Tag Archive: demonology
For a historical perspective of demonology, I’m going to provide some summary points for a book King James I (who commissioned the King James Bible) commissioned in the late 1500s titled: “Daemonolgie”. At that time, the people of England and Scotland lived in fear of the devil and witchcraft. To this end, King James commissioned this book which is set into 3 parts: part one is scripture which he believes validates the existence of the devil, part two is on sorcery and witchcraft, and part three is on spirits that trouble humanity.
One of the theories based on 2. Cor. 11. 14. states that, “Diuel is permitted at som-times to put himself in the liknes of the Saintes, it is plaine in the Scriptures, where it is said, that Sathan can trans-forme himselfe into an Angell of light” (James, 4). The skill is equated to that of a modern day illusionist. “the Deuill may delude our senses, since we see by common proofe, that simple juglars will make an hundreth thinges seeme both to our eies and eares otherwaies then they are” (James, 24). To this end, there was a separation of magicians and necromancers from witches and sorcerers.
In Book 2, sorcery and witchcraft are defined as, “ I say, some of them rich and worldly-wise, some of them fatte or corpulent in their bodies, and most part of them altogether giuen ouer to the pleasures of the flesh, continual haunting of companie, and all kind of merrines, both lawfull and vnlawfull, which are thinges directly contrary to the symptomes of Melancholie, whereof I spake, and further experience daylie proues how loath they are to confesse without torture, which witnesseth their guiltines, where by the contrary, the Melancholicques neuer spares to bewray themselues, by their continuall discourses, feeding therby their humor in that which they thinke no crime” (James, 30). James claims that witches use their knowledge mostly from a desire for revenge, worldly riches, or to satisfy their cruel minds by hurting men (James, 35). To this end, witches were able to utilize the powers of the devil to punish people by: causing children to misbehave utilizing “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), make people sick, and haunt houses and the inhabitants of houses (James, 47).
Necromancers were said to share the ability of the Devil to possess dead bodies (James, 41). He also mentions that “the soule once parting from the bodie, cannot wander anie longer in the worlde, but to the owne resting place must it goe immediatlie, abiding the conjunction of the bodie againe, at the latter daie” (James, 41).
Amongst the more modern label of demons, Incubi and Sucubi are described in Book 3, Chapter 3, “The description of a particular sort of that kind of following spirites, called Incubi and Succubi: And what is the reason wherefore these kindes of spirites hauntes most the Northerne and barbarous partes of the world” (James 66). There are indepth references to people being physically violated by these spirits as well as those who, “while we are sleeping, intercludes so our vitall spirites, and takes all power from vs, as maks vs think that there were some vnnaturall burden or spirite, lying vpon vs and holding vs downe.“ (James, 69). This bares a startling resemblance to the scientific phenomena of “night terrors”.
Lastly, James references Matthew 12 and Mark 3 to describe how the “Dæmoniackes” possess humans and the effects of possession. In Matthew, the possessed became “blind and dumb”; however, the possessed were restored through Christ/God and prayer. James sites that for all of these cases, the way to rid spirits and works of the devil is to “The one is ardent prayer to God, both of these persones that are troubled with them, and of that Church whereof they are. The other is the purging of themselues by amende ment of life from such sinnes as haue procured that extraordinarie plague” (James, 60).
Courtesy of: http://people.opposingviews.com/
Demons, crept up from the hell realms and out of the imagination, represent everything a Buddhist wishes to transcend.You see them clustered in the background of exquisite painted thangkas from Tibet and Nepal, vivid and ominous looming in the murals of long abandoned caves in the Himalayas and along the Silk Road, popping up in the sutras and the most well-known and beloved stories of Gautama Buddha’s life.
Inner and Outer Demons
Buddhist sutras teach that there are four types of demons — three internal demons and a demon of outside influence. The internal demons are afflictions, illnesses and death. The external demons are “heavenly” demons or demons from the spiritual world. Yama, lord of death, is a demon as is Mara, the evil king of demons who directly confronts Buddha. Psychologically, demons represent negative states of mind and harmful actions, such as jealousy, hatred, environmental exploitation, and greed. Physically, the demons are given names and personas in scripture so there are teachings and stories about yakshas and rakshasas, who devour people whole and eat human flesh, and khumbhandas, who sustain themselves by consuming a person’s spirit.
Mara and Siddhartha
When Siddhartha, the Buddha, struggled in the final stages of achieving enlightenment, the hideous demon Mara, lord of desire, brought legions of his demon followers to tempt him. This is a real Buddhist teaching with a strong allegorical character. Mara gets right in Buddha’s face and tempts him with monstrous armed warriors whose arrows turn to flowers; fierce, frightening storms and floods which fail to shake Buddha’s serenity; erotic maidens who are finally revealed in their decrepit aged state. Nothing deters Buddha from his goal of liberation and so Mara can be seen as a lesson to resist being swayed by the temptations and threats of the world when meditating on the true nature of being. Mara was as much an illusion in Buddha’s mind as a demon attacking him with an arsenal of distractions.
The demons of indigenous religions were “converted” to forces for good when Buddhism replaced local beliefs. Hayagriva, a demon protector of Tibetan horse dealers, became a horse-headed demon-chasing avatar of Avalokiteshvara, deity of compassion. The hideous Mahakala wears a tiara of skulls and tramples obstacles. The wrathful demons still require offerings and appeasement in their new roles as fierce upholders of the dharma and scourges of the forces of evil. Those ferocious, demon-like images are seen clustered around the entrances to temples and caves painted with Tibetan murals and appear as forbidding as they are meant to — creatures to give pause to any but the devout. Wrathful Tantric deities, a demonic army of them, may be depicted with bloody fangs and multiple heads and arms to indicate their tremendous and varied powers.
Demons and Dharma
Parables of demons in the Buddhist sutras tell engaging stories with a strong moral message. The story of Alavaka the demon gave Buddha the vehicle to teach important lessons about how to live. Alavaka was a cannibal demon who decimated the population of an entire kingdom before Buddha intervened. When Buddha arrived at his cave of bones, Alavaka challenged him to answer riddles. But Buddha was unfazed, instead discoursing on a virtuous existence as he converted the demon’s wives. Buddha calmly told the monster that the greatest wealth is confidence, the sweetest taste is truth, and moral behavior, real courage and generosity would ease the grief of loss and death. Alavaka tried to exhaust, intimidate and kill the Buddha but, in the end, his mind and heart were opened and he embraced the dharma –and probably became a vegetarian as he never again ate flesh.
Courtesy of: http://www.unexplainedstuff.com
The legends of the dead told by ancient or tribal people are perhaps the most accurate indicators of their religious thought. And from what can be assumed from the burial rites of early humans, they pondered the same kinds of questions concerning the afterlife as humans do today. Where had their friends gone? What do they do and see when they disappear into the unknown? Will they live again? Can their spirits return to communicate? Or are they just gone—forever? Early humans could not answer these great questions, and so, to temper their fear of death, they created rituals, rites, and religions to comfort them.
Although the process of death and the reasons why the once animated body became lifeless were puzzles, aboriginal tribal societies understood that there was something in their departed friends and family members that survived somehow in another existence. The reason for this belief can be easily imagined. As they slept, early humans saw those persons whom they knew to be dead, alive and well in their dreams. Perhaps they themselves had witnessed their friends being killed in a dispute with another tribe or mangled by a predator, yet now they saw them and spoke with them, just as they had before their death. These vivid dreams of the dead undoubtedly led to the belief that there existed an immaterial aspect of human beings, a part that managed to survive the dissolution of the body.
Many Native American tribes believed that the physical body housed two or more souls, which became separated at death. The ancient Chinese affirmed three souls set free at death: one remained in the family house to serve as a kind of protector; another watched over the grave site as “guardian of the tomb”; and the third passed into the invisible realm. The aboriginal people of New Zealand, the Maori, believe that each of the eyes of the deceased is given a separate immortality: the spirit of the left eye ascends to heaven and is seen as a new dark star in the sky, and the spirit of the right takes flight to Reinga, a place beyond the sea.
The Fang people of Gabon envision seven types of souls:
1.a vital principle that resides in the brain until death, when it disappears;
2.the heart, the seat of the conscience, which inspires action during the life experience, but also disappears at the time of death;
3.the person’s name, which achieves a kind of individuality after death;
4.the essence of the person, which perpetuates itself after death;
5.the active principle of the soul as long as the body lives;
6.the blending of shadow and soul;
7.the spiritual residue, which can appear to living humans as a ghost.
The aboriginal inhabitants of the Fiji Islands believe that a human has two souls: the “dark spirit” and the “light spirit.” The Nootkas of British Columbia regarded the soul as a tiny facsimile of the person that lived in the crown of the head.
Early humans generally did not accept death as due to natural causes. Death was either the result of acts of violence caused by human or animal enemies, or it was caused by evil and unseen demons. To the primitive mind, if a man or a woman, without wound or injury, fell silently asleep and never awakened, they had to have been the victim of malevolent spirits.
Some of the earliest rituals revolving around death concerned the interaction between the living and the body of the newly dead. Some tribal cultures believed that an evil spirit inhabited the corpse, and it should not be touched for fear of providing the malevolent entity with a living body to possess. Some anthropologists have theorized that it was fear of the dead body that led early humans to dispose of it. Since evil spirits had caused the “long sleep,” they must undoubtedly still be lurking near the body to seize new victims. Therefore, the practical thing to do was to bury or burn or otherwise dispose of the body, thereby removing both the dead and the demons at the same time.
The Australian aborigines showed their fear of the dead by burning all the deceased’s property and running away to establish a new village. They believed that the demon resided not only in the dead body, but in all the deceased’s belongings. Early tribes in Greenland threw everything out of the house that had been owned by the dead person. At Batta funerals, the natives marched behind the body, brandishing swords to frighten away the death demons. The Galibis of Guiana dance on the newly covered grave to stamp down the spirits. The Winnebago tribe had a fear of evil spirits troubling the corpses of their deceased loved ones, so they swept the grass around the grave in a circle from six to 20 feet in diameter, a ritual that they believed prevented the evil spirits from approaching the departed’s final earthly resting place.
The cosmology of certain eastern Native American tribes placed two powerful manitous, representatives of the Great Spirit, on duty in the Land of the Departed. One of the manitous, Chibiabos, like the Egyptian god Osiris and the Hindu judge of the dead, Yama, was master over the realm of the dead and escorted the newly arriving souls into their new environment. Sometimes there was a process of judgment involved, in which the worthy souls would be allowed to dwell in the Land of the Departed and the unworthy would be set adrift in space. The other manitou, Pauguk, protected the realm of the dead from unwelcome intruders with his bow and arrows.
Many Native American tribes believed that spirits of the dead lingered among the living until certain rites had been performed that would aid the spirits in their passage to the other world. Among the Ogallala Sioux, it was maintained that the spirit of the dead passed into the spirit world, by degrees, at the completion of necessary rituals that became the duty of the deceased person’s family. Like fleeting shadows, the spirits of the dead slowly migrated to the Land of the Grandparents, gaining strength for their journey from the energy received from their living relatives, who performed a long and demanding rite known as the Shadow or Ghost Ceremony. The time needed to complete the ritual successfully could amount to as long as two years, during which period the immediate family and close relatives endured great privation to ensure the safe passage of the departed spirit.
These extensive rites were conducted in special Ghost Lodges, and it was here that the body of the deceased was kept prior to burial and where the ceremonies on the part of the deceased were held long after his or her interment. The Ogallala most often kept Ghost Lodges when the death was a particularly sad one, such as the passing of a child by accident or illness.
Among the Ojibway people it is customary to cut the hair of a child who has died and make a little doll of it, which they call the “doll of sorrow.” This doll takes the place of the deceased child, and the mother carries it with her everywhere for a year. They believe that during this period of time, the soul of the child is transferred through the hair from the dead body to the doll.
The ghost land or spirit land of tribal people is equivalent to the concept of a heaven or a paradise: It is a place free from worry, illness, war, and the fear of death. It seems a general belief among many different tribal cultures that the afterlife of the soul is concerned with the same kind of pursuits that the entity followed as a living person. The spirit land would feature good hunting and fishing, beautiful new lands to explore, and no warfare or tribal rivalries.
Because the deceased individuals would be continuing a life similar to their life on Earth, they would need their valuables, their tools and weapons, and, of course, food and drink. Therefore, in nearly all tribal religions, it was customary to bury material things with the body. For the Papuans, Tahitians, Polynesians, Malanans, ancient Peruvians, Brazilians, and countless others, food and drink was left with the corpse. In Patagonia, it was the annual custom to open the burial chambers and reclothe the dead. Each year the Eskimo take clothes as a gift to the dead. Among the Kukis, the widow is compelled to remain for a year beside the tomb of her deceased husband, while other members of the family bring food daily for her and the spirit of the deceased. In the Mosquito tribe, the widow is obligated to supply the grave of her husband with provisions for a year.
It has been suggested that the religious aspects of funerals grew out of the belief that death was nothing more than a journey to another world and that the newly dead expect to have ceremonies performed for them to hasten their travels and to lessen the dangers of the journey. Among most tribal cultures, therefore, it is customary to dance and feast at the time of death for purposes of pleasing the spirit of the departed and to stamp upon the ground to frighten away evil spirits.
Courtesy of: http://www.revrob.com/
For as long as there have been atheists there have been theists who have tried to claim that atheism is faith, that it takes more faith to not believe in gods than it does to believe in them.
These same antagonists further like to paint atheists as being silly for also believing in things like demons and ghosts.
Unfortunately, some atheists and atheist groups support this misnomer by narrowly defining atheism as only the lack of belief in deities. In reality it is more than that, as the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia points out;
[Atheism is a] critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings.
Denying the existence of deities is to also deny the existence of all that which can only exist as the result of a deity.
Let’s take ghosts for instance, which are spirits.
Spirits fall under the realm of animism, which is “the worldview that non-human entities (animals, plants, and inanimate objects or phenomena) possess a spiritual essence. Specifically, animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system or cosmology of some indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development and/or infiltration of colonialism and organized religion.”
Anthropologists believe that animism represents the earliest beginnings of the evolution of religion on Earth, and that it probably originated before homo sapiens. Animism may not be an organized religion with a pantheon of gods, but it is still part of an informal egonovist religious belief system that exists today. Because it is religion, faith, and theism, the belief in spirits and horoscopes cannot be congruent with atheism.
As to demons, devils, and angels, they all are forms of deities.
Demons comes from Greek mythology and are later used in Abrahamic religions; in both instances they represent a type of god or demigod. They possess supernatural powers bestowed upon them by a deity. In fact, in the Hebrew Bible sacrifices were offered to powerful demons. In Christianity demons are literally angels.
Devils only exist in dualistic theology where they are in fact a deity that is as powerful as, and is the antithesis to, the creator god.
Angels come from Zoroastrianism where they are a manifestation of God. In Judaism they are literally an aspect of God, and in Christianity they evolved into messengers of God.
In all cases, in order to accept the existence of demons, devils, or angels, one must first accept the premise that at least one deity exists.
Those who seek to intellectually weaken atheism by grouping them in with animists and astrologers and pantheists by claiming that atheists believe in spirits need to be corrected; moreover atheists need to have a stake in the term “atheism,” take ownership and not allow it to include people who are religious, even though their religion does not include a creator deity. Atheism is not only a rejection of deities, it is an outright rejection of theism and metaphysical, faith based beliefs.
Courtesy of: http://www.truebahai.com/
Baha’i teachings on evil: it comes from our selves!
The spiritual teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá reveal the glorious Truth that evil does not exist. In the present environment of terrorism and war, the proper understanding and realization of the Baha’i teachings about evil, Satan, and hell, has the potential to liberate us from fear and create a joyful experience of life as being wholly Good.
Thank thou God for that by reason of which the breath of God hath awakened thee and the spirit of God hath quickened thee and raised thee from among the dead with a joyful spirit of life. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of `Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 120)
According to the divine philosophy set forth by `Abdu’l-Bahá, the universe is made of three worlds of God: the World of God, the Kingdom, and Creation. The World of God is the Unknowable Realm of Divinity. The Kingdom is the heavenly spiritual world. The world of Creation is the material word we live in. Our material world imperfectly expresses the names and attributes of God, but that imperfection is by appearance only. Humanity has the capacity to reflect the names and attributes of God by turning towards the Holy Spirit (in the Person of the Manifestation of God). However, because we have animal bodies, we are limited in our capacity to express the names and attributes of God. To the extent that we fail to embody godly attributes and instead display animal traits, then evil appears in us. But it exists by appearance only, and not of reality. God did not create evil, and therefore it does not exist. God created our souls and that creation is perfect. We are created in His image. However, when we identify with our animal bodies, we forget our true selves, and we succumb to evil.
In creation there is no evil; all is good. Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of desire, of anger, and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that desire, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So, if a man has the desire to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous, and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy.
Then it is evident that in creation and nature evil does not exist at all; but when the natural qualities of man are used in an unlawful way, they are blameworthy. So, if a rich and generous person gives a sum of money to a poor man for his own necessities, and if the poor man spends that sum of money on unlawful things, that will be blameworthy. It is the same with all the natural qualities of man, which constitute the capital of life; if they be used and displayed in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy. Therefore it is clear that creation is purely good. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’i World Faith, p. 320)
There exists only the appearance of evil in the material realm. This is necessarily so, because the material world is the shadow of the Kingdom; its existence is merely the reflection of the Kingdom in matter.
Know thou that the Kingdom is the real world, and this nether place is only its shadow stretching out. A shadow hath no life of its own; its existence is only a fantasy, and nothing more; it is but images reflected in water, and seeming as pictures to the eye. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 178)
Thus the Light shines in dark places. The Light exists in Itself, while darkness is merely the absence of Light. In human terms, Satan is the symbol for the lower animal nature of mankind. Satan represents the absence of God. Of course, God is Omnipresent, and therefore there cannot be absence of God. Thus, while satanic evil appears to exist, where God is not seen, satanic evil can not and does not really exist. No thing has true existence unless God created it. God is All-Good. He did not create evil.
The reality underlying this is that the evil spirit, Satan or whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature of man. This basic nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two expressions; One is the expression of nature, the other the expression of the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly, casting aside all superstition and imagination… God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil: it is simply the lower state and basic product of nature. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 294-295)
So if God did not create evil, why does it appear? The inescapable and horrible consequence of the teaching that God did not create evil, is that the seeming appearance of evil must have been created by humanity itself. We, ourselves, have created evil.
Every good thing is of God, and every evil thing is from yourselves. Will ye not comprehend? (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 149)
Courtesy of: http://www.themystica.com
Zoroastrianism, according to tradition, was founded by Zoroaster after he received a vision in which he was introduced to Ahura Mazda, and told of the great God and his adversary. He saw other radiant figures too, but could not see his shadow on the ground, a sign which convince Zoroaster his vision was authentic. This was the first of several visions in which Ahura Mazda conversed with him. The vision is alluded to in the Cathas (Y 43) and briefly described in the Pahlavi work (Zadspram XX-XXI). It was the knowledge gained from these visions which caused Zoroaster to designate Ahura Mazda as master of asha, order, righteousness, and justice; proclaiming him to be the one uncreated God, existing eternally, and Creator of all else that is good including all other beneficent divinities.
However, experience of the harsh realities of the world convinced Zoroaster that Ahura Mazda did not exist alone; and in a vision, he saw the Adversary, the Hostile Spirit, Angra Mainya, or Ahriman, who was equally uncreated, ignorant and wholly malign. Zoroaster saw in his prophetic eye the origin of these two Spirits; they were twin, primal spirits, destined to be in constant conflict; of the two, the worst Spirit had chosen to do the worst things while the good Spirit had chosen righteousness. They were the twin antagonists in thought, word and act, the good and the bad. When these Spirits first encountered they created life and not-life; and at the end the worst existence shall befall the followers of falsehood (drug) while the best dwelling is for those choosing righteousness (asha). It is speculated by some Iraniologists that the prophetic vision of these twin spirits might have been influenced by Zervanism, the religion of the Magi. Evidence of this is the mentioning of the “twin-spirits” in the Gathas. However, in the Zervanite theogony Ahura Mazda and Ahriman were associated with Light and Darkness, and were the twin sons of Zurvan, god of Infinite Time (Settegast 216).
In order to fully comprehend Zoroaster’s twin-spirit cosmogony one must perceive that the prophet’s veneration of Ahura Mazda was based upon tradition. Mazda, the oldest of the three Ahuras or guardians of asha, had been previously worshipped as the greatest of the three. However, Zoroaster independently and drastically abandoned this former teaching by making Ahura Mazda an uncreated God and Creator; and, as previously stated, experience of the harsh realities of the world convinced Zoroaster that Ahura Mazda did not solely exist, another divinity existed; this was Angra Mainya, the bad or evil Spirit. Here was the dualism; the beliefs were absolute, each spirit acted according to his nature; the good chose good, and the bad chose bad. No room way made or allowed for the belief that both good and bad could come from the same spirit; such a belief never occurred or would it have been tolerated. The reason was that Zoroaster believed like the two primal Spirits, each human would have to make the identical choice between good and evil.
Such an exercise of choice changed the inherent antagonism between the two Spirits into an active one that was expressed by the decision made by Ahura Mazda, in the creation and counter-creation, or the creation of life and not-life; that is death. Zoroaster believed that Ahura Mazda, through his wisdom, knew if he became Creator and fashioned the world, then the Hostile Spirit would attack it because it was good, and it would become a battleground for the two forces, but in the end he, God, would win the great struggle there and be able to destroy evil, and establish a universe which would be wholly good forever.
It should be noted that Zoroaster’s belief seemed based on a Persian myth of Zurvan (Time) (see Time and the Zurvan myth). From the myth Zoroaster appears to have assumed that the combative forces of good and evil always existed since since they were born in time. He further teaches that they would continue their struggle within the created world and finally good would conquer evil.
His teaching about Ahura Mazda was new; but it was based on the former cosmogony which gave basis for Zoroaster’s thought. Thus, the first act that Zoroaster envisioned Ahura Mazda performing was the evoking, through his Holy Spirit, Spenta Mainyu, of six lesser divinities, the radiant Beings which Zoroaster saw in his first vision. These six divinities form a heptad with Ahura Mazda, and proceeded with him to fashion the seven creations which compose the world. The evocation of the six is variously described in the works of Zoroastrian, but always in manners which suggest the essential unity of beneficent divinity. Ahura Mazda is either described as the “father,” or to have “mingled” himself with them, and in one Pahlavi text his creation of them is compared with the lighting of a torch from s torch.
Ahura Mazda, also referred to as Lord of Wisdom, is believed to be head of the divine heptad. The descriptions of the other six divinities often do not correspond to their sequential creations. Armati, as guardian of the enduring, fertile earth, and mother of all things, was the protectress of women. The other deities and their attributes are: Vohu Manah, Good Thought; Asha Vahishta, Right Order; Khsathra Vairya, Sovereign Power; Haurvatat, Immortality; and Ameretat, Wholeness or Integrity. Each worshipper could partitions the deities collectively or individually. Gradually each deity was believed to be the protector of each particular aspect of creation they were given other attributes by individuals who prayed to them; for example, Haurvatat water, and Ameretat plants; and many speculate this was the reason for Zoroastrianism becoming firmly established.
With these teachings Zoroaster began his process of separating the gods. He taught these six great Beings, who were in fact the beneficent deities of the pagan Iranian pantheon. They were, according to Zoroastrian doctrine, were direct or indirect emanations of Ahura Mazda, strived under him, performing their various duties, to promote good and defeat evil. Collectively in Zoroastrianism they are known as Yazatas, “Beings worthy of worship,” or Amesha Spentas, “Holy Immortals.” Although the latter term never in the Gathas, it is thought that Zoroaster coined it to distinguished these entities revealed to him as beneficent from the generality of the pagan gods, who were evoked as “All of the Immortals” in the Vedas; because he vigorously rejected the worship of the warlike, amoral Daevas, particularly Indra and his companions, whom he considered as being of “a race of evil purpose” (Yasna 32.3). “The Daevas chose not rightly, because the Deceiver came upon them as they consulted, so that they chose the worst purpose. Then together they betook themselves to Wrath, through whom they afflicted the life of man” (Y 30.6).
Here Zoroaster was describing the Daevas as false gods, who like Angra Mainyu, were wicked by both nature and choice, and were not to be worshipped because they represented conflict among men, luring them through their greed of offerings to bloodshed and destructive strife. A religious system which Zoroaster was instigating envisioned not only a new spiritual attitude but a cultural one as well. He not only intended to eliminate the worship of warrior gods, but the warrior too. Many Iraniologists think possibly this was the most difficult transformation the prophet attempted to make upon his society. The god Indra, the image of the ideal warrior who was pictured in the Rg Veda as being arrogant, strife-provoking, drunk on songs and soma but bountiful to his followers, from whom he demanded abundant offerings, was vivid in the minds of the people; he also was important to this warring culture. Here, a priest and prophet was trying to eliminate a powerful god; this must have caused quite a stir. Indra was not mentioned in the Gathas, but demonized as a Daeva in the Younger Avesta. His counterpart Mithra, in his warrior aspect, also is not named in the Gathas, but had a very old Yast dedicated to him, which indicates he was probably honored before Zoroaster’s time. It is recognized that Zoroaster’s objection to the natural cults of the time was because of their excessive worship of the divinities, perhaps this is the reason that Indra and Mithra was omitted from the Gathas.
Zoroaster proved that he was not just concerned with the divinities, but also with the people and the earth. His aim was to secure both the material and spiritual welfare of the “Good Creation,” to renew and preserve the sanctity of the world to restore it to a state of perfection. This hope is uttered in the prayer “May we be those who will renew this existence” (Y 30.9).
Such renovation was to occur through husbandry. Although ancient Iranian kings are claimed to have invented husbandry, Zoroaster is said to be the first to embed it into a religious system. Soil cultivation became a kind of worship to his followers, “He who cultivates corn [grain] cultivates righteousness” (Vendidad 3.1).
The previous description is of the second time in cosmic history as Zoroaster envisioned it. To him, cosmic history was divided or spaced within three times or eras. In the first time era “Creation” Ahura Mazda brought all things in a disembodied state, called in Pahlavi, “menog,” or “spiritual immaterial.” To this he added the “material” or “getig” existence, which was better because it possessed perfection that the menog state did not have. The getig state was of solid and sentient form which completed the two states that constituted the act of Creation, called in the Pahlavi “Bundahishn.” The completion of the getig state signaled the start of Angra Mainyu’s evil attack. According to the myth in Pahlavi works, he broke in violently through the lower bowl of the stone sky, thus ruining its perfection. Then he plunged upward through the water, turning much of it in salt, and attacked the earth, creating deserts. There he withered the plant, and slew the uniquely-created Bull and the first man. Finally he fell upon the seventh creation, fire, and sullied it with smoke, so that he had physically blighted all the good creation.
After this all the divine beings rekindled their forces, and the second time era occurred. In this era called the “Mixture” everything is no longer perfect as it was in the era of Creation; the assault of Angra Mainyu destroyed that perfection which could not be restored. The beneficent divinities renewed each thing as best as they could: the plant was ground up and spread over the world by cloud and rain, and sprang forth covering the earth; the seeds of Bull and Man were purified and multiplied everywhere; and where the shameful endeavor of Angra Mainyu had brought decay and death into the perfect and static world of Ahura Mazda, the Amesha Spentas, through their holy power, were able to turn his malicious acts to benefit, and knew such must be the endeavor of all good creation.
But during the Mixture Angra Mainyu, according to Zoroaster, will continue his attack along with the Daevas to destroy the world which the Mesha Spentas in cooperation with mankind are attempting to rebuild. There are three essential differences between the world of the Creation and the second world of the Mixture: first, the second world is not perfect, the original perfection could not be restored because all of the illness and evil which Angra Mainyu bestowed upon it remained; second, the Spentas restored as much of Ahura Mazda’s perfection as they could to the world; third, and they did it with the help of the people.
This final difference is a key point in Zoroastrianism; in recognizing that Angra Mainyu was still attempting to corrupt the world, Zoroaster saw that it would require the efforts of both the beneficent divinities and mankind to restore it. And, since man himself was under attack he needed the help of these divinities; therefore, it was necessary for man to steadfastly venerate the divinities to keep them in his heart so there would be no room for vice or weakness. This meant venerating all of the Yazatas, which included Ahura Mazda, the six Spentas, and the lesser Ahuras, such as the Sun and the Moon, which contributed to keeping the world strong and in accordance, with asha. Zoroaster took the vision of cosmic history a step further than it had been; the previous concept was that once the process of life was started, it was expected to continue forever, if men and the gods each bore their part; but, Zoroaster added new significance to this co-operation between the divinities and the worshippers by saying it would not just preserve the world as it is, but it would reach the ultimate goal of restoring perfection. Man was given a new dignity, he became allied with God, and together they would work toward the defeat of evil which they both sought.
This perfection occurs in the third time or era, called “Separation.” According to teaching even souls in Paradise do not experience perfect bliss during Mixture; complete happiness can only come again at Frashegird. Death was a general affliction for all humanity, Zoroaster taught; it forces individual souls to depart the getig world and return temporary to a deficient menlog state. When each soul departs it is judged on what it has done in its life during the Mixture to promote the cause of goodness. Both men and women as well as servants and masters could hope to achieve Paradise, for the physical barrier of the pagan days, the “Bridge of the Separator,” becomes a place of moral judgment. Here each soul must depend, not on power or wealth of offerings in the life it has left behind, but on its own ethical achievements. Here Mithra presides over the tribunal, flanked by Sraosh and Rashnu, who hold the scales of justice. In these are weighed the thoughts, words, and deeds of each soul, the good on one side and the bad on the other. If the good acts are heavier, then the soul is judged worthy of Paradise; and is lead by a maiden, the personification of its own conscience daena, across the broad bridge and up on high. But, when the scales sink on the bad side, the bridge contracts to the width of a blade-edge, and a horrid hag meeting the souls as it tries to cross, sieges it in her arms and plunges with it down into hell, “the dwelling place of the Worst Purpose (Y 12.13), where the wicked endure “a long age of misery, of darkness, ill food, and the crying of woe” (Y 31.20). This concept of hell, a place of torment presided over by Angra Mainyu, appears to have been Zoroaster’s own idea, shaped by his personal deep sense of a need for justice. Although a few souls “whose false (things) and what are just balance” (Y 35.1) go to the “Place of the Mixed Ones,” Misvan Gatu, where, as in the old underworld kingdom of the dead, they lead a grey existence lacking both joy and sorrow.
Zoroaster taught that there was to be a Last Judgment. The pagan Iranians like the Vedic Indians held that in Paradise each soul was reunited with the body to live a sentiment, happy life; but according to Zoroaster the blessed had to wait until the culmination of the Frashegird and the “future body” (Pahlavi “yan i pasen”), when the earth will give up the bones of the dead (Y 30.7). The Last Judgment will follow this general resurrection, which divides the righteous from the wicked, including those living until that time and those previously judged. Following this final judgment certain divinities will melt all the metal in the mountains; and this will flow in a glowing river over the earth. And all mankind must pass through this river, and as described in a Pahlavi text, “for him who is righteous it will seem like warm milk, and for him who is wicked, it will seem as if he is walking in the flesh through molten metal” (GBd 36.18-19). This was Zoroaster’s vision, based on his original teaching that strict justice should prevail, just as at each individual judgment on earth by fiery ordeal, so too at this general judgment the wicked should experience a second death and perish from the face of the earth. Further, according to teaching, the Daevas and legions of darkness have already been annihilated in the last great battle with the Yazatas; and the river of metal will flow into hell, slaying Angra Mainyu and burning the last vintage of wickedness in the universe.
Zoroaster initially instituted a religious eschatology, or the belief in the end of the world. This is seen in relation to the figure of Saoshyant, a World Savior. This savior emerged during the dark years of the religion prompted, according to Gathnic passages, by Zoroaster’s fear of an imminent end of the world which caused him to envision Ahura Mazda sending “a man who is better than a good man” (Y 43.3), the Saoshyant, literally meaning “one who bring benefit,” who will possess revealed truth and will lead humanity in the final battle against evil. It is speculated that the prophet reasoned that he would not lived to see the age of Frasho-kereti. His followers ardently clung to this expectation, coming to believe that Saoshyant would come from the prophet’s own seed, miraculously preserved in the depths of a lake (identified as Lake Kasaoya). When the end of time approaches, it is said, a virgin will bathe in this lake and become with child by the prophet, and she will in due course bear a son, named Astvat-ereta, “He who embodies righteousness” (after Zoroaster’s own words: “My righteousness embodied” Y 43.16).
Even though the Saoshyant was miraculously conceived he was to be born of natural parents since this was compatible with Zoroaster’s teachings that man would participate in the defeat of evil. Later Saoshyant was pluralized to Saoshyans to include religious and other leaders. In the Avesta this detailed is given: “When Astvat-ereta comes from the Lake Kasaoya, messenger of Ahura Mazda…the he will drive the Drug out from the world of Asha” (Boyce 42).
Following this time Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas will solemnized a last, spiritual yasna, offering the last sacrifice (after which death will be no more), and making a preparation of the mystical “white haoma,” which will confer immortality on the resurrected bodies of all the blessed, who will partake of it. Thereafter, men shall be like the Immortals themselves in thought, word, and deed; unaging, free from illness, without corruption, and forever joyful in the kingdom of God on the earth. The blessed have now entered the era of the “Separation,” according to Zoroaster, which is not like the remote insubstantial Paradise, but the renewal of the perfect Creation.
Almost three-fourth of the Zoroastrianism literature in presumed lost. The remaining literature consists of the Gathas, seventeen hymns attributed to Zoroaster himself and frequently addressed directly to Ahura Mazda; a group of Yasts, songs that praise archaic divinities usually associated with a particular aspect of nature; and the Vendidad, mainly a collection of religious and more precepts and purifications. The Avesta, material memorized and transferred orally for generations, was not written down until the Sassanian period, the third to seventh centuries AD. Because the words were believed to have effective power, their verbatim preservation was considered essential; therefore, they survive relatively uncorrupted in a dead church language that poses innumerable translation problems. The Yasts and Vendidad are said to compose the Younger Avesta.
The literature appears to designate the period and condition of the church. The Gathas, the most ancient, describe Zoroaster’s followers often as depressed and endangered. Zoroaster’s denunciations of the former gods and old ways, his economic imperative to settle and farm the land, apparently were not too well received by some nomadic peoples; traces of bloody conflicts have been found in Gathic hymns. The Vendidad tells of a different time, the danger has passed, the church has been established, and the composition is of sacrifices, recitations, and purifications that require minute observance to be enacted under priestly surveillance.
Some Iraniologists also believe the literature helps to somewhat date the origins of Zoroastrianism. It is believed that the seniority of the Gathas should not detract from the antiquity of the Younger Avesta itself. The Fravadrin Yast, for example, contains references to Iranian peoples who were apparently not known to the earliest Achaemenid records of the sixth century BC. And with the one exception of “Ragha,” believed to be the ancient Rayy near Tehran, no allusion is made to any known Iranian city or village. Moreover, the practices described in sections of the Younger Avesta are only those of agriculturalists and herdsmen. Stone mortars, pestles, and the ritual flint knife were implements associated with the Neolithic times, were still being used, and bows and arrows were often flint-tipped. Events described in the Younger Avesta appear to possibly have occurred as often in the Stone Age as in the Bronze (Settegast 213-214).
Observances Zoroaster instructed his followers to pray in the presence of fire. Fire was a symbol of order and justice. An earthly fire can represent fire, by the Sun, or by the Moon. Zoroastrians must pray five times every 24 hours – sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight and dawn. They pray standing while untying and tying a sacred cord tied around their waist. There are seven communal festivals. The most important is No Ruz or Navroz – the Parsi New Year new day observed at the spring of Equinox. People took special care about the purity of fire, water and earth. They disposed of the dead by exposing the corpses in barren places or on stone towers, called Towers of Silence, where they are eaten by vultures. Zoroastrians practice a number of rites for regaining lost purity. Prayers are regularly preceded by ritual ablutions. The community is divided into lay people and priests. Boys begin to study the sacred text at the age of seven years. Some priests tend the sacred fire kept burning in the temples (see Temple fire).
The practice of leaving the dead exposed for vouchers to scavenge again suggests the possible association with the Magi, for Strabo (XV. 3. xx) noted “the Magi are not buried, but the birds are allowed to devour them.” As previously mentioned Zervanism, which also spoke of the “twin-spirits,” was the religion of the Magi. Many believe Zervanism is older than Zoroastrianism; therefore, it is speculated that either Zoroaster was or became a Magi, or the Magi were in want of reform and joined the latter religion which resulted in a combination of the two (Settegast 216).
The rise of Islam throughout the Iranian area brought the Zoroastrian imperial history to an end in the seventh century AD. Muslim forces defeated the mighty Sasarian army in 642. It became evident that a total conquest was desired; the last Zoroastrian king, Yazdegird III, was killed by one of own people in 652. After the initial conquest Islamic rule began to gradually settle over the region; actually most citizens benefited since taxes were lower than those imposed by the Magi and monarchs. But the initial attraction of the new Muslim leaders and their religion did not last long; soon taxes increased and there arose intolerance for those clinging to Zoroastrianism. Many migrated to seek new homes in India where they became known as the Parsis, or the people from Persia. The remaining Iranian Zoroastrians were defeated two more times by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century followed by the Mughals; both conquers were converted to Islam, but this did little to compensate the Zoroastrians for the terrible slaughter which they suffered. During turbulent times many Zoroastrians converted, but it is remarkable how many stayed true to their ancestral religion.
During the 20th century the conditions improved whenever the empowered government was favorable to the Zoroastrians. This trend began before 1900 with the removal of the jizya in 1882; the grinding labor which they endeared was stopped, and medical and educational facilities were provided for the oppressed people. In 1909 all minorities were represented in the government. Physical conditions again improved, the Zoroastrians were seen as part of the ancient Iranian history; they began reconsidering returning to their homeland. Under a second Pahlavi monarch who publicly proclaimed the pre-Islamic history and culture, and a Zoroastrian deputy prime minister, the people faired better and gained positions in both the armed forces and the professions. With increased opportunities in Tehran many Zoroastrians returned to the metropolis from their desert retreats. However, when the Islamic Republic took power in 1979 many Zoroastrians feared for their future and a few retreated to their homes while a greater number migrated to Australia, Canada, and the United States to loin the Parsi diaspora. Those staying in the homeland did not suffer the feared persecution but they experienced inequalities in the law, not being equal to Muslims, and decreased opportunities in education and the professions. By unconfirmed population figures there appears to have been an increase in the religion’s membership.
Zhou Dunyi ingeniously articulated the relationship between the “great transformation” of the cosmos and the moral development of human beings. In his metaphysics, humanity, as the recipient of the highest excellence from heaven, is itself a centre of cosmic creativity. He developed this all-embracing humanism by a thought-provoking interpretation of the Daoist diagram of Taiji (“Great Ultimate”). Shao Yong elaborated on the metaphysical basis of human affairs, insisting that a disinterested numerological mode of analysis is most appropriate for understanding the “supreme principles governing the world.” Zhang Zai, on the other hand, focused on the omnipresence of qi (“vital energy”). He also advocated the oneness of li (“principle”; comparable to the idea of Natural Law) and the multiplicity of its manifestations, which is created as the principle expresses itself through the “vital energy.” As an article of faith he pronounced in the “Western Inscription”: “Heaven is my father and Earth is my mother, and even such a small being as I finds a central abode in their midst. Therefore that which fills the cosmos I regard as my body and that which directs the cosmos I consider as my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters, and all things are my companions.”
This theme of mutuality between heaven and human beings, consanguinity between man and man, and harmony between man and nature was brought to fruition in Cheng Hao’s definition of humanity as “forming one body with all things.” To him the presence of tianli (“heavenly principle”) in all things as well as in human nature enables the human mind to purify itself in a spirit of reverence. Cheng Yi, following his brother’s lead, formulated the famous dictum, “self-cultivation requires reverence; the extension of knowledge consists in the investigation of things.” By making special reference to gewu (“investigation of things”), he raised doubts about the appropriateness of focusing exclusively on the illumination of the mind in self-cultivation, as his brother seems to have done. The learning of the mind as advocated by Cheng Hao and the learning of the principle as advocated by Cheng Yi became two distinct modes of thought in Song Confucianism.
Zhu Xi, clearly following Cheng Yi’s School of Principle and implicitly rejecting Cheng Hao’s School of Mind, developed a method of interpreting and transmitting the Confucian Way that for centuries defined Confucianism not only for the Chinese but for the Koreans and the Japanese as well. If, as quite a few scholars have advocated, Confucianism represents a distinct form of East Asian spirituality, it is the Confucianism shaped by Zhu Xi. Zhu Xi virtually reconstituted the Confucian tradition, giving it new structure, new texture, and new meaning. He was more than a synthesizer; through conscientious appropriation and systematic interpretation he gave rise to a new Confucianism, known as neo-Confucianism in the West but often referred to as lixue (“Learning of the Principle”) in modern China.
The “Doctrine of the Mean” and the “Great Learning,” two chapters in the Liji, had become independent treatises and, together with the Analects and Mencius, had been included in the core curriculum of Confucian education for centuries before Zhu Xi’s birth. But by putting them into a particular sequence, the “Great Learning,” the Analects, Mencius, and the “Doctrine of the Mean,” synthesizing their commentaries, interpreting them as a coherent humanistic vision, and calling them the Four Books (Sishu), Zhu Xi fundamentally restructured the Confucian scriptural tradition. The Four Books, placed above the Five Classics, became the central texts for both primary education and civil service examinations in traditional China from the 14th century. Thus they have exerted far greater influence on Chinese life and thought in the past 600 years than any other work.
As an interpreter and transmitter of the Confucian Way, Zhu Xi identified which early Song masters belonged to the lineage of Confucius and Mencius. His judgment, later widely accepted by governments in East Asia, was based principally on philosophical insight. Zhou Dunyi, Zhang Zai, and the Cheng brothers, the select four, were Zhu Xi’s cultural heroes. Shao Yong and Sima Guang were originally on his list, but Zhu Xi apparently changed his mind, perhaps because of Shao’s excessive metaphysical speculation and Sima’s obsession with historical facts.
Up until Zhu Xi’s time the Confucian thinking of the Song masters was characterized by a few fruitfully ambiguous concepts, notably the Great Ultimate, principle, vital energy, nature, mind, and humanity. Zhu Xi defined the process of the investigation of things as a rigorous discipline of the mind to probe the principle in things. He recommended a twofold method of study: to cultivate a sense of reverence and to pursue knowledge. This combination of morality and wisdom made his pedagogy an inclusive approach to humanist education. Reading, sitting quietly, ritual practice, physical exercise, calligraphy, arithmetic, and empirical observation all had a place in his pedagogical program. Zhu Xi reestablished the White Deer Grotto in present Jiangxi province as an academy. It became the intellectual centre of his age and provided an instructional model for all schools in East Asia for generations to come.
Zhu Xi was considered the preeminent Confucian scholar in Song China, but his interpretation of the Confucian Way was seriously challenged by his contemporary, Lu Jiuyuan (Lu Xiangshan, 1139–93). Claiming that he appropriated the true wisdom of Confucian teaching by reading Mencius, Lu criticized Zhu Xi’s theory of the investigation of things as fragmented and ineffective empiricism. Instead he advocated a return to Mencian moral idealism by insisting that establishing the “great body” (i.e., heaven-endowed nobility) is the primary precondition for self-realization. To him the learning of the mind as a quest for self-knowledge provided the basis upon which the investigation of things assumed its proper significance. Lu’s confrontation with Zhu Xi in the famous meeting at the Goose Lake Temple in 1175 further convinced him that Confucianism as Zhu Xi had shaped it was not Mencian. Although Lu’s challenge remained a minority position for some time, his learning of the mind later became a major intellectual force in Ming China (1368–1644) and Tokugawa Japan (1603–1867).
Confucian learning in Jin, Yuan, and Ming
For about 150 years, from the time the Song court moved its capital to the South and reestablished itself there in 1127, North China was ruled by three conquest dynasties, the Liao (907–1125), Xi Xia (1038–1227), and Jin (1115–1234). Although the bureaucracies and political cultures of both Liao and Xi Xia were under Confucian influence, no discernible intellectual developments helped to further the Confucian tradition there. In the Jurchen Jin dynasty, however, despite the paucity of information about the Confucian renaissance in the Southern Song, the Jin scholar-officials continued the classical, artistic, literary, and historiographic traditions of the North and developed a richly textured cultural form of their own. Zhao Bingwen’s (1159–1232) combination of literary talent and moral concerns and Wang Roxu’s (1174–1243) scholarship in Classics and history, as depicted in Yuan Haowen’s (1190–1257) biographical sketches and preserved in their collected works, compared well with the high standards set by their counterparts in the South.
When the Mongols reunited China in 1279, the intellectual dynamism of the South profoundly affected the northern style of scholarship. Although the harsh treatment of scholars by the conquest Yuan (Mongol) dynasty (1206–1368) seriously damaged the well-being of the scholarly community, outstanding Confucian thinkers nevertheless emerged throughout the period. Some opted to purify themselves so that they could repossess the Way for the future; some decided to become engaged in politics to put their teaching into practice.
Xu Heng (1209–81) took a practical approach. Appointed by Kublai, the Great Khan in Marco Polo’s Description of the World, as the president of the Imperial Academy and respected as the leading scholar in the court, Xu conscientiously introduced Zhu Xi’s teaching to the Mongols. He assumed personal responsibility for educating the sons of the Mongol nobility to become qualified teachers of Confucian Classics. His erudition and skills in medicine, legal affairs, irrigation, military science, arithmetic, and astronomy enabled him to be an informed adviser to the conquest dynasty. He set the tone for the eventual success of the Confucianization of Yuan bureaucracy. In fact, it was the Yuan court that first officially adopted the Four Books as the basis of the civil service examination, a practice that was to be observed until 1905. Thanks to Xu Heng, Zhu Xi’s teaching prevailed in the Mongol period, but it was significantly simplified.
The hermit-scholar Liu Yin (1249–93), on the other hand, allegedly refused Kublai Khan’s summons in order to maintain the dignity of the Confucian Way. To him education was for self-realization. Loyal to the Jin culture in which he was reared and faithful to the Confucian Way that he had learned from the Song masters, Liu Yin rigorously applied philological methods to classical studies and strongly advocated the importance of history. Although true to Zhu Xi’s spirit, by taking seriously the idea of the investigation of things, he put a great deal of emphasis on the learning of the mind. Liu Yin’s contemporary, Wu Zheng (1249–1333), further developed the learning of the mind. He fully acknowledged the contribution of Lu Jiuyuan to the Confucian tradition, even though as an admirer of Xu Heng he considered himself a follower of Zhu Xi. Wu assigned himself the challenging task of harmonizing the difference between Zhu and Lu. As a result, he reoriented Zhu’s balanced approach to morality and wisdom to accommodate Lu’s existential concern for self-knowledge. This prepared the way for the revival of Lu’s learning of the mind in the Ming (1368–1644).
The thought of the first outstanding Ming Confucian scholar, Xue Xuan (1389–1464), already revealed the turn toward moral subjectivity. Although a devoted follower of Zhu Xi, Xue’s Records of Reading clearly shows that he considered the cultivation of “mind and nature” to be particularly important. Two other early Ming scholars, Wu Yubi (1391–1469) and Chen Xianzhang (1428–1500), helped to define Confucian education for those who studied the Classics not simply in preparation for examinations but as learning of the “body and mind.” They cleared the way for Wang Yangming (1472–1529), the most influential Confucian thinker after Zhu Xi.
As a critique of excessive attention to philological details characteristic of Zhu Xi’s followers, Wang Yangming allied himself with Lu Jiuyuan’s learning of the mind. He advocated the precept of uniting thought and action. By focusing on the transformative power of the will, he inspired a generation of Confucian students to return to the moral idealism of Mencius. His own personal example of combining teaching with bureaucratic routine, administrative responsibility, and leadership in military campaigns demonstrated that he was a man of deeds.
Despite his competence in practical affairs, Wang’s primary concern was moral education, which he felt had to be grounded in the “original substance” of the mind. This he later identified as liangzhi (“good conscience”), by which he meant innate knowledge or a primordial existential awareness possessed by every human being. He further suggested that good conscience as the heavenly principle is inherent in all beings from the highest spiritual forms to grass, wood, bricks, and stone. Because the universe consists of vital energy informed by good conscience, it is a dynamic process rather than a static structure. Human beings can learn to regard heaven and earth and the myriad things as one body by extending their good conscience to embrace an ever-expanding network of relationships.
Wang Yangming’s dynamic idealism, as Wing-tsit Chan, the late dean of Chinese philosophy in North America, characterized it, set the Confucian agenda for several generations in China. His followers, such as the communitarian Wang Ji (1498–1583), who devoted his long life to building a community of the like-minded, and the radical individualist Li Zhi (1527–1602), who proposed to reduce all human relationships to friendship, broadened Confucianism to accommodate a variety of lifestyles.
Among Wang’s critics, Liu Zongzhou (1578–1645) was perhaps the most brilliant. His Human Schemata (Renpu) offered a rigorous phenomenological description of human mistakes as a corrective to Wang Yangming’s moral optimism. Liu’s student Huang Zongxi (1610–95) compiled a comprehensive biographical history of Ming Confucians based on Liu’s writings. One of Huang’s contemporaries, Gu Yanwu (1613–82), was also a critic of Wang Yangming. He excelled in his studies of political institutions, ancient phonology, and classical philology. While Gu was well-known in his time and honoured as the patron saint of “evidential learning” in the 18th century, his contemporary Wang Fuzhi (1619–92) was discovered 200 years later as one of the most sophisticated original minds in the history of Confucian thought. His extensive writings on metaphysics, history, and the Classics made him a thorough critic of Wang Yangming and his followers.
The age of Confucianism: Chosŏn-dynasty Korea, Tokugawa Japan, and Qing China
Among all the dynasties, Chinese and foreign, the long-lived Chosŏn (Joseon; also called Yi) in Korea (1392–1910) was undoubtedly the most thoroughly Confucianized. Since the 15th century, when the aristocracy (yangban) defined itself as the carrier of Confucian values, the penetration of court politics and elite culture by Confucianism was unprecedented. Even today, as manifested in political behaviour, legal practice, ancestral veneration, genealogy, village schools, and student activism, the vitality of the Confucian tradition is widely felt in South Korea.
Yi T’oegye (1501–70), the single most important Korean Confucian, helped shape the character of Chosŏn Confucianism through his creative interpretation of Zhu Xi’s teaching. Critically aware of the philosophical turn engineered by Wang Yangming, T’oegye transmitted the Zhu Xi legacy as a response to the advocates of the learning of the mind. As a result, he made Chosŏn Confucianism at least as much a true heir to Song learning as Ming Confucianism was. Indeed, his Discourse on the Ten Sagely Diagrams, an aid for educating the king, offered a depiction of all the major concepts in Song learning. His exchange of letters with Ki Taesŭng (1527–72) in the famous Four-Seven debate, which discussed the relationship between Mencius’ four basic human feelings—commiseration, shame, modesty, and right and wrong—and seven emotions, such as anger and joy, raised the level of Confucian dialogue to a new height of intellectual sophistication.
In addition, Yi Yulgok’s (1536–84) challenge to T’oegye’s re-presentation of Zhu Xi’s Confucianism, from the perspective of Zhu’s thought itself, significantly enriched the repertoire of the learning of the principle. The leadership of the central government, supported by the numerous academies set up by aristocratic families and by institutions such as the community compact system and the village schools, made the learning of the principle not only a political ideology but also a common creed in Korea.
In Japan, Zhu Xi’s teaching, as interpreted by T’oegye, was introduced to Yamazaki Ansai (1618–82). A distinctive feature of Yamazaki’s thought was his recasting of native Shintōism in Confucian terminology. The diversity and vitality of Japanese Confucianism was further evident in the appropriation of Wang Yangming’s dynamic idealism by the samurai-scholars, notably Kumazawa Banzan (1619–91). It is, however, in Ogyū Sorai’s (1666–1728) determination to rediscover the original basis of Confucian teaching by returning to its pre-Confucian sources that a true exemplification of the independent-mindedness of Japanese Confucians is found. Indeed, Sorai’s brand of ancient learning with its particular emphasis on philological exactitude foreshadowed a similar scholarly movement in China by at least a generation. Although Tokugawa Japan was never as Confucianized as Chosŏn Korea, virtually every educated person in Japanese society was exposed to the Four Books by the end of the 17th century.
The Confucianization of Chinese society reached its apex during the Qing (1644–1911/12), when China was again ruled by a conquest (Manchu) dynasty. The Qing emperors outshone their counterparts in the Ming in presenting themselves as exemplars of Confucian kingship. They transformed Confucian teaching into a political ideology, indeed a mechanism of control. Jealously guarding their imperial prerogatives as the ultimate interpreters of Confucian truth, they undermined the freedom of scholars to transmit the Confucian Way by imposing harsh measures, such as literary inquisition. It was Gu Yanwu’s classical scholarship rather than his insights on political reform that inspired the 18th-century evidential scholars. Dai Zhen, the most philosophically minded philologist among them, couched his brilliant critique of Song learning in his commentary on “The Meanings of Terms in the Book of Mencius.” Dai Zhen was one of the scholars appointed by the Qianlong emperor in 1773 to compile an imperial manuscript library. This massive scholarly attempt, The Complete Library of the Four Treasures, is symbolic of the grandiose intent of the Manchu court to give an account of all the important works of the four branches of learning—the Classics, history, philosophy, and literature—in Confucian culture. The project comprised more than 36,000 volumes with comments on about 10,230 titles, employed as many as 15,000 copyists, and took 20 years to complete. The Qianlong emperor and the scholars around him may have expressed their cultural heritage in a definitive form, but the Confucian tradition was yet to encounter its most serious threat.
At the time of the first Opium War (1839–42) East Asian societies had been Confucianized for centuries. The continuous growth of Mahayana Buddhism throughout Asia and the presence of Daoism in China, shamanism in Korea, and Shintōism in Japan did not undermine the power of Confucianism in government, education, family rituals, and social ethics. In fact, Buddhist monks were often messengers of Confucian values, and the coexistence of Confucianism with Daoism, shamanism, and Shintōism actually characterized the syncretic East Asian religious life. The impact of the West, however, so fundamentally challenged the Confucian roots in East Asia that for some time it was widely debated whether or not Confucianism could remain a viable tradition in modern times.
Beginning in the 19th century, Chinese intellectuals’ faith in the ability of Confucian culture to withstand the impact of the West became gradually eroded. This loss of faith may be perceived in Lin Zexu’s (1785–1850) moral indignation against the British, followed by Zeng Guofan’s (1811–72) pragmatic acceptance of the superiority of Western technology, Kang Youwei’s (1858–1927) sweeping recommendation for political reform, and Zhang Zhidong’s (1837–1909) desperate, eclectic attempt to save the essence of Confucian learning, which, however, eventually led to the anti-Confucian iconoclasm of the so-called May Fourth Movement in 1919. The triumph of Marxism-Leninism as the official ideology of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 relegated Confucian rhetoric to the background. The modern Chinese intelligentsia, however, maintained unacknowledged, sometimes unconscious, continuities with the Confucian tradition at every level of life—behaviour, attitude, belief, and commitment. Indeed, Confucianism remains an integral part of the psycho-cultural construct of the contemporary Chinese intellectual as well as of the Chinese farmer.
The emergence of Japan and other newly industrialized Asian countries (e.g., South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore) as the most dynamic region of economic development since World War II has generated much scholarly interest. Labeled the “Sinitic World in Perspective,” “The Second Case of Industrial Capitalism,” the “Eastasia Edge,” or “the Challenge of the Post-Confucian States,” this phenomenon has raised questions about how the typical East Asian institutions, still suffused with Confucian values—such as a paternalistic government, an educational system based on competitive examinations, the family with emphasis on loyalty and cooperation, and local organizations informed by consensus—have adapted themselves to the imperatives of modernization.
Some of the most creative and influential intellectuals in contemporary China have continued to think from Confucian roots. Xiong Shili’s ontological reflection, Liang Shuming’s cultural analysis, Feng Youlan’s reconstruction of the learning of the principle, He Lin’s new interpretation of the learning of the mind, Tang Junyi’s philosophy of culture, Xu Fuguan’s social criticism, and Mou Zongsan’s moral metaphysics are noteworthy examples. Although some of the most articulate intellectuals in the People’s Republic of China criticize their Confucian heritage as the embodiment of authoritarianism, bureaucratism, nepotism, conservatism, and male chauvinism, others in China, Taiwan, Singapore, and North America have imaginatively established the relevance of Confucian humanism to China’s modernization. The revival of Confucian studies in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore has been under way for more than a generation, though Confucian scholarship in Japan remains unrivaled. Confucian thinkers in the West, inspired by religious pluralism and liberal democratic ideas, have begun to explore the possibility of a third epoch of Confucian humanism. They uphold that its modern transformation, as a creative response to the challenge of the West, is a continuation of its classical formulation and its medieval elaboration. Scholars in mainland China have also begun to explore the possibility of a fruitful interaction between Confucian humanism and democratic liberalism in a socialist context.
As a result Confucian Classics became the core curriculum for all levels of education. In 136 bce Wudi set up at court five Erudites of the Five Classics (see below The Five Classics) and in 124 bce assigned 50 official students to study with them, thus creating a de facto imperial university. By 50 bce enrollment at the university had grown to an impressive 3,000, and by 1 ce a hundred students a year were entering government service through the examinations administered by the state. In short, those with a Confucian education began to staff the bureaucracy. In the year 58 all government schools were required to make sacrifices to Confucius, and in 175 the court had the approved version of the Classics, which had been determined by scholarly conferences and research groups under imperial auspices for several decades, carved on large stone tablets. (These stelae, which were erected at the capital, are today well preserved in the museum of Xi’an.) This act of committing to permanence and to public display the content of the sacred scriptures symbolized the completion of the formation of the classical Confucian tradition.
The compilation of the Wujing (The Five Classics) was a concrete manifestation of the coming of age of the Confucian tradition. The inclusion of both pre-Confucian texts, the Shujing (“Classic of History”) and the Shijing (“Classic of Poetry”), and contemporary Qin-Han material, such as certain portions of the Liji (“Record of Rites”), suggests that the spirit behind the establishment of the core curriculum for Confucian education was ecumenical. The Five Classics can be described in terms of five visions: metaphysical, political, poetic, social, and historical.
The metaphysical vision, expressed in the Yijing (“Classic of Changes”), combines divinatory art with numerological technique and ethical insight. According to the philosophy of change, the cosmos is a great transformation occasioned by the constant interaction of two complementary as well as conflicting vital energies, yin and yang. The world, which emerges out of this ongoing transformation, exhibits both organismic unity and dynamism. The exemplary person, inspired by the harmony and creativity of the cosmos, must emulate this pattern by aiming to realize the highest ideal of “unity of man and heaven” (tianrenheyi) through ceaseless self-exertion.
The political vision, contained in the Shujing, presents kingship in terms of the ethical foundation for a humane government. The legendary Three Emperors (Yao, Shun, and Yu) all ruled by virtue. Their sagacity, xiao (filial piety), and dedication to work enabled them to create a political culture based on responsibility and trust. Their exemplary lives taught and encouraged the people to enter into a covenant with them so that social harmony could be achieved without punishment or coercion. Even in the Three Dynasties (Xia, Shang, and Zhou) moral authority, as expressed through ritual, was sufficient to maintain political order. The human continuum, from the undifferentiated masses to the enlightened people, the nobility, and the sage-king, formed an organic unity as an integral part of the great cosmic transformation. Politics means moral persuasion, and the purpose of the government is not only to provide food and maintain order but also to educate.
The poetic vision, contained in the Shijing, underscores the Confucian valuation of common human feelings. The majority of verses give voice to emotions and sentiments of communities and persons from all levels of society expressed on a variety of occasions. The basic theme of this poetic world is mutual responsiveness. The tone as a whole is honest rather than earnest and evocative rather than expressive.
The social vision, contained in the Liji, shows society not as an adversarial system based on contractual relationships but as a community of trust with emphasis on communication. Society organized by the four functional occupations—the scholar, farmer, artisan, and merchant—is, in the true sense of the word, a cooperation. As a contributing member of the cooperation each person is obligated to recognize the existence of others and to serve the public good. It is the king’s duty to act kingly and the father’s duty to act fatherly. If the king or father fails to behave properly, he cannot expect his minister or son to act in accordance with ritual. It is in this sense that a chapter in the Liji entitled the “Great Learning” specifies, “From the son of heaven to the commoner, all must regard self-cultivation as the root.” This pervasive consciousness of duty features prominently in all Confucian literature on ritual.
The historical vision, presented in the Chunqiu (“Spring and Autumn Annals”), emphasizes the significance of collective memory for communal self-identification. Historical consciousness is a defining characteristic of Confucian thought. By defining himself as a lover of antiquity and a transmitter of its values, Confucius made it explicit that a sense of history is not only desirable but is necessary for self-knowledge. Confucius’ emphasis on the importance of history was in a way his reappropriation of the ancient Sinitic wisdom that reanimating the old is the best way to attain the new. Confucius may not have been the author of the Chunqiu, but it seems likely that he applied moral judgment to political events in China proper from the 8th to the 5th century bce. In this unprecedented procedure he assumed a godlike role in evaluating politics by assigning ultimate historical praise and blame to the most powerful and influential political actors of the period. Not only did this practice inspire the innovative style of the grand historian Sima Qian (c. 145–c. 87 bce) but it was also widely employed by others writing dynastic histories in imperial China.
Dong Zhongshu:The Confucian visionary
Like Sima Qian, Dong Zhongshu (c. 179–c. 104 bce) also took the Chunqiu absolutely seriously. His own work, Chunqiufanlu (“Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn Annals”), however, is far from being a book of historical judgment. It is a metaphysical treatise in the spirit of the Yijing. A man extraordinarily dedicated to learning (he is said to have been so absorbed in his studies that for three years he did not even glance at the garden in front of him) and strongly committed to moral idealism (one of his often-quoted dicta is “rectifying rightness without scheming for profit; enlightening his Way without calculating efficaciousness”), Dong was instrumental in developing a characteristically Han interpretation of Confucianism.
Despite Wudi’s pronouncement that Confucianism alone would receive imperial sponsorship, Daoists, yin-yang cosmologists, Legalists, shamanists, practitioners of seances, healers, magicians, geomancers, and others all contributed to the cosmological thinking of the Han cultural elite. Indeed, Dong himself was a beneficiary of this intellectual syncretism, for he freely tapped the spiritual resources of his time in formulating his own worldview: that human actions have cosmic consequences.
Dong’s inquiries on the meaning of the five agents (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth), the correspondence of human beings and the numerical categories of heaven, and the sympathetic activation of things of the same kind, as well as his studies of cardinal Confucian values such as humanity, rightness, ritual, wisdom, and trustworthiness, enabled him to develop an elaborate worldview integrating Confucian ethics with naturalistic cosmology. What Dong accomplished was not merely a theological justification for the emperor as the “son of heaven”; rather, his theory of mutual responsiveness between heaven and humanity provided the Confucian scholars with a higher law by which to judge the conduct of the ruler.
Despite Dong’s immense popularity, his worldview was not universally accepted by Han Confucian scholars. A reaction in favour of a more rational and moralistic approach to the Confucian Classics, known as the “Old Text” school, had already set in before the fall of the Western Han. Yang Xiong (c. 53 bce–18 ce) in the Fayan (“Model Sayings”), a collection of moralistic aphorisms in the style of the Analects, and the Taixuanjing (“Classic of the Supremely Profound Principle”), a cosmological speculation in the style of the Yijing, presented an alternative worldview. This school, claiming its own recensions of authentic classical texts allegedly rediscovered during the Han period and written in an “old” script before the Qin unification, was widely accepted in the Eastern Han (25–220 ce). As the institutions of the Erudites and the Imperial University expanded in the Eastern Han, the study of the Classics became more refined and elaborate. Confucian scholasticism, however, like its counterparts in Talmudic and biblical studies, became too professionalized to remain a vital intellectual force.
Yet Confucian ethics exerted great influence on government, schools, and society at large. Toward the end of the Han as many as 30,000 students attended the Imperial University. All public schools throughout the land offered regular sacrifices to Confucius, and he virtually became the patron saint of education. Many Confucian temples were also built. The imperial courts continued to honour Confucius from age to age; a Confucian temple eventually stood in every one of the 2,000 counties. As a result, the teacher, together with heaven, earth, the emperor, and parents, became one of the most respected authorities in traditional China.
Confucian ethics in the Daoist and Buddhist context
Incompetent rulership, faction-ridden bureaucracy, a mismanaged tax structure, and domination by eunuchs toward the end of the Eastern Han first prompted widespread protests by the Imperial University students. The high-handed policy of the court to imprison and kill thousands of them and their official sympathizers in 169 ce may have put a temporary stop to the intellectual revolt, but the downward economic spiral made the life of the peasantry unbearable. The peasant rebellion led by Confucian scholars as well as Daoist religious leaders of faith-healing sects, combined with open insurrections of the military, brought down the Han dynasty and thus put an end to the first Chinese empire. As the imperial Han system disintegrated, barbarians invaded from the north. The plains of northern China were fought over, despoiled, and controlled by rival groups, and a succession of states was established in the south. This period of disunity, from the early 3rd to the late 6th century, marked the decline of Confucianism, the upsurge of neo-Daoism, and the spread of Buddhism.
The prominence of Daoism and Buddhism among the cultural elite and the populace in general, however, did not mean that the Confucian tradition had disappeared. In fact, Confucian ethics was by then virtually inseparable from the moral fabric of Chinese society. Confucius continued to be universally honoured as the paradigmatic sage. The outstanding Daoist thinker Wang Bi (226–249) argued that Confucius, by not speculating on the nature of the dao, had an experiential understanding of it superior to Laozi’s. The Confucian Classics remained the foundation of all literate culture, and sophisticated commentaries were produced throughout the age. Confucian values continued to dominate in such political institutions as the central bureaucracy, the recruitment of officials, and local governance. The political forms of life also were distinctively Confucian. When a barbarian state adopted a sinicization policy, notably the case of the Northern Wei (386–534/535), it was by and large Confucian in character. In the south systematic attempts were made to strengthen family ties by establishing clan rules, genealogical trees, and ancestral rituals based on Confucian ethics.
The reunification of China by the Sui (581–618) and the restoration of lasting peace and prosperity by the Tang (618–907) gave a powerful stimulus to the revival of Confucian learning. The publication of a definitive, official edition of the Wujing with elaborate commentaries and subcommentaries and the implementation of Confucian rituals at all levels of governmental practice, including the compilation of the famous Tang legal code, were two outstanding examples of Confucianism in practice. An examination system was established based on literary competence. This system made the mastery of Confucian Classics a prerequisite for political success and was, therefore, perhaps the single most important institutional innovation in defining elite culture in Confucian terms.
The Tang dynasty, nevertheless, was dominated by Buddhism and, to a lesser degree, by Daoism. The philosophical originality of the dynasty was mainly represented by monk-scholars such as Jizang (549–623), Xuanzang (602–664), and Zhiyi (538–597). An unintended consequence in the development of Confucian thought in this context was the prominent rise of the metaphysically significant Confucian texts, notably Zhongyong (“Doctrine of the Mean”) and Yizhuan (“The Great Commentary of the Classic of Changes”), which appealed to some Buddhist and Daoist thinkers. A sign of a possible Confucian turn in the Tang was Li Ao’s (d. c. 844) essay on “Returning to Nature” that foreshadowed features of Song (960–1279) Confucian thought. The most influential precursor of a Confucian revival, however, was Han Yu (768–824). He attacked Buddhism from the perspectives of social ethics and cultural identity and provoked interest in the question of what actually constitutes the Confucian Way. The issue of Daotong, the transmission of the Way or the authentic method to repossess the Way, has stimulated much discussion in the Confucian tradition since the 11th century.
The Confucian revival
The Buddhist conquest of China and the Chinese transformation of Buddhism, a process entailing the introduction, domestication, growth, and appropriation of a distinctly Indian form of spirituality, lasted for at least six centuries. Since Buddhist ideas were introduced to China via Daoist categories and since the development of the Daoist religion benefited from having Buddhist institutions and practices as models, the spiritual dynamics in medieval China were characterized by Buddhist and Daoist values. The reemergence of Confucianism as the leading intellectual force thus involved both a creative response to the Buddhist and Daoist challenge and an imaginative reappropriation of classical Confucian insights. Furthermore, after the collapse of the Tang dynasty, the grave threats to the survival of Chinese culture from the Khitan, the Jurchen (Jin), and later the Mongols prompted the literati to protect their common heritage by deepening their communal critical self-awareness. To enrich their personal knowledge as well as to preserve China as a civilization-state, they explored the symbolic and spiritual resources that made Confucianism a living tradition.
The Song masters
The Song dynasty (960–1279) was militarily weak and much smaller than the Tang, but its cultural splendour and economic prosperity were unprecedented in Chinese, if not human, history. The Song’s commercial revolution produced flourishing markets, densely populated urban centres, elaborate communication networks, theatrical performances, literary groups, and popular religions—developments that tended to remain unchanged into the 19th century. Technological advances in agriculture, textiles, lacquer, porcelain, printing, maritime trade, and weaponry demonstrated that China excelled in the fine arts as well as in the sciences. The decline of the aristocracy, the widespread availability of printed books, the democratization of education, and the full implementation of the examination system produced a new social class, the gentry, noted for its literary proficiency, social consciousness, and political participation. The outstanding members of this class, such as the classicists Hu Yuan (993–1059) and Sun Fu (992–1057), the reformers Fan Zhongyan (989–1052) and Wang Anshi (1021–86), the writer-officials Ouyang Xiu (1007–72) and Su Shi (pen name of Su Dongpo; 1037–1101), and the statesman-historian Sima Guang (1019–86), contributed to the revival of Confucianism in education, politics, literature, and history and collectively to the development of a scholarly official style, a way of life informed by Confucian ethics.
The Confucian revival, understood in traditional historiography as the establishment of the lineage of Daoxue (“Learning of the Way”), nevertheless can be traced through a line of neo-Confucian thinkers from Zhou Dunyi (1017–73) by way of Shao Yong (1011–77), Zhang Zai (1020–77), the brothers Cheng Hao (1032–85) and Cheng Yi (1033–1107), and the great synthesizer Zhu Xi (1130–1200). These men developed a comprehensive humanist vision in which cultivation of the self was integrated with social ethics and moral metaphysics. In the eyes of the Song literati this new philosophy faithfully restored the classical Confucian insights and successfully applied them to the concerns of their own age.
Islam recognizes the existence of the jinn. Jinns are not the genies of modern lore, and they are not all evil, as demons are described in Christianity, but are seen as creatures that co-exist with humans. Angels cannot be demons according to Islamic beliefs because they have no free will to disobey Allah (God). According to Islamic, belief jinn live in communities much like humans, and unlike angels have the ability to choose between good or evil.
In Islam, the evil jinns are referred to as the shayātīn, or devils, and Iblis (Satan) is their chief. Iblis was the first Jinn. According to Islam, the jinn are made of smokeless flame of fire (and humankind is made of clay.) According to the Qur’an, Iblis was once a pious servant of God (but not an angel), but when God created Adam from clay, Iblis became very jealous, arrogant, and disobeyed Allah (God). When Allah (God) commanded the angels to bow down before humans, Iblis, who held the position of an angel, refused.
Adam was the first man, and man was the greatest creation of God. Iblis could not stand this, and refused to acknowledge a creature made of “dirt” (man). God condemned Iblis to be punished after death eternally in the hellfire. God, thus, had created hell.
Iblis asked God if he may live to the last day and have the ability to mislead mankind and jinns, God said that Iblis may only mislead those whom God lets him. God then turned Iblis’ countenance into horridness and condemned him to only have powers of trickery.
Adam and Eve (Hawwa in Arabic) were both together misled by Iblis into eating the forbidden fruit, and consequently fell from the garden of Eden to Earth.
Throughout history man has always had a deep attraction for the supernatural and the unseen. The existence of a world parallel to our own has always fascinated people. This world is commonly referred to as the spirit world, and almost every set of people have some concept of one. With some people, these spirits are no more then the souls of dead people- or ghosts. With others, spirits are either the forces of good or the forces of evil – both battling against one another to gain influence over humanity. However, both of these explanations are more in tune with folk tales and fantasy. The true explanation of such a world comes from Islam. Like every other way, Islam also claims to explain this realm of the unseen. It is from this realm that Islam explains to us about the world of the Jinn. The Islamic explanation of the Jinn provides us with so many answers to modem day mysteries. Without the knowledge of this world, the Muslims would become like the non-Muslims and be running around looking for any old answer to come their way. So, who or what are the Jinn?
The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence. However, (as will be seen) the affect which the world of the Jinn has upon our world, is enough to refute this modern denial of one of God’s creation. The origins of the Jinn can be traced from the Quran and the Sunnah. God says:
“Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire” (Quran 15:26-27)
Thus the Jinn were created before man. As for their physical origin, then the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, has confirmed the above verse when he said:
“The Angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire.” (Saheeh Muslim)
It is this description of the Jinn which tells us so much about them. Because they were created from fire, their nature has generally been fiery and thus their relationship with man has been built upon this. Like humans, they too are required to worship God and follow Islam. Their purpose in life is exactly the same as ours, as God says:
“I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)
Jinns can thus be Muslims or non-Muslims. However, due to their fiery nature the majority of them are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Jinns form a part of the army of the most famous Jinn, Satan. Consequently, these disbelieving Jinns are also called devils. Jinns also become Muslims, as they did in the time of the Prophet when a group of them were amazed by the recitation of the Quran. God orders the Prophet to tell the people of this event:
“Say (O’ Muhammed): It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said; ‘Indeed we have heard a marvelous Quran. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it, and we will never make partners with our lord’.”(Quran 72:1-2)
In many aspects of their world, the Jinn are very similar to us. They eat and drink, they marry, have children and they die. The life span however, is far greater then ours. Like us, they will also be subject to a Final Reckoning by God the Most High. They will be present with mankind on the Day of Judgment and will either go to Paradise or Hell.
That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. God has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like. Thus, they can appear as humans, animals trees and anything else. Thousands of people have sighted strange looking creatures all over the world – and it seems more plausible all the sightings of such creatures may have been Jinns parading in different forms.
The ability to possess and take over the minds and bodies of other creatures is also a power which the Jinn have utilized greatly over the centuries. This however, is something which has been prohibited to them as it is a great oppression to possess another being. Human possession is something which has always brought about great attention. But the true knowledge of this subject is rare. Over the last 3 decades the subject of possession has become very commercialized. During the 70’s, films such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby were used to educate people about possession. However, because such institutions (the film industry) were heavily influenced by Christianity, knowledge of the subject was non-existent. Rather then educate people about Jinn possession, films such as The Exorcist just tended to scare the living daylights out of us!
Only through Islam can we understand such a phenomena. We know as Muslims, that Jinns possess people for many reasons. Sometimes it is because the Jinn or its family has been hurt accidentally. It could be because the Jinn has fallen in love with the person. However, most of the time possession occurs because the Jinn is simply malicious and wicked. For this reason we have been commanded to recite the Quran frequently in our houses as the Prophet said:
“Indeed, Satan flees from the house in which Surah Al-Baqarah (the 2nd chapter of the Quran) is recited.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
If a person does become possessed, then the name of God has to be used in expelling the Jinn. If we look at the practice of the Prophet and his companions, we find many invocations to exorcise the Jinn. All of them invoke God to help the possessed person. How contrary this is to many modern-day exorcists. Many exorcists, often invoke the names of others besides God to exorcise the Jinn. When the Jinn does leave, these people believe that their way was successful. However, this is a ploy of the Jinn, as it knows that if it obeys the exorcist, then it has succeeded in making him worship others besides God. The Jinn often returns when the exorcist leaves, as it knows that nothing except the words of God can stop it from oppressing others.
It is not only humans which are possessed, but also animals, trees and other objects. By doing this, the evil Jinn hope to make people worship others besides God. The possession of idols is one way to do this. Not so long ago the world-wide phenomenon of Hindu idols drinking milk, shocked the world. From Bombay to London, Delhi to California, countless idols were lapping up milk. Ganesh the elephant god, Hanuman the monkey god and even Shiva lingam, the male private organ (!), all seemed to guzzle down the milk as if there was no tomorrow! Unfortunately people were taken in by this and many flocked to feed the Hindu gods. This feat was undoubtedly done by the Jinn as a classic attempt to make people worship false gods.
Occult Activities of the Jinn
Through their powers of flying and invisibility, the Jinn are the chief component in occult activities. Voodoo, Black magic, Poltergeists, Witchcraft and Mediums can all be explained through the world of the Jinn. Likewise, so can the illusions and feats of magicians. Because the Jinn can traverse huge distances over a matter of seconds, their value to magicians is great. In return for helping them in their magic, the Jinns often ask the magicians to worship them and Satan. Thus the magicians take the Jinn and Satan as lords besides God. In our day, some of the feats performed by magicians and entertainers are without doubt from the assistance of the Jinn. Making the Statue of Liberty disappear, flying across the Grand Canyon and retrieving a ship from the Bermuda Triangle, have all been done by the Jewish magician David Copperfield. There is NO way that a man could do such things without the assistance of the Jinn. It would not be surprising therefore, if David Copperfield had sold his soul to Satan himself.
One of the most frequent activities associated with the Jinn, is fortune telling. Before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, fortune-tellers and soothsayers were wide spread. These people would use their associates from the Jinn to find out about the future. The Jinns would go to the lowest heaven and listen to the Angels conversing amongst themselves about events of the Future which they heard from God. The Jinns would then inform the fortune-tellers. This is why before the time of the Prophet many fortune-tellers were very accurate in their predictions. However, upon the Prophet’s arrival the heavens were guarded intensely by the Angels, and any Jinn who tried to listen was attacked by meteors (shooting stars):
“And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every accursed devil, except one who is able to snatch a hearing and he is pursued by a brightly burning flame.” (Quran 15:17-18)
The Prophet also said: “They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician or forrtune-teller Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari). Thus, it is clear from this as to how fortune-tellers get predictions of the future sometimes right. It is also evident as to why they get so many wrong. Men like Nostradamus are an example, as some of his predictions of the future were correct whilst many were completely wrong. Unfortunately, the amount of fortune telling which occurs amongst the Muslims is also increasing. By visiting Muslim lands such as Morocco, one is able to see as to how much inter Jinn-fortune-teller activity there really is. If you look up at the sky on a clear night in Morocco, you will see the heavens ablaze with shooting stars! A clear display of the devils being chased away from the heavens.
Fortune-tellers also operate through the Qareen. The Qareen is the Jinn companion which is assigned to every human being. It is this Jinn which whispers to our base desires and constantly tries to divert us from righteousness. The Prophet said: “Every one of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn. The companions asked: Even you O’ Messenger of God? And the Prophet replied: Even me, except that God has helped me against him and he has become a Muslim. Now he only tells me to do good” (Saheeh Muslim). Because the Qareen is with a person all his life, it knows all that has happened to the person from the cradle to the grave. By making contact with the Qareen, the fortune-teller is thus able to make out that it is he who knows about the person. He looks in his crystal ball or the palm of a person and proceeds to amaze him with knowledge which no one else knows. The severity of going to a fortune-teller is such that the Prophet said: “The prayer of one who approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything, will not be accepted for forty days or nights” (Saheeh Muslim) and: “Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammed.”
The effects of the Jinn are not just limited to fortune-tellers. Other activities such as oujia boards and seances, which are used to contact the dead, are manipulated by the Jinn. ‘Are you there Charlie? Speak to us Charlie!!’ are the sort of words spoken by anxious relatives (names are obviously different!) seeking to make contact with their loved ones. And it is when the Jinn starts to talk and communicate as ‘Charlie’, that the people are truly fooled.
One of the biggest manipulations of the Jinn is through visions. Through these visions the Jinns are more likely to lead people away from the worship of God then any other way. When a person sees a vision in front of his eyes it is something which is very hard to explain away. Only by having knowledge of the world of the Jinn and conviction in God, can a person fight such a trial. The countless numbers of visions of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary over the centuries has been a popular choice for the devils. It almost seems as if leading Christians astray is the most easiest trick for the Jinns! Not only are Christians fooled by these visions, but often the Jinns possess and begin to talk from their voices. To the Christians this is known as the tongues of the Angels and thus a proof for their faith. However, the amount of unintelligible nonsense and rubbish which is heard is a clear proof that this is in fact the tongues of the devils! For other people, visions of their parents or relatives are commonplace. By taking on the form of peoples parents, the Jinns can convince people that the souls of dead people still mix with the people of the earth. This is why so many people believe in ghosts.
The onslaught of satanic visions has also hit the Muslims. Many Muslims claim to have seen visions of the Prophet Muhammed and even God! By doing this, Satan is able to lead astray the weak Muslims. Through such visions, Muslims are often told that the commands of Islam are not applicable to them. The Jinns tell them that Prayer, Fasting, Hajj etc. are not obligatory for them. It is a great deception and unfortunately one which has been very effective. The extent of satanic visions still continues to this day. The recent death of Diana Princess of Wales sparked off great love and adoration for this woman. In fact the grief of the British people was such, that it was as if Diana was something divine. No sooner had the mourning of Diana reached its peak, that visions of her were already being seen at Hampton Court Palace! If these visions did occur, the desire of Satan and his army of Jinn to capitalise on this event, was evident. Such visions are clear attempts by Satan to lead mankind away from the path of God.
Protection from the Jinn
Because the Jinn can see us while we cannot see them, the Prophet Muhammad taught us many ways to protect ourselves from their harm, such as seeking refuge in Allah (God) from the accursed Satan, reciting chapters 113 and 114 of the Holy Quran, and reciting the words taught by God in the Quran: “Say: ‘My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of Satan (devils). And I seek refuge with You, my Lord, lest they may attend (or come near) me.’” (Quran 23:97-98)
Saying Bismillah (in the Name of Allah (God)) before entering one’s home, before eating or drinking, and before having intercourse will also keep Satan from entering the house or partaking with a person in his food, drink and sexual activity. Similarly, mentioning the name of Allah before entering the toilet or taking off one’s clothes will prevent the Jinn from seeing a person’s private parts or harming him, as the Prophet said. Strength of faith and religion in general will also prevent the Jinn from harming a person.
Reciting Al-Kursi verse in Arabic (Quran 2:255) provides also a strong protection against the Jinn, as we learned from the story of Abu Hurairah (one of Muhammad’s companions) with a devil.
Also the Prophet Muhammad said: “Do not make your houses like graves, for Satan runs away from a house in which al-Baqarah chapter [chapter 2] is recited.”(Narrated by Saheeh Muslim)
These Arabic verses and prophetic sayings were some examples of how a Muslim would get protection from the Jinn. Islam teaches us how to deal with all of God’s creation – and not just the Jinn. A true Muslim should not fear Satan or the Jinn, because Islam taught us about them and how to get protection from their harm.
The world of the Jinn is one which is both sinister and intriguing. By knowing of this world we can explain many of the mysteries and issues which bother us. By doing this we can avoid the extremes which the people have gone to; nothing being more extreme then worshipping others besides God. By learning the monotheism of God, we defend ourselves from these hidden allies of Satan:
“Indeed he (Satan) and his tribe watch you from a position where you cannot see them.” (Quran 7:27)
by Virginia Carraway Stark
“Tell me your name, so you are not a nameless ghost after you are slain.” -Ancient Chinese Saying
The Chinese pantheon of spirits has many types of beings that may be classified as ‘demons’ by western terms. This is a cultural error as many of the spirits in Chinese mythology may be mischievous or occasionally evil but are more complex than the concept of a western demon and includes spirits and ghosts as well as fallen celestial beings.
Many ‘demons’ were once animals who have gained magical powers through good or evil works and through Taoism. Animals and other beings practice magic in order to obtain immortality or deification and the result can be good or evil. The range of stories is varied by Western terms: animals, skeletons, rivers, streams, trees, ghosts… nearly anything is capable of taking on supernatural proportions that can be interpreted as demonic.
Although there are many types of beings there is one generic term that translates roughly into ‘evil’ and it is a term applied to many spirits when the person who encounters them doesn’t know how to define them as anything else. Most spirits have genres and classifications.
There are the fox spirits who are usually female spirits who are attractive as they are mischievous. They can assume human form and who like to wreck up happy homes. Calling a woman a ‘fox’ is considered an insult equivalent to ‘home wrecker’ in western terms. There is another ‘demon’ that’s name translates essentially into ‘full figured women. The assumption being that at the time food was so scarce and there were so few full figured women that it could only be a creature of evil who could attain such a figure.
Many of the Chinese demons are women as women were often mistrusted and much of the culture was a misogynistic one. Calling a women a demon was an easy way to dispose of an unwanted or opinionated wife.
It wasn’t only women who were targeted as demons. The Chinese had a deep seated belief in zombies as well and believed that curses, sometimes from demons could cause someone to be turned into a ‘slant eyed, stiff limbed being with no thought of their own’. It was said that an emperor’s son was once cursed in this way.
Generally there were ‘demons’ everywhere. There were demons in springs that had to be appeased, demons of waterfalls, demons with nine tails, really if there was a place or a purpose there was a demon associated with it. This shows a society of fear. Much of feudal China lived not knowing from one day to the next if they would be raided, if their wives or families would be taken from them, if their crops or homes would be burned and this bred fear into every aspect of life.
In addition to demons, ghosts were often confused with demons. It was believed that warriors who were killed and whose names were unknown would become evil spirits. Any suicide became a hungry ghost that would haunt those who wronged them in life and anyone else they came into contact with. Anyone who died and was forgotten could become lost in the spirit world and become evil, in this way the Chinese idea of demon is much different as Western philosophy tends to dictate that a being is either good or evil.
This is a reminder that the spirit realm is a place of the unknown. That our ideas of how things are can in no way be considered definitive or proven. There are many ways of looking at the world and getting caught into the idea of demon=evil is short sighted when the rest of the world sees the concept as more of a kaleidoscope and less of an obvious choice of good versus evil.
|Phone||(804) 761 4345|
|We investigate all claims of the paranormal; hauntings, cryptids, etc. We also perform blessings, banishing, and are well studied in the field of demonolgy.|
|Contact Name||Lakeshia M Byrd|
|Tim & Lakeshia BYRD are the founders of Ghoststalkers p.r.s. and with over 43 years combined experience , renowned paranormal investigators, and authors of the Ghoststalkersprs into the part GUIDE. They have been
featured on numerous Radio shows: Dark Thirty National Radio, fomerlotentertainment Radio, paranormal Radio and over the edge of Reality Radio. They have been honored by Strathmore’s who’s who publication for being best in their field.
|Contact Name||John Moore|
|Our team deals in extreme negative and demonic cases. We also consult and are able to help teams in all areas. We have an orthodox Catholic bishop on our team as well as others able to help any one anywhere suffering from severe paranormal/demonic activity. Through the bishop we are connected to a large order of exorcists in all areas for those that are suffering and in need of help. Any individual or team looking for more information or help is welcome to contact us at any
|Contact Name||Bradley Luoma|
|Demonic Infestation, Demonic Oppression, Demonic Possession. We bless, cleanse and will perform rights of Exorcism (worst case scenario’s) for afflicted people. Trained minister by the A.A.E. with blessings of the Church. We do NOT Ghost Hunt, we remove the entities out of the home or lives of people. Our group consists of 5 team
members currently to assist the Minister. We will work all cases in a 6 state region from Detroit (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan). We will travel to other states depending on the level of need. We do NOT condone Psychic’s, Seances, Tarot Cards, Mediums or other Occult falseness.
|Contact Name||Bob Jensen|
IL, WI but not limited to the area
|Free service for investigations offered, dealt with demonic cases in the past. 24 years in the paranormal field, certified Thermographer. Northern Illinois / Southern Wisconsin longest running paranormal investigation group and state of Illinois 2nd longest group. Free Investigations conducted, intuitive on staff, have dealt with actual
Demonic cases. As seen on Destination America, History Channel, Travel Channel
|Contact Name||Edward Jamison|
|Location||Greenville, South Carolina|
|I am the founder of Spirit Wind Paranormal Reseasrch, our team is experienced in Demonology, psychic,perform blessings, closing portals, house blessings, we teach classes on being a paranormal investigator. We cover Cryptozoology, Bigfoot, urban legends, Ufology. We do voluntary investigations in NC. SC. TN. GA. outside of these states we have to charge a travel expense to cover fuel expenses.|
From Christianity and Judaism, Angel of death, destruction, and the netherworld. The name Abaddon is derived from the Hebrew term for “to destroy” and means “place of destruction.” Apollyon is the Greek name. In MAGIC Abaddon is often equated with SATAN and SAMAEL. His name is evoked in conjuring spells for mali- cious deeds. Abaddon is the prince who rules the seventh hierarchy of DEMONs, the ERINYES, or Furies, who govern powers of evil, discord, war, and devastation. Originally, Abaddon was a place and not an angel or being. In rabbinic writings and the Old Testament, Abad- don is primarily a place of destruction and a name for one of the regions of Gehenna (see HELL). The term occurs six times in the Old Testament. In Proverbs 15:11 and 27:20, it is named with Sheol as a region of the underworld. In Psalm 88:11, Abaddon is associated with the grave and the underworld. In Job 26:6, Abaddon is associated with Sheol. Later, Job 28:22 names Abaddon and Death together, implying personified beings. In REVELATION 9:10, Abaddon is personified as the king of the abyss, the bottomless pit of hell. Revelation also cites the Greek version of the name, Apollyon, prob- ably a reference to Apollo, Greek god of pestilence and destruction.
FURTHER READING: van der Toorn, Karel, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der
Horst, eds. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.
FALLEN ANGEL and the seventh of the 72 SPIRITS OF SOLOMON. In HELL, Amon is a strong and powerful marquis. He appears first as a wolf, but on a magician’s command, he will take on the shape of a man with a raven’s head and dog’s teeth. He accurately tells about the past and the future. He makes men and women fall in love with each other, and he settles disputes between friends and enemies. He rules over 40 LEGIONs of DEMONs.
I have been asked a few times what constitutes a demonic haunting? How does a team of paranormal investigators going into a clients home, recognize demonic activity when it may be staring them straight in the face? How do we help those suffering from a demonic haunting? To be honest there are many things that could manifest in a demonic haunting of a home. Its important to understand that not every demonic haunting of a home is the same. They are all unique in their own way, though many cases exhibit some of the same signs found in other cases. Indeed the list below is comprised of some of the most commonly found symptoms in a demonic haunting. Its also very important that you understand, that this list is by no means an exhaustive list or a list that is meant to be the final authority on anything. This is simply a guide to help you identify what could be demonic. Its also crucial to note that not every symptom listed will manifest at a demonic haunting. Not ever haunting will have all of these symptoms and just because a haunting does feature maybe one or two of these symptoms, does not automatically mean its demonic. A good rule of thumb from my own experience with these situations, is that if the majority of these symptoms are present in a home, chances are good its demonic. If only one or two are present, its more then likely not demonic but some thing else entirely.
Banging or knocking, some times in spurts of three
People physically assaulted by an unseen force scratching, biting, punching, pushing, pulling, pinching, etc. Some times these physical assaults will happen in spurts of three such as three scratches, three punches, three bite marks, etc.
Random fires start in odd places for no reason. Example, bathroom sink catches on fire with no logical explanation as to how that happened.
Religious objects are destroyed, go missing, are defiled, or placed in positions that make a mockery of what they symbolize. For example, a cross with an image of Jesus Christ suddenly turns upside down with no logical explanation for that. Rosary beads are violently ripped apart during prayer or perhaps when left hanging on a wall, etc.
When people in the home begin to pray activity manifests or increases to distract the people praying. People may be unable to pray or suddenly find themselves very ill during the prayer.
Voices are heard speaking in what many have described as “inhuman tones” or voices are heard mocking, threatening, or insulting people in the home. These voices may be heard in the common language of the people in the house hold or some times spoken in other langues such as Latin, Arabic, German, Spanish, French, etc. May also speak in dead languages, though its very hard to actually recognize a dead language unless you have some sort of knowledge of it.
Strange smells present themselves such as sulfur, the smell of some thing burning, urine, fecal matter, rotting flesh, sweet perfume like smells, etc. These some times manifest before or after some thing else happens.
Items are thrown violently either at people or at random spots. These items are broken or damaged.
Shadow people are frequently spotted through out the house.
Children may start playing with “imaginary friends” who begin to reveal things that child could not have otherwise known such as the location of an unmarked grave, the details of a very old murder, an event about the future, etc. Often these imaginary friends soon turn on the child and the child will then report his/her friend being mean and becoming scary. The child also begins to express a personality different then his/her usual self because the imaginary friend told them to be bad or break rules.
Apparitions of truly horrifying figures appear or have been seen.
Apparent signs of summoning are present, such as a basement floor covered in a giant circle full of sigils commonly associated with demons.
The members of the house hold begin to have frequent nightmares, often being the same nightmare over and over. Often these nightmares involve their death or the death of a loved one and some times features the same “being” in each dream. On rare occasions the same demon may appear in multiple peoples nightmare at the same time in the household.
The personalities of the people inside the house begin to shift into a more depressed, easily angry, often violent state of mind with no medical explanation.
Activity some times seems centered around one person or perhaps one more seems to be more affected then the rest which potentially leads from the stage of infestation towards oppression and ultimately possession. (Infestation means a demon is present causing trouble and trying to find a victim to oppress. Oppressed means some one is under the influence of a demon and is constantly assaulted by a demon, and finally possessed means a demon or demons have gone into a person to inhabit their body. Clergy is needed at this point.)
Animals may react in unusual ways such as growling, hair standing up, and snarling or whining in a specific direction (as if responding to some thing there) where nothing is seen. Animals may also die suddenly with no logical reason as to their death. Example would be a dog with a clean bill of health from a vet, suddenly dying one night with other activity present.
When Clergy enter the home, there is a sharp manifestation of activity or some one responds negatively (such as screaming swear words at the Clergy member with no provocation) to the Clergy being there. I once spoke with a Priest who told me about the time he entered a home with a possessed boy. The boy was upstairs with his door closed and the Priest was down stairs talking with the mother, then the boy spoke in a loud deep voice telling him to get out.
As you can see this is a very lengthy list of symptoms. Remember that just because one or two symptoms from this list appear at a location, doesn’t automatically mean its demonic. Human spirits are capable of making knocking, banging, noises, are capable of speaking, are capable of moving objects, etc. Its important to observe and document as much of the activity as you possibly can, so that you can sit down and really look to see what is going on. Also please use common sense when investigating a place you think is demonic or the client says is demonic. Don’t walk in there screaming swear words at a potential demon or mocking it in an attempt to provoke a response. Such actions will potentially lead to danger both to the investigators and to the family of the home who may suffer after you leave. If you feel that at any point, a demon is indeed in the location, gather your team, get out and call a local Clergy member. Inform them of whats going, asking the clients if they would be open to a Clergy member coming to help them, and if they agree that a Clergy member is needed, try to get one to come out and help. I have shared evidence before with Clergy members on behalf of family members request, in order to get that Clergy member to come out and help. Do not attempt to take on a demonic spirit by yourself if you can help it. Above all, safety and common sense should rule.
By: David Scott / Religious Demonologist
The history of demons goes back to the beginning of time itself. Demons did not always exist however. They were created as angels before man was created. As angels they were good in nature just like all the others, as God intended them to be. However, pride led to the downfall of many of them. It was this pride that caused these angels to not only think but to even believe that they were equal to God Himself. It was this pride that caused them to think that they did not have to stay in their assigned roles or duties, and thus put themselves above God and rule over even Him (Jude 6). Lucifer, who was the leader of this rebellion, would become known as Satan and the angels that followed him became demons.
It is important to know and understand one thing before I go any further. God did not create evil, he can’t. God is pure, love, kindness, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc. There is nothing bad or evil about God, there is no darkness in Him what so ever, only light.
It was the pride of some of the angels that caused them to sin against God, thus causing some of them to be chained and cast into the pits of nether gloom to be kept until the last judgment of Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 2:4) However, not all of the demons were chained and committed to those pits after the rebellion. The other demons were cast out of the third Heaven which is also known as the heaven of heavens. This is where Jesus Christ ascended to and now sits and rules over all having all authority, power, and dominion. Thus they were removed from the presence of God and Jesus Christ until the last judgment.
Once they were cast from Heaven they lost a great deal of their powers as a part of their punishment. When it comes to their powers they still have more power against non Christians than they do Christians. For example, against a non Christian they can control, possess, deceive, blind them spiritually, and trap them. To a Christian they can tempt, harass, and deceive them at times but never control or possess them. Demons can possess people and animals only, not dolls like some people believe. People will often hear stories of possessed dolls and toys and it is believed because the doll or toy was said to have moved on its own. What’s happening in those stories is that the doll or toy is being manipulated by the demon, not being possessed. Demons can not possess inanimate objects.
It’s not just the powers and abilities of demons that are popular, it’s their appearance too. Demons have even found their way into medieval art. During that era they usually appeared as little black evil creatures or “imps” in paintings. Of course demons do not actually have material or physical bodies. They can appear as a black humanoid form, but they can not duplicate the human form perfectly. This is because demons never were human. It is more common for them to appear as a black mass, red mist, or orange mist. Although demons have no true form or body they will also appear in an ugly, grotesque form to scare the people they are appearing before. This is to initiate a reaction of fear. Fear is what a demon feeds off of because it makes them stronger. Demons can also appear in more friendly forms though to gain acceptance into a home or life. For example, demons can appear to very small children as another child to gain acceptance into the child’s life and home. This is where some children get their imaginary friends. This is also a good example of how they deceive people to get what they want.
As I have stated before, demons will do whatever they can to get what they want, nothing is beneath them. Until the final judgment of Christ they have nothing but time, and the wisdom of the ages to do whatever they can to try and destroy mankind and make him/her suffer as much as possible in the process.
http://www.nademonicparanormal.com/fallen.html (no longer available)
by: David Scott / Religious Demonologist
This article is a continuation of the first one that I wrote. In the first article I touched on some of the basics about demons, and their rebellion. In the first article I referred mostly to the demons that were cast out of Heaven in the rebellion with Satan and are now being kept in chains in the pits of nether gloom until the last judgment. That is the “Fallen Angels.” However that was only some of the demons. Not all of them were cast into pits of nether gloom and/or out of Heaven. I also went into a little detail about the appearance of demons. In this article I will be discussing the other demons, their kingdom, as well as one of the most popular misconceptions about them, which is their “names.”
The other demons that I’m referring to are the “free demons.” That is the one’s that are allowed to wander the earth with Satan stalking mankind. They are also known as the “principalities”, “powers of the air”, and “the powers of darkness.” It is these demons that still have access to the heavenlies, as well as the earth. These demons are the ones that seek to corrupt, possess, and destroy mankind. Before I go any further though I need to explain what I mean by the heavenlies. When Satan was cast out of heaven he was cast out of the third heaven also known as heaven of heavens. That is the Heaven where Jesus Christ ascended to and now sits ruling over all, and having all authority, power, and dominion. Satan was cast forever out of the presence of God until the last judgment, but, not out of Heaven completely. You have to remember that heaven itself is another realm, one that we can not see. Also, all demons are “Fallen Angels” there are just different ones.
Satan is of course the ruler of these demons, and has established a kingdom of his own. Just as there is a rank and order among the angels in Heaven that serve God and Jesus Christ there is a rank and order among the demons and their kingdom in serving Satan. Scripture indicates that there is a rank and order system among the demons when it refers to Abbadon. Abbadon is the ruler of the demons in the abyss. It is from this that we can reason that Satan has some type of ranking system within his kingdom, not to mention the fact that to assume that his kingdom and the demons that follow and serve him would be unorganized is not logical.
This is where we will get into the names of the demons. I’m sure most of you have come across websites that list all the names of known demons and their ranks. While some of the names you see are legitimate, you simply can not trust all of them. As a matter of fact, you can throw most of them out. The Bible does name some of the demons in scripture as do other ancient writings. The problem with trusting any other ancient writings is that they have been found to be inaccurate as well as contradict what the Bible teaches. It is for these reasons that the names of demons found in anything but the Bible simply can not be trusted. Having said that, that doesn’t mean you have to disregard what it says altogether because some of it could be true. You should just be mindful that it could also be wrong. Remember though that the Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and it will never mislead you. The fact of the matter is that most demons will take on the name of whatever they’re inflicting or doing at the time. I will list some of the names of demons found in the Bible below. Most of these are the “gods” and idols that the different cultures and people worshipped. Scripture indicates that it was actually demons that influenced this type of worship and activity.
Finally, I need to address an age old myth concerning the names of demons. That myth is that if you say or write the name of a demon you will be attacked. This stems from the old saying “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” It is most unfortunate but there are some people that lead others to believe this. Saying or writing the name of a demon will not cause you to be attacked by one. It’s the fear and recognition that you are giving the demon that could cause an attack. Even then one would have to be around, and be strong enough to do anything. Not to mention several other things that would need to take place. I say the names of demons all the time, have just written a list of them above, and nothing happens.
In conclusion, there’s more to demons than most people realize. As I’ve said before, the only true way to correctly learn about demons and the demonic is through the Church, not your local library. Most of the websites on the internet that have information about demons are just not accurate or are completely wrong. The same goes for many of the books that have been written about demons. Unless you get your information through the Church, Seminary, or a Bible college you can not trust what is out there. Just like you shouldn’t believe everything you see and hear, you shouldn’t believe everything you read either.
|Contact Name||Kevin R. Ranoldo|
|Demonic/Inhuman hauntings. NJSPR investigators are trained to deal with the most dangerous of paranormal entities, the demonic. Demonologist and former pastor, Karl Weinke, leads the team during these intense investigations. We are fully equipped to perform home exorcisms and blessings of individuals. NJSPR exists to come to the aid of individuals who are being victimized by paranormal activity in their homes.|
|Contact Name||Destiny Gonzalez|
|We are a paranormal research and response team based in Central Oklahoma, although we are willing to travel. Our team focuses on collecting data from investigations, and also to help aide the clients. We investigate any claim of unexplainable phenomena: hauntings, dark cases including the demonic, ufology, cryptids, and anything in between. Our team does offer cleansings based on the type of haunting, and the level of the activity, we also cater to people’s respective religions when cleansing. Our team also have a few sensitives that we take with us, as well as outside psychic consultation. We do not charge for investigations, or to do cleansings. We enjoy helping people and take great pride in doing so!|
Name: Hunter Archive Text Repository and Entity Database or HATRED
Location: Inland NW of USA
Phone: (509) 432-3747