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Debunking the Devil

Thought this was a great article. I haven’t researched it to the degree that this author has, so I can’t speak to the complete accuracy of what he says. But he makes a great case, and it’s the same view I’ve held for a while.

Michael A. Sherlock (Author)

The ancient Persians had a significant impact upon some of the core myths that underscore Judaism and Christianity.  Among other things, Judaism and Christianity owe thanks to the Persian priests of Zoroaster for the light versus darkness motif, the belief in an impending apocalypse, and the messianic dogma.  But above all, both Jews and Christians should thank Persia for the Devil himself.  I think it’s fair to say that had they not adopted this fictitious character from the Persians, they might not have succeeded with such ease in persuading and maintaining their frightened and superstitious flocks.

The religion of Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, received its name from a Magian Priest by the name of Zoroaster (Greek)/Zarathustra (Persian), who was a loyal servant of the “one true” Persian God Ahura Mazda, or Ormuzd.  Ormuzd was commonly referred to as the “The Holy Spirit” in the pre-Christian portions of the Avesta.(1)  This…

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147 thoughts on “Debunking the Devil”

  1. Then exactly why did you respond with ”quack”?
    I suspect you probably smiled and couldn’t resist could you? If you’re really honest
    😉

    No satisfactory answer? Of course there is, Kent! Don’t you know this?

    So, now that you are ”playing along”…

    Let me rephrase the question for you, Kent.

    ”So, Dad, how come you never told us the story of Moses and Noah was all ….( insert appropriate word/phrase of child depending on age) ie ….Bullshit, crap, nonsense, archaeologically demonstrated to be nothing but geopolitical-myth, hokum, just a story, all make believe?

    ”You don’t believe that stuff do you, Dad?”

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  2. I suspect you probably smiled and couldn’t resist could you? If you’re really honest.
    I’m not honest, Ark. I’m a Christian! ;-D

    No satisfactory answer? Of course there is, Kent! Don’t you know this?
    Nope. I don’t know that.

    So, now that you are ”playing along”…
    Nope. Still not playing along. (Still quacking up about it all though)

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  3. In late 2011 I attended a seminar led by a visiting evangelist who advertised about operating ‘in signs and wonders’. At one session I happened to be sitting in the front row as he was praying for certain people. A mild mannered very normal looking middle aged lady was next in the line for prayer. As the evangelist went to pray for her (I am not sure he even touched her), she let out a blood curdling scream and fell to the floor.

    This all happened about two feet away from me. So the evangelists says she must be demon possessed. He gets one of his assistants to try and expel the demon from the lady, but apparently this is unsuccessful so a local pastor and his assistant come up and take the lady, who is comatose on the floor, away to another room (to work on her). Later this pastor told me he expelled two demons from the lady.

    At the time, when I called myself a Christian, I found these sort of events very compelling. I was just glad when the evangelist prayed for me later that nothing like that happened to me.

    So what do I make of all this now? Well I am not really sure, but I am prepared to say that there surely must be other possible explanations other than demon possession. The problem with these sort of occurrences is that it is incredibly hard to establish test conditions to determine what is really going on.

    In this particular case something definitely happened but I don’t know quite what. History shows me that attributing phenomena we don’t understand to supernatural forces is a common human trait, but at the same time it has thus far proved to be 100% incorrect. There may still be much about the human body/mind that scientists are yet to discover.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. ”No satisfactory answer? Of course there is, Kent! Don’t you know this?”
    Nope. I don’t know that.

    Well, you are no doubt reasonably convinced of your position, certainly enough to consider yourself a Christian, and as part of the Great Commission you are ”commanded” to spread the word.
    What I would like to know is this: Something convinced you that what you believe is the real thing.
    You are an adult, a parent, you seem responsible enough, and you are a writer,therefore, no dummy. So exactly what was it that turned your former world on its head and convinced you that Christianity was the way to go?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great comments Peter, especially “There may still be much about the human body/mind that scientists are yet to discover.” I totally agree.

    Ark: Ironic that you would ask as I am putting out a book by the end of this month on my own personal testimony, detailing a few of the things that “turned [my] former world on its head”. But, in a nutshell, why I am where I am today as far as faith has to do with a fatal car accident, a business closure and bankruptcy, the birth of a daughter with a disability, the death of a close friend, and a few other things. But mostly it was the people who surrounded me during all these times. I saw a level of love, and care, and selflessness that I choose to ascribe, in part, to the influence of the Divine, including, ironically, what I’ve felt from my friend Nate here as he well knows.

    Could there be a thousand other explanations for any and all of this? Of course. But this is the faith and belief path that I’ve chosen to walk. I’ve never been a fan of “apologetics” which is why I continually choose not to enter the fray of debates on the validity/accuracy of scripture within comment sections like this one. As the writer, Donald Miller, has put it, eventually “the argument stops being about God…and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.” (Also, are you getting the overriding theme here of all of this being by my “choosing”?) Like I’ve said time and time again on this blog site, my faith is something deeply personal to me. I was never “evidenced” into it, and so far I haven’t been “evidenced” out. I have always appreciated differing viewpoints on the subject because, at the heart, I am thirsty (and open) to learn. THIS is also how I’m raising my kids, as if that’s any concern of yours. If you can’t respect me for this, that’s fine. But please don’t bother badgering me for further explanation. I will fully concede that you are much “smarter” than me on the subject and “I honestly don’t care.”

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  6. @Kent
    Wow! Amazing. Well,guess what? We have a few things in common after all. I lost one of my brothers in a fatal car accident when he was 18,I also almost went though a bankruptcy with my first business and my wife also lost a child before bringing it to term.

    And, I also received loads of support and selfless love from all around me, by and large by non-believers, but I never experienced any sense of the divine at all, even though my mother is quite devout.

    As a believer could you explain why the god you worship chose to ”reveal” himself to you, subtle as this apparently was, and yet decided to be a tight-arse bastard and not even whisper , ”Hey man It’ll be all right, you’ll see”.
    And if not for me, at least to comfort the rest of my family and my wife after she lost the child and was just a tad devastated?

    You see, Kent, I do respect your position to believe whatever cockamamie thing you choose, even if under other ( non religious) circumstances such belief would likely be cause for concern.
    This is choice and you are an adult.
    However, that this stuff is passed on to kids is really not nice, as it so often comes with the kicker, Hell, and those that do try to inculcate children are delusional and /or not nice too.

    You ”chose” because of circumstances that you believed were divinely directed. Fair enough.
    You ask for respect and I am prepared to give it. All I am asking is this: Do you have enough respect for your children ( and others) to allow them to discover this ”divine call” all by themselves?

    Well, do you?

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  7. @Kent.
    I thought I would re read you previous comment in case there was something nuanced that I missed.

    I’ve said time and time again on this blog site, my faith is something deeply personal to me. I was never “evidenced” into it, and so far I haven’t been “evidenced” out.

    ”…time and time again ….”
    This struck me as rather odd, Kent. I am curious, if you are so secure in your faith, consider your faith so ”deeply personal”, why on earth would you want to keep coming back to an atheist site? Especially one run by a hard and fast deconvert like Nate?
    What could you possibly be looking for on a blog run by and frequented almost exclusively by atheists?

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  8. As a believer could you explain why the god you worship chose to ”reveal” himself to you, subtle as this apparently was, and yet decided to be a tight-arse bastard…
    I don’t know.

    Do you have enough respect for your children ( and others) to allow them to discover this ”divine call” all by themselves?
    Yes.

    why on earth would you want to keep coming back to an atheist site? Especially one run by a hard and fast deconvert like Nate?
    Because, by all appearances, Nate seems to hold his belief with much the same grip as I hold mine; assured and yet with an infinitesimal sense that we could be wrong. Nate respects the journey I’ve been on (and has even encouraged me *gasp!*) and I’ve respected him on his. We’ve shared private discussions that I believe both of us have walked away from both stronger and more informed than when we entered in. Most importantly I guess, even though I’ve never “met” him, I consider Nate a friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Excellent! As long as you don’t expose your kids to this stuff in any ”this is the truth” sense then good for you. Leave the kids alone, and they will grow up just fine.

    Because, by all appearances, …etc

    I agree, by all accounts Nate is a great bloke. But you’re a god believer and he most certainly is not and considering what he went through I am pretty sure your ”infinitesimal” comment is simply wishful thinking on your part.

    But this still doesn’t pan out as to why you would want to hang out on an atheist site?
    Unless you are not sure? Otherwise,would you not be so much happier and more at home with other converts where you can share testimonies and swap bible stories and spiritual encounters?
    Seriously, what do you expect to glean from a bunch of atheists, Nate included?

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  10. As someone who was brought up in fundamentalist Christianity and had the be-jeezus scared out of my on the topic of Hell, I believe that it is evil and immoral to teach children that if they do not behave and THINK as Mommy and Daddy say they should, an invisible being is one day going to toss them into a pit of fire to burn for all eternity.

    Any parent in our modern, enlightened society today who threatens his children with being burned alive for misbehavior is labeled as a despicable child abuser. Yet, millions of conservative Christians terrify their children with the exact same threat.

    It is evil.
    It is immoral.
    It is CHILD ABUSE.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If Hell were real, then it would be paramount to warn others about it. In that sense, I totally understand why parents think they have to instill warnings about it in their children. But yes, I also really suffered from those kinds of teachings. There was a time when I was confident that some of my loved ones had died and gone to Hell. It’s a terrible feeling. I even went back and forth over whether or not my wife and I should have kids, because I was so afraid of the possibility that they wouldn’t live as a faithful Christian and would wind up there.

    I don’t have a solution to this problem. The parents think they’re doing the right thing, even though they aren’t. I know there are Christians who are uncertain about Hell, and they tend to not be nearly as dogmatic with their children. I’m thankful for that. But I really do feel for the kids who grow up in fundamentalist homes where their sense of right and wrong is warped into thinking that a good, loving god could also send people to an eternity in Hell. When you twist those basic definitions of “good” and “bad” so severely, it’s no wonder that “God-fearing folk” can sometimes do such heinous things.

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  12. …would you not be so much happier and more at home with other converts where you can share testimonies and swap bible stories and spiritual encounters?
    Says the man who just left a comment on my (overtly Christian) site. I don’t have to just my presence to you here on this site or any other. If Nate wants me gone he can block me. Further, I don’t give a rat’s ass how you fell about what I or anyone else feels about what I do or do not tell my children They are my kids and I’ll raise them the best way I know how.

    And about your comment/questions on my site. I’m neither going to approve the comment nor answer it. You’re obviously not listening when I’ve said I don’t agree with nor much care for apologetics and I Honestly. Don’t. Care!.

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  13. Says the man who just left a comment on my (overtly Christian) site

    If you don’t blog about Christianity to inform the world of your god belief and the commanded to proselytize then why are you blogging about Christianity? Ego?

    I don’t have to just my presence to you here on this site or any other.

    Of course you don’t. I am simply curious as to why someone who is so ”in bed with god” would continue to visit an atheist site? Are you looking to challenge the views of a former fundamentalist turned atheist or are you not quite as sure about your position as you try to make out?

    And about your comment/questions on my site. I’m neither going to approve the comment nor answer it. You’re obviously not listening when I’ve said I don’t agree with nor much care for apologetics and I Honestly. Don’t. Care!

    And I say you’re a hypocrite of the first order.

    Yet your site is replete with Christian posturing and posts, including the self-effacing way in which you casually ”announce” you are also a Christian. Just what is that if not apologetics?

    As far as my own views, I don’t put much stock in a literal hell but, as you know from my books,

    And from your own blog…

    I believe in Hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and no second chances. (Sorry, Mr. Bell)

    You note your use of the capital H, I hope? Did I misquote you, Kent?

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  14. @Kent

    Regarding your 100% belief in Hell:

    It is a complete and utter Christian fallacy.

    It does not feature in Judaism and the place supposedly referred to by the non-historical biblical character,Jesus of Nazareth is Gehenna.
    If you refuse to acknowledge the truth of this, and the etymological evidence is freely available, then you are nothing but an indoctrinated slave.

    And non-supernaturalist is right; any attempt to instill such beliefs in children, no matter how oblique, is child abuse. Period.

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  15. You know what, Ark? You’re right. I lost my composure yesterday, and I apologize. Was there ego involved? Hypocrisy? I think there was, and maybe still is. You and I disagree on Christianity and belief, but as I’ve said from the beginning, I respect your views. Have some of my beliefs within this broad umbrella called Christianity changed over the last few years? Yes, they have, as you’ve clearly pointed out. Honestly, I had totally forgotten about some of those ‘listings’ on the About Me page (if I remember their place correctly), and I will work on updating those over time. But that’s beside the point. You’ve called me out for hypocrisy and rightly so. Maybe that’s unavoidable on my part, as a believer, and I’m willing to own that. It doesn’t shake my faith, but…maybe this is the answer to your question as to why I continue to visit sites like Nate’s. It keeps my thinking, keeps me searching, and keeps me honest. And, for that, I thank you.

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  16. I have found that many “moderate” Christians who still believe in Hell laugh at the idea that anyone burns in Hell. “That is fundamentalist nonsense!” they will say. “There is no physical torture in Hell.” But I always push them to explain to me what exactly what then happens in this place.

    The most common response I get is that it is a place of shame. “That is the unbeliever’s punishment: eternal shame.” But I then ask them, “Why will I be ashamed then if I’m not ashamed now? Is this shame imposed on me? If the shame is imposed on me, then it is a form of torture.

    Why does Jesus torture people for choosing to reject this love and affection?

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  17. @Kent

    It is a fact that the character, Jesus of Nazareth never taught the Christian Hell, any more than he taught Original Sin, both of which are Christian doctrine. This then raises some very pertinent questions; questions that many Xians may not have encountered;

    With no Adam and Eve there can never be any Original Sin. Now, the Human Genome Project has established beyond any doubt that there never was an original couple.
    Even if we take into consideration Mitochondrial ”Eve”( I detest using the name, but one has to pander to the believers at some level) the rest of the DNA to come from somewhere, and that was from other ”Eves” ( Therefore, in a nutshell,we know there is no truth to the biblical tale – if in doubt consult a secular geneticist)

    This puts Paul in a bad light as based on his ”words” he firmly believed Adam and Eve were the genuine historical first couple. So did Irenaeus and so did Augustine.

    So no Adam and Eve, no Original Sin.
    No need for a saviour and no need for a human sacrifice.

    Bearing all this in mind, please explain to me (Kent) why exactly are you a Christian?.

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  18. Christians would not tolerate being threatened by another human being with this: “Love and obey me or I will toss you into a dark hole to experience eternal shame.”

    “But he is our Creator. He can do with us as he pleases,” Christians will respond.

    If that is true, you are correct. But then please stop the absurd claims that “our Creator” is loving, merciful, and good. No being is loving, merciful, and good who threatens to torture you for not loving him. Call him what he really is: a Monster!

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  19. I think we may be getting carried away with “abuse” on the subject of hell. maybe it’s irrational and unreasonable to think that all parents should have all knowledge and suggest that they should never teach their children any falsehood, even if the parent believes it to be true.

    I think it’s harsh, absurd and untenable… especially when that parent was taught the same thing and had it reinforced by every influential person in his or her life since that time…

    Is it abuse to to tell your kids about Santa or the Easter Bunny? C’mon.

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  20. @ Ark & nonsupernaturalist: You both ask some good questions. I was going to call it done here, but your questions, primarily on the Human Genome Project have sparked my interest in doing some of my own research (which, as I said earlier, is a reason I keep coming to sites like Nate’s). I’m also currently on a little summer vacation with the family, so answering back is going to be a little spotty. BTW, thank you William for your comments on this whole “raising children” crap.

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  21. @William

    I think it’s harsh, absurd and untenable… especially when that parent was taught the same thing and had it reinforced by every influential person in his or her life since that time…

    Is it abuse to to tell your kids about Santa or the Easter Bunny? C’mon.

    I am prepared t give Kent the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, now that he knows that the Christian notion of Hell is simply bullshit, then he can now be perfectly honest and say, ”No, I will not teach this garbage to my kids or anyone else in future.”

    As fr Santa. You might be surprised that there are more than a few who do consider teaching this to young children highly questionable, if not abuse, as it is know to cause considerable trauma in some kids. You can Google it if your are seriously interested, William.

    Who would have guessed?

    But it is worth remembering no kid was indoctrinated that they would be sent to hell for eternity to be tortured by the Devil for not believing in and living Jesus.
    In case you had forgotten ….

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  22. I was going to call it done here, but your questions, primarily on the Human Genome Project have sparked my interest in doing some of my own research

    For the gods’ sake, do yourself a favour and only research proper scientific sites and not fundamentalist crap or evangelical sites as you will come across stuff like ”We can’t rule out the possibility that there was a single human couple”.

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  23. Ark,

    I really do get where you;re coming from. I don’t like telling my kids about Santa or other fictitious stuff as it were real. I remember when I found out about Santa and I felt stupid. I remember when I found out about the bible, thought back to Santa, and felt stupid again.

    I’d advise against all of it.

    I just think labeling at abuse is a bit much.

    Liked by 1 person

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