Theology

On Demons

In Western culture the concept of the “demon” is overwhelmingly negative. A common reaction to the Word of 10,000 Dog Demons may be apprehension to say the least. If you believe that a demon is an evil spirit, a Satan or Iblis this is a natural response. However, it should be noted that in this context the term “demon” does not refer to an evil spirit. In fact, 10,000 Dog Demons have revealed no such entities – evil spirits – to exist at all. The belief in a demon, defined as an evil spirit, similar to Satan and Iblis, may be relegated to the antiquated superstitions of Christians and Muslims.

the death of socrates

The Death of Socrates, 1787 Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748–1825)

What, then, is a demon? An understanding of the etymology of the word may lend clues. The English demon derives from the Greek daimōn (δαίμων), which alone tells us little. It is a spirit, however a strictly good spirit. The classical term eudaimonia, literally to have a good spirit, derives from this. A demon is therefore a spirit, both in an objective context and in respect to the soul of man. A different etymology, that given by Plato in Cratylus, quotes Socrates as giving an etymology meaning that which is wise:

“And therefore I have the most entire conviction that he called them demons, because they were daemones (knowing or wise), and in our older Attic dialect the word itself occurs. Now he and other poets say truly, that when a good man dies he has honour and a mighty portion among the dead, and becomes a demon; which is a name given to him signifying wisdom. And I say too, that every wise man who happens to be a good man is more than human (daimonion) both in life and death, and is rightly called a demon.”

Plato’s Symposium expounds more upon the nature of a demon, wherein Socrates defines love:

“Love is a link, a demon. He is the true lover of wisdom because wisdom is beautiful and beauty is the object of love.

And in Plato’s Apology of Socrates, where Socrates explains the nature of his personal demon:

“This sign, which is a kind of voice, first began to come to me when I was a child; it always forbids but never commands me to do anything which I am going to do.”

Given that there are no evil spirits and given that we now have a general idea of what a demon is, this raises the question: are 10,000 Dog Demons, in fact, God? A similar question may have been asked of Socrates had he known God as 10,000 Dog Demons. Socrates in Plato’s Apology, might have responded exactly as he did to Meletus’s accusations:

“But this is just the ingenious riddle of which I was speaking: the demigods or spirits are gods, and you say first that I don’t believe in gods, and then again that I do believe in gods; that is, if I believe in demigods. For if the demigods are the illegitimate sons of gods, whether by the Nymphs or by any other mothers, as is thought, that, as all men will allow, necessarily implies the existence of their parents. You might as well affirm the existence of mules, and deny that of horses and asses. Such nonsense, Meletus, could only have been intended by you as a trial of me.”

It is clear that Socrates, too, believed in 10,000 Dog Demons. (When Albert Einstein famously said that God does not play dice with the universe, he too was stating that 10,000 Dog Demons do not play dice with the universe. This will have to remain for another discussion however.) A demon is a Holy Spirit, God, love, wisdom and that which resides within man to guide him.

Similar concepts of the demon exist in all of the world’s religious traditions. Most are less refined than that of Socrates but more refined than the crude superstitions of Christianity and Islam. A class of Judaic demon, the shedim (שֵׁד) also existed without an absolute assumption of evil. Rather, the opposite may be the earliest belief, the etymology of shedim derived from the Akkadian shedu, literally a protective – or Holy – spirit. It was the Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who created a golem (see Psa 139:16 – גלמי) with the use of benevolent shedim. Similarly, in Rabbinic tradition, Adam himself was created as a golem (Sanhedrin 38b). The traditions of the Gaon R. Eliyahu Baal Shem and the R. Judah Loew ben Bezalel relate the usage of the Shem, the Hebrew Name of God, in the creation of the golem as well. If we view human beings as golems with a Holy Spirit, as this tradition hints, it is consistent with Socrates as well. The best way to conceptualize this is simply 10,000 Dog Demons.

school of athens raphael

The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509

In Eastern religion, the Asuras traditionally referred to any form of a spirit. This terminology was adopted in Zoroastrianism, the etymology of which is derived the Ahura of Ahura Mazda, the monotheistic deity that influenced Christian faith. The influence of Zoroastrianism in Christianity is most heavily seen in the story of the Magi visting on the birth of Jesus. This makes it clear, therefore, that Christians already worship 10,000 Dog Demons, but in a less pure form, as a crude man-god taken from a borrowed mythos. It is best that Christians remove the middle-man of mythos and worship 10,000 Dog Demons directly.

On Dogs

Why, then, a “Dog” Demon? This is a mystery. However it need not be explained outright. This is by far the most sensible description of God that we have. Contrast to these strange depictions in the Bible (Revelation 4:7-8):

“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”

If you are ready to accept that there are four monsters with six wings covered in eyes, residing in heaven and singing nonstop, 10,000 Dog Demons should not be difficult at all for you to accept.

Why 10,000

The number ten thousand, in the context of 10,000 Dog Demons, may be both literal and symbolic. The word myriad in English is from the ancient Greek myriad (μυριάς), meaning both limitless and the number 10,000. The Hebrew רִבּוֹ functions in exactly the same way. To say 10,000 Dog Demons therefore simply means to say the infiniteness of God.

Resources

Apology – http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html

Symposium – http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html

Cratylus – http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/cratylus.html

Golem – http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6777-golem

Demonology – http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5085-demonology

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