If I believed that a spiritual entity called Satan truly exists, I would lay the blame for the senseless killings by terrorists on him, or it. Because there is no doubt that terrorists who believe rewards await them in the spiritual sky if they kill unarmed innocent men, women and children are truly being deceived — and Satan is known as the Great Deceiver, yes?
In fact, if there is any truth to the existence of Satan and of the heavenly host, then terrorists would surely suffer greatly in the afterlife — because no god would reward them for the evil they have done.
But I don’t believe in the Biblical story as interpreted by fundamentalists. I do, however, see the symbolism in it all, and the underlying principles found in all great spiritual philosophies, including the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the great Bhagavad’Gita.
The initial experience of dying — the white light at the end of the tunnel, the first encounter with a loving presence — is the same for everyone, apparently. But then comes a time of purging, or purgatory, as some call it. And some have called it hell, because it is there that one sees and understands and experiences the sorrow he or she caused in life — and feels the pain as if it was being done to them. Of course, as the Book of the Dead explains, it is illusion — but very powerful, frightening illusion.
All of this happens while the astral and mental bodies that once occupied a physical body slowly disintegrate, essentially completing the dying process before the spirit is fully liberated and can slumber before its next incarnation.
It is said that good spiritual souls, like Jesus, for example, pass through the astral and mental realms quickly after death, because they have little to hold them there. But people who were particularly evil may languish in a state of purgatory for hundreds if not thousands of years, feeling the pain and sorrow they have inflicted on others over and over again. It may seem like an eternity to them, so thick and dense are the astral and mental bodies they have built up.
Eventually, though, they are liberated, slumber . . . and are then reborn in the physical world, basically picking up from where they left off in terms of their mental condition.
But karma is not done with them yet. If they killed a thousand people in a former life, they must die a thousand similar deaths. Because the law of the universe is rooted in cause and effect, in reaping what you sow, in karma.
It cannot be escaped. And it may explain why some people are born into a life of suffering, while others are born into a life of plenty.
Consider what awaits Adolph Hitler in his future lives. Consider what awaits the leader of ISIS. Suffering. So much suffering.
Of course, an atheist with no belief in the afterlife might simply shrug, and say nothing has any meaning. Whether we die today in a terrorist attack or in so many years of old age, we pass into oblivion, and it will be as if we never lived at all.
To be or not to be, that is the question . . .
But either way, terrorists are deluded. They are wasting their lives, and perhaps many of their lives to come. And they will suffer, now, and possibly for thousands and thousands of years to come.
Blame it on Satan, if you will.
WTF!?!?! JP It’s “vanilla”. I decide to “end” you if I can. I decide whether I “open-carry”(because we ‘all’ know, ain’t nobody to stop you if I do, “cause-effect”, 3rd Newtonian Law). Nobody said democracy+Christian ‘values’ is a given. As Sharia Law is a given. But g_d is definitely having a great time. If you “believe”. Bingo. We really do need the Quantum physicists in this discussion. what? %@
Hmmm, maybe you should read up on the history of man kind, granted the tools keep evolving and our numbers are growing exponentially, but relative effects have not changed.
I think the vast majority of people are good, kindhearted souls who would not commit the sorts of atrocities that ISIS terrorists and the like do. Still, we each sow our own karma.
Of course, I realize that many people do not see the nature of things through my spiritual lens, and that many believe we only have one life to live. But I wrote this post for ISIS terrorists — because they do believe in an afterlife, as do many other fundamentalists. On that level, all great spiritual literature shares the same underlying principles, and none promote the senseless murder of unarmed men, women and children with the promise of rewards in the afterlife.
I think we need to get that point across to those who might be recruited — i.e. deceived — by ISIS.
Now that’s the word. “Deception”. And here I have to agree with Paul “relative effects have not changed”. I am also amazed and humbled by our numbers(Pop.) that are good + kindhearted compared to the evil Captains who want more of whatever wets their whistle. Perhaps that the majority of us are not annihilating ourselves is of course natural self-preservation. We are not lemmings after all. But we do behave like monkeys
This article has stuck in my mind since you posted it, Jillian. After Scott Peck wrote his awesome book, The Road Less Traveled, he followed it up with People of the Lie. You might like to read a synoptic list of his ideas on ‘human evil’ in Wikipedia’s article on him. It accurately pegs the attitudes and actions of ISIS.
I look at the karma-reincarnation scheme as not that human-friendly. What person wouldn’t scream moral outrage at being dragged into court, charged with guilt, condemned and sentenced without being told their crime? Also, my resurrection hope of seeing my mom and dad with recognizable faces and real bodies I can hug tight in a future reunion is, for me, a far more human-friendly theology. In fact, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to see human-friendliness as the best evaluating measure of cultural history’s claims about religious ‘truth’….
Anyway—as far as what an individually ‘conscious’ and cognizant-of-personal-guilt afterlife holds for Satan-deceived ISIS terrorists—17 years ago I wrote my take on what the biblical framework predicts for martyrs and their executioners:
So hard to reason, so hard to feel,
With the soul on fire with burning zeal!
So hard the heart, so darkened the spark
Of Heaven’s light under Satan’s mark!
And so the hand, created to bless,
Torches Christ’s martyrs tied to a pyre,
Confirming a hell-bound wilderness:
The scheme of a sick fiend’s foul desire.
And so the saints Jesus saved to shine
Slip from the grace of their earthly breath
Into the glory of life divine—
They follow the Son and conquer death.
The faithful pawn of the serpent’s will
Feeds on the ashes of zeal cooled down,
Chews on the carcass of rotting thrill,
Chokes on a bone, and dies with a frown. . . .
Quickly the devil seizes his slave,
Squeezes him tight with his dragon-grip,
Spreads fiery fangs like an open grave,
And sinks them into the brain, to sip. . . .
“Mercy!” his captive cries too late.
“Merci!” the captor cackles in lust,
Gorged with souls he shackled with hate
Safe from the Savior they failed to trust.
“Help!” the slave screams, “The flames are real!”
“Hell!” screams the serpent, with blasting heat.
“I own the sinners who ate my meal—
Slaves that served well are the best to eat!”
So hot the blaze, so heavy the dark
Of a soul inflamed by the liar’s spark!
So much to regret, such pain to feel,
For the one consumed in the devil’s zeal!
— David L. Hatton, 4/19/1999
[in Poems Between Death and Life (c) 1999, 2014]
To quote James A. Long: “To me there is no devil who willfully leads human beings into ways of evil; nor is there any personal God who as willfully leads human beings into paths of rectitude. However, good and evil, just as heat and cold, day and night, and all other bipolar manifestations, are always with us. But they are relative conditions of living beings, and not inherent entities in themselves. Therefore good and evil in human relationships are seen as relative states of consciousness. Good, we can say, represents that which is in harmony with the upward trend of progress; evil, that which tends to retrogress, to distort and upset the natural equilibrium. What seems good to some aborigines in Australia and Africa may seem frightfully evil to us — and, perhaps, vice versa!” http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/world/christ/xt-jal2.htm
And this from James A. Long in the same article: “The serpent in almost every land was not originally a symbol of cunning or deception, but rather of wisdom and a bringer of light and understanding. If we consider the serpent of Genesis in the role of a “Light-bringer,” which is what Lucifer means, we can see how amazingly different will be our whole concept of man’s origin.”