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Methodist and Satan.

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posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 07:14 AM

Jesus stood up to him. Plenty of Christians talk about him. And some blame all sorts of evil on him. But likely you won’t hear his name tossed around much in a United Methodist Church.

Could it be... Satan?

“For the most part, you don’t hear mainline Protestants talking about Satan, the devil or the demonic,” said Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. “I think we’ve handed that kind of language over to the fundamentalists.”


“Bringing up the supernatural reality of Satan is enough to make a typical United Methodist go into conniptions,” he said.

And not only do Methodists avoid talking about he-who-must-not-be-named. They don’t sing about him either.


“Regretfully, many United Methodists don’t even want to discuss sin, let alone the devil.”

So why all this “denial” about the devil?

First, many Methodists have a disdain for all things fire-and-brimstone (too “Baptist-y,” jokes Dr. Clark-Soles, who is an ordained moderate Baptist clergyperson). Some seek to distance themselves from caricatures of uptight Christians (think Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” character on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, who blamed Satan for any behavior she deemed immoral.)


Many feel “it’s a copout to blame evil—particularly evil that can be attributed to human causes—to a supernatural power,” said Mr. Wingeier, “[and believe instead] that we should take responsibility ourselves.”


Most Methodists tend to fall somewhere in the middle of a spectrum that ranges from viewing Satan as a simply a literary device—the personification of evil—to seeing Satan as a separate, distinct being and the cause of all evil, according to Rev. Andrew Tevington, associate pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City, Okla.


Similarly, Dr. Garrett says modern scholars are beginning to see that in the strictly rational approach, “there was a false notion, that we could somehow have a complete story of salvation without any adversary.”

“If you ax out all the parts about evil or Satan or demons from the New Testament, the story of Jesus doesn’t make sense, because it’s not clear what he’s redeeming us from,” she said.

“When we give up that language, we give up what we have to offer.”

At the root of how Methodists view Satan, says Dr. Walls, is the question, “Is evil real or do bad things just happen?”

Some may “think of the demonic in psychological terms, de-mythologize it, leave it at the level of human choices,” he said. “I think we are on dangerous ground when we don’t take evil seriously.”


There you have it Methodist view of Satan.

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 10:26 PM
Any of us can be a 'satan', as in accuser. The technical term for a certain individual would probably be 'the devil'.

Among mainstream Protestants he's considered a mostly powerless force previously defeated by Jesus, therefore not something to dwell upon. It would seem a reasonable view opposed to religious zealots invoking the name in order to point out someone to be executed, or hounded out of town. As in "so in so works for the devil and causes car accidents, away with him!" or "She ritually married the devil therefore she must be burned at the stake."

In that respect, the mainstream view seems to most people a better approach.

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 10:50 PM
What I got out of that explanation was that "satan" is the personification of evil.

I see this as a very great way to make people accountable for their own actions. All too often in religion I hear people saying that "god worked through them" or "the devil had them". But the idea of "satan" or "god" being apart of us makes everyone accountable.

I never thought it was fair to say "god worked through me"...sometimes I do a good deed all on my own. Don't take away my kind nature. Same when it comes to doing something bad...accept that you are capable of being evil.

A bit scattered..sorry for that I'm a tad tired


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