I understand the church had a big role in demonizing gods of other cultures, but when and why did the negativity become so prevalent? I want to put to rest the idea of demons being evil and malevolent. How should i view demons?(I want to reference this whenever i feel doubt) What are the actual spirits i should be weary of? Any information, personal experiences, or beliefs you can give me would be much appreciated.
You can listen to all the gossip and chit-chat that you want, or you can summon the demons yourself and form your own opinion. Your choice.
Honestly, it was a series of events. Demonizing deities from previous religions has been in practice for ages. For example the Babylonians did it to the Sumerian pantheon centuries before the church was established. It is a technique to reach next generations that the former religion was “wrong” while the new one is “right”.
For a more current example, compare how demons were viewed in early Judaism to Christianity. Judaism was created through an evolution of polytheism to henotheism to monotheism. Throughout these stages, most demons were viewed as spirits that were similiar to Djinn. While some of these that were considered to be avoided at all costs (mainly Lilith as well as a few others who escape me at the moment), a majority of them did not bother humans unless a rule has been broken. Like Djinn, they were also viewed to be mortal and because of this, there is a succession of demonic kings within the legends excluded from the Torah. They were not viewed as the source of all evil (like Christianity) as they viewed their God as being that source. If you are interested in exploring this more, I recommend Baal Kadmon’s “Devils, Demons and Ghosts in Hebrew Tradition”.
I believe Christianity likely took it to the next extreme for three main reasons: first was the “collective suffering” of persecution from the Romans, to justify their place in the world and seizing of political power, and the fear behind the Book of Revelations in particular. While the conditions were such a practice would be beneficial has ended, the practice of demonizing what one does not like has stuck around unfortunately.
So, how does one view demons outside of the realm of dogma? I think the answer lies with actually working with them for yourself. I have come to find them fitting more of the original greek definition of Daemon. They are spirits concerned with matters of their own existence who may or may not be helpful to an individual. Learning how to trust your own gut and sense the presence of these beings can serve as a guide to which to approach and which to avoid. Not all demons are “evil”, but they are not always “good” either. Like people, they are a mixed bag. Or at least, that is my thoughts
You’ll never put to rest such views, demons have existed since Ancient Sumer as both messengers and punishers sent forth by the Gods, they always held a helpful yet scary place, it just so happens with the rise of monotheistic faiths so did the downfall of the place demons had.
There’s also demonized Gods, though not to say the demons mentioned are the Gods, rather some demons were created based off the existence of some Gods and some demons were simply linked to Gods despite them being separate.
It is what it is honestly, many demons don’t bat an eye at such frivolous things, I dont think people who have experience with demons should either.
Ive been looking at it is this way.
Even see the old western with John Wayne and he tosses the kid in the river when the boy mentions he can’t swim?
Its me, a demon and and angel. Demon tosses me in the river to learn to swim while the angel stands by making sure my dumb ass doesn’t die/drown.
@C.Wilson i would say that christianity just keep jewish tradition in this case. For any other God was enemy of Yahwe. And Jews were first christians.
About demonizing gods as you said it was common long before Christianity, if any of gods was too popular to make him a mere deamon it was transformed in some kind of negative force (like Seth). Usually, apart from mythology, older Gods were under new regime personifications of chaos, and chaos was negative to civilization.
I only know two divine being who succesfully went through different religions it is Hekate. At first a Titan, later honoured by Zeus and invited to Olimp, popular in Rome and combined (iconographicaly) with St. Andrew. She’s really a queen of earth, sea and sky (Another one is Isis in christianity merged inconographicaly with Black Madonna)
When old gods begin to be forget, they also were feared, as anything that is unknown naturally can make brains to fear. It is important to remeber that in anciet cultures (especially thoes pre Roman) priests holds influential position so when new religion and their priests has win the old priests and their cults had to be dismissed if they not convert.
But one thing is older than that, that is Laws against witchcraft and witches. That was prohibited and identified with poisoning or other malicious in christian Law, based on Roman Law, also among Greeks and among Jews (and I am not sure, but as Jews took a lot from Babilonian and Egyptian, maybe it also was prohibited there).
Generally, when some spirits can give one advatage over others it is not celebrated by many, ergo it is said that it is evil daemon. But funny, some perceive Yahwe as desert spirit or daemon, who arose to the position of the Great, one and only god in time…
Because there is a big difference between the deamon an a demon and a god and a ghost and apirit and an entity and a malevolent entity, an egregore and a tulpa and a fay and a gnome etc etc. Christians classify everything thats now what they approve of as their religious preferences to be a demon. My idiot Christian relatives will tell me they think the Hindu gods are demonic simply because its not what they believe. We call the spirits we work with demons more or less as a mockery at the ignorance of Christians who themselves more often than not dont even understand their own faith or its astrotheological origins.