Devils Advocate

Has anyone used this as a signature yet?

What on earth would be the point of that? -- DevilsAdvocate

Wouldn't doing the search himself be the way to go, rather than just verbalizing? -- Devils Advocate Too

Why would you even bother replying to something like that?

A DevilsAdvocate is the cleric who argues against the SaintsAdvocate whether or not a Beatus should be sainted. The cleric, in that way, represents the Devil, who doesn't wish anyone to be sainted.

In common language, a DevilsAdvocate is someone who takes up an opposing position in an argument just because no-one else has. His or her opinions generally do not always align with the ones he or she is positing, but they are certainly opinions that need to be stated.

Usually, I'm a muddle between my own opinion and the opinions I choose, but I don't really think that everything is bad, horrible decision. I just attempt to be sceptical and a counterbalance.

A good rule to avoid being universally hated is that after a little bit, give up the argument and state your actual opinion. There's no sense arguing in circles anyway, and maybe, just this once, the Devil's wrong.

The cleric, in that way, represents the Devil who doesn't wish anyone to be sainted.

Well, I would think that the Devil would want some people to be sainted - just not the ones who deserved it (I assume being sainted is a nice thing). -- OleAndersen

Diabolos is Greek for accuser. In some accounts, he is the one who stands before God arguing why so-and-so is not fit for Heaven.

Given that 1) the word comes from the Latin advocatus diaboli, and 2) it wasn't until the 11th century AD (long after the centralization of the Church in Rome) that Pope Urban decreed that canonization procedures be conducted in general councils (given rise to the role of devil's advocate), is the Greek term even relevant? --DevilsAdvocate :-)

For heaven's (or the devil's) sake, take your own argument 1% further and you contradict yourself: "Devil: from Late Latin diabolus, from Greek diabolos, literally, slanderer"...or, according to the previous poster, "accuser".

I.e. the Greek is relevant because Latin borrowed it. And why did Pope Urban choose this procedure with this role with this name? Out of thin air? --dm

"Devil's Advocate" was the name of Stan Kelly-Bootle's column in Unix Review back in the 1980s. -- ElizabethWiethoff

Stan's a friend; thanks on his behalf for remembering him. He's fond of multilingual puns; one of my fond memories from back then: I intervened to prevent the editor from "correcting" Stan's phrase (in an article talking about statistics, French, food, preferences, and several other things) "One man's meat is another's Poisson." :-) -- DougMerritt

Indeed, each one has his gout. Thanks for reminding me that the articles required awfully clever readers. -- ElizabethWiethoff

Stan Kelly-Bootle's online column "Son of Devil's Advocate" can be found at

Many thanks for this reference. OMG! Actual intellectual fare! I'm saved!

See also: BlackHat, SaintsAdvocate

Help me be true to myself.

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