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A Short History Of The Devil By

Neil Mohammed Essay, Research Paper

Horned gods were worshipped in Europe and the rest of the world from the dawn of humanity. They were always part of a pagan belief system, a polytheistic belief system, which accepted many gods. Tribal pagan belief systems still in existence share this characteristic: the tribes worship their tribal gods, and other gods mentioned by strangers are not evil, or non-existant, they are simply not their gods.

There were many ancient monotheistic religions such as Judaism, but again these were tribal religions, which had no urge to prosyletise, to “spread the word”. Jehova was the god of the Jews, and they felt no need to persuade other tribes to worship him as well.

Christianity changed all that. It felt an overpowering need to make their one god the god of everybody else within range, and so they invented the missionary. But to do this it was necessary to discredit the old pagan gods, and in particular the goddess and the horned god.

Pagan pantheons never include gods of evil. Pagan gods are aspects of Nature, and in Nature there can be no evil; it exists only in the human imagination. They frequently include trickster gods, such as Loki, and gods can have a reputation for being unwise to be involved with, but not actual evil. Monotheistic religions, on the other hand, require a god of evil as an adversary of their god of good. Otherwise, why would you need Him? An obvious way to discredit the horned god and justify punishment of his worshippers is to say that he is, in fact, the god of evil in the new religion. And has been all along.

This did not happen all at once. For centuries Christianity existed alongside much older pagan beliefs all across Europe, and adapted to the people there and accomodated their beliefs as far as possible. The Celtic Christian Church in Dark Age Ireland is a typical example.

Then in AD 1248 Pope Innocent IV decided that it was time to suppress all heresy and for that purpose he founded The Holy Office, or as it later became better known, The Inquisition. It really took off in the fifteenth century (especially in Spain), and began rooting out all and any lingering traces of pagan belief.

Being an organization run entirely by men it took an instant dislike to the old wise women living around every country village, passing on ancient pagan folk-lore to the new generation and selling folk medicine and magic charms. The priests declared that these women were worshippers of the devil, and must be burned. During the process of extracting imaginative confessions from their bewildered captives a brand new folk myth was gradually born, as the inquisitors continually outdid one another in imagining new horrors of depravity in the worship of Lucifer, and under torture their prisoners confessed to it all. Christianity created its own reflection, and called it Satanism.

In order to improve the consistency of the confessions, and thereby create the evidence for this imaginary foul creed, a special manual was required, detailing the exact acts of which the “witches” stood accused, and would therefore confess to. It also described in excruciating detail exactly how to extract such confessions. This “Witch Hunting: How To Do It” guide was published in 1486, written by two monks, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger. It was called The Malleus Maleficarum, or “Hammer of the Witches”.

This was the origin of Satanism, as most people understand it.

Before this there had been only the Luciferians (a real heresy), who practised Christianity in most important respects but with one exception: having read the fine print in the early Coptic texts from which the common Christian bible is derived. They had noticed that the actual creation of this world was credited to Lucifer, an angel working for Jehova. So they offered up their prayers to Lucifer as “the real master of this world”. They did not sacrifice babies, call up demons or do anything else distasteful. They just saw a different name on the title deeds.

Satanism had never existed before The Malleus Maleficarum, but now anyone with an urge to kick against the heels of the ultimate father figure had the definitive guide to work from. Two devout Christian monks created Satanism.


It is apparent that horny forest spirits were a part of countryside folklore as late as the 18th century and only a hundred years after the heyday of The Inquisition Shakespeare was writing about them in his plays. These Pan-like creatures, known as Pucks or Robin Goodfellow, had the appearance of satyrs and the habit of copulating with human women. In an early confession these harmless creatures must have been mentioned and the inquisitors seized upon it, and then used it again and again. Until now the villagers worshipping in church on Sunday and practising simple folk magic the rest of the week had thought nothing of it, but now Robin Goodfellow was given a new name: The Devil, and became irredeemably evil.

Before this the devil had no clear shape: after the fifteenth century he had cloven hooves, goat legs, a tail, horns and a sex-drive. Wings were added because he was supposed to be a fallen angel. None of this is to be found anywhere in the scriptures.

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