Satan, Lucifer, the devil, fallen angel, Beelzebub, Shaitan. He goes by many names. At the end of the day, he’s the personification of evil within various religions, from Judaism to Christianity. Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum caught flack recently for name dropping Satan during statements he made at a Catholic university in 2008 about a “spiritual war.”
“If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age? There is no one else to go after other than the United States,” said Santorum during a speech at Florida’s Ave Maria University.
Referenced in religious texts such as the Jewish Talmud and Christianity’s New Testament, the construct of Satan has long been explored within literature, art and music (ie. the Rolling Stone’s 1968 opus "Sympathy for the Devil"). Within the Hebrew Torah scriptures, Satan is another word for the devil. For Christians, he’s considered a high-ranking angel who rebelled against God and heaven, in part speaking through a serpent in the Garden of Eden to seduce Eve into disobeying God.
What are your thoughts on Santorum’s 2008 statements about Satan? Do you believe in the devil, or grew up with stories about him?
Gregory Mobley, professor, Christian Bible, Andover Newton Theological School; co-author, "The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots"
T.J. Wray, associate professor, Department of Religious and Theological Studies, Salve Regina University; co-author, "The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots"