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I realize that in popular culture, Satan, Lucifer, and The Devil are synonyms, but on a more theological level, they have distinct meanings, which may overlap to varying degrees, and in some belief systems, aren't even synonymous at all.

Is it appropriate that the tags then are synonymous?

I noticed it with this question: What is the Biblical basis for saying Lucifer is an angel?

It should be tagged for sure, as it's clearly about that. But it's not (necessarily, depending on one's theological framework) about Satan or The Devil--and whether it is or not, is irrelevant to the specific question at hand.

So I'd be in favor of splitting the synonym in this case.

On the other hand, I can see a lot of room for mis-use of these tags, with people tagging every question about "Satan" as all three , , and , or perhaps worse, one of these, randomly.

  • I think so. There's one single mention of Lucifer in the Bible. If you want to discuss Lucifer as distinct from Satan then it can be tagged Isaiah. – curiousdannii Apr 17 '16 at 23:41
  • It might be different if there were any denominations which taught that they were different beings, but I'm not aware of any. – curiousdannii Apr 18 '16 at 2:52
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    @curiousdannii: There are denominations that teach that Satan is not a person, but more a personification of evil, and thus that Satan is not a being at all. – Flimzy Apr 18 '16 at 6:28
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    Yeah, but they wouldn't consider Lucifer a personal being either, would they? The name Lucifer is used in two ways that I've seen: with the belief that it's a more personal name than Satan or devil, or to refer to its use for the Assyrian king. Neither warrant a separate tag IMO. – curiousdannii Apr 18 '16 at 6:59
  • @curiousdannii: Whether they consider Lucifer a personal being or not doesn't seem relevant. What's relevant is whether they consider Lucifer and Satan to be synonymous. – Flimzy Apr 18 '16 at 8:14
  • It might be best for someone who holds, or at least intimately understands, this view, to comment. – Flimzy Apr 18 '16 at 8:15
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    Agreed, but considering how long the synonyms have been around, I'd consider the silence a sign that no one has been too bothered by it so far... – curiousdannii Apr 18 '16 at 12:33
  • I believe I see The Freemason always bringing it up in comments. – 3961 Apr 18 '16 at 22:24
  • @curious Good point. Though the taxonomy may be more accurate as separate tags, is that actually better or useful for this site? – 3961 Apr 18 '16 at 22:25
  • @curiousdannii: There is one mention of "Lucifer" in the KJV...but in the Vulgate --- since lucifer is a Latin word --- there's a plethora. – user900 Apr 21 '16 at 16:43
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As far as I can figure, pretty much any time there would be a meaningful distinction to be made between the two it's reasonable to expect the question and answers to specifically delineate their own scope—as far as a general taxonomy of topics go I don't see a problem with them being lumped together.

If there was a substantial amount of expertise that covered one or the other separately, that might be different, but even if some theological frameworks hold the two as distinct, the interest and expertise on the topic is pretty much a 100% overlap.

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