The Ego Equation.

If Man is made in the image of God and we have an (comprising several lEGiOn) ego then:

Satan = God’s Ego.

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12 thoughts on “The Ego Equation.

  1. Love, I’ve been saying this for some time (and am often rebuked for even suggesting it). The Jews have a similar understanding (although some do believe in a spiritual being known as Satan). I really don’t understand the reaction, that somehow we are letting our guard down by seeing Satan, the enemy of God, as being part of ourselves, rather than some external threat. Because I think that our egos are capable of so much more evil, especially when it joins with like minded (human) spirits. What’s more, there is no safe haven, no church, no convent, no monastery, no sanctuary where we can hide from our own egos.

    BTW – I liked that point you made over on Tam’s blog; who decided what the ‘essentials’ are? How many things are scriptures so clear about that they could be called essentials? And essential for what?

    This posting of yours; is it addressing one of these ‘essentials’?

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  2. My ego has given me the confidence to believe I can over come any of life’s challenges. It is also the biggest obstacle keeping me from reaching out for help when I need it.

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  3. I really like the idea of Satan. Anyone in power needs someone to challenge them and look for flaws in their ideas and actions. It seems clear that the role of Satan is to act as a challenge to God. If anything I see this as the opposite of ego, it is a claim to perfection that I find egotistic and setting up a challenger is an admission that no plan is ever perfect.

    Lots of other religions have an enemy to challenge the gods or the heroes of the gods.

    Besides all that why is ego, a feeling of pride in accomplishments, a bad thing? Perhaps you feel that overwhelming ego is bad and everyday pride or awareness of self worth is acceptable? I’d rather hand round with people who were proud of what they were than those who profess an unnatural humility or shame.

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  4. Hover, your example of ego is a very small part of what Love and I are talking about. There is nothing wrong with taking a certain amount of pride in what you do. But this is a good example. As white middle class professional people living in the United States we often take exceptional pride in our accomplishments. We often fail to realize that we did not start on a level playing field and that trials of many of those who have accomplished little in comparison are ther reason why we can claim to be big shots. Look at any ‘great’ man and you can usually find hundreds of supporting actors who helped place them there. Humility is always preferable to pride. It’s Satan (our egos) that alternately tell us how great and popular we are as well as how miserable and how unloved we are.

    Besides, what we ‘are’, how much we have accomplished, what we accumulate, our position and station in life- these can all disappear in a heart beat. Just look at how many people have just seen their fortunes disappear. The book “How Starbucks Saved My Life” does a great job of making this clear. We need to have something else we can hold on to.

    Of course you don’t believe in a God but if you accept the definition of what the ultimate, uncaused being and creator of the universe is then you would realize that to accuse of it of arrogance doesn’t really fly. But you make a good point and that’s one reason why Jesus came to show us the way.

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  5. Christian, I wasn’t thinking of great achievements but everyday things. Not that it matters at what level your achievements are, having pride in them is good. It’s irrelevant if you tend a garden, cook a meal, make a piece of furniture or run a corporation. Your part in the task should be something that you take pride in. That’s not to say that you should crow about every single thing you do or try to dismiss other people’s achievements only that we should recognise when we do something to the best of our ability.

    Humility though silences people and can hold them back from improving things. This is particularly true when humility is undeserved due to shyness. There are also some who pretend to humility for gain. So, no, I don’t think that humility is always preferable to pride.

    The fact that our achievements are temporary is hardly pertinent to us taking pride in them. Should you not take pride in the cooking of a meal because it will quickly be eaten? Should a programmer not make the best program he or she can because the shelf life of software is only a few years? Should you not take pride in your work because you plan to retire at 65?

    if you accept the definition of what the ultimate, uncaused being and creator of the universe is then you would realize that to accuse of it of arrogance doesn’t really fly.

    I thought I was saying the opposite actually. If you are right about there being a creator deity and a servant, Satan, then it is a matter of great humility to cause that servant to test your creation for weaknesses and flaws. Not having any sort of balancing force and to declare the universe perfect would be arrogant for an intelligent being. To recognise that mistakes can be made even by the most skilled of artisans and that no-one intends to make them is simply the intelligent option. Satan gets such a bad reputation but it seems obvious to me that a belief in God and God’s plan must include a part in the plan for his servant Satan. Otherwise you are saying that God’s plan is flawed and God, therefore is less than perfect?

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  6. Gotcha Hov, and mostly agree with what you said. A few of things though;

    I think that humility you are describing is not really that at all but fear; of failure of failure, recrimination and rejection. I think that humility is more often coupled with true achievement.

    As far as Satan goes – I think that he is a very effective METAPHORICAL tool – I really do believe that Satan is an analogy for the NEGATIVE aspects of our egos. Jesus struggled with Satan and won. Nietzsche (for one) struggled with Satan and lost..

    God doesn’t need to create a being like Satan to test his creation for weakness. Humans (and maybe some other creatures), with their self-awareness and ability to reason and make intelligent choices are constantly testing his creation. Isn’t that what science is about?

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  7. CB, I wasn’t talking about fear of failure I was talking about a lack of pride in achievements or a lack of expression in honouring your achievements. fear is simply one reason why some people don’t have pride.

    If you are using Satan as a metaphor for a overweaning ego or dishonest expression of pride then that isn’t the entity of Satan that many Christians believe in. It is simply a human characteristic.

    God doesn’t need to create a being like Satan to test his creation for weakness.

    I don’t need to run my programs through testing cycles to look for errors because I’m a good programmer. I do so because I want to ensure that I stay a good programmer. I don’t just use one level of testing (the humans in your example) but many.

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  8. Hey Tam.

    Hov, you ignored the rest of that statement;

    Humans (and maybe some other creatures), with their self-awareness and ability to reason and make intelligent choices are constantly testing his creation

    And you are right many Christians do see Satan as a real being – and many do not. And all of us suffer from over weaning egos and toxic pride, to varying degrees. It is the human condition, as you said. But it is not an attribute – it is not something to be shrugged off – it is something we should work towards correcting. But as Love points out this is a very difficult (yet very important) task to set before ourselves without some sort of assistance.

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  9. OK, I missed your last sentence – you did pick up on that sentence. But….If God is God (and the definition of God being what it is) then he would have no need for these diagnostic programs. Being perfect…..

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  10. CB said:

    If God is God (and the definition of God being what it is) then he would have no need for these diagnostic programs. Being perfect…..

    Oh good, you have a definition for “God”. I’m going to assume you mean the Christian God and work from there. God is capable of error and of corrective action and can certainly be fooled. In Genesis you have people hiding from him and in other books he asks questions in order to find the answers (Numbers 22:9, Deuteronomy 13:3, 2 Chronicles 32:31, Job 1:7, 2:2, Hosea 8:4). You could even argue that the entire point of the New Testament and of Jesus’ sacrifice is to correct the damnation placed on mankind by God.

    You claim that God is perfect but that isn’t supported in the Bible. There are a lot of contradictions that start at Genesis and go right through to the book of John, there are inconsistencies with factual evidence, there is cruelty and oppression and injustice. There is never a claim of perfection made by God or Jesus only a better way of living. Jesus lived a peaceful example helping others but still took a whip to the moneylenders.

    Along with all the horrible stuff done in God’s name is a whole lot of good stuff. Most of it is in the New Testament following the example of Jesus but some of it comes from earlier. Jesus, of course, never claimed to be God directly but left ambiguous answers to questions of his divinity. Perhaps he thought better than to break with the Jewish faith and only wanted reform and a return to the core tenets of Judaism. It’s hard to know for sure.

    So, no, I don’t think a claim to perfection is justified and therefore a need for Satan to test creation is an acceptable interpretation.

    However I do see your (and love’s) point that over weaning ego should be reduced in humanity. I can see how ego in science, politics and religion are very damaging and we can all look back on history and see how the massive egos of a few men have led to a great deal of suffering. There is a difference between uncontrolled ego and well deserved pride.

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