Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Satan and The Demons

Good morning! Today I want to discuss a topic that a lot people are afraid to discuss. But, I think it's a good one, because if you look around our world you see a lot of insanity.  You've got people fighting each other, ostensibly because of their religious beliefs. Maybe it's really because of power, money, greed, but a lot of the people doing the fighting believe that their religion is superior to somebody else's and any need to take 'em out!

For example, 9/11: you have Osama bin Laden, we're lead to believe, commanding terrorists and terror cells. And, what do these people believe? They believe that Allah, the Muslim name for God, is directing their war efforts! He has a divine plan and a divine will, and it is his will that these fundamentalist, fanatical, Islamic adherents take out the West. They don't agree with our morals. They don't agree with our culture that we try to export to the rest the world. Maybe they have some genuine concerns with that. I would not disagree with that. But, is taking the lives of many innocent people the right way to go about it? And, in doing so, is believing that you're going to go to heaven and be rewarded rational? I don't think so.

Let's talk about this concept for a second. You've got this idea of Heaven and Hell, right? OK. What did people in the past used to think about the Sun? They thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. They looked out at stars and thought they were heavens, saying "Wow, look at the heavens, look at the stars!" They saw the sun moving. The Sun brought them light, energy and warmth. At the end of the day the Sun disappeared. Where did it go? It went underneath the Earth: The underworld! Wow! What a concept! People used to think the Earth was flat. And, this hot, burning, scorching sun burned up everything under the world. And, where is hell located? It's always down. And, heaven is always up. We still to this day talk about going up to heaven or down to hell. Who am I to say that people who live on the other side of the world are devilish creatures, that they are in hell? And, when they say that their talking about me! If I go down I go to the fiery core of the planet. I don't go to hell. I may come up on the other side of the planet if I can make it through the core, but there's no hell underneath the Earth. Unless, maybe we really do get burned up inside of the core. Who knows! But, when we go up, we go into space, into outer space where there are many other stars. And, now scientists have found there are over 100 other planets in solar systems outside of our own.

Let's talk about this being that rules hell, shall we? His name is "Satan". OK, Satan. We're told that this Satan has demons, and demons can manifest themselves in the world performing Satanic miracles to draw glory away from Jesus Christ the true lord and savior. And, what else about Satan? Satan wants a lot of glory! Yes, yes he wants all the glory for himself. He used to be an angel, one of the beings of light, one of God's great creations. But, he wanted all that glory for himself. This cat was greedy! So, he tried to topple God, and God kicked his ace out! He took demons; he took angels with him and turned them into demons. So, we're told that these demons can come along in jump into our brains and infiltrate our minds and cause us to do crazy things, lunatic things, evil things!

OK, all right, I'm following you. But, let's ask a rational question now. In our modern day and age when we have medicine that, I will admit, does not cure psychiatric illness, but alleviates the symptoms, what kind of conclusion do we draw? Do we say that these chemicals that go into our bloodstream and modify our brain chemistry are also acting on supernatural spirits? Come on! Do supernatural beings have anything more powerful than chemicals at their disposal? I would think so! So, why is it that our modern medicine can alleviate symptoms of so-called "demonic possession"? And, why is it that demonic possession is more prevalent in some denominations (or maybe I should say demoninations) than others? Why in the mainline protestant churches do you not have people recommended for exorcism quite so often as in Pentecostal or Nazarene churches? And, why do some of these other denominations not value higher education quite so much as some of the other more mainline denominations? Just a question.

Another question: I was told by a pastor that the miracles attributed to other religions are attributable to "demonic activity". There is angelic activity over here and demonic activity over there.

OK, I'm tracking you!

But, let me ask you a question then: If demons can physically manifest phenomena in the world, they're not really that interested in glory are they? Because, if they were, I think that Satan and demons would get on television tonight and, say, multiply food in the name of Osama bin Laden. Wouldn't that draw glory away from Jesus? I think it would. But, you don't see that. Why? Well, Christians might say, "Because God doesn't allow it". Well, how come he allows demonic things to take place over here and over there; something that somebody else always saw or heard. And, when you have a pastor talk about it it's something that he witnessed. But, he has no evidence: no video evidence, no graphical evidence, nothing. 

You know, Jesus was said to have cast out a "legion of demons" from a man and thrown them into a herd of swine. And, then the swine ran off a cliff. OK, this leads us to believe that demons are not just some kind of personification of illness or ailment. They're a spiritual-physical being. Spiritual-physical, whatever, trans-physical. I don't know, I'm not up on all this theology. But, if Jesus believed that then I believe that we should be able to see evidence, not hearsay, of these things. I think that's a reasonable concern and a reasonable demand. But, we don't. And, again it's only those certain denominations that are certainly so sure that the demons are spiritual-physical real beings, and not some of the more mainline.

So, this leads us to believe that religion changes. Religious thought changes over the years.

Another thing about these religious books: they were written by men. And, when you talk to pastors about the formation of the canon sometimes they don't want to answer your questions. One question I had was about the crucifixion account in Mark and Matthew. Most scholars believe that Mark was written before Matthew. And, if you read Mark's crucifixion account it says that when Jesus died and then the curtain was torn, and then the guard said, "Surely this was the son of God", or something like that. But, if you then read Matthew's account it says that the curtain was torn and then at that moment there was a great earthquake and the earth did shake and many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were raised in their tombs and after his resurrection they came at their tombs and walked around the holy city and were seen by many.

OK, I got you. But let's ask a question: what independent attestation is there to this miracle? What did the secular historians write about this miracle? Nothing. Not a thing. There are some apocryphal writings, apocryphal Christian writings about this, but nothing in the secular history. This is a fantastic miracle. This is more fantastic than the resurrection of one-man because this was the resurrection of many men seen by many. 

You have to question the integrity of these books. It is your duty. You cannot blindly believe. You must question. And, when you question, do not simply ask Christians. Ask skeptics. Do not take what is written in these books as absolute fact. You must question. Thank you.

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