Do Angels and Demons Exist?

From Robert Lawrence Kuhn, host and creator of Closer To Truth:

Two-thirds of all Americans believe not only that angels and demons exist, but also that they are “active in the world.” Skeptics are dumbfounded by such “archaic nonsense.”
To believe in nonphysical beings—souls or spirits without bodies or brains—in today’s world may seem, well, delusional. But there are serious scholars who take angels and demons seriously. Why?
Certainly, nonphysical beings would challenge the scientific worldview that only the physical is real. Certainly, angels and demons, in one form or another, populate most of the world’s religions. But do angels and demons really exist?
J.P. Moreland, a Christian philosopher, defends angels and demons without hesitation or embarrassment. “I don’t believe they exist,” he tells me. “I know they exist—and there are two reasons. First, I’m convinced Christianity is true, so angels and demons being real is a system-dependent belief. Second, there are just too many credible, intelligent people who’ve had encounters with angels and demons to dismiss it. … I myself had an encounter with three angels.”
I put my skepticism to Moreland: “I’m not disputing your first-person account—I certainly believe you believe it—but I have to tell you, I am not moved one nanometer in my belief. If these angels are real, sent by God, why don’t such encounters happen more often?”
“They do,” Moreland responds.
After we agree to disagree—arguing with Moreland is, for me, revelatory and great fun—I ask about the purpose of angels.
“They are persons, they have lives, they’re involved in this world, they interact with God,” he says. “It is actually the case that children have guardian angels. This isn’t make-believe. This is real, and angels do protect children. Now, there is evil in this world, and so it’s not 100 percent.”
Not 100 percent? “It seems they’re doing an awful job,” I shoot back.
“But that’s based on your assumption of what [children suffering] would be like if angels weren’t on the job,” Moreland answers. “You don’t know that.”
“Look at Africa,” I say. “What are those guardian angels doing? Why don’t they feed those people instead of just watching them?”
“You don’t know what Africa would be like if [angels] weren’t involved,” he responds.
“I can’t imagine it worse in some cases,” I say.
“Then you need to go to Africa and talk to Africans,” says Moreland, “because they will tell you that they have seen angels and that they have helped them tremendously.”
“If Africans had more food, they wouldn’t see so many angels.”
A good sport as well as a sophisticated apologist, Moreland laughs and says, “Now that’s ad hominem argument and you know it.”
He was right: I did know it. So I move on: “Is there a finite number of angels?” I ask.
“Yes,” says Moreland.
“About how many?” I inquire attentively.
“I have absolutely no idea,” he answers.
“More than 100?” I persist.
“Yes,” he says.
“Less than a trillion?” I press.
Another “yes” from Moreland.
Surprised by the specificity, I’m momentarily speechless. In this business, setting boundaries between 100 and 1 trillion I’d call progress.
Moreland is both fun and smart (neither makes him right, of course). If he harbors doubts, I couldn’t find them.
Normally, I’d now go to a skeptic. But I already know what one would say. I prefer to explore the thinking behind such beliefs: how believers explain angels and demons.
Religious convictions are so strong. Does it help to get the biblical basis for belief in angels and demons?
Early Christian scholar James Tabor, author of The Jesus Dynasty, says that in his translation of the entire Hebrew Bible (called “The Original Bible” project), he will not use the word “angel” once. “It’s the Hebrew word ‘malach,’” he says, “which means messenger. And even though in some cases they are spiritual entities from God, the word ‘angel’ is misleading. The same word is also used for human messengers of King David. It’s the same word! So in the Hebrew Bible, ‘malach’ doesn’t have that ‘angel’ connotation of winged creatures benevolently watching over us.”
He goes on: “‘Demon’ doesn’t occur at all in the Hebrew Bible. Never. There’s one story about beings in the heavenly court with God, and one of them says, ‘Let me be a lying spirit in the mouth of this prophet.’ Almost like, let me go play this trick. But he’s not a demon in any traditional sense. So although the ancient Hebrews believed in entities beyond this world, it wasn’t thickly populated so that evil would be explained by these ‘demons.’”
What happened, he explains, was that “in later periods, in the Hellenistic world, you get this sense of pessimism, which may correlate with the rise of angels and demons. Why is there war, disease, injustice, suffering? There has to be more of an explanation than just fate, they reasoned. And I think it was very convenient for people to imagine that if there’s sickness, it’s because there are demons. It’s this attempt to explain the world with all of its troubles in some transcendent way, to explain why there’s such evil. There’s a bit of that in the Hebrew Bible, but when you open the New Testament, you’re suddenly in that world where much of Jesus’ activities involve casting out demons and healing the sick.”
Tabor concludes that “the demon-populated world, thick as flies, causing every evil, with Satan at the helm, with myriads of demons, is a comparatively late development and probably tells us very little about the cosmos as it really is.”
To get a Catholic perspective, I ask University of Notre Dame philosopher Thomas Flint. “It seems to me to be perfectly plausible to believe that angels and demons exist,” Flint begins, “though perhaps not with all of the cultural trappings—the wings and long robes.”
Flint defines an angel as “simply a finite nonphysical person who has, so to speak, decided for God to obey God. And a demon is simply a nonphysical finite person who has decided against God to rebel against God.” To Flint, angels and demons are “free spiritual beings who have something akin to a human soul, but not a physical body connected with it.” And, he adds, “it seems entirely reasonable to believe that God would create such beings.” One reason, he says, is that “there seems to be a large distance between us and God,” with “lots of possibilities for different kinds of beings for God to create [to fill the gap]. If anything, it would be very surprising if God had not created anything lower than himself but higher than us.”
Flint’s rational account of angels and demons feels so at odds with both objective science and tabloid foolishness. To me, in a way, that commends it. But it’s a mistake to assume that the existence of nonphysical beings depends on religious interpretations
Dean Radin, a leading researcher in extrasensory perception, has special ideas about angels and demons. “I view them as a projection of the unconscious,” he says. “You don’t need to go too far into the ESP world to appreciate why people persist in believing in such things. There is some kind of intersubjective reality, a reality that we create between ourselves and others by sharing thoughts and feelings.”
This is more than personal psychology. “It’s a natural extension of the idea that you’re not locked inside your head,” Radin says. “The moment that you make the leap of faith that our intentions, to some degree, can affect the world around us and what other people think, then you might create a shared mental space which can appear as if it were an angel or demon. It will seem just as real as a hard table would seem real, but it’s different in type.”
Radin uses the example of ghosts and haunting (where, he stresses, psychological explanations can be ruled out). “People go to places and they experience weird things,” he says. “Sometimes, they actually see characters of some types. Assuming these reports are real, where did those ‘characters’ come from? Perhaps many years of people all paying close attention to a given space will change it in some way so that when somebody new comes along, in that vicinity, maybe that person can resonate in some way with all of these intentions going back into the past.”
Radin calls it “place memory,” a literal physical change of some new kind in a specific location caused by multiple interactions with multiple minds. “At an informational level, the physical substrate, like the granite wall of a castle, for example, physically changes in some way,” he speculates. “And it stores information. So when somebody comes into the vicinity of that information, they pick it up.”
As a scientist, Radin prefers this kind of explanation to that of spiritual beings and nonphysical realms. “I’m thinking more or less from a physicalist, scientific perspective,” he says.
“What’s the alternative?” I ask.
“That there really is something there,” he says. “From a spiritual perspective, there may be some kind of actual entity which has gotten stuck there.”
Instead, Radin favors “something like a collective unconscious, which would have aspects of telepathy [mind-to-mind communication] and psychokinesis [mind over matter].” He calls this “large ESP,” and his conjecture is that what we traditionally call “angels and demons” may not be the creations of some God, but rather the manifestations of ESP.
Could our collective consciousness really bring such strange stuff into existence? This is more bizarre—and more entertaining—than I’d realized.
But I’ve had about enough mysticism: I relent; I need a skeptic. I ask law professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong how we deal with various kinds of spirits.
“We deal with them the same way we deal with fairies and gnomes in the garden,” he says. “There’s just no reason to believe in any kind of nonphysical creature. Stories about angels and demons are inconsistent: They’re nonphysical but they have wings!”
He continues: “Can you prove that they don’t exist? Of course not.” (It’s impossible to “prove” this kind of negative.)
So what’s left for the rational skeptic?
“Just make the argument that there is simply no good reason whatsoever to believe in angels or demons,” he says. “You might as well believe in Linus’ Great Pumpkin in the famous Peanuts cartoon.”
Among his physical, psychological, and cultural explanations of why a false belief in angels and demons would arise in many disparate human cultures, Sinnott-Armstrong blames people’s proclivity to use demons as scapegoats. The psychological analysis is that because people do not want to believe that evil is perpetrated by themselves, their family, and their friends, they conjure up (fictitious) demons that (supposedly) lead humans astray. With demons as causative agents in the world, people can feel better about themselves.
As I see it, a starting fact is that, yes indeed, most human beings believe in angels and demons. Across diverse cultures, nonphysical beings, in great numbers and variety, fly freely in collective myth and individual imaginations. How to explain such robust, broad-based belief?
It depends on your worldview.
Naturalists reject the reality of all such claims, citing personal illusion, mass delusion, and “cultural viruses”—called “memes”—as underlying causes.
Though not prevalent in the Hebrew Bible, angels and demons feature prominently in Christian doctrine—real beings, created by God as part of God’s grand master plan.
The radical alternative, advocated by some ESP researchers, is that angels and demons are manifestations of the paranormal.
Surely, angels and demons help us understand the human psyche, whether or not they are more.
Who’d have thought that angels and demons could “wing” us closer to truth.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn speaks with J.P. Moreland, Thomas Flint, Dean Radin, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and James Tabor in “Do Angels and Demons Exist?”—the 10th episode in the new season of the Closer To Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God TV series (49th in total).
The series airs on PBS World (often Thursdays, twice) and many other PBS and noncommercial stations. Every Thursday, participants will discuss the current episode.

P.S. Click here to visit our Closer to Truth archive.

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29 Responses

  1. ABrookhart says:

    I’m a little confused in this article…according to the author, there are no angels or demons…but what about ghosts and haunted houses? Just like angels being “active in the world,” ghosts come and haunt people and leave them in terror. Also, there are no exact amount of angels in the world. It could be more or less than a trillion, but who are we to be precise?

  2. Milton says:

    To destroy a person’s faith in something that is truly good, something that has helped billions of people…I personally think that is evil. Of course, some might think killing or maiming or stealing is wrong, but to damage one from the inside like that…that’s just not right. I was raised by Communist parents, born in a country where most people didn’t believe in God. Now I’m a Christian, and, looking back, I truly, truly think that my life has since improved very much. God bless you all.

  3. Jason says:

    Religion has hurt more “billions” of people than helped. It forces people to be irrational and takes ordinarily good people and forces them to do things that are evil or unjust. Regardless, of course angels and demons don’t exist. It’s just another myth in a long line of myths that keep people from advancing in thought. One can choose to believe in a God if they desire. But, if there is a God or angels and demons than they play no part whatsoever in worldly affairs. Not one person to date has provided any evidence that any of that crap is true just like all other myths. Might as well believe in dragons also.

  4. jay says:

    Jason is right, religion in general is wrong, that’s why you should have a “relationship with God” since it is the real one that matters-i mean, look at the middle east, who is their god? look at where they stand-stuck with 30 year old cars in a dust bowl…nice job (fail). for the people that haven’t seen the war of this stuff, you just haven’t opened your eyes. there is one thing that people are here for and it is based on decision. –mainly the decision to go to heaven or hell– people who haven’t had their eyes open are excluded from this “war” between good and evil because evil has taken over and convinced you so that you won’t even want to try getting to god (without god, you go to hell, and in this world-evil has the greater influence to a person that is scientific and has the mind based on the earth being more real than heaven and hell). i really don’t see how you can think like you are when we don’t have a reason to even exist (in other words, when you are dead and in the ground YOU WON’T CARE…unless you are wrong and there is a heaven and hell-then you just spent your life being dumber than the people that make their lives of this “fake” stuff)…it’s like some people don’t even think about the after-life consequences. if you die and you are an atheist, and you are right-great nothing happens, you don’t care by then, you don’t know anything, end of story. now-if you are an atheist and you are wrong… congrats for sealing your fate. we advance for no reason-think about it, we don’t have a reason for being on this earth-we are here to make the decision of whether to go to heaven or hell. angels and demons effect the decisions we make. the decisions we make for this world effects how it will turn out. ps. the rapture will happen due to our decisions-God knows how many people are with him and without him. the rapture will bring the most Christians that there will ever be at one time. –it’s all on us– that’s why only god knows. at this rate…it’s not happening for a while-thanks a lot people.

  5. Puzzled says:

    Suppose demons come into existence independent of the will of God. Why does he not then zap them out of existence? Since their specialty is doing evil, why not remove them from the world and make it a better place?

    Still less can I comprehend why God would create demons. Absent their presence, we humans seem to be quite proficient at making out lives miserable enough. Why add to our miseries by foisting demons upon us?

    I ask believers to explain why God allows the existence of demons, let alone creates them.

  6. Ty says:

    @Puzzled, God didn’t create demons. The “demons” many people refer to as today are lucifer and his fallen angels who chose to rebel against God, because of their jealousy of his power. That is why jealousy is human nature and a sin of the 10 commandments. God created man in his own image to see how many would choose to be god-like (self righteous) and rebellious like lucifer or to be humble and faithful like the other angels who dwell in heaven. God saw lucifers potential to lead souls astray so he challenged lucifer to teach him a lesson and prove that he is the one true God by creating humanity. Humanity (adam and eve) wanted to know how being a God felt like so they tasted the fruit of the forbidden tree therefore sin was born. God left it to the world to decide whether they choose good or evil and he did it to prove his point that there is no other God and that man has a purpose to one day worship his name in heaven and take on our wings so that we may all live eternally. If anything we are more blessed the angels because they have always known glory but when we die as humans in the name of christ we will open our eyes to glory and experience something better than all the worldly desires put together. Keep in mind that the devil wins you over by your mind while God wins you over by your heart. So you choose: what’s better? Brains or love? Earth or Heaven? Good or evil?

  7. ralph says:

    god created everything and because god is good then he couldn’t possibly be the one who created the devil so the devil doesn’t really exist neither do demons nore evil because evil is the abscence of good as cold doesn’t exist because it is just the abscence of heat as for angels they or he are a part of god=son*father*HOLY SPIRIT (1*1*1=1)
    ps:the story of adam and eve is just a methaphore of how god gave so much for the humans but they were still tempted(snake) to eat the apple(sin)

  8. priya says:

    I believe that there is a god and no matter how many religion there is,it only have one god.I believe in god and if there is a god,a devil must exist,with all the movies they made abt exorism and exorist,something must be real but the only person who can tell us that is the person who witness it.I believe in both god and devil but i dont know if its true or not bcause it god exist,demon must exist.Some people might not believe while others do but no one will not know the truth about behind it.

  9. kennedy says:

    A person does not wake up one morning and say am a christain or believe in God, something must happen to that person for them to believe. you athiest are blind fools, who are blinded to see the truth right before your very eyes. I myself have witness extrodinary things, things beyond what we see physically. Scienntist knowledge challenged GOD due to the fact they only choose to see physically. Science is seeing to believe, while religion is believing to see. Read the bible and you may understand rather than talking crap and trying to think GOD is a being you can point poles at to detect his energy. Mortal we are, yet your words are vile, your intelligence is gift from GOD, your very breath is a gift and by his grace you live. Show an appreciation to the most hight. For your ignorance will only pledge you to hell. I tell you for those of you that believe we involve from monkeys, I say monkeys will remain monkeys and dogs will remain dogs. Vessels you are to the devil cunning scheme and lies.

  10. Willow says:

    @jay the real question is this; “Who is the real god?”. We are often confused because there are more than one god people are worshoping. You were right about when you said that the real God matters, but that could be anybody. I believe in life-after-death, but it could be anybody at the other side. We have next to no proof of Jesus’ existence, and I think that maybe the Bible was written in a different way to what it was. Even the Bible could be wrong, but I know that it definately shows you how to be a good person. Earth is a beautiful place, despite all the evil, so why is there no purpose? You christians don’t understand that there are others who are worshoping gods, and any one of them could be real.
    If you are thinking that I am against God, I’m not. I know that something great created the world. Even God should be forgiving, even to those who worshiped another God, because they are blind (they never knew). But, like I said, any god could be real. Maybe not one at all, since books can be wrong (even the best ones can be wrong) and there is no evidence of God, unless you experience it yourself. I hope that I may experience something great someday.
    …And that is my point of view. I only half-believe in God, but I hope that explains my opinion. I hope that I didn’t offend you.

  11. Kennedy says:

    I myself am a Christian but not wealthy to say am a true Christian. But during childhood I grew up in a faith, strong believers household. I was curious to know why people believed or worshipped these gods in which I call pagans. It never seemed clearer me because as a child I saw miracles, wonders done by da one true God I grew close to. But after reading da bible I was able to conclude these were false gods. Even in revelation there’s a reference to da Greek God Zeus as Satan himself. but dat was nt enough, so I
    took it upon myself to study near death experience n
    They all Shared however similar experience e.g heaven, hell, angels etc. So my desire to know whether I was serving da one true God was fulfill. Hope dis help will love to share my experience bt will too long to write. No offence to anyone.

    they all shared the similar experience. Some were extrod

  12. somedude says:

    @kennedy, I’m sorry if we ignorant “Scienntist” types don’t believe in “da one true God” like you. I’m a newly formed atheist and I have found myself much more at peace with myself since I’ve become this way. I’m sure you believe what you have experienced is true and the only truth. I know this because I know what it’s like to think that way, but don’t hate on others for what they believe. That’s not going to change them. And if you are choosing to call someone ignorant, it helps to use correct grammar.

  13. s. pimpernel says:

    Why won’t god heal amputees?

  14. Suriel says:

    There really is nothing that any one person can say to make you believe. I know this because I grew up in an atheist household, never went to church or read the bible. I had similar friends. Or rather, I grew up with the misfit bunch of friends who called themselves Wiccan or Antichrist-which ever one seemed more interesting for the week. I was neither any of those, thank God, but I tagged along with them because I simply did not fit in with another people at the time. I’m not saying there were not people very randomly trying to save me but I tell you with all certainty that their words did not hit me, that is until God came to me. I’ll spare you the details but it’s been two years now and looking back I see the reason for my life being “Godless” for so many years, so I could help others too who were there once too. I have seen both sides of the argument. I had the same questions too but I tell you honestly if you truly are in the same shoes I was in then nothing we say to you now will convince you otherwise. God has to do that. God will chose just the right time, for He is patient enough, to speak to you and tell you the Why. Don’t look to people for answers, and don’t look to yourself. What have you gathered since doing that? Knowledge of the World. You can’t take knowledge of the world with you. Nor anything from this world, not your body, nor money nor any little thing. You have to develop your spirit and you have to ask for it, truly and deeply ask for it with all your heart and soul, not just to test God. God knows when you’re earnest and truly want answers. He knows what you need before you even form the words to ask for it. Without the spirit, a Holy spirit, you cannot understand the things we say to you, nor will you truly wish to understand for it all will seem foolish to you. So what then? What should you do if you really want to know? Really want to know the answers to your questions? Then simply ask. Ask God, with all your heart and mind, ask for a pardon and ask Him to guide you. It’s the only way. 1Corinthians2:14

  15. Acosta says:

    There is a God I can tell you that much but as far as angels and demons go those are fictional entities that were made up by deceptive theologians. The bible is not a valid source when it comes to the truth about God. The bible makes God seem evil and disgusted with his creation. The real God is the God that we know in our hearts not the God of the Romans or of the King James (The Murderer) bible version. Throughout civilization, there have been encryption and documentation of other worldly visitors from the sky that appeared to be humanlike and non-humanlike and that worked wonders both good and evil on mankind. These beings came to earth with great knowledge of our universe and with highly advanced technology that built the pyramids in Egypt and other ancient world marvels that still puzzle the world’s most advanced researchers today. That is where angels and demons come into play. They were misinterpreted by future generations as spiritual forces when they were physical than spiritual at one point. As far as Adam and Eve go, there were no such people as Adam and Eve. However, there were groups of Males and Females created by God to multiply on the earth to begin the human civilization on this planet. We have to remember people that the bible was taken out of its true context by the deceptive Roman Catholic Church and King James (The murderer). “Sin” is an English word and Adam & Eve are English names. It is obvious those names were made up. The disciples of Jesus were all English as well. What foolery and how pathetic that we fall for this mess we have been brainwashed by. The truth is in our evident history. The Universe and God can’t be explained in this one little comment box. We know what is right and we know what is wrong. We know because we feel it and God has revealed to us the truth from the beginning of our lives til the end.

  16. Sanjay says:

    New evidence for genuine spiritual discovery has emerged that mainstream scientists are taking note of. These concern ancient Yoga literature (Hinduism) which is almost always ignored in science vs religion discussions/interviews.

    The new discoveries have been published in mainstream peer-reviewed science journals. The ancient convergences (there are twenty) with modern science are unequivocal. So many convergences cannot be attributed to ‘chance’ – that’s why they got attention and were published in mainstream journals.

    The new research shows that ancient Indian Yogis had valid knowledge of deep-sea hydrothermal vents thousands of years ago, though they were discovered by science in 1977! It is absolutely impossible to know about deep-sea hydrothermal vents without the use of a state-of-the art submarine.

    How did they acquire that valid but impossible information? To skeptics/atheists, it’s an unanswerable question.

    I believe the Ancient Yogis accessed this valid knowledge of the world through the power of spirituality, as explained by the ancient Yogis themselves.

    And believe it or not, the ancient literature also throws a lot of light on the Bible.

    References:

    Sanjay C. Patel, Who Really Discovered Deep-Sea Volcanoes? Marine Scientist, The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMAREST), London, UK, No. 9, 4Q, December 2004, pp. 27-29

    Sanjay C. Patel, Deep-Sea Volcanoes and Their Associated Hydrothermal Vents, Historical Notes, Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi, India, December 2004, 39.4 (2004), pp. 511-518.

    Sanjay C. Patel, Who Were the Earliest Scholars of Submarine Volcanoes and Their Submerged Hydrothermal Vents? 22nd International Congress of History of Science, Book of Abstracts, Beijing 24-30 July 2005, p. 355

  17. bob says:

    i learnt alot from this so thank u

  18. Jesus says:

    Perhaps this how it is suppose to be until naturally the end of order comes. We cannot know all mysteries and dieties only serve purpose for humans to live unified. Religion does corrupt dieties.

  19. Dave says:

    I know people who “see” angels and demons, and for that matter, Jesus Christs. I don’t. They believe in angels, demons, and Jesus Christ. I don’t. Which is cause and which is effect? My personal belief is that these things they see are a construct of their own minds. They see them because they believe in them. Fortunately for me, I don’t believe in them, so my brain has never created this illusion for me. I think these kinds of beliefs tap into something within our brains, that has evolved over a very long time, that makes us susceptible to such visions.

  20. Larry says:

    “Profits and Priests created the gods to prey upon the fears of men” – Ramses from the movie “10 Comandments”.. That about sums it for me.

  21. Kay says:

    This might sound strange but there is a view that demons can some how form themselves into people. Created by the negative and evil that people have. That is kind of like how ghost have Ectoplasm. An immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the presence of a spirit or ghost. The outer granule-free layer of cytoplasm. Angels cannot preform such a task so they do not let themselves be known unless that is something that God had intended. So, angels become guardian angels which almost if not all people have been appointed one. With demons coming on earth and the suspicion of angels being on earth. Then if the war or end of the world that is becoming known but not happening. Could be a future war. Believing in a theory that Angels and Demons are going to be at war. Also, the belief that if Hell wins the battle that God will use the planets that are starting to align or just beginning to. He will align them causing Earth the main source of it all be destroyed so that Lucifer will not be able to control Earth. What if this theory is true?

  22. MageOfNorthWood says:

    That’s not a theory, as it has no grounds to be proven through the scientific method. At best, it is a hypothesis based on logical fallacies. I have spent most of my life studying the scriptures, and being part of many religious communities, and I have drawn my own conclusions. Most can be distilled down to the axiom, be good. The belief in a Diety is, in general, a universal one, however, none of us has the ability to determine who’s concept of God is right. The only logical explaination is that everyone is wrong, and everyone is right. The experience of God is, at it’s core, a personal experience, which differes from person to person, but can be shared through the willful influence of fellow believers. Shared, and individual, religious experiences can be broken down by referencing Jungian Psychology, but this does not make them any less real. Our brains are the physical conduits between the seeing and unseeing world, and what is perceived as real by the individual is real to them, even if the experience has not been shared by others. One must tread carefully when access to this part of the pyche has been achieved, for it’s influence on others can at times be magnetic, and destructive, but it can also bring peace in the lives of others.

    Look at the ministry of Jesus. He was a man that had a firm understanding of the concept that UNCONDITIONAL love for his fellow man brings peace and healing to the hearts, minds, and communities of the world. This was the sole purpose of his ministry, to help us understand the basic concept that we are all brothers and sisters sharing in the struggles of living in an imperfect universe. An unfortunate outcome of his ministry is the bigoted, self-righteous, immoral, and divisive attitudes of some groups claiming to be his deciples. Which stems from the inherent desire of man to gain power and to control others. Yet there are also, those that understand his true message, and do great help in the world.

    The concept of choosing to do good over evil is one that is deeply seeded in our evolutionary process. Altruism has been proven to be a means of preserving our species. In other words, we do good things for others, so that others may also thrive, and that we may feel good about ourselves. This shared positive energy yields positive results. On the contrary, by behaving selfishly, hateful, or disrespectful, we hinder the success of furthering our species, and we suffer or it. Hence, we live in a universe of both “light and darkness.” As is the duality of human nature. I may not be able to say if there is a Heaven, or Hell, but I choose to believe in a Diety that doesn’t take attendence, or punishes those who don’t believe in its existance, but fairly judges the actions of the individual, and if God and/or the afterlife is nothing more than a fabrication of the mind, then one can at least die happy knowing that they used their time in this universe to bring joy and happiness to the lives of others.

  23. Nick says:

    If God is ever-present, all pervasive, in everything we do etc.etc. how is it that people who live in a remote jungle, where Christian missionaries have never reached, don’t already know about him? They shouldn’t need someone to arrive and tell them about an ancient book, the Bible. If the only people who become Christians are those who have had it taught to them, does this not show that it is a man-made construct?
    The natives themselves probably worship a mountain, or a tree. In fact that has just validity as the Christian faith. Can any Christians prove that the spirit of the mountain doesn’t exist?

  24. Rev Dan says:

    @MageofNorthWood. Your comment was extremely well thought out and presented and I am very grateful for your participation in this discussion. So far (as I can tell) your comment seems to make the most sense in it’s exhibition of understanding and it’s simplicity. “Do Good”!
    @All others: My belief is that the Bible and the other tomes purporting to be the word of a God (whosever), being actual products of human kind, are fallible at best and may contain the influence of “priests”, politicians and those wishing to further their control over others to fulfill their own selfish agenda.
    We must remember that the Bible is the culmination of stories passed down down to others, even before the written word was developed and therefore is “remembered” and the scribed. Much like you writing down that story that Grandpa told you about his time during the “Great War”. Much is true, some is made up, and some has been elaborated upon. Memory is fallible and he who writes it down may add his own interpretation of events to “spice” it up or further “explain” from his perception of events.
    The prevailing thought in all of these “books” is that you should be kind, supportive, caring and loving to others. Is that such a bad concept? I think not. Whether you believe in “God” or not – this is how we all should be living our lives.
    I have no doubt that a “God” exists – I look at the world around me, below me, and above me and observe “God’s” existence and evidence in the things I learn and the people I meet (good and bad). That’s really all I need.
    Since there is all this beauty and wonder, I choose to perceive God as kind and loving…and forgiving and so I choose to live as a good and just being with the thought that doing so will help make others lives good.
    Additionally, we all need to believe that there is a reward at the end of our time upon this mortal coil and so “heaven” or it’s equivalent exists as our goal for living a “good” life.
    Lastly, as to the question of Angels and Demons – these entities live within us. Enough said.
    Lastly, and this is a common questions I hear often, do ghosts exist? Easy answer – if you believe in the “holy spirit” or a God, why is it such a reach that ghosts exist also. More complicated answer – We are all made up of many scientific elements including energy. This energy is what causes our bodies and brain to function. All animals function likewise. The difference being that unlike animals humans exhibit coordinated personal ideas, thoughts, principles, and concepts which, in most cases, come from internal dialogues (that discussion with yourself in your head), personal experiences, or what you have learned on your own or from watching or listening to others as you mature that is then communicated orally using voice, physical language (sign language), mannerisms, or facial expressions which are inherent in all of us. We do “good” or “bad” depending upon how we relate to what we have learned in this way, how we see ourselves, and based upon constant internal dialogues we have as we consider courses of action to particular circumstances or events, develop a plan and execute. All these things I’ve mentioned including all the basic human emotions (fear, love, hate, anger, sympathy, empathy, etc), are what makes up our energy – basically the “soul” or “essence” of each of us. The word “soul” being a synonym for spirit, mind, psyche or self. Scientific works, in particular, often consider ‘soul’ as a synonym for ‘mind’. This is all scientific (biology, physiology, psychology, and the like) fact. However; literally no one has been able to say where our energy, “soul”, or essence goes when we cease to exist when our energy can no longer be sustained by our bodies through it’s physical death. Remember energy can not be created or destroyed (refer to it’s scientific definition). This energy; therefore, must go somewhere, either transferred or absorbed by some other “thing”.
    So..in closing, when we cease to be, where does the essence, energy, or “soul” go? Makes you think doesn’t it?

  25. Hello says:

    This article doesn’t make a lot of sense…. I mean how does this prove that angels are or aren’t real? No, if you really want to prove something, you’re going to need more than an article to prove it…You are going to have to firmly believe it, and do some hardcore research with belivers and nonbelievers to prove it. You also would have to do some hardcore research about the supernatural too.

  26. Dave says:

    I don’t believe in angels or demons, but because I know otherwise rational people who claim to have seen them, even spoken to them, I can’t dismiss their existence out of hand. I believe in the scientific method as much as anybody, and until I have objective evidence of the existence of spiritual beings, I will not believe in them, but when scientists tell us that they haven’t been able to detect dark matter, which supposedly makes up most of the mass of the universe (we think), I’m not prepared to say that the existence of nonphysical beings is impossible. Others’ claimed encounters with them may be explainable as some sort of psychological phenomenon, or it may be that some things are beyond scientific proof. In the end, I’m not sure that it matters much how we explain it. Some of us experience these things, and some of us don’t, and no amount of argument is likely to change that.

  27. David says:

    This was an interesting read, however, I was hoping to find some factual evidence for or against. that being said, I am a “Christian” or should I state, a my own variation of Christianity. do I believe in Angels and Demons? of course I do. BUT I have a bit of a different outlook on WHY God lets evil exist. some have asked, “if God is good, why then did He create evil to make our lives worse” well, ya see, if you didn’t know what evil was, how then would you know what good was? it would all seem the same. if you only knew good, what then would be the point of free will? the right to choose. you see, this is why angels bow to man, because they already know, and we’re given the choice. why do bad things happen? well, theres another reason evil exists. you see, God is the beginning and the end. without the beginning, there is no end, and without the end, there’s no point to the beginning. so, as anyone in the forms of Christian and Catholic, and even aspects of Hebrew and different variations of other religions, Revelations will come to pass (or in my opinion started a while ago)how do you think it gets to the point where that happens? think of it as a butterfly effect. example: a person uses Meth for many years, finds God in the process of getting sober, and in turn, brings many to His name. this would have never happened if the person FIRST was not addicted to meth. ok another example: a person is driving down the street drunk, gets into an accident and kills a ladys husband. the lady then denies God in every aspect. marries another full blown Atheist and has a child. they force Atheism down the kids throat so much that, as teens do, the kid rebels by learning about Christ and brings many into His name, which would never have happened had the beginning bad not taken place. sadly, in order for Revelations to take form, more of the bad sequence will take place without the “bringing many to His name”. but it is up to us to choose that. now I KNOW theres at LEAST ONE person whos gonna be reading this going, “that’s fucked up! so God just kills us? like pawns?” well, heres an explanation for that. we look at the flesh greater than the soul. its a common misconception. take for example: hold your cell phone in your hand, now put it on the ground, now pick it up again…..is it still a cellphone? of course it is. God took a soul, placed it (him/her)on earth (lol sounds like I mean E.Ts but not quite) and then when their purpose was fulfilled, took the soul back. He did the same with His only begotten Son Jesus too. I hope I might have helped at least 1 person out there in internet world :-) Love ya all, God Bless you peeps.

  28. I’m just a little confused on the whole subject. I mean, i grew up in a christian-based household, so I’m used to hearing about how “the only way is the jesus way.” However, this does not mean that i am a man of god, or a believer of any kind. I am a man who is convinced based upon rational explanations and critical thinking. So in other words, i am a realist. I’m just a high school student, trying to better understand things. If anyone has the time to help me better understand this subject, please feel free to email me. jaakobsilvers3@gmail.com

  29. Daisy says:

    I was involved heavily in new age practices and beliefs from 2000-2005. I can say with certainty that a spiritual world exists because I have encountered it. Unfortunately, I do not have any physical evidence to prove my claims, but only my word. However I would be willing to take a lie detector test to prove that I am telling the truth about my experiences. Because of my experiences, I have become a Christian. I haven’t figured out a way yet to reconcile my Christian beliefs with the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution, but my past supernatural encounters have strengthened my faith. The Bible does address the unseen existence of spiritual forces of good and evil which evolution does not.

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