Christians / Muslims: Can you stop using the Devil as a scapegoat?
"One who is blamed or punished for the mistakes or sins of others". It is no co-incidence that the devil is associated with the imagery of a goat and so too the word scapegoat.
Can you not see that much of the Biblical scripture is metaphoric in nature? Do you really believe in a literal Satan that exists physically, literally and independent of mankind's "collective consciousness"? Modern scholars such as Carl Jung proposed that the devil was a metaphor for the human "ego" / "lower instinct" - it is that which causes us to identify ourselves as separate from the Universe / God, necessary for our physical survival yet hinders our perception of the bigger picture.
While there is nothing wrong with religious philosophpy, the problem comes in with the shifting of blame. By "projecting" the world's ills onto an external party you are essentially removing yourself from the responsibility of recognizing that it is your own "lower nature" that must be "overcome". Yehashua (Jesus) himself had to "overcome the devil".
Another example of the "scapegoat" is the Anti-Christ of which modern interpretations are completely unscholoarly and biased at the whim of uneducated preachers (who have not studied the Greek and Hebrew originals or who have done so in under the bias of others) who from generation to generation select a certain individual to take the blame from Nero to Bill Gates to Obama. The original Greek of Rev 13:18
‘ο ’έχων τον νούν , ψηφισάτω τον ’αριθμον τού θηρίου·’αριθμος-γαρ ’ανθρώπου ’εστιν , και ‘ο-’αριθμος-’αυτού χξς .
(Hode he sophia estin. Ho echon noun psephisato ton arithmon tou theriou. Arithmos gar anthropou esti. Chai ho arithmos 666.)
Typical translation: "He who has wisdom let him count the number of the beast, for a man’s number it is, and its number is six hundred three-score and six."
The author's intent is unfortunatly lost in translation. Firstly in Greek there are no articles so the "a" in "a man" is not in the original Greek. The word "aner" in Greek refers to "adult male" but the word "anthropou" as used in Revelation would be more accurately translated as "Mankind". This is the origin of words such as "anthropology", "anthropic" etc all of which refer to "mankind" rather than "a specific man". Hence 666 is the number of mankind. In other words Revelation is saying that it is the predicament of humanity to be un-christ-like (anti-Christ).
This is the human predicament due to the "Fall from Eden", which again is a analogy for the development of "ego consciousness" (bear in mind that when the Bible was written we didn't have modern psychological terms like "ego consciousness"). What is knowledge of "good and evil"? Again, it is metaphoric / philosophical - the knowledge of "opposites" or "differentiation". Newborns have not yet developed "ego", they cannot differentiate between themselves and their environment, they are pure, unadulterated consciousness. As time goes by they develop "ego" or self-awareness which views itself as independant from the Universe / God. All spiritual practices by almost all religions advocate that the ego must be "overcome" or become a "servant" rather than a "master" in some way. The Buddhists advocate meditation and "non-attachment" whereas Jesus advocates "except ye become like little children..." and the practice of compassion for humanity. These are the same thing! Different techniques to remove us from the slavery of the ego.
Can my Christian and Muslim brothers not see this? To the Muslims, the Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan taught Lucifer is the "lower ego" or 'Nafs'. We are all saying the same thing but in a different language. Your ideals are honorable, it's just how you interpret scripture literally and struggle to translate this into psychology that the skeptics mock you.
It is you my brothers and sisters that have been "deluded by Satan" (metaphorically speaking). You are slave to your ego when you project blame externally and avoid the true spiritual work which lies inside of you. "The kingdom of heaven is within you" and "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" - remember what I said about newborns not having "ego". We achieve nothing by blaming Bill Gates or Nero, or a literal Satan for the worlds ills. We as a collective are responsible for the worlds ills and it is up to each of us to do the necessary personal "spiritual" / "psychological" work to change this.
So, can you stop shifting blame? Can you stop literalizing scripture and take responsibility for the world's ills? Can you not see that these misinterpretations are just another ploy of the "ego" (Satan)?
However, literal and dogmatic interpretation are prone to misunderstanding - we cannot conflate physical reality with the "world of the psyche" (or "spiritual world" if you prefer) .
Since spiritual visions / epiphany occur subjectively in the mind (there is no physical, scientific evidence for them) they too are of the same nature and are not to be conflated with "literal physicality". This is why skeptics have a problem with the religious.
Moreover believing in literalism divides humanity and causes many philosophical problems such as how an apparently compassionate God could reveal the only truth to a select group of people at a select time in History. This brings up too many problems.