If God is good, merciful, and out to love you, and if the Devil is bad, powerful, and out to get you, would it not make more sense to reverence and propitiate the Devil? If someone placed a curse on someone, wouldn’t propitiating or appeasing the Devil cancel it? A house divided cannot stand together - the Devil will either have to play as someone’s lackey and continue the curse or accept the respect and offerings of another and stop being a servant.
Aside: I know some people say that this is why the Yezidis worship the Devil (which is inaccurate: they worship Melek Ta’us (represented as a peacock), who is a manifestation of God and who deals with the earth and humans since God retired and left everything in the hands of Melek Ta’us).
I use “reverence” or “propitiate” the Devil because the above reason is no reason to worship the Devil, that is, honor the Devil because he is the source of creation and the savior of those who believe in him. Indeed, there are groups that worship the Devil, but they do so for reasons other than the above. I’m only curious about the above line or reasoning.
Now, opponents may claim that God is all-powerful and can help His followers be protected from evil, but a response may be that why go in roundabout ways when one can do direct to the source of the issue. Besides, some may say that there is little evidence of God’s meddling in human affairs, so why bother Him if He won’t do anything.
I don’t believe in any of the above, but the logic of it can be convincing. What do others say and think? Why is it not more widespread if it seems so logical?
You’re assuming that, in a religious frame of reference, the ultimate objective of following any particular course of action is to secure your own advantage.
Not so; in any religion that I am familiar with (basically, the Judeo-Christian tradition) the reason for doing what is Right is because it is Right; advantages may flow from that, but that is not (or should not be) the motivation.
Sticking with the Judeo-Christian tradition, individuals are not damned/do not go to Hell because the Devil damns them or brings them to hell. It happens because they reject God. Since siding with the devil is a fairly clear rejection of God, it is not only a failure to do what is Right but also a course of action unlikely in the long term to yield much advantage.
In short; if you accept the Christian frame of reference then you can’t stay out of hell by cosying up to the Devil, so it’s not a rational strategy.
If you conceive of the devil as a sort of equal-but-opposite deity, God’s evil twin brother, then your strategy might be rational. But if there’s mainstream religion out there which conceives of a duality of equally-matched gods, one Good and the other Evil, I’m not aware of it.
No, such Devil-veneration might not work within a Judeo-Christian-Islamic perspective, unless one is able to make the point that it’s possible to love God yet honor the Devil to avoid the Devil’s wrath. This would, of course, assume a universalistic nature of God’s love and saving.
But what of people concerned about their current, mundane situation? Perhaps this may not be so evident in the educated West, but in other parts of the world, even in the educated West, there are people who are very superstitious and very eager to ward off evil (often called the evil eye).
How about a parable: there is a king who has great power. Over the king is an Emperor, who rules the empire with love and justice. But the Emperor’s reach in the king’s realm is limited because of the king’s agents. So, would not a wise subject render to the Emperor the love he is due, and to the king reverence, honor, and propitiation in order to secure his favor so that the subject may live unmolested?
Also, if seen from a Gnostic perspective, where the Demiurge, and not God, created and rules this world of matter, would it not make sense to appease the lord of this world, while looking with love and yearning to the lord of the heavens?
WRS - Devil’s Advocate (a bit too literally in this case, perhaps?)
I take your point. You could, I suppose, argue that such people are engaged in devil-propitiation, although they may not think of it in those terms, and that this is a rational strategy for them, given their cosmological view.
The problem is that your question is pretty meaningless unless you posit a people who have a concept of the Devil which more-or-less accords with the classic western notion. And, once you accept classic western notions about the devil, dealing with the devil is not a rational self-interested course of action.
If that’s your cosmological view, yes. The problem is that the king you describe is not analogous to the western concept of the devil. God is not “over” the devil in some kind of pyramidal hierarchy in which we are at the bottom, and the devil’s agents cannot limit God’s power.
It might do if, in the Gnostic perspective, “love and yearning” for the lord of the heavens was sufficient to offset what would otherwise be the consequences of appeasing the demiurge. I don’t know enough about Gnosticism to comment on that.
I wondered this one out once: If you try & be a good Christian, you can still screw up and end up in hell (I was raised a Baptist…for a time) and then you’re no friend of The Devil so it’s gonna suck and you get to burn and be forced to eat circus peanuts candies. BUT if you are a friend of The Devil in life, then you’ll not have to worry about any unpleasant surprises upon your demise, and you’re already in good with the local authorities.
The argument got dashed pretty quick when the motives of The Devil were posited as: to destroy the creation of God. And with that, he neither needs, nor wants, human allies. Oh, they’re lots of fun and they take care of the circus peanuts surplus, but ultimately they are a byproduct of His ongoing mission of destruction.
I’m reminded of the Cthulu parody Chick tract entitled “Eaten First.” It’s you’re typical Chick-style tract, only instead of talking about Jesus it describes what Cthulu will do to humanity, when the person being witnessed to asks why anyone would want to worship a being like Cthulu, he’s told so that he can be “eaten first.” “Eaten first!” he responds, “Why the fuck would anybody want that?” The answer he’s given is so that you don’t have to watch your loved ones suffer and be devoured.
I don’t have any first-hand insight into Satanism, but recall reading an interview with Anton Levay circa 1975. He addressed this.
He explained that nobody actually seeks solace in Satan’s worship, that Satanists are actually atheists and critics of mainstream Christianity.
You know all those Black Masses where they rape little children and burn infants alive? Turns out they never happened, there’s no evidence they ever happened, and there are no missing children in the vicinities where they are reputed to have happened. Overzealous (and over-religious) prosecutors lean on some suspects for specific details about ritual murders (see: McMartin Pre-School), but the rational truth tends to come out eventually.
Once in a while there’s a sloppy, drug-fueled murder by some body-pierced Goths calling themselves Satanists, but those incidents can be counted on one person’s fingers. More people choke to death on peach cobbler than are murdered by those dweebs.