Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Devil Made Me do it

Have you ever wondered what Satan’s motivation would be?

According to standard Christian dogma, God decides to make some eternal servants--known to us humans as “angels”—and the No. 1 Servant (Lucifer) decides he can stage a coup d’etat and take over God’s position. Of course Lucifer fails, God castigates him to the role of villain, and for millennium thereafter the two bicker and argue. It is all very Greek Tragedy.

Lucifer…or Satan as we shall call him…enters the Garden of Eden with God’s permission and mucks things up for every human thereafter. Satan gets into a bet over Job, and tempts Jesus. Ever since faithfully assuming the role and blame of being Enemy No. 1 on God’s list.

But why would Satan mess around tempting humans, getting involved in human affairs, etc? Look…he would know the book of Revelation as well as we do. It is not some secret code; some hidden language only “true Christians” can read and we have cleverly kept secret from Satan and his spies for the past 2000 years. Satan has read “Left Behind.”

In the end, he is going in the Lake of Fire along with the rest of us heathens. Contrary to popular cartoons, Satan (according to Christian dogma) will not rule Hell. He will not be in charge. He will not be enjoying Jack Chick Torture with sadistic fetish. He will be screaming and whining along with the rest of us heathens.

And Satan…who already tried to take on God once, and has been around since the very beginning…would know this. He doesn’t get reduced time for the more souls that join him; he doesn’t get credit for fewer people in heaven. He does not get more people to rule, the larger the census in hell. He gets the chop with us.

[If some Christian wants to argue Satan thinks he can take on God and win…one wonders what good humans will do in this effort. Does he get a nuclear pitchfork every time an unbeliever dies?]

Oh sure, maybe for the first few centuries, he may have tried to convert a few just to piss God off…but what fun in that? Satan played his biggest trump card in the Garden—now every human is doomed by default to hell. Even better, human nature (again, according to Christian dogma) is such we have a propensity to do more evil.

Satan doesn’t have to do a thing. Heck, God even helps out by occasionally whacking off whole lots of evil people—babies and all—by genocide, tsunamis, earthquakes, flood, famine and volcanoes. Not to mention a war or two. It would be hard for Satan to keep up!

So why would Satan care about tempting humans? Even under Christian dogma…

I ask because Dr. Jones argues the Devil is portraying heaven as boring. That cartoon and modern media’s depiction of heaven, with St. Peter at the Gates, and clouds and harps and singing and time stretching out into tedious infinity is some nefarious plot on the Devil’s part to…I don’t know…keep people from relishing death?

Really? After tempting and observing humans for 1000’s of years (according to Christians) this is the best plan Satan can come up with?

Look, we don’t buy things because we find the competitor’s products undesirable; we buy things because we want them. “Don’t buy Fords—they are only meh.” No, no, no, no. “Buy OUR Car! It will make you Sexy! It will make you go fast! It will save you money!” The only time an advertiser demonstrates the shoddiness of a competitor is to immediately compare it to their own—“Look at how much stain is left when you use theirs; our product removed it better! Faster! Safer! Cleaner!”

If Satan is running down heaven, this is only half the job. The Devil would need to replace it with an alternative even better than heaven. Which got me to thinking…assuming arguendo there was a demi-god Satan, in competition with God, what would Satan do to keep as many people out of heaven as possible (assuming Satan had such a goal?)

What would I do?

Well…obviously one would need to develop on alternative religion. One that was close enough to the truth to sound legitimate, but not sufficient to get one into real heaven. One that claimed a greater reward than real heaven…with less work.

So first we would make it simple to get in. Not too simple—then no one would believe it. Further, make it a little uncertain, so humans keep reassessing their position and re-confirming the little thing they must do. Manufacturers long know the real money is in replacement parts; not just the original purchase.

Make the humans feel good about themselves to further solidify the belief. For example, create the concept of really, REALLY big sins, and as long as they are not doing those…why…the human is just fine. Be willing to mold with the times; as long as the person acts within the current societal norms, they qualify.

Never explicitly quantify a promise. Be opaque. Don’t say, “I will be there at noon on Tuesday;” say, “I am coming soon.” Don’t promise to heal them if they perform the correct ritual; explain you will comfort them. And if (Satan Forbid) they expect some response, make it so it is their fault when the response doesn’t arrive. They are too stupid, too insincere, desire the wrong things, too immature, too human.

Put the reward out of verification…only once you die you will have candy and health and love and peace and money and adulation and power and whatever you want.

In short…if I was Satan and I wanted to create an alternative religion to keep people out of heaven…I would create Christianity. The perfect placebo.


  1. Great argument here. I've often thought of the "what's in it for Satan" angle with only mediocre answers at best, like just to spite God. But, in the end, it makes less sense than having to kill something innocent for atonement.

    Of course, there are different denominations and sects of Christianity which claim that Satan has indeed integrated into other sects and denominations within Christianity. Catholics normally bear the brunt of this, with the Pope often seen as Satan incarnate. :-)

  2. Agree with The Wise Fool. This is a pretty interesting analysis! Christianity doesn't really make sense in any logical way.

  3. This isn't exactly a fresh idea. The whole "how can this work" question has been something theologians have puzzled over for centuries. And since they're all basically making it up as they go along, the answers vary.

    Personally, I think you can go a little further, though: if Satan really wants to keep people out of heaven, then he could go a lot further than merely telling them they only have to avoid really big sins. He could use religion to make them sin in the guise of virtue. Holy wars come to mind, of course, since the whole idea of forcing people to believe is automatically futile (which has implications for Islam), but there are all sorts of other options. What could be more effective than to create a faulty moral system and then persuade people to judge and punish each other for perceived minor infractions of that system? In fact, the more contradictory that system was, the more frequently religionists would be able to construct a reason to go after each other.

    In short, Satan would not merely create Christianity, but would continue on to create fundamentalist Christianity. And probably Islam as well -- it is likewise expansionist, contradictory, and encourages punishment on flimsy rationale.

  4. An undergrad one day fought back tears as she confessed to me that she was afraid that she didn’t want to go to heaven. Clay Jones

    I want to comment on this post, but every time I think about what Clay Jones wrote, I am so baffled that I don't know where to start. All I can think to say is "Are you f**king kidding me?"

  5. Which got me to thinking…assuming arguendo there was a demi-god Satan, in competition with God, what would Satan do to keep as many people out of heaven as possible (assuming Satan had such a goal?)


    In short…if I was Satan and I wanted to create an alternative religion to keep people out of heaven…I would create Christianity.

    But you'd have to stipulate in your scenario that Christianity isn't true. Because if it is true, and you wanted to create an alternative to heaven, then "creating" Christianity would be the exact opposite of what you should do.

  6. I've often wondered what's in it for Lucifer?

    Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19

    And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Matt. 8:28-29

    If the demons and by all accounts Lucifer, himself, know this and that there is an appointed time, why do they continue in their "sin"? Can they not repent? What's in it for them? They obviously know there will be a time when they will be tormented.

  7. DaGoodS... Would you possibly be willing to email me so we can talk? If you are, my email is lookingforanswers@aol.com. Thanks!

  8. Dagoods --

    off topic, but I've seen you mention you used to frequent IIDB, but I can't find anyone with that handle. Did you ever actually post there, and if so what was your handle?

  9. My handle was "blt to go." Alas, it seems all my posts are ancient, and in the Archives.

  10. I can't seem to find any in a search by user or by keyword, although my old ID pops up.

    No big worries, was just looking for some more material to stare at instead of getting work done.

  11. Satan HAS created his own version of Christianity. And it's worked on you, as I've read several of your blogs many of your rantings have to do with "so-called Christians", not the word of God. Of course the devil would love to twist truth just slightly and keep people as far away from it. Good job on pointing out exactly what he's up to.

  12. Anonymous 12:13

    Good. I am glad you are reading. I encourage you to continue to do so. Not just my blog, but blogs I link to and books I list. Test what I say. You see something incorrect, feel free to comment and point it out.

    You are not the first (nor probably the last) to claim I was being deceived by Satan. You know what the problem with this is? If one is being deceived, they don’t know it! The reason con games work is NOT because the person being conned understands the truth—they are deceived into believing a lie.

    Now, I can envision four (4) possible scenarios:

    1) I am being deceived by Satan, and do not know it;
    2) You are being deceived by Satan and do not know it;
    3) We are both being deceived by Satan and do not know it; or
    4) Neither of us is being deceived by Satan.

    Obviously I hold to the fourth option as there is no Satan…but here is the question I ask everyone who indicates I am being deceived by Satan. So far none have answered, so you could be the first.

    What method do we use to determine who is being deceived by Satan and who is not?

  13. That question cannot be answered so easily. For a believer, truth comes from the Bible, so obviously anything contrary to the word of God could be considered a deception. For example: for some people who claim to be a Christian yet do not know the word have been deceived by this new phenomenon, called the "Secret". It has nothing to with Christianity, in fact is the exact opposite, but people are buying into it, integrating it into their religion. Similarly, maybe many Christians who you have come across have develop their OWN views of things that outrage many non-Christians, but they also outrage many Christians as well.
    Unfortunately, many Christians have been stumbling blocks for others because they can be very wrong in what they say or do. These are all not necessarily "Satan's doing". We are very much capable of screwing up our own lives without the help of any outside source. It's not like there is a guy with horns and a pitch fork standing there on our shoulder whispering in our ear. No one chooses God or seeks after Him, so if anyone has ever made statements that they are better because they have all the answers, they themselves are deceived by their own arrogance. To summarize my answer to your question, for Christians it is the Bible. It's hard to answer for others as I don't know where they go to for answers. For some, it might fit into the typical post modern answer, "whatever you feel is right and a good answer based on your own beliefs". For someone who does not believe in evil, it would be most difficult to determine where truth would come from. The problem with me trusting my own feelings with regards to something so big as God, creation, souls, etc is that we don't have all the answers. Many times my feelings have led me to very wrong decisions. Just because the concept of God and salvation may seem "ridiculous" doesn't automatically make it not true. For example, because we see childbirth all around us, we don't think anything of it, but if you do think about it, how mythological or crazy does it sound that a human being came from "nothing", grows in a woman's belly and pops out fully formed at the end of 9 months? For a little child, it's so hard to understand. Sometimes we are still like little children, things are too big to comprehend, therefore they must be impossible.

  14. Anonymous 12:13: To summarize my answer to your question, [“What method do we use to determine who is being deceived by Satan and who is not?“]for Christians it is the Bible.

    But couldn’t Satan have deceived the writers? Couldn’t Satan have deceived those determining canonicity?

    For example, the very next (obvious) question—if this is our methodology--which Bible? The Tanakh? The Protestant? The Catholic? The Eastern Orthodox? The Mormon? And which sections within said Bible? Ending of Mark? The Pericope of the Adulterous Woman?

    Indeed, one could certainly argue somebody did some deceiving just by adding those sections into the Bible—what method do we use to determine whether they were deceived? According to Christian dogma, Satan existed (and was already in the deceiving business) long before the very first words of any book in the Bible were written—how can we know they weren’t deceived if our methodology didn’t exist until after Satan was deceiving?

    Further, even those who agree on which Bible to use argue, debate and claim others are being deceived when it comes to interpretation.

    No…you looked for an ad hoc method and what you proposed has only generated more difficulties and has not advanced a solution one bit.

  15. It really hasn't created more difficulties. You either believe the Bible to be true or you don't. Faith is not something you can make someone have through evidence. As far as determining which scriptural texts are as accurate to the time if being written, I would suggest following Canonicity. For example, the Mormon bible is obviously wrong as it was just changed from the original recently in comparison to the contemporary writings of the OT and NT. And as far as Satan goes deceiving who and everybody, yes he may try but if you believe there is a devil then you believe in a God, who is in control. The problem rests here: we are human and are limited. God has revealed himself in general and specific revelation. We shouldn't be so worried about having all the answers to every detail about everything. Should we research, seek and learn as much as possible? Of course! But to say "well since man can't possibly know Everything, God doesn't exist." My lack or anybody else's lack of being able to answer these questions to YOUR liking, does not prove anything about God's existence or non-existence.

    So yes, many people, even believers can be deceived whether it's through evil intervention or just by their own minds.

  16. Unfortunately, Anonymous 12:13, your methodology is revealed as “Those who believe as I do (and believe the same Bible and believe the same interpretation) are not deceived; those who do not believe as I do are deceived.” That really isn’t much of a method—I hope you can see why it is not persuasive in any way.

    I look for three things in a method:

    1) Objectivity. Remove as much bias and prejudice as possible, even those we do not realize we have.

    2) Consistency. A method equally applied to claims opposing our own, as well as our own. Something we can utilize in multiple disciplines.

    4) Transformative. When the method provides results unexpected or undesired, we modify our own position.

    As you can see, your method fails on all three counts: 1) it is completely subjective dependent on your own feelings, 2) it is inconsistent as it is inapplicable to opposing claims and 3) it will never change your own position.

    Keeping this in mind, your claim my blog posts are “ranting” and that Satan has “worked on” me is not at all persuasive; you are simply expressing an unfounded, unsupported feeling.

    Of course you are welcome to having such feelings, but why…for the life of me…you think being the 1000th person to tell me something you can’t back up would be convincing puzzles me.