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The Devil and Satan
"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism." − Sir William Osler
And we might add to the sentiment in the above quote, "the greater the superstition and mysticism."
In the annals of human life experience there is nothing much more tragic than the potent, abiding, and debilitating fear of something that is not real. I have some experience with this because as a youngster in a fundamentalist denomination I was told from the pulpit more than once that "we never know when we may be on the Devil's ground." Fortunately, I didn't pay that much attention to that particular teaching. But the point is: SHAME on a denomination that allows this egregious fear-mongering. So, let us take a candid look at the Christian concepts of the Devil and Satan.
Elsewhere in this site it is explained that these two conceptual entities are NOT the same, and yet Christendom in its careless and ignorant propaganda fuses−CONFUSES−the two into being the same bugaboo nightmare individual. A little careful research just in the encyclopedias will show this confusion to not hold true.
Diabolos, the Divider, known in Christianity as the Devil, is generally believed to be a fallen high ranking or super angel−some believe the very first created being−that rebelled against the cosmos or system ordained by God. Probably the most prominent explanation for this is that he wanted to be equal to Jesus the creator and was jealous and resentful that this could not be. Another is that he was jealous and resentful of Adam because of God's regard.
Satan−the word means blocker, obstructer, or adversary−in the Old Testament and orthodox Judaistic myth is NOT a fallen angel but plays a role in testing God's children. The somewhat comparable figure in Islam is known as Iblis or Shaitan, and is generally considered to be a fallen jinn. Whatever!
In one guise or another this figure in the vast amount of Christian, Islamic and Judaistic legend and myth has been identified as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the dragon, the originator of evil in the universe and war in heaven, the dark lord Ahriman, Azazel the despoiler of earthly women, Beelzebub lord of the flies, Lucifer the morning star, etc. The serious student of astral catastrophism will recognize the strong connection to the raging, destructive planets of Venus and Mars. Again, whatever!
However, since Jesus personified the original lie by using the term Diabolos and describing him as the "father of lies" going around "like a roaring lion", the issue must be dealt with.
The first major point against believing in a literal Devil is that in a perfect setting of equality, cooperation, no lack, no injustice, no higher or lower ranks, no favoritism, there is just no room for jealousy to blossom in an unfallen being of intelligence.
Another major point is that EVEN IF such a being somehow developed, it would seem to be unjust and ignoble for God to turn this now completely evil, sociopathic super being with ranks and ranks of equally evil henchmen loose on his innocent children. Kind of like turning a large pack of rabid dogs loose in the backyard where the children are playing. What responsible parent would do THAT? And for such an incredibly important and powerful enemy, Jesus didn't really say much about how to deal with this agency of danger.
Another is the tragicomic taxation upon one's imagination to conceive of a being so bereft of redeeming qualities that he would nurse an angry resentment while being free and still viable and alive without the support of the life source.
Those superstitious people that wallow in guilt and fear NEED the Devil to assuage themselves. No matter how low they sink, they always have someone who is worse AND someone else they can blame instead of their own spiritual/intellectual irresponsibility..
The fathomless questions that come are legion. Where do the demons live, how do they maintain their lives, how do they get along, why don't they turn on each other, etc.?
What is astoundingly pathetic is that many believe in this evil agency more fervently than they believe in the agency of merit.