Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What the Devil?









In honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, we're going to take a bit of a topical break to talk about the birthday-boy himself, the Devil. Where does the popular conception of Satan come from? How does Satan fit in with modern Christian orthodoxy? And what does Satanism itself teach?

13 Comments:

Blogger goooooood girl said...

Very fine......

10/21/08, 12:16 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

In order to explain the existence of evil, around 42:30 into this episode, Kevin invoked the argument that evil and free will are codependent. Kevin, can't you imagine a realm in which people have free will but in which evil does not exist? Doesn't the Christian idea of heaven fit this description?

10/29/08, 2:22 PM  
Blogger Kevin H said...

Aaron,

Free will does not necessarily result in evil. There are possible worlds in which free will exists but evil does not. Man did not have to fall.

Yet, free will provides the potential for evil, and was indeed actualized in fallen beings.

God created the fact of freedom, we perform the acts of freedom.

As to heaven, I hinted at this in my latest blog. Briefly, I think that Paradise Restored is only accomplished via the process of sanctification. It passes through the refinery fire. Ownership. Maturity. Tempered, tried, beatified free will.

In order to beat the champion, one must get in the ring with him.

10/30/08, 6:56 PM  
Blogger NH Baritone said...

Kevin, you disappointed me greatly when you said that mental illness is a great way to hide demon possession.

As a therapist in practice for over 25 years, I have regularly had to swim upstream against the lack of "belief" in mental illness spawned when church leaders have taught that spirits are the source of hallucinations or delusions. When someone of ecclesiastical authority lends credence to such misinformation, you are encouraging people to avoid needed treatment.

Before you start rattling off poorly formulated opinions about real illnesses (and thereby sacrificing the well-being of the sufferers simply to support your theology), get to know the facts. Contact the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in your area.

10/31/08, 3:01 PM  
Blogger Kevin H said...

nh baritone,

My view is that mental illness is not necessarily caused by demonic activity. But due to the insidious nature of that realm, spiritual issues can be masked. At any rate, physical and spiritual issues must be dealt with seperately.

I pointed out in the podcast that in the New Testament, organic, natural maladies are not always treated as directly demonic but demands discernment.

Concerning the larger picture my argument can be outlined:

1). Jesus is infallibly authoritative concerning all he affirms.

2). Jesus confronted and confirmed the reality of Satan and the demonic realm.

3). Therefore, Satan and the demonic realm are indeed reality.

11/1/08, 7:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin H said...

For further clarification, I am referring to the demonic realm being deceitful, and insidious, to the extent that they could possibly exploit otherwise organic mental illnesses. Further, I see no reason to think this is common.

K

11/1/08, 10:14 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Kevin,

I can't say I understand your response as a direct answer to my question. Doesn't a place in which free will exists but evil does not describe the Christian understanding of heaven?

If I may comment on your conversation with nh baritone, it seems you are starting with a conclusion, Jesus is infallibly authoritative concerning all he affirms and affirmed he confronted and confirmed the reality of Satan and the demonic realm, and now are working your way back through the evidence to fit your conclusion. Is this a reasonable approach?

By what threshhold do you define the distinction between mental illness, mental illness accompanied by demonic possession, or demonic possession alone? I think a clarification might be beneficial as if one is left to believe you may suggest online, in sermons, in private counselling, or otherwise, that spiritual treatments like exorcism or prayer should be used in place of medical treatments like psychiatric or drug therapies one may conclude, as nh baritone suggested, your message may be a detriment to public health and safety.

11/3/08, 5:51 AM  
Blogger Kevin H said...

I can't say I understand your response as a direct answer to my question. Doesn't a place in which free will exists but evil does not describe the Christian understanding of heaven?

KH> Yes. And I tried to describe the process by which I think free will can be actualized in heaven without evil, i.e. maturity, perspective, refinement, etc.

I might add that it seems, biblically, that evil and evil influences will be quarantined - further facilitating free will without evil.

If I may comment on your conversation with nh baritone, it seems you are starting with a conclusion, Jesus is infallibly authoritative concerning all he affirms and affirmed he confronted and confirmed the reality of Satan and the demonic realm, and now are working your way back through the evidence to fit your conclusion. Is this a reasonable approach?

KH> Actually, I take as a premise in the argument that Jesus is infallibly authoritative.

(I would adjust the argument by changing one word for clarity):

1). Jesus is infallibly authoritative concerning all he affirms.

2). Jesus confronted and affirmed the reality of Satan and the demonic realm.

3). Therefore, Satan and the demonic realm are indeed reality.


By what threshhold do you define the distinction between mental illness, mental illness accompanied by demonic possession, or demonic possession alone? I think a clarification might be beneficial as if one is left to believe you may suggest online, in sermons, in private counselling, or otherwise, that spiritual treatments like exorcism or prayer should be used in place of medical treatments like psychiatric or drug therapies one may conclude, as nh baritone suggested, your message may be a detriment to public health and safety.


KH> I am not an expert in this area. I think it is complicated.

Nevertheless, I think mental illness should be treated consistently by professionals regardless of demonic involvement. I'm not sure demonization could cause mental illness but might only exploit it or exacerbate it, being a seperate issue.

I do not expect health care professionals to discern demons. Nor do I see Paul giving instructions in his letters to the church on the ABC's of exorcism.

I do see Paul, after a period of time, finally discerning that a young fortune-teller girl was demonized and he addressed it.

That, coupled with some things Jesus said, leads me to believe such action is a last resort, enabled by the Holy Spirit's discernment, and via the power of God.

Due to the narrow scope of such diagnosis and the potential for misunderstanding, again, I don't think it can be properly included in mainstream medical protocol.

Luke was a physician and Paul recommended "a little wine for various stomach ailments". Medical advances are part of the providence of God.

I have not developed a "threshold" for determining demonization. I personally would observe empirical and spiritual indicators in keeping the New Testament data.

We have discussed podcasting further on this.

K

11/4/08, 2:56 PM  
Blogger bernie_dehler said...

Hi Dr. Zach-

I've started holding some public science/religion discussion meetings in the Portland OR area. One of the members told me about your podcast. I listened to two or three and really liked them. In some ways, your meetings are a role-model for me- thanks. I'm still learning, and what I hear in your group can help me prepare better for my group. I also videotape my meetings and put them on local TV and on the internet (Google Video); details here:

http://www.meetup.com/sciligion/

Sincerely,

Bernie Dehler
Community Organizer
ScienceLovesReligion@yahoo.com

11/25/08, 6:11 AM  
Blogger bernie_dehler said...

I was surprised that the "scientific" evidence was never evaluated (not directly, anyway). What scientific evidence is there for Satan? That would have been a good question to ask directly- stick to the point. Ultimately I think it is like God- can't prove or disprove Satan's existance. It goes beyond science- into the faith (or lack thereof) arena.

...Bernie
www.sciencelovesreligion.com

11/25/08, 6:20 AM  
Blogger Kevin H said...

I was surprised that the "scientific" evidence was never evaluated (not directly, anyway). What scientific evidence is there for Satan?

KH> Since science deals mainly with material causes and effects, immaterial beings seem beyond the scope. Such questions require metaphysical evaluation and philosophical evidence.

(BTW, in case a person says "Metaphysical pursuits are worthless", that, itself, is a metaphysical pursuit and statement. Science is informed and undergirded by philosophy).

Perhaps science may be employed to evaluate satanic effects. An imperfect analogy is the determination of a tornado that was neither heard, seen, nor detected by radar in an unpopulated area. NOAA can still determine that it was a tornado and it's Fujita scale by its effects.

At any rate, here are some questions that may be asked concerning whether a person is "demonized"?

In such a "manifestation":

Does the person have physical power or abilities beyond any adrenal-gland capacities?

Can the person speak a language he does not know or never learned?

Does the person have knowledge of things, i.e. events, persons, etc. that he is in no rational position to know?

Does the person have theological or religious knowledge or vocabulary that he is not in a position to know?

Does the person speak with an accent totally out of the person's character or capacity?

Those are examples, and do not include theological questions like the person's response to the name of Christ, etc.

K

11/25/08, 7:47 AM  
Blogger Bernmutt said...

Kevin H. said:
"BTW, in case a person says "Metaphysical pursuits are worthless", that, itself, is a metaphysical pursuit and statement. "

That was a good one! ;-)

...Bernie

11/25/08, 12:07 PM  
Blogger hi mik1986 said...

Today, there are countless medications to treat depression, even the severe forms. But before starting any medicine one must consult a doctor and take his advice on the matter. If you feel that you have clinical depression symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about depression, anxiety medications that can lift the cloud and get you back to life. http://www.buy-xanax-online now.com
http://www.buy-xanax-online-now.com

2/2/09, 3:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home