"Bad news, Mom. I promised my soul to the Devil this afternoon."

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7 thoughts on “"Bad news, Mom. I promised my soul to the Devil this afternoon."”

  1. Who hasn't tried this? The devil never showed up for me. On the other hand, I do have a friend (seriously) who is a devout Satanist. She says she has seen and spoken with Satan, in the most literal imaginable sense. I guess I could write her off as "crazy," but there's something strangely compelling about the whole thing...

  2. I think that's an interesting question. Is Satan just a projection that represents the evil side of human nature? Or is Satan a real malevolent spiritual agent? I know people of faith on both sides of this question.

  3. I think...

    there's an exoteric God, and an esoteric God. The exoteric God is the one most people relate to when they say, "Jesus is Lord" or "Allah is compassionate and merciful." The esoteric God is totally and utterly outside human ability to conceive, like some kind of shining point of energy that extends beyond the universe. Difficult to relate to.

    I believe we're dealing with something like Kant's prolegammena here. It is the nature of the human mind to project itself outward onto its experiences. So, to relate to an experience of God, it has to be put into a kind of framework. Otherwise it's just amorphous light. Just like the human mind projects outward ideas of space and time, it projects a face onto God. The face isn't false, it's just ...not the entire story.

    So, if she calls God "Satan," what can we say about it? CS Lewis wrote about this in The Last Battle. He said that if you do good works in the name of Tash (their faux Arab god,) it is like doing good in the name of Aslan. If you do ill in the name of Aslan, it doesn't diminish his goodness.

    There really are only three possible explanations for the non-Christian religious experience. And it is REAL, that is, people report experiences with divine entities such as devas or djinn.

    1. It's just crazy, brain abnormalities.
    2. It's a demonic deception. Demons are constantly going into Buddhist countries and showing them wonders in the guise of Bodhisattvas and kami in order to keep them from researching Christianity.
    3. My explanation is true and our experience of God comes with a face we can relate to.

  4. In Christianity there is the call to "discern the spirits" because, on the one hand, Satan can appear as an "angel of light" while on the other hand there is the possibly of misidentifying the Holy Spirit and calling it "demonic." (Jesus was repeatedly believed to be in league with the Devil.)

    So the issue for me, metaphysics and hallucinations aside, by what criteria do we discern the spirits?

    IMHO, if the "spirit" leads to self-absorption, chaos, destruction, and violence then Christians call that spirit "demonic." If, however, the "spirit" leads to peace, love, and mercy we call it the "Holy" spirit, the spirit of Christ.

  5. That's a fair attempt, but how many Buddhists have done acts of profound charity and mercy in the name of goddess Kwan Yin? I think it cheapens their experience to say, "Oh, that's really the spirit of Christ misunderstood."

    Faith and metaphysics can't be pried apart. But look at what a dog is, compared to a plant. A dog can move independently. It has rudimentary cognition and problem solving. It can respond to its enviornment in a vastly more profound way than a plant. A dog is like a demi-god in the eyes of a plant.

    We humans are demi-gods in the eyes of dogs. Our movements are totally inscrutinable to a dog. We move around in vehicles that are so fast, their minds can't respond to it and many a poor dog has been crushed by a car it saw but couldn't react to appropriately. We throw tasty, tasty food in the trash and then punish them for trying to see it not go to waste. If only dogs could do metaphysics, how we'd see ourselves!

    In the same way, I'd be shocked if humans really WERE the top of the food chain. Faerie abductions to UFO abductions, witches' sabbat and the imaginal world of the Sufis. The movements and agendas of these creatures are as alien to us, as ours our to our dogs.

  6. Richard, Dammerung,

    Is the demonic a projection or metaphysical: yes. Mystery of evil, lawlessness. How can we shoot ourselves in the foot with an unloaded gun?

    Dammerung, such a cheapening might work both ways. Human efforts to put metaphor to Mystery always fall short. As a Christian, I don't think describing another's experience in Christian terms need cheapen the experience. I'm not denying the experience. Just putting it in Christian terms. If the Buddhist uses his language, that's fine by me.


  7. Satan= adversary. There is a verse in Kings and Chronicles where the exact same word translated as satan where He is called davids adversary, so obviously God cannot be a supernatural fallen angel.Satan is not mentioned much in the OT, and all kinds of references in the NT, but if you read the word as adversary, it can be a human being opposing God. It also seems if there was a supernatural fallen angel God would have made much more explicit reference to Him for all to know about.

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