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Featured How important is Satan in your faith or worldview?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Dawnofhope, Oct 23, 2018.

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  1. He literally exists

    30.0%
  2. He is a symbol for our lower nature

    25.0%
  3. He is a mythical creature that assists us understand spiritual truths

    12.5%
  4. He plays no part in my faith

    22.5%
  5. I don't know

    5.0%
  6. This poll doesn't reflect my thinking

    27.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    I was speaking to an RF member of another faith recently about Satan. In some faiths there is a belief in a literal who is this malevolent being in the spiritual realm that is responsible for a great deal of the evil that happens in the world. Its not part of my worldview as Satan is seen as part of the lower self.

    The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two expressions, one is the expression of nature, the other the expression of the spiritual realm…. God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of nature.
    Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 294–295.

    “The meaning of the serpent is attachment to the human world.”
    Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 123.

    The discussion took an almost inevitable and familiar direction that my very disbelief in Satan was a reflection of how powerful he really was. Afterall he had convinced me he didn't exist. Further my entire faith was in all likelihood founded on Satan's deception. Well it must be, if I didn't believe what he believed, what other explanation could there be! Further my irritation and unhappiness with such a conversation reflected a personal inadequancy on my part as well as my faith. Fortunately the conversation didn't last too long. It did leave me wondering about the benefits or risks of having a worldview that included a literal Satan. Perhaps Satan could be more helpful if seen as part of an allegorical narrative that teaches us spiritual truths or representative of aspects of our own nature we often struggle with.

    Any comments and questions appreciated as always.
     
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  2. Cooky

    Cooky Veteran Member

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    We think he's an actual dude. A being. Capable of deception, and trickery.
     
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  3. Riders

    Riders Well-Known Member

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    Its sick low and terrible the fear that religions use with this creature.If it does exist I don't allow Satan to get power over me by believing in him, belief in him gives him the glory, and he has power over my life.

    Churches and religions who teach fear with Satan glorify Satan and to me worship the devil by giving Satan so much power in their lives, and to me it makes some religions and churches dark.
     
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  4. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Well no offense, I must disagree you. I know that Satan is a literal being. He was not created evil. He rebelled against God. He's not the only one either; as there were many so called fallen angels.

    They were known as the archons/rulers. They were powerful beings who had authority in heaven and on earth. Now they use their power and authority for their own purposes instead of God's purpose. They agreed together since ancient times to wage war on God. Adam(mankind) became the easiest target because he had fallen in sin.

    Some of them have already been locked up until judgment day. (You can thank God for that truly it is a very good thing!) But there are many more who are not locked up yet. They continue the revolt against God on earth.

    No wonder our cities are filled with crime and gangs. Drugs, murder, sex trafficking. It's often because of the witchcraft being done that gives Satan dominion over these areas. He sets up a principality and that's it. The crime rate goes crazy etc. The strong man has taken over. Only someone stronger than the strong man can bind him.

    You fight back against Satan by showing love. Loving everyone. Because satan has no permission to act when we love one another. He has permission through hatred, strife and such things. Being kind, sticking up for what is right even when it's not popular. And praying to the true God in Jesus name for other people. Praying for their benefit. That they'll be delivered from demons and that they'll be blessed. Saved. Delivered from drugs, and every type of demon or curse or spell.

    Demons are as real as you or I. Except they're not physical entities. They're spirits. They move like the wind and are able to pass through physical objects such as doors etc. So beware of them because their most heinous action is to influence people's thoughts and thus their actions. He's not called the tempter for nothing. In some cases they may even insert thoughts into people's heads. They do this in such a way that the person thinks it is their own thoughts. So for example they start the thought off with "I" so the person thinks it is themselves. In this way they influence and control people.

    They originate many "mental illnesses". They then perpetuate the problem through these thoughts. They can make people worry and have obsessive thoughts. For only one example (of many) Obsessive compulsive disorder can be one of the worst torments someone can face. This is often caused by demons. They keep putting worrisome thoughts in someone's mind until they become OCD.
     
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  5. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    Thank you for sharing the Catholic perspective. If Satan really existed and exerted the influence he's claimed to have had, then it would obviously be helpful to be on your guard. Have you ever had any personal encounters with Satan? Hope you don't mind the personal question.
     
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  6. LiveByFaithNotSight

    LiveByFaithNotSight The Art Of Conversing

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    the bible clear on not fearing Satan

    Should We Fear the Devil?

    Very strengthening to anointed Christians are these words of Jesus Christ: “Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of you into prison that you may be fully put to the test, and that you may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) Anointed ones and their companions with an earthly hope are not afraid of the Devil. This lack of fear does not stem from inherent courage. It exists because they have reverential fear of God and ‘take refuge in the shadow of his wings.’—Psalm 34:9; 36:7.

    Fearless early disciples of Jesus Christ proved faithful to death despite the things they suffered. They did not succumb to fear of what Satan the Devil could do, for they knew that Jehovah would never abandon those who proved loyal to Him. Similarly, in the face of intense present-day persecution, anointed Christians and their dedicated associates are determined not to break their integrity to God. However, the apostle Paul indicated that the Devil could cause death. Should that not make us fearful?

    Paul said that Jesus ‘partook of blood and flesh’ that “through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil; and that he might emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14, 15) As “the one having the means to cause death,” Satan got control of Judas Iscariot and then used the Jewish leaders and the Romans to execute Jesus. (Luke 22:3; John 13:26, 27) Through his sacrificial death, however, Jesus frees sinful mankind from Satan’s grip and makes it possible for us to have everlasting life.—John 3:16.

    To what extent does the Devil have the means to cause death? Well, from the start of Satan’s career of wickedness, his lies and leadings have caused death among humans. This is because Adam sinned and thus passed sin and death on to the human family. (Romans 5:12) In addition, Satan’s earthly servants have persecuted worshippers of Jehovah, sometimes to the point of death, even as they did in the case of Jesus Christ.

    Nevertheless, we should not think that the Devil can cause the death of any individual whom he wants to kill. God protects those belonging to Him and will never permit Satan to wipe out all true worshippers on earth. (Romans 14:8) True, Jehovah allows persecution to come upon all his people, and he permits death to come to some of us as a result of the Devil’s assaults. Yet, the Scriptures hold out the wonderful hope of a resurrection for those in God’s “book of remembrance”—and the Devil can do absolutely nothing to prevent such restoration of life!—Malachi 3:16; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.
     
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  7. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein I'm not deaf, I'm just a real bad listener
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    I don't see Satan as an actual being but an archetype for the "shadow side" of our psyches that frightens us and that we repress. It's a Jungian thing to me. It's worthy of exploring but not for the faint of heart.
     
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  8. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    Happy birthday and thank you for sharing your perspective. I'm not offended and I've started this thread in the religious debates section to allow each of us to openly and freely express views. So it is excellent you have contributed as you have.

    I used to believe in Satan many years ago. I found the more I thought about him, the darker my thoughts became. Eventually a minister of a church I attended picked up on the negativity I was feeling and informed me I was possessed by the Devil. This was extremely disturbing news and I spent that night unable to sleep in a state of utter turmoil and inner conflict. I felt as if I was going crazy. Perhaps I would have as I witnessed my thoughts revolve as a battleground of the forces of light and darkensss.

    However the next morning I was totally freed from my perplexity and anguish. I decided that I didn't really believe in the Devil, and if he was real what I was experiencing most likely had nothing to so with Satan. It was my own thought processes. It occurred to me, the minister was wrong to have said what he said. I went to see the head minister who doubted the other minister would have actually said such a thing. In some respects I wasn't suprised the whole matter was swept under the carpet and not dealt with. Several months later I lost any inclination to attend that church. Several years later I became a Baha'i.

    That all happened over 30 years ago but seems as real to me now as it was then. I'm a medical doctor now and spent seven years working as a psychiatry intern. I don't see any evidence that any of my patients have been possessed but I've had a few that thought they were.

    OTOH I do believe in God, Jesus and the Bible. I see Satan as allegorical and symbolic and not literally real. I suppose if a belief in Satan makes sense and works for you then you should persist with it. Such a belief makes little sense to me and when I believed in Satan it wasn't helpful.

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. Its always good to have opposing views on threads such as these.:)
     
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  9. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    This post captures in part how a belief in Satan can be used to manipulate and exploit others. Regardless of whether he’s real or not, being positively focused with prayer and reflection on sacred writings (the bible for a Christian) and striving to live should overcome any unhealthy preoccupation with Satan.

    I imagine leaving a church that controls it’s members by fear could be very hard for some.
     
  10. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    From my perspective, there is no being called "satan". Rather the forces which are called "maya" is the power by which the universe becomes manifest; the illusion or appearance of the phenomenal world.
     
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  11. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Its got to be the work of an overactive imagination. I tend to think people invent such things to let other people's imaginations run wild with the conception of it.

    A devour of souls i have heard Satan called. That is atrocious to think of, and a waste of time to consider. Some real life criminals are heinous enough without conjuring one.

    Its all fear based psychological manipulation.
     
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  12. natasha levchenko

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    we determine whether Satan is a real person by the same standards of judgment that we use for determining whether Caesar and Napoleon were real, personal beings.
    we determine whether Satan is a real person by the same standards of judgment that we use for “determining whether Caesar and Napoleon werereal, personal beings.
    Many laugh at the idea that Satan even exists. To them, Satan and the demons are characters found only in books, horror movies, and video games. Such people feel that if you are intelligent, you would not believe that wicked spirits exist. Does it bother Satan that people do not believe that he and his demons are real? No. It is easier for Satan to trick those who doubt that he exists.
    2 Corinthians 4:4 says

    4 among whom the god of this system of things*+ has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,+ so that the illumination* of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God,+ might not shine through.+
    When I was 15 I used to tell the fortune .I didn't believe in satan at that time .but my life changed drastically shortly afterwards. And I suffered much .I was afraid of sleeping at night because of the terrible noise in my room which was coming out of nowhere .many years have passed but I 'll never forget the fear I experienced
     
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  13. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    It sounds quite Dharmic. I am reminded of Maya the goddess of illusion in Hinduism or maya as used to depict the illusory nature of this mortal life in Buddhism. So a personification of such an attribute could even appear a little similar to Satan as understood by some Christians.
     
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  14. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein I'm not deaf, I'm just a real bad listener
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    It doesn't necessarily have the negative connotations, though. It's just part of a cosmic process. It's neither good nor evil.
     
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  15. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    Thank you for your post Natasha. It sounds as if you have had a personal experience with Satan and the knowledge of his existence has been accompanied by fear. As Satan has made himself known to you it would be hard for you to disbelieve in him.

    It is certainly true Satan would not be seen as an historic character like Caeser. No credible historic records exists of such a man and woman.

    We all have an image in our mind as to waht Satan and his band of demons appears like but for one who believes in the Bible I am reminded of Exodus 20:4 where we should not make for ourselves of any beings in heaven or the underworld:

    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    So having such gruesome imagines from decades of horror movies that have entertained (for want of a better word) generations is not helpful and not what God would want of us.

    The verse from St Paul may be better taken in context:

    But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
    But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
    For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

    So perhaps Satan could be used to refer to the illusory nature of this world as opposed to that which leads us to the spirit and our walk with Jesus?
     
  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I have to side with Jesus on this one. If satan is an allegorical character then so is Jesus. If Jesus is real then he was tempted by a real entity because Jesus had no sinful nature to grapple with. Without the devil, the Bible's whole narrative collapses. He is the reason why humans lost their direct relationship with the Father.....he is the reason why Jesus became the mediator....the reason why he came to offer up his life in exchange for what Adam lost.

    John wrote...
    "5 You know, too, that he [Jesus] was made manifest to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Everyone remaining in union with him does not practice sin; no one who practices sin has either seen him or come to know him. 7 Little children, let no one mislead you......The one who practices sin originates with the Devil, because the Devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, to break up the works of the Devil......The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Whoever does not practice righteousness does not originate with God, nor does the one who does not love his brother." (1 John 3:5-10)

    I can see how some get a bit carried away by the ideas that the Bible provides...but there is really nothing to fear from the devil.

    The disciple James (thought to be the half brother of Jesus) wrote that Christ's disciples should..."subject yourselves to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones." (James 4:7-8)

    This appears to be the the secret to not letting the devil gain the mastery over us. If we actively oppose the devil, then he has no power over us. OTOH if we invite him into our lives by leaving the true God and giving attention to the spiritual things that the devil promotes, we will be led down a very dark path, illuminated by "an angel of light". (2 Cor 11:14-15)

    He's the Pied Piper.....and he's playing a very attractive tune. [​IMG]
     
    #16 Deeje, Oct 24, 2018
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  17. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    I think it is a great deal less sinister and malevolent than Satan in our culture. I wonder how Hindus would feel about the Goddess Maya? I would not want to be deceived and have the capacity to see things as they really are. To be enable to acheive enlightenment where my mind is freed from illusion and delusion. Perhaps that is a similar phenomenon to what Jesus talked about when He said the truth shall set ye free (John 8:32). Could it be that Salvation is actually a state of Christ consciousness that frees of us from deception and unreality (Satan) as Buddha consciousness leads to enlightenment freed from Maya?
     
  18. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    The problem with this argument is you are comparing Jesus to Satan. I wouldn't go there, but lets run with it. In regards historicity Jesus is believed by the majority of historians to have existed as an actual man who was born to a woman Mary, taught His disciples and was crucified. If you want to believe that Satan was also around in the form of a man or perhaps part man, part animal, then that's a very different proposition. No historian would vouch for the literal existence of such a character.

    If your narrative of the bible depends on literalism then I agree it does all come tumbling down like a house of cards. Is it the biblical literalist who is deceived or the one who perceives the spiritual truth within the stories? Jesus Himself spoke in parables so as to convey hidden spiritual truths to distinguish the faithful from the faithless, the seeing from the blind, the hearing from the deaf. So it would seem likely that the gospel writers and His Apostles would often speak in such a manner.

    If we want to talk about the beginning then we look to Genesis 1 where God creates the world in six days and then soon after in Genesis 2 when God creates the garden of Eden along with Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3 enter the serpent (Satan) who tempts Eve with the apple. We know what happens next and soon Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden and on that fateful day the serpent deprived of its legs, crawls on his made for all eternity to crawl in His belly. Of course the serpent is really Satan and He isn't really crawling on his belly because in good time he is one of the counsellors at God's side and have great chat to the Lord about His faithful servant Job 1. An incredible story unfolds and pretty soon Satan is out in the desert chatting away to Jesus, tempting Him for 40 days and 40 nights.

    It all sounds like allegorial stories, often built around historic characters that have been mythologised. But if the story of Jesus and Satan is literally true, then so too might Job's story, then Adam and Eve and perhaps the literal creation of the world in six days six thousand years ago. If you want to believe that all to be literally true we all have that freedom of belief. It all looks as much a house of cards to me as my belief appears to you. So I too am with Jesus but with a different way of looking at the bible. :)
     
  19. Marcion

    Marcion gopa of humanity's controversial Taraka Brahma

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    Mixing spiritual philosophy with Abrahamic types of mythical thinking is a very tricky if not unwise business and to be honest quite a waste of time.;)
     
    #19 Marcion, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  20. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    Of course not. We don't want the 'enlightened' Eastern mystics such as yourself to be in any way confused and brought down to the base level of us primitive Abrahamics!:D
     
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