Ask Lovecraft: The Devil

In which every single one of us has a devil inside.

About AskLovecraft

In which celebrated and dead author HP Lovecraft offers his advice on such diverse topics as love, finance, cooking, and personal hygiene.

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20 Comments on "Ask Lovecraft: The Devil"

leviadragon99
Guest

You rather hit the nail on the head there with regards to my own lack of interest in the classical tales of demons and their overlord, simplistic and shallow in their meaning, an excuse for moralising and condemnation of rival beliefs by attempting to tie them to this supposed adversary.

Indeed, much like the Divine Comedy you made passing mention of, the Devil himself is little more than biblical fan-fiction, an attempt to create a single figure of blame not present in the “canon” texts, one that bears an eerie similarity to nature deities of old European pagan beliefs…

SchrodingersCat
Guest
I haven’t read all of The Divine Comedy, but I HAVE read Paradise Lost. It was really sad. Satan isn’t a villain in it; rather, He’s a charismatic leader, who is sick of living under the eternal thumb of a divine dictator whose justification for keeping all of the angels in a perpetual state of servitude toward him, is simply “might makes right”. “I am the mightiest being in the universe; therefore, anything that I say, is right”. And while Satan and his followers in heaven are waging a bloody battle against their brothers; both sides suffering many grievous wounds,… Read more »
Rezro
Guest
Idea of Devil is in biblical canon. Just it’s position is fare more interesting then cheap medieval black & white way as many uneducated Christian see him. This is complicated debate so I say just for now that in bible “Satan” describe more as broad role of accuser or enemy then individual being. What is here important is that they are still described as servants of the God, who aren’t exactly ageist him. But because angels have free will they have right to dislike humans. In most cases they simply use stupidity and wakens of humans to play with them.… Read more »
Airam
Guest

All this is why my personal favorite depiction of the devil is Viggo Mortensen in “The Prophecy” also known as “God’s Army” in some countries.

Rezro
Guest
Yes, that one was cool role. Anyway one of my favorite is fact that it is totally possible to argument possibility that Lucifer is Christ. I’m not joking here! In short: Lucifer is Greek name of planet Venus, but was missuses in adaptation of Arabic legend of Iblis (someone mistake as devil “son of the star” aka “son of Venus” what was astrological reference to one of king what was enemy of Israel). Anyway legend of Iblis what is still pretty similar to its medieval version is itself adaptation of cabala legend of Raziel. But here its popular interpretation largely… Read more »
SchrodingersCat
Guest
What many people in the Judeo-Christian tradition seem to overlook, is the fact that the modern visual depiction of the Devil (having horns, and the body of the goat from the waist down) is taken directly from the ancient myths of the Greek god, Pan (who was a god of fertility, music, and merriment). And as for “Hell” the early Jews had no concept of a place per se. What they DID have, was Sheol. Which was a garbage dump outside of town, where the bodies of the un-honored dead, were dumped. Over time, the word “Sheol” became translated as… Read more »
TragicGuineaPig
Guest

Not quite. Sheol simply means pit, and it is often used synonymously with the grave, and sometimes death itself. The garbage pit you’re referring to was actually the valley of Hinnon, or as it later came to be known Gehenna. You might want to brush up on your Aramaic.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest

For clarification, sheol is Hebrew; I was referring to Gehenna.

Snorgatch Pandalume
Guest

Considering how childish and ridiculous the Judeo-Christian myths are (as well as clearly plagiarized from earlier sources), it’s rather incredible that there are grown adults who still take them seriously. Believing in Noah’s Ark is like believing in a flat Earth, and yet I know people who do, and they seem quite sane in all other respects. It baffles me. I can only attribute it to sheer cowardice. They were taught this as children, and now that they’re adults they lack the will or the courage to question it, no matter how silly it sounds.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest

Or they could have very valid reasons for believing them, and see the blind dismissal of them as childish.

Snorgatch Pandalume
Guest

Reasons such as?

Gandaleon
Guest

Valid reasons and belief contradict each other. Belief is pretending to know without knowing, having a conviction without solid proof.
And if every experience in your life tells you that there is no devil or santa clause it’s not blind dismissal but a perfectly reasonable assumption.

Rezro
Guest

So called “valid reason” are broad term. In this context it obviously referee to valid reasons from theological point of view. That is those believes are well think, not random ignorance.

Also “experience of your life” is weak argument, as science know many stuff what are counter-intuitive to experience. Skepticism in fact is commonly overused argument, as it don’t deny unknown but in fact demand proof also for not existence of debated topic, what people like ignore.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest
That’s a false dichotomy. First, your definition of belief is wrong to start with; belief is simply trusting that something is true; whether there is rationale for that trust is not excluded by definition. If I know someone who is consistently honest with me, and that person tells me something that seems on the surface unlikely, then I have the evidence of their general truthfulness as a basis of believing that person. As is the case with the writings of the apostles; these were men who highly valued truth, even to the point of laying down their lives for what… Read more »
TragicGuineaPig
Guest
Actually, I dispute your definition of belief. Belief it not pretending anything; it is trusting something to be true. And as such, there are plenty of things in this life that we trust precisely because of evidence. For example, if you trust a friend to repay you a loan, and you do so because, when you have lent him money in the past, he has always repaid you. That’s belief based on evidence, is it not? Or believing that taking a particular route from your home to work is faster than other routes because, in the past when you have… Read more »
TragicGuineaPig
Guest

Sorry about the double reply. My computer crapped out on me, and I wasn’t sure the original reply took.

Snorgatch Pandalume
Guest
TGP, your position is based on an unverifiable assumption that the apostles valued truth and were “sagacious and honest men.” You never met them, you have no firsthand knowledge of them, so you cannot know this. That they were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed proves nothing except their devotion to their beliefs. The 9/11 hijackers were also willing to lay down their lives for their beliefs. The descriptions of them in the Gospels also prove nothing, since there is no way to independently verify them. In fact, we don’t even know who wrote the Gospels,… Read more »
Snorgatch Pandalume
Guest

Actually, Jesus himself lays it out pretty clearly. When he comes back from the dead, Doubting Thomas refuses (very sensibly) to believe until he sees for himself. Jesus obliges, and Thomas then says he believes, to which Jesus replies: “Blessed are those who have NOT seen and yet have believed.”
That pretty much says it all.

Gandaleon
Guest
“Belief it not pretending anything; it is trusting something to be true.” I am not surprised that you fail to see the difference between knowing and believing, since religious people pretend (not in the sense of deceit of others, but of self) that both mean the same thing. If you want to find the difference, you have to compare how knowledge and belief treat doubt. Doubt is an essential part of belief, all believers have struggled with doubts of their own, but they make that doubt integral part of their system of belief. With stories like the one Snorgatch mentioned… Read more »
BrokenEye
Guest

I’ve always thought of the Devil as more of a villain than a monster, archetypically speaking

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