Alternative Character Interpretation/Oral Tradition

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  • According to the Quran, the Virgin Mary was a single mom (but still a virgin), and Jesus uttered the whole "first stone" speech at a few days old, in the defense of his mother, and not the unnamed woman caught in adultery.
    • He also ascended to heaven before he was crucified because god wanted to spare him from the a horrible painful death.
  • God in The Bible. While it is common Christian dogma that God is a God of love and is all-caring, the Book of Job, in which God screws over an innocent man's life by giving Satan free hands to maim and kill any- and everyone related to Job over a bet with said incarnation of evil, can be seen as evidence for the contrary.
    • Making it even stranger is how the entire book is Job condemning God while his accusers tell him that God is all-loving—and then, at the end, after lecturing Job on how he's not qualified to critique God, God turns around and attacks his accusers, saying that "you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has."
    • Almost every major atheist author has done a critique of the Bible which treats God as an evil, ego-maniacal tyrant and murderer. It's required. Consider the familiar Exodus story, where God kills the firstborn sons of all Egypt in the 10th Plague, but passes over the Jews. It's laughably easy to treat the story as an example of God Is Evil. Those children hadn't enslaved His chosen people. Their fathers had. A good God could have visited Ten Blessings, not Ten Plagues, to show Egypt His power. He could have shown Pharaoh His benevolence, convincing Pharaoh that His people should be free by softening Pharaoh's heart and showing how merciful and kind He was. Instead, He hardened Pharaoh's heart and sent His angel to murder babies whose only sin was being the firstborn son of an Egyptian. God overrules a human's free will so the human cannot choose to do as God commands, then to punish Pharaoh for doing what he had no choice but to do, God directly commands the death of babies. The whole Bible has received such treatment.
      • Mark Twain in Letters From The Earth gives us this treatment of a lot of events in the Bible. His depiction of the fate of the Midianites is brutal.
      • The Skeptic's Annotated Bible does this to the entire Bible.
      • Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion goes through many accounts of Biblical events and comes to the following conclusion: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” He goes on to say that while the Old Testament God was harsh and cruel, He did stop when those who angered Him were dead. The New Testament added in Hell.
      • Christopher Hitchens gave similar interpretations of the character of God of the Bible many times, especially in God Is Not Great. Sam Harris did it as well in The End of Faith.
  • Judas, from The Bible, is frequently given a sympathetic Alternate Character Interpretation—usually because the narrative seems to imply that without his "betrayal" Jesus would never have been arrested, and hence could not be tried or executed. The musical Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the most famous examples of the idea that Jesus was going to be arrested regardless of who betrayed him, or even if someone betrayed him. Judas, not Jesus, is the main character, and he betrays Jesus to the Romans not because he wanted the money, but because he was afraid; he believed that the crowds Jesus was drawing were becoming more and more radical, and he felt he needed to end things before large-scale violence broke out. The final scene consists of the entire cast, including Judas, in Heaven, singing a reprise of the title song and wondering what the significance of Jesus's life and death actually was. However, various interpretations of the show have also had Judas reprise the song from Hell, including a 2000 film version which has Judas taunt and goad Jesus on as he carries his cross.
    • Real World Example: According to the Cainite and Gnostic interpretation in the Gospel of Judas, Judas Iscariot didn't betray Jesus out of greed for money, but acted on Jesus' secret orders, because Jesus believed that his crucifixion was a part of God's plan, which would make Judas an instrument of divine purpose. The translation sponsored by National Geographic is an extreme Macekre of the original text - to the point that it omits the word "not" from a couple passages, completely changing their meaning. * Sigh.*
    • A secondary alternative character interpretation of Judas is that his "betrayal" was more of a Chessmaster ploy gone wrong. Judas wanted Jesus to stand trial and win. It would push Jesus's ministry to the forefront of the Jerusalem scene, and ironically Jesus's worst enemies would help fund it. His subsequent dismay was completely predictable.
    • A slightly modified version of the above would be that Judas fully believed in Jesus but was dismayed that, as the son of god, he wasn't forcibly casting the Romans out of Israel; merely quietly going around preaching and doing good works. By betraying him to the Romans, Judas hoped to bring it to a head so Jesus would have to show himself to be the Messiah, either turning the Romans to worship him or simply driving them out. When Jesus allows himself to be crucified, Judas is distraught as his plan has come to naught and commits suicide in shame and sorrow at the loss of both his friend and Messiah.
    • In Lamb the Gospel According To Biff has an alternate interpretation similar to The Last Temptation in Film examples. But with eastern magic and judo powers, pun included. Judas is left mostly to the reader's interpretation, but appears to have done what he did because Joshua asked and was one of his closest disciples after Mary and Biff. The original characters can have their own alternate character interpretations: Notable examples include the exact nature of Balthazar 's feelings toward Joshua, and whether Joy was a cold The Stoic who snapped after the slaughter of her adoptive family, or was the most affectionate but tried to hide it. One character, the second wise man even intentionally made and lampshaded an alternate character interpretation of himself (two, if you count when they first meet him).
  • This trope applied to Judas is the premise of "Three Versions of Judas" by Jorge Luis Borges. According to the protagonist, Norwegian theologian Nils Runeberg, Judas is either 1) a loyal follower who intuitively understood the Kabbalistic truth that, for God to lower himself to become a man and die, it was necessary that a human being make a parallel sacrifice: to become a traitor and thus condemn himself to damnation; 2) a radical ascetic who believed that he was not worthy of righteousness, and therefore chose the most ignoble infamy to debase himself; or 3) The Messiah, who truly made the ultimate sacrifice to redeem humanity: not a few hours on the cross, but eternal torment and lasting ignominy, being reviled as the worst of all sinners. Runeberg interprets the backlash engendered by his third thesis as a confirmation that God did not want his secret name to be known. He dies in the streets of an embolism (or something), ranting that his only desire is to join his Redeemer in Hell.
  • Early Christian tradition was practically an exercise of Alternative Christology writ large. Each of the four Gospels included in the Bible present a different version of the Jesus story, ranging from the very human Jesus of Mark, to the stoic Jesus of Luke, to the Word-Incarnate of John. Other non-canonical Gospels of the day presented Jesus as a full-human whom God adopted, a full-deity only pretending to suffer and die, a human who was possessed by the spirit of Christ, or even a fictional allegory for transcendence of a person's inner spirit over their bestial inclinations.
    • Not exactly true, while each gospel is intended for different audiences, from a historical standpoint Mark is considered to have been the source material for two other gospels (Matthew and Luke). They use the EXACT SAME WORDS for large sections (with Matthew it's about 60%) of their texts.
      • The remaining 40% still interpret the Jesus character somewhat differently, which was the point of writing another gospel.
  • Genesis, the first book of The Bible, depicts The Serpent as a simple talking snake. Later Christian interpretations cast The Serpent as Satan (in disguise!), whereas the Gnostic texts of the fourth and fifth centuries depict the snake as a teacher of humanity.
    • One interpretation of the Serpent paints him similar to Prometheus from Greek mythology: defying God to make humanity more intelligent and independent, suffering damnation for his efforts.
    • Satan, in Judaism, is "The Accuser"—and not related! Also, mostly seen to prove that a Rabbi is better/smarter/wiser than the rest of you.
    • In the Book of Job, he tries to prove to God that Job only worships Him because he is rewarded. Is Satan simply doing his job? Or is he trying to show God people are sycophants. Maybe he's just screwing around.
    • And Satan is the simple character compared to God, who put the tree there in the first place. Is he following a ineffable plan the mere attempt to comprehend which would destroy our puny minds? A petty tyrant looking for a way to torture us and call it our fault? A genuinely compassionate being, foiled by an equally powerful adversary? A loving parent, leading but not pushing us into growing up, and developing free will and responsibility? Or maybe he just has the right to say what can and can't be done with his own stuff, like a land-lord renting the house but not the garage? Or perhaps it's an allegory meant to convey that God understands that for mankind to truly love him they have to be given the option not to. Or is that just too reasonable?
    • In Atlas Shrugged John Galt's interpretation of Genesis is that after eating the fruit humanity gained morality and after that (when they had to begin working) productivity, main virtues.
    • There's also the idea that he is metaphor for sex and the loss of virginity.
    • There is also the idea that Adam and Eve left the Garden more or less voluntarily because once their eyes were opened they realized it was completely and utterly dull.
    • Jewish Interpretation: before the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve were static creatures unable to create things. They left because the garden, being perfect, was too small for them. they were subsequently given a broken world to fix together with God.
    • One interpretation of Genesis is that the first man Adam was split into male (ish) and female (ishshah) halves, neither having primacy (rather than thinking of Adam as "first" and Eve as "second"). [And thus god was not forgetful, nor was the same story told twice]
  • Being the supposed creator of the universe, it's no wonder God is subject to this trope. Is he a Draco in Leather Pants? Do people only worship out of fear/wanting heaven/tradition/brainwashing? Is he a Well-Intentioned Extremist who thinks he's doing the best for mankind? Do you have to be a worshipper to go to Paradise? Is Hell torture, or a separation from God? Is it eternal? Is God simply beyond our understanding? Is he simply a tool for mankind to justify their actions? Did he change his personality from the Old to New Testament? Is He an out of control ruler who needs mortals to backtalk to Him directly whenever He's going off the deep end (like with Abraham trying to negotiate down Sodom and Gomorrah) but gets peeved when they try to go behind His back (like with so many others)? Or is he the embodiment of this trope-a variable that changes depending on the culture.
  • Lot and his family: the only righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah? Or perhaps simply the least degenerate? He and his family do stuff like attempt to whore out his daughters to protect his guests and his daughters in blind panic liquor him up and screw him while drunk to bear him children (the wife didn't seem to do much wrong). Maybe it's telling on the kind of places Sodom and Gomorrah were that these were the only people worth saving (they did things we consider horrible, but on some basic level they were trying, unlike the others in the town, who upon hearing about newcomers, their first reaction was to round up a rape-posse).
  • Norse Mythology: Loki. Should you casually make mention of him as a 'bad guy', you will be chastised by both his hurt/comfort-obsessed fangirls and mildly saner (if snootier) fans of the earlier Eddas, who'll point out that most of the versions of the myths in which he's a bastard date from relatively late in the game. Turn around and say he's a good guy, however, and numerous people will pat you on the head and say, "Awww, that's adorable. You actually think there are good guys in these stories."
    • Odin, oh dear sweet merciful heavens, Odin. He has often been made out as the Big Good in modern times, but let's go over a couple of things: First off, one of his nicknames is Oathbreaker, meaning that he is FAMOUS for committing one of the biggest sins in Norse Myth, breaking his word. Second, there are two forms of magic that are available in Norse myth, one exclusively male, one exclusively female. Odin learned both, one by sacrificing his eye, the other by allowing himself to be hung by his neck from the World Tree for 10 days. This means he is capable of making any sacrifice for power, regardless of cost (case in point, when Loki was bound, on Odin's orders, Loki's son was murdered and his guts were turned into iron chains to bind him. Which means Odin had an innocent person murdered so he could get back at Loki, who allegedly killed Odin's son Balder). Third, the whole Balder incident: let ask you, which is more likely, that Odin neglected one item in his list of things that could not hurt his son because he thought it was harmless, or because he didn't want a completely unkillable god with a legitimate claim to his throne who might try to overthrow him in the future? Leaving the Mistletoe off the list wasn't an oversight, it was an insurance policy. Loki was just unlucky. Fourth, Valhalla: the only real condition that you have to meet to get in is die fighting. It doesn't really matter which side you were on, whether you were a good person or not, you just had to die in battle. If you were badass enough that no one could ever kill you that you lived to an old age and died of illness, then through no fault of your own, you go to Hel, a very unpleasant person. Odin wanted his paradise filled with the roughest, toughest, hardest bastards who ever lived, so that when Ragnarok came, he'd have an army of the best soldiers who ever died to protect him. Honor was meaningless, he just wanted to win.
  • Any character in Greek Mythology. There are about six different versions of the Taking of Hippolyta's Girdle alone, never mind the amount of times someone goes all Shrodinger and is either dead or living on a different continent which later comes to be named after them.
  • As war has becoming less accepted in the world modern interpretations of Ares make him increasingly evil, rather than just a force of nature. This is arguably also true of Hades.
    • The Romans took this in the opposite direction, reveering their Mars as a hero, as opposed to the childish and violent Ares of Greek myth.
      • Technically, Athenian myth - the rivalry between Athens and Sparta was represented in that of Athena and Ares. The Spartans undoubtedly had a more positive view of Ares. He still wouldn't have been a nice guy, though - the Spartans had no use for nice guys.
        • And besides, the Spartans' most important gods were Artemis Orthia and Athena of the Brazen House.
    • Persephone and Hades. Was it an abduction by a rapist friendless god of death away from the world above, or a secret eloping with a man who just needed a friend and was grossly misunderstood to escape My Beloved Smother?
      • There have been interpretations of it being a political marriage.
    • The myth of Heracles is mostly known in the Theban version, where Hera appears as his inveterate enemy, but things probably looked very different in the unrecorded traditions of Hercules' native Peloponnesus, in particular his home town of Argos, where Hera was the most important deity. His name ("Glory of Hera") and episodes like Hera suckling the infant Heracles and eventually agreeing to him marrying her daughter Hebe have been seen as traces of a more positive portrayal of their relationship.
    • The myth of Hippomenes and Atalanta. Did Aphrodite know that Atalanta would stop to pick up the golden apples, enchant the apples so Atalanta would pick them up, or did she know that Atalanta would throw the race because she loved Hipponenes but was too feminine to just flat out admit it?
  • Anyone in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana has had alternative character interpretations attached to them and it is not just in modern times. Kamban Ramayana, the first regional translation of the Ramayana in something like the seventh century portrays Ravana from being the Big Bad to sympathetic Anti-Hero whose one moral flaw was women and similarly, the Orissan interpretation of the Mahabharata portrays the protagonist Royal Prince Pandavas as essentially Jerkass for participating in the Kurushetra War. Region, Gender and Class/Caste all influence one's interpretation of both these epics.
  • Egyptian Mythology: Set. He might be the heroic guardian of Ra, a jealous brother, or a chaotic god of evil. The darker interpretations were the result of politics and not reflected by all Egyptians. Unfortunately for Set, the latter two are the more well-known in popular culture, and his place as the Egyptian god of evil is used in many modern sources, such as the Forgotten Realms.
    • There are also some interpretations who view him as...sort of evil but nothing compared to Apep/Apophis.
  • The hindu religions of India and the iranian religion of Zoroastrism: Both derive from an older indo-iranian religion system (probably) but exactly splitted and mirrored their pantheon: In India, there are the good Devas (gods) and the bad Ashuras (demons), in Zoroastrism, there are/is the good Ahura and the bad Devas/Dehas/Deshas. For example, Indra is a powerful God of rain in India and once was one of the God Lords (before Vishnu and Shiva grew more popular), in ancient Zoroastrism Indra is an evil demon of drought a whirlwinds. It probably confused the Zoroastrians a big time when they entered India.
  • Atlanta/Atalanta- were the apples enchanted, so she had to go get them instead of running the race? Or had she fallen for the suitor, and the apples gave her an excuse to lose with wither of their honors being compromised?
    • I've studied mythology. There are a lot of different versions of the story. However in every one two things are outright stated. 1. She's a Hardcore Abstinate and 2. The apples were tantalizingly irresistable. So the apples automatically compelled her to pick them up.
  • Coyote. He's portrayed as everything from God's best friend, to a parallel to Satan. In some stories, he's the hero. In others, the villain. He is sometimes portrayed as an absolute badass, or as The Chew Toy. In some stories, he creates the World out of kindness. In others, he does stuff like placing the stars by kicking over the table they were on because another of the Animal People wouldn't let him make a constellation of his own, or releasing the sun and moon into the sky because he was too curious to leave the box they were in closed. He can be a real Jerkass, or even The Woobie.
  • Baba Yaga - depending on the work, she's either the most common Wicked Witch who Eats Babies and lives on a house on chicken legs, flying on a mortar and pestle. Other times; she may be a crone...but is sought out for her wisdom or has guided lost souls.
  • Alluded to in the Genesis section of Literature above, the Christian God could be interpreted in many ways. He's shown in the Bible sewing confusion (Tower of Babel), killing untold millions (Noah's Flood), obstructing free will (Hardening Pharaoh's Heart), killing more millions (Tenth Plague), and spurring countless wars among different nations (too many to name). The Bible is the only source claiming this being is benevolent, but how reliable is that since he supposedly inspired the Bible? I've heard it said in jest that "The greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing the world that he's God."
    • If viewed from this interpretation, Satan becomes the good guy. He tries desperately to drive people away from believing in a despotic Jerkass. Or perhaps he's just God's right-hand man, taking the blame for the really terrible things that God wants done, such as destroying Job's entire life.
      • This view is further helped by the fact that the murders involved in destroying Job's life make up the entirety of Satan's kill count, which is absurdly small compared to God's.
      • But it's immediately negated by the fact that Satan is the result of all people dying, since he's evils' outlier.If he is the serpent, that is.
        • Except that it is God that lays the punishments upon the human beings, so no.
    • And if God is really a sadistic bastard who enjoys toying with humanity, then Jesus was just another pawn. A clueless human who was convinced that he was a part of God, and would be sacrificed to God for humanity. But it was really just God screwing with some Bronze-Age bastard. Alternatively, if God really did send a part of himself to be sacrificed to himself, then we're definitely getting into sado-masochism.
      • It could've been a publicity stunt...
      • According to some Gnostic interpretations, suffering is required for whatever the ultimate state of the universe is. From there, it goes that God lived and suffered as a human as a way of saying "Hey, I'm not just torturing you guys for my own jollies. I'm willing to pay the price as well."
      • This editor has heard of a sect of particularly hard-line Christianity that takes this interpretation of God to its most extreme (and disturbing) conclusion: Only the New Testament was inspired by God. The Old Testament was the work of the Devil. Jews worship Satan!
        • Pfft. From the hard-line Jewish point of view, the New Testament propounds the belief that God is human, limited, physical, and divisible. Christians worship idols!
          • Which isn't far from the truth, if you look at the meaning of 'idol' in the religious sense, Jesus fits it to a T. It might be also notable that The Devil=Satan=Lucifer which means Light Bringer. If 'God is Evil' isn't correct, that's a wallbanger right there.
    • In ways, given the sheer popularity of this trope (see God Is Evil), the idea that the Christian God is benevolent is almost itself an Alternative Character Interpretation.
    • God admittedly claims Himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: His chosen people are the Israelites. Hence, salvation is possible only for them in the Old Testament, for his Covenant was with the Hebrews. Then came the New Testament: the Old Covenant gave way for Jesus, the New Covenant, opening the possibility of salvation to all.
      • The Jewish interpretation is rather different: God has a special covenant with the Israelites, but also made a general covenant with Noah after the Flood, which is why "The righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come."
    • Consider, does Satan actually do anything evil in the entire Bible? In Genesis, he teaches Adam & Eve good and evil and is cursed for it. In Job he's acting specifically with God's approval. He supposedly rebelled against God, along with 1/3 of the Angels, but what's wrong with rebelling against an oppressive ruler? He "tempts" Jesus by offering him wealth, power and prestige. Hey, if you wanted to change the world for the better, wouldn't it be easier from a position of authority? Most of the worst acts in the Bible are done by God, on God's orders, or by humans acting of their own free will.
    • That all those characters are the same "person" is itself a mix of Alternative Character Interpretation and Wild Mass Guessing popularized via Word of Dante.
    • This site seeks to explain away the apparent contradictions on free will in Pharaoh's case. It actually makes sense.
    • Here's a question for you: if God knows everything, can see perfectly the outcome of each and every action, and all things occur according to God's plan, then why would he have created Lucifer in the first place, knowing he would rebel? Why would he have create the angels in heaven who would join in Lucifer's cause? Why would he create man and not give them the ten commandments to live by until centuries after their creation, yet punish them for every violation of the rules they had been unaware of. Why would he create the Great Flood to punish the world before anyone had really known anything about him? Or destroy the Tower of Babel, when it was before anyone really knew about him? Why command Abraham to kill Isaac when he already knew that, if commanded, he would certainly do so? Why go through the wager concerning Job when he knew beforehand that the man would remain faithful no matter what? Why punish sinners when their actions were, despite the illusion of free will, destined to occur despite whatever choices that the sinner thought he was making (you cannot have free will AND a per-destined plan that it is impossible to deviate from. Simple logic can tell you that). Is he intentionally arranging things in a way that allows him some small measure of justification in causing horrible pain upon his creations, or is he like Doctor Manhattan, able to see the future perfectly, but powerless to deviate from the course of events that he can foresee. In the former, it makes him evil, the latter, someone hardly any more worthy of worship than the Big Bang: just a force that caused the universe to occur, but has no actual impact on how it will turn out. After all, if the course of the universe is set well before God even came onto the scene, what use is prayer, when it has no power to change the outcome of events?
      • Or... is God capable of making mistakes? Is he as incapable of seeing his own blunders in advance as we are? Can he perform an action with good intentions, only to see it go horribly wrong? This viewpoint actually WOULD make him somewhat worthy of worship, since he'd be just like us: trying his best to make things work out for everybody, but is still capable of making mistakes every now and then (we are allegedly made in his image, and if God is able to make mistakes, then his creations would certainly be the same).
  • The people killed in the flood were described as complete monsters (and only about one million), the tower of Babel was to spread humans out over the Earth because they decided to defy Him, free will is a deep theological question, but the notion of God having controlled his mind is a mistranslation (the same thing happened with the commandment: thou shall not kill, which is actually supposed to be: thou shall not murder.) The Pharaoh was had plenty of opportunities to avert the 10th plague, and the people of Egypt themselves could have saved their firstborn by doing what the people of Israel were doing (and judging from the genealogies some did.The wars were punishment for heinous crimes. The devil is NOT Lucifer, the only use of Lucifer in the Bible refers to the king of Babylon. As for Satan having a low kill count, according to the Bible, the reason humanity is subject to death is that Satan caused us to rebel against God, so essentially: every death EVER is the result of Satan's actions.
    • Except that the Garden of Eden incident is not connected with death outside the fandom (and the word of the apostles, which are famous for their bigotry). Almost like an appropriate excuse, hey?
    • It's explicitly stated in Genesis 3:22-24 that God was afraid that Adam and his as-yet-unnamed wife would eat of the Tree of Life and live forever, thus becoming like Himself. Since immortality is seen as abnormal for humans, this would seem to indicate that when God created both humans and Eden, He included mortality in the design plan:
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And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever; Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

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    • Immortality was supposed to be the natural state of humanity, which Adam & Eve lost by sinning. Their punishment was to die, so allowing them to eat from a tree that would make them immortal would be allowing them to escape that punishment.
  • Christianity itself (yes, the very religion) is also subject to this. Are Christians simply Jerks With A Heart Of Gold who want to help the suffering sectors of humanity by preaching a coming of a savior who died for our sins, philosophers who are trying to answer the meaning of life by pointing it to a Physical God, misunderstood hippies, fanatics who are afraid of a little progress and struggles to bring the world back to the Stone Age because progress defiles the Creator's effort, or all of them at the same time? The same can also apply to Islam.
  • There are so many Christians, you'll find people who fit each of those categories and many others.
  • All of those "faiths" that prevent the depiction of some central figure. You know who/what you are. Is this He Who Must Not Be Seen figure of yours some Ultimate Evil Eldritch Abomination with a Brown Note effect on whoever sees its image, or something else?
  • Then there's Satan. A truly evil heartless bastard out to get humanity simply because God loves them so much, as mentioned above God's former number one son seeing his master for the evil bastard and attempts to stop him from creating a truly tortured creature, man, yet fails and is sent to hell, OR a man jealous of how humanity is given free will and favor over god's fully devoted servants whom were there first and done much more for god than man could possibly dreamed of. The final straw was being forced to bow down to a being so undeserving.
    • Given that the idea of Man BEING a tortured creature was only possible after the Serpent's machinations, probably not. Plus, given that humans were created in the image of God, we are technically of higher stature than the Angels themselves. Sure, we do not possess the power and knowledge granted to the angels themselves (as seen in Scripture), but yet we are granted a greater dignity.
      • Angels are also made in the image and likeness of God, and are higher than humans in the cosmic hierarchy. One reason postulated for Satan's rebellion is that he refused to worship Jesus as the God-Man.
      • Neither is Satan identical with The Serpent, nor is to forget that for christians God has a plan. That the Serpent would be able to defy Eve and Adam against Gods will would mean it had free will, which would make that "gift" less special for humans and any angel argument probably invalid, it would destroy theology.
        • The serpent is Satan: Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
          • Except not only is he never otherwise connected to the snake, it could also just be essencially insulting him, as snakes appearently are evil according to christian myth.
  • Even Jesus is not immune to alternate character interpretations. This website makes a case of Jesus being the son of Satan who came to lead people astray. The site is completely serious and relies heavily on textual analysis of the original Greek.
  • Speaking of Satan and Hell, something in there shouldn't fit. Either Satan and God are enemies, but Hell is less torture and more (at worst) boot camp; Satan and God are buddies and Hell actually is a terrible place where sinful souls are punished; or Satan and God don't like each other much, but help each other under the orders of a higher power.
    • Where's the contradiction? That Satan's being pointlessly evil rather than working toward a goal? Who's to say he has a plan? Why bring people to his side only to torment them? Why not? Why doesn't God just smite the devil? Why doesn't god just smite anyone? You're being given the choice to recant your mistakes and make amends. Even the devil has that opportunity.
      • God doesn't need to 'smite' the Devil because He's already won. That, and, He has a plan that involves sending Satan into the deepest pits of Hell when He makes a perfect world.
    • The question why Satan, who is supposed to be evil, punishes the sinners in Hell can be explained quite easily: He doesn't. In the Bible, Satan is not the ruler of Hell. When rebelling against God, he was thrown down to Earth. Hell is the place where God sends the sinners and Satan himself will be punished there after Judgement Day.
  • Judas Iscariot, who, in The Bible betrayed Jesus has inspired a famous one when a Gnostic document that may or may not have been his Gospel was discovered - was he really just The Starscream to Jesus, or Jesus's willing collaborator and enabler of Christ's death and resurrection?
  • The whole Cain and Abel story. Was God being arbitrary? Was Cain unfairly treated? Was Abel an Asshole Victim that was never recorded? Did Abel actually earn the prize? Was it a Secret Test of Character Cain failed miserably? Or was Cain denied the prize for the evil in his heart?
  • Then there's the alternate interpretation that God is above interpretation. Since humans are mortal creatures, and extremely limited (barely removed from our tree-dwelling, poop-flinging ancestors), there's no way we could really begin to comprehend an infinite being such as God, and trying to apply our own views and interpretations is the height of arrogance.
  • There are so many different versions of the Arthurian mythos that a wide variety of character interpretations are easy to maintain, but try this one: Morgan le Fay is supposed to be Arthur's archenemy, right? She supposedly hated him because he owed his birth to the fact that his father, Uther Pendragon, murdered her father, Gorlois, and raped her mother, Igraine. Now let's look at what she actually did to her half-brother: she exposed the fact that his wife, Guinevere, was cheating on him with Lancelot. She herself slept with Arthur and gave him the son and heir, Mordred, whom his wife never gave him. Then, after Arthur and Mordred go to war over a misunderstanding, and Arthur kills Mordred at Cammlann, receiving a mortal wound himself in the process, Morgan carries him to Avalon to be healed. So, her undying enmity for her half-brother was exposed by her exposing the fact that his wife was cheating on him, then sleeping with him and bearing him a son, and then, after he kills their son, forgiving him and healing him. Perhaps, far from hating him, Morgan loves her brother, albeit in an unhealthy way, and is trying her best to be good to him.

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