What is a daemon

demon

The Zurich painter Johann Heinrich Füssli painted this painting in 1802, “Nachtmahr”. It shows a sleeping woman who is probably having a nightmare. A demon sits heavy on her chest.

A demon is an evil spirit, a supernatural being. Anyone who believes in demons thinks that they do bad things or at least scare people. The word comes from the Greek. In fact, the Greeks didn't necessarily think of a spirit that was evil. But the Christians imagined demons to be the devil and the kingdom of evil.

Baal, for example, was a god of weather and fertility. The people of the land of Canaan worshiped him. Canaan is roughly where Syria is today. That was hundreds of years before Christ. Yet Christians believed that there was only one God and that was their own. All other gods were just demons in the eyes of Christians.

Today we often speak of a demon when we don't actually mean a ghost. If someone is allegedly being persecuted by demons, then they really mean to say that they are being tormented by evil people. Or you think of the fears someone has.


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