How much of Christianity was lifted from the pre-Christian world?

Sorry to keep you waiting with this post. I guess I should’ve mentioned that the second semester of my third year at university is now in full swing.

In this post I’ll attempt not just to outline how many of the main points of Christianity are borrowed from pre-Christian/pagan belief systems, but by the end establish what that means, focusing on some of the key points found in popular Christianity as it is imagined today.

 

God himself

We already know that Yahweh/Jehovah, the supreme deity of the Bible, was originally a minor Canaanite deity of war, who ascended in status within the Hebrew pantheon as the chief deity of their people (in other words the God of Israel), the context of which transitioned from that of a merely henotheistic tradition (that is the belief that there are many gods but the practice of worshiping just one; i.e. on the basis of tribalism) to that of a full-blown monotheistic tradition. As time passed, Yahweh also accrued many characteristics associated with other deities such as El or Zeus, and became the far more warlike and supposedly omnipresent and loving version of both. And after the Jews were exiled from Babylon, Yahweh transformed from just the God of Israel to the ruling deity of everything.

Yahweh himself is just another deity in a long line of supreme deities with slightly similar characteristics. Ahura Mazda in Persia, Aten and Ra in Egypt, Ba’al and El in Canaan, Marduk in Babylon, Indra and Varuna in India, and of course Zeus in Greece. And we know that before the ascent of monotheism, Yahweh was in direct competition with other deities. Among his biggest rivals was a deity named Chemosh (or Kemosh), whom the Bible refers to as the “abomination of Moab”, a deity that archaeological evidence points to as being not so different from Yahweh.

Kemosh (aka Chemosh)

Kemosh (aka Chemosh)

 

The messianic archetype

Jesus himself was not stolen from paganism, contrary to what Bill Maher and Peter Joseph would have you believe. However, the role he plays in the Bible is that of an archetype that has been passed down throughout the ages. The archetypal role assumed by Jesus is of course the role of a dying and rising deity, or divine being. One of the most familiar examples of this in Mesopotamian mythology is the deity of vegetation known as Tammuz, the deity to whom the origins of the Christian cross are sometimes attributed. Tammuz was believed to have died at the hands of the spirits of the underworld or his wife Inanna/Ishtar, and descended to the underworld only to rise again every six months. Then there is Osiris, who was killed by Set only to be resurrected by Isis and go on to become the lord of the Egyptian netherworld. Among the deities worshipped by the Phrygians was a deity of vegetation and fertility named Attis, who went crazy and mutilated himself only to, depending on who you ask, either resurrect or reincarnate as a pine tree. In another sense, Ishtar’s descent into the underworld is sort of similar to the descent of Jesus into Hell, except that Ishtar dies and resurrects while in the underworld while Jesus is crucified to death and then goes to Hell in order liberate the souls of the damned. In the case of Ishtar, her mission was to save Tammuz who had apparently been dragged to the underworld by Ereshkigal’s spirits.

There are other aspects associated with messianic archetypes that I’ve covered in my post about the “Divine Individual“.

 

Some familiar public holidays

I’ve talked about this before in the early days of my blog and I plan on covering this subject in greater detail in separate posts dedicated to the eight holidays associated with the Neopagan wheel of the year, but we’ll quickly go through the holidays popularly celebrated in the West. The timing of the Christmas holiday season is based on Saturnalia and other winter solstice festivals and is found nowhere in the Bible, the premise of Easter hinges on a myth that, as was just explained, derives from pre-Christian archetypes and storytelling, and while the modern Halloween is largely shaped by Christian and American tradition, the date of the Samhain celebrated by Celtic pagans is, perhaps coincidentally, near to the date that Halloween is celebrated now, and the theme of monsters and night terrors associated with Halloween was also found in European pagan traditions which hold that time to be either Samhain, Walpurgisnacht or both.

 

Heaven and Hell

The belief in an afterlife divided in terms of a blissful kingdom of light versus a dark nether realm filled with demons or monsters has been traced to as far back as ancient Egypt, as has the basic concept of the individual soul being judged after death. The Duat was the ancient Egyptian version of the underworld, filled with all manner of monstrous figures and daemonic beings and the site of the regular journey of the solar deity Ra. It is even documented within Egyptian lore that a serpent bent on mankind’s destruction slithers through the underworld, waiting for the opportunity to strike at Ra whenever he journeys into the underworld, which is similar enough to the Christian view of Satan as the adversary of mankind who also appears as either a dragon or as “that old serpent” intent on striking down Jehovah/Yahweh. However, for the ordinary Egyptian, being trapped in the underworld was not the main fear, rather the prospect of being annihilated in the jaws of Ammut if the soul was found wanting by Anubis. The equivalent heavenly realm is Aaru, a prestine field of reeds which resembled life in Egypt, which the Egyptians felt was the greatest thing on earth and wanted to continue living for eternity. And if the soul was deemed worthy of passing into such a beneficent afterlife, then it would indeed be allowed to pass on an live forever with loved ones and pets. Does that sound familiar?

Don’t forget that many pre-Christian traditions have their own conceptions of the afterlife, and there are several heavens and hells found in the mythologies of the world. In Greece, for instance, those who lived a good and virtuous life or were heroic in some way would enter Elysium, provided that they were remembered by their peers and their descendants, while more wicked individuals would descend into the dungeon of Tartarus, where the Titans were also imprisoned, and everyone else would go to the fields of Asphodel, a meadow in the underworld where ordinary souls pass on that was neither a heaven nor a hell, all after the judgement of the soul. Oh, and much like how Christians believe that Yahweh reserved a lake of fire for the devil and his angels, Tartarus is the place where deities like Zeus cast down their enemies, such as Typhon.

Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin

Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin

 

Angels and demons

Pre-Christian belief systems all had their own varieties of spirits, with plenty of them falling into either the angelic or demonic categories. Mesopotamia had the Shedim, which were largely seen as demonic beings. Other demonic beings included Gallu, Lamashtu and Pazuzu, the baddest of the bunch. Evil spirits were often viewed as the cause of disease and were sometimes capable of bringing harm to humans and abduct their children, particularly night spirits such as Lamashtu and Lilitu, the latter a precursor, at least in name, to the the Biblical Lilith (we’ll get into that in a future Mythological Spotlight, once I get around to writing one). The closest things to angels in Mesopotamian lore were probably beings such as the Apkallu, who were winged sages or demigods who were viewed as teachers and protective spirits. Egyptian, as was already established, was host to several spirits. What we would could demons were viewed by the Egyptians as liminal spirits, frequently either hostile beings or guardians of the netherworld who could be called upon to protect humans, and thousands of nameless demons have been found in depictions on all manner of items from both religious and mundane items in Egyptian society. The Greeks recognized the term daemon – from which we get the nomenclature “demon” – as a general term for spirit, and often these spirits were seen a guiding forces, though there were of course malevolent spirits in Greek lore (a disease spirit named Aerico immediately springs to mind). Romans had a similar belief and believed in the concept of genii, who often served as the spirits of the household. India and Persia observed the similar divide between good and evil spirits. For the Indians, it was the devas, apsaras and sometimes yakshas on the good side, with the asuras, rakshasas and other ghoulish spirits on the evil side. In Persia the devas were actually on the evil camp, identified as “daevas” and the minions of Angra Mainyu or Ahriman, while the good spirits are identified as the Amesha Spentas in service of Ahura Mazda. In fact it’s in Persia via the Zoroastrians that we encounter one of the earliest clear cut incarnations of the concept of good versus evil personified as God versus Satan in the form of Ahura Mazda versus Angra Mainyu.

 

 

Good old fashioned Christian values

The “family values” platitude that is stereo-typically attached to conservative Christians are not especially new. In fact, at the very least it goes back to the Roman Empire. The emperor Augustus instituted a series of reforms aimed at aligning Roman society towards “traditional Roman values” – values such as monogamy and chastity. He even went so far as to criminalize adultery and imposed financial penalties on people who did not marry and have children, which to be fair seems a tad more extreme than the kind of family values politics that Western societies would have to deal with in the modern world.

The concept of marriage, which is often seen as a Christian institution, has been a recognized social and romantic union for longer than Christianity has been recognized as a religion. Marriage rituals have been known to exist in ancient Greece, Rome and China, and the contract of marriage, and divorce, has even been around in ancient Mesopotamian society. In Mesopotamia, marriage was valued for much the same reason we do now – to ensure the continuation of a given family line. Rome also considered monogamy to be the tradition for marriage in society, just as we do now. Of course, the ancient world had a tendency to value arranged marriage, whereas in the modern world we value the choice of getting married.

Then there are some of the debatably more positive values sometimes ascribed to Christianity, which have been observed as far back as the days of ancient Akkad.

 

The influence of the mystery cults

Greece and Rome were home to a particular phenomenon known as the “mystery cult”, which is basically a religious movement characterized by secretive rituals and the tendency to center around a specific deity (like Mithraism for example). There was an Eleusinian mystery cult centering around the goddess Demeter, based around the story of the abduction of her daughter Persephone, the wrath she wrought upon the earth and its fertility and the resurrection of vegetation and thus life. The re-emergence of Persephone was supposed to be representative of the possibility of eternal life through participation in the mysteries. The exact nature of the ritual performed in the Eleusinian mysteries is disputed, but it is possible that the ritual took place in an underground passage or theater and was intended to convey the whole death and rebirth message. It is also said that the Eleusinian mystery participants purified themselves by bathing in the sea. The cult of Dionysus had its own communion, typically described as a sharing of wine (which would be befitting of the deity of wine). The Mithraic mysteries were also known for featuring an oblation of bread and water or wine, at least for initiates of certain degrees, which may have served as either a reminder of their faith or as a means of giving them the power to resist the forces of evil. The Orphic mysteries stressed that only by following their rites, practicing abstinence from sensual pleasures (such as sex) and devoting yourself to the mystery can you guarantee salvation and join the gods on the fields of Elysium for all eternity. And don’t forget the Egyptian mysteries, including the mystery of Osiris which proclaimed “Be of good cheer, O initiates, for the god is saved, and we shall have salvation from our woes”. The promise of eternal salvation through initiation into the mystery cult and performance of its rites very much strikes accord with the Christian idea that you can be saved by being baptized, receiving communion and following Jesus.

 

So what does that mean, exactly?

I do not consider Christianity to be a complete clone of one single religion, as many critics of Christianity are want to do, instead I consider it to be supported by collection of ideas that existed well before both Christianity and Judaism. It started off as an offshoot of Judaism, which itself emerged out of the henotheistic tradition observed in the land of Canaan, and it embraced many ideas that happened to be observed by the rivaling pagan traditions, but in doing so the Christians essentially repurposed them for their own belief system. Many of these old ideas, it seems, are in fact very ancient, and have been with humanity for a very long time. And as much as the idea that Christianity took over solely through violent conquest is an appealing narrative to people more vociferously anti-Christian than I (and believe me I still am considerably anti-Christian; it practically comes with being a Satanist/Luciferian), I suspect many appropriations of polytheistic teachings and those of the mystery cults were more likely either reflective of the religion as a product of its time – remember that the religion had developed in the Roman Empire alongside the other traditions – or as a means of drawing pagans away from their old belief systems and into the new one. I think that when this is understood when dealing with modern Christianity, you can render Christianity essentially harmless for what it is – a messianic Jewish faith that with synthesized pagan beliefs, sometimes the same beliefs that are also present in Judaism I might add.

 

Just as an aside to close this post, I can’t guarantee that I will post as frequently as I would like to, due to university commitments, but I’ll see what I can do.

A further excoriation of The Satanic Temple

You know, I think my musings on the inauguration of Donald Trump and its aftermath would be incomplete without talking about The Satanic Temple, and its role in all this. I talked about them before in “Some post-Inauguration thoughts“, but I intend to excoriate the organization further in late of their involvement in the Women’s March, which took place the day after Trump’s inauguration. After this, I swear I’ll go back to my planned content.

Before I begin my excoriation of The Satanic Temple I think it’s important to establish the following: just what is the Women’s March exactly? It was a mass demonstration that took place beginning on January 21st, the day after the Inauguration and after the Inauguration protests, which devolved into riots, vandalism and clashes with police officers and Trump supporters. Unlike the previous protests, these were not riotous protests in which Antifa, as well as radical communists and anarchists, got involved and started shit. It basically just a movement of feminists taking the opportunity to protest against Trump in a civil manner. I say that because it really does seem like a bunch of people getting together to protest Trump’s inauguration, especially given the time and the high presence of anti-Trump slogans alongside feminist and pro-Clinton. It’s not a response to any legislation, it’s just a response to Trump, driven by the fear that he will bring about the apocalypse of women’s rights. In a way, it seems to me like a kind of opportunistic, johnny-come-lately demonstration. I mean were these people planning to do anything the day after Trump got elected, or even after he was sworn in by the Electoral College?

So what women’s rights are being agitated for? Well, it seems that a lot of protesters showed up because they didn’t want to get their vaginas grabbed. Which is pointless because (1) the 12-year old tape was essentially bragging that isn’t substantiated by anything and that Trump will probably not live up (except, perhaps, in the bedroom with Melania, but that’s a private matter between two married individuals), (2) Trump will not order that every woman be taken to the White House to have their vaginas grabbed by him, that would be logistically impossible, and (3) I cannot see Trump making sexual assault legal, and I mean clear-cut sexual assault not the kind of bullshit that third wave feminists make up to justify not owning up to, say, getting drunk and then sleeping with someone and then regretting it. Then there’s that famous sign which read “Make men pay for razors if we pay for tampons”. I assume this refers to the “tampon tax” or “pink tax”, which can actually be debunked. But besides that, people already do pay for razors, they’re just less expensive apparently. The theme of abortion rights was also present – presumably driven by fear of either the overturning of Roe v Wade (which will likely not happen), the abolition of Planned Parenthood (which also probably will not happen), or simply the prospect that Planned Parenthood will no longer be funded by the taxpayer (which honestly is not a reduction of your rights, it just means you have to pay for your own abortion), who knows? -, as well as a cocktail of environmentalism, LGBT activism, promotion of Islam, and other causes typically associated with the Democrat Party. Not to mention, it seems to me like some of them don’t even know why they’re doing this other than they don’t like Trump, and even then they just feel that he’s going to be the worst President, they don’t know that. Other than that, this has been an entirely Western phenomenon – nothing about the horrors that women face outside the Western world, particularly in Islamic countries (like Saudi Arabia and Iran) and African countries (like Tanzania and Mauritania), where girls can be subject to things like child marriage or female genital mutilation and women can be viewed as commodities or subjects, rather than citizens just as men are.

This whole thing has been a pathetic and confused virtue signal, designed to make thousands of women feel good and act like they give a damn about issues and vainly proclaim that progressivism shall not be defeated, while it is otherwise on the path to being soundly dead, paying the price for its rejection of reason, tolerance and classical liberal values and its embrace of identity politics, postmodernism and ideological bigotry.

And yet who should I find in support of this sad display of witless political posturing? Why The Satanic Temple of course, specifically their Seattle chapter, apparently. But not only that, I did some searching and on the TST website I find that there is a link to their official Instagram account where they seem to be promoting the Women’s March. And what individual member announced her attendance? None other than Jex Blackmore, apparently. The same women who took a folk horror film called The Witch and co-opted it for their own politically progressive agenda. Why am I not fucking surprised? Another link brings me to another Instagram post promoting something called The Civic Engagement Dance Party. Right away, the fist symbol gives me concern, given that it’s pretty much the symbol of black power movements, and similar black racialist causes (like Black Lives Matter), as well as feminism. The event promises prospective attendees that they will meet with like-minded people who want to “build a better world”, the terms for which, for my money, I suspect that will amount to a world aligned with progressive ideology (you know, making everything equal and shit). The description lists some names of some “powerful women”, which are as follows: Najima Jamilah, Zaira Livier and Abida Segal. I can’t find much about Najima Jamilah other than she may or not be a Black Lives Matter activist who is affiliated with the Tuscon chapter of Black Lives Matter. Zaira Livier is a feminist and Democratic Party activist who supported Bernie Sanders and also has the honor of, apparently, not actually being a US citizen, but rather an “undocumented” immigrant, who it seems rather than work to legally become a US citizen spend her time getting politically active with the progressive Latino voting block. Adiba Segal is a blogger for The Huffington Post and a writer for Everyday Feminism, as well as a burlesque dancer at Ravishly and a self-described food addict, and her work for The Huffington Post is typical banal mom blog stuff.

So in other words, not only are The Satanic Temple promoting and taking part in the Women’s March, a confused, vain and opportunistic march for progressivism, but they also seem to be allying themselves with Black Lives Matter, an organization that promotes the lie that the police are at war with black people as a whole and think America is an actual white supremacist country (despite that it has several black members of government and even had a black President for 8 years, as well as the fact that black people are quite capable amassing large amounts of wealth on their own), and two no-name progressive activists, one of whom is a fucking blogger. These are not powerful women! These are just nobodies – nobodies who happen to be politically active and advocate for progressive and collectivist political ideas but that’s about it! And The Satanic Temple is taking their side. These are supposedly advocates of an individualistic philosophy allying with advocates for collectivist progressivism. That I find to be insufferable, if not intolerable, particularly from a group that has actually supported liberal ideals in the past, and as recently as the last weekend their leader was willing to defend Milo Yiannopolous’ right to free speech and disavowed the “Satanist” protesters who were planning to demonstrate their opposition to him speaking at California Polytechnic.

I’m going to tell you right here, right now, that these people aren’t doing this for Satanism. All the pentagrams, black robes, the dressing up as the Whore of Babylon and the Black Masses in the world won’t change that fact. They are doing because they are liberal progressives and they got some more supporters after the victory of Donald Trump. Yes, I seem to remember that right after the election of Donald Trump The Satanic Temple received an influx of new members, a new flock of sheep who believe that the end of the free world is coming and that America will be more of a “One Nation Under God” sort of country and seek to satisfy their desire for a resistance movement (and in that regard, at least they didn’t go to Keith Olbermann). They know they’ve got new membership, and they intend to capitalize on this, as well as the hip progressive “Trump is Hilter” hysteria – that’s all this is. And they use their existing political philosophy as a nice package for this progressive activism.

And I have half a mind to suspect that these people don’t actually care much for authentic Satanic philosophy to begin with. These are the kind of people who distance themselves from Anton LaVey’s philosophy primarily because Ragnar Redbeard was an avowed racist (at least according to them), despite the fact that Anton LaVey had excised the racial components of Redbeard’s philosophy when using its ideas to form his own – something that Greaves himself acknowledged – and the founder Greaves emphasizes meritocracy as impossible without an “environment of equality”. Well, what equality? Do you mean equality of opportunity? Or do you mean equality of outcome, or parity? Or do you just mean a bunch of socialist nonsense that will never be achieved because it just doesn’t pan out in real life? In my mind, authentic Satanic philosophy is about individualism and merit first, and equality second, or third, – we are equal in the sense that every man and women, regardless of race or creed, can play by the same rules in a society, can share the same liberty and strive to become more than he or she is at present. Beyond that, equality really isn’t the strongest ideal to be found in Satanist philosophy, which is deeply individualistic. Of course Greaves and co can’t have that – they wouldn’t be siding with progressivism if they are truly committed to any deep-seated individualistic philosophy. They may have some aspects of it right, they may talk about how their Satan is the eternal rebel against arbitrary authority, but their actions in the wake of the Inauguration speak louder than words here. Either commit to individualism as you purport to, or continue down the progressive road and remain a trendy left-wing activist group that conforms to leftist ideological trends whilst simultaneously espousing the idea of Satan as the eternal rebel against arbitrary authority.

The sad thing is, I know that The Satanic Temple is capable of being better than this. They are capable of standing up for positive ideals and in at least a somewhat positive manner. And I know that in the past their trolling of religious institutions, or religious influence in secular governing institutions, was largely a force for good because they were trying to show that individual rights and secular government should come first. They should have been a beacon of how, contrary to the Church of Satan’s assertions, Satanic activism can be a force for good. But instead they have proven the Church of Satan to be correct in their assertion that they represent a Satanic philosophy diluted by Tumblr politics.

Jesus was fucking crazy!

I will never understand how Jesus’ reputation as a peaceful hippie type leader has stayed so influential in the West. I feel the same way about the idea that the Old Testament was the evil book of the Bible and the New Testament the good book of the Bible.

Why do I say this? Because in the New Testament there is plenty that can be used to point to the idea that Jesus was not the ancient equivalent of the leader of a hippie commune as some have painted him as, but rather a crazed revolutionary.

I mentioned this first point on the last post I wrote, “The Divine Individual“, but Jesus is not here to overturn the cruel laws of YHVH. In fact, he’s very much in favor of it. So much so that one of his criticisms of the Pharisees was that they didn’t execute their sons for being rebellious.

 “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death’. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” – Matthew 15:4-6

For the record, here’s what the Old Testament has to say about that.

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.” – Deutoronomy 21:18-21

That is the word of YHVH telling his believers that if you have a disobedient child then you have to punish that child with death! And Jesus is all in favor of that.

Now for some stuff I didn’t mention in a previous post. At one point, he actually advises his followers to cut off their own hands and feet in order to avoid being damned to hell for some reason.

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.” – Mark 9:43-48

He was very much a fire and brimstone preacher as well. Contrary to what the liberals would have you believe, I think he would have gotten along with the Christian right, even the fundamentalists to a certain extent, just fine. This next verse is an example of why I feel this way.

But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.” – Luke 10:10-15
Essentially he’s saying that cities that refused to hear his teachings would get a worse fate than that of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement. And make no mistake, he believed the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.” – Luke 17:29-32

What I find most troubling about the character of Jesus is how he says he has come to pit families against each other. Literally.

 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” – Luke 12:51-53

Gee, a guy preaching about the end of the world, about a heavenly being saving their souls if they fear him and obey his every command, and having people turn on their own families for him? Why, oh why, does that sound like he might just be the leader of a cult?

But it doesn’t stop with just the living Jesus. Later on in the New Testament it’s said that, when Jesus returns, he will destroy non-believers.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

His second coming is also set to be very destructive.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be dissolved in the fire, and the earth and its works will not be found.” – 2 Peter 3:10

Once you get to Revelations you find that Jesus is pretty much a cosmic mass-murderer on behalf of his father YHVH, and he has some angelic buddies in on the action as well.

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great wine press of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the wine press southside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.” – Revelations 14:14-20

The last verse I want to show, just to hammer home how, in another instance where it seems the people talking about how Jesus was a peacenik don’t know shit about Jesus, Jesus turns to be something of a warmonger.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” – Revelations 19:11

Also, if you read the New Testament, there are many more verses that show that not only was Jesus a mad and violent prophet, but that the God of the New Testament is clearly no less evil than the God of the Old Testament. I really don’t know where people are getting the idea that the opposite is the case.

The Divine Individual

This is the first of a series of posts I will write discussing the topic of the mythological figure of Jesus, because there’s a lot about the subject, and of the related subject of Christianity that I have on my mind. And to start, I’d like to write about an idea promoted by Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, because he sparked some interesting ideas in my head. I’m sure you remember Peterson best as the professor who stood at the center of a crowd of social justice warrior type protesters who were attacking a free speech rally at the University of Toronto where he was protesting Bill C-16, a Canadian law which would add the subjectively defined notions of gender identity and gender expression to a list of prohibited grounds of discrimination and criminalize “hate propaganda” based on gender identity – which, in practice, seems to amount to the ability to punish someone for refusing to call someone “ze”. But enough about that, let’s talk about his concept of the Divine Individual.

The Divine Individual is a concept that Jordan Peterson uses to illustrate as a principle that societies, in need of social cohesion, can use to unite under a banner and organize in order to overcome fragmentation whilst avoiding both nihilism and totalitarianism. Let’s go through an excerpt of his New Year’s Message on his YouTube channel where he outlines the premise. We’ll explore this bit by bit, exploring pertinent points made by Peterson.

One alternative to fragmentation is, of course, union under a banner. A collective ideal, cause or purpose. The problem with uniting under a banner, as the postmodernists who push identity politics rightly point out, is that to value something means simultaneously to devalue other things. Thus to value is an exclusionary process. But the alternative is valuelessness, which is equivalent to nihilism, and nihilism does not produce freedom from exclusion; it just makes everyone excluded. And that’s an intolerable state: directionless, uncertain, chaotic and angst-ridden. When such uncertainty reaches a critical level, the counter-response appears. First the unconscious, and then the collectively expressed demand for a leader possessed by totalitarian certainty, who promises, above all, to restore order. Thus a society without an underlying principle oscillates unmoored between nihilism and totalitarianism. Human beings have been wrestling with this problem since the beginning of civilization. When our capacity to form large groups, for all its advantages, also started to pose a new threat: that of the hyper-domination of the state or collective purpose. But without the state there’s just fragmentation into smaller groups.

I just want to raise this point because it sounds like this is how he understands the dichotomy of order and chaos. For Peterson, chaos is the state of society characterized by valuelessnees, uncertainty and nihilism, one that eventually gives way to order, but at an extreme level, which he identifies as totalitarian certainty. I find it interesting how this can be interpreted in the political/cultural context of current society: the modern left has embraced postmodernism and valuelessness, only to give rise to totalitarian certainty. An uneasy example of this is found in the social justice warriors, which openly embrace totalitarianism in order to prop up postmodern ideology. Of course that’s probably a more liberal perspective. A more conservative perspective might be that the SJWs, and leftists in general, embraced valuelessness and postmodernism, creating conditions that will allow totalitarianism to take hold: whether by the hand of big government, communism or radical Islam (and make no mistake: Islam and communism are, in practice, among the ultimate embodiments of what Peterson would call totalitarian certainty). The other reason I find this very fascinating is because the whole tension presented by Peterson it reminds me of quite a few discussions I had on the subject with other people, and it also reminds me of the theme of Law and Chaos in the Shin Megami Tensei series, as well as one of my favorite passages in the history of the written word: the opening passage of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.” – Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms

It illustrates Guanzhong’s cyclical worldview regarding empire, or more specifically the Chinese empire, which seems to be characterized by a history of fragmentation and civil war, followed by unity under the banner of a new emperor and dynasty, followed by fragmentation and civil war after the decline of the dynasty, and so repeats (presumably until the advent of the modern republic of China, but that’s as far as my knowledge of Chinese history goes I’m afraid). It also kind of evokes the kind of cyclical worldview found in Taoism, one of the main religions historically practiced in China and still practiced to this day. Speaking of Taoism, it seems to me like Peterson has a very yin and yang view of order and chaos, and the dangers of their extremes, much like I do. I suppose that’s why I like him, coupled with the way he elucidates this understanding. Anyways, enough of the massive tangent, let’s get back to the next important point.

In the West, starting in the Middle East thousands of years ago, a new idea began to emerge – evolve is not too strong a word – in the collective imagination. You might, following [Richard] Dawkins, consider this a meme, although this is far too weak a word. This idea, whose development can be traced back through Egypt to Mesopotamia, before disappearing into unwritten history, is that of the divine individual.  The eons-old work of the imagination is a dramatic presentation of an emergent idea, which is the solution to how to organize social being without falling prey to nihilistic divisiveness or deceitful totalitarian certainty. The group must unite, but under the banner of the individual. The individual is the source of the new wisdom that updates the antiquated, nihilistic or totalitarian detritus and glory of the past.”

This is where we, finally, come to the main point – the concept of the Divine Individual. In a way it actually reminds me of characters who might fulfill the narrative of the “monomyth”, or the Hero’s Journey, courtesy of Joseph Campbell, which funny enough we had to talk about during the second year of my game design course. You know, that structure that has influenced the development of many films, such as the Star Wars films, and details the archetypal hero’s quest for glory, or for greater knowledge and wisdom. I see the Divine Individual as possibly a person (or, in mythical terms, a deity) who has undertaken that journey and accrued a powerful new wisdom which he brings back to the world at large, in that sense becoming the source of the new wisdom.

Also, there definitely are examples of characters that might fit the idea of the Divine Individual in various cultures in the regions Peterson mentions. In Mesopotamia we have the story of Gilgamesh, who travels to find the secret of immortality only to realize that humans cannot achieve immortality. There’s also Utnapishtim (aka Atra-Hasis or Ziusudra), the man who built a great boat and survived a flood before Noah did it and was blessed by the gods afterwards. I could also make the argument for the Babylonian deity Marduk possibly being an example – by challenging and slaying Tiamat, the draconic embodiment of the primordial chaos, Marduk overthrows the rule of an older group of primordial deities and creates the cosmos out of the spoils of battle, creates mankind out of the blood of one of her monster allies, Kingu, mankind is created. In Egypt I find this is more difficult to find, but I believe the best example is the sun god himself, Ra, who every day undergoes a journey to the underworld, and with the help of his guardians (or sometimes on his own in the form of a cat) he defeats the serpent Apep and the forces of evil, who would otherwise destroy the cosmos, and ensures that the light of the sun continues to shine on Egypt. Why stop there?

For better or worse, that idea reaches its apogee in Christianity. The divine individual is masculine because the feminine is not individual. The divine feminine is instead mother and child. However, it is a hallmark of Christian supposition that the redemption of both men and women comes from the masculine, and that’s because the masculine is the individual. The central realization, expressed dramatically and symbolically, is that the subordination of the group to the ideal of the divine individual is the answer to the paradox of nihilism and totalitarianism. The divine individual is the man that every man admires, and the man who all women want their men to be. The divine individual is the ideal from which deviations are punished by the group with contempt and disgrace, and fidelity to which is rewarded with attention and honor.

And here’s where we come to the part where Peterson ascribes the role of the divine individual to Jesus. I can’t help but disagree with a few things here, but we’ll start with the role of Jesus. I’ll grant that the conventionally understood form of Jesus can indeed fit the role of the divine individual – besides being the offspring of a deity (which I don’t think was mandatory for the role), he studied Jewish law and went on to spread, supposedly, a new form of Jewish teaching that spoke of the end times coming, God coming to overthrow the corruption of Rome and telling people to love they neighbor. He is, however, not much of a reformer. In fact, Jesus is quoted in the Bible as saying that he favors the old Jewish law.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:17-18

And this apparently even includes the stuff about loving thy neighbour. That famous New Testament verse was actually from the Book of Leviticus, the same text that condemns lying with another man as with a woman. I suspect Jesus was only considered a reformer in the sense that he came after the Pharisees because he viewed them as hypocrites, possibly because they advocated following the spirit rather than the letter of Jewish law and maybe because they put less control of the Jewish teachings in the hands of just the priests. He would have been a conservative who wanted to preserve the dogma of Jewish lore, rather than the reformist source of a new wisdom that would have updated the dogma. In fact, one of the things he criticized the Pharisees for was that they didn’t kill disobedient children, which was sanctioned by Jewish law in the Old Testament, the very same law that Jesus was sent to uphold. Jesus was also the kind of guy who talked about fearing God, condemned entire cities for not believing him, reserved eternal hellfire for those he damned and ordered people to chop off hands and feet to cleanse themselves of sin. Sounds like he’s a figure of totalitarianism to me, and that’s not all there is to it (I will address that in a separate post). The other embodiment of totalitarian certainty is, of course, his father, Jehovah/YHVH – the deity who demands blind faith and complete obedience according to the Bible or you will be destroyed or condemned to eternal damnation. So the main problem I have is that Jesus is quite easy to deconstruct based on what is actually written in the Bible.

Interestingly enough, however, since there is a figure of totalitarian certainty in the Christian religion, what represents the opposite – that of valuelessness and nihilism? I would argue that, for the Christians, that doesn’t mean Satan, as one might suspect, but rather Hell itself. In the popular Christian conception of Hell, Hell is either the lake of fire where in the soul is tormented by demons, or a place of darkness where the soul is completely and utterly separated from God, either way it is the source of horror, weeping and the gnashing of teeth. But typically, it is the place where the soul no longer knows the love or the presence of God, and instead knows torment and anguish. There are verse of the Bible which seem to imply both

Other than that, there are other points to make. It is generally true that the heroic figures of many mythologies are male, and many goddesses embody a maternal role. But I can think of one female mythological figure who doesn’t necessarily fit this role – the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. She journeys into the underworld, the land of the dead and of death, without fear, to try and fight Ereshkigal, the ruling goddess of the underworld, only to wind up imprisoned, striken with disease and killed by one of her minions, and then resurrected by a eunuch of the gods and returning to the surface to – all to revive her lover, Tammuz (deity of vegetation), after he died. And the idea of the man that every man wants to be and every woman wants their men to be I find is easily exemplified in, say, Greek mythology, where we can find such heroic figures – like Hercules, Achilles, Perseus, Odysseus, Jason or Theseus – men who in the modern world are still lionized in popular culture. Or hell, not even just mythology: did someone forget about Leonidas I, or Alexander the Great if his ruler cult is anything to go by? Those people became immortalized, in a manner of speaking, both in ancient religion (as is the case in Alexander the Great) and modern fiction (Leonidas I).

The divine individual is the builder, maintainer and expander of the state, he who boldly goes where no man has gone before, and someone who watches eternally over the widows and the children. His power of direct and honest communication is that which identifies, discusses and then resolves the continually emerging problems of human existence. 

I guess that’s one reason for him to think of Jesus as fitting the role, considering Jesus is sometimes depicted in a regal fashion, and is often referred to by Christians as their “king”. But I think this applies to Marduk as well. As the creator of the cosmos, king of the gods and patron deity of the city of Babylon, I think the role of the builder, maintainer and expander of the state suits a ruler figure such as Marduk. Or how about Ziusudra or Gilgamesh, who were both kings?  Or how about the rulers who were deified in classical Greece? Indeed I see this applying outside the Christian context pretty much categorically.

However, I’m willing to put forward because of its long-standing presence in human culture, and the clearly positive values attributed to it, I think the idea of the divine individual is worth pursuing. I think Peterson’s concept should be influential to me at least, as it seems like an effective way of expressing the idea that . In a way, pursuing the ideal of the individual is an idea I suspect some Left Hand Path systems, if not many, actively pursue. In fact, I see this in Luciferianism, and the way we Luciferians view the example of Lucifer – a mythological being that has evolved for so long in the collective imagination, from possibly being a Canaanite/Ugaritic deity associated with the morning star to being the figure of the Enlightenment. For us I think he’s more like the Enlightenment type figure, though more influenced by the John Milton characterization of Satan (which, if we’re being honest, sort of comes from the Christian characterization of both Satan and Lucifer). On this basis, I think the concept of the Divine Individual is worthy of appraisal and analysis.

Lucifer

Lucifer

 


If you want to see all of the posts that Jordan Peterson discussed, click here. I highly recommend it, because his perspective is nonetheless a fascinating one.

Also, I think he kind of deserves a little appreciation. At least because, as you’ll see in the video, he seems deeply troubled, if not pained, by some of the maladies he sees in the modern world, and I think he’s really trying to set things right in his own way by speaking his mind.

Where is your Catholic God now, progressives?

I remember when Jorge Mario Bergoglio, aka Pope Francis, entered the scene back in 2013, and almost instantly it seemed like I had no trust in this guy whatsoever. To me he was just the new Pope, and his benign and progressive personality was nothing more than an marketing ploy designed to redeem the image of the Catholic Church after the last pope, Georg Ratzinger, became known as the face of an organization that was simply out of touch with the modern world and complicit in the covering up of the sexual abuse of children by the Catholic priesthood. I have been expressing this on my own blog in the past since its early days, and I have to say I don’t think I’m entirely wrong on this.

Let’s get one thing straight: Francis himself does not appear as liberal and tolerant as he is believed to be. In fact, some of his famous quotes on the subject of God, the church and belief have been shown to be faked. For example, there was one alleged quote that was famously shared on Facebook in 2014 that goes as follows:

“It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money — for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history do not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.

It’s a perfectly admissible statement, to be fair, but he didn’t actually say it. There is no record of Francis ever having said that in real life. There is record of a homily that was made by Francis about atheists, and how he believes that even the atheists are or can be redeemed in the blood of Jesus on the grounds that all humans are created in the likeness and spirit of God, and according to a Vatican spokesperson, Friar Thomas Rosica, it is possible that this homily got lost in translation.

He also never claimed that the Catholic Church no longer believes in the traditional doctrine of Hell, nor did he declare that all religions were true and nor that the myth of Adam and Eve was indeed a fable during the “Third Vatican Council”. This seems to have been a hoax spread by a blog called Diversity Chronicle in 2013. What is Diversity Chronicle? Apparently it may be a satirical website, at least judging from the disclaimer. The icing on the cake. There was no “Third Vatican Council” for Francis to make these statements in to begin with.

Also, for someone who is supposed to so progressive about homosexuality, having allegedly stated that Christians should apologize to gay people because of the actions of the intolerance of their ancestors and also allegedly stated that homosexuals and transgender individuals should be embraced, he has more recently affirmed that the Catholic Church does not allow homosexuals into the Catholic priesthood, and the Catholic Church does not approve of anyone in support of “gay culture”. He also considers abortion to be a grave sin, not a million miles away from the typical conservative Christian, he just gives his priests greater power to forgive this “sin”. And he has recently made it clear that the Catholic Church will not repeal its ban on women entering the priesthood, stating that, in his opinion, the edict put in place by the church under the papacy of Karol Jozef Wojtyla (John Paul II) is to stand “forever”.

That being the case, I don’t think I understand why progressives and liberals are so keen on embracing Francis, as well as the hope that the Catholic Church could become anything other than the same old religious organization that it always was that is only trying to redeem its storied image in the eyes of the modern public. Hell, I never understood why liberals, progressives and especially homosexuals even needed some religious figure to guide them and give them hope to begin with. Judging from the scores of articles that go on about him supposedly delivering blows and stings to conservatives and right wing Christians, I can only assume that the left wants a progressive Christian figure to use as a stick with which to beat conservatives and other Christians, particularly in the United States of America where Christianity is still a big deal for people on the political right. It’s all part of an ideological/cultural war that the West is still fighting in the modern world, and the left will stop at nothing to morally browbeat its opposition. Religion, when it’s convenient, is but another justification for such things.

Pope Francis with a dove

Pope Francis with a dove

The Demiurge

I sometimes see in Satanic and Luciferian circles the idea of a Demiugre, whether it’s a literal or symbolic one, that has created the material world and kept Mankind as prisoner. When people talk about the Demiurge they are most likely referring to the Gnostic Christian concept of the Demiurge, the being that creates the world and imprisons the spirit of Man in its creation, who is usually identified as Yaldaboath. The Gnostic premise is the the Demiurge refers to a creator deity or creative being separate from the true God – the unknowable supreme spirit, the source of creation (sometimes referred to as Bythos). This Demiurge is usually treated as a malevolent and tyrannical being who created mankind as a way of keeping the soul, or souls, bound to the world and subject to the sufferings of life. For the Gnostics, not only is matter inferior to spirit but the world is also evil because it is created by an unjust deity. They also identified their Demiurge with YHWH as he is depicted in the Old Testament – that is, they are treated as the same being. The Demiurge often goes by the name Yaldabaoth, but has also been named Samael, which is the same name as a certain fallen angel from Jewish and Christian lore who is often viewed synonymously with the conventional Satan (in fact, it’s possible that Samael was originally the closest thing to evil incarnate in Jewish lore).

The Gnostic conception of the Demiurge as the creator of the material world may have its origins in the Platonic conception of the Demiurge. For Plato, the term “demiurge” referred simply an entity that fashioned the world, or the cosmos, as described in the Timaeus, his dialogue on the creation of the universe. The word itself simply means “craftsman” or “artisan”, thus in Plato’s Timaeus the Demiurge is a celestial artisan responsible for the creating of the universe. The Timaeus, it should be noted, is not a religious text, but rather a philosophical text entailing what Plato himself only considered to be a likely explanation for how the universe came into being. The Platonic Demiurge would generate the cosmos by imposing order on the chaos that came before it by imitating a pre-existing eternal model of creation, in contrast to the Gnostic Demiurge who is often considered to be either bumbling and incompetent or entirely malevolent.

In substance, the Gnostic Demiurge is essentially taking Plato’s conception of the Demiurge and sort of demonizing it whilst interpreting it, or identifying it, as Yahweh, the deity of the Old Testament and the deity commonly perceived as the “God of the Bible”, which they in turn equate with the demon named Samael. The clear takeaway is that the creator of the world, within the Gnostic framework, is evil and so is his creation. It seems baffling to me, then, that a Satanist or a Luciferian would embrace that idea because Satanists, by contrast, don’t see the world as evil and neither do Luciferians. We, ultimately, embrace this world, we embrace life and we intend to derive fulfillment from it. To me, at least, a Satanist who believes that the world is created by an evil Demiurge and believes that he/she must seek to transcend the evils of the world and of matter is not much different from the Christian rebuking Satan, the lord of this world, because according to the Gnostic teachings this is what it is in practice. The only difference between the Gnostic and the mainstream Christian is that that the Gnostics believe that Satan is actually Jehovah/Yahweh.

Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic demiurge

Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic demiurge

Questions to fellow Satanists about “an eye for an eye”

There have been some developments from this year that have troubled me on the subject of the Satanic tenet of vengeance.

In July of this year, one Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers in Dallas before being killed himself, and he did so with the primary intent of killing white people, particularly white police officers, apparently because he was troubled by the shootings of black men by police officers. That many of the people shot by cops were in fact not only white but also either armed or trying to resist arrest in spite of a lack of arms available was probably lost on him. If he had any serious objections to the idea of black men being killed by police officers as being racist, then was he not concerned that by seeking to murder people on the basis of their white skin would make him racist as well? Micah was not alone. Throughout the year America has seen fresh stories of shootings by cops, as well as a hell of a lot of obfuscation surrounding the facts of those stories, and riots committed by members of the African-American community where they begin to target white people in acts of racial violence, as though this is somehow a kind of justice.

Also, recently, Vocativ put out an article claiming that supporters of Donald Trump on the Internet doxed journalists who were opposed to Trump. Mike Cernovich, a notable political media personality who supports Trump, shared the article on Twitter but made no attempt to deny the claim made by the article and even implied that the journalists deserved it. Cernvoich’s fans claimed that the potential doxing of anti-Trump journalists is justified based on their claim that mainstream media journalists doxed Ken Bone, a man who became very popular after the 2nd presidential debate, by digging up his browsing history,  and the claim that they doxed Roosh V, even though he was actually doxed by Anonymous (a group also known for doxing KKK members and Martin Skreli, as well as attempting to dox Donald Trump). They also think it’s justified because they think not only that the mainstream media is corrupt but that it is also at war with them. We can be fairly certain that the American media is quite corrupt, being willing to collude with Hillary Clinton in order to artificially elevate her presidential campaign, but the idea that the media is actually at war with supporters of Donald Trump should be treated with more skepticism. Oh, and they think that there is no such thing as unethical tactics, only bad targets, just like Bob Chipman said, and when you point that out to them they deny that there is any ethical similarity between their attitudes because of their separate ideologies, as if your ideology changes the worth of your actions somehow. They appear to be unconvinced of the possible lack of ethics behind their support of doxing. Also: if they are right about journalists doxing them, then they have to accept that if they are in favor of doxing them back, then they accept doxing as a valid tactic and do not hold the right to privacy as a principle, and if they are wrong then they are just accepting doxing as a valid tactic and are happy to use it based on what is probably a lie.

That’s why I wanted to start a debate on the premise of vengeance. I want to focus on the following questions:

  • What is the appropriate scope of vengeance that can be pursued by the individual before he/she passes a point where the individual seeking retribution becomes the miscreant that is the source of the desire for retribution?
  • If you are opposed to a bad action being committed against you or others (like say fraud, doxing, killing etc.), does committing the same action to that person not make you the miscreant you wanted to smite in the first place for committing that action?
  • How literally must “an eye for an eye” be applied?

Just to clarify, this isn’t necessarily intended to cover such things as self-defense, which is generally a more immediate act following immediate wrongdoing committed to an individual (rather, you being attacked right there and then, and then having to resist that attack on the spot).

I would also like such a debate to touch on the subject of vigilantism, which I consider to be related subject, where the response to a crime being committed is to hunt down the criminals and take law or justice into your own hands rather than have them dealt with by invoking the laws of your society. The obvious question resulting from this being “is it appropriate to take the law into your own hands?”.