God’s Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man’s Eternal Search for the Divine)."Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God."
So needless to say, I don't believe in the devil either. But I did just read about an interesting theory that will undoubtedly send some into apoplectic shock - are God and the Devil the same? At its simplest level, that postulate does answer the question of how an all powerful being could allow such death and destruction - but the very notion runs counter to all that which Christianity speaks.
Turns out that this question has been debated for centuries. But the very notion that the Biblical God is himself the Devil is heretical to mainstream Jewish, Christian, and Islamic dogma and may be treated as blasphemous in any of those religions. Through the ages many have been put to death for even asking this question (But I thought that killing was a mortal sin but it is ok to kill for having questions? Guess not when you have questions about God.).
So what happens when you ask the question if God and the Devil are the same?
The Albigenses, along with the Cathari, who held similar beliefs that God and The Devil were the same, were the subjects of a 20-year long crusade of the Roman Catholic Church which aimed to exterminate them. The crusade massacred an estimated 200,000 to one million people between 1209 and 1229 and was followed by one of the first in what became a long series of inquisitions conducted by the church to purge society of heretics and nonbelievers. Repenters were required to wear a yellow cross sewn onto their outer clothing and to live apart from other Catholics (didn't Hitler require patches on clothing?). Those who refused to recant were hanged or burned.So merely trying to understand the complexities of religion is cause for hanging and burning. I guess that is why they call it "blind faith."
So who or what is the Devil? According to Wikipedia:
Greek: διάβολος or diávolos = 'slanderer' or 'accuser') is believed in certain religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The Devil is commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. The Abrahamic religions have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin or commit evil deeds. Others regard the Devil as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment.
Easy to sum up, the Devil is bad and evil. But the Christian story of how the Devil came to be is actually fascinating.
In mainstream Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Hell. The Devils demons. The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) describes the Adversary (Ha-satan) as an angel who instigates tests upon humankind.
Lucifer Becomes the Devil
According to Biblical stories:
The earth was a perfect creation. The angels shouted for joy. From creation, it was populated by angels. There was a throne, on which sat Lucifer, a super archangel, a cherub, having been at the very throne of God in heaven.
However, Lucifer had allowed his beauty and perfection to fill him with vanity—with self-glory, self-desire. He became envious of God's power, resented authority over him. he plotted with his angels to marshal them into an invading army, to invade the heaven of God, to knock God off the throne of the Universe.
So Lucifer was a demi-god, a lesser God, but still a God, and God (being all powerful) allowed Lucifer to turn against him. Does that make any sense? If God is all powerful, why did he allow Lucifer to turn. And if God is all knowing, didn't he know Lucifer would turn?
So Lucifer was no longer "Light-Bringer" but now an adversary, an aggressor, a competitor, an enemy. The name Satan means "Adversary." Lucifer's angels now became demons.
According to many of these Biblical scholars, God did not create a devil, but a beautiful, perfect superangel. But God did give to His angels free moral agency—minds that were free to think and reason—the right of free choice.
So God gave Lucifer the right of free choice, knowing that he would become a Devil, in order to do what? Give Lucifer a free choice (that God already knew he would choose to be a devil).
The Right Of Free Choice - Just Don't Ask Questions
This right of free choice (and why it leads us to damnation if we are not careful) keeps popping up in the Bible.
Now if God controlled the earth why would he forbid mankind from knowledge, of all things? Because the truth would make man free of God? Because knowledge would destroy man's faith, or would have exposed the very idea of God as a concept of the Devil himself? Are we to take form this that knowledge is bad and we should just listen to men who wear silk robes and funny hats?
Thus man is taught to believe that this eating of the tree of knowledge was the original sin, the most terrible thing he could have done, a devilish mistake for which he must atone by running to God for forgiveness crying: I will have faith; Faith alone saves; Faith alone is all that matters!
Blind Faith - Do Not Ask Questions - But You Have The Right Of Free Choice, So Long As You Choose Only What We Tell You.
And what of Lucifer and those who make the wrong choices - The Book of Revelation describes how Satan will be cast out of Heaven, down to the earth, having "great anger" and waging war against "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus". Ultimately, Satan is thrown forever into the "lake of fire" (Revelation 20:10), not as ruler, but as one among many, being treated no different than all the others who have been cast there as well.
GOOD VERSUS EVIL
Why is there good and evil? For many the question can be simply stated as can there be good without evil or evil without good? Must the two coexist? Why do we need evil? Why would God allow evil? If God is all powerful, why can't he stop evil and the devil? Is God just "looking the other way"?
When the earthquake hit Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the World, Televangelist Pat Robertson claimed the earthquake was God's punishment for a legendary pact with the devil.
So was it God inflicting punishment or was it the Devil? Did everyone hurt or killed in Haiti deserve punishment? Pat Robertson certainly believes in a vengeful God. But if God is all powerful and all knowing, why does he need to be vengeful? Isn't vengeance just a petty human emotion? Yeah I know "Vengeance is mine said the Lord."
GOD AS THE DEVIL
Several religious authors throughout history have advanced the notion that the god of the Abrahamic Bible and its sequels is consistent in character with the Devil. They make the case that the Biblical God is a divine force that wreaks suffering, death, and destruction and that tempts or commands humanity into committing mayhem and genocide. Pat Robertson certainly believes that God wrecked suffering and death on Haiti, for a pact that was supposedly made by the great-great- great grandparents of many Haitians. A new version of original sin.
Many of these authors assert their claims by reference to a number of passages in Biblical scripture describing actions of God that they say are evil or Devil-like. Some criticize only Jehovah, the God of the Abrahamic scriptures (Tanakh), in contrast with the "true god" of the New Testament (My issue with that is again, if God is all powerful and knowing, why is he waiting in the wings to save us and is allowing all of these horrible things to happen?). However, other authors apply their condemnation to the entire godhead of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
These writings refer to the Biblical God variously as "a demiurgus", "an evil angel", "the devil god", "the Prince of Darkness", "the source of all evil", "a demon", "a cruel, wrathful, warlike tyrant", "Satan", "the devil", and "the first beast of the book of Revelation". So God as we know it could be the "the first beast of the book of Revelation"?
Marcion of Sinope, the first major heretic of Christianity in the first century AD, "[held that] the Old Testament was a scandal to the faithful … and … accounted for it by postulating [that Jehovah was] a secondary deity, a demiurgus, who was god, in a sense, but not the supreme God; he was just, rigidly just, he had his good qualities, but he was not the good god, who was Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ." The Church condemned his writings as heretical.
Apelles, the second century AD Gnostic, "consider[ed] the Inspirer of Old-Testament prophecies to be not a god, but an evil angel."
The Persian prophet Mani, founder of the Manichaean sect in the third century AD, identified Jehovah as "the devil god which created the world" and said that "he who spoke with Moses, the Jews, and the priests … is the [Prince] of Darkness, … not the god of truth."
More recently "New Age" author Dorothy Leon makes an argument that is not just based on God's actions, but on a remarkable correspondence in two Biblical passages. Their significance has been debated by Biblical scholars through the ages, but Leon states, "The fact that Jehovah is Satan is confirmed in 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chron. 21:1." The first passage says, "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah," while the second reports conversely that "Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."
And why would an all powerful and all knowing being need vengeance? Why would he need a devil? Why would he allow pain and suffering?
Why do we need free choice if it simply leads to damnation? Why was it forbidden to take fruit from the tree of knowledge?
Why. Better not ask why or you are deemed a heretic and blasphemous.