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Old 12-17-2006, 12:19 AM   #1
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question for christians

Do you all think satan is a real force in the universe? I mean as a sort of driving force the same way god is considered to be active in the world. Im a christian, and I think satan is just a describing word for sin or man's impurity or lacking of gods will. Is that really crazy sounding? Am i completley off? I believe in heaven and hell, but i don't think satan is some sort of evil spirit pulling strings yet i ofcourse know man is sinful in that he is lacking in gods goodness.
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Old 12-17-2006, 01:29 AM   #2
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Well I guess that depends which Christians you ask, doesn't it?

I'm a Catholic and I've got as much right to opine on the topic as anyone... and so, the occasional exorcism notwithstanding, I happen to believe that 'satan' is a good metaphorical image for the all-too-banal spirit of evil that infuses people if they let it. Evil IS banal, there's no need to go looking for a guy with a tail.

I also don't believe in the pulling-strings theory of the world, so in the same way I do not blame God for earthquakes and droughts. Such a perspective, if true, would reduce us to puppets on a clockwork stage.
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:36 AM   #3
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I'm with you edgeboy. When people say things like they were inspired by the devil or whatever, I think that is just giving personification to bad decisions. It is almost like excusing them from their bad behavior, by putting the responsibility on something else.

Though, Churchlady makes me pee my pants with laughter.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:19 AM   #4
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I'm a Christian, and I think one of the most profound statements on the subject was made by Kevin Spacey in "The Usual Suspects": "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making the world believe he didn't exist."
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:29 AM   #5
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Re: question for christians

Quote:
Originally posted by edgeboy
Do you all think satan is a real force in the universe? I mean as a sort of driving force the same way god is considered to be active in the world. Im a christian, and I think satan is just a describing word for sin or man's impurity or lacking of gods will. Is that really crazy sounding? Am i completley off? I believe in heaven and hell, but i don't think satan is some sort of evil spirit pulling strings yet i ofcourse know man is sinful in that he is lacking in gods goodness.
I kind of agree with you, and this is really the only point where I think I differ from the sect of Christianity I've come to believe in (Calvinism). I think that many Calvinists place too much emphasis on Satan as an actual being and thus make it far to easy to blame him for all that is evil, not our own shortcomings and evil things humans do to others. I like to think of Satan as the lack of God's will in one's life and evil as a lack of good. I don't think it's as dualistic as some people make it out to be. I've come to believe that ALL humans understand goodness, kindness, etc and ALL humans come with an inherent sense of morality. We are not either good or evil - we all possess a certain level of "goodness" AND a certain weakness for temptation to not follow through with our "goodness" - we simply do things that lack goodness.

Like others have said, the idea of Satan as an evil being is more of a metaphor to me. As far as evil is concerned, I think that "darkness is the absence of light" and "cold is the absence of heat" are just as valid metaphors to describe the evil that takes place when the will of God is ignored or downright disobeyed.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:31 AM   #6
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I believe that Satan is a force for evil. It's tough for me to imagine that he's really a living being. I think it's more abstract.
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:06 PM   #7
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Well it's nice to see people share my view. It just bothers me that people say satan is 'making' them do evil things and besides that christianity is a monotheistic religion and saying that satan is a sort of second being is a contradiction i think. Some of you were right i think in saying that people use satan as an excuse for their lack of goodness.
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:52 PM   #8
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I believe Satan exists, that he is miserable and does't undestand how he was figured to fit into God's plan.

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Old 12-17-2006, 06:49 PM   #9
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Satan was the actual nickname for my exboyfriend.

I do believe in good and evil and I think God and Devil are representation of them. Good- God. Evil- Devil. Coincidence?
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:55 PM   #10
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:16 PM   #11
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interesting discussion

i also believe its wrong for people to use the devil as an excuse.
just like its wrong to blame god for tornadoes or earthquakes or taking an innocent child from its loving parents. both sides of that coin upset me.

as far as whether i believe satan is a force inside a person or instead a real person, well, since the scriptures tell about conversations between satan and God (Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-7), and later between satan and Christ (luke 4:1-13). logically because Jesus Christ and God are perfect and sinless then they have no internal evil to have an internal dialogue with.

i would have to say based on these accounts he's a real person, not human, but a person, who is deceitful and opportunistic, and wants humans to serve him instead of God.

God gives us the answers in the bible, awesome question.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:00 PM   #12
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This is my first time posting here so be gentle.

I don't believe that an actual incarnation of Satan exists. I believe it's a way of describing evil in the world. Evil is something people don't understand. Why does evil exist? Satan is a way of answering this question by personifying evil into a single being that influences humanity. I also don't believe in hell. To me, I believe that if you don't belong in heaven when you die, then you simply no longer exist. Death is the end of the line for you. As for purgatory, that's a tough one. I'm not sure if I believe it exists.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joey788
This is my first time posting here so be gentle.

I don't believe that an actual incarnation of Satan exists. I believe it's a way of describing evil in the world. Evil is something people don't understand. Why does evil exist? Satan is a way of answering this question by personifying evil into a single being that influences humanity. I also don't believe in hell. To me, I believe that if you don't belong in heaven when you die, then you simply no longer exist. Death is the end of the line for you. As for purgatory, that's a tough one. I'm not sure if I believe it exists.
I've got similar feelings. Satan is a personification of evil, an explanation of evil things in "human" form.


As for what happens after we die, But I'm inclined to agree with your viewpoint.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:25 PM   #14
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"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." ~ Ephesians 6:12

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith..." ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9

Given this, and the conversations cited earlier between God and the devil in Job and Jesus and the devil in the Gospel accounts, it seems there are opposing spiritual forces at work.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:38 PM   #15
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But if your familiar with theology and christian philosophy you'll realize that only one true being exsist, no other! You can not say God the perfectect being created something that is the complete opposite of his essence! It bothers me that people don't seem to get this point. You all seem to understand though. As far as hell, im not sure because your soul has to go somewhere doesn't it? But C.S Lewis made me understand that we don't automatically belong to God when were born but rather it's something we become. What do you guys think?
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:46 PM   #16
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Re: question for christians

Quote:
Originally posted by edgeboy
Do you all think satan is a real force in the universe?
Yes, I do.

But:

I believe he is far less powerful than God.

I believe that undue emphasis on Satan and his power and what he's up to etc is unwise and spiritually unhealthy. Far better to focus on God and His power and what He's up to.

I agree that in 99.9% of cases where people say "the devil made me do it" they're just making excuses and not taking responsiblity for their own actions.

I don't believe in hell in the sense of a place that people are or will be sent to be tormented for eternity.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by edgeboy
But if your familiar with theology and christian philosophy you'll realize that only one true being exsist, no other! You can not say God the perfectect being created something that is the complete opposite of his essence! It bothers me that people don't seem to get this point. You all seem to understand though. As far as hell, im not sure because your soul has to go somewhere doesn't it? But C.S Lewis made me understand that we don't automatically belong to God when were born but rather it's something we become. What do you guys think?
Really interesting dicussion here, folks.

I hear where you're coming from edgeboy, but the way I see it, a God of perfect love cannot create a being without free choice which would necessarily include the freedom to choose not to follow God's way of love. So in fact a perfect God HAD to create someone who could choose to be the opposite of who God is. Based on my understanding of Scripture, Satan wasn't created "evil"--he was good at first, but chose evil.

Regarding the question of where your soul goes, I believe the soul is indivisible from the physical body. I don't believe in the "ghost in the machine." I do believe that the "Breath of Life" that "God-spark" in each one of us "goes back to God" when we die, but that is in no way a conscious entity. I think of it like the "memory" of who we are stored as a file in God's brain to be restored at the physical resurrection. (But that last part is strictly my speculation and has no serious Biblical foundation).

C.S. Lewis. . .I really enjoy his thinking. I'm reading The Screwtape Letters with my freshman literature class right now.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by edgeboy
But if your familiar with theology and christian philosophy you'll realize that only one true being exsist, no other! You can not say God the perfectect being created something that is the complete opposite of his essence! It bothers me that people don't seem to get this point. You all seem to understand though. As far as hell, im not sure because your soul has to go somewhere doesn't it? But C.S Lewis made me understand that we don't automatically belong to God when were born but rather it's something we become. What do you guys think?
I think we came from God that we lived with him before.

We earned this as right by living correctly with God and Satan rebeled and was cast out.


We came to earth to learn to grow and make choices.

God allowed Satan here so that we could learn to discipline ourselves, learn the difference between good and evil, learn selflessness instead of self centernedness.

Satan is all about him and wants a person in bondage and to live a life of self indulgence.

God on the other hand is about selfless service, about giving, sharing and helping tose less fortunate than us.

So you can choose freedom in this life by loving and serving others or bondage, bondage to addictions and indulgences etc.

Hope that makes a little sense.

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Old 12-18-2006, 10:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean


I hear where you're coming from edgeboy, but the way I see it, a God of perfect love cannot create a being without free choice which would necessarily include the freedom to choose not to follow God's way of love. So in fact a perfect God HAD to create someone who could choose to be the opposite of who God is. Based on my understanding of Scripture, Satan wasn't created "evil"--he was good at first, but chose evil.
Point taken, but one could argue the opposite - that if God really IS the one and only supreme power, then we MUST accept that he COULD remove all power to chose, because if we insist on humanity's right to choice, then we're insisting on taking that power from God.

This is what Calvinism says - in order to believe that God really is the one and only power, you have to believe he could predestine everything. Now where people get confused is that Calvinist do not say that "GOD HAS PREDESTINED EVERYTHING", no we're just saying that because he is God, he could. Most Calvinists also understand the distinction between "freedom of the Will" and "freedom". You can believe that one's Will is not free and still believe people have been granted the power to make their own choices. The Will only refers to one thing - whether or not you have God's Grace in your heart. A Calvinist's concept of the Will does not refer to making choices like "what should I wear today?", "who should I ask to the dance?", "should I watch this movie?", etc.

Neo-Calvinists and surface level Calvinists who've never taken the time to study Calvinist theology at length will believe or allow people to believe that freedom and freedom of the Will are synonymous.
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


Point taken, but one could argue the opposite - that if God really IS the one and only supreme power, then we MUST accept that he COULD remove all power to chose, because if we insist on humanity's right to choice, then we're insisting on taking that power from God.

This is what Calvinism says - in order to believe that God really is the one and only power, you have to believe he could predestine everything. Now where people get confused is that Calvinist do not say that "GOD HAS PREDESTINED EVERYTHING", no we're just saying that because he is God, he could. Most Calvinists also understand the distinction between "freedom of the Will" and "freedom". You can believe that one's Will is not free and still believe people have been granted the power to make their own choices. The Will only refers to one thing - whether or not you have God's Grace in your heart. A Calvinist's concept of the Will does not refer to making choices like "what should I wear today?", "who should I ask to the dance?", "should I watch this movie?", etc.

Neo-Calvinists and surface level Calvinists who've never taken the time to study Calvinist theology at length will believe or allow people to believe that freedom and freedom of the Will are synonymous.
I think God knows our dispostions and proclivities.
I do think it is ultimately up to us to be the author of our own destiny.

That God knows us each by name, he will judge us fairly, lovingly and with justice we cannot fully comprehend yet.



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