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Satan

September 21, 2010

Why Are Religious Claims a Target for the Extraordinary Claims Campaign?
Some comments on Supernatural Claims, Evidence, and the Burden of Proof

The Claims:

Satan was the seductive and devious snake who enticed Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3). He is a supernatural opponent of God, a creature whose constant objective is to tempt us to commit “sin.” Milton, in Paradise Lost, makes Satan a fallen angel, a rebel against God, the guise under which he is generally represented in the art of religion and folklore. This angel became known by many names, including Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Satan. Banished from heaven, Satan became the adversary of God and evil incarnate.

Satan is the primary source of evil in the world, responsible for luring humans toward “sin” and causing them to turn away from God.

The Evidence:

Other than references to Satan in holy books such as the Bible and the Qur’an, there is no evidence for the existence of Satan. Significantly, precursors to Satan can be found in much earlier mythological works. The Greek god Poseidon, for example, is famous for carrying a trident, a widely accepted Satanic accessory. Hades, lord of the underworld in Greek mythology, also displays some of the characteristics associated with Satan. Most notably, his realm is beneath the Earth and includes the pit of Tartarus, reserved for souls of the damned, much akin to the Christian concept of Hell, where Satan is held to reside.

These considerations suggest that the idea of Satan – though not wholly copied from earlier mythologies – evolved out of earlier gods, such as Poseidon, Hades, Anubis, and Pluto.

Conclusion:

Given the lack of empirical evidence for the existence of Satan, the availability of natural explanations for “Satanic” events, and the fact that precursors to Satan are found in fictional works that predate the Bible, it is reasonable to conclude that Satan is a mythological figure.

Links:

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Entry on Satan
Wikipedia Page on Satan

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mitch permalink
    May 21, 2011 1:54 AM

    Hells yeah the Devil’s ma nigga

  2. JayKay permalink
    March 24, 2011 4:23 PM

    God, Satan and all the rest of the S’natural kin are born from sick minds!

  3. Satanic Skeptic permalink
    January 21, 2011 1:35 PM

    If you want to understand the concept of Satan, why not examine what modern Satanists have to say on the subject? They reject this entirely Christian (much less so Arabic) concept of Satan as an entity, or diabolical force, the Devil, whose name they have given as Satan. Why? Because as Chrisitanity started to dominate, they chose to vilify those who had been “opposed” to the temple, Satanists. Satanist was the word of pre-Christian times used to denote an Atheist. Modern Satanists take the much older and correct etymological definition of Satan as, “a person (not a warped mythological creature of Christian design) who is opposed to the orthodoxy of the temple.” Satan is a Hebrew word (Shaitan is the Arabic derivation), it is not Christian. Another example for Dan Barker to use, of Christian co-opting. Unfortunately, there are theistic/spiritual Satanists, thankfully small in numbers, who continue to perpetuate this ridiculous notion of Satan as an entity or spiritual force. Modern Satanists reject this notion emphatically.

    Please don’t forget, the great Paul Kurtz, our CFI founder, has given modern Satanism recognition as a skeptical philosophy, – specifically the Church of Satan, a bit less so the First Satanic Church. Why? Because modern Satanists ARE skeptical Atheists, materialists, with a great respect for science and reason. They acknowledge scientific investigation as the only way to understanding the true (not True) nature of the universe. They embrace many scientific and iconoclastic thinkers like Sagan, Crowley, Dawkins, Shermer, Rand, Nietscheze, etc. Some even refer to the great PZ Myers as a de-facto Satanist. What seems to bother some Atheists is the “religious” or “ritualistic” nature of some modern Satanists. But this is done purely for psychological reasons. Purely for self-gratification and essentially entertainment. Some modern Satanists do not associate themselves with the rituals or any Satanic organization (which themselves are very de-centralized, unlike an organized religion). These people identify with the Satanic philosophy/ideology that is centered on the Self, and anti-anthropocentric. If some Atheists, don’t like it, that’s fine.

    But as I support this fantastic Extraordinary Claims campaign, I just want to clarify, reject the theistic and spiritual notion of Satan, but Satan can be a word to embrace. Let’s take it back from the Xtians.

  4. December 24, 2010 9:30 AM

    Pleased to meet you… Hope you guessed my name.

  5. Jimmy permalink
    December 18, 2010 12:44 AM

    There are lots of posts about God and Intelligent Design but no posts here? What? Nobody wants to back the existence of the devil?

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