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Satan and Hell. Do they exist?

 
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The Dreaming
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:19 am    Post subject: Satan and Hell. Do they exist? Reply with quote

This is something which has always fascinated me. Is there a being of ultimate evil in this universe to counter the good? Is a being of ultimate evil even possible in a universe created by God? Is there such a thing as evil or is evil simply "the absence of good?"? Why have the stories of a 17th century English writer (Milton's Paradise Lost) made their way into the dogma of basically every Christian faith? (Surprisingly, most of which are the self-proclaimed Scripture Centric faiths?) Is the idea of the Devil just a way for humanity to ascribe all of its problems to some outside source?

I tend to believe that humanity has an awful tendency to believe that everything "good" and "evil" occurs because of the intervention of some outside source. I think this is a very frightening and dangerous way to live one's life. It is a way for us to collectively deny our responsibilities as a part of this world. Many faiths in this world scoff at what is called "worldliness", which is living in this world instead of keeping your mind on spiritual matters. This is something that disgusts me. These people think that they are superior because they do what now? Nothing!

What is wrong with the tradition that salvation comes through good deeds? Why is trying to make this world a better place and living the best life one can live on this world wrong?

Back to Satan. I think the thought that there is some outside source that is always with you, trying to make you do evil things is a very dangerous idea. It is a way of denying responsibility for our actions and our desires. The devil didn't tell you to rape that girl. YOU did it.

There are a few literary concepts for hell and the Devil that fascinate me. One is the Hell described by George Bernard Shaw.

"Hell is a city much like Seville"

This may not make much sense a hundred years later, but his hell is a place that the wicked would want to be. A place of pleasure and worldliness. Heaven was where this world’s stiff-necked self righteous people went. Basically, it was a place that only people who wouldn't just want to live in pleasure in hell would want to go. It is a very amusing, and poignant idea.

My favorite view though is described by Neil Gaiman in the Sandman. I don’t have the comic in front of me, but I will paraphrase it terribly for you. Satan says this.

"People think that I am up there on their shoulder their whole life just try and get their soul. They think I am up there making deals and tempting people into my realm. This is rubbish. I didn't "take" a single one of these souls. They came here because they believe they cannot go to heaven. They come seeking punishment, which the demons here are only to happy to supply. I hate it."

People decide for themselves what they do in life. God doesn't need to interfere. He has already given us everything we need in the form of Jesus. People keep saying "god needs to prove he exists". Well he DID. 2000 years ago he made himself human and died for us. Even if you don't believe this, you MUST agree that the teachings of Jesus are enough for someone to live an ideal existence. They are all that we need.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend not to think of heaven or hell. I just live the best life I can, and I'll discover whatever truth when I die. Until then, it's best to just do the best I can HERE, where I can actually have a degree of control over my fate.

That being said, I've always wondered about this too. Good and Evil are very human terms that are, in addition, very subjective terms. Who knows how that translates to beings that see a lot more, and know a lot more, and probably don't even think the way we do? Maybe "satan" is really a nice excuse for people to shirk off responsibility for their actions?

I'll never know. Or, well, I will, but I won't be here to tell anyone. Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly agree with The Dreaming in the sense that it's a dangerous notion. One that allows another way to abrogate the responsibility that we should be taking.

And I've always loved that view of Hell depicted by Gaiman in the Sandman comics.

And on the question of Milton: This is one that's bugged me for ages. There is, as far as I can find or remember, nothing in the bible which tells the story that is so commonly accepted. It's a great story, absolutely. But only a story.

Of course, not believing in a being of supreme good as well, I'm unlikely to believe in some physical manifestation of evil in the first place. Evil exists in and through the actions of man himself, not some supernatural incarnation, some "avatar" of the concept of evil.

And as for hell itself, it's always struck me as the "stick" to heavens "carrot". Heaven was the excuse for the peasants having to have a lousy struggle here on earth, and hell (an even worse place) was where they'd go if they didn't behave and accept the order of things, (i.e. their subservience) here on earth.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

Quote:
...a belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alona are quite capible of every wickedness.


I don't know who said it but it is still good.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being an agnostic, I question the existance of Satan as much as I do the existence of God.

That being said, I do believe there are people who are truly good.....Mother Theresa for example and people who are truly evil, let's say, Charles Manson.

They are what they were and I don't think it has anything to do with any devine influence.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno about Satan, but Hell certainly exists. It is also frozen over right now. Wink

Here is a hyperlink: http://www.hell2u.com/

It's a very pretty little town on Hell Creek and near the Huron River chain of lakes in Livingston County, Michigan.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:17 am    Post subject: Yes... Reply with quote

...Satan and Hell? Do they exist? Well of course they do! What kind of question is that? Just ask Dante Allegheri. He saw him centered there in the frozen bottom ring,,each of his three heads gnawing on the other,big bat wings too. Master Monster!
..Now, hes been known to thaw out abit and come up for air everynow and then. Why just a few days ago, whilst taking the Bubba for his dailey check of pee-mail., i was accosted by the fly blown brute. He wore glasses that were broken, one lense shattered,,sports jersey heavily soiled and it announced my least favorite Jersey blue devils at that,,jeans originally blue now brown and greasey and of stench, one grey tapeped together sneaker, the other foot entirely without, and of course hair mostly mussed. My sympathys were almost his,,then he demanded,,not asked mind you,,demanded a cigarette. At which opportunity I made a observation, that led to a retort which quickly escalated to..him holding a brick in hand while he descibed how and where he would use it apon my head and shoulders. At which I simply asked,,if he was prepared to spend at least one More nite in jail. The potential lack of freedom proposed ,set the Angel of Lite to realization and he decided that indeed,,he was not prepared,,but in so doing felt fully obligated to relate on to me all the unnatural things that are done to the human body when incarcerated,,and that he would glady perpetuate those actions on to me if I ever so found myself in the same prison as he...I took that as Hell.. We bid each other our ado's and thankfully, to say the least, I haven't seen nor heard him since. By the way,,a dog is no ward against the most evil one. There is something about the stink of the beast that dogs become enchanted by or with. Its a powerful spell that easily overcomes the feeble brain of any dog whose primary function is to serve and protect. Some how, scratch and sniff takes over the canine's core functionality. I know that only a real bytch could make that happen. So, there you have it, Satan and Hell,,witnessed by others and by my own eyes...or,,,maybe I should have posted this under the stream of conscious thread.....MEL
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i was taught that dmanation is being apart from God.

and the Catholic church believes that faith without works is dead. it is in the bible after all.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always thought that people are quite capable of enough evil and cruelty that supernatural agents aren't needed for that sort of thing. Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly.

[/quote]Stranger beings here, in human guise, than reside in the valley's of Hell.[/quote]

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

duchess of malfi wrote:
Quote:

I have always thought that people are quite capable of enough evil and cruelty that supernatural agents aren't needed for that sort of thing.


Isn't that exactly what I quoted?
Quote:
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

Quote:
...a belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alona are quite capible of every wickedness.


I don't know who said it but it is still good.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. looks like we are in agreement with that. I also wonder about hell...I really can't imagine how any place could be worse that Nazi death camps, Cambodian killing fields, and the like. Sad I suppose there can be, but I just don't have the power to think of anything worse than some of the messes we humans have made. Sad
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a terrible thing, but the truth is that no matter what we imagine, there can always be something worse, or so it seems.

Unlimited bloody inventiveness.

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