Really enjoying the debate people. Keep it up smart ones so I can sit and read something good while I scratch.
I am reading The Origin of Satan, right now by Elaine Pagels. (spelling?) I am only a couple chapters in, so I can't comment with any real authority, but I find some of her ideas really interesting - Like what is the importance of making Pilot seem like a sweetie pie, while the Jewish leaders are blood thirsty? Also putting the struggle in terms of a heavenly conflict that is still going on, makes it easier for new followers not to be disapointed because their leader is dead. I'm rambling--sorry, I didn't really plan out this post.
I dunno, it's interesting stuff to me--anyone else read it?
Also, Elsewhere I would seriously recommend you read The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake. Very thought provoking stuff, some of it echoes what you said in your opening post. There are a lot of poets and authors who wrote during the Romantic period that felt that Satan was infact a hero, not God--and likened him to a Promethus type character i.e. someone sympathetic to the plight of humans who was punished by the gods, or in Satans case the capital G, for helping humans to no longer be in the "dark" and totally under the control of (g)God(s).
I find the whole debate facinating, and this debate on this forum is no different. Thanks to everyone who contributed--it's been fun reading!!