4 Jun 2012

The Concept of Satan

Submitted by Stephen Winters

The concept of Satan is very seductive and very popular among Christians. Satan is a convenient scapegoat to take the blame for:

  • anything bad that happens.
  • the consequences of one's own actions.
  • anything that a person can't or doesn't want to explain

Whenever a person says that he is being "attacked by Satan", he assumes or claims that:

  • He doesn't have to take any reponsibility for whatever  happened or is about to happen.
  • He doesn't have to change, it's not his fault. Something else is to blame.
  • He is the innocent victim.
  • He is a "good guy" that is being attacked by an evil being.
  • This is an easy way out. Then he doesn't have to search to find the real cause of the problem.

If he claims that someone else is a "captive of Satan": then that other person is indirectly at fault. This is an attempt to shift the blame away from oneself onto another person.

Instead of taking responsibility for the consequences of one's own actions, a person can say, "Satan is attacking me." This can be a attempt to get the attention off of oneself, while at the same time attempt to appear spiritual. After all, Satan doesn't attack one of his own. Satan only attacks Christians who are following God.

Instead of admitting failure due to poor planning, one can claim that Satan is attacking.

Sometimes Christian ministries claim that Satan is attacking them. Some have given a list of different ways1 that Satan attacks them.

The Attacks of Satan

Although I grew up in the midst of Christianity that intensely believed in Satan and demonic attacts, I no longer believe in Satan.
I do believe that there are genuinely harmful things (called evil) and their are "seemingly" harmful or evil things in this world.
Take a look at tornados. This is a natural life process of this world that we live in. It becomes harmful when we step into its path.
Many of the things that people call "attacks of Satan" or merely the consequences of one's own ignorant (unknowing)  or irresponsible behavior.
We can eliminate a lot of the .... from our lives by educating ourselves ... and avoiding things that stir up strife or cause calamity in our lives and the lives of others.

How we look at life, we

In this world we see what we look for. If we are looking for "satanic attacks", that is what we will see. For example, if we see someone come down with a serious illness, such as cancer, we might see it as an attack of Satan. Or we can put aside the whole thought of Satan and look to find out what might be the cause. Could it be that the person has been smoking for forty years, or was he eating improper foods for most of his life, or was he living in a neighborhood that was being poluted by a nearby chemical plant, or was the house he was living in unsafe because of asbestos .... or....

If we merely focus on someone (or ourselves) be "attacked by Satan" then we stay in victim mode, unable to rise above the circumstances.

Back in the centuries past, when people were ignorant of .... it was easy for them to believe in evil spirits or other ... that caused the calamities or illness.

Giving Up Satan

As I said before, blaming everything on "Satan" is very seductive. It means that I can go on being the "good guy", and everything I do that is bad is really just caused by Satan and every bad that happens to me is an attack of Satan. The end result is that I remain the good guy. I never have to look at my own bad choices or my own irresponsible behavior.

But once we give up the whole idea of Satan, then we can start looking at and correcting our own thinking and behavior patterns. We can start learning how to live responsibly and compassionately. We stop bringin disaster upon ourselves. We can then begin to experience that "abundant (and peaceful) life" spoken of by Jesus and other great men.

Many of the seemingly bad things that happen to us can be changed for the good by how we respond to the situation.

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