Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Religion is Devil Worship

And now that I have your attention, here's a bit of explanation: Far too many religious people out there practice in a way that strikes me as akin to the devil worship fundie Christians like to call out on anyone who disagrees with them. Or plays D&D. I'm not being really all-inclusive, merely quite broad, since there are weird 'modern' religions that turn their deities into some kind of metaphorical vapor, but they're a different topic for a different time.

[Viking] Anyway... [/Viking]

Here are some of the parallels I see between a lot of religions and devil worship:

1. The entities they align themselves with are evil: There's no getting around it. A lot of the deities out there are big into violence, discrimination, authoritarianism, and so forth. They have to perform all sorts of acrobatics to fool some of the kids. Big thing that got me out of church was a preacher who tried that about Hell at a time I thought everyone there had the moral decency to abolish Hell and other nasty parts from the Bible.

2. They make a pact with the entity for selfish benefit: Pretty much what Heaven is about. They get eternal happy juice injected into their ethereal veins after death because they allied themselves with the right entity. They typically aren't willing to share their alleged utopia with other people, since they tend to agree with the big man's arbitrary deadline of ~80 years (less for undeveloped countries), barring nasty circumstances that typically lower it.

3. They (allegedly) get malign powers they're willing to use against anyone who displeases them: There are plenty of people out there willing to pray for very not-nice things to happen to their enemies. If something bad does happen to one of their enemies, they'll typically give their deity credit and take some for themselves for rallying acolytes to pray for it. Happens especially often with big natural disasters.

4. Access to malign powers is typically performed with hand gestures, occult materials, and foci. Verbal components (including unison chanting), somatic components (clapping hands together, crossing selves, bowing in rough direction of a rock, that sort of thing), symbol, enchanted water/oil, idols, altars, etcetera.

5. False miracles/wonders/whatever: No shortage of fakery in the religion industry.

So, thoughts?

16 comments:

Dark Jaguar said...

For Nerzuhl, I mean, Jesus!

Just Al said...

You seem to have a poor understanding of what evil is. You cannot follow God and be, or do, evil. It is a direct contradiction in terms.

Just because some particular human, perhaps even a lot of them, decide that some behavior is wrong does not make it so. It is not for us to know The Lord's ways, nor pass judgement on His light. If he commands us to obey, it is only evil NOT to. People may die, perhaps even all life on the entire planet be annihilated, but if that is the path to Goodness and Truth, it is wrong to question it.

Just Al said...

Okay, while I don't post here enough for people to recognize me (unless they know me from other blogs), I really don't have the time to keep checking back to stay on top of the shitstorm that might ensue. That previous post was indeed satire, and quite hard to do - I had to capitalize stupid superstitions and everything! ;-)

(Missed one too, dammit)

There is a small point I was making in there, though: defining "evil" is a crucial factor. For most religions, it is exactly or almost exactly as I said above. To their credit, many religious folk refuse to follow such a thing blindly, and avoid those behaviors (such as stoning and burning) that they know are really poor social interactions.

For the most part, I think this reflects how few people REALLY believe in their chosen faith - everything they know tells them that certain actions are wrong, regardless of what their scripture says. Not sure how the majority face such a thing; do they treat it as metaphors, or conveniently ignore it, or something else?

And, of course, an uncertain number avoid stoning others because mere local laws prevent it, and they're too chickenshit to follow their faith literally ;-)

In a lot of cases, though, they feel it's perfectly okay to dictate what OTHER people should be doing. I've often said that religion is for other people (at times I say this in bed, which tends to make things awkward, even more so when someone else is there). Do as I say, not as I do, kind of thing. I have met no truly devout person yet.

But on the up side, I think this is just the kind of thing to point out to those who claim our morals can only come from religion. What utter nonsense! Of course some scripture talks total codswallop! And you don't need much of a mind to see this. I think people need to realize that they can make their own decisions just fine without any other guidelines but their sense. And, to go along with that, the knowledge that no one expects them to be perfect, and sometimes they will make mistakes. The important thing is to do the best you can and think things through.

Laser Potato said...

The Megami Tensi (sp?) series has played around with this concept quite a bit; in it, God is just a big jerk who doesn't give a crap about your soul and manipulates His followers to do His bidding. It was taken to a new level in Breath Of Fire, where the "God" they were worshipping turned out to be a demon bent on destroying the world.

Laser Potato said...

Ah, it's spelled "Megami Tensei".
More on God's dickishness in the games (via Hardcore Gaming 101):
"But probably one of the biggest reasons that the Megami Tensei series remained stuck in Japan are the controversial storylines. Post-apocalyptic landscapes are a popular trends, featuring ruined worlds where the remnants of humanity must struggle to survive against the tenants of the demon world. Almost all of the monsters are based off creatures from mythologies from around the globe, ranging from Hindu deities like Kali and Vishnu to Norse gods like Thor and Loki. However, there's a lot of influence from Judeo-Christian lore, and a lot of it is bound to offend those in the Bible Belt. The Christian god Yahweh, who appears in Megami Tensei 2 and Shin Megami Tensei 2, is portrayed as an overlord meant to fool human beings into faith, only to have them exploited for His own gain. There seems to be a recurring Japanese dislike of Christianity evidenced in many RPGs (especially during the 32-bit era, with games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Xenogears), but none of them have been so blatant as to name the actual God, one of which a sizeable portion of the globe believes in, and portrays Him to be mankind's great nemesis. While not all of the titles are steeped so deeply in religion, it's still one of the defining themes of the series."

Heathen Dan said...

"You seem to have a poor understanding of what evil is. You cannot follow God and be, or do, evil. It is a direct contradiction in terms."

Yes, and if god commands that human sacrifice is good, abstaining from doing so is evil. How nice that morality is the arbitrary creation of a fickle deity with no regard for the human condition.

Bronze Dog said...

Well, little demonstration of just how nasty fundies are: That post was labeled as satire, Heathen Dan, but it's perfectly understandable how you might have missed it: Lots of fundies I bump into match the sentiments, and there's a fair chance we'll see some fundie agreeing with it.

Dunc said...

Hmmm...

Prior to the development of "modern" Satanism during the 18th C (which is a whole other kettle of fish), all (European) ceremonial magick was based on the principle that a sufficiently godly man could command demons via the power of the Lord (although exactly how such divine delegation worked was always a bit vague). So, for example, you could use the Power of God to command Astaroth to smite your enemies, or bring you nubile, pliant young women, etc...

The irony inherent in this concept never seemed to bother anyone. (I guess they were operating on more-or-less exactly the moral "philosophy" that Al was so effectively satirising)

And of course, "modern" Satanism is largely a bastardisation of medieval ceremonial magick... So it would be more accurate to say that what we would now call "devil worship" is, in fact, a direct outgrowth of Christianity.

Dark Jaguar said...

I was under the impression that modern satanism was really just a big sarcastic put-on. Don't tell me they are serious, because up until now I've respected their dedication to the joke.

Bronze Dog said...

I'm under the impression that there are multiple Churches of Satan, including the sarcastic put-on one.

Dunc said...

Indeed. I was referring to the form developed mainly in France during the 18th century. Exactly how serious it all was I couldn't say. I wasn't there, and gurus, magi, and cultists are all notorious liars.

However, if there's one thing I've learned so far in life, it's that no matter how obviously ridiculous an idea or system of thought may be, there's always someone out there who takes it seriously.

Akusai said...

Even Pastafarianism?

Laser Potato said...

From The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth:
"11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him."
Something tells me that last sentence isn't particularly well-enforced.

Dunc said...

Even Pastafarianism?

Give it 20 years.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some god-botherer hasn't taken it seriously (as a threat, rather than as a personal creed) already.

Rhoadan said...

Well, apparently there's people out there that take the Church of the Subgenius seriously, and Rev. Stang's still around to poke fun as his own creation.

As for just al's satire, doesn't it sound an awful lot like something that a certain columnist for Wingnut Daily would has come up with? Heck, has come up with?

Laser Potato said...

A slight correction...the demon-as-god story was in Breath Of Fire II, not Breath Of Fire. The "II" din't make it through for some reason.