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Why do people believe in the Devil

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In a recent interview in New York magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged his belief in Satan.

Scalia said that “I even believe in the Devil…..Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that…. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore…. What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.”

Dualistic theology — the idea that the world is divided into two parts, good and evil, and that humans are affected by a constant struggle between the two for domination — is common to many religions, and especially prominent in Roman Catholicism.

Though the Catholic Church has gradually moved away from more traditional and literal interpretations of Hell and Satan, Scalia is not alone; according to a 2007 Baylor Religion Survey, over half of Americans (54 percent) “absolutely believe in Satan.”

In their book “Paranormal America,” sociologists Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph Baker note:

“Americans are deeply divided on the nature of evil. Researchers have found that a person’s views about the nature of evil and the role of evil impact other behaviors and beliefs. For instance, beliefs about Satan were a strong predictor of participation in social movements, rallies, petitions, pickets, and membership associated with the Moral Majority. More recently, strong views of religious evil have been found to be associated with intolerance of homosexuality.”

During the 2008 run-up to the presidential elections, then-Senator Barack Obama was asked by pastor Rick Warren if he believed in evil.Obama replied, “Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children.”

While much in religion and theology is considered metaphorical and allegorical, as Scalia notedbelief in Satan as a literal incarnation of evil is common among many Roman Catholics. Fundamentalist Christian literature contains countless books describing Satan, demons, and devils as real, literal, incarnate entities that cause a wide variety of ills ranging from marital strife and “unclean thoughts” to depression, disease and death.

Belief in a literal Satan also plays an important role in Christian eschatology, the study of end-of-days prophecies. Those who believe that the end times are upon us have been especially popular.

Perpetual doomsayer Hal Lindsey wrote a best-selling and influential 1972 book titled “Satan Is Alive And Well on Planet Earth” in which he discussed — and cited evidence of — a literal Satan walking among us. A quarter-century later Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins hit on similar themes in their “Left Behind” books that sold over 65 million copies and remain one of the best-selling fiction series in print.

Many Christians also believe that occult divination tools such as Tarot cards, pendulums, and Ouija boards can connect with, and even summon, evil spirits including Satan. Some even promote conspiracy theories involving Satan, claiming for example that credit cards and bar codes are not only “marks of the Beast” (i.e., Satan), but signs of an impending and demonic New World Order.

This is part of a broader trend of biblical literalism. Many believe that Earth was created by God in only seven days,  in the case of so-called “intelligent design” creationism, less than 10,000 years ago. Another common belief is that Noah’s Ark really existed (and that it’s periodically re-discovered on a Turkish mountain), and so on.

In Roman Catholicism bread and wine are believed to literally — not just figuratively—become the flesh and blood of Jesus as soon as the faithful put it in their mouths, in a process called transubstantiation. (Of course it is possible to scientifically determine that this does not in fact happen — an x-ray or a stomach pump could easily show that the sacrament of the Eucharist does not literally change from bread to human flesh when consumed.)

People still believe in the Devil because there’s still a need for him to exist. He still plays an important role in many people’s belief systems and even daily lives. Writer and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, in his 1942 book “The Screwtape Letters,” wrote:

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.”  

by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Replies (31-40):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Quoting strontium:

not really. Im stating that I dont believe in a "devil" because I have educated myself and I follow science and physical evidence. 

;)

Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting autodidact:

what? 

Quoting Anonymous:

first response always has #followers




First response set the tone




That makes sense but I do know some scientists that do believe in God and the devil
FoxFire363
by Ruby Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

"Trials" and what not do not constitute a "devil." I am speaking of a personified and/or deified force of evil. There are no evil Gods in my religion. Even the Gods whose purposes are considered "darker" such as Kali the Destroyer are not evil, because destruction serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things. There's none of this belief that good and evil are black and white and there are Deities who serve one and Deities who serve the other. Actually, if you want to go on about "trials" and such, those are not seen as evil either, as they also serve a purpose. The only evil is that which causes harm to another, and that is the sole responsibility of the one perpetrating the evil act. It is not inspired by or created by an outside influence or "devil." So, no there are not any "devils" in my religion. 


Quoting Kazoo22:

Keep reading

Quoting FoxFire363:

No, they do not. My religion has no devil figure at all.


Quoting Kazoo22:

It's not just Christian. Every religions has their own "devils".

Quoting autodidact:

because they were raised christian? 






strontium
by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

You are right. 

An eye-opening new Pew survey on science and religion reveals a huge God gap between scientists and other Americans. Eighty-three percent of Americans say that they believe in God, while just 33 percent of scientists do. Just 17 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, while nearly three times as many scientists are.

The numbers are a testament to what an odd bird Francis Collins, the prominent geneticist and evanglical who is President Obama's nominee to run the National Institutes of Health, is.

This graph gives the full picture:

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/god-and-country/2009/07/16/pew-survey-a-huge-god-gap-between-scientists-and-other-americans

Quoting Anonymous:

Quoting strontium:

not really. Im stating that I dont believe in a "devil" because I have educated myself and I follow science and physical evidence. 


;)

Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting autodidact:

what? 

Quoting Anonymous:

first response always has #followers




First response set the tone




That makes sense but I do know some scientists that do believe in God and the devil


Kazoo22
by Platinum Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

"devils" and "demons" can have many metaphorical and emotional thoughts behind them. I've heard people refer to their feeling or thoughts as "demons they wrestle with" but are not in fact talking about actual demons. 

Here is what I said:

"Whether it's an actual being or a thought/feeling/trails etc yes they all do. That's why devils was in quotations. It wasn't literal. Some religions do have metaphorical demons or emotions."

So there are no emotions or negative feels you are not to have or act upon?

Quoting FoxFire363:

"Trials" and what not do not constitute a "devil." I am speaking of a personified and/or deified force of evil. There are no evil Gods in my religion. Even the Gods whose purposes are considered "darker" such as Kali the Destroyer are not evil, because destruction serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things. There's none of this belief that good and evil are black and white and there are Deities who serve one and Deities who serve the other. Actually, if you want to go on about "trials" and such, those are not seen as evil either, as they also serve a purpose. The only evil is that which causes harm to another, and that is the sole responsibility of the one perpetrating the evil act. It is not inspired by or created by an outside influence or "devil." So, no there are not any "devils" in my religion. 


Quoting Kazoo22:

Keep reading

Quoting FoxFire363:

No, they do not. My religion has no devil figure at all.


Quoting Kazoo22:

It's not just Christian. Every religions has their own "devils".

Quoting autodidact:

because they were raised christian? 







Kazoo22
by Platinum Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

So can I consider myself part of the scientist group even if I don't have a science agree. . .cause I really like science. 

Quoting strontium:

You are right. 

An eye-opening new Pew survey on science and religion reveals a huge God gap between scientists and other Americans. Eighty-three percent of Americans say that they believe in God, while just 33 percent of scientists do. Just 17 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, while nearly three times as many scientists are.

The numbers are a testament to what an odd bird Francis Collins, the prominent geneticist and evanglical who is President Obama's nominee to run the National Institutes of Health, is.

This graph gives the full picture:

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/god-and-country/2009/07/16/pew-survey-a-huge-god-gap-between-scientists-and-other-americans

Quoting Anonymous:

Quoting strontium:

not really. Im stating that I dont believe in a "devil" because I have educated myself and I follow science and physical evidence. 


;)

Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting autodidact:

what? 

Quoting Anonymous:

first response always has #followers




First response set the tone




That makes sense but I do know some scientists that do believe in God and the devil



strontium
by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I really like science too. But I am not a scientist.

Quoting Kazoo22:

So can I consider myself part of the scientist group even if I don't have a science agree. . .cause I really like science. 

Quoting strontium:

You are right. 

An eye-opening new Pew survey on science and religion reveals a huge God gap between scientists and other Americans. Eighty-three percent of Americans say that they believe in God, while just 33 percent of scientists do. Just 17 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, while nearly three times as many scientists are.

The numbers are a testament to what an odd bird Francis Collins, the prominent geneticist and evanglical who is President Obama's nominee to run the National Institutes of Health, is.

This graph gives the full picture:

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/god-and-country/2009/07/16/pew-survey-a-huge-god-gap-between-scientists-and-other-americans

Quoting Anonymous:

Quoting strontium:

not really. Im stating that I dont believe in a "devil" because I have educated myself and I follow science and physical evidence. 


;)

Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting autodidact:

what? 

Quoting Anonymous:

first response always has #followers




First response set the tone




That makes sense but I do know some scientists that do believe in God and the devil




Anonymous
by Anonymous 6 on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM
I believe in both god and the devil.
Kazoo22
by Platinum Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Like I buy used college books from people that major in sciences. So if I read those book I imagine I come pretty close. lol 

Quoting strontium:

I really like science too. But I am not a scientist.

Quoting Kazoo22:

So can I consider myself part of the scientist group even if I don't have a science agree. . .cause I really like science. 

Quoting strontium:

You are right. 

An eye-opening new Pew survey on science and religion reveals a huge God gap between scientists and other Americans. Eighty-three percent of Americans say that they believe in God, while just 33 percent of scientists do. Just 17 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, while nearly three times as many scientists are.

The numbers are a testament to what an odd bird Francis Collins, the prominent geneticist and evanglical who is President Obama's nominee to run the National Institutes of Health, is.

This graph gives the full picture:

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/god-and-country/2009/07/16/pew-survey-a-huge-god-gap-between-scientists-and-other-americans

Quoting Anonymous:

Quoting strontium:

not really. Im stating that I dont believe in a "devil" because I have educated myself and I follow science and physical evidence. 


;)

Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting autodidact:

what? 

Quoting Anonymous:

first response always has #followers




First response set the tone




That makes sense but I do know some scientists that do believe in God and the devil





Anonymous
by Anonymous 7 on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:21 PM
1 mom liked this

Do I believe in the devil? Well, my husband used to be married to her, so yes.

RaisinGirl78
by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM

For the Bible tells me so? lol

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