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Old 09-02-2005, 08:23 PM   #1
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MacPhisto and Mocking the Devil

Alright, this is sort of weird.

I'm taking a Sacred Writings course at my school, and we've been told to start thinking about topics for an uncoming essay assignment.

Only one idea has popped into my head. See, I've always been fascinated with Bono's insistance that "mock the devil, and he will flee from thee. Fear of the devil leads to devil worship." My problem is that I don't know where else to look for further discussion and exploration of this idea. I understand that Bono probably meant the Devil figuratively, but I'm curious about it in a more religious or literal meaning, if there is one.

So where did Bono get it from? Is it even discussed in the Bible?
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Old 09-02-2005, 09:25 PM   #2
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Re: MacPhisto and Mocking the Devil

Quote:
Originally posted by eruditz
Fear of the devil leads to devil worship.
This is not entirely related to your question but just something that bugs me. Im an athiest and the amount of time I get called a "devil worshipper" is bizarre. The only people who believe in the devil are Christians. I cannot worship the devil as I dont believe any Gods/supernatural beings exist - good or bad.

The people who do fear the devil are people who worship the devil ie some Christians. The ONLY people who fear the devil are people who worship the devil. The devil is nothing to me, doesnt exist. I do not worship nor fear any devils.

That doesnt assist with your assignment but I felt like venting.
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Old 09-02-2005, 10:47 PM   #3
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Please ignore Beli; she's just bad.

Seriously, here's a very lengthy bit in which Bono attempts to explain the reference (and also cites the source, which will be helpful for your research):

Mock the Devil: U2, Christian?
Terry Mattingly

As the names of those lost on Sept. 11 scrolled up a towering screen, the singer kept reciting a verse from Psalm 51, in which King David pleaded for God's mercy.

"Oh Lord, open my lips," he said, "that my mouth shall show forth thy praise." Then the music rose in a crescendo, soaring into U2's vision of a new heaven and earth, of a city "where there's no sorrow and no shame, where the streets have no name."

This didn't happen in a safe Christian sanctuary. This happened at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI, in front of 131 million or so viewers around the world. But anyone who felt blindsided by this display of prayer hasn't listened carefully to this band's music, said the Rev. Steve Stockman, author of Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 and Presbyterian chaplain of Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"I think they have been clear - for nearly25 years now - about the role Christian faith plays in their music. They're not hiding anything," he said. "At the same time, they have always left big spiritual questions hanging out there - unanswered. That is an interesting way to talk about art and that's an interesting way to live out your faith, especially when you're trying to do it in front of millions of people."

Stockman has never met the band. Still, there is no shortage of quotable material since Bono, in particular, has never been able to keep his mouth shut when it comes to sin, grace, temptation, damnation, salvation and revelation. Two others - drummer Larry Mullen Jr., and guitarist Dave "The Edge" Evans - have long identified themselves as Christians. Bassist Adam Clayton remains a spiritual free agent.

The key, said Stockman, is that U2 emerged in Dublin, Ireland, in a culturally Catholic land in which it was impossible to be sucked into an evangelical subculture of "Christian radio" and "Christian music." The tiny number of Protestants prevented the creation of a "Christian" marketplace. Thus, U2 plunged into real rock 'n' roll because that was the only game in town. The band didn't collide with "Contemporary Christian Music" until its first American tours.

While secular scribes rarely ridicule the band's faith, the "Christian press and Christians in general have been the doubters," keen to "denounce the band's Christian members as lost," noted Stockman. Many have heaped "condemnation on their lifestyles, which include smoking cigars, drinking Jack Daniels and using language that is not common currency at Southern Baptist conventions."

It also helps to know that Bono has always had a love-hate relationship with rock stardom. In the early days, other Christians said the band should break up or flee into "Christian rock," arguing that fame always corrupts. The members of U2 decided otherwise, and, early on, Bono began speaking out about his faith and his doubts, his joys, and his failures.

"I don't believe in preaching at people," he told me, during a 1982 interview. A constant theme in his music, he added, is the soul-spinning confusion that results when spirituality, sensuality, ego and sin form a potion that is both intoxicating and toxic. "The truth is that we are all sinners. I always include myself in the 'we.' ... I'm not telling everybody that I have the answers. I'm trying to get across the difficulty that I have being what I am."

Bono took this inner conflict on stage during the media-drenched Zoo TV shows of the mid-1990s. The key moment was when the singer morphed into a devilish alter ego named Mister MacPhisto, who wore a glittering gold Las Vegas lounge suit and cheesy red horns.

Night after night, Bono would pull some girl out of the audience to join in his "Elvis-devil dance." Stockman's book includes a fascinating account of what happened one night in Wales, when one of these dance partners had an agenda of her own.

"Are you still a believer?", she asked. "If so, what are you doing dressed up as the devil?"

Their voices hidden by the music, Bono gave her a serious answer. "Have you read The Screwtape Letters, a book by C.S. Lewis that a lot of intense Christians are plugged into? They are letters from the devil. That's where I got the whole philosophy of mock-the-devil-and-he-will-flee-from-you," said Bono.

Yes, the girl said, she had read The Screwtape Letters. She understood that Lewis had turned sin inside out in order to make a case for faith.

"Then you know what I am doing," said Bono.

But no matter what happens on stage, plenty of believers remain convinced that Bono's devil suit was highly appropriate. While the singer and his band mates have made some mistakes, Stockman said he is convinced that the controversies that continually swirl around U2 are actually evidence of deeper divisions among believers.

U2 is attacking, in word and deed, the modern church's retreat from art and popular culture.

The church "has put a spiritual hierarchy on jobs," said Stockman. "Ministers and missionaries are on top, then perhaps doctors and nurses come next and so on to the bottom, where artists appear. Artists of whatever kind have to compromise everything to entertain. Art is fluffy froth that is no good in the Kingdom of God. What nonsense."

c National Review 2002
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Old 09-03-2005, 10:32 AM   #4
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I think some of the trouble with religion is that it is so literal as to completely lose any sense of humor or idea of irony. I doubt very few sane people thought Bono had ever started worshipping Satan.

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Old 09-03-2005, 03:48 PM   #5
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Something I'm often intrigued by - why is dressing up as the devil considered worship but dressing up as God considered mocking?
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Old 09-03-2005, 08:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Something I'm often intrigued by - why is dressing up as the devil considered worship but dressing up as God considered mocking?
Since when?
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Old 09-04-2005, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Something I'm often intrigued by - why is dressing up as the devil considered worship but dressing up as God considered mocking?
I agree, there's a tendency to believe that. I think that that aight be because sects and people who worship the Devil, or say they do, they dress like him, well, I've seen it on TV hehe. But Christians and Jews and people who believe in God do not dress like him as a method to worship. Basically, I think it is about customs.

I once saw there was a new cult to "Saint Death" and people dressed like the death, you know, with those black hoods and stuff. I believe the same happens with the devil
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:35 AM   #8
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I love that "Mock the Devil" phrase. I still remember the first time I heard Bono say that. That was one of his phrases that really led me to see Christianity in a new way.
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Old 09-08-2005, 12:13 AM   #9
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You know, the "Mock the Devil" phrase is originally from Martin Luther.

"The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.", Martin Luther

Maybe you can write for your essay using the Luther writings.
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Old 09-13-2005, 11:42 AM   #10
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Macphisto was a fallen rock star rather than the devil himself,

ie he was A devil rather than THE devil.

He had horns to parallel satans position as a fallen angel.

(and unlike satan, macphisto was a creepy evil lovable guy. )
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Old 09-14-2005, 06:47 AM   #11
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The play by Christopher Marlowe 'Dr. Faustus' also has Macphisto in it. Might be worth a quick look at.
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Old 09-14-2005, 06:32 PM   #12
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umm, I think Biff covered it somewhere in his post.

I believe "Mock the devil" comes from "The Screwtape Letters" from C.S. Lewis. Its an excellent read.
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Old 09-19-2005, 03:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Something I'm often intrigued by - why is dressing up as the devil considered worship but dressing up as God considered mocking?
Perhaps also because, and this is just an idea, it would be deemed disrespectful? Dressing up as G could be seen as trying to make yourself on the same level as G if you see what I mean. Like you're trying to bring down G's status to that of mere human beings or lift your status up to his.

By contrast dressing up as the Devil might be seen as worship for that exact same reason. You're being disrespectful to the Devil, and all he represents, G's nemesis as it were. Therefore showing your allegience to G and his morals.

Just some very badly expressed ideas there!
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Old 09-24-2005, 07:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by cristiano


"The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.", Martin Luther

I think this quote, along with "Mock the devil and he will flee from thee," are both in the introduction to The Screwtape Letters. I know I've seen it somewhere before.
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Old 09-26-2005, 06:01 PM   #15
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^Yeah it is. The mock the devil thingy is a bit different though, it goes: "The devill... the prowde spirite.. cannot endure to be mocked" - Thomas More. I think Bono made his own "flee" quote, inspired on these

Those two quotes are introductory to the book

I just finished reading it, it is so awesome... a whole new perspective on religion, defenitely and funny too!!
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