Anyway, what I wanted to talk about is the idea of Satan in religion/culture. In Christianity, Satan slowly evolved over about 2 or 3 thousand years into the "Accuser of the Brethren" [and Sistren too, I suppose] and the "Father of Lies/Liars." He must be a busy guy. It's kind of hard for me to imagine the energy it would take. He must be some kind of sadist, taking such pleasure in constantly fucking with people. Especially 6 billion people. The "Church of Satan" sees "Satan" [more appropriately, in my opinion] as a symbol. They don't use the word "accuser;" they use the word "questioner," and he's not the questioner of the regular guy, but the questioner of authority. Looking at it from that perspective, the whole idea seems slightly less nefarious, doesn't it? I don't associate asking questions with the desire to deceive. In fact, what's wrong with asking questions if you're looking for "the truth"? But in
In reality, we all know, and my parents would readily admit, that "good" and "evil" aren't so black and white. It is even said that "Satan comes as an angel of light." This is another way of saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." There are probably a bunch of other cliches that mean the same thing.
My point is that my parents have it backwards: "truth" is discovered by asking questions, and blindly trusting in authority is an easy way for evil to be accomplished, even if that is not the intent. Christians have no more of a magical ability to discern between "good" and "evil" than any other type of person. Was the average German any less "Christian" than the average American in the 1930s and 1940s? Was the average Bush voter any less Christian than the average Gore, Kerry, or Nader voter? I highly doubt it. Christianity is correct about the idea that lies can and should be combated with truth. I like the metaphor of "shining a light rather than cursing the darkness." The problem is that their idea of "shining a light" is simply "proclaiming the truth of Christ." There's no concern for refining their ideas about anything through independent sources. The perspective is not that truth is something that we need to discover on our own, it is that we already know the truth and we need to spread it as far as we can. Let me make this perfectly clear: Nobody knows the final, ultimate, absolute truth about anything. All we can know are facts, and we can refine our knowledge of those facts through science and reasoned logic. If somebody has another way of increasing the size of the global knowledge pool, I'd really like to know. Thanks.
1The "problem" with gay marriage in this country is that marriage has two meanings: a legal meaning, and a religious meaning. I think these two aspects of marriage should be completely separated. But we have combined the two into one and we still call it marriage, and we've been doing this for hundreds if not thousands of years, so it's going to be difficult to undo.