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Demons


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Netherworld
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2009, 01:17:31 pm »

New Testament and Christianity
"Demon" has a number of meanings, all related to the idea of a spirit that inhabited a place, or that accompanied a person. Whether such a daemon was benevolent or malevolent, the Greek word meant something different from the later medieval notions of 'demon', and scholars debate the time in which first century usage by Jews and Christians in its original Greek sense became transformed to the later medieval sense. It should be noted that some denominations asserting Christian faith also include, exclusively or otherwise, fallen angels as de facto demons; this definition also covers the "sons of God" described in Genesis who abandoned their posts in heaven to mate with human women on Earth before the Deluge [18].

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Netherworld
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2009, 01:17:46 pm »

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus casts out many demons, or evil spirits, from those who are afflicted with various ailments. Jesus is far superior to the power of demons over the beings that they inhabit, and he is able to free these victims by commanding and casting out the demons, by binding them, and forbidding them to return. Jesus also apparently lends this power to some of his disciples, who rejoice at their new found ability to cast out all demons. [19]

By way of contrast, in the book of Acts a group of Judaistic exorcists known as the sons of Sceva try to cast out a very powerful spirit without believing in or knowing Jesus, but fail with disastrous consequences. However Jesus himself never fails to vanquish a demon, no matter how powerful (see the account of the demon-possessed man at Gerasim), and even defeats Satan in the wilderness (see Gospel of Matthew).

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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2009, 01:17:59 pm »

There is a description in the Book of Revelation 12:7-17 of a battle between God's army and Satan's followers, and their subsequent expulsion from Heaven to earth to persecute humans — although this event is related as being foretold and taking place in the future. In Luke 10:18 it is mentioned that a power granted by Jesus to control demons made Satan "fall like lightning from heaven."

Augustine of Hippo's reading of Plotinus, in City of God (ch.11) is ambiguous as to whether daemons had become 'demonized' by the early 5th century:

"He [Plotinus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek eudaimones, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.[20]
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2009, 01:18:08 pm »

The contemporary Roman Catholic Church unequivocally teaches that angels and demons are real personal beings, not just symbolic devices. The Catholic Church has a cadre of officially sanctioned exorcists which perform many exorcisms each year. The exorcists of the Catholic Church teach that demons attack humans continually but that afflicted persons can be effectively healed and protected either by the formal rite of exorcism, authorized to be performed only by bishops and those they designate, or by prayers of deliverance which any Christian can offer for themselves or others.[21]

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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2009, 01:18:26 pm »

Christianity
Building upon the few references to daemons in the New Testament, especially the visionary poetry of the Apocalypse of John, Christian writers of apocrypha from the 2nd century onwards created a more complicated tapestry of beliefs about "demons" that was largely independent of Christian scripture.

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« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2009, 01:18:45 pm »

OriginAccording to the Bible, the fall of the Adversary is portrayed in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. However, the connection between Isaiah 14:12-14 and the fall is mostly based on mistranslation and tradition. The King James Version (KJV), popular among most Christian sects, reads:

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:12:-14).
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« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2009, 01:18:56 pm »

The word "Lucifer" was inspired by the Latin Vulgate, a translation that the authors of the KJV adhered to in several occasions to elucidate Christian traditions (see KJV, "The Project"). Lucifer is a Latin word meaning "light-bearer" (from lux, lucis, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), a Roman astrological term for the "Morning Star", the planet Venus. The word Lucifer was the direct translation of the Septuagint Greek heosphoros, ("dawn-bearer"); (cf. Greek phosphoros, "light-bearer") and the Hebrew Helel, ("Bright one"). The word does not specifically refer to Satan. To the contrary, in context, Isaiah 14:12-14 actually refers to one of the popular honorific titles of a Babylonian king (see Isaiah 14:4 for context); however, later interpretations of the text, and the influence of embellishments in works such as Dante's The Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost, led to the common idea in Christian mythology and folklore that Lucifer was a poetic appellation of Satan (see Lucifer for more information).

Ezekiel 28:12-19, in context, refers to the King of Tyrus (see Ezekiel 28:2 for context). The passage, however, is popularly attributed as a reference to, or allegory of, Satan, and even by some commentators, an allegory of the fall of Adam.

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« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2009, 01:19:06 pm »

Many Christian teachings are built upon later Jewish traditions that the Adversary and the Adversary's host declared war with God, but that God's army, commanded by the archangel Michael, defeated the rebels. Their defeat was never in question, since God is by nature omnipotent, but Michael was given the honour of victory in the natural order; thus the rise of Christian veneration of the archangel Michael, beginning at Monte Gargano in 493, reflects the full incorporation of demons into Christianity.

According to tradition, God then cast God's enemies from Heaven to the abyss, into a newly created prison called Hell, where all God's enemies should be sentenced to an eternal existence of pain and misery. This pain is not all physical; for their crimes, these angels, now called demons, would be deprived of the sight of God, this being the worst possible punishment.

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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2009, 01:19:19 pm »

An indefinite time later (some biblical scholars believe that the angels fell sometime after the creation of living things), when God created the earth and life, the Adversary and the other demons were allowed to tempt humans or induce them to sin by other means. The first time the Adversary did this was as a serpent in the earthly paradise called the "Garden of Eden" to tempt Eve, who became deceived by Satan's evil trickery. Eve then gave Adam some of the forbidden fruit and both of their eyes were opened to the knowledge of good and evil.

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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2009, 01:19:31 pm »

Demonologies
At various times in Christian history, attempts have been made to classify these beings according to various proposed demonic hierarchies.

According to most Christian demonology demons will be eternally punished and never reconciled with God. Other theories postulate a Universal reconciliation, in which Satan, the fallen angels, and the souls of the dead that were condemned to Hell are reconciled with God. This doctrine is today often associated with the Unification Church. Origen, Jerome and Gregory of Nyssa also mentioned this possibility.

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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2009, 01:19:43 pm »

In contemporary Christianity, demons are generally considered to be angels who fell from grace by rebelling against God. Some contest that this view, championed by Origen, Augustine and John Chrysostom, arose during the 6th century. Another theory that may have preceded or co-existed with the hypothesis of fallen angels was that demons were ostracized from Heaven for the primary sin of mating with mortal women, giving rise to a race of half-human giants known as the Nephilim. That theory is accepted by some contemporary Christian sects.

There are still others who say that the sin of the angels was pride and disobedience. It seems quite certain that these were the sins that caused Satan's downfall (Ezek. 28). If this be the true view then we are to understand the words, "estate" or "principality" in Deuteronomy 32:8 and Jude 6 ("And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.") as indicating that instead of being satisfied with the dignity once for all assigned to them under the Son of God, they aspired higher.

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« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2009, 01:19:57 pm »

Hinduism
Hindu mythology include numerous varieties of anthropomorphic beings that might be classified as demons, including Rakshasas (belligerent, shapechanging terrestrial demons), Asuras (demigods), Vetalas (bat-like spirits), and Pishachas (cannibalistic demons).

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« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2009, 01:20:13 pm »

Asuras
Originally, Asura, in the earliest hymns of the Rig Veda, meant any supernatural spirit—good or bad. Hence even some of the devas (demigods), especially Varuna, have the epithet of Asura. In fact, since the /s/ of the Indic linguistic branch is cognate with the /h/ of the Early Iranian languages, the word Asura, representing a category of celestial beings, became the word Ahura (Mazda), the Supreme God of the monotheistic Zoroastrians. But very soon, among the Indo-Aryans, Asura came to exclusively mean any of a race of anthropomorphic but hideous demons. All words such as Asura, Daitya (lit., sons of the demon-mother "Diti"), Rakshasa (lit. from "harm to be guarded against") are translated into English as demon. These demons are inherently evil and are in a constant battle against the demigods. Hence in Hindu iconography, the gods and demigods are shown to carry weapons to kill the asuras. Unlike Christianity, the demons are not the cause of the evil and unhappiness in present mankind (which occurs on the account of ignorance from recognizing one's true self).
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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2009, 01:20:24 pm »

 In later Puranic mythology, exceptions do occur in the demonic race to produce god-fearing Asuras like Prahalada. Also, many Asuras are said to have been granted boons from one of the members of the Hindu trinity, viz., Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva when the latter had been appeased from penances. All Asuras, unlike the devas, are said to be mortals (though they vehemently wish to become immortal). Many people metaphorically interpret these demons as manifestations of the ignoble passions in human mind.
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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2009, 01:20:42 pm »

Evil spirits
On the account of the Hindu theory of reincarnation and transmigration of souls according to one's Karma, other kinds of demons can also be enlisted. If a human does extremely horrible and sinful karmas in his life, his soul (Atman) will, upon his death, directly turn into an evil ghostly spirit, many kinds of which are recognized in the later Hindu texts. These demons could be Grimnex Vetalas, Pishachas, Bhūtas etc.[22]

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