Do you believe in a personal devil?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Lowly Layman, Oct 18, 2013.

?

Do you believe in a personal devil?

  1. Yes

    84.6%
  2. No

    7.7%
  3. Other

    7.7%
  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,239
    Likes Received:
    1,994
    I listened to a philosopher say recently that, even among Christians, few believe in a personal devil. Do you believe in the person(ality) of Satan as a distinct creature? Why or why not?
     
  2. Cross & Crook

    Cross & Crook New Member

    Posts:
    10
    Likes Received:
    2
    Religion:
    Dutch Reformed
    As a simple Reformed Christian, may I give the simplest, most Reformed answer?

    Yes, because he is in the Bible.

    Maybe with a little bit more nuance: we human beings struggle so much to learn and know of the infinite "I" (God) behind all realities. It seems to make sense that the evil we struggle against is also an "I" (Satan), though a lesser one than the first... :)
     
  3. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I'm not sure (good Anglican answer!), but I do believe that there are the forces of evil, as manifested in Stalin, Hitler and the 9/11 bombers, for example. I remember a story told about Jews in a concentration camp being forced to watch one of their number being hanged. "Where is your God now?" some of them challenged a Rabbi who was in their midst. "He's there, in front of you", replied the Rabbi, pointing to the man on the gallows.

    As Christians it is incumbent on us to confront evil.
     
  4. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

    Posts:
    545
    Likes Received:
    241
    Religion:
    Unhinged SC Anglican
    Absolutely.
     
  5. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

    Posts:
    545
    Likes Received:
    241
    Religion:
    Unhinged SC Anglican
    There is nothing Anglican about this answer. As Anglicans one of our core beliefs is that we submit to Scripture and what it teaches. We also embrace empirical observation where evil like the Hitlers and Stalins you mentioned exist, and whose origins stem from supernatural sources, as everything in nature does.
     
  6. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Au contraire. It's a very CofE answer, and I speak as an active, communicant member of that Church. Indeed, our Vicar herself said to me that she was not sure she believed in a personal devil. There are Anglicans who are "literalist" (indeed even creationists). In the CofE, most of us are not.

    If our Vicar was reported to the Archdeacon because she was not sure she believed in a personal devil (a guy with horns and a tail, part goat, perhaps?), I doubt if he would be too worried.
     
  7. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

    Posts:
    545
    Likes Received:
    241
    Religion:
    Unhinged SC Anglican
    Your impertinence knows no bounds "seagull". You know as well as I do that local ministers play a little role in church doctrine.
     
  8. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    As a matter of interest, who are you to accuse me of "impertinence"? Are you in Holy Orders, "Spherelink"? I don't know what role our priests play in church doctrine, but what I do know is that most of the people at the church I attend would agree with me.


    I have answered "Other" in the vote. I believe that there is such a thing as evil. A Church of Ireland priest I know referred to sectarianism as "the work of the Devil". By that I would understand that it is a very evil thing which assuredly it is. Or are you saying that the people in this forum who preach sectarianism, eg by calling the Pope the Anti-Christ, are the agents of a guy with horns and a tail?
     
  9. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    502
    Likes Received:
    209
    Let us refrain from throwing words at each other. Please focus on the matter at hand.
     
  10. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    312
    Likes Received:
    99
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    Why do you Christians argue (vindictively) with each other. Why can't your views be, like mine "the other fellows ideas are wrong but that's his lookout not mine, why don't I try to convince him of his errors with a few thought provoking questions". I think most of you are wrong but I respect your right to have your views and don't throw hissy fit's over it, if you are wrong it's no skin of my nose.

    A slightly redeaming fact for you Christians is that more name calling probably happens on Hi-Fi forums.

    Edited for comments.
     
  11. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    [quote="AnglicanAgnostic, post: 16495, member: 1167"the other fellows ideas are wrong but that's his lookout not mine, why don't I try to convince him of his errors with a few thought provoking questions". [/quote]

    That's my attitude entirely. A very Anglican one. I was chatting to someone after church yesterday and we agreed that one of the great things about being CofE is that we don't try to force ideas down peoples' throats. To quote the journalist Christina Patterson, we are "mature enough to recognise doubts" and we "are genuinely tolerant of other religious beliefs and none".
    That, of course, goes for you as an "Anglican agnostic". It would not go for one of these "new Atheists", nor for the people on this forum who use words like "heretic", "impertinent" and "anti-Christ": and get away with it.
     
  12. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

    Posts:
    545
    Likes Received:
    241
    Religion:
    Unhinged SC Anglican
    The idea of your Relativism having anything to do with our Faith is being forced down my throat quite openly, thank you very much.


    You labeled your perspective as Very Anglican. Pray show me where you were mature enough to recognize any doubts about your Relativism, or acted tolerantly about my beliefs, in calling your beliefs Very Anglican when mine are opposite of yours.
     
  13. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    My initial answer was (and remains) "I'm not sure". So I recognise doubts. Could be there's a man with horns and a tail sitting by the fire hatching up evil plans, but I don't know. If you feel that, fair enough, thank you very much. On creationism, I am not ambivalent. I believe in evolution. But I tolerate the beliefs of creationists. As a communicant Anglican I am perfectly entitled to state my Church of England views, which are similar to those of most of my fellow parishioners. That simply does not amount to forcing down your throat quite openly, thank you very much.

    Relativism is not an evil. Poverty, sectarianism, racism, and murder are. But not relativism. It does no harm. Fundamentalism does.
     
  14. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    49
    Country:
    Perfidious Albion
    Religion:
    Uncertain

    Perhaps Satan has disguised himself as one of the members in order to disrupt the unity of Christians?
     
    seagull likes this.
  15. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Well, it's not me!;)
     
  16. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    312
    Likes Received:
    99
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    To missquote Mandy Rice-Davies "He would say that wouldn't he" :D but then again so would I.
     
  17. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Well, I suspect you'd be in the clear, because I very much doubt that the devil is an agnostic.

    That brings me to one or two interesting points, questions to our friends who believe in a personal devil. Is s/he male or female? (Isn't there a character called Lilith somewhere?). What are his/her beliefs? Is s/he a creationist for example?
     
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,239
    Likes Received:
    1,994
    The bible describes the devil as an angel who fell due to his rebellion. Angels are spiritual beings, neither male nor female. He is now "that old serpent" but can appear as an angel of light in order to deceive those whom he wishes to ensnare. While some would try to throw him into the same category as goblins and elves, he is distinguished from them by being the only one actually mentioned in the bible. The gospels record that Jesus conversed with him, commanded him, and even banished him. In the Lord's Prayer, we are told to pray for deliverance from him: "but deliver us from evil", the "evil" as it is translated here is not the evil generally translated in the new testament, which is neuter form. This "evil" is masculine singular, more accurately translated as "the evil one". The cultural idea of the devil with a red suit is not biblical but originated in the middle ages. I was told that this was done because it was believed that since the bible said "resist (or battle with) the devil and he will flee from you", one must actively fight against him to survive his attacks. How does one fight against a spirit? Not physically. But the bible says the Devil's great sin was pride, therefore they would attack his pride by hanging up pictures of him dressed as a court jester, with the horns of a cuckold and a horse's ass in order to mock and embarrass him to the point that he would flee. An unintended consequence is that following generations would see him as this mocking picture rather than the true, biblical description....which is that of an angel, a serpent, a dragon, and a roaring lion which shows perhaps the extent of his power, since the only other symbolic use of a lion is a symbol for Christ (the lion of Judah). IMHO, while we can quibble over his appearance, the solid fact revealed in the bible is that the devil is both real and personal. Someone once said that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn't exist. Perhaps there's a ring of truth in that.
     
    Peteprint and MatthewOlson like this.
  19. seagull

    seagull Active Member

    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    88
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican
    You're probably right but the Archangel Michael is perceived as a male. I'm not sure about Gabriel. There's a woman's name Gabrielle, but the English sometimes use Gabriel as a girl's name. (A neighbour of mine's daughter was christened Leslie Gabriel). Cf Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

    In "To be a Pilgrim", Bunyan refers to Hobgoblins and foul fiends. I think that Hob, like Lucifer and Beelzebub, is a word for the Devil.

    Getting back on topic, I think we're quibbling too much about the persona of the Devil. What s/he represents is evil, and it is evil which we must oppose.

    PS Thinking of sectarianism (evil), is the Anti-Christ related to the Devil?
     
  20. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    49
    Country:
    Perfidious Albion
    Religion:
    Uncertain

    I'm possibly going to regret saying this later, but I can't resist...

    Well, he is the 'Father of Lies', right?

    (...oh no he didn't! Oh yes he did!)

    In all seriousness however, I think identifying the devil with evil is too straightforward, because evil is, am I right in supposing?, a no-thing, it is the absence of good, which is the absence of thing-ness, because all things with a real existence come from God, and therefore, by dint of their origin, are good. Of course to give the Devil a quiddity as such, would be to say that he, like us, is fundamentally good, by which I mean, redeemable. Suddenly one begins to understand the portrayal of Satan in Paradise Lost, a character which is so much easier for the reader to sympathise with than God, because he is more like us in our sinful state than we are like the Almighty.

    Also, on another note- Michaela no? To complement Grabrielle? More than that, 'Mary' is a common second name for men, one thinks of jean-marie (le pen?) or Carl Maria von Weber for instance. I'm not sure why this is springing to mind.
     
    MatthewOlson and seagull like this.