There are a few premises to the idea of the adversary that have made me scratch my head....
IF the reason we are here is to receive a body AND...
Be tested. Then there needs to be equilibrium in the force - a side or nature we are fighting against. In the plan of salvation when Lucifer's plan of forced communistic behavior is rejected the war ensues and his followers are cast out and they tempt us to this day. They want our bodies and want to win more souls away from God.
This is the battle between good and evil that we are here to be tested within...
SO if Satan wants to destroy God's plan. And he puts the balance in the testing arena... The BEST thing he could do would be to .....
Don't show up. Go over to a universe far, far away and take a nap for a LOT of years. THAT would actually mess God up.
But Satan is motivated enough to play along and be in the minds of 7 billion people ALL the time. (with the help of his motivated minions. Day in and Day out even at night... tempting us. Hard working fellow.
Then as I heard one teenager put it at the UU meeting one day. If Satan will punish all the bad guys? How does that not make him a good guy?
And, call me callous but I don't even understand the need for a sacrifice. Why exactly could God not just forgive??
What I see now are the merits of comfort when you externalize your own nature.
Praise God for the good and blame Satan for the bad.
Nooooo you didn't just have the urge to punch that person in the face, It was Satan tempting you.
It also answers the awful awful emotions we have when people do TERRIBLE things, like torture babies. We don't want to think that is something a human brain could be capable of, even a damaged one. We find solace in the eternal damnation of the worst of humankind. And reward for the good of others.
These thoughts were in my head when this week, the "historic" broadcast let us know that the LDS church will be equipping missionaries with ipads (some of them) and having some of them spend more time in meetinghouses on the internet sharing the message instead of bothering people door to door. I suspect it is getting difficult to find things for these missionaries to do.
Know what I see now? 70,000 young people who could ROCK THIS WORLD in major humanitarian efforts. Build more wells, deliver more mosquito nets, call up habitat for humanity and say "want about 5000 hard workers full time?" Ask my sister who works at a homeless shelter what could be done with the money about to be spent on ipads.
Call orphanages or schools in impoverished areas and say we will be there tuesday with paint cans and pencils and paper. Start funneling food to the starving right. now. instead of storing it for ourselves?
Worldwide, there are 50 million deaths annually, and 5 million (10%) of those death are due to childhood malnutrition. And while only 10% of malnourished child die; the remaining 90% suffer lifelong cognitive and physical defects that significantly and severely reduce their earning potential as adults, leading to a cycle in which their reduced future earnings lead to their own children being malnourished as well. We estimate 80,000 active LDS children suffer from chronic malnutrition, and about 900 die from malnutrition every year. A similar number of active LDS children are unable to attend elementary school secondary to lack of funding. from here
We are so caught up in peoples eternal salvation we completely overlook their current suffering.
IF there is a Satan, (no I don't think there is) he is probably beyond happy to see prophets, seers and revelators justify a mall with church funds and see young men and women spend more time inside on the internet. IS religion the haze letting us abandon others?
In defense of the church, I think this is great: http://www.justserve.org/
A more eloquent synopsis here.
** And no, I don't expect perfection from every organization, we could (and should) all do more, but I don't see many other organizations proclaiming to be the ONE, the TRUE church, with direct revelation through a modern prophet.