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How Does The Devil Influence People?


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According to christian apologetics, how does the devil lead people astray?  I have done some research but haven't seen any explanations that were even half-way reasonable.  It appears that there is very little on this subject actually in the bible, most of the information comes from tradition.  My questions are these:

  • It appears that according to apologetics, the devil is not omniscient.
  • It also appears that devil can neither read our minds nor place thoughts in our minds.
  • If these are the case, how does the devil get us to do anything?
  • How can one non-omniscient devil influence 7 billion people?
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I use to worry about this stuff so bad it was like OCD.

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Even In my Christian days, I never really thought that the devil played much of a role in my sin. I deduced that I, as a human, was more than capable of screwing up my life and I was prone to doing it because of my sin nature, so, I didn't think the devil really had to help.

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Usually if I can't get at you through rock music, I'll try to influence you through your friends.  It's especially easy if your friends are into drugs.  Beyond that, I'd prefer not to give any more of my secrets away.  zDuivel7.gif

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Even In my Christian days, I never really thought that the devil played much of a role in my sin. I deduced that I, as a human, was more than capable of screwing up my life and I was prone to doing it because of my sin nature, so, I didn't think the devil really had to help.

 

I didn't ever really attribute my actions to the devil either but it is common, at least among the christians that I knew, for them to attribute being tempted to sin by the devil.  During one of my recent conversations with my christian wife about my beliefs (or lack thereof), she said "I'm afraid this is the devil deceiving you".  It started me thinking about how that is suppose to work.

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Even In my Christian days, I never really thought that the devil played much of a role in my sin. I deduced that I, as a human, was more than capable of screwing up my life and I was prone to doing it because of my sin nature, so, I didn't think the devil really had to help.

 

I didn't ever really attribute my actions to the devil either but it is common, at least among the christians that I knew, for them to attribute being tempted to sin by the devil.  During one of my recent conversations with my christian wife about my beliefs (or lack thereof), she said "I'm afraid this is the devil deceiving you".  It started me thinking about how that is suppose to work.

 

I agree that blaming the devil for temptation is common among Christians I know as well. However, if you really just take a small step back and look at it carefully, you would see that the temptations that the devil is "luring" you with is really just human traits that are perceived as weakness. The easiest one is sex. Most men like to look at women (or other men in some cases). We are sight motivated and respond thusly. It only makes sense that advertisers use this to help them pitch their products, ideas, or whatever. Women who work in the porn, model, fashion industry or the like want to be valued for how they look and to make big money because of it (I am speaking in generalities, and I am aware that this is not always the case). So, if you put two and two together, you get sex sells and beauty gets you noticed. In human terms, its a win-win. But in christianity, its sin - sin. That's why its considered temptation. But, its really nothing more than two base human traits working together. Its another thing christianity tries very hard to do, which is turn things that are natural into unnatural things. There really is no temptation involved. This idea applies to other things that people get tempted to do as well. Stealing, lying, etc. They all spell out basic human traits, but christianity turns them evil.

 

I think temptation by the devil is another ploy to absolve Christians of any responsibility for their actions.

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By ranting at them with a megaphone at parades, concerts, street corners, and fairs, or ranting at a captive audience from a pulpit.

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Usually if I can't get at you through rock music, I'll try to influence you through your friends. It's especially easy if your friends are into drugs. Beyond that, I'd prefer not to give any more of my secrets away. zDuivel7.gif

.

 

Hey! I recognize Jack T. Chick's devil anywhere.

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When I was a Christian, I understood the devil to be "the Tempter." I was never really afraid of the devil. I was taught that he had very little real power over us other than suggestion, that ultimately we are responsible or our actions. I was taught the importance of praying and reading my bible often so I could distinguish the influence of the devil from the influence of the Holy Spirit. It was better than the super charismatic version that makes you feel like the devil is lurking around every corner, waiting to bite you on the ass. It is interesting that the bible doesn't go into much detail about the devil. The few times he is talked about in any capacity is in the context of temptation. The idea of the devil seems like a really good metaphor for conflicting intrapersonal desires and interests.

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Usually if I can't get at you through rock music, I'll try to influence you through your friends. It's especially easy if your friends are into drugs. Beyond that, I'd prefer not to give any more of my secrets away. zDuivel7.gif

.

 

Hey! I recognize Jack T. Chick's devil anywhere.

 

Okay, you got me!  I'm not the dark lord himself.  In fact, I'm really just an insignificant little imp on the lowerarchy.  Please don't tell anyone.  blush.png

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I never understood this either. 

 

If the devil is so powerful that he can draw people away from God so easily, then God isn't all that powerful or wonderful.

 

It's particularly amazing that he can even use God's own book to make atheists out of people!

 

I really hate the idea that people are just pawns in this game between two entities. You're either doing things guided by God or being seduced by the tempter. If anything, Christianity involves a petty power struggle between God and the devil. 

 

Why can't people just be people!?

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Usually if I can't get at you through rock music, I'll try to influence you through your friends. It's especially easy if your friends are into drugs. Beyond that, I'd prefer not to give any more of my secrets away. zDuivel7.gif

.

 

Hey! I recognize Jack T. Chick's devil anywhere.

Okay, you got me! I'm not the dark lord himself. In fact, I'm really just an insignificant little imp on the lowerarchy. Please don't tell anyone. blush.png

Haha! Priceless!

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I never understood this either.

 

If the devil is so powerful that he can draw people away from God so easily, then God isn't all that powerful or wonderful.

 

It's particularly amazing that he can even use God's own book to make atheists out of people!

 

I really hate the idea that people are just pawns in this game between two entities. You're either doing things guided by God or being seduced by the tempter. If anything, Christianity involves a petty power struggle between God and the devil.

 

Why can't people just be people!?

True! This aspect of Christian theology is more reflective of Zoroastrianism.

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"You are your own devil.  You are your own god.

You fashioned the paths that your footsteps have trod"

 

(from a poem attributed to the Maori - haven't been able to find any known name of author)

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It is surprising that as I look into this further (apologetic websites) that there aren't any better answers.  The explanations are really weak or vague or both.  

 

One website said the devil uses unbelievers to tempt believers and that just pissed me off.

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So I can hear Satan but when I want to hear God all I hear is crickets?

 

Oh that's right, were not tuned into his "frequency" I'd better go fiddle with my knob until I hear the still small voice of The Lord

 

Fuck me, God, do I need a better aerial 'cause all I'm picking up is Diablo FM-all devil, all day!!!

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The problem with the Christian "Devil" is that no such being is found in the Old Testament.

The character "Satan" isn't the Devil, and functions as God's servant, testing people.

No Christian visiting these forums has ever been able to provide a specific example from the Old Testament of Satan rebelling against God or disobeying him.

They try to use Isa 14 and Ezek 28, but Satan isn't in those passages, they are taunts against kings.

It's a shame that Christian mythology has such a hold on people.

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The problem with the Christian "Devil" is that no such being is found in the Old Testament.

The character "Satan" isn't the Devil, and functions as God's servant, testing people.

No Christian visiting these forums has ever been able to provide a specific example from the Old Testament of Satan rebelling against God or disobeying him.

They try to use Isa 14 and Ezek 28, but Satan isn't in those passages, they are taunts against kings.

It's a shame that Christian mythology has such a hold on people.

When I was a Christian, I read those verses and realized that they were references to kings of the day, not a devil character. It really seems like the modern Christian concept of the devil problanly has it's origins in other religions around the time of the first century.

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The problem with the Christian "Devil" is that no such being is found in the Old Testament.

The character "Satan" isn't the Devil, and functions as God's servant, testing people.

No Christian visiting these forums has ever been able to provide a specific example from the Old Testament of Satan rebelling against God or disobeying him.

They try to use Isa 14 and Ezek 28, but Satan isn't in those passages, they are taunts against kings.

It's a shame that Christian mythology has such a hold on people.

When I was a Christian, I read those verses and realized that they were references to kings of the day, not a devil character. It really seems like the modern Christian concept of the devil problanly has it's origins in other religions around the time of the first century.

 

From what I've read, Persian dualism may have played a part in the God vs. Devil setup.

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The problem with the Christian "Devil" is that no such being is found in the Old Testament.

The character "Satan" isn't the Devil, and functions as God's servant, testing people.

No Christian visiting these forums has ever been able to provide a specific example from the Old Testament of Satan rebelling against God or disobeying him.

They try to use Isa 14 and Ezek 28, but Satan isn't in those passages, they are taunts against kings.

It's a shame that Christian mythology has such a hold on people.

When I was a Christian, I read those verses and realized that they were references to kings of the day, not a devil character. It really seems like the modern Christian concept of the devil problanly has it's origins in other religions around the time of the first century.

 

From what I've read, Persian dualism may have played a part in the God vs. Devil setup.

 

It seems so.  I don't know much about Persian mythology other than Zoroastrianism, but Zoroastrianism (older than Christianity) does have many striking parallels to the God v. Devil and Heaven v. Hell motifs in Christianity.  Speaking of Heaven v. Hell.  I do like to point out to people that in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (the only biblical story outside of Revelation that clearly speaks of Heaven and Hell as places we go after death) has nothing to do with what we believe.  It is all about justice for the poor, and not hording wealth at the expense of the needy..  Also, when the rich man came to Jesus and asked what he must do to have eternal life (the most important, meaning of life question there is, right?), Jesus' answer had nothing to do with confession of sins and belief.  His reply was about keeping the commandments and not hording wealth at the expense of the poor.   

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The problem with the Christian "Devil" is that no such being is found in the Old Testament.

The character "Satan" isn't the Devil, and functions as God's servant, testing people.

No Christian visiting these forums has ever been able to provide a specific example from the Old Testament of Satan rebelling against God or disobeying him.

They try to use Isa 14 and Ezek 28, but Satan isn't in those passages, they are taunts against kings.

It's a shame that Christian mythology has such a hold on people.

When I was a Christian, I read those verses and realized that they were references to kings of the day, not a devil character. It really seems like the modern Christian concept of the devil problanly has it's origins in other religions around the time of the first century.

 

From what I've read, Persian dualism may have played a part in the God vs. Devil setup.

 

It seems so.  I don't know much about Persian mythology other than Zoroastrianism, but Zoroastrianism (older than Christianity) does have many striking parallels to the God v. Devil and Heaven v. Hell motifs in Christianity.  Speaking of Heaven v. Hell.  I do like to point out to people that in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (the only biblical story outside of Revelation that clearly speaks of Heaven and Hell as places we go after death) has nothing to do with what we believe.  It is all about justice for the poor, and not hording wealth at the expense of the needy..  Also, when the rich man came to Jesus and asked what he must do to have eternal life (the most important, meaning of life question there is, right?), Jesus' answer had nothing to do with confession of sins and belief.  His reply was about keeping the commandments and not hording wealth at the expense of the poor.   

 

I suggest you ask Ravenstar.  She's both thorough and quite scholarly when it comes to ancient history.  She'd be able to tell you when and how hell and the devil entered christian mythology. 

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