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    Default Is it possible for a demon to do good?

    A line from the beginning of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen, what do you think?

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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    This is a theological question, so I guess the answer depends on whatever you believe. A big point that led me away from Christianity is the status of free will. Especially for the o.g. demon, Satan. Jewish theology makes tons of sense, he is an Angel who's purpose is to be adversarial, his actions bad in the service of good. In Christian theology, he's a renegade who has somehow chosen to deny God, he is a creation who is and does bad. The latter theory opens up a bunch of weird and confusing questions about God's omniscience, and omnipotence, even in the domain of his creatures outside of humanity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    This is a theological question, so I guess the answer depends on whatever you believe. A big point that led me away from Christianity is the status of free will. Especially for the o.g. demon, Satan. Jewish theology makes tons of sense, he is an Angel who's purpose is to be adversarial, his actions bad in the service of good. In Christian theology, he's a renegade who has somehow chosen to deny God, he is a creation who is and does bad. The latter theory opens up a bunch of weird and confusing questions about God's omniscience, and omnipotence, even in the domain of his creatures outside of humanity.
    There are jewish thinkers who suggest that Jesus was one of a small faction of Jews to still be maintaining that there was a devil or Satan as late in the day as he was, he seemed to be sure that Satan wasnt merely a henchman, ie the adversary, but something else, a pretender and usurper but one of the interesting things is that one of the discovered by quickly denied as non-canonical bibles back in the day of the bible hunters has Jesus appear as an apparition to tell the disciples not to worry about Satan anymore as he had been defeated but that there were other shady figures prepared to step up to the plate and mess with humanity once again, its not even the most crazy discovery, the ones about Jesus resurrecting as a giant, spirit and being accompanied by giant animated/living crucifixes are unreal, have to wonder about the impact of the course of events on the minds of the witnesses.

    Reading the letters of Paul or acts of apostles apart from the actual Gospels and the rest of the bible can be interesting, there are far more riddles and strangeness than in the actual life and ministry of Jesus, a lot of which I think can be accounted for by the guys trying to figure out why Jesus had yet to return, although you see that in any movement of that sort I think, disciples thought Jesus' return and the world to come would all have its advent in their days, the socialists thought the same about their revolution and eventual communism. It is something which seems to repeat itself or have some kind of archetypical resonance with humanity.

    It wasnt meant to be a strict theological discussion though, philosophically its a good question too, or even considered in fable, literary or fantasy senses.

    Devils in oriental thinking are cosmic beings but they are responsible for good and bad deeds, they are a little more like djinn or genies though, meddlers and messers with human kind.

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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Ah, well there's a big difference between a Christian demon and a trickster figure. The archetypical trickster is neither good nor bad, but a representative of those impulses and forces that are specifically amoral and also powerful, nature, the id, the subconscious. Of course there are other creatures in myths between the spectrum of chaos and and evil. I think in a Western culture where order and predictability are highly valued, the trickster is very easily relegated to being a force of evil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Ah, well there's a big difference between a Christian demon and a trickster figure. The archetypical trickster is neither good nor bad, but a representative of those impulses and forces that are specifically amoral and also powerful, nature, the id, the subconscious. Of course there are other creatures in myths between the spectrum of chaos and and evil. I think in a Western culture where order and predictability are highly valued, the trickster is very easily relegated to being a force of evil.
    I dont really see the tricksters as evil, I think humanity is more represenative of the tricksters than angels or demons.

    The thing is that I think angels are capable of what could be construed in human terms as evil in the relentless pursuit of good or divine mandate, the adversary role makes sense in this role, or the angel of death in the Moses tale or others like it, even pop culture, like the Raiders of the Lost Arc story but demons are conversely capable of the opposite, something which could appear good in human terms but serve another wicked purpose when you see the ultimate results.

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    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    However you want to go about defining demon, I'm going to say yes.* I don't think things like good and evil are intrinsic to a being, nor do I think they are rooted in intention or by the nature of an act. I believe in good consequences, and I imagine that anything has some capacity to make something good happen. We may well be better off for the existence of something that appears horrible. A time and a place for everything.

    *The one exception being that you define a demon as a thing that cannot be a catalyst for good consequences.
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    Yes.

    I like characters that are morbidly capable who fight for "good", like Guts in Berserk or Master Chief in Halo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Ah, well there's a big difference between a Christian demon and a trickster figure. The archetypical trickster is neither good nor bad, but a representative of those impulses and forces that are specifically amoral and also powerful, nature, the id, the subconscious. Of course there are other creatures in myths between the spectrum of chaos and and evil. I think in a Western culture where order and predictability are highly valued, the trickster is very easily relegated to being a force of evil.
    This interpretation of the trickster is something I've taken issue with.

    In a lot of Native American mythologies, the trickster is a Coyote. The Coyote is responsible for stealing the gift of fire and bringing it to humans. How is that bad?



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    Short answer: yes.

    A demon's free will entirely depends on the literary world it inhabits, though. In a traditional Abrahamic story, the answer is no as they are cursed, intrinsically evil beings. However there is no reason for you to write a demon in this way if the context is different (a few examples have been floated already).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    A line from the beginning of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen, what do you think?
    It's impossible according to God's standards in the Bible; specifically, in the New Testament where good is a product of walking in the holy spirit...

    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

    According to the Bible, good comes from God. From what I can tell, it's fairly easy to tell when an evil spirit/demon is influencing a person:

    And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16)

    There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out [the spirit of] fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
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