Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wrestling With Satan

"Satan is the one who plants wicked thoughts in our minds." I read those words on a site yesterday and they stopped me for a while as I wondered what kind of fearful struggle their author must experience to believe that each time he has a wicked thought it comes from Satan. Can you imagine?

Suppose he thinks, as it seems so many religious people do, that even his sexual desires are wicked? Well, according to some psychologists, one thinks of sex every few minutes. Does he feel he's wrestling with Satan every few minutes?

How can one cope with such a monstrous notion -- the notion one's mind is wrestling with Satan? How could one ever be at peace with oneself?

I'm certain I have thoughts he would consider wicked, and therefore from Satan. But I don't see my thoughts the way he does. I'm not in a struggle against any of my thoughts -- to struggle against an unpleasant thought just prolongs it in consciousness. To be frightened of a thought reinforces it, makes it stronger. To condemn a thought just fixes it in memory.

As best I can, I watch my thoughts. I'm attentive to them. But I don't struggle with them. I don't condemn them. I just idly watch them come and go.

I think that poor man must go around in circles, like a puppy chasing his own tail. Perhaps he's struggled so hard against his wicked thoughts that he's committed all of them to memory, where they ever lie in wait to pop up again and again. Perhaps he's reinforced the neural pathways of those wicked thoughts so much they are extremely robust and crowd out most other thoughts.

It would be ironic if I had more wicked thoughts than he did with the difference being I forget my many while he never forgets his few.


ordinarygirl said...

Great post, Paul, and I agree.

Many Christians believe in the concept of spiritual warfare. They believe (as I did at one time) that supernatural demons exist in this world with a goal of leading people astray. These demons whisper thoughts into our heads and influence people to do terrible things.

If you've ever read a Jack Chick track you've seen examples, but there's also a fictional Christian series that starts out with "This Present Darkness" all about spiritual warfare.

Part of the problem with the concept is that you can never trust your own thoughts, much less yourself. You must constantly be vigilant and keep yourself pure by holding true to the exact words of the Bible (how else can you tell?). And also it plays a lot into conspiracy theories. If you think spirits are after you then how can you not suspect a conspiracy behind everything?

demon bahamat said...

I think a good test is whether or not an action would hurt anyone, if it doesn't then there's nothing wrong with it. If, in net it helps people overall more than it harms, then it's good. This makes me quite liberal because some things (ie homosexuality) help some people and harm nobody (worth caring about - those that get upset by it must learn not to because they don't have the right to restrict others by their mindset).

Even if you do actions that harm people, people might be strengthened by it, or become less vulnerable, and be more able to cope with the same situation again - good things can come from bad deeds