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Devil made me do it


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20 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Without the science to support. 

I don't know that science is the deciding factor here. His intent seems to be diluting culpability and I think it should fail immediately due to weaseling.

Edited by Chum
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14 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Without the science to support. 

And again, I'm not specifically debating this part. His explanation depends on us sharing a reality with beings that have actual freaking mind control powers. With some bad beings at that.

and sidebar: Mind Control isn't a great term because it hints at total control. But injecting thoughts or impulses in a way that bypasses all of the the sensory methods - this clearly crosses a fat important line.

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1 hour ago, Chum said:

Yes but delegation to who? Satan's minions are from the same batch of people that we're from. Or are we talking about fallen angels?

Who is on the list of beings that have actual mind control power?

I am talking about fallen angels.

Since enticing is not controlling, no one has the power to control another's mind. Even God, to  my understanding.

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1 hour ago, Chum said:

I don't know that science is the deciding factor here. His intent seems to be diluting culpability and I think it should fail immediately due to weaseling.

Yes. I’m referring to the fact that at least alcoholic behavior is proven to be a legitimately concrete reality. It still sounds bad to blame behavior on alcohol…. That said, we have alcohol laws for a reason. 

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On 12/4/2023 at 6:48 AM, MustardSeed said:

In the recent abuse thread that Calm posted, the perpetrator claimed that “The adversary” had a hand in his sexual behaviors.  
 

I have had a negative reaction to this type of claim for decades.  IMO this claim precludes personal responsibility and makes the perp a victim.  

Doesnt matter if its sexual abuse or a benign bad thought- claiming its the adversaries influence is a major turn off to me. 
 

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil .  If the whole narrative is true, then I’m disgusted with the whole thing.  That would mean that we CAN blame the devil for our choices.  I despise that idea, and reject it big time as I read the article posted by Calm.  
 

Is there a way to think of this differently?  I will read responses with an open attitude. 

Only have had time to read parts of the thread...but I've always had a macabre interest in people who do truly evil things. Though I think the whole line "the devil made me do it" is still mostly a cop out...I think there may be a kernal of truth in there. 
 
First, the kernal of truth. There's scripture that discusses Satan as the power to captivate or to bring people into captivity the 2 Ne 2 clearly states that, but there's also scriptures that describe him having chains over the earth/people. And I'm definitely into the argument that the scripture define moral agency, not free will. As in our choices are grounded and/or limited in a framework of culture, experiences, family, etc...but within that there is still a capacity to choose right and wrong. When we choose right our capacities expand into a world of greater light and ultimately into a celestial pattern of existence. When we choose wrong our capacities diminish into patterns of misery and distorted relationships, deprived of true love and light. Evil at its core kinda has similar vibes: it's self-absorbed, focused on getting whatever gives even a figment of comfort and pleasure to the point to taking and breaking other people in order to get there. Breaking out of evil actions, first entails pain....pain similar to what Alma the younger describes where he was wracked with exactly what he'd done. Many people wrapped in evil mindsets are trapped in the evil because they can't confront what they're doing. If you can't confront something, you can't change it, and thus you become trapped in your own lies and secrecy.
 
We often talk about shame as a problem that many people have. And for your average person, the shame is problematic because it's disproportionate to the actions committed. But for people who are doing something terribly wrong, that shame is warranted...it's what they have to face and accept if they're going to change. Most can't because there's a sense that addressing their evils will be the end of their small slithers of happiness. So they re-entrench and it gets worse. They're effectively trapped in their own re-enforced pathways. 
 
Part of my belief in the captivity that can be wrought is admittedly personal. When i was a young teen, I was choosing anger and rage as my comfort blanket. It was enabled by several sources: a difficult family situation, a miserable social environment, my own insecurities and powerlessness, etc. When I saw that people could really be happy in the examples of other healthier people...I started seeking that. In this space of transition, I would find myself struggling with a dark presence. I've never had this experience after this period of transition. I'm not grandiose to assume it was directly satan, but my only interpretation that makes sense for me was that it was still a dark and powerful presence. It was oppressive and nearly overpowering. It took concerted effort both in reaching out to God while making sincere efforts during the day to leave it, to be left alone by it at night (i always felt it at night...probably because that's when I was alone). And compared to other's degree of evil, mine was pretty small...I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be the more your actions and mind becomes distorted around evil and cemented in their own evil actions.
 
The reason it's also a cop out is because at some point there are choices we did make to get us to a point that are capacities are limited...and there's choices we can make to re-establish greater agency/capacity into our lives. I've seen people do it. I've done it. I know its possible. I also know it's a lot of hard work and it can take years to get them out of a distorted way of living. Many just can't or won't go there. Many can't even accept a small amount of accountability even when it's grounded in love. They interpret it as a form of meanness or cruelty as opposed to an invitation to change and learn what it's like to truly love and be loved. And I would say for a very limited few, they're beyond hope. Everything they can choose is cemented in a framework of distortion and darkness. In a sense they've been listening to one master for so long, any other voice is unrecognizable. IMHO, these are the ones who are strong candidates for outer darkness. Again, I assume those are extremely rare. I can only think of one person that I think may fit that bill that I've heard enough about IRL. 
  
 
In short I think the shorthand "the devil made me do it" could be true in terms of what it feels like to be limited and stuck in a framework of distortions. But that feeling is in and of itself a lie. We have the power to "bruise his head" he has the power to "bruise" our "ankle." When we come to ourselves in the light of God, we come to an understanding and capacity to banish evil and become truly agentic once more. 
 
 
With luv,
BD
Edited by BlueDreams
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23 hours ago, pogi said:

Why does one need a devil to entice us, anyway?  Isn't greed, lust, power, selfishness, etc. enough?  It seemed to be enough for Lucifer, after all.  Why not us?

You mileage probably varies, and that's fine, but without someone to exploit those vices, or to succumb to them, if they existed at all, they would simply be inert. In 2 Nephi 2, Lehi teaches that for good (and for virtue) to exist, also, bad (and vice, and evil, et cetera) must exist.  Also, he teaches that for man to be able to "act for himself," he must "enticed by the one or the other."  And he says that if it were not so, the entire end (purpose) of the creation and the Plan of the Creator would have been frustrated.

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16 hours ago, bluebell said:

I see what you are saying. Thank you for explaining further.  In the doctrines of the church the light of Christ and the Spirit are two different things so I agree, the influence of the devil would not operate in the same way the light of Christ does.  I'm specifically wondering about the way the Spirit works rather than the light of Christ.

I also agree that the need for the Spirit is paramount in us coming to Christ.  When I think about that I think about the doctrine of opposition, and how there must be opposition in all things.  I don't think that we, even in our fallen state, can be considered to be the opposite of the Spirit.  We aren't evil, as you said, just capable of it (as we are capable of good even without the influence of the spirit I think).  So if the spirit can and does entice us to do good then to me that implies the need of something to entice us to bad.

I think it all comes down to the need to have the ability to "choose between alternatives" (as Pres. Oaks once said).  If the influence of God is one alternative, then it makes sense to me that the influence of satan is the other.

If you can explain how the Holy Ghost (a personage of spirit) can communicate to individuals across the globe simultaneously if not via the omnipresent light of Christ, I am open ears. 

I am convinced that the light of Christ is the primary means of communication that the Gods use, the only other possibility is a personal visitation - which I personally believe only happens when one is baptized by fire (Holy Ghost).  Otherwise, all enticing's come via the light of Christ.   What is the opposition to the light of Christ, if there is literally opposition in all things?  I don't personally think that "all things" is meant to be literal.  I think it is speaking of the idea of the necessity of opposing principles that exist.  I don't think there is a literal opposite of say, dirt, for example.  I don't think there is an anti-pogi out there somewhere.  If we take it literal, things get really weird really quick.   

I think there are eternal principles that are opposing that exist that give us agency, not necessarily that there are opposing beings for every individual that exists.  

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24 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

You mileage probably varies, and that's fine, but without someone to exploit those vices, or to succumb to them, if they existed at all, they would simply be inert.

One needs nothing more than their own "natural" man selves to exploit or succumb to vices.  

24 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

In 2 Nephi 2, Lehi teaches that for good (and for virtue) to exist, also, bad (and vice, and evil, et cetera) must exist. 

I agree.  But those things can exist without a devil pushing it on us.  

24 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Also, he teaches that for man to be able to "act for himself," he must "enticed by the one or the other." 

Which I think represents opposing principles. not necessarily individuals or Gods/devils.   

24 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

And he says that if it were not so, the entire end (purpose) of the creation and the Plan of the Creator would have been frustrated.

I agree.  There needs to be opposition.  The natural man, the scriptures state are an enemy to God.  What more opposition do we need than our own blind egos?  What if the devil is a representation of that ego?  

Edited by pogi
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27 minutes ago, pogi said:

If you can explain how the Holy Ghost (a personage of spirit) can communicate to individuals across the globe simultaneously if not via the omnipresent light of Christ, I am open ears. 

I am convinced that the light of Christ is the primary means of communication that the Gods use, the only other possibility is a personal visitation - which I personally believe only happens when one is baptized by fire (Holy Ghost).  Otherwise, all enticing's come via the light of Christ.   What is the opposition to the light of Christ, if there is literally opposition in all things?  I don't personally think that "all things" is meant to be literal.  I think it is speaking of the idea of the necessity of opposing principles that exist.  I don't think there is a literal opposite of say, dirt, for example.  I don't think there is an anti-pogi out there somewhere.  If we take it literal, things get really weird really quick.   

I think there are eternal principles that are opposing that exist that give us agency, not necessarily that there are opposing beings for every individual that exists.  

In a sense, I think we are opposing beings to Christ and each other other until we are one. So we have degrees of opposition. We oppose Him when we willingly don't progress in some area, and we are one with Him when we rely upon His grace in our imperfection. The devil is the most opposed, qualitatively if not quantitatively: only a third part of the whole on one hand, but on the other hand, "some" is in opposition to "all" when he successfully entices one soul out of heaven. 

God would cease to be God under certain conditions which we know cannot exist; the same with the devil (and us). It seems like we are all necessary to our Father; He wanted and needed us in the first place.

Edited by CV75
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35 minutes ago, pogi said:

If you can explain how the Holy Ghost (a personage of spirit) can communicate to individuals across the globe simultaneously if not via the omnipresent light of Christ, I am open ears. 

I am convinced that the light of Christ is the primary means of communication that the Gods use, the only other possibility is a personal visitation - which I personally believe only happens when one is baptized by fire (Holy Ghost).  Otherwise, all enticing's come via the light of Christ.   What is the opposition to the light of Christ, if there is literally opposition in all things?  I don't personally think that "all things" is meant to be literal.  I think it is speaking of the idea of the necessity of opposing principles that exist.  I don't think there is a literal opposite of say, dirt, for example.  I don't think there is an anti-pogi out there somewhere.  If we take it literal, things get really weird really quick.   

I think there are eternal principles that are opposing that exist that give us agency, not necessarily that there are opposing beings for every individual that exists.  

I like what President Joseph Fielding Smith said about the difference between the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, as quoted by Pres. Packer in his talk The Light of Christ-

President Joseph Fielding Smith spoke of the teachings of the Holy Ghost and of the Spirit of Christ: “Every man can receive a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, even when he is out of the Church, if he is earnestly seeking for the light and for the truth. The Holy Ghost will come and give the man the testimony he is seeking, and then withdraw; and the man does not have a claim upon another visit or constant visits and manifestations from him. He may have the constant guidance of that other Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.”

The Spirit of Christ is always there. It never leaves. It cannot leave.

Everyone everywhere already has the Spirit of Christ, and while the Spirit of the Holy Ghost can visit anyone, the gift of the Holy Ghost is obtained “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (A of F 1:3), by submitting to “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; [and the] laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:4). It is not automatically present like the Spirit of Christ is present. This gift must be conferred by one holding authority (see A of F 1:5).

 

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Culpability and Entrapment. In Law it's deemed morally wrong to pursue punishment in cases of entrapment, it's a question of the true culpability of the entrapped and the legitimacy of crimes law enforcers have effectively created. For our purposes perhaps we are speaking of ‘moral entrapment’ as the entrapping agent (the devil) need not be an agent of law/God and the act need not be criminal.

It seems indeed, situational factors can drastically alter our moral behavior, contradicting the conventional picture of people as agents that act according to stable, robust virtues and vices (Gilbert Harman, ‘Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society New Series 99 (1999): 315–331.)

Chronic temptations undermine our self-control, (Richard Lippke, ‘Chronic Temptation, Reasonable Firmness, and the Criminal Law’, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 34(1) (2014): 75–96).

Self-control is an integral component of autonomy (Alfred R. Mele, Autonomous Agents: From Self-Control to Autonomy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

The culpability of the devil in wrongdoing comes by the claim that some temptations are more than mere opportunities but manipulation of devils in terms of pressure and deception. A law enforcer pressures a man for his opioids on the pretense of being a fellow veteran, is an act of manipulation. The devil beguiles Eve that the fruit won't kill her, but only good things will come of it, was manipulation. The wrongness of it this lies specifically in moral subversion: interferes with the practical reasoning in ways that increase the likelihood they will culpably choose to act wrongly’, i.e. moral agency. The agent provocateur’s moral subversion of the target in turn reduces the target’s autonomy (and thus their accountability) for their actions. It seems plausible to me that the magnitude of the interference with the target’s moral agency corresponds with the reduction of their accountability. And like law enforcers, devils can be complicit in a wrongdoing that they caused. A law enforcer is accountable if he encourages a radical to shoot someone or sells him the gun, and they do what they wouldn't have done without their interference. The serpent was punished for beguiling Eve, etc.

Edited by Pyreaux
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44 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I like what President Joseph Fielding Smith said about the difference between the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, as quoted by Pres. Packer in his talk The Light of Christ-

President Joseph Fielding Smith spoke of the teachings of the Holy Ghost and of the Spirit of Christ: “Every man can receive a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, even when he is out of the Church, if he is earnestly seeking for the light and for the truth. The Holy Ghost will come and give the man the testimony he is seeking, and then withdraw; and the man does not have a claim upon another visit or constant visits and manifestations from him. He may have the constant guidance of that other Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.”

The Spirit of Christ is always there. It never leaves. It cannot leave.

Everyone everywhere already has the Spirit of Christ, and while the Spirit of the Holy Ghost can visit anyone, the gift of the Holy Ghost is obtained “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (A of F 1:3), by submitting to “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; [and the] laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:4). It is not automatically present like the Spirit of Christ is present. This gift must be conferred by one holding authority (see A of F 1:5).

 

I don't disagree with Joseph Fielding Smiths comments here.   I think it aligns with my comments above.  The point I am trying to make is that the Holy Ghost, and Jesus, and the Father can only operate in communion with us via the light of Christ as they are only omnipresent via that spirit.  How else can the Holy Ghost always be with two or more individuals simultaneously?  How else can God reside in the hearts of all his children simultaneously?   The God's only work to entice us via the mechanism of the light of Christ.  So, if the devil has opposing enticements upon us - by what omnipresent dark spirit can the devil reside in our hearts and influence us?  There doesn't seem to be anything in revealed scripture.  It seems that we are mostly guided by nature.  We don't need a devil to tempt us to be the natural man, we are by nature.  

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Isn't the most common devil technique to prey on our own human weakness?  

Isn't it part of human nature to try to avoid being wholly responsible for our choices and actions. 

Satan doesn't have the power to overwhelm our spirits or agency.  We have to let him in and go along.

 

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I have carefully read all of the responses and I appreciate the feedback. A lot of it has given me good food for thought.

I think I will always be annoyed anytime somebody claims that the “adversary” had any role when discussing their own poor decisions.  (Accountability is a very important virtue to me personally, even though I am imperfect at it myself.)

This thread has me thinking more about what I do believe. I started the thread with a post talking about what I don’t believe.

I believe it will take some time, and some study and reflection and prayer,  to come to a more clear personal testimony regarding the role of the Holy Spirit, God, and Satan in my life on the daily.  Symbolism versus the literal is a constant question for me in the context of my religion.  I guess it’s just another thing to add to the list of personal pursuits for understanding.

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From your (speaking to anyone who wants to respond) own experience, does thinking Satan influences you to do bad help you in any way in the sense of understanding yourself, modifying your behaviour, etc.?

For me, it just makes more sense to see my thoughts as my own and if anything intrudes that seems out of place, just viewing it as environmental, the culture surrounding me is more than sufficient to explain my thought process to me.  Throwing Satan in complicates things and creeps me out.  I would probably feel more helpless and out of control of my life if I went that direction and I definitely don’t need more of that.

Nor do I need the idea that someone else is pushing me to do wrong to help me want to not do wrong.  To be blunt, it is creepy and diverts energy from being proactive…and it just never made sense to me.  I have never felt that kind of presence in my thoughts like I have felt the Spirit.  I have felt the sense of evil in my surroundings on a few occasions…one being the possibility of a Peeping Tom.  I discovered a place by a basement window that looked laid upon by a heavy body…the window was for a bedroom my sister and I and other guests of my grandmother used and there was a PT caught in the neighbourhood awhile after I experienced that feeling.  Oddly the impulse was not to turn on all the lights, but to turn them all off…and then I went to bed early and hid under the sheets all night.  Rambling again…

I am not saying my thoughts are pure and delightful all the time, I just think I have more reason to practice self discipline or at least accept responsibility for them if I view them as truly my own thoughts, as screwed up as they can be at times.  
 

I can easily see myself panicking if I saw my depression episodes and suicidal ideation as a result of Satan trying to persuade me to go off the tracks.  I really don’t need the belief that someone is out to get me on top of knowing my body and mind don’t always function properly.  And if I thought Satan could be the cause of that, I would feel quite helpless and angry that God allows such an uninvited guest to cause problems for me, I am guessing.  I prefer to approach my behaviour as trying to do the right thing rather than trying to avoid doing bad.

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, CV75 said:

Since enticing is not controlling, no one has the power to control another's mind. Even God, to  my understanding.

Okay, enticing. I'm good with whatever verb you want. We're saying a fallen angel can introduce enticement directly into someone's mind, correct?

If people can't receive temptations in their mind, we should probably clarify that now.

 

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Right now my opinion is that God and Satan influence me as much and in the same exact way that my earth parents influence me. 

19 minutes ago, Calm said:

does thinking Satan influences you to do bad help you in any way in the sense of understanding yourself, modifying your behaviour, etc.?

Zero.  The opposite, in fact. 

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4 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Yes. I’m referring to the fact that at least alcoholic behavior is proven to be a legitimately concrete reality. It still sounds bad to blame behavior on alcohol…. That said, we have alcohol laws for a reason. 

To be fair we have lots of laws for lots of reasons. Commonly, unethical and misguided reasons. I'm saying that to clarify that that laws don't come with any built-in validity. It makes them terrible at validating things.

Edited by Chum
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16 minutes ago, Chum said:

Okay, enticing. I'm good with whatever verb you want. We're saying a fallen angel can introduce enticement directly into someone's mind, correct?

If people can't receive temptations in their mind, we should probably clarify that now.

 

Where else would the spiritual information be processed, if not the mind? There are many ways information can get into the mind, but it seems to me there has to be some sort of pathway.

Edited by CV75
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2 minutes ago, Chum said:

Yes. But we can't directly implant things into another person's mind.

Fallen angels can, apparently. Or is that incorrect?

I don't see how they can. It may appear so to us, but they are using some kind of pathway from their minds to ours.

I suppose a scientist could implant a piece of turd into an unwilling victim's brain, with neurological and thought/mind-affecting (enticing?) consequences. But I don't see a spiritual analogy to that given the fundamental principles of our religion.

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On 12/4/2023 at 12:44 PM, juliann said:

I don't know what to do with the devil thing either. In the OT, he is presented as the adversarial prosecutor in a court like proceeding. I think adversary is more suitable than "devil." I think the devil thing falls apart at the beginning of the story, where he is thrown out of heaven. It doesn't strike me as that bad of an act for that severe of a punishment...more of a difference of opinion.

I agree. The rejected the plan and the choice to obtain a mortal body. That was their decision. I'm not sure there was much in the way of "punishment" beyond that.

But... Lucifer was decidedly annoyed that his proposition was rejected and he attempted to sabotage the plan and it is that action that got him in trouble. Before that he had some degree of freedom. After, he was cursed to eat the dust of this earth -- which I interpret as saying that his travel rights were revoked and he had to stick to this planet lest he try his shenanigans elsewhere on other Adams and other Eves. That was the main external punishment -- loss of mobility. The rest of his "punishments" are largely self imposed consequences because of his antagonism to the Kingdom of Heaven and its laws.

Given that perspective above, I have no problem believing that the Adversary is alive and present and endeavoring to do all kinds of mischief. But, he will always be weaker---very much to his annoyance.
"All beings who have bodies have power over these who have not. The Devil has no power over those us only as we permit him." -- Joseph Smith

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16 hours ago, CV75 said:

I don't see how they can [implant things in our minds]. It may appear so to us, but they are using some kind of pathway from their minds to ours

We communicate thru senses. Bypassing those channels mean they're impacting the mind directly. Do you suspect they can bypass sensory communication channels?

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