Devil

 

Devil and divinity grew out of the same root meaning.  Devi (Goddess) or Deva (God) became daeva (Devil) in northern Europe. Old English Divell (Devil) can be traced back to the Roman derivative divus, divi: Gods. So, from a very long time ago, gods and devils have been confused with each other. Which helps us understand why the authors of the bible contradicted themselves so frequently. Judeo-Christian tradition attributed many diabolic acts to God.

He was the sender of pestilence, and famine. He created a terrible hell, and its demons to torture human souls on his order. The christian god caused violent storms, which were, and are still today referred to as "acts of god". Thus god was incongruously invoked to combat himself. god even killed himself in the person of Christ, according to the theological dogma that they were one and the same. god destroyed thousands of his followers for trivial offences (1 Samual 6:19).

Yet churchmen seldom dared to accept the bible's own presentation of god as the maker of evil. And yet, god himself said "I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, I create evil. (Isaiah 45:7). The christian devil became a composite of ancient deities He was given the goat horns and hooves of Satyr-gods like Pan and Dionysus. The trident of Neptune, the reptilian form of Leviathan and Python, the fiery form of Helios, the female breasts of Astarte-Ishtar, the wolf face of Feronius, the wings the babylonian cherubim, and the claws of ancestral spirits. So with a great purpose the chrisitains made sure they took a physical aspect of every other religion's god, and turned it into something hideous, and of course scary and evil.

But it didn't end there, Now it was time to name this devil. And to do that they once again turned to the rival religions that they were trying to overthrow. So the plethora of names crossed the board in a great array such as: Jupiter, Mercury, Minerva, Venus, Hades, Pluto, Baal-Zebub, Lucifer, Zeus, Chathonios, Sabazius, Belial, Adonis, Sabaoth, Iao, Soter, Emmanuel and Sammael.

Then the christians got specific, and postulated that there should be a devil for each of the deadly sins, so the clergy named then thus: Lucifer for Pride. Mammon for avarice (greed or gain). Asmodeus for lechery. Satan for anger. Beelzebub for gluttony. Leviathan for envy.  Belphegor for sloth (laziness) and lastly Belial for iniquity (wickedness). Now if this didn't scare the church's congregation!

The churchmen went on to proclaim "What ever isn't normal is due to the devil. (define normal)? No christian was allowed to disbelieve in the devil. His credibility rested on the same foundation of god. Indeed the very concept of salvation depended on the devil. For if there were no tempter, there was no original sin, no fall, , no hell, no need of a redeemer or a church! And without all of the afore, the church crumbles to the ground, and there goes the control over the people, not to mention - one hell of a paycheque!

It was a severe theological problem to account for god's apparent helplessness to halt the devil's activity. Though Lucifer or Satan was supposed to have been utterly defeated in that famous war in heaven, yet it seems he's still lively and spry! The church  could only propose that god permitted the devil's freedom of action. They said "It is not the Witch's ointment nor her incantation that makes her forked stick (broomstick) fly through the air, but the power of the devil, allowed by god." They never explained why the church punished what god allowed.

The christian church fought among them-selves on exactly how to define the difference between Sorcery and Witchcraft, as the distinction was pretty blurry between god, humanity and the devil. The church needless to say, came  up with an answer; Sorcery was evoking spirits to "carry out those powers which god permitted the devil." On the other hand, Witchcraft was evoking spirits to "commit acts against his ruling." In practice and reality that definition went like this; A man who asked the devil to help him seduce a woman was not guilty of any crime, because sex was under the devil's jurisdiction, by god's order. Devils who killed children did nothing sinful, for god permitted them to kill children "in order to punish their parents."  But for the woman (in this Patriarchal religion) who tried to save her dying child with herbs (the only medicine of the day) was mortally guilty and deserved the death penalty, which she got.

The christian churches decreed that all works of Witches were brought about by the devil with god's permission. Even a Witch who did only good works, like healing the sick and delivering babies within her community, must suffer the same death as a Witch who kept to herself. Thus Witches were placed in a no win situation. One might think an "enlightened " modern society would have given up on the idea of  the devil. But a poll taken in 1978 showed two out of five Americans still believe in devils.

The strange viability of devils may arise from their usefulness in assuaging the guilt of god and man, "Both Judaism and Christianity have maintained that god must be given full credit for all the goodness in human history (and that would go back thousands of years...what ever did they do then?) And that men must take the blame for all the evil." Thus, the real purpose of the devil is to take some of this heavy responsibility off frail human shoulders. In short; the devil, not Jesus, was the true scape goat who assumed the burden of  men's sins,