us .

To do otherwise would abrogate the basic nature of humanity and its relationship with god. We are gods'd only if/ when we chose to be so.

While god welcomes all of us, he can not force us to come to him. It is this which gives satan the power he has.

God cannot be blamed for giving satan power That power exists only in the free will god gives all his sapient creations. It is part of the whole deal, without which we could not chose to love, or obey, god.

Folks, I'm commenting specifically on the above aspect in Mr Walker's post, because imo it pretty well perfectly fits in with the idea that God is creating character in human minds -- to learn to choose one specific way in life, against all opposition, and in all circumstances. When "perfect" character develops within one's psyche, that person could then be regarded as spiritually, emotionally and otherwise of the same nature as God; aka "in God's likeness".

Only such developed character would be suitable for those humans who are to be raised as immortal spirit children of God, as members of God's family.

Just tossing in a thought here, without enlarging on it, :)

Karlis

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Excellent post Norwood. Personally I believe it is based on the person themselves. If they are the type to avoid things out of fear as their main focus then it is most likely Satan will be just another thing made bigger than it is because of fear. On the other hand if they are the type who seek out positive things as their main focus then Satan will not play that great of a role.

I recently noticed that my childhood home was at one time a fun place to be in where I could run around the house in huge circles because of the layout. Then as my parents got deep into a very hard-core church we lost our television, stopped celebrating holidays, and avoided 'the world'. They also shut one of the two doors in their bedroom so that I no longer could run around in full circles through the house. That act alone was very indicative of the type of energy we were living under, which was no longer flowing freely.

Bottom line if you are more worried about not sinning than you are focused on just simply doing good and being positive, if you find yourself praying in a very panicky state, begging for help as a habit instead of simply talking to God calmly and awaiting for the signs in return, then it is most likely you are living under fear and actually praying to Panic and not to God.

At least that is how I feel.

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Enjoying everybody's points and wanted to guage a response to my most recent thoughts on the subject. Balance in the cosmos seems important in the sense that there is attraction and repulsion and this is what brings about change and motion. Emotion of the observer are very important in the latest quantum research but I may be digressing a bit sorry. My point is that God is neither good nor evil, he is divine, he is all and none sort of thing. IMO that would make Satan comparablle to matter opposed to the spirit of God. There is the space to have Jesus as the good aspect and Nimrod as the evil. It could be that there are just the two forces with God as the source of both but in the essence of balance I see there being four elements and it making at least a little sense.

The thread has reminded me of my favourite Jimi Hendrix quote "Only the power of love can overcome the love of power"

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Maybe I missed something some of you still haven't anwsered why Christian tend to give Satan more power then other Judeo-Christian faiths.

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Maybe I missed something some of you still haven't anwsered why Christian tend to give Satan more power then other Judeo-Christian faiths.

Because they haven't actually studied the Bible. That's the only possible answer I can come up with because Scripture clearly teaches that Satan is not God's equal, and teaches that God protects His children.

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Maybe I missed something some of you still haven't anwsered why Christian tend to give Satan more power then other Judeo-Christian faiths.

If they wanted to obscure the nature of Nimrod; then raising Satan to a position of great evil would be the best method on top of destroying the texts. It's just a shame or perhaps a blessing about the Qumran scrolls.

You make a good point though, why increase the importance of Satan above Judaism? IMO to draw attention, to distract and to deceive. If Satan is the opposite of God then he is not good or evil, he just is...

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If they wanted to obscure the nature of Nimrod; then raising Satan to a position of great evil would be the best method on top of destroying the texts. It's just a shame or perhaps a blessing about the Qumran scrolls.

You make a good point though, why increase the importance of Satan above Judaism? IMO to draw attention, to distract and to deceive. If Satan is the opposite of God then he is not good or evil, he just is...

In my opnion it shows that Judaism & Christianty are two very different faiths.

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Posted (edited)

Maybe I missed something some of you still haven't anwsered why Christian tend to give Satan more power then other Judeo-Christian faiths.

I can answer but I am not sure you will be satisfied with the answer Norwood. Have you ever considered the differences between how witches were treated in various countries in Europe throughout history? The treatment was not always the same depending on the region.

If one takes a closer look they can see that in the north of Europe, where the weather is colder, where crop failures are more prone to occur, that witches were more associated with the Devil and considered a greater threat, i.e., being behind a crop failure.

In the south of Europe where food was more abundant this was not always the case in how witches were thought of. Clearly we can begin to see how many factors play a part in how people will approach things.

Not satisfied with merely giving details about witchcraft, Burckhardt also evolves a theory about it. He compares the classical witch, about whom he was able to find quite a lot of material in original texts, with the witches hunted and brought to trial by followers of Institor and Sprenger in the north of Italy, in regions close to Switzerland and the Tyrol. And he does not hesitate to assert that the real source of the findings of witch-hunters in those parts was the fertile imagination of mendicant friars. He maintains, in fact, that about the Malleus and a hundred years of witch-trials conditioned people to believe in the possibility of the practices which these had condemned. Witchcraft, therefore, as described by the inquisitorial treatises, was of German origin.

'The Italian witch', he says in conclusion, 'has a job and wants to earn money. Above all she must have a good deal of sang-froid and act rationally. Not for her the hysterical visions of the witches of the North, belief in long rides through the air and so forth.'

The stregha is simply an aider and abettor of pleasure, a servant of God Eros. She finds her proper place in the works of Aretinus who describes not only witches themselves but also the objects used by courtesans to attract their loves.

...

Two great cities-Papal Rome and Naples-gave these women a home.

From page 100 in The World of the Witches by Julio Caro Baroja.

As we can see Burckhardt did not believe in fanciful stories about witches and blamed the burning times on the imaginations of the clergy. He clearly though did see how they were treated different farther north than in Rome and Naples where they thrived. Baroja goes on to explain how Burckhardt also differentiated between witches in the countryside and the sorceresses of more urban areas. The latter are the ones who had clientele among the noble classes in making love matches and doing spells of that sort.

Now I know this is about witches but we can clearly see how some Christians are afraid of Satan but others were just more concerned with living life and getting love spells done for them.

In my opnion it shows that Judaism & Christianty are two very different faiths.

The most fear I believe is expressed by that one small group of Muslim men who themselves even veil their face in public in fear that an evil spirit will be breathed in. It really does not serve well to compare religions to see which is better but to recognize they all have strengths and weaknesses. To understand how some of them are shaped by their environment and how the same religion can take on two different expressions because of two different environments itself is quite fascinating.

In conclusion it has nothing to do with religion in why some people fear the Devil. The same people without Christianity would still be fearful, of the environment, of global warming, of politics, of the bomb, of others not letting them live as they wish, they would feel the world is against them either way in some form.

My wife just told me that now days when the oranges freeze that we do not blame witches or the Devil but simply expect to pay more for oranges at the grocery store.

Edited by Rosewin

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Posted (edited)

It is my belief that Christians give Satan all this power over people because it keeps worshippers in line. He's the bogie man, the spook story.

You got it luvie..... the ultimate scare tactic lol well they stole the idea off older religions but hey all just a scare tactic

I thought I was smart using monsters and even Freddy with Becky.....until she announced that she loves monsters and she pretnds to be Freddy....ohh good griefwacko.gif .........Now? well she is bored with Freddy she now tells me there is a ghost that is in her room and plays with her toysrolleyes.gif

I am fresh out of scare tactics for that kid...........sigh!! Ohh nope I still use the car wash scare tactic .....see Becky hates it when I drive through the automatic car wash...the big brushes scare her.......so if I want her to go to bed on time.if she balls at me and says NO!!.........I say - ok then let me get my keys and off to the car wash for Becky....................annnnnnnd that shuts her up and before I know it, she is in her bed teeth brushed and allw00t.gif

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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