#1
Old 01-12-2001, 04:22 PM
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Okay, this is my first posted question, but I've been lurking a while. Be gentle.

Avowal- I'm an atheist. Have been since I was twelve. I find myself debating with christians occasionally, so I try to understand why they think the way they do.

I've been trying to understand christianity. I was raised a christian- Church of Christ was the flavor. All my life I was taught that Satan is evil, he wants to do evil, and he wants people to do evil things. Apparently, he wants people to be evil so that he can get them into hell when they die, so he can torture them for eternity.

But why? What's in it for Ol' Scratch, anyway? What's he gonna do with a soul? Why's he want to torture people- 'cause he, himself, is evil? Then why torture people for emulating him?

If he's doing it 'cause God makes him do it, doesn't that mean that Big Daddy actually condones evil, and encourages it?

Color me just all kinds of confused. Any help?
#2
Old 01-12-2001, 05:08 PM
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Originally posted by Lightnin'

First off hi and welcome the SDMD

Quote:
Apparently, he wants people to be evil so that he can get them into hell when they die, so he can torture them for eternity.
This is a common misconception. Satan is not going to torture anybody. He himself is going to be thrown in the lake of fire along with his demons that left Heaven with him.

Quote:
But why? What's in it for Ol' Scratch, anyway? What's he gonna do with a soul?
There are a few thoughts on this. Mine is that he does not like God and in a way I think he is jealous of Mankind(God's creation. So he feels like it is triump to turn away as many humans from God as he can.

Quote:
If he's doing it 'cause God makes him do it, doesn't that mean that Big Daddy actually condones evil, and encourages it?
God does not encourage evil. He truly loves his creation and the Devil truly hates them.

If you have any further question, please ask away and like I said welcome to the boards.
#3
Old 01-12-2001, 05:11 PM
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The standard theory is "Misery loves company."

Having rebelled and having been exiled from heaven, the evil one now chooses to gather as many people to himself as possible to 1) defy God by getting lots of people away from God, 2) hurt God by drawing people to himself and away from God whom God would have preferred to have brought to heaven (assuming God mourns lost souls), 3) demonstrate that he is still powerful (for what that's worth, since he lost).

Now, many Christian denominations have rather different views on the subject. (Everything from Satan being one of God's agents who is just testing people for God and who does not drag them to hell to hell being a temporal location so neither God nor the evil one really give a hoot.) The scenario I originally described is the general description of the most frequent Christian thoughts on the subject. There are lots of variations within Christianity and the other "sister" religions (Judaism and Islam) don't even follow those scattered Chrisian beliefs.
#4
Old 01-12-2001, 05:11 PM
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This is how I was taught it goes:

Satan rebeled against God because Satan thought he was 'better' then God. God cast out Satan, and Satan is still bitter about it. Satan wants to hurt God but can't do it directly so he will hurt something that is very dear to God, namely God's children (us).
He wants to keep God away from his children.

But, you reply, why doesn't God (being God and all) just get rid of the evil one all together so we can be with God. That's were the whole free will thing comes in. God has given us the ability to do what we please within reason and the laws of the universe (you know like - Thou Shalt Not exceed the velocity of light in a vacuum).

Is this going to be moved to GD?
#5
Old 01-12-2001, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by k2dave
This is how I was taught it goes:

...-SNIP- some fairly decent logical argument...

Is this going to be moved to GD?
Okay, okay. That all seems internally consistent. It all seems to make sense, except the punishment thing.

God wants us to have free will. God wants us to come to know him, or worship him. Satan (Lucifer) didn't worship him, and is being (or going to be) punished. Humans who don't worship God get punished.

So the decision is; Worship Me, be happy forever. Don't worship Me, suffer eternal torment. But hey, it's your choice!

Uh, not much of a choice there. Seems like the deck is stacked against us mere mortals.

Here's an analogy- Give me all your money, or I pull the trigger on this gun I've got pointed in your face. But remember, whatever happens is your choice!

Also, if God hates sin, and doesn't want us to choose it, but we have to be able to choose it, why's he let Satan have so much power? Seems to me that if he just went ahead and locked up Satan in hell, or destroyed him, thereby making it harder for Satan to tempt us mere mortals, then that'd be a bit more fair. Letting Satan keep his ability to influence humans while he's supposedly being eternally punished for his past actions seems like a tacit approval of evil, to me.
#6
Old 01-12-2001, 05:37 PM
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Because you can't get Dr. Scholl's in hell? :P
#7
Old 01-12-2001, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lightnin'
Quote:
Originally posted by k2dave
This is how I was taught it goes:

...-SNIP- some fairly decent logical argument...

Is this going to be moved to GD?
Okay, okay. That all seems internally consistent. It all seems to make sense, except the punishment thing.

God wants us to have free will. God wants us to come to know him, or worship him. Satan (Lucifer) didn't worship him, and is being (or going to be) punished. Humans who don't worship God get punished.

So the decision is; Worship Me, be happy forever. Don't worship Me, suffer eternal torment. But hey, it's your choice!

Uh, not much of a choice there. Seems like the deck is stacked against us mere mortals.

Here's an analogy- Give me all your money, or I pull the trigger on this gun I've got pointed in your face. But remember, whatever happens is your choice!

Also, if God hates sin, and doesn't want us to choose it, but we have to be able to choose it, why's he let Satan have so much power? Seems to me that if he just went ahead and locked up Satan in hell, or destroyed him, thereby making it harder for Satan to tempt us mere mortals, then that'd be a bit more fair. Letting Satan keep his ability to influence humans while he's supposedly being eternally punished for his past actions seems like a tacit approval of evil, to me.
As far as my beliefs are concerned, I don't think Satan directly influences anyone. I don't buy that whole "sold his soul to the Devil" crap. Basically, if you choose to do bad, you will go to hell. Satan is not forcing you to go to hell. So if you are a horrible person, you go to hell to burn with Satan. Having his own sort of place, Satan effectively governs hell. I'm not going to go into a deeper thing, but free will from God means just that...free will. God nor Satan can tell you what to do. It's all up to you. Heck...Jesus had second thoughts about going through with the crucifixion!

Jman
#8
Old 01-12-2001, 07:14 PM
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Ummm, yeah. Look, there are dozens and dozens of topics in our Great Debates forum for discussing free will, the Divine Weasel, etc.

If this thread is to stay open, I'd ask contributors to limit themselves to factual recitations of religious tenets or theological theories which are responsive to the OP. This is not the place to debate those tenets.

And evilhanz, after that pun, I'm afraid that you are going to find out for yourself whether you are right!
#9
Old 01-13-2001, 12:14 AM
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Maybe I'm just being Zoroasterian, but I thought the Second Coming would be a Battle for Eternity and both sides were trying to recruit now, before the rush. Satan, the Lord of Pride (which was his real sin) against the King of the Jews, with billions of souls on each side. Kinda like dual warlords fighting for turf.

Of course, in the Zoroasterian faith things are more interesting. The Final Outcome is not decided beforehand, and each individual soul can, through free will, tip the scales one way or the other. In the Big Three, the fight is fixed and the Kingdom of a Thousand Years will go to the Eternal Underdog (or the Ineffable One for you non-Christians).

That's the garbled theology of an avowed atheist. I'm probably wrong on numerous points, but I'm pretty sure I got the Zoroasterian stuff right.
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#10
Old 01-13-2001, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Maybe I'm just being Zoroasterian, but I thought the Second Coming would be a Battle for Eternity and both sides were trying to recruit now, before the rush. Satan, the Lord of Pride (which was his real sin) against the King of the Jews, with billions of souls on each side
That would be my theory as well, but wait a minute--hijacking, but I couldn't resist--if souls are fighting, and the winner of the battle is whoever's got the most souls at the end, that would imply that souls can die. If not, what happens to the souls who lose a fight in the Great Battle or whatever? And if so, what the hell happens to the souls that died? They just go back wherever they came from? Cause they've obviously already died once. I don't get it.
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#11
Old 01-13-2001, 01:15 AM
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Sorry Manhattan

I'm just waiting for oldscratch and satan themselves to get into this one....
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#12
Old 01-13-2001, 01:31 AM
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In C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters", the Devil et. al. wanted to increase the number of souls in Hell because the various demons liked to EAT them. I think the whole point of it was that the soul didn't dissolve afterwards or anything, it's just that it got to be conscious but absorbed forever in the demon. There were various complaints from the demon in charge that the sinners today weren't as tasty as the ones of yore, IIRC.

As an atheist myself, I don't buy it, but the concept is pretty cool!
#13
Old 01-13-2001, 04:59 AM
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If you collect enough souls, you can trade them in for valuable prizes.
#14
Old 01-13-2001, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by k2dave
But, you reply, why doesn't God (being God and all) just get rid of the evil one all together so we can be with God. That's were the whole free will thing comes in. God has given us the ability to do what we please within reason and the laws of the universe
So why not get rid of SATAN, and just let man be evil on their own? Or does this mean that, without a physical representation of evil, man WON't be evil (no one to blame the behavior on, so the behavior stops)?
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#15
Old 01-13-2001, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
So why not get rid of SATAN, and just let man be evil on their own? Or does this mean that, without a physical representation of evil, man WON't be evil (no one to blame the behavior on, so the behavior stops)?
Good question, and I don't have the answer to it. I believe that our free will and the existance and influence of God and Satan are linked, but that's just my humble O.
#16
Old 01-13-2001, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snooooopy
If you collect enough souls, you can trade them in for valuable prizes.
LOL!!!


But seriously Lightnin', you are looking for consistancy in religion?! Religions have so many holes in thier stories you could drive a fucking bus through them. Well i wish you the best of luck. Lucky me i escaped from the cult of christ years ago...

Not that religion is all bad, i mean if someone is comforted by the belief that there's an invisible man living in the sky, hey more power to them.

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#17
Old 01-13-2001, 12:14 PM
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Maybe Satan is taking hostages. Most branchs of Christianity state that God loves everyone and wants every soul to go to heaven. But Satan is tempting people and collecting souls that God wants. At some point, Satan will feel he has enough souls to begin negotiating his own pardon and re-entry to heaven in exchange for releasing all the souls he's taken.
#18
Old 01-13-2001, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by k2dave
Satan rebeled against God because Satan thought he was 'better' then God. God cast out Satan, and Satan is still bitter about it. Satan wants to hurt God but can't do it directly so he will hurt something that is very dear to God, namely God's children (us).
He wants to keep God away from his children.
I saw this exact same situation on Jerry Springer the other day. It was the consensus of the audience that the Satan character (actually named "Jeff") wasn't all that.
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#19
Old 01-13-2001, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
So the decision is; Worship Me, be happy forever. Don't worship Me, suffer eternal torment. But hey, it's your choice!

Uh, not much of a choice there. Seems like the deck is stacked against us mere mortals.
Maybe, but try to look at it that way. You have a choice on how to live your life. If you follow God's teachings and try to live a rightous life - this is how (and where) you will spend eternity.. If you follow the 'teachings' of the evil one and push God away, you can continue to spend the rest of eternity without God.

As to the deck being stacked against us, well if you spend your whole life following the evil one and rejecting God and on your deathbed truely repent and want to come over to God's side, He'll accept you.

Again this is my understanding
#20
Old 01-13-2001, 04:20 PM
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I'm glad to see someone mentioned "Screwtape". In particular, you get the most culinary references in the "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" rather than the letters (rather poor dishes like "municipal authority in graft sauce" are on the menu). Both the letters, and "toast" are well worth reading. C. S. Lewis implied that the devil wanted to absorb souls into his own substance, while God wanted have them exist with him, elevated up onto his plane.

In "The Devil and Daniel Webster", the Stephen Vincent Benet classic, the devil collects them like butterflies.

Of course, H. P. Lovecraft fans know who the REAL eater of souls is.
#21
Old 01-13-2001, 04:44 PM
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Another view

I heard a preacher on tv who doesn't request that people send money by the way, and he uses Strong's Concordance all the time and warns that we make sure we get the right word about the Word. He is a fundamentalist, or at least seems to take things literally. He says that when someplace in the Bible says the devil (and bad souls) will be thrown in the lake of fire forever, that word forever meant once and for all, more like forever more will they be completely gone. They are burnt up once and for all, they don't go on being punished. He also says that their names will be blotted out from the Book of Life, so that let's say you had a wife you liked but she went to the lake of fire, when you are in heaven you won't remember her and therefore you won't be sad that she is gone. He says that let's say Person A murdered Person B. When they both get to heaven before God, God will leave it up to Person B whether Person A is to be tossed into the lake of fire. He doesn't mention that if Person B decided to have A sent to the second death, God might then send Person B along with because he wasn't loving and forgiving! I also will add that this concept of the Second Death (the utter extinction of the soul, of consciousness) is what the ancient Egyptians had, along with the lake of fire. If you didn't pass the judgement in the Hall of Thoth, you were thrown in the lake of fire and that was the end of you forever (NOT punishment forever but extinction). (In some accounts you are thrown to a hippopotamus monster who swallows you up and that is your extinction). Also, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned so far the doctrine of hell being not fire or punishment from the devil but just being absent from the love of God.
#22
Old 01-13-2001, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, `Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, `Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' -- Luke 16:22-26 (which admittedly is a parable, and maybe not taken literally by even the most literalist of fundamentalists)
Quote:
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." -- Revelation 14:9-11
Whatever one's opinions about the morality of this particular self-professed Biblical literalists teachings about hell, they do not appear to square well with the actual words of the Bible on the subject (at least not in the New Testament).
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#23
Old 01-13-2001, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
.. If you follow the 'teachings' of the evil one and push God away, you can continue to spend the rest of eternity without God.
-me

Quote:
Satan wants to hurt God but can't do it directly so he will hurt something that is very dear to God, namely God's children (us).
He wants to keep God away from his children.
-me earlier

Quote:
Also, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned so far the doctrine of hell being not fire or punishment from the devil but just being absent from the love of God.
-don willard

Well I don't use the L word but state that the condemmed will be away from God and don't mention the fire part.
#24
Old 01-13-2001, 07:52 PM
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since I was asked

souls pretty. me like pretty
#25
Old 01-13-2001, 09:31 PM
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maybe they taste like Chicken?

plus, when the battle of the Light and the Evil come into play, the Devil wants as many minions on his side as possible; which won't do him a shitload of good seeing as Nicky will throw down a white orb, Ozzy Osbourne will pop out, and bite the head off of the devil, and all will be right..... errr...... [rewind] ; which won't do him a shitload of good seeing as God will Smite him down with White Light, and everyone will reign, Jesus will be at the right hand of the father, and they will Reign in Unison forever and all Eternity.
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#26
Old 01-14-2001, 05:20 AM
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If your an athiest, you should know the futility of trying to get straight answers from any religion. They are all built up of collected myths absorbed from prior beliefs and those introduced by war and mingling.

The classic form is outlined in Brave New World, where the wilds of future America are inhabited by people with mixed beliefs of Christianity and old Indian gods and rituals.

This mixing of strange bedfellows creates a need to explain the old with the new, and pointless relationships between them paper over the gaps.
#27
Old 01-14-2001, 05:39 AM
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The question is: Who chooses who goes to hell or heaven?

If Satan did it, wouldn't everyone go to hell?

If God did it, wouldn't everyone go to heaven because he loves all men regardless of their actions?
#28
Old 01-14-2001, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snooooopy
If you collect enough souls, you can trade them in for valuable prizes.
I just saw the movie "Bedazzled" (1967). It's about a guy, who makes a deal with the Devil. The Devil explains that He is in a game with God, the one who gets 100 billion souls first wins. hmm... I just thought of an idea for a .sig.
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#29
Old 01-14-2001, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
The question is: Who chooses who goes to hell or heaven?
What about the person living the life???
#30
Old 01-14-2001, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
If God did it, wouldn't everyone go to heaven because he loves all men regardless of their actions?
You've never met any Calvinists, have you?

"The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates." -- Psalms 5:11
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#31
Old 01-14-2001, 04:58 PM
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Eh. It was worth a shot. This thread is closed.
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