Temptation

While from a neo-Christian perspective I may have wondered from the path (for reasons stated below and others that I’ll hold to myself), I think I can still speak on a Christian subject, hopefully with a more open mind than when I was in full God mode. 😉

Seeing how a Christian can not be possessed by a demon/devil/Satan (contrary to what you may see in the movies, read in books, or even heard of in some church circles, Biblically speaking it isn’t possible and I am fairly certain I coved that topic before so I won’t do so now), how then does the devil temp Christians, or put thoughts into their heads?
If the devil can’t poses a Christian, and isn’t physically in front of them to tempt them, then he can not be blamed for their temptation. Too much blame is pushed off onto the devil by Christians, “the devil made me do it,” people may claim, but the reality is, the thought was theirs, and theirs alone. It is passing blame for one’s own shortfalls and choices.
Now the Cristian response may be that the devil and his demons are spirits and perhaps they occupy a fourth dimension or something that only our own spirit can access, and the temptations come when they speak to our spirit. However not only does this violate Biblical principle, it ignores the fact that temptation comes from our minds. And we can’t say that if somebody tries to push us to try some pot, or something else that Christians may typically call “evil” that they are agent of the devil.
Seeing how non-Christians and Christians alike face the exact same temptations, I doubt we can blame the devil for too many temptations for which he wasn’t physically present (at least to the extent a spirit that can occupy only one space at one time can by physically present) for. We see the devil tempting Jesus in Mathew 4 and Luke 4. Neither book gives a physical description, but it is clear that the devil is there physically to conduct the temptation in person.
It is clear to me that essentially all temptation on the Earth is the the result of free will and not the devil. To pass blame to the devil is perhaps one of Christianities greatest shortfalls. This isn’t to say that Christians need to drop the concept of the devil, quite the contrary, but they must stop passing the buck and accept free will for the gift that it was intended to be.
Another problem I have of late with Christianity is the full authoritarian model that is taught today in Christian circles, and the superiority complex that has always ran rampet in Christianity, to the point of killing those who didn’t accept the Church’s doctrine. While the Church may not be on mass killing sprees as it once was, it still outcasts and condemns those who they see as wrong, which is fully contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus wouldn’t have been pushing to stop gays from getting married, condemning pagans, knocking drug users or anything else that Christians consider themselves above. Jesus was in the gutter with these people, talking with them, laughing with them, but never condemning or outcasting. He never said He was above them. He embraced them and loved them for whom they were… and not one of those typical Christian messages “We love you, God loves you, but…” type stuff, but He honestly took them for what they were. Why? Because of free will. He doesn’t want to be worshiped by people forced into it, or by people scared into it, or whatever causes a great many people to accept Christianity.
Another example of Christian superiority complex setting in is when a pastor may point out that the tomb of Jesus is empty, but the tomb of Mohammad or Buddha is not. However, that isn’t apples to apples, it isn’t even apples to oranges, more like apples to iPods. The Christian claim is Jesus is God, made flesh, stripped of His deity for the salvation of man, but Islam doesn’t teach that Mohammad was God made flesh, just that he was the last prophet, and while greatly revered, I am not under the impression they worship him like Christians worship Jesus. The Buddha reference is even further off the mark. For one thing, Buddhism in general isn’t a religion so much a philosophy, but even if we extend it to religious aspects the point is moot, at least to a Buddhist since they believe in reincarnation. The Buddhist would just point out that the body is nothing more then a vessel for the spirit of the individual to occupy during this lifetime, something Christians believe themselves, but Buddhist extend that by saying the spirit moves onto the next body, so who cares where the body of Gautama Buddha is at, his spirit continues. Heck pre-judeo-christian religions have at least one god, a Lord of the Harvest (a term applied to Christ), who died and resurrected, and we know the early Jews would have known about that god very well. Another pre-judeo-christian religion going back even farther tells how a mono-theistic god sent his son to save mankind via death and resurrection. Now, Christian apologists will point out the nit-picking points of those myths to show that Christianity isn’t a copy cat religion; however the fact that there are pre-judeo-christian religions that have similar stories as the Jesus story is reason enough to drop this end of the superiority complex.
Back to temptation before I close out. Even if the devil is face to face with somebody tempting them, they still can’t claim the devil made them do it, because in the end they have free will to act upon the temptation or not.
Anyhow, it is way past my bed time.