Posts Tagged ‘heretics’

What is the devil?

Oct
10
The Devil is believed in certain religions and folklore to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The Devil is commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. The Abrahamic religions have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin or commit evil deeds. Others regard the Devil as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment. In mainstream Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Hell. The Devil commands a force of evil angels, commonly known as demons. The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) describes the Adversary (Ha-satan) as an angel who instigates tests upon humankind. Many other religions have a trickster or tempter figure that is similar to the Devil. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that it symbolizes humans' own lower nature or sinfulness. People put the concept of the Devil to use in social and political conflicts, claiming that their opponents are influenced by the Devil or even willingly supporting the Devil. The Devil has also been used to explain why others hold beliefs that are considered to be false and ungodly. The name 'Devil' derives from the Greek word diabolos, which means 'slanderer' or 'accuser'. Some religions worship the Devil. This can be in a polytheistic sense where "God", Satan, and others are all deities with Satan as the preferred patron; or it can be from a more monotheistic viewpoint, where God is regarded as a true god, but is nevertheless defied. Some variants deny the existence of God and the Devil altogether, but still call themselves Satanists, such as Anton LaVey's Church Of Satan which sees Satan as a representation of the primal and natural state of mankind. Much "Satanic" lore does not originate from actual Satanists, but from Christians. Best-known would be the medieval folklore and theology surrounding demons and witches. A more recent example is the Satanic ritual abuse scare of the 1980s – beginning with the memoir Michelle Remembers – which depicts Satanism as a vast (and unsubstantiated) conspiracy of elites with a predilection for child abuse and human sacrifice. This genre regularly describes Satan as actually appearing in person in order to receive worship.