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What is a Demon

Defining Demons/Daemons is a very difficult subject.

The concept of demons is very old, and transcends many cultures.

Egyptians, Zoroastrians, and most ancient religions and civilizations

had some sort of concept which corresponded to the modern idea of daemons.

The Greek word Daemon isn't necessarily negative in connotation at all.
It means a god or goddess, or any other entity higher than man, and lower than God.
It also means THE divine power... so technically the ancient word
Daemon isn't necessarily a negative thing.
However in common usage it has become so. Its origin... also has a bit of negativity in it.
It may derive from a word indicating to divide, or to distribute.
There in may be the true problem with demons... they divide... as opposed to unifying.
On the other hand the ancient usage of the Greek word also indicates the higher self,
or the spirit of a person... thus the Greek Daemon
isn't really what people mean when they say Demon.

The ancient Hebrews believed in pleasant and unpleasant demons.
They believed in both the se'irim and the shedim.
The former was a sort of Satyr type being, or faun... who had no negative connotation at all really,
just that they like many other cultures had seen them.
Some very early Jews offered sacrifices to them, but other than that...
there was no negative sense to their belief in them at all.
Shedim on the other hand were seen as more sinister,
but part of a sort of negative aspect of Cabalistic practice... where one could make a golem.
That word was also used for idol worship, and possessing and troubling entities...
and that is very akin to the usage we all tend to think of.

Overall the concept that Daemons come in two categories, harmful and benign is echoed in Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and many other religions and cultures.

Myth wise, Bad Daemons do things like eat your soul,
or possess you and cause you to kill your children.
They inhabit idols, and demand sacrifices, where as Good Daemons help you,
or at worst ignore you and frolic in the fields like fauns.

Much of the bad press which these Demons/Daemons get is from the Christian Faith,
and of course the modern cinema. It is clear that the bible complains of Bad Demons,
but doesn't mention the good ones as any relation to the bad ones very often at all,
but there are references to Angels, and heavenly beings called elders,
and also the creatures with four faces, and many somewhat disguised female entities etc.
Thus the Bible makes its own distinction between good and bad Daemons;
it is just specific in the type of creature it means...
so that the name is specific in the connotation.

The most common words for the negative Demons in the bible are as follows.
Evil Spirit
Unclean spirit

Satan just means Adversary, literally one who resists, opposes, or withstands.
It could apply to any opposition to God, or God's people,
though generally Satan is thought to be Lucifer,
it is more correctly assumed that they mean Beelzebub,
and the Gnostic texts leave little doubt that at least part of the time
when Christ says Satan he means Demurge.

Beelzebub - variously translated Lord of the Flies,
and Lord of the house... he is known as the prince of demons.
He likely corresponds to the entity Bael,
whose followers sacrificed their own children to him,
by burning them alive. Not really a nice guy.

Devil - diabolos occurs only in the New Testament.
IT means slanderer, or false accuser.
That reticular word isn't always used to indicate a Daemon at all...
it can mean a human person. It doesn't denote power or lack of it,
only the action of falsely accusing.
All of the occurrences of the word Daemon are also translated devil also...
so that makes the KJV confusing.
In any case diabolos in the negative sense used in the Greek means a guilt causing spirit,
or a spirit that makes you accuse others.
A demon that makes you do wrong and then points the finger at you...
which is kind of a cruel trick. Most of the time in the bible
Devil is used to denote a possessing entity...
about to be cast out, so the inference is that this creature makes people do wrong,
and then makes them feel even more guilty...
thus they need to be gotten out of the person.

Spirit - pneuma has both amazingly positive connotations,
and deeply negative connotations... depending on the entity.
It means literally a movement of air.

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Copyright - Fred Batt - Darkforce  - 2008/09