Senate Satan: Good or Evil?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Heavy Isotope, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Heavy Isotope Jedi Knight

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    Oct 10, 2013
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    I had recently seen a few posts, comments, and even memes online of Lucifer depicted as a good/misunderstood angel. The reason he fell and tempted Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge being that he wanted Adam & Eve to rise above what he saw as a form slavery under God, their creator. As well as comparing the number of people Satan killed against the number of people God killed in his favor. Essentially that there's no big evidence that Lucifer is truly evil. None of it mentioned the book of Revelations, I myself haven't read all of Revelations so I don't know what role he plays in it.

    While I don't find this possible as I don't believe in the story of creation or the bible, I am curious as to what your opinions on this are and would like to read your perspectives. :)
  2. Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master

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    Well, I think I view it as, ultimately, an issue in that we have no unbiased account of Lucifer. Ultimately, we know he isn't the 'winner' and history is written by the winners, but that doesn't mean the winners tell the truth. When you look at the rest of the Bible, while Lucifer is claimed to be evil, the character in the Bible who is evil is, I think, is God. His actions that are portrayed are far more morally objectionable, and if anything, Lucifer is more reminiscent of Prometheus.
  3. Saintheart Jedi Grand Master

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    Maybe the warmest idea (pardon the pun) I've seen about Satan comes from William Peter Blatty's less-well-known novel Legion, which was the sequel to his very well-known novel The Exorcist. It's borrowed to some extent from Teilhard du Chardin, it flies in the face of modern evolutionary theory because it rests on orthogenesis, and it takes half the book to get out, leaving the final summation right to the last few pages, but: it proposes the idea that, prior to the beginning of time, all of existence wanted to prove to God it was capable of loving Him/Her/It of its own free will, insisting upon it even though God pointed out the process would create great pain. Existence then, literally, shattered itself into being -- and hence the Big Bang -- and since that time, from the rise of primordial particles to the development of life and the rise of the noosphere, has been slowly getting back to God by slowly developing consciousness and complexity: in short, by evolving. We, therefore, in some small way, are all Satan, as is every other thing in existence; and we, being part of existence, being part of the universe at large, are slowly evolving back into that which could speak with God face to face.

    Like I said, it relies at least conceptually on orthogenesis to some extent (which even Charles Darwin wanted to believe in but ultimately had to dispense with) and it probably has issues in no small way with the Heat Death of the Universe, but what can I say: I'm a romantic. As Blatty ends the story, a homeless man shuffles into the diner where the protagonist is explaining his (Teilhard's?) theory; the grumpy counter clerk glares at the homeless man for a second, and then stuffs a paper bag with a sandwich and gives it to the homeless man. "Hurrah for the Brothers Karamazov," murmurs the protagonist.
    Last edited by Saintheart, Jan 30, 2014
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  4. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
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    Satan gave us metal, which makes him tops in my books. Christians get Creed, Gospel, and country.

    I know who won that war!
  5. Moviefan2k4 Jedi Knight

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    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    Lucifer rebelled out of selfish pride, plain and simple. He was apparently the most beautiful angel God ever made, but he got greedy, and was banished from Heaven for it. He also convinced a whole third of the other angels to follow him, and they became demons. Humans are nothing to him but pawns; he can't get to God, so he wants to take as many of us down with him before the final judgment. He knows he's already lost the eternal war, but he's lied to others for so long he's started to believe it himself.
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  6. beezel26 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 7
    How am I evil? I give you guys everything you want and I don't complain when you tell me to go to hell. I am like the world's best uncle.
  7. poor yorick Ex-Mod

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    Well, people have claimed that Satan was the antihero of Milton's "Paradise Lost," but that's mostly because Milton was rubbish at writing good characters and Satan was the most interesting guy in the book.

    I think the problem with positing Satan as a "good guy" is that he exists solely within the Christian narrative, and that narrative tells us certain things about him. Namely, that whatever gifts he gives to a person in life (including self-perceived philosophical awesomeness) will be paid for by burning forever in Hell. It's really a pretty bad bargain, and Satan has only selfish reasons for offering it.

    You can try to take the Christian story apart, saying, "Well, how do you know that Satan is going to take all of his follwers to Hell? How do you know there is a Hell?

    The answer to that is, "How do you know there is a Satan?" It's all taken from the same place, and you'd have to have pretty good reasons for accepting some of it but not all of it.

    If you want to be anti-Christian, there are more logical ways than professing loyalty to Satan. You could just join a different religion and claim that Christianity lures people away from the Truth. Or you could become an anti-theist, and go around arguing with everyone who believes in any kind of god.
  8. Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 25, 2004
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    Well, I suppose that depends on what your idea of slavery is.

    Also, I do believe rebelling against an omnipotent being is kinda futile. If God exists, and he's all-powerful, and he's evil, well then we're kinda ****ed now aren't we?
  9. Moviefan2k4 Jedi Knight

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    Dec 29, 2009
    star 4
    That's the difference between God and Satan, though: the latter's neither all-powerful nor eternal. Satan's a created being, inherently temporal in nature because he had a static beginning. He has no power at all, aside from what we give him through listening to him over God.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    star 10

    But, again, he gave us metal.
  11. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    satan is a capitalist, (extracting souls as a form of wealth) which while that does not necessarily make him evil, it does make him outmoded. so my answer is neither but he should be opposed
  12. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 10
    I'll leave this here

    Otherwise the fictional character is of course evil because he has been written that way over the centuries. His origins spawn from Loki and Prometheus, and all of them come from Enki and all of them are trickster goods who have been used as advisors, helpers, and troubel makers, and of course they make great villains.
  13. thenewcoon Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 30, 2014
  14. Drac39 Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 9, 2002
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    This is coming from a non-believer so take from it what you will. I think in my looking at the God myth that God needs Satan to impose his will. Satan is probably his most important servant as he is the master of God's gulag. He takes the blame for all the evils God has to commit but still Hell is essential to God's ability to control.
    Last edited by Drac39, Jan 31, 2014
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  15. timmoishere Jedi Grand Master

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    God is an imaginary friend, and Satan is an imaginary enemy.
  16. Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master

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    Jun 28, 2006
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    timmoishere, even with that stance, it can still be commented on. Like how I'd figure a "Is Snape evil" discussion wouldn't just be cut short by "Well, he's a fictional character"
  17. Ramza Administrator Emeritus

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    To put it in the most cliché terms imaginable: he's not evil, he's misunderstood.

    Specifically, some dude who is "The Satan" gets equated with possibly another guy who is "Satan" and some other folks who are "satans," some devils, and a bunch of sentences that don't name anyone but are Satan anyway because **** it. "The Satan" is pretty good friends with God, by all accounts, because he works directly on his advisory council and is in charge of testing people's faith. "Satan" has a bit part in 1 Chronicles with basically no explanation. The other "satans" are angels or humans acting on behalf of God as adversaries. Then the Christians basically decide that every devil is Satan, which still isn't necessarily a condemnation, because of course devils are adversaries. But then this jerk named Justin decided that whatever tempted in Adam and Eve was The Satan, and also he was totally rebelling against God when he did so, because Justin apparently liked fan fiction too much and decided that since The Devil was A Satan and also a serpent, it must be The Satan. It's been downhill ever since.

    tl;dr - The Satan gets a bad rap and we all owe him an apology.
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  18. EvilQ Jedi Knight

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    Feb 8, 2013
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  19. burrisjedimaster1 Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 31, 2002
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    Their is no Satan only Diablo and Blizzard Entertainment !!!!!!!
  20. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Ramza, your post makes its own fair share of unwarranted assumptions. For instance, where does your "advisory council" idea come from? It is certainly true that God and Satan have interactions that are mutually cordial, and, on the latter's part, submissive. But we see largely the same pattern in Jesus's interactions at the Gadarenes. In fact, if we are discussing a religion that does not hold to the Zoroastrian model of competing good and evil forces, but a lone and indomitable god that embodies good, no other type of reaction is really sensible.

    Further, your theory has a number of inconsistencies. If angels have special titles or positions, that is usually noted pretty openly. For instance, we are told that Michael is an archangel who makes particular advocacy for the Jews. Yet, Satan is given no such description. Why not, if his duties are as broad and important as you describe? Or from the other direction, what do you make of the many instances of temptation that don't mention him at all?

    More broadly, though, your whole argument just seems sort of bizarre. I'm uncertain of the sort of reading of the New Testament it would require to think that equating "satans" with "devils" wasn't a condemnation. They ascribe a pretty horrific pattern of torture and suffering to these figures, without claiming there is any redeeming value. The broader culture--at least as told by the gospels--seems to agree. When Jesus was dismissed as a tool of devils, the idea was never that he was a normal and well-functioning part of God's natural order. Both their comments and Jesus's response, talking in terms of a separate "kingdom" establish pretty firmly that A)devils weren't viewed as cooperating with God and B)weren't good.

    I mean, look at this riff from Jesus: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

    That's pretty extraordinarily harsh. It hints at the sort of "single figure across history" model that many Christians now embrace. They also paint this figure as awful enough that regardless of whether he was at the Garden of Eden or not, he's being pretty rightly reviled. I say this because Revelations says, explicitly, that the "The Devil" is the same as "The Satan." I think the worst you can say here is that the Christian canon had a different take on the idea of "satan" than did their forebearers. But that's sort of like pointing out that Muhammad had a different conception of Jesus/Issa, That doesn't make it wrong. It's just a different idea, as one would expect from a different religion.
  21. Saintheart Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
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    The advisory council thing comes roughly from the Book of Job. Satan at that point is one of the sons of God, which from memory according to Judaic tradition was called the Divine Council. There's a lot of translation errors that cut across the Satan thing as well; take a look at how the concept of Hell itself mutated from Sheol to a Greek analogue for Hades to the fire and brimstone model.
  22. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    Apr 3, 2002
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    [IMG]

    What does and omniscient being need with an advisory council?
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  23. Ramza Administrator Emeritus

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    @Jabba-wocky you're sort of making the same basic errors that people translating the Bible usually do, where the formal title of ha-Satan (lit. "The Adversary") is conflated with most instances of satan ("adversary"). They do make a big deal about his title specifically because of this. Saintheart's addressed the council stuff.

    Not necessarily. While the devil is said to have been once called satan, it's totally possible that John could've been referring to just any old adversary - his contemporaries would've been familiar with the term. There's no particular reason to assume it's ha-Satan except that that's St. Justin's reading and we have all gone literal millennia assuming that was the case.

    I'll admit I'm being fairly liberal with my reading for the sake of having a laugh (And because I think the Old Testament presented a much richer cast of characters), but there's a whole lot of linguistic chicanery here that rarely gets acknowledged in these debates.

    God in the Old Testament is competing for attention with a bunch of alternative gods like Baal, who have hipster appeal. That's going to require a solid PR team to compensate for.

    This meme is really bizarre considering some of the overarching themes in Lucifer - the issue that cover is for in particular.
    Last edited by Ramza, Feb 1, 2014
  24. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    I'm well aware of the source passage he's referencing. My objections are a couple. First, the divine council concept wasn't really delineated as suggesting some elite or specially favored status, so it's not clear why Ramza cited that as evidence. It seems instead to have been a grouping inclusive of all the "angelic" beings, to the extent we have any information about it at all. It's a largely implicit concept and most of the intellectual heavy-lifting comes from comparative analysis with other local religions, not direct evidence. Summarily his particular take on the issue isn 't necessarily so we'll supported.

    I would also encourage you to look more broadly at Satan as he actually appears in the New Testament. The modern Christian understanding of him is not a mistaking of their own religion, nor is it about mistranslation. The triumphant end of Revelations is literally imprisoning and punishing one "satan" figure. That's just like the Jesus quote I mentioned earlier. If your point is only that the figure in Job is separate you may have a better point. But within the New Testsment texts there absolutely is the idea of a central figure who is not just fulfilling an adversarial role, but is himself evil, and involved in a huge fraction of mankind's trouble and failure. His actions do not please God. You can quibble about what his name should be, but the idea is very much present.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, Feb 1, 2014
  25. Ramza Administrator Emeritus

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    The modern Christian understanding is based on the early Christian smear campaign, where they literally retconned every instance of ha-Satan in the Old Testament to be ho diabolos to create a more cohesive narrative.

    And, seriously, if Satan is such a jerk and God and he are such sworn enemies, how the hell did this misunderstanding ever happen:
    Seems to me like Satan is just carrying out the boss man's will, which isn't really in-character for this Devil guy that crops up in the New Testament.
    Last edited by Ramza, Feb 1, 2014
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