Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Devil

The Devil is a title given to the supernatural being, who, in mainstream Christianity, Islam, and other religions, is believed to be a powerful, evil entity and the tempter of humankind. The Devil is commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. In mainstream Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Sheol. The Devil commands a force of lesser evil spirits, commonly known as demons. The name "Devil" derives from the Greek word diabolos, which means "slanderer" or "accuser". The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) does not assign this level of personification to a devil; there, the Adversary is a servant of God whose job it is to test humankind.

In the Western Christian tradition, the Devil has entered popular folklore, particularly in his role as a trickster figure. As such, he is found as a character in a wide number of traditional folktales and legends from Ireland, Newfoundland, Italy and the United Kingdom, where he often attempts to trick or outwit other characters. In some of these tales, the Devil is portrayed as more of a folk villain than as the personification of evil.Christian tradition has frequently identified pagan religions and witchcraft with the influence of Satan. In fact few neopagan traditions recognize Satan or the Devil per se. However, many neopagan groups worship some sort of Horned God, for example as a consort of the Great Goddess in Witchcraft.

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