Satan aka The Devil aka The Big Bad Guy – Part One

On several occasions, I’ve left comments on other blogs I follow that one day I would write more about how the belief in Satan developed. As it turns out, after looking back through my post history, I discovered I’ve written about “The Devil” a number of times. Much of what I wrote was when my blog was comparatively new and I had few visitors … and even less comments.

Rather than start from scratch, I decided to simply copy and paste some of the posts … starting with this one that I wrote in July of 2011:

Watched “Beyond Belief: Battle with the Devil” on ABC’s Primetime last night and couldn’t stop shaking my head.

The gullibility of people never ceases to amaze me! But then, teachings that have been around several centuries are hard to shake. And group mentality/consciousness can be very strong.

The show spotlighted several individuals who believed they were ‘possessed’ by the devil because they had ‘opened themselves up’ to his powers.

Oh puleeeeze.

Some of them apparently got rid of the “Evil One” by retching into paper bags. Others relied on specially trained members of the Catholic Church to rid them of the “Prince of Darkness” through exorcism.

Believers say the Devil’s greatest trick is convincing people he doesn’t exist. Guess I’ve been hornswoggled because I, for one, do not believe in his existence. This is not to say there isn’t evil in the world, but is there a powerful and terrifying supernatural being promoting and generating that evil? Is there truly a supernatural entity with the power to “possess” people and control their actions? Is there some unseen spirit lurking in the shadows of humankind, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting individuals?

The facts are this: Satan was contrived during the post-exilic period by some creative Jewish writers to explain why the people were suffering under the rule of foreign nations. Obviously, they couldn’t blame Yahweh for their misfortune, so voila! The Big Bad Guy was born. (Zoroastrianism and Greek philosophy helped.) And, as we have seen, this malevolent monster has grown and thrived over the centuries.

Don’t believe me? Do the research. I did.

As time permits, I’ll post some other “oldies” that offer some insights on “Satan” and his development within Christianity. In the meantime, if you have questions related to the Big Bad Guy, please include them in the comment section and I’ll see what I can do to answer them in a future post.

Of course, for a full review of my perspective on Satan, I invite you to read my book. 🙂

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48 thoughts on “Satan aka The Devil aka The Big Bad Guy – Part One

  1. Wally has stated that my father is Satan. I do know my mother has called him an old devil from time to time but I am not sure this counts.

    I found that playing Cliff Richard records backwards far from producing a message from Satan merely ruined the records. Maybe simply listening to Cliff Richards causes possession?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well Ark you did post AC/DC’s Highway to Hell on your site a little while back!

      In Evangelical Circles ‘it is known’ that the band’s name really means Anti Christ/Devils’s Children.

      Actually in regard to Cliff Richard I never did hear what happened with the child abuse charges. Was the matter ever resolved?

      What I want to know is what are Christian folk doing playing their records backwards in the first place?

      Liked by 2 people

      • “In Evangelical Circles ‘it is known’ that the band’s name really means Anti Christ/Devils’s Children.”

        My god, that’s hysterically funny…as a catholic I didn’t get exposed to that particular line of, uh, logic. I think I also learned from you Peter that poly-cotton fabrics are what the devil wears. Apparently YHWH doesn’t wear mixed fabrics, according to the bible. LOL 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • How the band really got the name was that Angus Young saw the name on his sister’s sewing machine. He thoughts “that’s a good name”. Though they did almost drop it when a taxi driver told them it was also used to refer to people being bisexual.

          I can only assume that God doesn’t do the ironing. I ever bought one pure cotton shirt my experience of ironing it meant that I never purchased another.

          I once got an email from a Christian friend that gave alleged quotes from JK Rowling talking about how she delighted in leading children to Satan. A little while later I got another email clarifying that first email was in fact bogus. No doubt it was concocted by some mischievous person knowing how susceptible folk are to having their prejudices entertained.

          Liked by 3 people

          • What!? AC/DC also refers to people being bisexual? How the hell did I not know that? Jesus, I’m appalled at my lack of cultural references. You’ve given me quite an education in this life Peter. Another gem Peter’s taught me about Tasmania: google “map of tassie” for a laugh. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • I went to so many AC/DC concerts in my youth I lost count. They came to my town every year, which was a bit surprising considering how culturally conservative it is here. Thankfully no cross dressing was ever done on stage or they’d have been banned for life!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh boy. As a former devout catholic, I can tell you that the belief of satan and demons is very strong, and it’s strong for “good reasons.” The bible is filled with stories of demon possession and the Father of Lies and his Lake of Fire. If you’re indoctrinated into religion, these are things you unequivocally believe in. I assure you it’s no laughing matter.

    It’s certainly not a laughing matter to people who have suffered terrible tragedies because of these harmful beliefs. Victoria’s husband committed suicide because he thought he was demon possessed. The entire reason I deconverted is because in 2011 my newborn son was deemed demon possessed, and I was encouraged to get an exorcism for him…turns out he was neurologically disabled with autism.

    Experiences like these are crushingly painful, devastating, and life-destroying. I urge atheists be more sensitive to the tragedies that occur because of these harmful beliefs. You may laugh and call people gullible, but lives are destroyed over shit like this. 😦

    Liked by 5 people

    • Violet, I hope you realize I didn’t mean to discount the damages that belief in Satan can do. I admit I’ve never been around anyone that believed in “it” to the point of needing/asking for exorcism but that doesn’t lessen the damages such a belief can do.

      I’ve read your story about your son before and can (still) feel the pain of what you went through. The individuals that teach this shit should be shot by a firing squad … without any blindfold. And to make it even more effective? The ones with the guns should cry out … “Sorry! The Devil is making me do this!”

      Liked by 5 people

      • LOL…I often tease the believers in my life by saying, “the devil is making me do it!” They sure as heck don’t like that.

        The problem is it’s not a few individuals teaching this shit; all of christianity (most other religions too) endorse supernatural evil in the very marrow of their doctrines. So we can’t just shoot a few individuals…we have to dismantle all of religion. It’ll probably never happen, but I do dream of the f’ing day.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Violet. I am sorry what you went through. However even people deep in faith have access to information and the idea that not only are demons have not ever been shown to exist but that it is the same for many other mythical beings. So yes I will will continue to laugh and smirk at anyone who tries to tell me or maintain that this or that is caused by a demon. Yes I do take seriously any harm someone does due to this. For example recently a person killed their child because they thought the boy had a demon, like they did with your son. Had I heard them talking like this and knowing how little it takes to push a deluded person over the edge I would have taken steps to safe guard the child as best I could. But to say that we have to be serious when dealing with the ridiculous I just don’t agree. Be well. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fair enough. But as a child I did NOT have access to information that there were no demons. I grew up before the internet in a religious community in the conservative midwest. I was not even taught evolution in my *public* high school. I had never known or talked to someone who was not a christian until I deconverted at age 41. Where the heck would I have gotten an alternative perspective? Even as an adult, the university I went to was public but everyone there was christian, the major hospital I worked at was Catholic, and the libraries in our area didn’t have books on atheism at the time.

        Maybe kids in modern times have the upper hand because they have access to the internet and more balanced information at a young age, but this is not true for Gen X and older, who faced genuine, isolating indoctrination.

        If you want to laugh at ridiculous ideas go ahead…IMHO religion is indeed ridiculous. Just never forget that there are people, real people, behind ridiculous ideas who suffered greatly because of them.

        Maybe this is where life long atheists and deconverts diverge. You have never experienced religion at it’s most powerful, and have no understanding of what it’s like to be immersed in it from birth. I don’t find it funny, I find it fucking tragic…but that’s just my personal take.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Violet I do not know where you grew up. You say you had no way to know demons did not exist but you did figure out that Santa was not real? The Easter bunny? You say there was no internet and everyone was christian. Most people who claim to be christian and go to church are not serious about the guy with a pitch fork and his crew. They are social Christians. I can agree that there are places that have fundamentalist churches and church schools. But even in the church boarding school I attend we always talked about how fake and false god was. One of my friends was a pastors son and Eric talked about how it was a complete scam. I am 54. SO there were clues even in your area. The key is did you want to see and did you want to know. I have to tell you it sounds like you are describing a town all run by the same cult and everyone had to be a member to live in the town. I personally think a better explanation is rather than everyone being a christian in the whole town, in all the hospital, and in every class in every school, is that instead you were the Christian. You hung around with the christians, you talked the christian talk, your social circle was christian. What I am saying is you segregated your life to only the christians. You may not have realized you did this, but as you were pulled to the proclaiming christian circles you gave off the vibe to non-christian that you were not interested in anything non-christian. Sorry I grew up in New England and the alternative perspective was there if a person wanted to see it. It sounds to me you did not want to see it until you were older.
          Be well. Hugs

          Like

          • Thanks for your synopsis of my life and religious experiences. As a child, I was INDOCTRINATED. As an adult, yes, I choose to continue drinking the koolaid. I paid a horrible, devastating price for it and will feel guilty over it until the day I die. It seems you think I’m trying to duck responsibility for my ridiculous religious beliefs, and have not been held personally accountable for them. Rest assured I am fully aware of my part in the tragedy.

            I’m also aware many atheists think I’m stupid for my former beliefs. How ironic that after I left my faith, I was shunned by every family member, friend, and person I loved…because they thought I was stupid for NOT believing.

            This conversation demonstrates what I hate most about being a deconvert…we take bullets from both sides (theists and atheists), and yet we’ve been more damaged than either side. Fun.

            Liked by 3 people

            • No Violet you misunderstand my comments and my intent. I have already expressed my sorrow at what you went through. I do not like anyone to be harmed. I do not take joy in others pain. Your story is your story and you have the right to tell it as you wish. I wont bother to continue the conversation because it is upsetting to you. Be well, have an enjoyable weekend. Hugs

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            • Yes Scottie, I’m upset. Please, don’t ever compare a young child’s belief in santa clause and the easter bunny with what happens in childhood indoctrination. It’s thoroughly insulting and demonstrates you don’t have a clue what indoctrination really involves.

              For more info on the topic, please see this wonderful video by theramintrees:

              I’ve had many conversations with you and I know you to be a kind and compassionate person. I assume you meant no harm in this conversation. I do ask you think twice before using your last argument with another deconvert.

              Like

            • Hello Violet. I was responding to your description of where you live as a solid fundamentalist town where all the people were deep dyed in the wool non-wavering Christians. Now a cult compound like that I can see. But even the huge catholic universes has not been able to pull that off. Not the town here in Florida started with the university Ave Maria which is the corner stone for a whole town planned to be a christian strong hold could pull off having every one convinced that demons and the physical devil walking around talking, being, and doing, and taking over humans for a spin. While it may have seemed that way to you I do not doubt. But to have an entire town / small city so enthralled, so taken over like pod people from the body snatchers that no other view could be heard or seen is a reality that seems unattainable. Even the disciples had doubting Thomas. Someone must have had TV’s and radios.

              This is not to challenge your perception, nor your experience. This is not to belittle your life. As I said your story is your own and you have the rights to it, to tell it, to explain it as you wish.

              As this has become a no win situation for me this will be my last comment on this. Be well, enjoy your Sunday. Hugs

              Like

            • Scottie, I understand town was not taken over by christian body snatchers. I’m fully aware my perception was wrong, and that is why I left my devout faith despite the severe consequences of being shunned. I have actually lost jobs over refusing to pray at work after my deconversion.

              My guess is you paid very little price to walk away from cultural christianity. That’s just one thing that makes for our different perceptions.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Hey, I stumbled across this funny clip today and thought of our conversation, Scottie.

              The nail in my head is too much experience with indoctrination and hardcore religion, and the nail in your head is not enough experience with indoctrination and hardcore religion. Doubtful we’ll ever see eye to eye. 🙂

              Like

        • Violet given the vast numbers that do believe in religion around that the world belief is not a marginal position.

          I think the hardest thing is breaking out from and questioning the culture around you, the culture which has nurtured (I use that term advisedly).

          Liked by 1 person

        • @Scottie.

          This comes back to the Bubble post Nan wrote. Even “open-mindedness” can function as a kind of a Bubble. I suspect there really are parts of the county where you basically only know other white Christians or people like yourself. So when one grows up in an environment different than that (for example, my childhood friends consisted of Christians of various stripes, some Buddhists (of various Asian ethnicities), a Hindu, a Muslim, etc. it’s easy to forget not all places are as culturally and religiously diverse.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Violet wrote:

          But as a child I did NOT have access to information that there were no demons.

          Me either.

          And I did not figure the Santa Claus thing out on my own either. My mother told me at age 6.

          I’ve read that some people figured out the God thing in their early years and there is always this sense on my part of being a “less-than” human because I didn’t figure it out by age 8. Stupid dumb me.

          Couldn’t I know by age 8 that it was all a scam?

          Didn’t I realize that Jonah really could have been swallowed by a fish? How silly Zoe?

          Where were your brains?

          You believed the devil was real and there really was a hell? Good god Zoe, 3 bricks short of a load eh?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, my mom told me about the Santa and the Easter bunny at age 7. It can be hard to remember how easy it is to manipulate young children unless you spend a lot of time around them when you’re an adult. My six year old son saw the movie BFG and is convinced giants roam the woods…no words from me will convince him otherwise. Kids soak up information like little sponges, but they can’t critically evaluate much until they’re older.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Nan. I think the people all over in many different religions love having a devil. They can blame their worst actions on an unseen being and no one of their social / religious groupings can tell them they are wrong. So people are no longer responsible for their actions. Do something bad that you wanted to do and enjoyed, it was the devil or a demon who gave your the idea, did the dead, enjoyed doing it, leaving you to be the one to say sorry it was not me but the demon. I wonder if that is why so many priest / other religious leaders kept getting forgive and moved / hidden after they abused a child. “Sorry for raping 11 year old David but a demon crept into me at breakfast” I can hear the confessor say. Dang, now that I think of it , how much like a scapegoat is the devil and his demons. Get angry and hit someone, sorry I sneezed and a demon took hold of me just long enough to sling my arm. Be well. Hugs

    Like

  4. These eccentric people find a natural disaster, a political ideal, a fire, flood or various health problems and blame them on this non-existent devil\Satan and then pray like f–k to a non-existent God to fix it all. Not only is this totally bizarre and arguably inhumane but it defies basic human common sense when you consider their Christian God created and allowed evil in the world in the first place.

    The explanation for this religious irrationality is that science has found the parts of the brain that are utilised for superstitions and religious belief, and when these parts fire up other parts of the brain are suppressed, such as the parts that are used for analytical and logical thinking.

    Most of these poor indoctrinated individuals will never be able to obtain the use of these most crucial parts of the brain to analyse the information or practice logical thinking, and therefore they will never be free from these ancient man-made myths unless they really want to change their attitudes and take control of their lives.

    I do also understand that it would be beneficial for many of the over emotional, the unconfident, disadvantaged and some of the criminally positioned to stay with their particular religious faith as it would be for the benefit of us all.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Believers say the Devil’s greatest trick is convincing people he doesn’t exist.

    If I had a dollar for every time I was told that two-sided coin, well, you know the rest of the cliché… and can come visit me in my 1,000-acre 5,500 sq. ft. Palace in Monaco, or I’ll come get you in my 360-ft Jubilee luxury yacht — all of which I do not have. I didn’t accept those millions of dollars. 😛 😉

    With the exact same sincerity and certainty Believers have purported that to me, I reply: “Satan (not evil) is merely a cognitive psychological tool of non-accountability for you and those like you. It has been a manipulative way for religious people/clergy to not take ownership, individually and/or as a group, for their actions & behavior for too many millenia. On top of that, it/Satan is a straw-man used to manufacture a (false) need for a Proxy/Savior.

    Nan, I’m glad you distinguished Satan/Devil from evil human behavior. That’s a very common fallacy with Believers. There is also a difference between genetic or cellular malignities, deformities, etc, visible and invisible to the human senses.

    Looking forward to these future posts and comments. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We keep criticizing the facts of religion when they were obviously made up out of whole cloth. If you take the “scriptures” of Christianity and remove the superfluous (as Thomas Jefferson tried to do) what you find is control mechanisms laid bare. As mentioned in “Love Over religion,” not one verse regarding not physically or sexually abusing children, but chapter after chapter about how to build a a perfect temple and how to kill animals so they can be burned to please Yahweh. Getting people to burn their wealth is a control mechanism. Allowing people to abuse their children and slaves is a control mechanism.

    We need to stop discussing the absurd details as this is the Donald Trump Strategy in spades (doubled and redoubled). Distract, distract, distract, but be sure to go to work on Monday so you can pay your tithe. Who gives a flying fuck how many angels can dance on the head of a pin! Only the pin is not made up!

    The holy pact between the wealthy and the religious (and wealthy) needs to be exposed for what it is and to do that we need to stop criticizing the style with which they are doing it. Torture is so declasse, don’t you think? We are the ones fiddling while Rome is burning. (Throw another serf on the fire, why don’t one. It is getting chill in here.)

    Sorry, I am prone to rants … working on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Scottie, I’ve been deconverted for 3 years. Do you know how many atheists I’ve met here? None. Zip, zero, zilch. There are various christian denominations, yes, and these days there are many muslims as well in my city (who also tend to be fundamentalists ). But atheists who would have been able to give me a profoundly different perspective on life? No. At least now I have the internet, thank goodness.

      Maybe at some point you should travel to small town MN and see a life different from your own.

      I give up. Words are useless.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Scottie. That’s exactly the problem with bubbles. When people speak or even conceptualize terms like religion or atheist or socialist or any loaded ideological term for that matter people usually conceptualize the term in relation to their own *personal experience.*

      The vast majority of Christians I’ve met were not fundamentalist. So in some ways it’s hard for me to fully appreciate what it must be like to be around hardcore believers when they make up a majority or significant minority. However, as Violet is admitting between the lines it’s hard for her to fully appreciate the other side of the coin.

      Often when I attempt to rebut a point on the internet, atheist or theist or otherwise, I find what typically happens is the person when they give me their life story in response to show why they think the way they do rather than a study or data or such.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @consoledreader. The fact is that we all deal with things based on our past, our experiences, our culture, and the places we have lived. We even use whether we have enlightened or broadened our thinking, our world. Education plays a big part in our understanding of things. I had greatly different ideas on things in my youth before I spent a few years in Germany. I have different feelings about somethings now at 54 than I did at 34.

        Most people, myself included, tend to process data and information based on the things I mentioned above. We have biases, if we are honest, we have to be careful do not color our view of things.

        As far as my own bubble I have to admit I think the walls are rather thin and the area covered by the bubble is large. I am somewhat not interested in staying in a bubble. That doesn’t mean there are not some things I won’t budge on. It does mean I have thought on these things and I believe I have the correct view of the subject. When there is a difference of opinion between me and a person I tend to be willing to hear what a person has to say, at least the main part of their argument. Then I respond to that. I do reserve the right to flat out laugh or snicker or be sarcastic as the situation merits. If someone one who has 3 marriages and is having an affair on the current husband then tells me that my marriage is not a true marriage but theirs is, I do not feel any need to hold back.

        Be well and happy. Hugs

        Like

  7. Gods, devils, demons, angels, leprechauns, and pixies. Unicorns, bigfoot, lizard men from outer space. Ghosts, spirits, witches, warlocks, and succubus. UFO-ologists, climate denial, denial of all forms, conspiracy theorists, and Trump supporters.

    We are totally surrounded by teh stoopid! I fucking give up!

    Wait, maybe the conspiricy is that there are so many conspiracies? No! Stop it! I can’t go there! I’ll be in my little hole in the ground, the one with the rock on top of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I am surprised (and a little disappointed) to read that there are people who just don’t take the idea of the ‘devil’ seriously – or I should say disappointed that they can’t appreciate how REAL a concept this becomes when one is indoctrinated. I know people who truly believe in this force and would swear that it’s true. And they aren’t nutters; simply indoctrinated. It’s easy to scoff when you’ve been raised to question but I think it attests to how powerful a force indoctrination is when reading comments from people we KNOW are every bit as open-minded and intelligent as the rest of us but were hoodwinked by their parents and every other social institution they were exposed to as children. That’s one thing I am very thankful for when I look back on my experience with religion. The denomination I was involved with did not endorse that particular view – the emphasis was on being the best person you could be and I heard many ministers say they didn’t believe in scaring people into behaving. Unfortunately, there are many denominations who embrace that sort of psychological ambushing.

    I’m currently visiting family in Australia and Pauline Hanson (the leader of the One Nation party) is lobbying the gov’t to have the number 666 (the devil’s number) put on all scammers’ numbers to help identify them. Seriously. (Consult Google).
    (Ok, so we can debate whether or not PH is a nutter . . . 😉 )

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh yes! To some people, Satan is VERY real. And I think this is so sad. To live your life under the fear that a big bad boogeymen is going to get you if you don’t behave yourself (based on God’s standards) is so debilitating! Yet there are people (like this Hanson person) who are convinced that such a being exists … and is going to one day “mark” everyone.

      I know there are those who will never accept what I discovered in my research. They are, as you said, waaaaay too indoctrinated. But I have to try …

      Liked by 3 people

    • I know we’ve talked about this before Carmen, but thought I’d mention it again. I think you and I grew up in the same denomination? And it was that denomination where my whole “devil” thing got a start, so to speak. Same denomination. Vastly different experiences.

      I thank you for that term “psychological ambushing.” Describes my experience as a young teenager at my denominations Bible Camp. I was psychologically ambushed. :/

      Liked by 2 people

      • I remember, Zoe. Which makes me very sensitive to others who’ve not experienced what I did in their religious upbringing. I find it repulsive to think that there are adults who think they must manipulate children into believing there’s a celestial North Korea (Hitch’s term) monitoring their every thought and deed. How awful. But it is, as I’ve stated, indicative of how powerful that force can be. I remember reading another blogger’s story – he’s no longer active online. He tells the story of how he came to believe in evolution after his child was gravely ill (some of you might remember the story of Paisley); he’s an engineer and was devoutly religious until this experience. A convincing testament to the power of indoctrination. It really is amazing how naive any of us can be when we really WANT to believe something to be true.

        Liked by 1 person

        • To add to that Carmen: deconverts have an intimate understanding of how their minds can lie to them and deceive them to a high degree. I’ve seen a lot of life-long atheists think that “can’t happen” to them. As a trained psychiatric nurse, I’m here to tell you it can happen to ANYONE. No one should kid themselves: just because you escaped one kind of mindfuk doesn’t mean you won’t succumb to another.

          *Everyone* thinks they’re right in their opinions and beliefs. But wouldn’t you know it, sometimes we’re actually wrong. We can even be wrong about huge, dearly held ideas and beliefs. And the worst part: you’ll never see it coming.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I would venture to say that Pauline Hanson is a nutter, but not as unhinged as some in her party who tend to favour various conspiracy theories.

      I maintain Carmen that unless one has experienced the religious life it is hard to understand the grip it has on people’s lives. As Zoe so eloquently put it (and I am paraphrasing now) it is only natural for children who grow up in a religious setting to be religious after all everyone around you (and especially those you love and respect) are telling you this is reality, why would you not believe?

      ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.’ (Luke 22:31)
      With statements like that in the Bible, the believer should expect to face Satan trials, even though it appeared Satan needed God’s permission first, something I never really could make sense of.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I can confirm Pauline Hanson has a Trump type of mind and unfortunately has the following of other like-minded people who are prepared to vote for her.

    Like

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