1. notleia says:

    Hmm, maybe I should break out my excerpt of Paradise Lost and try to wade through Milton’s convoluted sentence structure again.

    • Travis Perry says:

      I’ve never read the whole thing myself actually. Just perused it and looked at certain passages.

      • My two quarrels with Milton are:
        He makes Satan look too cool and heroic. Like some misunderstood, sexy bad boy.

        He goes on and on about how Eve (women) are only good to look at and are too dumb to have anything to contribute intellectually.

        No feminist myself. I offend less easily than many today. But Paradise Lost’s Eve makes Perelandra’s Lady look like Wonder Woman by contrast.

        • As far as I’ve heard, Milton wasn’t a Christian, and if that’s true, it’s quite ironic that his work is held in such high esteem. From what I’ve read, it seems his goal in writing Paradise Lost was more philosophical, like an opus on materialism or something of that nature, than theological. But no one notices because his work is so long and convoluted. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I remember reading about it and thinking, “Whoa that makes way more sense in context to his actual writing than seeing it as an actual Christian work.”

          • notleia says:

            Imma hafta flip through the biography section again, but IIRC he was a Puritan. But a very educated one, which put him at odds against other ones.
            This was the late Renaissance bleeding into the Enlightenment, so his goal, literarily speaking, was to write an epic in the style of the Iliad or the Aeneid. The funnier factoid is is that he hated the trend for rhyming (to be fair, Spenser would still be pretentious without rhyming).

          • Jes Drew says:

            Milton was a professing Christian, and took his faith very seriously, as one can see in his many other poems. As someone else mentioned, he did not purposely make Satan seem like the hero. However, he was trying to write a Bible story into the Greek epic genre, which normally has a gray hero, and Satan fell into that position more easily than perfect Adam. While Paradise Lost isn’t perfect, my two readings of it remind me of watching one of the better Bible story movies. It does a great job at getting most of the truth into a new genre, but a little descretion i’s always necessary.

            • Interesting. Thanks for the correction! Wikipedia confirms that he was probably most closely associated with being a Puritan, though his views changed through life, and it also says this of him: “An unfinished religious manifesto, De doctrina christiana, probably written by Milton, lays out many of his heterodox theological views, and was not discovered and published until 1823. Milton’s key beliefs were idiosyncratic, not those of an identifiable group or faction, and often they go well beyond the orthodoxy of the time. Their tone, however, stemmed from the Puritan emphasis on the centrality and inviolability of conscience. He was his own man, but he was anticipated by Henry Robinson in Areopagitica.”

        • notleia says:

          The sexy Satan trope probably came later with the rise of the Byronic hero. Thanks, Byron.
          But my anthology pointed out that compared to other lit at the time, Eve was fairly progressive, because instead of being a cardboard placeholder, she had actual characterization. A good comparison to make would be with Christina from Pilgrim’s Progress.
          In fact, you could probably just compare/contrast Bunyan with Milton. Milton being from the educated faction while Bunyan was in the commoner class.

  2. Rachel E Nichols says:

    You left out The Screwtape Letters.

    Satan’s primary goal is dragging as many souls to Hell with him as possible. He hates us, but he hates God even more.

    Like a bitter ex who chose to leave but is angry her former boyfriend moved on and found someone else.

  3. Since I didn’t mention these last time, here’s some songs that have Faust themes and that I like to listen to when thinking about my Faust story:



    And then this play/concert/audio drama thing by Trans Siberian Orchestra, where the devil is basically trying to convince Beethoven to make a deal with him. Not exactly theologically sound, but pretty cool. My fave songs from this are Mephistopheles and Mephistopheles’ Return. Though I would recommend listening to the whole playlist:


    A long time ago, I actually got to use Poor Unfortunate Souls, Descent of the Archangel, Mephistopheles and Mephistopheles’ Return in an English class project about Faust, along with a few instrumental songs. That was fun. Like, all my previous time spent browsing for story centric songs saved a lot of work when it came to the project(I could go to these songs right away instead of having to look for things that fit).

    When you think about it, there’s also some little Faust elements to Death Note, too. Like, there wasn’t an actual deal or contract made, but he accepted the Death Note from the Shinigami Ryuk, and ended up using the Death Note to follow his own ambitions down a dark path. In a lot of ways you could say he sold his soul to get what he wanted, which is one reason why the opening has so many ‘classic’ Christian symbols, like the apple for temptation and overwriting the classic God and Adam painting with Light and Ryuk:

  4. In general, I agree that merely laughing at the devil doesn’t take all his power away, but there are different types of power. If we fear him, that gives him a certain type of power over us. Yet, if we just make fun of him and don’t fear(or at least respect) his capabilities, then that gives him the power of being underestimated. Just about everyone and everything has some sort of power, regardless of whether they know it or can apply it in a particular situation.

  5. Pam Halter says:

    hi Travis – I’m wondering about something that happened to me. In this article, you mentioned Satan is not really interested in inhabiting places/terrain, but people. That made me remember what happened to me a couple of years ago.

    I was totally under oppression, which I believe was partly my fault, but exasperated by the devil. So I was driving home from the grocery store and was crying and praying and asking the Lord if he really was with me. Long story short, God gave me clear, physical proof He was certainly with me.

    When I got home, I told Daryl. Then my spirit rose up in me and I started praying and worshiping God, and Daryl prayed with me, and with no intentions of speaking against Satan, I suddenly commanded him and all his demons (who I believed were in our home and oppressing us) to leave! They HAD TO LEAVE!

    And like someone was using a suction hose, I felt them all get sucked out of the house! If it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed it. There was immediate peace, and I stopped crying and said, “Well then.”

    And Daryl and I looked at each in amazement.

    So if I’m understanding this right, it wasn’t really the house the demons were interested in, but me and my family?

    The thing is, it’s complicated, because it’s not our house. It’s my MIL’s house. I knew there were demons lingering there, because every time I’d leave the house and come back, I could feel the oppression. Almost like a semi-solid wall when I walked in the backdoor. And I believe they were there because MIL could not engage in spiritual warfare in prayer as her mind was going due to Alzheimer’s. I believe this because when she was not in the house, I had no feeling of oppression. So I let my guard down when she wasn’t there. That’s probably why the oppression got so heavy for me after living here for years.

    She’s in assisted living now, and I haven’t felt that kind of oppression since she moved out, a little over a year ago. Hadn’t thought about that until just now. Interesting.

    Thanks for writing about this!

    • notleia says:

      Caretaker burnout is a thing. One of the nursing homes local to me has a short daycare-type practice at a few churches in order to give in-home caretakers a break for a few hours every week or so.
      I’ve felt trapped before, for different reasons, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling. It led to ticking off all but one item on a list of depression symptoms and medication. The meds are nice. They get you to a place where not everything looks like BS and the talk therapy helps.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Hi, Pam, thanks for your affirmation about my decision to open this subject.

      As for answering your question, I think I need to say up front that not all Christians will agree with my basis of reasoning on this subject. Which is, I expect God to directly tell us within the body of instructions to the Christian churches (the Epistles) in clear terms the things we really need to know in order to live the Christian life. And further, the things we hear about the most are the most important things, whereas things we hear about less are less important.

      Satan and demonic activity, while frequently mentioned in the Epistles, are not at any point the main focus of any of them (the book of Revelation perhaps talks about Satan and the Devil more than any other Bible book–but even so, it talks about God much more than Satan). Why Satan is not the main focus of these books, even though he is a real threat we are warned about, I hope to make as clear as I can next week or maybe the week after (God enabling).

      But anyway, having said how I look at things, I do acknowledge some Christians would look upon the experience you had in very high regard and say–“See! What Pam did worked, so we should all be doing the same thing.”

      Please understand that I would not be in agreement with those people. To believe that clearing out spaces of demons is important or demons inhabit spaces even, I’d at the very least like to see a clear example of someone in the Bible clearing a patch of physical terrain (like a house) of demons. And I don’t see any clear examples of that, not one. (Not once did Jesus go to an “unclean house” and order the demons out of it.)

      And beyond that, I’d think it would be even more important for there to be a command in one of the Epistles to clear the spaces you live in out of demons if that’s what Christians should be doing. Paul telling the Corinthians maybe (since he corrected their errors so often), “And you let yourselves fall under the power of Satan, because you don’t clear your homes of demons, as the Lord taught us.” But he DOESN’T say that, not even close.

      So yes, I tend to think demons are interested in people and not places because the Bible talks about demons possessing people from time to time, but doesn’t really say that about places (a few passages can be looked at that way, though the reading isn’t obvious–and the Epistles have nothing like that at all).

      But could it be the demons were in your house in order to get to you and your family? Maybe. Could it be that there are things operating in the spiritual world I don’t know about and we are not told about them because we Christians don’t really need to know (such as perhaps demons do occupy space sometimes but not enough for it to be written about clearly in the Bible)? Maybe. Could it be that demons were using an opportune time to get to you and your family and that time happened to recur in a particular place, making it seem like they were occupying physical terrain, when they in fact were raising their heads during certain moments of your daily routine? Maybe. Could it be that the Holy Spirit directed you to pray the way you did for a specific purpose, but that purpose wasn’t quite what you thought it was? Or doesn’t apply to other situations? Maybe.

      So as revealed in the paragraph I just wrote, I don’t know why you had the experience you did. I would not say your experience was invalid. I have no means to say that–I wasn’t there.

      I do think that if demons holding onto physical terrain were a major objective of Satan, we’d be told about it in the Bible. We’d also be told how to counter it in clear terms. And it just isn’t said–other things are said instead, things I talked about in this article.

      Does that help at all?

What do you think?