Further Recommended Reading:

 

Elaine Pagels, THE ORIGINS OF SATAN, Random House, 1995 by author

A wonderful look at the development and history of the concept of Satan as he recognized today. *Elaine Pagels is a scholar who chaired the Department of Religion at Columbia University, and Harrington Spear Paine Professor of religion at Princeton University.

 

Elaine Pagels, ADAM, EVE, AND THE SERPENT, Random House, 1988

Traces the history and development of some of the sexual and moral attitudes that influence our society. The book delves into some of the thinkers that have had a great influence upon our moral thinking and personal problems which may have influenced them. It also gives insight to the differences between ancient and modern peoples as to the understanding of scriptural interpretations of morals.

 

Paul Carus, THE HISTORY OF THE DEVIL and the IDEA OF EVIL, Bell Publishing Co., 1969

An insightful look at the idea of Satan and evil as explored in a wide variety of cultures.

 

Bishop John Shelby Spong, LIVING IN SIN, Harper and Row, 1988

A progressive Episcopal Bishop offers questions and answers about some of the current moral theology which exists in today's Christian religions. Bishop Spong is the Episcopal Bishop of Newark.

 

Eli S. Cheasen M.D., RELIGION MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH, Peter Wyden Inc., 1972

A psychiatrist looks at the psychological dangers which can occur by irresponsible and unquestioning religious beliefs.

 

Scott Peck, PEOPLE OF THE LIE, Simon and Schuster, 1983

Lecturer and psychiatrist Scott Peck discusses the reality of evil, the causes of evil, and explores its origins.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

 

From the mind of : Elaine Pagels, Professor of religion.

Taken from: THE ORIGINS OF SATAN, Random House, 1995,

Pages - 183-184

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You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate

your enemy. " But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for

those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in

heaven."

(Matt 5:43-44)

 

 

To pray for one's enemies suggests that one believes that what ever harm they have done, they are capable of being reconciled to God and to one's self. Paul, writing about twenty years before the evangelists, holds a still more Jewish perception that Satan acts as God's agent, not to corrupt people, but to test them; at one point he suggests that a Christian group "delivered to Satan" one of its current members, not in order to consign him to hell, but in the hope that he will repent and change. Paul also hopes and longs for reconciliation between his "Brothers," "fellow Israelites," and gentile believers.

Many Christians, then, from the first century through Francis of Assisi in the fifteenth century and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the twentieth, have believed that they stood on God's side without demonizing their opponents. Their religious vision inspired them to oppose policy and powers they regarded as evil, often risking their well-being and their lives, while praying for the reconciliation - not the damnation - of those who opposed them.

For the most part, however, Christians have taught - and acted upon - the belief that their enemies are evil and beyond redemption. Concluding this book, I hope that this research may illuminate for others, as has for me, the struggle within Christian tradition between the profoundly human view that "otherness" is evil and the words of Jesus that reconciliation is divine.

 

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