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Why Are Demons a Primarily Christian Phenomena


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#1 CaveRat2

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 02:40 PM

The relationship between the Christian faiths and demons has been posed often. The thought here could, although very subjective, provide one explanation. I would point out at the outset, it is NOT my intent to argue religion here.

Traditional Christain teachings accept there is one God, comprised of the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. This trune God is the only true God, others are false gods and not to be worshipped. This statement ois not intended to provoke argument here, but it is key as to why primarily the Christian faith is plagued by demons. For sake of discussion assume this statement is factual, and that all other religions are false and their proponents are doomed to destruction.

Also consider that a Cristian believs satan is the fallen angel, arch enemy of Christ and the antithesis of everything God stands for. Both are essentially at war for the souls of humans.

Now if make that assumption, and make the argument from that point of view, then consider the true purpose of a demon. A demon's purpose is to drive people from Christianity to follow satan and his demons. While the scripture does indicate the outcome of the final battle, satan is still doing his best to take as many souls as he can before the final day.

As to why non Christians are not plagued by the demonic consider, if the above assumption is true, the very disbelief of the non-Christaian assures satan of that soul. Thus there is no reason to bother the non_Christian. The Christian on the other hand may have his faith tested. In some cases it may be possible for a demon to win a "convert" to satan along the way. Or at least deceive the Christian to the point he doubts his faith. Thus an on-going attack against the Christian is underway.

So how does one recognize a demon? The spinning heads and green vomit of Hollywood do not a demon make. Rather, as agents of satan, the great deceiver, they practice whatever it takes to weaken a person's faith in God. That is why I don't subscribe to the general stements that demons appear as evil spirits. Rather they may appear as a benevolent entity. They will do whatever it takes to win your alliegence. Causing someone to act up, shout obscenities, and do the other things often ascribed to them doesn't do it. These cases are more likely the results of medical issues than demons. But if something happens that causes the Christian to doubt his faith, then watch out. That well could be a demon working by subtrifuge in the background..... Just a point of view to consider.

The old addage holds true in this case. "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

#2 dancinmiriam

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 07:09 PM

I am one of the posters who has posed this question in the past, and understand your reasoning, which in a way, makes my original query a rather rhetorical one. Anyone who has read some of the more prominent religious/theological writers and thinkers of the last century, has probably read The Screwtape Letters which quite brilliantly draws the picture you have described. Not to give too much away, but Screwtape is a lowly minion in the demonic hierarchy who is apprenticed to Beelzebub, and as part of his apprenticeship he must 'report' via letters, on his progress with winning a certain man's soul. And as you have stated his (that is Screwtape) primary stumbling block is the OBVIOUS evil that this hapless soul can easily see and avoid. Throughout his apprenticeship he must learn to use subterfuge, subtlety and some surprising (no alliteration intended) schemes to snare his soul (oops, I did it again). Thus, your theory of demons appearing as a Christian experience would make sense. All of this is predicated on there actually being demons. Additionally, though I realize you do not wish to make it a "Christians follow the one / only true faith" argument, the definition (for demons+Christianity) you give brings it full circle in such a way that the only logical outcome of this train of thought is that - if demons exist, Christianity must be the true faith. I am not Christian and know that many Christians (unfortunately or not) very sincerely believe that my soul will burn in torment for eternity without Jesus - I try to recognize the desire on their part for the concern it most certainly is. However, in this particular instance - it is predicated on demons being real. Though evil in one form or another surely does, I'm hard pressed to believe that a theologically driven being is any more real than the imagining of the person experiencing it. Before I get even longer here, I will add that there ARE demons in other faiths around the world, they simply don't take the same format (yeah, I meant format) of 'Christian' demons. Perhaps the question is a broader one of how evil manifests in living breathing human activity and in other planes?? or when these cross paths. Thank you for bringing back this fascinating topic!
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#3 ChuckMcB

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 12:45 AM

What I was getting at in the other thread was that I'm certain that if there are evil entities not of this earth they must appear in other cultures, I am just not aware of any such reports. I'm going to do some research when I get a chance particularly into the Djinn or genies of the middle east. I don't know very much about them but what little Ive heard does sound like they could sometimes be similar to the demons of christianity.

My own actual opinion on the matter is that evil people can make evil spirits and the reports of agressive entities that growl and scratch are just that, the ghosts of human beings who were never very nice to begin with.
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#4 dancinmiriam

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:16 PM

I would agree with you on your latter paragraph/reason for demons, Chuck. You are correct (at least in my estimation of what a demon might be, culturally) with the djinn, though in some instances they kinda fall into your theory of the origin of demons. Demons I had referred to were in a wide variety of cultures, from Japanese (Shinto) to East Indian, and many other tribal cultures. It is of course arguable as to whether they are demons both in reality; and, many perhaps don't consider them so as they don't fit the profile of the demons of Christian, or more acutely, medieval/Dante'esque notions of demons. Ultimately, I would think it would be helpful to those experiencing the so-called demonic possession or other 'demon-related' phenomena, to define precisely what is meant when each of us use that word. My personal belief is that when they show up or manifest, as it were, to some, there has been such a saturation of demonic imagery concocted by movies, who gleaned that from every lurid detail of medieval religiously fueled nightmare, that there is already a preconceived picture in one's mind that, when confronted with some sort of 'evil' feeling/energy/presence, fills in the blank. The continued work of the Warrens' fuels it further. Again, I like your theory and I think it would prove to be the most helpful in dealing with a multitude of issues arising in re: demons and evil in general.
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#5 CaveRat2

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:44 PM

Dancimiriam makes a valid point regarding how people have been conditioned to expect certain things of a demon by Hollywood. To expound a little more on my theory, I would contend that a person who has given himself over to a demon would likely show little outward effects. The demon has complete control and no reason to provoke any further.

Regarding those who are alleged to be possessed, and show signs we are conditioned to believe are demonic, most probably suffer from some form of mental illness. These are in no way connected to demons. Of the ones who are possessed and do show signs, I would suspect these are still fighting back against the demon. The outward signs are simply evidence of that conflict.

And the largest group we see, those entities that appear evil or negative are not demons. They are simply entities with a bad disposition, be it a visiting spirit, residual of some bad event, or an interdimensional being with an attitude. Most cases are not demonic by nature.

#6 Oiche

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:51 PM

If I may? Do some comparing of ancient mythology (especially Babylonian) with Judeo-Christian belief, now the people of Israel were held captive in Babylon for...think it was 1000 years, its going to foster anymosity so its no wonder that Ba'al, Patron god of the city of Ninevah and dreams became Ba'alzebub Lord of the Flies...sort of like drawing a mustache on a statue of a national hero
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#7 Oiche

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:57 PM

The Djinn's image of helpful spirits is Hollywood...read Arabian Nights, the Djinn would twist wording to cause harm to the holder of the lamp
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#8 dancinmiriam

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:51 PM

Thank you for some of the comparison, Oiche - I like the painting a moustache on a statue analogy! However, if we are to blame Arabian Nights for the ideas that Hollywood has of the 'djinn', we'd have to go a bit further and speak to the fascination in the early part of the last century, with everything middle eastern, and the authors like Burton (the original 'author' of 1001 Arabian Nights a collection of tales as told by Scheherezade/SharzAd) long before Hollywood got their grubby hands on those tales. The fascination with all the exotic tales from Eastern lands has gone through different phases, from the early tales of Prestor John in the 12th/13th century, to the 17th century and Turkish craze, to the early part of the 1900's and just prior, when Diaghilev and his ballet productions made everything middle eastern the latest fashion. Perhaps the Western mind simply needs to make the boogey man of other cultures appear more like our own, hence the change of the djinn - though I would agree with the Hollywood connection there, more explicitly Disney, turning everything into la-la phoo-phoo (best I could come up with to describe the fluff) - hence we have a djinn granting wishes and cracking jokes with Aladdin. Sorry if this turned into a treatise on 'Turkish' fashion history.

Edited by dancinmiriam, 07 September 2010 - 06:51 PM.

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#9 Oiche

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:02 PM

Hi, Miriam...WOW...you've really done your homework on this, I see!

The old myths about captured elementals served a purpose, "Beware of what you wish!" like the story of the Monkey's paw, such spirits don't care one way or the other about the Holder's Happiness or well being, they want their freedom and they can get it one of two ways, the holder's death or fulfilling the terms. Go easy on Uncle Walty :weeee: remember that his company started in the aftermath of WWII, people had seen a lot of horror on the Fronts and in the states so even stories that had unhappy endings-like the Alamo-the full ending was never aired. Silly, I know, but it was made for kids and a certain amount of fluff is necessary
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#10 ravenhecate

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 07:58 AM

I think that Christianity is plagued by demons more so than other religions in part because they are a little less likely to accept human failings as human nature than other religions. IMO Christianity focuses on repressing the darker side of human nature as a means of evolving the spirit. Other religions accept and embrace the darker side, while trying to get beyond that dark side.

An example of this is the story of Titivillus, the patron demon of scribes.....yes you heard me correctly! In the middle ages, when the Bible and all the religious texts were hand copied, if a scribe were to make an error while copying the texts, they could be ex-communicated. After a while, scribes began blaming their errors on Titivillus, a demon who roamed the scribal rooms causing them to make errors. Titivillus then collected those errors in a bag he carried, and when the scribe was before God on judgement day, Titivillus would read back all the errors. Scribes could claim that "the devil (or at least the demon) made me do it" and they were no longer ex-communicated. We all know that making mistakes are part of human nature, but to the medieval church, it was a grievous sin until it could be blamed on an "outside' source. That demon in particular, and most demons IMO are scapegoats to blame our human failings on.
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#11 Oiche

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 09:45 AM

Hi, Hacate! I hadn't heard of Titivillus until now so thanks:D But a missed/misplaced word could make a huge difference, changing the meaning of a phrase so technically it was herecy and as frightening as excommunication was to the medieval mindset, it could have cost the poor scribe his life here as well as being condemned in the next.
That's unfortunately always been the case, mental illness, developmental disabilities or physical handicaps were blamed on demons as well
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#12 CrystalEyz

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:02 AM

To believe Catholics or Christains are the only ones who are affected by Demons is a total misconception. Every nationality and religion has their own names for them, and banishing them, but its all the same. How would an atheist know if they had a demonic attachment? They wouldnt because they dont believe in a God so they cannot believe in evil forces. Does that mean they cannot be oppressed or possessed, absolutely not! None of us truly knows how many humans are touched by evil, but just watch the news. I have interviewed a few that were possessed at one time, and remember very little, but everyone around them knew something was wrong. NO pea soup, NO spinning heads, some is very subtle and others obvious. Demons hate humans, thats the bottom line and they dont discriminate. Also these days, before someone can be exorcized they MUST undergo a physical and psychological evaluation, before its even considered. So the old mental illness thinking ended in the 1950's. Just thank your lucky stars you have never had an encounter with one of these entities..

#13 Oiche

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:24 AM

Hi, Crystaleyz, most ancient cultures had some form of demon in their mythology but tbh, I've never understood the distinction of demon from devil aside from the common denominator that neither walked on earthly feet

In the J-C belief system, when the Archangel Lucifer rebelled against the Throne, he'd subverted almost a third of the host to his cause, did higher choir rebels (guess they'd be officers) become devils and lower ranked vassals become demons for their treachery?
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#14 MoonChild

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:46 AM

What is the so called "Demons" are only one aspect of the incarnated soul?

I am raised as a Hindu, and as per Hindu beliefs, there are three basic character for anything that is created. Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Sattvic qualities are the pure, which do not cause any conflict to the nature and existence. Rajasic qualities are more materialistic, and Tamasic qualities are considered "evil". Demons or "Rakshasas" as we call them are entities with the Tamasic qualities in their soul and character. As humans we all have these inherent qualities (look around and ascertain yourself), but there are other lower entities in the universe who have such qualities too. The teachings of the Christ as in the Holy Bible (as I see it) are only "representations" that need not be taken literally. It is upto us to overcome the negatives, by using our power to choose and merge with the Christ (or KRSNA, or Rama, or Buddha as the case maybe).
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#15 Oiche

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:46 AM

Moon, that's an outstanding point! From all the accounts I've read demons are more prone to physical violence/destructiveness, sort of like the aspect of personality Dr Freud described as ID, now lets say you're walking down the street, you see someone eating a hot dog the primal ID says "Mm! Meat!" and wants to just take the dodger dog from the poor guy. Superego is morally outraged because its always morally outraged by its counterpart and reminds ID that its wrong to steal. On the other hand, there's Ego who points out the vendor and suggests buying a hot dog instead of popping a guy on the head and stealing the hot dog, they're all aspects of the individual
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