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To: onedoug
'Seems more like demi-gods dreamed up by the human mind to detract from the One God.
Yes, that seems to be the general idea whether one believes in demons or not. I don't suppose that we can find any definitive answer on the existence of demons, but C.S. Lewis makes some interesting observations in the introduction to The Screwtape Letters:
The commonest question is whether I really "believe in the Devil."

Now, if by "the Devil" you mean a power opposite to God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly No. There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. No being could attain a "perfect badness" opposite to the perfect goodness of God; for when you have taken away every kind of good thing (intelligence, will, memory, energy, and existence itself) there would be none of him left.

The proper question is whether I believe in devils. I do. That is to say, I believe in angels, and I believe that some of these, by the abuse of their free will, have become enemies to God and, as a corollary, to us. These we may call devils. They do not differ in nature from good angels, but their nature is depraved. Devil is the opposite of angel only as Bad Man is the opposite of Good Man. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.

I believe this not in the sense that it is part of my creed, but in the sense that it is one of my opinions. My religion would not be in ruins if this opinion were shown to be false. Till that happens--and proofs of a negative are hard to come by--I shall retain it. It seems to me to explain a good many facts. It agrees with the plain sense of Scripture, the tradition of Christendom, and the beliefs of most men at most times. And it conflicts with nothing that any of the sciences has shown to be true.

It should be (but it is not) unnecessary to add that a belief in angels, whether good or evil, does not mean a belief in either as they are represented in art and literature. Devils are depicted with bats' wings and good angels with birds' wings, not because anyone holds that moral deterioration would be likely to turn feathers into membrane, but because most men like birds better than bats. They are given wings at all in order to suggest the swiftness of unimpeded intellectual energy. They are given human form because man is the only rational creature we know. Creatures higher in the natural order than ourselves, either incorporeal or animating bodies of a sort we cannot experience, must be represented symbolically if they are to be represented at all.

These forms are not only symbolical but were always known to be symbolical by reflective people. The Greeks did not believe that the gods were really like the beautiful human shapes their sculptors gave them. In their poetry a god who wishes to "appear" to a mortal temporarily assumes the likeness of a man. Christian theology has nearly always explained the "appearance" of an angel in the same way. It is only the ignorant, said Dionysius in the fifth century, who dream that spirits are really winged men.

In the plastic arts these symbols have steadily degenerated. Fra Angelico's angels carry in their face and gesture the peace and authority of Heaven. Later come the chubby infantile nudes of Raphael; finally the soft, slim, girlish, and consolatory angels of nineteenth century art, shapes so feminine that they avoid being voluptuous only by their total insipidity--the frigid houris of a teatable paradise. They are a pernicious symbol. In Scripture the visitation of an angel is always alarming; it has to begin by saying "Fear not." The Victorian angel looks as if it were going to say, "There, there."

The literary symbols are more dangerous because they are not so easily recognised as symbolical. Those of Dante are the best. Before his angels we sink in awe. His devils, as Ruskin rightly remarked, in their rage, spite, and obscenity, are far more like what the reality must be than anything in Milton. Milton's devils, by their grandeur and high poetry, have done great harm, and his angels owe too much to Homer and Raphael. But the really pernicious image is Goethe's Mephistopheles. It is Faust, not he, who really exhibits the ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon self which is the mark of Hell. The humorous, civilised, sensible, adaptable Mephistopheles has helped to strengthen the illusion that evil is liberating.
And again, whether one believes in demons or not: For those of us who still dare to believe in the One God in the modern, secular, "enlightened" age; the following remarks by Screwtape (yes, of course Screwtape IS a fictional character!) in Letter VII ought to seem strikingly familiar:
My Dear Wormwood,

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism, and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The "Life Force," the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work--the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls "Forces" while denying the existence of "spirits"--then the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that "devils" are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing him) he therefore cannot believe in you.
Sorry about the digression. Are you still awake? :) OK, now about #28:
Not believing in the New Testament, I don't believe Jesus stole some pigs and cast them over a cliff.
Believing the New Testament, I don't believe that Jesus stole any pigs, either. They were His to begin with. What do you think about the ways that God used His creation in the Tanakh? Understand that if there are demons, then He created them as well.
Appeals to devils, witches, goblins and non-homosexual fairies arise only within the human mind while the universe in its goodness, tuned so that human life can manifest such nonsense, goes on.
Superstition only has power over us when we let it in. But where does it come from?
41 posted on 10/31/2008 8:46:27 PM PDT by Zero Sum (Liberalism: The damage ends up being a thousand times the benefit! (apologies to Rabbi Benny Lau))
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To: onedoug; BGHater; wyowolf; Perdogg; seemoAR; Zero Sum

Archbishop Sheen once said that God’s name is “I AM WHO AM”, while the devil mocks God by saying “I am who am not”.

Does the devil exist? Yes, he does. He is a pure spirit, who was once a good angel called Lucifer. However, his pride cost him his place in heaven. Jesus said that He saw satan fall like lightning from the sky, in Luke 10:18. Jesus also said that his mission on earth was “to defeat the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Satan has the advantage over us in that he is an invisible powerful spirit. One of his greatest tricks on us is to convince so many of us that he doesn’t even exist, truly a great wartime tactic. How powerful would Hitler have been if the Allies didn’t even know he existed?

42 posted on 11/01/2008 1:45:56 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: Zero Sum; GonzoII
The universe may be non-existent without Man. Then again, there may be other civilizations throughout the cosmos where God, being God, would be just as active and perhaps even known.

But looking out into space there seems no evidence of "evil". It's a harsh environment to be sure, but it contains the elements to form galaxies, stars, planets and obviously, life.

It seems that it takes life which can abstract information from its environment to actuate evil. Maybe that's God's way. But must it be?

It would seems "yes" at least in some stage of any intelligent creature's development to the point that might finally be subsumed and eliminated.

So perhaps evil is a natural phenomena in that sense. But good and evil do not seem to otherwise combat each other outside this sense lest we should live in a chaotic universe, which would likley seem impossible.

Best to You guys and Yours for making me try to clearly think so early.

45 posted on 11/01/2008 7:11:21 AM PDT by onedoug ( Barracuda!)
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