Devil, The

Devil, The
Catalog # SKU1415
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Robert Green Ingersoll


The Devil

By Robert Green Ingersoll

A little while ago I delivered a lecture on "Superstition," in which, among other things, I said that the Christian world could not deny the existence of the Devil; that the Devil was really the keystone of the arch, and that to take him away was to destroy the entire system.


A great many clergymen answered or criticized this statement. Some of these ministers avowed their belief in the existence of his Satanic Majesty, while others actually denied his existence; but some, without stating their own position, said that others believed, not in the existence of a personal devil, but in the personification of evil, and that all references to the Devil in the Scriptures could be explained on the hypothesis that the Devil thus alluded to was simply a personification of evil.

When I read these answers I thought of this line from Heine: "Christ rode on an ass, but now asses ride on Christ."

Now, the questions are, first, whether the Devil does really exist; second, whether the sacred Scriptures teach the existence of the Devil and of unclean spirits, and third, whether this belief in devils is a necessary part of what is known as "orthodox Christianity."

Now, where did the idea that a Devil exists come from? How was it produced?

Fear is an artist -- a sculptor -- a painter. All tribes and nations, having suffered, having been the sport and prey of natural phenomena, having been struck by lightning, poisoned by weeds, overwhelmed by volcanoes, destroyed by earthquakes, believed in the existence of a Devil, who was the king -- the ruler -- of innumerable smaller devils, and all these devils have been from time immemorial regarded as the enemies of men.

Along the banks of the Ganges wandered the Asuras, the most powerful of evil spirits. Their business was to war against the Devas -- that is to say, the gods -- and at the same time against human beings. There, too, were the ogres, the Jakshas and many others who killed and devoured human beings.

The Persians turned this around, and with them the Asuras were good and the Devas bad. Ormuzd was the good -- the god -- Ahriman the evil -- the devil -- and between the god and the devil was waged a perpetual war. Some of the Persians thought that the evil would finally triumph, but others insisted that the good would be the victor.

In Egypt the devil was Set -- or, as usually called, Typhon -- and the good god was Osiris. Set and his legions fought against Osiris and against the human race.

Among the Greeks, the Titans were the enemies of the gods. Ate was the spirit that tempted, and such was her power that at one time she tempted and misled the god of gods, even Zeus himself.

These ideas about gods and devils often changed, because in the days of Socrates a demon was not a devil, but a guardian angel.

Softcover, 5" x 8", 90 pages


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