That decrepit British reverence

It’s been a funny week, this week. Yesterday was the official coronation ceremony held for Charles III, the new king of Britain, and as a consequence of that we have had to deal with absurd, obsequious displays of servility to the royal family. In fact, we’re actually at a point where it’s getting repressive. Anti-monarchist protesters seem to have had their signs confiscated and been arrested by police, anti-monarchist groups seem to have received threatening letters from the Home Office, the government keeps making plans to crack down on protests while claiming to support freedom of speech, and it’s even been said that there were plans to compel everyone watching the coronation ceremony at home to publicly swear allegiance to the King, which were ultimately walked back. And of course, the BBC can’t even give you the whole story about Charles III’s coronation without facing censorship from the monarchy. Mind you this isn’t new at all. On September 12th last year, a man named Paul Powlesland was told by police officers that if he wrote “Not My King” on a blank paper sign then he would be arrested under the Public Order Act, for daring to protest the succession of Charles III.

You might wonder, is this Russia? Is this Belarus? Is this North Korea? We should be so lucky! It’s “the theatre of being British”. A miserable pageant of oppression, deceit, and waste. Oh sure, the government may not knock on everyone’s doors and make everyone bow before the King, but from what I understand that’s what they were hoping to do. There’s certainly a cult of personality around the royals that is frequently enforced and upheld by state violence. You should see the absurd depths of corruption to which the worshippers of the King descend. They are so thoroughly spiritually attached to the monarchy, that they sometimes decide that simply calling someone a racist is worse than being a paedophile. I wish I could say this was an exaggeration. Why the monarchy deserves this kind of universal deference, let alone the violence required to stop people from voicing their conscientious objection, is almost beyond comprehension. At least that’s true for me anyway, as someone who has always opposed the existence of the monarchy.

Don’t let me make bones about it. I do not question whether the monarchy can maintain its social legitimacy in the year 2023, rather I deny the right of the monarchy to exist as an insitution entirely. I do not believe, as many other young adults do, that the monarchy is simply stodgy and outdated. No, I believe that the monarchy should not have existed to start with. If one were to propose that justice exists at all, I would say the existence of monarchy is inherently unjust. It should be dissolved, their land and their wealth redistributed, and all the nations (if we still entertain the concept of nations at all) still bound to the royal commonwealth should renounce the British monarchy as free republics.

We keep talking about the “modernity” of the new king’s reign, but this is a facade. Our notion of this “modernity” consists of nothing more than the inclusion of interfaith participation in what is still an explicitly Christian ceremony, made what is still a Christian king, still sworn to the Christian God. Bear all of those basic facts in mind when you hear anyone insist that we are somehow a secular nation, despite our contrasting reality of a nation whose official head of state is also the leader of the Church of England. It is the idea that the appearance of diverse representation within the institution of monarchy will allow it to somehow transcend its conservative role in the present and its historic basis in colonial rule. “Modernity” for the monarchy is as if to say that the same royal family that presided over colonial repression and genocide against Africans is entering a new era because it includes BAME priests and interfaith leaders. Or as if the same royal family that hoards millions and millions of pounds on its own pomp and circumstance could ever be a beacon of hope for people living through a protracted cost of living crisis. As long as this is what we mean when we talk about “modernity”, then “modernity” is just a joke.

And yet this is only a pathetic progressive cover for why people here really want the monarchy: they desire the stability of power. Indeed you can see it in the way people contrast the instability of the last year of British politics, shifting between three Prime Ministers (at least two of which we didn’t even elect!) and the supposed stability of the monarchy, as if to reassert the role of the monarchy as the guarantor of order. No matter how “progressive” the monarch, monarchy is the single most conservative institution in the entirety of British political life. It is also the one institution that manages to retain official or tacit reverence, even if the British public at large increasingly either does not believe in the monarchy or simply doubts its contemporary relevance. The previous monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, become queen in 1952 and was coronated in 1953, and until her death last year her reign lasted for 70 years. For most of the British masses, this meant that Elizabeth II could be thought as someone who was “always there” in British life. For some people, her reign may have encompassed their whole lifetimes; many people might have lived and died while Elizabeth II was still queen. Her death was seen as the loss of that quasi-spiritual sense of stability, but the coronation of Charles III is seen as the renewal and continuitiy of that promise.

It’s bewildering seeing people in British media talk about the value of the monarchy as sincerely as they do. One journalist talked about how, in a world of artificial intelligence, democratic backsliding, climate change, and all manner of destabilizing changes to the world, Charles III will be working to make the case for the British monarchy as a force of “stability” in the world. There is something inherently reactionary about all of this. Think about it: the response to widespread social change (good or bad) is to cling on to the vestiges of feudal power, to the institution of uncontestable hereditary authority, and to the power of the church. But more to the point, it’s a lie. The King can do nothing in the face of the world that our media presents him as facing. Charles III cannot save liberal democracy from collapsing in on itself, he can do nothing regarding AI, he can do nothing about the United States racing towards totalitarianism, he will have absolutely no role to play in stopping the wars that are happening, and, much as I know he would like to try, he will not lead the world to a resolution of our anthropogenic ecological crisis. All King Charles III can do is keep the British masses comfortable, and therefore weak, by inculcating us with some false sense of stability and from there a false sense of hope. Politically speaking, he is only there to keep us thinking “the King is with us, God is with us”, while his goons in the British government repress anyone who openly challenges the insitution of the monarchy in civil protest.

But then we also shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that all of this is tied to the Traditionalist agenda that Charles III has always had, and which is once more the will of the White Lodge. Charles III has always been very explicit about his belief that the problem with modernity is that for him the modern world is out of sorts with what he takes to be the divine order (that is to say the order of God). Modernity to him as that which is cut off from “transcendence”, from some immutable principle of divine truth that is supposed to govern all things. Thus, in the face of the “chaos” of modenity, we are called to return to the “order” of God. That is the real substance of the “stability” that Charles III is supposed to embody. It is an attempt by the White Lodge, by those acolytes of the Right Hand Path, to realign the world with (as they at least imagine) the will of God, or the universal spirit of order (it really doesn’t matter what they call it, or even if they call it anything Christian).

Yes, we are indeed to remember that the White Lodge is at work again, once more striving to bring the world under their control. And in the meantime, every conceit of British society, including its reverence for the monarchy, will inexorably lead it to totalitarianism of some kind. There are many who point to a development towards fascism, and we can definitely see signs that the UK is on track to becoming something like Hungary under Viktor Orban, or even Russia under Vladimir Putin. I also seem to remember many times when the ruling Conservative Party would propose ideas that sound like the policies of Marxist-Leninist dictatorships. For example, the Welsh Conservative Party leader Andrew R T Davies called for public broadcasters to play “God Save The Queen” on TV every day. Believe it or not, something similar was actually done in the Soviet Union, where every night TV channels would shut off broadcasting and sign off with the national anthem. It’s interesting to think of the kind of culture the Conservatives seem to want.

But all the more fitting. Mark me when I say that Britain is not a free country. We never have been. And we never will be until we discard the institutions upon which we base British society, and never look back.

Fuck the Satanic Temple

OK, so The Satanic Temple is really pissing me off at the moment. Just yesterday I learned from Queer Satanic, a group of ex-TST members who are currently being sued by The Satanic Temple, that The Satanic Temple have decided to support a Catholic organisation called Church Militant by filing an amicus brief for them. An amicus brief is a letter written to the court by people not involved in a case in order to present argument or evidence not yet presented by the parties involved to the court on behalf of one of the parties. Church Militant, also known as St. Michael’s Media, is a right-wing Catholic website which pushes climate change denial, LGBT-phobia, sexism, anti-Muslim fearmongering, and anti-abortion talking points as part of an ideological program of Christian conservatism, and its leader, Michael Voris, supports Donald Trump on the grounds that he believes Trump would have granted Roman Catholicism the status of state religion in America.

You did not misread that. The Satanic Temple, the very same organisation trying to bill itself as defenders of abortion rights and secular freedom in general against the threat of Christian theocracy, just supported an anti-abortion Christian conservative group dedicated to the cause of Catholic theocracy! And at that, the very same Christian propaganda network that has over the years repeatedly portrayed The Satanic Temple as villainous buffoons!

You might very reasonably be wondering what the hell The Satanic Temple would be doing allying with Church Militant of all people. Apparently, the Satanic Temple thinks that Church Militant is being “silenced” by the city of Baltimore. They say that even though they disagree with everything Church Militant stands for, they oppose the apparent “outrage” being committed against them, and they even do the typical Voltaire quote trope that had essentially become a religious mantra for “classical liberals” who, especially in the case of TST, inevitably fail to practice what they preach. Marc Randazza, the right-wing attorney who represented Lucien Greaves in his battle to get his blue checkmark back, is also representing Church Militant, which if we’re being honest is not a coincidence considering his record.

At this point we should ask, just what “outrage” is The Satanic Temple referring to? A few months ago, Church Militant planned to hold a rally at the MECU Pavilion in Baltimore, during the US Conference of Bishops on November 16th. Ostensibly, the rally was supposed to be all about speaking up against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. That might seem funny coming from a Catholic organisation, but apparently Church Militant are not properly affiliated with the Catholic Church and the church itself seems to distance itself from them. The rally was also to feature former Trump advisor Stephen Bannon and professional non-serious person Milo Yiannopoulos as guest speakers, and purportedly involved support for the January 6th rioters. The city of Baltimore claimed that Church Militant risked inciting violence through inflammatory speeches, while Church Militant denied this and argued that the city is persecuting them over differences of opinion. In the end, on October 12th, the case was dismissed and judge Ellen Hollander ruled that Church Militant had the right to hold their rally in Baltimore. In TST’s amicus brief, Matthew Kezhaya, counsel for The Satanic Temple, argued that the rally was a religious event, on the grounds of the ostensible focus of the event as well as the involvement of prayer, and that the city of Baltimore was denying Church Militant their fundamental free speech and free exercise rights.

So, what to make of all this in relation to The Satanic Temple. Ostensibly, this is a free speech case for them, consistent with their fourth tenet which extols the right to offend. But if TST were at all consistent about that famous Voltaire’s maxim, they wouldn’t be suing Netflix for the use of their “Baphomet” statue in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, nor would they be suing queer Satanist activists for daring to criticize them in public – or, sorry, “commandeering” their social media page, per their politically correct interpretation of events. There’s no doubt that Lucien Greaves and Milo Yiannopoulos are friends, and Lucien has frequently spoken up in defence of Milo while condemning anti-fascists as threats to freedom of speech. If that’s the case, and it seems to be pretty consistent for Lucien, then this is less about freedom of speech for everyone including those who offend you, and more about Lucien Greaves simply sticking up for his far-right buddies.

Is it wrong to argue that the city of Baltimore was acting against Church Militant’s right to free speech? I’d say arguably not, at least in a vacuum. But this isn’t just Lucien Greaves going on his social media account posting Voltaire quotes to make innocuous arguments about freedom of speech. I wouldn’t complain if that were the case, but the reality of the situation is different. An amicus brief isn’t filed for free. I don’t know how much TST paid to file that amicus brief, but apparently, depending on who you ask at least, it can cost thousands of dollars in the US. That may not mean financial support for Church Militant, but when you keep in mind that Lucien Greaves probably derived at least some of those legal fees from the dues of its members, that means a lot of money drawn from TST membership went to Matthew Kezhaya just to provide legal support for Church Militant. Lucien Greaves could have just tweeted that the city of Baltimore was wrong and that they were violating Church Militant’s free speech rights, and then stayed out of the actual case. In my eyes there would be no problem if that was all that happened, as it would not mean any material support for the organisation. Instead of that he chose to spend lots of money, probably thousands of dollars, presumably pooled from paying members, to support Church Militant.

And let’s drag ourselves away from the strict details of the case for a moment to re-establish the real heart of the matter. The Satanic Temple paid thousands of dollars from its members to materially support an organisation that is completely against everything they and almost all Satanists and secularists stand for, and did so in the name of the right to offend, while at the same time they are actually suing left-wing Satanists for criticizing them, which only makes sense from the standpoint of having to justify punishing dissenters for having offended Lucien Greaves and his ego. And frankly, all this legal caping for theocratic anti-abortion Catholics while trying to act like the last line of defence for abortion smacks profoundly of contradiction, one that in my view completely invalidates the whole purpose of The Satanic Temple as an organisation. You can invoke the name of free speech and the right to offend as much as you like, but when you’re repeatedly trying to silence people for disagreeing with you, that to me is proof that, in all honesty, this is not about freedom of speech, and instead this is about how you support far-right, often fascistic, and even theocratic conservative people because, if we’re being fucking honest with ourselves and with you, you just plain like those people! Obviously religion has nothing to do with it. You just like right-wing authoritarianism, wherever that happens to come from. Given that Lucien Greaves was openly arguing for eugenics until 2018, continually sides with the right against the left, repeatedly defends hard-right ideologues against the left, and seems to have no problem with whatever the fuck Cevin Soling is up to, I’d say I’ve got a pretty strong case. Or maybe I’m wrong and you don’t, in which case the only option left is that this is pure selfish opportunism, since you’re still silencing left-wing critics and suing people over your dumb statue despite claiming to love the freedom to offend.

You might be thinking about all the “good work” TST supposedly does, the shit that launched the organisation to fame. Well, not one of its legal campaigns has ever landed any real success. Even the Ten Commandments vs “Baphomet” controversy that endeared guys like me to them can’t be credited to TST’s efforts. It was resolved by the ACLU, without any input or involvement from TST, but TST opportunistically took credit for it anyway. They are, in reality, utterly useless, coasting atop undeserved accolades. I’m gonna tell you right here and now that the only reason you might think TST are worth even half of a damn is the mainstream media. TST have done nothing of value, the cases hyped up by media coverage went nowhere, and meanwhile the actual leadership is authoritarian, opportunistic, and consistent allies of the far-right, but because they receive frequent and typically uncritical coverage from the media, often including sympathetic liberal and progressive commentary, likely taking advantage of their sensational opposition to Christianity, they enjoy a lasting reputation as progressive freedom fighters for secularism against Christian theocracy. In fact, I am sure that you have not heard of their support for Church Militant anywhere in the media and you probably never will because it’s inconvenient for the narrative they’re trying to create. The only times when the media is even vaguely critical of TST is when it has to talk about their dealings with Marc Randazza, for maybe a day or so. There is no coverage of The Satanic Temple’s attempts to sue the queer Satanists who criticized them, except maybe in an article from the increasingly conservative Newsweek, and even they couldn’t be bothered to do that unless it involved sleazy allegations regarding orgies.

You know, things like this have me thinking that Amaranthe Altanatum was broadly right about atheistic Satanism. I’m not saying all atheistic Satanists are like TST are even approve of TST, but there’s still a lot who will defend TST, and that’s probably because not enough people know what’s going on. Still even its rivals labor under the illusion that they can dismiss the Satanism of anyone they please. And either way, I think it’s something that has to be reckoned with.

Regardless, wherever you stand, The Satanic Temple aren’t your friends. They’re opportunistic fedora-tippers who are presently betraying everything that Satanism has ever held dear. They don’t deserve any support or honour.

Religion and revolution and Fire Emblem: Three Houses

As something of a change of subject, I’d like to revisit the world of video games, and video game stories, in the manner that I often did in the early years of my blog. I’ve had a Nintendo Switch for over a year now, and recently a game came out that my brother told me about wants to play himself. That game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the latest in the line of Fire Emblem games, a series of tactical role-playing games and one of the most popular role-playing hame series’ in Japan. In this game, unlike in previous installments, you can choose between three houses within the land of Fodlan, and the one you choose is the one you will teach as their professor and carry its students to victory in battle. Not being particularly enamored with the series, I didn’t care at first, although it was amusing to think about considering it kind of reminded me the Three Kingdoms period of China, and from there the Dynasty Warriors games (incidentally, Koei Tecmo, the company that makes the Dynasty Warriors games, was involved in the development of Three Houses). But then my brother told me that, in one of the factions, you can fight the church. That’s when I became interested in playing it.

The reason I decided to write this post is because, after playing the game, I became very interested in the storyline the game had to offer, and the many narrative quirks that presented themselves. Those who have followed my blog since its early days know that this is the kind of thing I sometimes like to talk about. For example I talked in the past about not only Shin Megami Tensei in particular but also games like inFamous and Dynasty Warriors for anything in the plot that inspires me to write about it here. In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it’s probably the first time in a long time that I felt that I had a lot to say about a video game.

But before I go on, a plot summary is in order. You’re the son or daughter (per your choice) of a mercenary named Jeralt, who works for the Church of Seiros, a religion that in many ways resembles Christianity but centers around the worship of a goddess (referred to in universe as Goddess or The Goddess) rather than God. After saving some students from the Officers Academy at the Garreg Mach monastey from bandit attacks, you find out that these students are also the leaders of their own respective houses – The Blue Lions, The Black Eagles, and The Golden Deer. Each of these houses represent different territories in the world of Fodlan. The Blue Lions represent the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, which seems to be a religious monarchy where the nobles and the royal family are devout believers in the Church of Seiros. The Black Eagles represent the Adrestian Empire, the largest power of the three which also has a tenuous relationship with the Church of Seiros. The Golden Deer represent the Leicester Alliance, which is perhaps the most curious of them all in that it’s not an empire or a kingdom but instead a league of noble families ruled jointly as a republic, governed by a council of the five most influential families, and is apparently neutral towards the Church of Seiros. Anyways, early on in the game, after being introduced to the Officer’s Academy and its students, you become enlisted as a professor of the Officer’s Academy and you’re asked to choose which of the three houses you take under your tutelage. The first part of the game consists of you teaching your students the ways of battle, and the second part sees the three main powers at war with each other, and you will end up fighting for one of them based on which of the houses you picked at the beginning.

From this point on, expect quite a few spoilers for this game.

So anyways, I mentioned earlier that one of the factions has you fighting the church? Well, that faction is The Black Eagles, representative of the Adrestian Empire, led by the Adrestian princess Edelgard von Hresvelg. At some point in the game, she confides in you about her beliefs about the Church of Seiros and these things called Crests. Crests are these weird sigils you see in the game’s story that are supposedly blessings from the Goddess. They seem to confer special abilities and exceptional strength and power to those who bear them (that is, those who are either born with Crests or have Crest Stones implanted into their bodies). In terms of gameplay, these Crests are basically combat buffs that confer various effects upon a character’s abilities during battle, and allow certain characters to wield unique weapons (referred to as the Hero’s Relics, or just Relics). It’s also very tied to heredity and nobility, as the Crests are often prized after by noble families, even, as shown in the game’s story, to the point that they disown their own children if they lack a Crest. But for Edelgard, the Crests are to blame for what is, in her view, a brutal and irrational social order. And, if you think about it, this makes sense.

The world of Fire Emblem: Three Houses is very obviously based around medieval Europe in large part, and the time frame within the game even suggests the story taking place in what is Fodlan’s version of the 12th century, albeit with noticeable anachronisms. In real life, medieval society was intensely aristocratic, being ruled by a hierarchy of lords and their servants, with of course the royal family at the top of that hierarchy. Their systems of government were characterized by the idea of divinely-ordained hereditary rule (or “the divine right of kings” as you’re told in history class), wherein the head of state derives authority from being the member of a special aristocratic family and lineage, this authority often secured by religious backing and ceremony. Now imagine that sort of society, but then add to the mix the ability to inherit special abilities via the Crests. Or hell, the Crests don’t even have to be real. You could just have a religious belief system or superstition that has something like that, and the nobles act based on that system of thought. It would indeed seem like an irrational place, and a fairly hostile and cut-throat one too, with the nobles competing for who has God’s favour as signified by the inheritance of supernatural powers. Why would you not want to get rid of such a social order? Not to mention, the Crests in-universe essentially damn you into just being an object of the desires of noble families, who seek prestige and glory from members who have Crests. And in some cases having the Crests can also turn you into a literal monster. Also, it’s possible to artificially implant crests into a person – through horrible, agonizing and for all I know illegal experiments and surgeries (referred to in-game as blood reconstruction surgery) that also tend to fail and result in either insanity or death for the subject. Even successful surgeries tend to have terrible side-effects, such as reduced lifespan in the case of Lysithea, one of the characters. And if that’s not enough, these experiments are often explained as having been carried out on unsuspecting children, and the only two “successful” subjects of these experiments mentioned in-game are Edelgard and Lysithea, with other subjects being shown to have either died as children or lost their sanity. So Edelgard’s stance on the Crests in the game is completely rational and justified, especially given she and her siblings have gone through those same experiments, in which her siblings lost either their lives or their minds.

The Black Eagles path is seems to be as thrilling as I hoped. The archbishop Rhea, when you defy her will and side with Edelgard during Chapter 11, declares that she will rip your heart out and transforms into a fearsome white dragon, who seems to have been lampshaded earlier in the game as “The Immaculate One”. After this, your fellow Black Eagles students join you, Edelgard and her loyal bodyguard Hubert, and declare war on the Church of Seiros, and their allies of course. What fascinated me deeply was that Hubert and Edelgard reveal that they have a whole manifesto lined up, in which they say they’re going to expose the evils of their enemies and the Church, presumably as part of a new ideological mission. That moment, to me, was more epic than I expected, although I didn’t see much come of it in the game’s story. Chapter 12 was pretty exhilirating in that sense, I got the real sense of excitement of actually fighting the ordained “good guy” organization. The rest of the path is basically you carrying on Edelgard’s mission of unifying Fodlan by defeating the Church of Seiros and its allies (the other two lords), until finally you fight Rhea, who turns into the dragon you saw before.

One of the “good” guys, a murderous dragon!

Now, here’s the thing, take note of how this game seems to demonize those who oppose the Church of Seiros. The only time the game wants you to think of a character as a malevolent force, for some reason it’s mainly people who oppose the Church of Seiros. This is typically Edelgard and Hubert, although for all of that the game actually manages to do a good job of making them actually likeable, leading to a bit of confusion as to where they actually stand on those two character. There are also “those who slither in the dark”, the only characters in the game who can technically be counted as unambiguously villainous. Although their actions are decidely evil, there cause is a rather curious one: supposedly they want to, as Myson (one of their agents) puts it in the Blue Lions route, “return this world to mortal hands”. Although it is possible to interpret that as wanting to free the people of Fodlan from the control of the ruling goddess or more or less her people, unlike with Edelgard they seem to be more motivated by vengeance and hatred than any liberating vision for humanity, and are revealed to have been responsible for the murder of the goddess Sothis and the genocide of her offspring at Zanado. This lends itself to the real conflict buried beneath the war between the three main powers: that is, the conflict between the draconic children of the goddess, including Rhea who controls Foldan from the shadows via the Church of Seiros, and her ancient enemies, the Agarthans, who murdered Rhea’s kin and talk about Sothis as a false god. This aspect of the conflict is somewhat important in the Black Eagles path, where Edelgard and Hubert and their allies are among the only people who talk about liberating Fodlan from divine rule and bringing it under the control of its human population. If you engage in support conversations with Hubert you eventually get a sizeable hint of this emphasis: he talks to you about how he believes the goddess failed to govern the world, how the human species steps up and take the lead where the divine fails, and how the human species should fight to preserve what makes itself human. On the whole, it’s all very interesting how the designated villains of the game all want to put the human species first above the gods. I wonder why that’s supposed to be evil. But evil it is according to the game, or at least that’s implied to be the case considering most of the available routes in the game have you defending the Church of Seiros and opposing Edelgard, with no real justification as to why you should support the church.

It’s almost like the game wants you to side with the Church of Seiros. In fact, even if you take the Black Eagles path, the game still basically wants you to side with the Church of Seiros no matter what, even if it means betraying Edelgard. Even though you agree to teach Edelgard and side with her faction for the rest of the game, you don’t actually get to side with Edelgard unless during Chapter 11 of the story you talk to her in Garreg Mach monastery and agree to accompany her to the city of Enbarr for her coronation as the new Adrestian emperor (or empress, rather). You also have to get a support rank for Edelgard of C or higher, which you can do by talking to her, fighting alongside her, giving her gifts, inviting her to tea etc., like you would for any of the other officers in the game. You have to do this before the Chapter 11 mission starts. If you don’t, you’ll miss the chance to see that event, and if you miss that event you won’t be able to trigger this path, and be locked into the Church of Seiros campaign, which has you and the other Black Eagles (except Hubert) fighting against Edelgard and the Adrestian Empire in the name of the Church. If you suceed in unlocking that event, then after you defeat Edelgard in the Conflict in the Holy Tomb mission, Lady Rhea orders you to kill Edelgard, but you’re given a choice as to whether or not you want to kill her or protect her instead. Choosing to protect Edelgard sets you on the alternative route where you fight alongside Edelgard against the Church of Seiros for the rest of the game. To be honest, when I playing the game I didn’t assume that was the case at all. I just played the game and encountered that event, and while there was a choice indicating you could alter the story in this path, I assumed that I was actually doing the Black Eagles path as it was supposed to play out. But nope. In the main playthrough, you’re actually supposed to try and kill Edelgard after defeating her in the Conflict in the Holy Tomb.

And you know, through all this I think it’s worth visiting the question, “just what’s so great about the Church of Seiros anyway?”. Let’s think about this in terms of the main character’s life. It’s implied throughout the game’s story that the Church of Seiros has been trying to manipulate you for whatever purpose they have in mind, and Lady Rhea seems to have some mysterious plans for you. Early in Chapter 10, after your father Jeralt dies at the end of the previous chapter, you discover his diary in the room where you would once find him. In the diary, it’s revealed that Jeralt had developed mistrust towards the Church of Seiros after his wife died (which was also around the same time the main character was born), and the baby protagonist developed very bizarre behaviours, such as never laughing or crying as a normal baby would, and most bafflingly of all not having a detectable heartbeat despite having a pulse (which really confused me when I saw it because, usually, if you don’t have a heartbeat, that means you’re dead). Perhaps thinking that Rhea had plans for the child that he wanted no part in, Jeralt decided to start a fire in Garreg Mach monastery, spread false rumours about his child having died in the fire, and fled from the monastery with the child. Eventually you figure out that Rhea, and the Church of Seiros, was using you as a pawn for their plans to preserve their dominance over Fodlan. It turns out that the main protagonist possesses the Crest of Flames, which is the Crest of the goddess of this game’s universe (identified within the game as Sothis), and since by the end of Chapter 10 you’ve awakened that goddess’ power by having her merge with you, Rhea seizes the opportunity to try and use you to revive the goddess, who apparently is the mother of Rhea. That’s why Jeralt initially left Garreg Mach and took you with him, because he realized that Rhea saw you as essentially a vessel for her own power, a pet project of sorts, and wanted nothing to do with. Of course that didn’t stop him from coming back in the beginning of the game, but I digress. Regardless of what side of the story you play for, you eventually figure out one way or another that Rhea has, all this time, been using you as a vessel in order to revive the goddess Sothis, who is implied to have died at some point in the events prior to your arrival in the game’s story (even though you can see Sothis in the game in the form of the green-haired sprite who greets you at the very beginning of the game). To that end, it seems Rhea initiated an experiment through which you inherited the Crest of Flames and through which Sothis’ spirit entered your mind and body, so that eventually you will become one with Sothis’ power, which Rhea believes will signal the return of Sothis to the world so that she can rule Foldan once again. Essentially, Rhea is using the protagonist as a puppet to re-establish divine rule over mankind. The sting in all this, however, is that this Crest is apparently the main reason the protagonist is still alive. But there’s a problem: after defeating Rhea in the Black Eagles route, the protagonist loses the Crest of Flames and, while it at first appears that the protagonist is dead, it soon becomes clear that you actually survive and live to see Edelgard establish her dominion over all of Fodlan.

It’s not just what the Church does with you that makes me think that maybe they’re not the good guys here. Just look at what they’re seen doing in the first part of the game. The Church of Seiros makes it very clear at an early point that if you oppose them, you end up dead. An early example of this is in Chapter 3, wherein the Church orders you to suppress a rebellion by Lord Lonato, in which civilians are also slaughtered by Church forces. Most of the cast reflects on this as a tragedy if not an outright atrocity, even if they ultimately see their actions as necessary, but Rhea has no qualms about the whole thing. To her, even the civilians were just more sinners “pointing their swords towards the heavens”. There is also Chapter 4, where you’re introduced to a faction known as the Western Church. The Western Church appears to be a breakaway organization of the Church of Seiros, believing in ultimately the same goddess and having similar teachings (at least seemingly), but at some point it diverged from the central Church and broke off in order to become its own sect. This sect considers the central church to be a heretical organization, perverting the true teachings of the faith of the Goddess, and consequently considers Lady Rhea, its archbishop, to be an apostate. Think of the Lutherans in their attitude to the Catholic Church, only with goddess worship. Anyways, some mages apparently affilitated with the Western Church attempt to steal the Sword of the Creator from the Holy Mausoleum during the Rite of Rebirth ceremony. After you defeat the mages and acquire the Sword of the Creator, three men who are identified as followers of the Western Church are summoned before Lady Rhea, and her underling Seteth and a mercenary named Shamir, who inform them that they are to be executed for this transgression, as well as for the rebellion fought by Lord Lonato and the fake assassination letter that was spread afterwards. The men insist that they are not affiliated with the Western Church, and that Rhea is making a mistake, but Rhea and her underlings are not inclined to listen to the men or give them any sort of court hearing, and instead simply give the order for them to be executed. Interestingly enough, one of the men remarks that Rhea has already slaughtered many members of the Western Church, and calls her a monster for it. Of course, later on it would seem he turned out to be right in at least one sense of the word. In any case, strict punishment is how we’re shown the church enforces its rules and its authority. This of course makes the students of the Officer’s Academy begin to feel more than a little afraid of Lady Rhea, and rightly so. In addition, some time after this event, there is a side-quest that requires Catherine or Ashe being in the party wherein you kill more of the Western Church members for no real reason. It’s explained that it has something to do with the assassination attempt, but other than that it’s not too clear what the Western Church is doing that could justify attacking them, let alone executing them as Rhea is said to be about to do.

This also makes itself all the clearer towards the end of the Edelgard playthrough. Once you defeat Seteth and Flayn, she vows to condemn you to eternal torment of being chained to boulders in the desert until your skin rots, and during the final chapter, she orders Catherine, one of the Knights of Seiros, to set fire to the city of Fhirdiad – a move so callous and desperate that even Catherine objects to it. To make matters worse, setting the city on fire would only really make strategic sense if it was to trap the advancing army after it had already advanced into the city, but the fire starts before Edelgard’s forces even enter Fhirdiad, and it’s never suggested that the intent is to trap the invading army. So this was a massacre of Fhirdiad’s citizenry that was undertaken as a desperate show of force. Rhea makes it painstakingly clear that she will slaughter as many people, whether innocent civilians or enemy combatants, as she deems necessary in pursuit of her goals. And it’s not just Rhea who is prepared to slaughter just about anyone. The Church of Seiros has in its ranks a knight named Catherine, who seems heroic at first glance until you see support scenes featuring her where she argues in defence of the killing of innocent people, not just in hypothetical scenarios but also in relation to real (in game) scenarios, such as the execution of Christophe (the son of Lord Lonato) by the Church of Seiros. She also mentions to her friend Shamir that, if she weren’t her friend, she would cut her down on the spot for saying that she doesn’t understand or identify with the Seiros religion or Rhea.

One of the “good” guys, who candidly talks about slaughtering children!

Rhea’s tyrannical regime isn’t simply limited to how many people she is willing to kill either. At some point in the game, it’s revealed that Rhea’s enemies, the Agarthans, somehow managed to develop technologies similar to technologies that exist in the modern world, or sometimes even more advanced than our technologies. For example, this appears to be the first Fire Emblem game in which there’s talk of ICBM missiles existing in-universe. The reason you don’t see it in the game for the most part is basically that technology was mostly destroyed by Seiros. At some point in Fodlan’s history, the Agarthans decide to go to war with Sothis, which is apparently interpreted as them being corrupted by power and thinking themselves as gods. In response to this, following the War of Heroes in which Seiros emerged victorious, Seiros forcibly prevented any sort of advanced civilization from being able to interact much with the people of Fodlan, as well as preventing the people of Fodlan from advancing technologically past the medieval stage. The remnants of Agarthan technology still exist in Fodlan, however, in a hidden underground city known as Shambhala (wait, as in that Shambhala?), located beneath Hrym territory in the Adrestian Empire. This, incidentally, is one of many things about the game that reminds me of the plot of Shin Megami Tensei IV, which starts off in the medieval-esque Eastern Kingdom of Mikado which is actually a dome covering a demon-infested modern Tokyo, or the plot of the movie Hard to Be a God, in which a group of scientists travel from Earth to find an alien planet similar to Earth but stuck in the Middle Ages because its rulers suppress any spark of intelligence that might lead to their equivalent of the Renaissance.

Also, in Chapter 5, it’s revealed that the Relics (basically sacred weapons) turn people into monsters if they are wielded by people without a Crest, and Rhea doesn’t want the people knowing about that, so she orders you to keep what you saw during the fight with Miklan, who transforms into a monster while wielding the Lance of Ruin, to yourself, arguing that the public would lose faith in the nobility if that information were to become public knowledge. This is strange considering she also argues that this transformation was divine punishment from the goddess for Miklan not being “worthy” of using the Relic, an argument you’d think the people of a highly religious medieval society would not have trouble believing if advanced publicly. In Chapter 7, on the Golden Deer route, Claude finds a drawing of a creature called the Immaculate One while researching the Crests, and Seteth, one of Rhea’s aides, discovers this and asks for it to be handed over. When Claude guesses that Seteth is going to make sure the drawing isn’t seen again, noting that the monk Tomas told him that the Church of Seiros likes to bury artefacts that they deem problematic, Seteth fails to refute this and insists that he has no time for Claude’s “foolishness”. In fact the Garreg Mach library is explained to only contain books that are approved by the Church of Seiros. Every new book sent to the Garreg Mach library is directly approved by Seteth before being allowed to go on the shelves, so that nothing the Church deems harmful or inappropriate can be viewed by the students. All this establishes very firmly that the Church of Seiros likes to keep secrets from the public, as well as the protagonist and its students, and keeps a tight control of what information the denizens of the monastery can access in a rather censorious fashion.

Edelgard, being the opponent of this regime, is cast with malevolent intentions due to her being the real identity behind the Flame Emperor. But even in her capacity as Flame Emperor, she objects to the horrific methods of Solon as seen in Remire Village, and states that had she known about it she would have stopped it. Even as the Flame Emperor, even in the conversation with Thales and Monica (who is actually Kronya), she makes it perfectly clear that there will be no salvation for Thales and his kind. And in any other playthrough, after you defeat Edelgard in the Holy Tomb, she gives a speech to her followers and forces where she explains essentially the same thing she explains to you in the Black Eagles playthrough. Almost as though she has a set of actual goals and principles that are opposite to the Church of Seiros, and this isn’t a cover for some vague sense of ambitious greed. Of course, the Church of Seiros interprets this to be nothing more than just the desire to conquer all of Fodlan (which, mind you, used to be under the control of the Adrestian Empire originally but let’s not get ahead of ourselves), and Seteth even goes so far as to claim that Edelgard plans to make herself into a new god, which never actually happens in the game’s story. Even Claude, who is more or less a skeptic of the Church of Seiros, ever-suspicious of its ambitions, simply dismisses Edelgard’s vision as “reckless ambition”. But even when you oppose Edelgard, you don’t get the sense that she’s actually malevolent other than the fact that she has Demonic Beasts in her army, and it’s not explained why she has them in her army. In the second battle at Gronder Field, Edelgard genuinely shows remorse at having to fight and presumably kill her old classmates and probably friends, resolving to fight on only because there is no other choice, while her main rival Dimitri is very much eager to slaughter as many of them as possible (hence the meme where he says “kill every last one of them!”). And for all the talk her being driven purely by selfish ambitions, it’s established early on in Edelgard’s support scenes that the biggest motivation for Edelgard’s plans comes from the fact that the nobles of the Adrestian Empire seized control and ensured that most of her siblings would die for the sake of barbaric Crest-related experiments, and her resolve to change the world stems from her desire for a world where such horrors will never be allowed to happen again. I’ve seen Edelgard compared to Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones (and, to be fair, she does come across as quite similar at times), but I haven’t seen her exhibit any of the same tyrannical zeal or death-or-glory bloodlust that Dany (as she’s often called by fans) has. Even her enemies such as Seteth end up conceding that she is not some cruel tyrant who holds her people in a vice-like grip. The only thing you can say about her that’s questionable is her association with those who slither in the dark, and even then it’s explicitly clear that she hates them and is only really using them in order to unite Fodlan and eventually kill the shadowy beings she was previously manipulating. The only other thing is her telling her followers in the Black Eagle path that Rhea destroyed Arianrhod, when really it was Arundel who did it. But, honestly, if her being questionable is as bad as she gets, then compared to people like Dimitri and Rhea, she’s hardly the least sympathizable character. In general the main source of how Edelgard is supposed to be evil in the game that her path is supposedly built upon bloodshed, as Dimitri says in the Black Eagles route, “built upon corpses and tears”, which, let’s be real, is no more the case than for the path of Dimitri, the Church of Seiros, and even Claude. The Church of Seiros, as we’ve established, is behind a lot of bloodshed even at the early chapters of the game, and Dimitri did not see fit to condemn them for it, even after he bore witness to innocent people being slaughtered during the suppression of Lord Lonato’s rebellion. So frankly, I find this angle to be unremarkable, unconvincing, and hypocritical.

And not to mention, after you defeat Rhea, there’s no hint that this is supposed to be a bad thing. In fact, the game, in a strange twist, makes it objectively clear that you’ve done a good thing and earned a good ending (and yes, I’ll say say it, the best ending), even after trying to trick you into thinking that you’re taking a bad path in the game story. Although you lose the goddess’ power, you and Edelgard unite the land of Fodlan under the Adrestian Empire, and abolish the authority of the Church of Seiros, while your allies wage war on the Agharthans and their forces. The tone of the ending is resoundingly positive. I half-expected the music and the narration to be either pretty grim or very ambiguous, as though mourning Rhea and the Church of Seiros and wondering if what you did was really good. But that doesn’t happen at all. Instead, it quite rightly treats you as though you’ve liberated the people of Fodlan. And far from the implication that the forces of darkness are ready to take over Fodlan, the game implies that, after the events of the story, you and Edelgard’s forces will move on to fighting the villianous entities referred to as “those who slither in the dark”. It’s so bizarre, the game almost tries to get you to think you’re supposed to be on the side of the Church of Seiros, but when you take the complete opposite path, you find out that the Adrestian Empire are essentially the real good guys.

So, what’s the point of siding with the Church of Seiros? Because of some goddess? Because for some reason you like the same religion that has already been a hegemonic force of spiritual subjugation for less than two thousand years in the real world only this time it involves goddess worship and a bunch of anime characters?

Well, to be fair, given that you actually do get to side with the Church of Seiros by betraying Edelgard in Chapter 11 of the pre-Black Eagles route, we can actually get an idea of just what you’re getting by siding with them.

For starters, if you don’t come with Edelgard to see emperor Ionius, you are locked into this route by default should you pick the Black Eagle house in the beginning of the game, and when that happens the rest of the house all turn on Edelgard and accuse her of having used them as pawns, and vow to strike her down. Of course most of the cast is motivated by selfish reasons to betray Edelgard: Ferdinand, for example, is prepared to fight her because his father was stripped of his title as Prime Minister and placed under house arrest, not realizing that his father led a coup in which her father was stripped of much of his power so that he and Arundel could whisk Edelgard to Faerghus and perform cruel experiments on her and her sibilings. In fact most of the other seven nobles who took part in the coup are also the fathers of many of the cast of characters you meet in the Black Eagles house (namely those of Caspar, Bernadetta, Linhardt, and even Hubert). The entire point of the campaign is centered around stopping Edelgard’s efforts to “rule all”, which ultimately just comes off as hypocritical because unifiying all of Fodlan is exactly what Edelgard’s opponents end up doing anyway – Claude unites Fodlan under the Leicester Alliance (and has you rule nin his stead), Dimitri unites Foldan under the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Knights of Seiros unite Fodlan under the rule of the Archbishop (which ends up being you).

The only other thing worth noting is that this playthrough feels like it’s almost a clone of the Golden Deer playthrough, with much of the events taking place within it being identical, and at least one mission bears similarities to a chapter from the Blue Lions playthrough. So if you decide to tutor the Black Eagles and then side against Edelgard, you essentially do another version of the Golden Deer playthrough, with the main difference being that you play as what’s left of the Black Eagles class, who are now part of the Knights of Seiros, you skip the second battle at Gronder Field, and you fight Rhea at the end. Honestly there isn’t much to say about what you’re fighting for by betraying Edelgard, because of the subject of what you’re fighting for doesn’t seem to come up in the playthrough. I see a lot of the characters talk a tiny bit about what they claim to be against and why they oppose Edelgard, but nothing about what they stand for. It seems to be just you fighting the Empire in order to preserve the status quo. You also don’t learn any major plot revelations that you don’t get in the Golden Deer route, other than Seteth and Flayn being revealed to be “children of the goddess” (which you probably would have guessed early on in the game anyway given the hints you get in Part 1), and that they can shapeshift which explains Rhea turning into a dragon. However, Rhea does tell you that she created the protagonist by implanting the Crest of Flames into his/her heart, and apologizes to you for wanting to use you as a vessel for her ambitions to have Sothis rule the world, and that the protagonist’s mother was another of her creations, who also had the same Crest in her body before her death. She also reveals that she at one point saved Jeralt’s life through some kind of blood transfusion, giving her some of her own blood. All to create a being capable of housing the consciousness of the long-dead progenitor god. After this revelation, however, Rhea transforms into the Immaculate One and some monsters referred to as White Beasts start appearing out of nowhere, and you’re tasked with defeating them. In the end, you’re set to become the new ruler of Fodlan, uniting all of Foldan under your reign and the Church of Seiros, and the Adrestian Empire, the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus and the Leicester Alliance all, for some reason, cease to exist. Wait, wasn’t the game telling me I was supposed to stop Edelgard from doing that?. Oh wait, Edelgard wanted to destroy the church, so I guess that’s different.

You know what, let’s address that here. One of the main objections to Edelgard’s ambitions that springs up a lot throughout all of the playthroughs where you oppose her is the complaint that Edelgard is forcing her views onto others. Flayn, for example, remarks that Edelgard has high ideals but doesn’t care what the people of Fodlan think. The problem with this argument is that it’s ultimately a shallow and self-defeating one: the same could be said of any ruler, or indeed any society from the perspective of its critics. In fact, you could just as easily apply this to the Church of Seiros and the system of nobility. Who asked for this system? Who asked for representatives of the goddess to rule over the people? Who asked for society to be arranged in feudal fashion as it is in Fodlan? But this is what has people in Fodlan opposing Edelgard’s ambitions? Some hollow, pitiable spiel about voluntarism? That’s just a farce in my opinion. But apparently Foldan’s system of religious feudalism is worth preserving enough on the argument that it is only in the Black Eagles playthrough that you actually fight them. Kind of makes me wonder about the developers and their conception of the ideal society, just a little bit. And for all Seteth’s self-assurance that the people cannot understand Edelgard’s ambitions, evidently half of the entire continent understands it enough that you have swathes of people ready to fight for her ideals.

Of course, those people are just brainwashed idiots aren’t they?

There’s an unofficial rule in storywriting that I’ve come across: show, don’t tell. If you’re going to try and paint Edelgard as a villainous figure, or rather semi-villainous given the intentional moral ambiguity of the story, you have to be prepared to show Edelgard doing things you can identify as potentially if not outright evil. But, in playing the game, I never actually see Edelgard do evil things, or have a direct hand in evil things happening. You hear about Edelgard being willing to commit atrocities in order to achieve her goals, but in the actual game story you never see Edelgard actually commit atrocities or order her subordinates to do so. In the Golden Deer route Claude claims that Edelgard’s forces order the citizens of Enbarr to act as a kind of human shield for her forces, but you never see citizens deployed in any version of the invasion of Enbarr, meaning you don’t have to fight or avoid citizen units, which leads me to believe that Claude is basically lying to you – and funny enough, it’s only here that anyone ever claims that the Enbarr citizenry is being used as a human shield, as neither the Blue Lions nor the Seiros routes mention that. She’s described as being so consumed by her ambitions that she alienates and antagonizes the people she cares about, but this never happens in the game, at least judging from the fact that many of her classmates can be seen fighting alongside her in every route except the Church of Seiros, and in that example it’s only because you convince most of the Black Eagle house to turn against Edelgard.

Even if you oppose Edelgard, you don’t actually get the impression that she’s even trying to be malevolent. Even with Dimitri, Edelgard never stopped considering Dimitri to be her friend even as she has to oppose him, a fact that Dimitri is only capable of recognizing if you play the Blue Lions playthrough. For the most part, her malevolence is just something that people in the game and people talking about in the game just, well, talk about, but with no clear reference to any actions Edelgard takes. All we get is her stated willingness to “stain her path with blood”, which is a vague statement in the context of war. Really the worst you can say about her is that she won’t compromise with the enemy and she’s willing to use shadowy monsters who she will eventually destroy once she’s done with them. Again, if that’s the worst thing about her, worse people have existed within both the game’s setting and real world history. The closest thing the game gets to depicting Edelgard as a villain is when she turns into a monster called Hegemon Edelgard, for absolutely no god damned reason other than so that she can be presented as a threatening monster. None of the other lords have this happen to them, and only two other characters turn themselves into monsters, Dedue and Miklan, and of them the only one with something of an explanation is Miklan. Her transformation exists solely to dehumanize her and vilify her ideals so that Dimitri, after all the effort he spent regaining his humanity, can just dismiss the compassion he felt for his former friend. In summary, it seems like the entire time the game is just trying (and arguably failing) to tell you what to think about Edelgard and the morality of her actions, but without actually showing how evil Edelgard is.

But you know, the strange thing is, it seems like, had this whole story been real, it seems to me like the Adrestian Empire would have won the war, and that’s important because it plays into the way the game deals with the morality of the factions and how the protagonist plays into it. Let’s think about it as realistically as possible. The Adrestian Empire would have the geographic advantage of covering more than half of the map of Fodlan. They’re strategic areas are noted to be well-fortified, built to last defensively and defended by capable generals, and the imperial army is quite probably the most unified and stable force of the three factions. Faerghus’ resources are noted as being rather thin, with many lands within the territory described as harsh and infertile which would make agriculture difficult. In addition, the kingdom is not necessarily a unified territory. In fact the Leicester Alliance was the creation of Faerghus nobles who split off from the kingdom during its history. Internally the kingdom had some instances of coups and assassinations among the nobility, which calls into question the stability of the kingdom. The Leicester Alliance is easily less stable but for different reasons: although nominally united under a leading noble house or houses, the nobles constantly squarrel with and betray one another, sometimes leading to internal conflict. Not to mention, with Fhirdiad captured, the Kingdom is severely weakened, with just a handful of nobles putting up resistance against the Empire. Another thing to take into consideration is defections. Dimitri’s descent into brutality and madness would create quite a bit of motivation to defect. As a historical example, the Three Kingdoms general Zhang Fei’s frequent tendency to abuse his officers and even punitively execute them eventually led to some of his officers killing him and defecting to the Wu kingdom in 221. And with the alliance, it’s only a matter of time before some of the nobles, who are sympathetic to the empire, just let them pass through. On top of that, for the talk of Edelgard being “willing to commit atrocities”, the Adrestian Empire would, realistically, have quite a few opportunities to achieve their goal of conquest with as little bloodshed as possible, and in some cases no bloodshed at all. All of this is taken from the situation as is observed in pretty much all of the story routes in the game except for the Black Eagles route. Not to mention, outside of the Black Eagles route, it is strongly implied that, had it not been for the protagonist, Dimitri would meet his death while trying to rush into Enbarr. With this in mind and Claude’s limited ability to keep the Alliance stable, the victory of the Adrestrian Empire would have been inevitable in a real setting, and per the game’s story it seems that the only thing really stopping the Empire from achieving its inexorable victory is the protagonist.

Also, since we’ve established the deciding role of the protagonist in how the war plays out, let’s talk for a moment about the Crest Stones and the appearance of Demonic Beasts. In Chapter 11, the Flame Emperor and his forces invade the Holy Tomb in Garreg Mach in order to seize the Crest Stones. At first you wonder why they could be doing this, but then you remember that Crests have the power to turn people into monsters. Once you understand this, you figure out that the Adrestrian Empire was gathering Crest Stones for the purpose of creating an army of monsters referred to as Demonic Beasts in order to bolster their forces. But there is something noteworthy about this element. In all the routes where you oppose Edelgard, you find Demonic Beasts among the ranks of the imperial army, but on Edelgard’s route you never see them. In the Black Eagles route, before the timeskip, it’s strongly implied that, if you come over to her side, then Edelgard could effectively discard the aid of those who slither in the dark. This tells me that you joining her side changes the course of her plans rather significantly, and indeed she seems to directly hint at this at some point in the Black Eagles route where Edelgard talks to Hubert about the Sword of the Creator and its potential in the hands of the protagonist. In fact, in Chapter 8 after you defeat Solon for the first time in Remire Village, the Flame Emperor appears and straight up tells you that, if you join her side, she would be able to subdue and contain the violence of those who slither in the dark, perhaps even vanquish them entirely, and achieve her goals without their power. This also plays into a certain of the protagonist acting as the only thing keeping either Edelgard or Dimitri from becoming truly malevolent. The problem, of course, is that even here Edelgard never actually comes off as very malevolent (mostly because the extent of Edelgard’s evil is never actually demonstrated in-game), and in the case of Dimitri, you don’t do much to stop Dimitri’s rampage of revenge until after the death of Rodrigue (more on that later). Honestly it seems like a no-brainer to me: just side with Edelgard so that she doesn’t have to rely on those who slither in the dark in order to achieve her goal of abolishing the Church of Seiros.

The Flame Emperor speaks the truth

Being as we’ve gone into depth as to what Edelgard stands for, and not to mention Rhea’s ambitions, I think it’s worth delving into what Edelgard’s other main rivals stand for. After all, this is a game where you can choose between multiple factions, each seemingly with their own vision of Fodlan. Edelgard’s two main rivals are Claude von Riegan, who is set to become the leader of the Leicester Alliance, and Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd, the prince (and eventually king) of Faerghus.

During the Golden Deer playthrough, Claude tells you that his main goal is to unify the Leicester Alliance by bringing it under his influence, and then eventually unify all of Foldan under his ideals, and then expand his ideals past Foldan’s borders and onto to the rest of the world. Of course this would be functionally no different to Edelgard’s plans to unify Fodlan by conquest but let’s not that get in the way of “giving the CEO of racism a talk” (as the memes put it). What are Claude’s ideals exactly? Well, Claude explains that, when he arrived in Foldan, he found that many of the people of Fodlan were a parochial and chauvinistic people, tending to look down foreigners as animals or even beasts, which he says is the same attitude that people had in the land of Almyra, where he was born. Based on that and his talk of breaking down walls it seems safe to infer that he wants to create a society based on universal tolerance, through what is basically imperial expansion of course. A major part of Claude’s plan is to “bust open” Fodlan’s Throat, which is a mountain range that also serves as a border between Fodlan and the land of Almyra, which periodically starts skirmishes on the border in order to show off their military strength. This goal entails the destruction of a fortress protecting the eastern border in order to weaken the border and allow free movement of people, goods and cultures between the two territories, which he believes will eliminate prejudice from both lands. Claude is basically a liberal expansionist, like Woodrow Wilson, William Gladstone or basically the core of the Democratic Party. He even comes equipped with some convincingly liberal axioms, such as “ignorance breeds prejudice” and “new ways of doing things are always met with resistance” – the latter of which is funny, because resisting new ways of doing things is precisely what he’s doing by opposing Edelgard.

Curiously enough though, Claude, similarly to Edelgard, expresses skepticism of the Church of Seiros, and even explains to you that, without Rhea, people would theoretically become free to think for themselves for the first time, without the pressure of the church or the nobility. He even acknowledges that he and Edelgard have similar ambitions, but sheepishly dismisses her methods on the grounds that they “require too much bloodshed” (as though the whole point of the story wasn’t about war). Funny, the empire allows rival territories to continue existing as vassals and through much of its campaign set about simply capturing rather than destroying territories, and in fact we soon find that it’s the Church of Seiros and Dimitri, not the empire, who are obsessed with bloodshed and set about killing as many people as they can, but don’t allow that to ruin Claude’s fetish for neutrality. In any case, the irony of a game where there are not supposed to be golden good guys is that Claude is, seemingly, the least morally ambiguous character in the game and often seens pretty much benevolent. Sure he talks about cooking up devious schemes and poisoning his enemies, but not only does he never seem to actually do anything that can be counted as malevolent, he’s nowhere near as willing to do the same sort of schemes that Edelgard is ultimately revealed to have carried out.

The thing is, though, I ultimately think of Claude’s ideals as weak. He doesn’t challenge the Church of Seiros and doesn’t seem interested in challenging the nobility, other than opening the borders which presumably goes against many of their wishes. That’s an important detail because no matter what path you take in the game, you run into all manner of horror stories involving many of the characters and their relation to the nobility. There’s Bernadetta who was often imprisoned by her father to teach her to be a submissive housewife and eventually practically kidnapped by one of her mother’s attendants and that’s how she wound up at Garreg Mach. Characters such as Mercedes and Ingrid talk about how their parents wanted to them marry off to some rich noble against their wishes for profit, and in one of their side-quests (or paralogues) you end up fighting them. Edelgard’s father, the emperor Ionius IX, was rendered politically impotent by a cabal of nobles (including Duke Aegir who is Ferdinand’s father) and she herself was shipped off to Faerghus against her will because of Hubert’s father. Sylvain, who on the surface appears to be little more than a philanderer, actually broods on the fact that he’s only valued by people, including women, because of his Crest, because of the realization that, so long as he has a Crest, he will never be related to or judged as a real person, and consequently he believes he will never find anyone who actually loves him as a person. Numerous characters have backstories which shed light on the harsh reality of the system of nobility in place. But Claude never expresses any real interest in changing this in the game’s plot. In fact the only person who wants to change it in the games is Edelgard, and Claude opposes her for her radicalism. He’s also aware that the Church of Seiros has been lying to the people of Fodlan and not to mention stands in the way of Claude’s plan to liberalize the contient, but we don’t see him do anything about that, and nor does he seem too motivated to really oppose the Church. Again, only Edelgard actually wants to overthrow the church. That’s, ultimately, my problem with Claude’s ambitions. Even with his knowledge of Fodlan’s history, he has no desire to topple the societal structures that generate problems for its people. Some might say that it’s all tied back to how he doesn’t actually want conflict, he doesn’t want violence, war or bloodshed to befall the land, and that’s admirable, but beyond his message of tolerance there’s not much to say for his ambition. Not to mention, if you play any of the routes where you don’t side with him and you don’t kill him, he formally dissolves the Leicester Alliance, steps down as its leader and then rides off into Almyra never to be seen again. When push comes to shove, he doesn’t really care.

Before fucking off back to Almyra, I hope.

As for Dimitri, he says that he believes in some vague idea of justice, but what does that justice mean? Well, at some point in the Blue Lions path he tells you that he wants to stop the strong from trampling the weak. It’s a fairly generic moral stance, but seemingly a benign and understandable one. Actually, to be fair on him, in Chapter 3 of the Blue Lions route we see Dimitri sincerely condemn those in power who claim to value justice only to take as many lives as they please, and even empathize a little with Lord Lonato on the grounds that he didn’t view his path outside the lens of the pursuit of justice, and even suggests that, rather than kill Lonato, the Church forces should have tried to pursue a peaceful end to the rebellion. That’s pretty impressive, even if it can be taken as naive. But this moral stance is contrasted sharply by how, in Chapter 8, he tells you that he his one reason for coming to Garreg Mach was so that he would some day get revenge. This also colours the way Dimitri develops as the story progresses. Before the Battle of Garreg Mach, he becomes increasingly tense and obsessed with the memories of Duscur, and after Chapter 11 he passes the point of no return after finding out the Flame Emperor is Edelgard, after which point he becomes genuinely deranged and maniacal, relishing in the thought of senseless slaughter and fantasizing about crushing Edelgard’s skull with his hands. Dimitri had long believed the Flame Emperor to be responsible for the Tragedy of Duscur, a series of massacres in which numerous royals and nobles of Faerghus, including Dimitri’s father Lambert, were assasinated. Of course, the Flame Emperor didn’t actually have any hand in those massacres, and indeed she openly condemns the events at Duscur and Enbarr as unjust, and not to mention it’s eventually revealed that Lord Arundel and Cornelia are the real culprits behind the Tragedy of Duscur, but let’s not let that get in the way of Dimitri’s Old Testament God instincts.

Anyways, five years later, after the timeskip, we no longer hear about justice and virtue, in fact he doesn’t care about these things anymore for most of the playthrough. When you and Dimitri set out to rout some theives infesting what was the Garreg Mach monastery, he becomes enraged when you point out that some of them might be stealing just to survive. He talks of slaughtering all of the theives lurking in Garreg Mach, even if they only steal to survive, justifying his actions with his longstanding belief that the strong should be stopped from trampling the weak, in his words “even if it means becoming a rat myself”. Thus all that seems to remain of his moral compass and ethical conceits is just a way to rationalize senseless brutality. When one of the Adrestian generals, Randolph von Bergliez, is captured by Dimitri’s forces, he laughs when you suggest he give him a quick death rather than the two sadistic options he presents: either he forces Randolph to watch as he executes his comrades one by one, or just gouges his eyes out. Before fighting Randolph, when he rhetorically asks Dimitri “life is worthless to you, isn’t it?”, he says “you took the words from my mouth, general!”. After you mercifully execute Randolph to stop Dimitri from torturing him, Dimitri dares you to kill him, and says that if you don’t then he will keep using you and your allies until you die. His obsession with revenge is also complimented by frequent instances of Dimitri hearing voices in his head which he interprets to be the spirits of his deceased royal relatives. All he wants to do in the Blue Lions playthrough is to strike out at the Imperial capital so that he can kill Edelgard, believing that it will end the war and quell the haunting voices of the dead that linger inside of him.

He gets so bad that even Felix, who is normally all too eager for battle, suggests that he’s gone too far. But then even before the war phase of the game Felix recounts a story in which Dimitri suppresses a rebellion so brutally and with such savage glee that he didn’t even recognize him as human, a fact that the pre-war Dimitri is forced to recognize when confronted with this story and so cannot deny the truth of the matter. This rebellion, as it happens, was his first experience in battle as a commanding officer and took place two years before the events of the game and thus preceded the suppression of Lord Lonato’s rebellion. Hell, if you talk to Felix as early as Chapter 2 in the Blue Lions route he warns you not to trust Dimitri because he thinks of him as an animal, and even during the prologue chapter, your protagonist thinks to himself about Dimitri, “I sense darkness in him”, suggesting that there’s a malevolent aspect of his personality that will become a major part of the plot – and, just so you know, that never happens for the other two lords. While Dimitri tries to say that his enemies are the same as him, don’t be fooled: there are few characters in the entire game who are as monstrous as the fiend that Dimitri becomes. And, of course, in order to justify his madness, he tries to convince you that you and him are of the same kind because you pursued the people who killed your father, Jeralt, in Chapters 9 and 10. Of course, the comparison is ultimately shallow, given that after defeating Monica/Kronya and Solon you don’t go down a rampage of revenge like Dimitri does, but, again, that fact would just ruin Dimitri’s narrative. That fact will never stop him from dehumanizing his enemies, treating them as little more than beasts with human faces. He is also so blinded by his desire for revenge that he cannot even take joy in the victories his forces win in battle in his name, referring to one battle in Chapter 16 as a farce despite the victory. But most tellingly of all, when Gilbert asks Dimitri in Chapter 17 if he feels no hesistation about killing his former friends and classmates, he says simply that he is used to killing familiar faces by now, with a visible smile on his face. This attitude is a stark contrast to the attitude held by his rivals Edelgard and Claude, both of whom express sorrow at having to fight their former friends at Gronder Field and in general, and it is the most revealing as to who the truly malevolent of the three lords are.

Trust me when I say this is one of the least frightening things he says.

But, it’s worth noting that Dimitri doesn’t stay in his vengeful stupor throughout the Blue Lions path. At the end of Chapter 17, after the second Battle of Gronder Field, Randolph’s sister Fleche attempts to kill Dimitri in order to avenge his death, only for Rodrigue to shield him and get stabbed instead of him, thus Rodrigue died to save Dimitri’s life. Initially Dimitri doesn’t learn much from this, and he still tries to march single-handedly to Enbarr, this time guided by the sentiment that nothing really matters anymore because “death is the end”, and refuses to listen to you because he just wants to die already because he thinks of it as the only way to free him from the voices of the dead. However, as the next chapter begins, we start to see him questioning his desire for revenge and changing course. Instead of marching on to Enbarr like he originally planned, he decides to instead turn back to Fhirdiad in order to take it back from the Empire. And then, Dimitri pulls a face heel turn: he apologizes to the entire party for the bitter and vengeful path he led them through, along with the senseless suffering he caused, and announces his intention to return to Fhirdiad and greet its people as their rightful king. He states that he will stop listening to the voices in his head and start doing what he actually believes in. But what does he actually believe in?

Well we can certainly say he’s learned to renounce vengeance on a moral level, having figured out that Fleche’s attempt on his life was ultimately his fault because of the vicious cycle that the pursuit of revenge creates. Other than that? It’s not too clear. He doesn’t seem to care about the conflict between the Agarthans and the children of Sothis, and he has nothing to say about the Church of Seiros other than he supports them for some unspecified reason. Even after he gets over his obsession with revenge against Edelgard, it still seems that all he really wants is to defeat the Empire. We get two reasons for why this is: some generic line about “restoring peace”, and revenge (the latter, strange as it may seem, ultimately makes the most sense). When Dimitri prevails at the end of the Blue Lions playthrough and Fodlan is united under the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, the conflict between Sothis’ forces and the Agarthans (or “those who slither in the dark”) is not at all addressed, and we don’t know what Dimitri intends to do about them. All that happens with Rhea is she steps down as Archbishop after being rescued from Enbarr, for a reason that is as entirely unclear as the reason she was held captive in the first place. Nothing happens in relation to the Church of Seiros, although we can assume Dimitri wants to keep them around. All we know of the kind of world Dimitri intends to build is that he wants to get rid of “all kinds of oppression”, but there’s no basis for establishing what that could mean and also it’s entirely laughable to think that a theocratic government with no intentions of not being a theocratic autocracy is going to get rid of oppression. At least Edelgard wanted to abolish the nobility along with the Church and apparently even hints at making it so that the title of emperor is no longer hereditary somehow.

Beyond all of that, Dimitri is generally distinguished from the other three lords by his willingness to accept the status quo of Fodlan society. Whereas Claude is skeptical and mistrustful of the Crest-based noble order but merely doesn’t do much to change it, and Edelgard wants to bulldoze that order entirely and replace it with an egalitarian meritocracy (albeit an imperial one), Dimitri believes that this order and its customs exist for a reason. He believes that if the people of Fodlan no longer valued the Crests, then the noble bloodlines that carry them would fade out or no longer be strong enough to oppose the threats they were supposedly keeping at bay. But he is not a mere conservative in this sense, and, when you ask what he believes, he states he believes that those with Crests and those without should learn to co-exist and respect each other based on the merits that they both bring to the table. He also thinks this attitude should apply to all other major aspects of society, such as noble lineage, race, religion and ideology. Essentially he’s a similar type of reformist to Claude, but perhaps with even less ambition. He opposes Edelgard’s vision because she wants to bring about revolution via the Empire supposedly at the expense of countless lives (which, as we’ve established, doesn’t entirely pan out the way he would describe it), and saying that by contrast he wants the war to end “through acceptance, not annihilation” (which is laughable considering almost all of Dimitri’s actions and statements from Chapters 11-18).

The best picture we actually get of Dimitri’s beliefs is in Chapter 21, when Edelgard has the opportunity to meet Dimitri and explain her vision. When she explains to Dimitri that, in reality (or at least from her perspective), her war would in the end lend to the least casualties, which is very likely to be the case if this war were to play out in real life, the death toll of the war ultimately lower and more bearable compared to the suffering that the world of Fodlan imposes upon its people, Dimitri refuses to see her point and accuses her of being obsessively devoted to the war (as opposed to his own obsessive devotion to waging war against the Empire and killing Edelgard of course). Of course we do get some vague ideas about faith, with Edelgard saying that she would rather people be able to rely on themselves while Dimitri insisting that there are those who cannot live without their faith. What’s really interesting about this scene is that we actually seem to get something similar to the conflict between the Law and Chaos factions in the Shin Mgeami Tensei series. He even accuses her of being a Social Darwinist, claiming that her path is the path of the strong and can only benefit such, despite no indication of that being an aspect of her actual worldview and her even positioning her cause as a struggle for the weak and the downtrodden. Dimitri even accuses her of wanting to become a goddess. Strangely enough Dimitri actually has the gall to advocate that it is the people, not the rulers, who change the way of the world, despite his system of government literally being predicated on the hereditary authority of a singular ruler (a fact that Edelgard directly calls him out on when he says that a “highborn” person like him cannot know how the poor really feel). On the whole it seems that Dimitri’s ideals are ill-formed and only make sense as reaction to Edelgard’s vision.

The biggest problem with Dimitri in my view is twofold. First, the most obvious problem, is that Dimitri never leaves behind his obsession with vengeance and never becomes something of a good person unless you side with him (except, for some reason, in the Black Eagles playthrough, where he doesn’t even have his eyepatch). Unless you take his side, he will continue to be the brutal and deranged prince that he turns out to be, and this would have inevitably led to his death in his attempt to charge into Enbarr. The only reason he stops is because after Rodrigue’s death you somehow convince him that his desire for revenge is pointless and that he needs to fight for something other than vengeance. You’re the only reason that Dimitri doesn’t stay a psychopath, which tells me that his destiny was to be a psychopath. The second is that, any way you slice it, Dimitri spent his whole life in pursuit of revenge and ultimately bases his fight against the Empire on a lie. Edelgard had no role to play in the Tragedy of Duscur. That was all the work of Arundel and Cornelia, though Arundel (as Thales) claims it was done for her benefit. But he was prepared to believe that she caused it, based on nothing other than Edelgard being the Flame Emperor, and it is only in Chapter 19 that he suddenly says that that he always suspected that Arundel was behind the Tragedy of Duscur. The problem here is that he never expressed this suspicion anywhere in the game and spent so much of the game holding Edelgard responsible for the entire thing, so I don’t know where he suddenly got to the part where he realized Arundel was behind it, but he’s full of shit if he tells you that he always thought Arundel was behind the massacre, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone insane when he found out Edelgard was the Flame Emperor. With this in mind and just how ill-defined his ideals are, coupled with what I’ve explained about what the reality of Adrestrian conquest and victory might look like (not nearly as bloody and annihilationist as Edelgard’s enemies would suggest), it just strikes me how, in the ultimate analysis, Dimitri’s fight is ultimately for nothing. There’s no reason to for him to fight her other than to defend Faerghus from invasion and because he initially believed her to be responsible for the events at Duscur, all else is just a cheap rationalization from there. If all his cause has was a lie and nothing in the way of a well-defined set of ideals other than constantly talking about chivalry and knighthood, nothing is all it’s going to be.

Sometimes the memes say it better than anything else

It’s because of all this that I find Edelgard to be the most sympathizable faction leader in the game, and her cause to be the most sympathizable, and cannot be convinced otherwise.

But there’s one thing that bothers me. Even in the Black Eagles ending where you side with Edelgard and defeat Rhea, there are a lot of plot holes that stem from issues and details that remain unresolved. For example, in Chapter 11, it’s revealed that Edelgard is the mysterious “Flame Emperor” from earlier in the game. In fact, this is lampshaded later in Part 1 when, after the Flame Emperor disappears, people talk about Edelgard having wandered off somewhere. But what’s not answered is why Edelgard felt the need to go around bearing the guise of the Flame Emperor. It’s also not clear why she allies herself with “those who slither in the dark” to begin with. All Edelgard tells you is that she’ll explain it later, but she doesn’t get the chance to do so before you get sent into a coma for five years after the invasion of Garreg Mach in Chapter 12. And, most egregiously of all, the Black Eagles path, during the second half of the story doesn’t have you fighting those who slither in the dark in any capacity. It consists of 18 chapters, shorter than the other storylines, and it ends with you destroying Rhea. While the idea of that path ending with the fight against Rhea is a fitting conclusion to a path where you’ve set yourself against the Church of Seiros, it would be even better if you got to fight, say, Arundel/Thales after all the shit he put Edelgard through, maybe uncovering the real conspiracy that those who slither in the dark were getting up to. Like I said earlier, show not tell is a basic rule of storytelling. Although it is believable that Edelgard’s forces will oppose them, due to the multiple times Edelgard and Hubert express genuine hatred for those who slither in the dark and very clearly intend to dispose of them, we never see them fight any of them during the second half of the game except in Chapter 16 where they fight Cornelia, a royal mage of Faerghus who is implied to among their ranks. I have the feeling that the route was laid out this way in order to prevent each of the routes from ending in the same way – after all, two routes in the game (the Golden Deer and Church of Seiros routes) both have you fighting those who slither in the dark as the final enemy. But even then, why is it so short? Is it because the Adrestian campaign backed by you would be a short and easy victory in the long run, or is it because they didn’t want to include a missing confrontation with those who slither in the dark that might ruin the moral ambiguity they intended? In either case, it leads to the Edelgard route being incomplete. In fact it is because of this as well as a lack of fully animated cutscenes compared to the other routes as well as being much shorter than the other routes that some fans of Fire Emblem believe that the route may not have been originally intended to be included in the game, and may have been rushed out before the game’s release.

In sum, I believe that the game’s treatment of Edelgard as a potentially sinister figure, and indeed casting her as the only lord who turns into a monster at any point in the game, and the fact that within the game you are not actually supposed to side with her, to the point that her own route is actually an alternative route as opposed to the actual route (in which you betray Edelgard on behalf of the Church of Seiros), and the decisions that were made for writing that route leads to the conclusion that Edelgard was intended to be, at least ultimately, a villain or primary antagonist. They couldn’t depict her as an outwardly malevolent character, because that would undermine the intent to create a morally ambiguous setting, filled with reasons to justify supporting or opposing either of the lords you’re asked to choose from, so instead they simply cast her as an overly ambitious extremist, a bit like the way Dynasty Warriors games used to treat Cao Cao until the sixth installment of the series (a point worth noting considering that Koei was involved in the development of this game), while still giving some tells that she’s meant to be more malevolent.

The reason I find this rather telling on the part of the developers is because of the setting all of this is situated in, and the roles played out therein. Keep in mind that in the game Edelgard is one of the only characters to actually oppose the Church of Seiros, and quite possibly the only one giving a clear vision of how bad it is and what the world would be like without it. Everyone else either supports the Church of Seiros or just doesn’t care enough to oppose it, thus they end up opposing Edelgard’s vision. While many character express grievances towards the system of nobility, it seems no one actually seems interested in changing or abolishing this system except Edelgard. And only Edelgard and Hubert talk about bringing Fodlan under the control of human power and freeing them from the rule of shapeshifting gods. All of these are talked about in the game to some extent, and Edelgard is the only character who actually wants to do something about it in a way that actually leads to meaningful change in the only way that makes sense. That, strictly speaking, is Edelgard’s crime within the game’s story, or more specifically being willing to start a war in order to achieve those goals. As though the Chruch of Seiros was ever going to peaceably accept its own abolition, as if their living gods would willfully relinquish their power. The ultimate message here is impossible to escape: the Church of Seiros is ultimately good, and the nobility is only a flawed system that could do with reform rather than the decrepit injustice that it is actually shown to be, and if you have enough of a problem with this system that you decide that it needs to be gotten rid of for the good of the people, then you’re a tyrannical ideologue seeking to subjugate the people and build a utopia on a foundation of corpses. Of course, we all know where we’ve heard that before. In fact, considering the game’s setting, I’d like you to imagine if we had that attitude towards the Catholic Church. Indeed, imagine if, in the 18th century, the French and American revolutionaries had that attitude to the French and British monarchies respectively.

So in a nutshell, don’t listen to Fire Emblem: Three Houses fans who think that Edelgard can be counted as one of the bad guys in the game. All they end up doing is apologizing for the feudal-religious order in a game where you actually have the chance, and very good reason, to oppose it. In other words, Edelgard did nothing wrong.

And so, the only righteous path lies before you.

The “God Pill”

I have discovered a video on YouTube posted by Dave Cullen (a.k.a. Computing Forever), an Irish conservative who supports nationalism as well as free market libertarian and even anarcho-capitalist economics, in which he talks about his conversion to Christianity and promotes a concept known as the “god pill”, which can be taken as a facet of “red pill” online political culture. The video, entitled Rediscovering Faith: My Journey Back To Christianity, was so grotesque to the eye of reason, so erroneous in its premises, so self-serving in its function, and yet so enlightening as to the direction of online reactionary politics as well as Dave’s own political evolution, that I decided it was my civic duty to address it and key concepts from the video here on this blog. Please forgive me in advance for the sheer length of this post, but I must dissect these points here, for you will encounter these talking points on your own in time. Dave goes through several arguments at a time here, often in small portions but in quick succession, so addressing his major points will take up a lot of space, and the result will be probably one of my longest posts ever. If you don’t mind that (and here’s hoping you don’t), then I encourage you to read on.

Let ‘s begin by addressing the concept of the “God Pill”. Ostensibly, and for all practical purposes, the “God Pill” in the parlance of “red pill” culture is simply another way of referring to religious conversion, or rather the embrace of the belief in a God. God, for our purposes, refers to the concept of a supernatural consciousness that created and controls the universe and exercizes sovereignty over the souls of humans. However, the concept of the God Pill is also more than the simple acceptance of the belief in God, in that it is necessarily a component of the broader stages of “swallowing the red pill”. The God Pill stage is synonymous with the White Pill stage, which is suppsoed to follow the Black Pill stage, which is supposed to follow the Red Pill stage. Before we explain what exactly that means, let’s see Dave explain this process through his own words in the beginning of his video:

It seems now that a pattern is beginning to emerge among many of us who operate in this genre of red pill philosophy. When you take the metaphorical red pill, it’s just the first epiphany, the first layer. You realize how much you’ve been lied to all your life. You discover that you’ve been fed an ideology perpetuated through biased narratives and spin. You begin to discern truth from illusion, and reject the programming that they attempted to indoctrinate you with. Now if the red pill is the means by which you discover that you’ve been lied to with, the black pill is how you learn just how dangerous those lies truly were. The black pill is when you descend down the rabbit hole further and learn just how bad things have become. It’s where the consequences of evil become truly apparent. It’s also the point where you begin to experience a degree of hopelessness and despondence. This is the point of rock bottom, but luckily, from there the only way is up. Things can seem bleak, but it’s virtually impossible to stay black-pilled for long. It’s simply too difficult to entertain nihilism or despair for extended periods of time. Eventually, an appetite for hope, optimism and meaning begins to develop. The soul requires nourishment. Enter the white pill, also known as the God pill. You begin to desire action, order, purpose and a semblance of values in your life. The world may be going crazy but you’re not going to. The very values that have been stripped from Western nations by the left for the last 50 years gradually begin to make sense.

The God Pill, properly understood, is to be taken as an alternative name for the White Pill, which is the end of the stage a broader journey associated with the Red Pill concept. Taking the “Red Pill”, in this parlance, usually means the rejection of progressivism, liberalism, feminism and political correctness (or more or less as conservatives define it, which is basically just when you take a lefty-ish stance on social issues), and “awake” to what they believe to be the true nature of reality that is obfuscated and censored by progressives and globalist elites on a regular basis. In pick up artist parlance, where the red pill philosophy mythos originates, the “Red Pill” means “awakening” to the premise not only that society is gynocentric but chiefly that women don’t care about your personality and are only interested in promiscuous sex with young men, which given that women are also morally condemned for such a shallow mindset, even if they don’t actually have it, is pretty much unavoidably a recipe for misogyny. The opposite of the Red Pill is the “Blue Pill”, which represents ignorance of the realities of politics as well as women within red pill parlance. The “Black Pill” is a concept that Dave seems to softball for some reason. It is not simply when you learn how dangerously bad things are, but rather it refers to what happens when, some time after the premise of the Red Pill is accepted, you begin to develop a fatalistic and nihilistic outlook towards the world on the grounds that one comes to believe that the system that the adherent opposes cannot be reversed. In practice this usually means people in the new right turning to some kind of nihilistic fascism on the grounds that they now believe that the system they oppose can no longer be opposed through honorable or democratic means and that they are damned by whichever path they take, though in pick up artistry and incel culture the term simply means accepting the premise that there is nothing you can do to make yourself attractive to women if you are not conventionally attractive. The original definition of the Black Pill can be found in a post written by the Canadian anti-feminist blogger named Paragon in 2011, who defined the Black Pill as accepting the premise that there is no personal solution that can alter what pick up artists or incels or whatever they’re called nowadays consider to be a systemic trend of hypergamy that will always prevent men from having sex with desireable women. The “White Pill” in incel parlance is actually supposed to be just a generic term for the attainment of any sort of optimism and focus on self-improvement stemming from the premise of the Red Pill, but for people like Dave Cullen it seems to have taken on a distinctly religious connotation, related to religious conversion. In essence, we get a narrative which, in a sense, might give away the real goal of the strands of reactionary internet politics we see today: the end goal is to get disillusioned young people to not only reject progressivism, but also to reject any kind of liberal values, to reject the Enligthenment, to reject reason, and to reject the work of the French Revolution, and embrace Christian theism as a means of reviving the pre-Enlightenment order.

The Baptism of Christ, attributed to Sassoferrato (circa 1630-50)

It is worth noting at this point that Dave is far from the only exponent of the God Pill concept, and perhaps not the most insane of them. Rocking MrE, who considers himself to be a classical liberal and was once promoted by the EDL as such alongside Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad), used to be an atheist who ascribed to a sort of “Cultural Christianity” (that is, when you don’t believe in God but you still support Christian moral doctrine and values), but converted to Christianity proper at some point in 2018, and now he not only believes in God but also denies evolution as an “occult doctrine” designed to lead people away from Christian morality. The concept of a God Pill seems to have been discussed by other right wing channels such as Blonde in the Belly of the Beast. One YouTuber, Critical Condition, credits her “God Pill” status to the lectures of Jordan Peterson, which she saw as a way of re-establishing what is apparently to be taken as a dormant sense of religiosity. The right-wing pick up artist Daryush Valizadeh (better known as Roosh V) converted to Orthodox Christianity in March this year, apparently after finally becoming dissatisfied with a life of treating women as just the object of vainglorious sexual conquest (not to mention getting high on magic mushrooms), and now promotes the concept of the God Pill on his online forum, where he describes it as the final destination of a journey that begins with the “blue pill” (ignorance of reality), then progresses with the “red pill” (awakening to reality, apparently through pursuit “materialism”, in this case meaning pick-up artistry), then the “black pill” (despair, nihilism and the resutling withdrawal from “materialist” society) and ends in the God Pill (in his words, submission to God’s Will). The transition from the Red Pill to the God Pill appears to be a general trend that has been seen by some Christian observers, who comment that the invariable destination of the red pill political subculture is the revitalization of Christian religiosity. But, I feel it is in Dave, as well as Rocking MrE, that we find something particularly poignant. Here we have people who have devoted themselves, ostensibly, to reason. To that end they have embraced some very conspiratorial worldviews relating to reactionary politics, to the point that they may as well have been wearing reason as a costume, but Dave at least seemed to consider himself to be taking after the likes of Christopher Hitchens in some of his videos. And now, here he is rejecting atheism as a childish doctrine in favour of Christian religiosity! But I suppose this all makes sense in light of the red pill pipeline being just a pathway to religion. Though, in Dave’s case, there might well be distinctly emotional motives for his transition, ones that just happen to intersect with his hardline conservative views.

Anyways, with all of that having been established, let’s move on to the next point:

I guess I considered myself an atheist since I was about 13. I rejected the religious teachings of my parents, who were both devout Catholics and quite conservative, and as I entered my teenage years I began to become more liberal and I believed that I could have all the answers, that science and secularism were adequate substitutes for religion and faith. But as I grew older, I also became more conservative, and I began to realize that the wisdom of my parents was based on something timeless, universal and tried-and-tested for thousands of years, that the teachings of Christ were a set of rules and instructions that not only made intuitve sense when carefully studied but actually had been essential in maintaining and building our Western Civilization.

This is the first part of the video where we get to one of the more absurd claims Dave makes in order to justify his position. The claim in question is that Christianity has been “tried and tested” throughout the history of the Western world, as in for thousands of years, as in, by implication, presumably long before Christianity was actually formulated, before Jesus was even born. To assert this tripe requires you to neglect the entire body of Hellenic philosophy upon which we derive many of our modern sciences, philosophical concepts, political constructs and even large parts of our mythos. I’ve covered this before in my post about Cultural Christians, but let me summarize this point by saying that large parts of Christian doctrine derive from the writings of Plato, Aristole and the Stoics, not to mention many mystery cults such as the Eleusinian Mysteries. Then there’s the fact that so many Christian holidays, myths and even saints and angels have their roots in the pagan custom of Greek, Roman and other ancient societies. I would argue that, if there really is something that is timeless, universal, and tried-and-tested for thousands of years, it’s not Christianity, considering the fact that Christianity has only really been around for two thousand years, which in the grand scheme of human history is a pretty short stretch of time.

Next, we come to his criticism of the New Atheist worldview, which he purports to have dismissed during his teenage years:

Science is the means by which we understand the physical world around us. It is not the means by which we derive our morality. For that we need philosophy, metaphysics, religion. Human beings need relatable stories, instructions, parables, in order to develop a moral and ethical framework in which to live.

Now, I will say for the record that I find what I have seen of Sam Harris’ attempts to form a morality based on the scientific worldview to be utilitarian garbage, and I find that he justifies this using many of the same arguments that Christian apologists would use (namely that if you don’t follow his morality you must be a psychopath), but to assert that you cannot divine morality through pursuit of studying physical reality is to reject the physical world. If morality is a phenomenon that comes from the physical world in the sense that it emerges from human relations, and in a sense can only really be observed in the context of the physical world, then treating it as dependent on something that can only be based on something that is supposed to be categorically outside of the cosmos doesn’t make any sense, and in a sense divorces morality from reality, which in my opinion is a dangerous and irresponsible thing to do because it creates the groundwork for moral nihilism. Not to mention, he seems to speak of philosophy as somehow separate from the pursuit of science, and aligned with religion and metaphysics. The problem with this is that the pursuit of philosophy makes no sense without its object – questions surrounding the nature of reality, that is a matrix that exists outside of ourselves that we observe on a constant basis – and also the fact that even the scientific method itself bases itself upon a specific set of philosophical assumptions and doctrines, which have proven effective for their purpose – that is, the investigation of reality through empirical study and experimentation and analysis based on reason. So from there, we can already see that Dave’s argument for religion amounts to a weak-kneed cop-out.

But in a sense, it’s also here we that we also come to one of the more revealing facets of Dave’s thesis on religion, one that is also apparent from the very beginning of the video, shortly before the first quote I posted from it. He doesn’t commit himself to a rational reason for believing in a Christian God, or in accepting the Christian religion as the guiding force for society as well as himself, but because he needs the Christian religion because it provides him with a meta-narrative that allows him to make sense of the world around him, and this desire, as was already implied in the discussion of the God Pill concept and as you will further see later on, is deeply linked to his conservative politics and his opposition to just about any form of left-wing politics you can find.

For now though, we must address that age old Christian apologist talking point that just won’t die, and that Dave is apparently resurrecting here:

Science and religion are actually not in conflict, as some atheists believe. They’re not actually in competition. One is the means by which we understand the physical world around us, the other is the means by which we derive meaning and moral instruction.

The main problem with this talking point is twofold. The first problem is that it assumes that religions are not formed as means by which to understand the world around us. The reason that’s a problem is simply the fact that religions like Christianity and Islam, and their surrounding myths, as well as the myths of polytheistic religions, were in part devised quite literally as a means by which people without scientific knowledge could explain the physical world. I mean, what the hell is the idea that God created the universe and is responsible for its cycles including those that happen on Earth if not an attempt to explain the physical cosmos? Oh wait, I forgot. We’re not supposed to take that literally. The second problem is that to believe that science and religion are not in competition but instead working harmoniously with each other requires the ignorance of the history of Christian power in Europe, as well as in America, which then as now is often in conflict with scientific findings. Did we all forget about how Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by the Catholic Church for his pantheistic beliefs which he may have drawn from his scientific pursuits? Or how Galileo Galilei was forced by the Inquistion to recant his scientific discovery of how the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around? Or how in the United States a man named John Scopes was sued by the state of Tennessee for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection? Or how for decades the evangelical lobby has fought for creationism against the scientific teachings of not only evolution but also man made climate change, and how this lobby is still an active part of the Trump administration today? Oh wait, I forgot, that’s all just progressive babble isn’t it Dave?

Christianity shown here getting along with science, like it always does. Wait a minute…

Following this, we come to a part of the video where Dave’s political direction descends further into regression, past the realm of the absurd and into the realm of the sinister, while also serving as the first exposure of just how utilitarian Dave’s embrace of Christianity really is. Here is how he segues from religion being a system of meaning and moral guidance:

This system may even be the basis of a legal system or even a constitution for a nation state to live by, but the core philosophy must be based upon something that cannot be altered or replaced by man-made ideals. It’s the idea that there is a higher power that Man is answerable to, that governments and politicians cannot challenge, that the state is beholden to the values and morals that the populace subscribe to. This is one of the primary utilities of religion in our society.

Let me spell it out for you just in case it wasn’t already obvious: he is describing the logic of a theocratic society. He is describing a system that derives its legitimacy not from the will of the people, not from a secular body of law, but from the will of God and from the edicts of a religious doctrine. What he is describing invariably entails a society which, by definition, derives its legal basis from the interpretation of the laws and commandments of God by some religious or ecclesiastical authority. I don’t see how else it would work in his society unless he thinks that either Christians will just vote their beliefs into power or that God will just sort everything out by himself. His proposal cannot be classified as anything other than the basis of a theocratic society.

But the unstated premise of this assertion is that the need for religion as the basis of a society, in conservative parlance, derives from the need for a device through which their desired economic order becomes impossible to challenge through any sort of state intervention. Think about this for a moment. The state, properly understood in a democratic context, represents the sum total of human will in its ability to direct material components of the political system and make decisions on behalf of itself as represented by the body politic. Free market capitalism, being a man-made construct, is the product of human hands and as such is subject to human hands: Man created capitalism, Man becomes a subject to capitalism, and Man can also destroy capitalism. Of course, Man can also bend market forces to his will, that is say the state can assume ownership of what was once the realm of private markets in order to direct said markets and capital in pursuit of common good. The capitalist, and the conservative, oppose this because it hinders the free flow of capitalist markets to stream capital upwards in accumulation into the hands of private elites, which, for them, represents a much more abstract notion of economic freedom (freedom for the few, of course, not for the many). If the best way to stop this is to have something in place that is higher than the state, higher than the will of Man, then what better candidate than God Almighty, an entity that cannot be challenged by the will of Man according to the religions that believe in him? Now apply this to free market economics, via that popular conception of the invisible hand of the market (however true it might be to the way Adam Smith intended to espouse it). The idea that the markets direct capital, goods and services in a positive direction that benefits society without the interference of the state, can be reified as a religious concept by arguing that the invisible hand of capitalist market is, in a way, the hand of God, or more or less the will of God working through the markets. The result of this is that the free market cannot be challenged by the state on the grounds that doing so means going against the will of God. The only problem with this, of course, is that the Bible doesn’t actually support free market economics except through a selective reading of it, and in fact there is even a famous verse in the Book of Acts in which a seemingly proto-communist society appears to be endorsed as a commune of Christ’s followers.

After that little quotation, he shows a clip from an interview he did with a guy called John Waters, who is a writer for the Irish Times and not to be confused with the American film director of the same name. A self-described “neo-Luddite” who despises the internet and emails in particular, he has supported many reactionary conservative positions in his day. He supported the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, has claimed in 2014 that depression does not exist, opposed same-sex marriage, blamed gay people for his decision to quit journalism, and is such a staunch Catholic conservative that he even denies that there is institutional pedophilia in the Catholic Church, claiming instead that the real problem is homosexuality, which he claims explains the cases of pedophilia on the grounds that homosexuality is tied to ephepophilia (which, much like the anarcho-capitalists, he treats as morally distinct from pedophilia). In the interview clip being presented, Waters states that in the preamble of the Irish constitution begins with the phrase “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred”, which he believes is grounds to treat the Irish constitution as a kind of prayer or invocation, which he justifies simply by stating that it is a mechanism to take the fundamental rights of humans and place them out of the reach of humans – in other words, to define human rights as a law that cannot be changed by humans (even though rights as a concept originate directly from humans).

We get into another stupid claim from Dave after this wherein he cites the British author John Glubb via his book The Fate of Empires as justification for religion as an integral part of civilizational survival:

Nations and even empires that lose religion tend to collapse within a couple of generations. This is the pattern that John Glubb observed time and time again when he catalogued the rise and fall of great powers throughout history. When an age of decadence is reached in a society, an age of liberalism follows. When you take God out of the equation, Man tries to become God.

The central problem with this claim in particular is that it is not simply that it is utterly unfalsifiable, but that it is demonstrably false and incorrect. The Roman Empire, for example, can hardly be said to have “taken God out of the equation” in the years preceding its collapse. In fact, by the time the Roman Empire collapsed, Rome was already dominated by the Christian church, and had been through an almost unbroken succession of Christian emperors for over a century. The idea that the Romans were trying to “become God” can from there be treated as utterly laughable. The ancient Egyptian religion was still a present element of Egyptian rule and culture during the last days of the Egyptian empire under Cleopatra, after whose death Egypt became a Roman province. The Egyptians only briefly lost their religion during the reign of Akhenaten, who tried to introduce a monotheistic cult centering around a sun god named Aten, but after his death the religion of the old priests was restored and all mention of Atenism was purged from memory. The religion of the Aztecs only really disappeared after the Spanish conquistadors arrived and forced them to convert to Catholicism on pain of torture or death. The short lived Seleucid Empire did not die because of some lack of religiosity, in fact the empire was pretty successful in establishing what we now know to be classical Hellenic culture and syncretizing it with foreign with influences such as Buddhism. Instead, it died after a period of instability generated by civil war surrounding succession that broke out after the death of Antiochus IV. China went through several imperial monarchies throughout its history, and religion is not necessarily the cause of their collapse and displacement by successive new empires. If you know just a little bit about Chinese history, you’ll know that civil war is a common feature in ancient Chinese history, cropping up frequently as a point of transition between new dynasties, the most famous examples being the Three Kingdoms Period that preceded the short-lived Jin Dynasty and the Warring States period that preceded the Qin dynasty.

Furthermore, his talking about how without religion Man tries to “become God” is a particularly mystifying talking point, and it doesn’t seem to have much basis in reality. Is he talking about how, throughout history, monarchies and empires have had their populace worship the king as a god as part of their religious custom? Or is he perhaps channelling Camille Paglia’s nonsense about how accepting transgenderism precipitated the decline of the Roman Empire? The swapping of gender roles, and indeed the inversion of many Roman values, was already a feature of Roman life in one particular festival, Saturnalia, which the Christians later phased out and replaced with the celeberation of Jesus’ birthday, which we would eventually call Christmas.

“Ave, Ceasar! Io, Saturnalia!” by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Oh wait, never mind, Dave’s actually talking about communism:

Communism, which is once again trying to infiltrate every facet of our culture and compromise our institutions in the form of globalism, believes that the state is God, that it can be mother and father to an infantilized, powerless and impoverished proletariat.

As is standard practice for right-wing conspiracist content, Dave invokes the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, which tells him that everything he doesn’t like about liberalism is actually communism, despite the fact that liberalism and communism are against each other as they always have been and despite the fact that Marxists are marginalized, rather than endorsed, in academia (not to mention that the European Union and quite a few European countries ban the promotion of communism or at least ban communist symbols). But that’s not the most important part of this video – we expect his ilk to parrot the same old conspiracy theory even after it’s been debunked already. The real hot take here is that communism believes the state to be God. You know, that ideology that famously rejects God, views religion as the opiate of the masses and believes that the state is supposed to wither away as the society progresses towards commiunism – God tends not to wither away in any system that concieves of his existence you know! What were you thinking when you spouted this nonsense!? I could address everything else he said when he invokes that tired old talking point about communism impoverishing nations wherever it’s been tried, but not only do I lack the scope for such an endeavor in this post, but it’s also somewhat irrelevant when you consider that his understanding of communism here falls apart when you understand even the most basic points about its actual ideological content.

Oh but that won’t stop him. After all, he’s not basing his worldview on anything rational or anything like that, just some utilitarian goal which centers around quashing the phantom of communism and “Cultural Marxism”.

It doesn’t even matter if you believe in an afterlife or an interventionist God at all, or how the universe got started. These discussions are great fodder for theoretical debates, but they won’t build or maintain a society. They won’t protect against communism, or indeed another outside religion that seeks to dominate the West. Everything the left has done has been a gradual attempt to take people away from who and what they are and where they came from.

You know, Dave, there was a religion that came from a foreign land, or more or less based on a set of teachings that originated outside of the West, that sought to dominate the West, and ultimately succeeded in replacing the values and beliefs that had been with our ancestors for thousands of years.

What was that religion called? Christianity.

This is something that, even while I was a right-winger back in 2017, always annoyed me about proponents of this “Cultural Marxism” bullshit. They talk about the threat of their Christian religion being replaced by some outside force, and they never talk at all about the fact that it was originally the Christians who sought to replace the paganism of our ancestors, as well as the religions of any foreign people’s they came into contact with. And unlike the Hellenic Greeks before them who let the Egyptians and the Bactrians practice their religion in harmony with Hellenism, and encouraged a syncretism that was nonetheless still unique to the cultures they arrived at, the Christians in many cases simply replaced the cultures of the various peoples they encountered wherever they could, often destroying many important artefacts, such as what happened to the Mayan civilization. But they don’t like to talk about that, either because it simply doesn’t enter into their minds at all or because it’s inconvenient to the narrative they’ve weaved for themselves. Do these people have any idea what the Spanish conquests were, or what the Goa Inquistion was, or how the Christians sacked various pagan temples such as in Alexandria? Of course we can’t say the Christians completely succeeded in replacing the heritage of the West, what with the Renaissance revitalizing many Greco-Roman concepts, but it does not change that the Christians still sought the destruction of quite a bit of pre-Christian heritage, a fact that a lot of these conservative nationalists fail to account for.

Christianity celebrates the vital importance of the family unit, the most powerful defence against an authoritarian state. In Christianity, the roles of men and women are clearly defined, with great respect given to the unique roles of the mother and the father and the raising children in a set of values shared by other members of our community and tribe.

First of all, the sacralization of the family unit is not at all unique to Christianity. In fact the use of “family values” as a political device is not at all unique to Christian conservatism, and can be traced back to the Roman emperor Augustus, who believed that monogamy and chastity were ancestral values and sought to enforce piety and carnal forbearance through religious and moral law. Second, the idea that the roles of men and women are clearly defined only in Christianity is just absurd. Every society and every religion has had its own definitions of gender roles, some of them closer to our modern conceptions than others. In Roman society, for example, the role of most women was very clearly defined as the property of a man, either her father or her husband (yeah, real progressive there). Third, are we going to ignore the fact that women often played vital roles in the early Christian movement that weren’t simply reducible to home-making? Who could forget the lore surrounding Mary Magdalene, who before she was whitewashed by the Roman church was likely considered to be a leading figure among Jesus’ followers and disciples. There is even discussion about how men and women may have been treated as equals in marriage during the early church period. Fourth, where does this talking point about how the nuclear family is the best protection against authoritarianism come from? The logic of it is not adequately explained at all. In fact, it’s worth pointing out that one of the main planks of fascism as defined by Benito Mussolini has always been the preservation of the nuclear family through the means of the totalitarian state. This is not to say that family is a totalitarian or authoritarian concept, merely to say that the idea that it is the greatest bulwark of liberty is unfalsifiable. If anything, it might just be completely false. In Russia, the Orthodox Church has a lot of sway in Russian society and is closely tied to the government of Vladimir Putin, with Christian conservatism the norm in Russian society, but that hasn’t changed the rampant drug addiction and domestic violence that runs rampant in the country, and the state is far more authoritarian than many Western countries. But the people on Dave’s side of the aisle treat those who resist this state of affairs, particularly feminists (who for once actually have a good cause), as maniacal totalitarians for the high crime of fighting an authoritarian state. What a joke.

The community-building aspect of the religious service, the Mass, and the profession of faith ensure that everyone knows they are part of something bigger than themselves, that there is an authority beyond a democratically elected politician in office. This is how a nation state is maintained: by recognizing the value of the family. As you can see, it’s not hard to understand why the leftist Cultural Marxists have attacked religion and the family at every turn.

There is a tell in this part of the video that yet again reveals Daves inclinations towards theocratic authoritarianism: “that there is an authority beyond a democratically elected politician in office”. Logically there is one thing that this can entail in practice. It means that the authority of religion supercedes the will of the people, and their rights and freedoms can be superceded by ecclesiastical authority, and it entails that democratic authority can be bypassed by the authority of religion. In that sense, the only reason people like Dave have for opposing such undemocratic (nay, anti-democratic) institutions as the European Union is because these institutions represent cultural liberalism, which they mistake as being communism or socialism for some baffling reason. If the European Union were more overtly conservative and going on about how important Christianity is (like Vladimir Putin does in Russia), he would have no problem with the EU bypassing the will of democracy in order to preserve Christian power, and perhaps he might even be treating the Eurosceptics, rather than the Remainers, as SJW progressives.

However, as if anti-democratic theocracy wasn’t enough, Dave’s thesis takes a much darker turn, one that betrays what could be an overlap between his own political thinking and that of the racist alt-right.

In Christian nations, the origin story of our culture is the birth of Christ. Now, even if you’re not religious, even if you don’t take the stories of Jesus literally, you can probaly acknowledge that an origin story about the birth of a child and a savior, born to bring peace to the world, is a powerful message and a symbol of hope for future generations. But if people are encouraged to move away from Christianity, then they lose attachment to this story, and the origin story of who and what they are becomes rewritten. It’s replaced with a focus on the worst moments in our history. This is why in many modern liberalized Western nations nowadays the native people are being encouraged to be ashamed of their past. In social justice infested college courses in America, young Americans are brainwashed into self-loathing. They’re encouraged to feel guilty for atrocities commited by their ancestors from hundreds of years ago. The same is true of many European nations: their people are being encouraged to feel an intense sense of guilt and self-hatred for their colonial past for example. So once the story we told ourselves about where we came from spiritually was based on the hope of a young child being born who could usher in a new age of peace for all humanity. Now it’s about negativity, despair and hopelessness. You cannot build anything stable or successful on such foundations.

It might not seem obvious at first glance, but if you pay attention to channels like Dave’s, you will see an overlap between what he’s saying here and the talking points presented by alt-right YouTuber Black Pigeon Speaks in his apparently now-deleted video “Why The West HATES and is DESTROYING Itself”, which he seems to have lifted from a post from an alt-right blog called Chateau Heartiste (which seems to have been removed from WordPress). The basic angle of Black Pigeon Speak’s video is that, following the aftermath of World War 2, the West became dislodged from what he sees as its affirmative origin stories and sacred narratives, and became obsessed with generating a new sacred narrative centered around the worst atrocities in human history. If you pay attention to his video, it becomes clear that he is by and large referencing the Holocaust. He goes on about how Western nations have somehow become anti-nationalistic (yeah right) and now oppose any conception of unity, order, civilization and national (or for that matter racial) pride because of how the Nazis are to be taken as the ultimate evil, and this supposedly is tied to “the post World War 2 foundation myth”, which he directly identifies as the Holocaust (the unstated implication, of course, being that we are to believe that the Holocaust never happened or was wildly exaggerated despite all of the evidence we have to support what we know about it). This trope has another name in alt-right circles: they call it “Holocaustianity”, which they believe to be a secular religion created by the Jews to enslave the minds of the white race through psychological and moral guilt.

Scene from “The Ten Commandments” depicting the Israelites worshipping a golden calf; an apt metaphor for what the alt-right thinks the Holocaust is.

I am fairly certain that Dave seems to have derived his argument from Black Pigeon Speaks, considering he has mentioned and promoted his content in the past throughout his career, and while I doubt that Dave himself denies the Holocaust, I am concerned that he appears to be promoting the ideas of actual Holocaust deniers and white supremacists in order to justify the nationalist impetus for his religious conversion, and that he is effectively soft-balling fascism. It should be especially concerning when you note that, for him, it is this trope that is responsible for the way American college students, as well as European university students, are supposedly indoctrinated by their professors to hate their past and their nation (which, if you think about it, is really just Dave being upset about the fact that Americans have to learn about slavery and colonialism, because he doesn’t like it when you learn about the parts of Western history where we end up being the bad guys). Not to mention, it’s not like people who think “Holocaustianity” is a thing limit themselves solely to discussion of the Holocaust: some alt-right commenters on Chateau Heartiste expand the concept of Holocaustianity to extend to the history of slavery in America, in order to cast serious discussion of slavery as nothing but religious self-flagellation.

But where for white nationalists and white supremacists all of this was about Jewish power and control, for Dave all of this culminates into a much more abstract narrative about the left seeking to destroy Christianity, somehow.

On the theme of the birth of a child, third wave feminism has promoted and attempted to normalize abortion, so the left has literally become like a death cult. You see, although the promotion of left-wing ideology is ultimately about power, it’s also not quite as simple as a straightforward attack on conservatism. It’s an attack on Christianity that goes back as far as the crucifixion of Christ, getting people away from their Christian heritage and values, disconnecting people from God and making them docile and compliant by promoting distractions that placate the masses: consumerism, pornography, sex, instant gratification, drugs, and materialism.

The part where he says “It’s an attack on Christianity that goes back as far as the crucifixion of Christ” alone deserves quite a bit of scrutiny. I didn’t know the “left” were attacking Christianity before the church of Christianity had even been established. Is Dave even talking about third wave feminism anymore? Just what does he mean by “the left”, if he’s even still talking about the left? And if not the left, then who? It boggles my mind, and, given how we’ve already established that Dave was basically parroting anti-semitic alt-right talking points about historical meta-narratives, I fear that Dave might be doing a dogwhistle and subtly referring to how Jews supposedly corrupt the white race. There are a few tells that suggest why this might be the case. The first of these is the idea of the attack that goes back as far as the crucifixion of Christ. The idea that there was anything that could be identifiable with the left in a modern sense is simply absurd, so it begs the question of just who Dave is referring to. The early Christian fathers have long hated the Jews, blamed them for the death of Jesus (which is funny to think about considering that Jesus’ death was supposed to happen per God’s plan to “save” humanity through the resurrection) and considered them thus the enemies of God, and this is reflected in the way medieval passion plays emphasized the negative role of Jews in the life of Jesus. In fact, such anti-semitism was so persavive in medieval Christian culture that the Catholic church only formally repudiated the idea that the Jews killed Jesus as recently as 1962, when they held the Second Vatican Council. The second tell is the way Dave describes this “attack” involving distracting the populace by promoting consumerism, drugs and pornography. For starters Dave promotes in his videos, including this one, the concept of “Cultural Marxism”, which is nothing more than a rehash of the Nazi concept of Kulturbolschewismus (or Cultural Bolshevism), which was basically a category for all manner of modern artistic and creative expression which the Nazis considered to be degenerate and corruptive to the minds of the German race. Then there’s the fact that white supremacists have long blamed Jews for a host of phenomenon they deem to be social ills, including pornography. The white nationalist James Edwards, for example, believes that the Jews use pornography as a tool to subvert the moral character of the white race as part of a broader agenda to keep them under control if not destroy them. The Jews have also long been associated with satanic influences against Christian culture in medieval folklore, and from this idea we get the blood libel trope that animates much of the whole Satanic Ritual Abuse theory and the term Judensau, which is now used as an insult by neo-Nazis. So with all that in mind, it makes me wonder: is Dave actually using Christianity as a cover for moving towards anti-semitic fascism?

After this part, he talks about how his mother died, and how this supposedly opened the way to religiosity, and from here we get a very strange interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer:

I knelt down one night and, for the first time in many years, prayed the Lord’s Prayer. I had said the Our Father many times as a child. I repeated it like a mantra, words that never truly meant anything to me. But this time, suddenly something changed when I reached the line “lead us not into temptation”. Now you can look at those words and not fully interpret their reason for being. “Lead us not into temptation”. What’s so objectively bad about temptation? Well, it’s the next line that suddenly struck a chord with me because it justifies that previous line: “but deliver us from evil”. So, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. Now, all of a sudden, for the first time, given everything I was witnessing in the world, I could understand the context of why this prayer had been written this particular way. What has the left been promoting for the past number of decades? Temptation, sin, greed, materialism, deviation from the path, a denial of nature. If you corrupt the people, promote vice and their baser animal insticts, you bring about the destruction of the nation state. Promiscuity rather than monogamy results in unplanned pregnancy, broken homes, low parental investment. Marriage is destroyed by feminism, alternative lifestyles are promoted, the act of sexual union between two people is no longer respected, pregnacy and the creation of new life becomes a nuisance. By no longer believing in a power beyond Man, the state becomes the thing that everyone relies on. From welfare to their rights, it becomes extremely powerful and soon after, authoritarian. Suddenly, in those few words of the Our Father, I had gained an insight and a truth that had been hiding in plain sight my whole life. As E. Michael Jones would call it, Logos. Saint Augustine said that a man has as many masters as he has vices, and, as E. Michael Jones has talked about, the left has sold vice as a form of liberation. In truth, we become enslaved to our base, greedy and primitive natures, and thus much easier for governments to control. The people become docile, and malleable and atomized, especially since identity politics is promoted to further divide and conquer people.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but I must say for starters that, being someone who has had his lay Christian phase when he was a child, I find myself wondering what precisly he thinks is so special about that line. I remember being a school boy in Pembroke Dock and later Carmarthen and having had the Lord’s Prayer recited collectively during regular assemblies. The line just seems to be a petition to God to protect his followers from temptations (or, perhaps, for him to not actively lead them astray), and lead them away from the clutches of evil forces or Satan. I don’t know where he got his particular interpretation from. It kind of seems to me like he thinks the Lord’s Prayer was written because of SJWs. Or Jews, maybe, given where he seems to have gone earlier on in the video.

In regards to how he applies his interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer to the left as a whole, we should take great care to note what Dave considers vice, given that he believes that the left promotes vice at every turn. Among other things we leftists generally tend to oppose the tendency of free market capitalism to accumulate capital away from the masses or the common good and towards private elites, we oppose private corporations having the power to expropriate the value of the labour of the working class while giving them pittances in return, we oppose wage slavery, we oppose war, we oppose imperialism, we oppose the imposition of cruel living conditions upon working people and their families, we oppose sexual abuse like any decent people would, we oppose the systematic waste and destruction of our planet’s resources, and we oppose the system that generates needless envy and the suffering it creates, which as Slavoj Zizek has stated is the enemy of self-love. What about this can be interpreted as promoting vice or the wanton rule of our baser instincts exactly? Well, you see, guys like Dave are mad that we also (usually) support freedom of choice when it comes to sexuality. He hates it when non-traditional, non-conservative, non-religious lifestyles and attitudes towards sex are represented in Western culture, and he hates it when liberals and leftists oppose the criminalization of abortion and pornography and support same-sex marriage, expansive sexual education programs and the freedom to be gay, bisexual, trans or whatever else. Now I don’t agree with a lot of the left, progressives or liberals about a lot of what gets promoted in regards to “gender identity”, and I insist that we should be free to say whatever we want about it even if it means offending the wrong people, but I have never opposed the right of people to claim they’re two-spirit or whatever. That’s because I believe freedom of speech and of expression are central to my political worldview. Now Dave might claim that he too supports freedom of speech and expression, and I have no reason to believe he doesn’t sincerely believe that, but I think his vision of society would, in practice, run counter to such a profession on the grounds that in his society, democratic petitions and struggles for social and sexual freedom would be superceded and negated by ecclesiastical authority. Thus, I believe his claim that the left “sells slavery as freedom” is nothing but projection on his part.

His bizarre interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer is also yet another clue in just how far Dave is into the anti-semitic alt-right rabbit hole. You’re probably wondering who E. Michael Jones is. Well, he’s an American paleoconservative Christian writer and author who runs a magazine called Culture Wars and also has a YouTube channel where he talks about all manner of cultural and political issues, and also Jews for some bizarre reason. A quick search through his bilbliography leads you to some very interesting and totally not anti-semitic titles such as The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Jewish Fables: Darwinism, Materialism, and Other Jewish Fables, and if you look at his YouTube channel you will find videos titled Jewish Agents of ChaosIt’s OK to Criticize Jews, and E Michael Jones on Jewish Influence from Calvary to Trump. He’s also done interviews with the likes of Jean Francois-Gariepy, Faith Goldy, Nick Fuentes, Roosh V, Owen Benjamin, Richard Spencer, and Red Ice Radio, most of whom belong to the alt-right. All of this begs the question: why the hell is Dave promoting this guy? It strikes me as another sign of Dave’s adjacency to alt-right politics as well as a hidden anti-semitic tendency.

Kreuzigung by Peter Gertner (1537); the crucifixion was the central subject of what was known as “passion plays”, which frequently demonized Jews

Now the next part is a bit of a tangent from the overall theme of this post but it’s worth addressing anyway.

Our nations are also becoming increasingly less safe under leftist control and further destabilized, and therefore more heavily policed. The power of the state is increasing, as people surrender their freedom for more so-called security.

I am curious about which Western nations he believes are under “leftist control”. The ones that spring to my mind are Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Finland, and Greece, all of whom are currently governed by social-democrats, and with the exception of Greece most of those countries have not been social-democratic for particularly long (Denmark and Finland, for example, have only recently elected social democrats to the national government). Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been president of the United States for nearly three years and the authority of the state has only expanded under his tenure. In fact, I am still old enough to remember when we were all invoking that famous Benjamin Franklin quote about freedom and security when criticizing the government of George W. Bush, a right-wing neoconservative! So much of the authoritarianism we see in Britain that Dave (rightly, in many cases) crticizes has happened under the auspicies of right-wing rule, including the Blairites of the Labour Party. And, as we will discuss in further detail later, Poland and Hungary, under nationalistic conservative governments, stifle freedom of expression and curtail democracy while the “leftist” European Union does little to challenge them. Dave’s argument rests only on the fact that social democrats and progressives within the Anglosphere and elsewhere flaunt their autocratic radical-liberal performative politics, and not on the actual mechanics of the expansion of authoritarian power over the last 30 years or so, which entails right-wing governments and ideologues laying the foundation for all of this. Indeed, even all this nonsense about “hate speech” can be traced to neoliberalism, namely through the ideas of Karl Popper.

Skipping ahead just a little:

The left hates Christianity more than anything, because it can’t control people who believe in something bigger than the state. It’s now my belief that the greatest act of defiance we can make against globalism is to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ.

It seems that Dave is now chanelling a common talking point among modern conservatives: the talking point that conservatism, or Christianity, is the new counter culture. I’ve seen Dennis Prager say, essentially, that being an ordinary god-fearing Christian is actually somehow the best way to secure your individuality as a person, as opposed to, you know, defying the largest religion in America. I guess that’s what happens when you base your political worldview on a conspiracy theory where everything is under attack by “communist” globalists. Or Jews (really, guys, just be honest, half of the time when the right uses term “globalists” they just mean Jews because they can’t actually call globalism what it is because that would mean actually opposing capitalism and joining the left; why else would they be trying to push the “Cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory again?).

Still there’s something to be said about how the left supposedly hates Christianity more than anything. Really? Is that why Christian socialism has historically been such a widespread tendency in non-Marxist currents of socialism, and is still a real trend in British leftism? Or why Hugo Chavez, father of one of the few socialist revolutions alive today (deal with it comrades, the Bolivarian project is socialist in purpose), was such a devout Christian who believed that his socialism derived from liberation theology and declared that “Christ is with the revolution”? If Dave believes that Christianity is the primary subject of antagonism for the left, then it just shows further that he has no understanding of the political concepts that he is talking about.

Next, if you thought he had a bizarre treatment of the Lord’s Prayer, wait till you see what Dave does with the Sermon on the Mount (or of the Mount, as Dave put it for some reason):

On the Sermon of the Mount, Christ says “resist not evil”. Now I thought I understood this message, that this commandment made no sense. Of course we have to resist evil, otherwise it’ll win. Now, recently I heard a pretty interesting interpretation of this commandment by John Butler, which was something to the effect of “don’t justify evil by giving it your attention”. Don’t come into conflict with it because to do so is to give it power. There is only one power in the universe, one force, not two forces. Evil is only maintained so long as people stray from the path. You empower it by giving it your attention. Think of it another way: if you’re driving to a destination, and you have two possible roads before you. Once you know that you’re on the correct road, you don’t need to give any attention to the wrong road anymore. You don’t need to focus on the darkness, when you’re looking towards the light.

Now the irony of this whole statement is that is that giving attention to evil, or more or less what he considers to be evil, have been Dave’s whole schtick on YouTube for the last four years, maybe more. In fact, if you look at his channel content, most of his video content before this video consists of the same brand of content – that is, short tirades about progressive media and other conservative pet talking points. How can he complain about “empowering evil by giving it attention” when that’s all he’s been doing this entire time, and he doesn’t intend to stop? Of course, he doesn’t. He simply intends to give his channel a new focus. In fact he uses a clip from Yuri Bezemenov’s widely-trafficked 1983 lecture on psychological warfare and subversion to demonstrate his point about how stressing religion above the culture war is the best way to counter “Cultural Marxism”. But before you get to that part, you’re left with the impression that he seems to resgined himself to some sort of cuckoldery, not that such cuckoldery would be genuine anyway – as you’ll soon learn, there isn’t much that seems to be genuine or authentic to Dave’s newfound love of religion.

Before we move on to the next point, let’s briefly address the way Dave contradicts baseline Christian dualism. In asserting that there is only one force, rather than two vying for power, he negates the dualism that animates much of the New Testament, particularly the Book of Revelations. The conflict between God and the forces of Satan that Christians stress as central to their belief system or mythos no longer makes sense in this interpretation, and as such, we can actually question Dave’s commitment to Christian theism.

Dante’s Satan, as depicted by Gustave Dore

Anyways, moving on, skipping the Yuri Bezmenov clip he introduces for less than two minutes, we come to Dave’s assessment of Ireland, his home country:

In Ireland, many people conflate the corrupted institution of the Catholic Church with Christianity, and because people have rejected their spiritual tradition, what has happened in Ireland? Well it’s becoming less Irish by the day. Try to think of a Western nation that’s succumbed to leftism that’s also got strong borders. When Ireland began to lose its faith, which is to say the pillar it was built on, unsurprisingly it began to slowly unravel. Now marriage has been redefined, and people have been so brainwashed that they’ve literally voted to take away rights from a portion of their own society: the unborn. And they celebrated this with tears of joy in the streets when they did so. They’ve given up on their future because the most vulnerable and precious in our society, our children, are no longer protected, and their right to life has been superceded by a woman’s right to treat that life as if it was nothing more than a piercing or a tattoo on her body.

Once again we have much to get into here. First of all, Ireland is not a country that is presently governed by leftists. The current government is dominated by the Fine Gael party, which is a liberal party that supports free market capitalism and economic liberalism with just a dash of conservatism, making them a standard liberal-conservative party, not entirely distinct from the Conservative Party here in the UK or the many center-right/”centrist” parties that dominate the European continent and the European Parliament, though unlike our Tories these guys support the re-unification of Ireland (meaning Northern Ireland folding back into the rest of Ireland). It’s just that these guys also support Irish membership in the European Union, which I guess for Dave is just leftism (even though the European Union is nothing but a giant capitalist power bloc). Second, although Dave explicitly means Western countries, it is worth noting that, during the Cold War, none of the red bloc states had open borders, as he puts it. DDR Germany and Soviet Russia, for example, had border police. And they had secure, strong borders for one very good reason: to protect their nations from the constantly present, and constantly escalating, threat of being destroyed, within or without, by capitalist encirclement, not for the sake of same base nationalism or to keep immigration from poor non-white countries to a minimum. So this talking about how leftism means open borders in practice is simply nonsensical, no matter how much conservatives and anarchists want it to be otherwise. Third, Ireland has not lost its faith, or at least not yet. The majority of Ireland’s population is still Catholic, with 78.8% of the population affiliated with the Catholic Church, although that figure has declined from 84% as of 2011. Christianity in general is still the predominant religion of the Irish population, and any other religions or irreligious and atheistic tendencies are profoundly marginal in Irish society. The Irish Constitution also still sort of honours Christianity, and Article 44, which holds that the Irish state recognizes God as a figure of honor and reverence, is still present within the constitution. Fourth, when I first saw Dave talk about how the Irish people have voted to take away the rights of a portion of their society, I erupted into laughter and curled into a ball, unable to contain myself, as I thought at first he was still talking about gay marriage. Of course, he was actually talking about abortion. Although I myself dislike abortion, I am unconvinced that criminalizing it will have any positive effect in terms of reducing abortions. In fact, while the debate around abortion cannot be reduced solely to the right of female bodily autonomy (due chiefly to the fact that, despite the feminist and libertarian slogans, it is not simply the woman’s at stake here, due to the fact of her sharing her body with a developing lifeform), it seems to me that Dave has no regard for the concerns of women who may be undertaking abortions. I mean, say a woman gets raped, and the coerced sex produces an offspring. Does he expect the woman to simply bear the child of her rapitst? Is that not simply demanding that women who were raped become the subjects of their rapists for the rest of their lives? That to me is simply an immoral position, and cannot be allowed for in a just and humane society. I completely agree that the life of the fetus should not be treated as simply an object to be dispensed with at will, on the grounds that it is a developing lifeform that, if given the chance, may eventually attain self-realization and carry out the Great Work in the name of the Luciferian path, but for me this means navigating a tight balance between the freedom to abort a fetus at the correct time (before it can be classified as a conscious being) and the right of women to make the right call. It also, most importantly, means working to eliminate the conditions that create abortion in the first place which, if anything, I would argue are partially created by both the social norms and the economic system that assholes like you support!

Of course, Dave will never concern himself with freedom, or at least not consistently, anymore. After all, as he puts it:

If you change the values of a nation’s people, you change the nation. If you distract the people with concerns about rights this and rights that, hedonism, sexuality etc., they will become focused on selfish navel-gazing and concerns that don’t matter.

In case you didn’t catch that, his position on social freedom and human rights is that it does not matter to him. The only thing that matters to him is that the body politic of a given society embodies his desired conservative social order. If that means gays don’t have the right to get married, or that women can’t have abortions, or that you can’t fight for your right to have a free, democratic, and secular society, then that’s immaterial to him, because all that matters is making sure that God is at the locus of the social and political fabric. In his worldview, rights are just a distraction that inhibits the conservative body politic: or, more aptly, the power of the nationalist state – what irony, then, that Dave whines so constantly about the need for religion in order to free humans from the state! When I first heard him explain this position, I was shocked. I was taken aback. How could someone who had once claimed to champion enlightenmentarian ideas to some extent regress in such a way? But on reflection, I now believe that this is what happens when you marinate yourself in conservative nationalism for long enough, arrive at the point where you become aware that liberalism is slowly dying, and have to make the call for how to surpass it. If you don’t have any commitment to the ideals of the Enlightenment left, having abandoned them entirely, you will end up embracing tyranny in the name of God (or perhaps race). And this embrace of tyranny is shown further by his affection for Poland:

Contrast liberal Ireland to conservative Poland. In Poland, they have Christian values and a strong sense of their identity, and a desire to maintain strong borders. Poland will therefore survive.

Um, Dave, how do you think Poland has kept to these “Christian values” you speak of? Actually, forget that for a moment. Poland is arguably not that committed to Christian values if it is indeed the fortress nation you say it is, when you consider the fact that the Bible counsels its believers to welcoming strangers, rather than rejecting them. The Book of Exodus encourages believers not to wrong strangers or foreigners on the grounds that the Israelites were once considered strangers or foreigners in Egypt, where they were enslaved. The Book of Leviticus instructs believers to treat those who sojourn into their lands as though they were fellow natives and love them as they love themselves, also referring to the Israelites being strangers in Egypt. Indeed, throughout the Bible it is stated that the sojourners, meaning people who go to another place to reside there (usually temporarily) are not to be mistreated or oppressed by the natives. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus says quite plainly, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me”. All of this presents a problem for people who try to use Christianity to justify strict controls on immigration, or “sending them back” as it were, which you would think would bother Dave quite a bit. But that doesn’t stop him from embracing nationalistic chauvinsim towards refugees, and it certainly didn’t stop Christian Poland from refusing to accept refugess coming into Poland (except, of course, for Christian migrants). Christianity, therefore, seems simply to be a matter of Christian culture or “identity”. And, returning to the original question, how did Poland keep such identity, exactly? Anyone who knows just a little bit about the Polish government knows that it has laws against offending religious objects or places of worship, with offenders being punished by either fine or a 2-year sentence of imprisonment, which allows for pro-Christian activists to push for censorship of freedom of expression if they decide that they got offended. Yes, this is how Poland preserves its precious Christian identity: by curtailing liberty. What a joke Dave is.

Also, it’s worth noting just for irony that, although Poland is usually quite stringent about how many people they let in, they don’t seem to be all that bothered about how many people leave the country. Here in the UK we get several immigrants from Poland, and in August 2016 Poland overtook India as the most common country of birth for non-native citizens. This, incidentally, has also lent itself to discussion of Poles as being the victims of increased hate crimes within the last few years. Apparently Poland doesn’t mind its native population leaving because it receives billions of dollars for all the natives that leave the country and go off to other countries for work. Ironically, for a country that seems so stridently opposed to the European Union’s immigration policy, they seem OK with leeching from the union for all its worth. Yes, this is the country that Dave admires as a bastion of conservatism against liberalism and nationalism against globalism.

I look at the vandalization of our Christian heritage and see celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day is reduced to a glorified excuse for massive alcohol consumption. Easter doesn’t appear to be about the death of Christ for most people anymore. It’s become about chocolate eggs and the Easter Bunny. Likewise, Christmas is completely divorced from the birth of Christ, and it’s now become a tacky commercial holiday that begins in late September and promotes hyper-consumerism and materialism.

There are a number of problems with this analysis, chief among them the fact that there are quite a few holidays from the ancient world that were connected to the cultural order of society that could easily be taken as excuses to get wasted and indulge the senses. One of them, as it happens, was Christmas: or rather one of its precdessors, Saturnalia. One of the main points of Saturnalia that connects it to the modern Christmas is that, like the modern Christmas, it involved the exchange of gifts between people. But it also involved a lot of drinking and other reckless festivities, which would have suited its overall theme of reversing the normal custom of Roman society, which theoretically stressed virtue, order and hierarchical deferrence. Alcohol consumption for celebratory reasons was also rather ubiquitous in ancient culture, with celebratory drinking being observed in Greek civilization, Egyptian civilization, the Neolithic Orkney settlements, and Anglo-Saxon Britain. Then there’s his complaint that Easter and Christmas have nothing to do with Christianity anymore, which in my experience is simply false. Yes, it is very consumerist nowadays, no one denies that, but you can also still find that the theme of Jesus’s birth and death are brought up in relation to them, and the average person will still encounter Christian themes and symbolism in the festivities, particularly if they come from an at least nominally Christian background. I, for instance, am from a Catholic family, and my family still celebrates the customs that Catholics associate with Christmas and Easter (and as you all know I don’t particularly mind that because it means enjoying a good feast). I think that Dave’s general outlook that most of these holidays are strictly Christian is mistaken, considering that, with the exception of St. Patrick’s Day, many of them developed out of pre-existing pagan festivities – in fact, even the early Christians flat out stated that their custom of Christmas was an appropriation of the festival of Sol Invictus.

People now engage in alternative, quasi-spiritual practices, trying to replace real spirituality with yoga and meditation. Now, meditation can be very useful for breathing control and quelling anxiety, and that’s fine. I’m not knocking it, but it contains no content, so therefore, it cannot be used as a substitution for a moral framework and a values system. Something more is needed.

Here we find another set of concepts that, it appears, Dave has no understanding of. Dave seems to treat meditation as a concept separate from religion. This perception is very ill-informed when you account for the fact that meditation has been a part of religious practice, often inseparably connected to it, for centuries. Hell, even Christianity embraces meditation as a means of contemplating on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but you wouldn’t know that from all the times Christian fundamentalists denounce meditation as a satanic practice designed to allow demons to get into your head. Indeed, you can find several books about meditation in the Christian context from various denominations, including Catholicism. Islam also embraces meditation. In fact, there is a type of meditation in Islam known as Salah, which is also considered a form of prayer and is mandatory for practicing Muslims. From Eastern religions to Abrahamism, meditation is a fairly universal part of religious and spiritual tradition, and indeed it is also embraced by several occult traditions. It’s almost like meditation is supposed to be part and parcel of spiritual life rather than just something you do to feel good about yourself. Yoga is also an important component of Indian religious practices, and is not to be taken as just a set of exercises you do to improve your body. In Hinduism, yoga means the practice of attaining unity with God or the Brahman, and such entails not a set of fitness exercizes but spiritual techniques aimed at attaining religious communion with the absolute. In Buddhism, yoga refers to a set of methods aimed at developing a series of virtues that would allow the practitioner to more easily attain nirvana, cognizance of the true nature of reality. In Jainism, yoga refers to a set of meditative practices that cultivate austerity for the purpose of liberating the soul from the power of karma. This is not simply the realm of trendy, consumerist quasi-spirituality that Dave seems keen on talking about, but in fact the realm of actual religious concepts that have been around for centuries, and have only relatively recently been appropriated as a set of undemanding activities tailored to fit the capitalist lifestyle. Understood correctly, the point of these practices is not to serve as its own religion, as Dave seems to think is the case, but instead serve as components of existing religions.

The Adiyogi Shiva statue, located at the Isha Yoga Center in India.

With the loss of religion, we’ve also jettisoned notions of sacrifice, personal accountability, restraint, honor, and duty. These were considered virtues once.

Since we can establish quite safely that by “religion” Dave just means Christianity (indeed it may actually surprise Dave to learn that not all religions are metaphysical or mystical in nature), it is worth pointing out that the ideas he speaks of are not unique to Christian religion, and as a matter of fact were taken as high virtues in ancient Rome. Romans prized things like self-sacrifice and duty among their highest virtues, and the story of Cincinnatus – the farmer who briefly became dictator of Rome to help defend the republic from invasion and abdicated once his task was completed – was a legendary source of inspiration not only for the ancient Romans, but for the founding fathers of the United States of America, who sought to take after the Roman Republic. The Chinese had similiar ideas about virtue to the ancient Romans, which were stressed in a religious/philosophical doctrine known as Confucianism.

Now there’s another important component of this: the recognition that we are corruptible and imperfect. That we will try and often fail to be good. This is why no matter how much we mess up, no matter what we’ve said or done or not done, the challenge of redemption is always possible. The gift of forgiveness is always offered by God.

You honestly do not need Christian religion to arrive at the conclusion that we are imperfect beings. The simplest pursuit of earnest philosophy will you help you arrive at this conclusion. The simplest observations of human life and human society lead you necessarily to this conclusion. It’s such a universal wisdom that we find Greek mythology, for instance, to be resplendent with tragic heroes and morally ambiguous gods to remind us of that humans are not angels and that we are imperfect beings. Forgiveness has also been a reified concept and component of civic virtue before Christianity arrived: the Romans venerated it as the goddess Clementia (known as Eleos in Greece), and the emperor Julius Caesar was often associated with this goddess due to his willingness to forgive. The main difference as regards Christianity is that forgiveness becomes a faculty of the absolute and part and parcel of salvation – and, of course, a way for the church to overlook your crimes.

 Now, I’m not going to pontificate to you or sell you some notion of an anthropomorphic, all-powerful being in the sky. I have no idea what that force resembles. I’m also not going to tell you that the purpose of doing good is a reward in Heaven. I’m not even fully sold on the idea of an afterlife. Maybe there is something I don’t know, but that’s not why I changed. To do good, knowing there’s no reward, is to be truly noble.

Wait…what? Why the fuck are you even a Christian? What is the point of you having “taken the God Pill” if you aren’t going to try and sell the most basic parts of Christian theism to your audience? If you aren’t sold on the idea that doing good and spreading Jesus’ teachings gets you a reward in some kind of heaven, why are you a Christian? That idea is one of the central premises of the religion you are now preaching, and you’re telling me you’re not actually committed to that? You’re not even committed to explaining to us why Yahweh is a real being in the universe? This to me is the most obvious tell going from here that Christianity to him is, in large part, a tool by which to advance a conservative social order, rather than a genuine religious belief, and the reason it seems that way is because he can’t even asked to defend core epistemological concepts of Christianity!

When I prayed to God I said, “I will change even if I get no answer”, because the word of Jesus makes more sense to me now given the state of our world. So at some point I stopped believing in nothing, because there is simply too much order in the universe, too many telltale signs of purpose and intent in reality for me to ignore the possibility that some guiding hand was behind all of this.

This kind of sounds like more cuck stuff from Dave. He’ll believe in Yahweh even if Yahweh gives him no answers, which for me is among the most pathetic forms of belief. He doesn’t need any assurance in reality that Yahweh is the supreme being and his will is at work wherever you go, he just believes it is anyway, because it makes more sense to him because something something progressive communist globalist Jews. That’s all this God Pill stuff is: it’s embracing a religious narrative because it makes sense to you because in a weird way it sort of dovetails with that whole conservative narrartive that you’ve marinated yourself in for, what, five years now? That’s why Rocking MrE denies evolution now, that’s why Roosh V is an Orthodox Christian now, and that’s why Dave claims he believes in God now – the idea that Christian religion is under attack, that all the “evils” of the left go back to the conflict with Christianity, and that returning to Christianity is the only way to push back against progressivism is simply the next development of the conservative narrative, a new story that guides their politics onwards, even if it’s not necessarily reflective of even baseline Christianity.

But then there is the other aspect of that part: he believes in God because there’s too much order in the universe for there to not be a God. The first part that sticks out about that is that it’s basically a rehash of just about any creationist argument you can think back to from over ten years ago or perhaps before. You’ll see Christian creationists and apologists, for instance, make the argument that God must exist because the universe seems so perfect, so precise, almost mechanical, that for them this must be proof of intelligent design. You also see arguments like that from Islamic fundamentalists and creationists, who insist that the universe is so sophisticated that it must be the product of the will of Allah. The irony of this cannot be overstated. Again, I remember when Dave was not only an atheist, but also a part of that whole milieu of “rational skepticism” on YouTube, opposing not only religion but also feminism on the grounds of rationalistic philosophy, and now here I find he’s leading the revival of what is essentially creationism or intelligent design theory! What a bizarre turn the internet has taken. The second part of this, however, is actually something familiar to me, one that almost has me empathizing with him. I already covered this in my post entitled “Nihilism sucks“, but I too have arrived at the conclusion that the idea that there is no order or purpose to life must be an absurd premise. But, where I differ from Dave is that I reject the premise that this means accepting theism, let alone Christianity, on the grounds that I do not believe that the natural order of things is dependent on a grand designer, a demiurge or some such, especially when we consider that the laws of nature are almost entirely apprehensible through scientific means. Where Dave must derive his purpose from Yahweh because he lacks the framework that allows him to do otherwise, I derive my purpose, spiritual or otherwise, from the idea that Man can and will know the truth, that we have the ability, and the duty, to demystify the mystified universe. All I can say otherwise is that I guess I have Anton LaVey and the like to thank for this perspective, and for the fact that, even during my right-wing phase, I’ve been consistently safe from the influence of Christian conservatism.

Skipping Dave’s explanation of astronomy and atomic materialism for dummies, we come to this:

If there’s a single instruction that the divine software architect programmed into the universe from the beginning, it’s creation. Destruction is part of the cycle of creation, and the unending move towards more complexity. Animals and humans die and their bodies will decay into the earth, but other life will feed on those remains. Planets will die and solar systems will be destroyed by exploding stars, but new material will continuously be created in stellar nurseries and recycled by the cosmos. We are the universe made flesh, made aware of itself, and what we believe and how we choose to live matters.

Wait, hold on a minute, this isn’t Christian epistemology. Or at least not in any baseline sense. It’s more like pantheism, but he still believes that there’s a God that exists outside of the universe – he refers to a “divine software architect”, obviously a modern variation of the term “divine architect” or “Grand Architect”, which entails that God exists outside of the universe and fashions it as an object external to his being – so what you get is a doctrine that partially resembles pantheism and partially resembles classical theism, possibly entering the realm of panentheism (the doctrine that God and the universe are distinct, but also that God exists within the universe, or something). But in any case, it’s a doctrine that diverges from conventional Christian theism in many ways. Its assertion that we are the universe made flesh, while definitely an interesting philosophical proposition from my perspective, is anathema to Christianity on the grounds that it asserts that Man is equal to the divine and that, as per pantheist doctrine, God is equal to the material universe rather than its father. In fact pantheism is sometimes treated as a form of atheism, not only by theists but also by atheists – Richard Dawkins famously referred to it as “sexed up atheism” and Vladimir Lenin considered pantheism to be compatible with the strictly atheist ideology of Marxism-Leninism on the grounds that it was a glorified atheistic doctrine whose materialism held God to be identical with Nature and hence the universe.

Demiurge by Vitaly Shelegin

In any case, this tells me yet again that Dave’s embrace of Christianity seems to be almost purely utilitarian, based not on the actual embrace of Christian epistemology but rather utilizing some conception of Christian values, tradition and mythos as a meta-narrative by which to justify his political ideology (rather poorly at that, too). It shows much further here:

Nations will fall, but powerful ideas will remain timeless and powerless forever. The answer is not only about rejecting destructive ideology. It’s about embracing the philosophy of creation. It’s about choosing life and not death, hope and not despair.

Christianity here is simply an expression of the “white pill”, a psychological expression of Dave’s personal desire for meaning, optimism, and hope, to dispel the despair he sometimes feels when faced with the reality of the world, or rather the reality that he himself has sort of created through his conspiracist ideology. Christianity for him is an abstraction representing philosophical goodness, life, and traditional continuity, a foundation for the order of the nation state as he imagines, and not the force of mental delusion and spiritual desertification that it actually is. If Dave lived in India, he would be embracing Hinduism as part of the goal of advancing Hindutva politics. If he lived in the Middle East, he would be embracing conservative Islam. If he lived in Japan, it would probably some weird nationalistic Shinto or Zen Buddhism like the Japanese far-right utilized in the past. If he lived in Israel, he might just be a typical Likud Zionist. In either case it would be the same thing because all it amounts to is just an expression of the desire to use a religious narrative, derived from your national cultural background, to make sense of the world and give yourself hope for the cause of conservative nationalist political activism. It’s all just the “white pill”, another step in the ascent of the modern online reactionary.

Skipping ahead just a little again, gradually approaching the end of the video, he goes on about how he probably won’t convince everyone, and tries to conclude with a nice sounding nugget of platitudes:

So I can only conclude by saying that I believe that the wisdom and lessons of our past will show us how to chart a course for a better future, that it is our duty to help those less fortunate, lest we forget the lesson, “there but for the grace of God go I”. I believe that we must also pray for our enemies, as they simply know not what they do, and we will all answer to the same authority in the end. Our enemies may hope for our destruction, but we do not pray for theirs. To do so would make us no different to them. So we pray that they can be saved from the evil they have succumbed to.

This is purely platitudinous in the overall, but it’s also all the stranger when you take into consideration the statement that he believes that his enemies know not what they do. This in my mind poses a problem for the genre of right-wing conspiracy theory that Dave and his ilk have been peddling for years. The unstated premise of this conspiracy theory is that the elites that they talk about consciously seek the destruction of the nation states that they subject to “globalist ideology”, because to break down these nation states is how they supposedly intend to pave the way for one world governance (that’s all this “globalism” stuff is, the old New World Order spiel all over again). The premise that they know not what they do is nonsensical in this worldview, because it undermines the whole premise of all the stuff Dave complains about being planned out from the outset, as is the case for all of these conspiracy theories surrounding “Cultural Marxism” and the like.

The video ends in what is probably the only remote link between Dave’s philosophy and baseline Christian epistemology:

I believe that those we’ve lost have never truly left us, that they have become part of something greater and more powerful than any man-made evil in our world. I believe this power is a benevolent and uniting force that governs all things in our universe, and seeks to provide us with the means to save ourselves from human frailty and damnation. I believe that within this force we will find our salvation and peace, and that if we place our faith in that power, it will lead us not into temptation, but it will deliver us from evil, forever. Amen.

You have probably noticed that, throughout this post, I don’t actually talk about God an awful lot, or make a lot of arguments against God, and the reason for that, quite simply, is that for most of the video Dave doesn’t actually discuss God, or baseline theistic concepts. Instead he just goes on about how religion, or more specifically Christian religion, is useful in promoting his desired values system. This is probably the only part of the video I can think of where Dave actively proposes a straightforward conception of a God consistent with basic Christian epistemology, but it begs so many questions. What is this force, really? Do we actually become God after we die? What does this salvation mean? How does this power, this God, “save” us? Why does it care about us enough to even want to give us the means of salvation? Salvation from what damnation? These are all questions that might emerge from Dave’s assertion, but he doesn’t go into any detail that might actually elucidate his concept of God. It’s just a generic belief in God.

And with that, we can conclude this post with some reflective remarks on what we’ve just seen.

It seems obvious to me that this “God Pill” development amounts to just a way of weaving Christianity into a broad desire for hope, which seems to be framed as the next step of a path of the intellectual evolution of conservatives, libertarians and assorted reactionaries who find themselves in that whole “red pill” milieu. It is a way by which people like Dave can add a spiritual and ecclesiastical dimension to their already reactionary political worldview, even if it doesn’t entirely match up with actual Christian doctrine (for instance, on immigration and even abortion). It also seems to be a development towards increasingly authoritarian political ethos, with Dave’s proposal seemingly rejecting liberty and individual freedom as a valid concern of politics and longing for a social authority structure that can bypass democratic will. The way Dave invokes what are clearly anti-semitic tropes suggests the possibility that this “God Pill” might also be something a lubricant towards some fascist sentiment or at least anti-semitism, or if not that then rather a way of undergirding some sort of ethno-nationalist or quasi-ethno-nationalist political tendency with a much broader religious motivation – it does not surprise me at all that anti-semitism would go hand in hand with Christian reaction. We can probably establish this elsewhere in the way that Rocking MrE, another right-wing YouTuber who promotes the concept of the “God Pill”, espouses all manner of fascistic conspiracy theories (despite presumably claiming he isn’t an alt-righter) about Jews, Judaism and the Qabbalah, alongside a number of strange ideas about white genocide, Cultural Marxism, and communist subversion of, well, just about everything, even UKIP for some bizarre reason – I imagine it’s not that hard to see where this is heading. Roosh V, another “God Pill” promoter, also has something of a history of anti-semitism. In 2015, he promoted the works of Kevin McDonald, a veteran white nationalist author who is the editor of Occidental Observer, while esposuing anti-semitic conspiracy theories on Return of Kings, such as how racism was supposedly invented by Leon Trotsky. Two years later, he wrote on his own personal website about how the Jews are “masters of propaganda” who according to him created feminism, and claimed that Return of Kings is responsible for “Jew-pilling” (meaning convincing people to believe in anti-semitic conspiracy theories) thousands of men. I can’t say everyone doing the “God Pill” thing is anti-semitic, in fact it’s still a relatively new trend, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more people promoting the “God Pill” either promoting anti-semitic tropes or outright being anti-semitic themselves.

Although the “God Pill” hasn’t quite exploded so far, I think it would be naive to simply overlook this development, and if Dave and Rocking MrE are any indication, more right-wing atheists will eventually follow in “taking the God Pill” and converting to Christianity following a similar logic to Dave. You may even be surprised to find Carl Benjamin, who’s been an atheist for years, join their ranks in the future. My reasoning for such speculation comes from the fact that he has, over the years, begun to soften up to Christianity. Years ago there was a time where, in addition to criticizing feminism and progressivism, he also crticized Christian conservatives like Ben Carson and commented against creationists like Ray Comfort. But increasingly, he seems to have spent less effort criticizing Christianity or Christian fundamentalism, even as it becomes all the more powerful during the Trump administration. The last time he complained about Christianity that I remember was him getting visibly annoyed and disgusted by the religiosity of Trump’s inauguration ceremony, but he seems to have gotten over that because he is now reduced to a cheerleader for the Trump administration. And now, he’s a member of UKIP, the party most prone to Christian conservative tendencies and where you will find literature about how homosexuality is a disease, and he speaks to UKIP members about “Christianphobia”, a concept that should make about as much sense as “Islamophobia” to anyone committed to opposing the Abrahamic faiths. Thankfully, however, he hasn’t quite succumbed to Christianity yet, as evidenced by his willingness to debate against Christianity during his debate tour of Gloucester, though I am left wondering how long this will last. In fact, I wonder if the “God Pill” route will end up becoming the inevitable destination for many conservative atheists as the inevitable result of their refusal to detach from the Christian ethos after rejecting belief in God. Anton LaVey certainly wouldn’t be too surprised to see such a development if he were alive today.

It would be foolish to dismiss the growth of this trend, however small it might be. We cannot rule out the possibility that the right won’t coalesce around the “God Pill” concept on a larger scale than what we’re seeing now, because if that happens we will see Christianity rehabilitated after all the effort that has put into debunking it over the years. Given the vision that Dave lays out, this will always lay the groundwork for the growth of religious and conservative authoritarian rule, and freedom will be under threat or eventually suppressed by religious reaction, and our goals will be set back significantly. We must strive to oppose this development however possible, and perhaps bolster our frameworks in the service of this effort. Otherwise, the Great Work of the Morning Star will be impeded.

Reject the “God Pill”. Reject the false song of Christian salvation. Reject the path to tyranny. Fight it in the name of freedom for humanity. In Nomine Dei Nostre Luciferi Excelsi.

Satan Rousing the Rebel Angels by William Blake

Baphomet stands opposite the Ten Commandments, at long last

I know it may seem abrupt, but I think I have to talk about this, because it seems like a notable positive development. The Satanic Temple’s statue of Satan, entitled Baphomet, has had quite a journey in its day. It was originally designed with the intention of standing opposed to the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma State Capitol Building. But, after said monument was ordered to be removed, the statue found itself without a home, and in the end was placed at a private unveiling party held by The Satanic Temple in Michigan. For a while, I thought that was it, the closing chapter in the story of our delightful goat-headed friend. But it seems that’s not the case.

Last year, a new Ten Commandments monument was erected on the property of the Arkansas State Capitol buidling, just like what had been done with Oklahoma. The monument was destroyed by someone ramming his car into it not long after its placement, but it was replaced in April this year thanks to a fundraising campaign by one Jason Rapert – a Republican State Senator and the founder and president of an Evangelical Christian organization called Holy Ghost Ministries. This has predictably been met with opposition from The Satanic Temple, along with the ACLU and atheists and secularists in Arkansas, and in response to this development The Satanic Temple have decided to hold a rally, the Rally for the First Amendment, in front of the Arkansas State Capitol Building to protest this decision, bringing with them the famous statue of Satan they designed for Oklahoma. In the background of all this, The Satanic Temple are naturally also suing the government for the right to keep that statue there permanently, or at least for as long as the Ten Commandments monument remains.

This in a way is such a triumphant moment. After being denied its moment to stand opposite the symbols of Christianity, at long last, the Baphomet/Satan statue finds the opportunity to do exactly that. We’re finally seeing what we thought we were going to see about three years ago in Oklahoma. And, honestly, from what I’m seeing of this event, it actually does look glorious. I like the sight of that Satanic statue set against the State Capitol building from an aesthetic perspective, as well as political.

I expect this to be a productive effort too. My prediction here is that, just like last time, that Ten Commandments movement is being pulled from the State Capitol. We know already that Jason Rapert, and presumably his fellow Christians, will not stand for the Baphomet to have permanent residence on the property, and we can assume that Lucien Greaves and TST are going to push through with their suit. We can safely predict that, rather than allow the Satanic statue permanent residence, the government will ultimately remove the statue in order to please both TST’s demands for the government to uphold secularism and the Christian demands for Baphomet to just go away. Mark me when I say this is going to be a very cut and dry victory for The Satanic Temple.

Image courtesy of

An argument against Cultural Christianity (or Christian Atheism)

If you’ve been around both atheistic and conservative circles, you may well have encountered people who identify themselves as Cultural Christians. Sometimes referred to as Secular Christians, these are people who formally do not believe in God and reject the supernatural claims of the Bible and the Christian faith, but nonetheless ascribe to the religious doctrine and philosophy of Christianity either because they identify with it on a cultural level or because they feel that it is the best moral framework available for a broad society. In The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey referred to such people as Christian Atheists.

Of course the term isn’t confined solely to neckbeards on the Internet who wish they were born in the Middle Ages so they can LARP as Crusaders only in real life. The term also has some purchase in the New Atheist movement: Richard Dawkins, despite his strident criticism of Christianity and indeed all of religion, has referred to himself as a Cultural Chrisitan, stating in the past that he sings carols like most British people do and resists the charge of being “Christianophobic” – a term no less of a fraudulent political label than Islamophobia and is simply used by conservative Christians to scaremonger about the secularizing of society. There is also a somewhat more malevolent aspect to the term: it was utilized by the infamous Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik in his manifesto, and I suspect because of this the position has its associations with white nationalists and alt-righters (which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me; I mean, if you’re a white nationalist concerned with the European “volk”, why would you pay lip service to religion based on a Jewish deity?). I have never subscribed to the Cultural Christian label, and in this post I intend to show that the main arguments in support of such a position are fallacious and delusional.

The main argument held by Cultural Christians seems to be that Christianity is the basis of the loose collection of ideas we refer to as the Western canon, or Western Civilization, thus to support Western civilization is to support Christianity from a cultural position. However, a cursory glance at European history (both Christian and pre-Christian) and the teachings of the Bible easily disrupts this premise.

Do you like democracy? Well, Western democracy didn’t originate in the Bible. It arguably originated in ancient Greece, in the Republic of Athens. Sure, it wasn’t perfect (women couldn’t vote and slavery was a thing back then), but it was also one of the early attempts at direct democracy – voters would have their say on every legislative issue. The Athenians were also so invested in their democratic system, and this even permeates into their normative attitudes; namely that they derided people who took no interest in politics, and considered them foolish and ignorant. Outside of Greece, the Roman Republic was another early form of Western democracy, in fact it was a classical example of representative democracy, where the electorate would appoint representatives to the legislature rather directly ratify each issue. There’s also the Althing in Viking Age Iceland, which is widely considered to be one of the earliest forms of parliamentary democracy. Similar assemblies where also held throughout the Germanic world, and even in Britain where they were referred to as folkmoots by the Saxons. All of this before Christianity took over in the respective territories, under the auspices of pre-Christian religious traditions. In contrast, the Bible implies that democracy is a bad thing because humans cannot govern themselves and that those who challenge a prophet of God in support of democracy will be destroyed by God. The feudal system that characterized much of Europe during the Middle Ages was justified with the doctrine of the Great Chain of Being – a Christian concept which entails a rigid hierarchical order that stratifies all creation as ordained by God.

Pictured: democracy in action

Do you like freedom of speech? The Bible actually forbids this to some extent, with one of the Ten Commandments forbidding cursing and Colossians 3:8 condemning “filthy language”. Publications and universities were once controlled by the Catholic Church, and in 1543 they decreed that no publication could be distributed without the permission of the Church. European rulers during the Christian age also used the state to control scientific publications and artistic expressions deemed threatening to public morality and the Christian faith. The Inquisition was another way of controlling publications, specifically the regulation of the import of books to colonies in the Americas by the Peruvian Inquisition. And as will be delved into further later on, the Catholic Church punished intellectuals who denied important teachings of the Church. Of course, this is one instance when the pre-Christian world wasn’t much better, with Socrates being poisoned by the Greek state for “corrupting” the minds of the people with skepticism and the office of the censor in Rome being the origin of the word censorship. In fact, the notion of freedom of speech as was understood since the Enlightenment was probably not practiced throughout much of the ancient world, and was chiefly defended by a handful of philosophers.

Human rights? While England did establish the Magna Carta, it was opposed by the Catholic Church that dominated Europe and annulled by the Pope. And the Protestants were far from better, rounding up non-believers and women to be burned at the stake for absurd charges of witchcraft, diabolism and conspiracy to commit such things. Also, a little thing called The Inquistion anyone? Not to mention the occasional slaughter of pagans in Europe such as in the Massacre of Verden, and the brutal conquest of native tribes in Latin America and elsewhere. The Bible also has several verses in which torture is an approved method of subjugation, persuasion, not to mention redemption, as well as endorsements of slavery.

How about scientific inquiry? Galileo Gallilei was banned from promoting the theory of heliocentrism, which is now well-established as scientific fact, by the Catholic Church and forced to comply with the Church’s declaration that heliocentrism was officially false. Nicolaus Copernicus also faced censure by the Catholic Church, with his book Revolutions banned by the Church. The Catholic Church burned Giordano Bruno for promoting the concept of exoplanets and generally contradicting Catholic doctrine. So needless to say it’s not got a great record on science. Not to mention, although some scientists like Isaac Newton would have considered their inquiry compatible with their faith on the grounds that both science and faith entailed the quest to discover and unlock the secrets of God’s creation, Christianity holds that it is a sin for Man to try and explain God’s mysteries because God is undefinable by nature. The Bible casts a man named Thomas in a negative light for doubting Jesus and asking for proof of his resurrection.

How about preserving heritage? Not only did the Christians have a tendency to destroy pre-Christian cultural artifacts in Europe, destroying idols and temples and replacing them with Christian structures, but they also destroyed the cultural heritage of peoples outside Europe. When the Spanish Christian conquerors arrived upon the Mayan civilization, they not only abolished the native religion but also burned down most of the Maya Codices, thus destroying much of the literature of an entire people and destroying what could have been a source of knowledge on the culture and civilization of that people. The Inquisition in Goa burned many Indian texts, along with many Indians, predominantly Catholic converts who were accused of being crypto-Hindus. They also destroyed Buddhist artifacts that were seized by the Portugese. There are many Saints in the Christian canon who are venerated for the destruction of former pre-Christian heritage, such as Saint Boniface and Junipero Serra. It should be noted, however, that the Christians didn’t always destroy the artefacts of the former culture. During the Renaissance, for example, artists in Christian Europe appropriated the literature and heritage of the pre-Christian classical world, often remaking them as symbols of Christian doctrine. However, those artists also faced pressure from the Church for supposedly promoting idolatry, heresy and lust, forcing the artists to justify their works within the framework of Christian dogma.

Finally, how about tolerance? Again, the Christian powers weren’t very good at that, what with destroying belief systems they found heretical. The Christian powers also frequently persecuted the Jews both racially and religiously, often expelled from the kingdoms they inhabited, and in Spain they were forced to choose between baptism and slavery.

A 17th century depiction of some youths throwing stones at a Jewish man during Lent

The argument that Christianity is the basis of Western culture can easily be disputed. Although Christianity is clearly an offshoot of Judaism and is thus based on Judaism, Western Christianity also layered aspects of Hellenic philosophy on top of it, reshaping them in its own image. The Logos is a title attributed to Jesus Christ within Christian contexts, and is generally used to refer to the word of God. The Logos also appears before Christianity in the writings of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, for whom Logos was the everlasting Word in which all things become united, and the ordering principle of the cosmos. The Logos was also held by the Stoics to be the animating principle pervading the cosmos, a portion of which is possessed by each individual, thus it is comparable to the Christian concept of the immortal divine soul. The Jews, by contrast, rejected the doctrine of the immortal soul, though in Jesus’ time some Jewish sects such as the Pharisees adopted the soul doctrine. Plato’s philosophy contained many ideas that would be characteristic of Christian philosophy. For instance, Plato considered there to be a division between matter and the soul, he believed in the existence of a divine, intelligent craftsman that he referred to as the Demiurge, he believed that the resultant creation comprised an imperfect but orderly cosmos, considered mortal existence to be a passing phase in the wider cosmic existence, and he believed that by sublimating irrational desires the individual can seek perfect purity and order.

Aristotle’s conception of the nameless Prime Mover can be seen as similar to the Christian conception of God in some respects, an eternal source of motion and cosmic order without defect (his rationale being that eternal things are always good and cannot possess defects), a being that never changes, has no beginning or end, and is an immaterial being whose activities are purely spiritual and intellectual. However, unlike the Christian God, this Prime Mover has no plan for anything that exists in his creation. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was can be said to derive from Stoic philosophy to some degree through Seneca’s conception of a threefold divine power which “we sometimes call the All-ruling God, sometimes the incorporeal Wisdom, sometimes the holy Spirit, sometimes Destiny”. The concepts of Heaven and Hell have their Greek equivalents as well – the Elysian Fields was the realm were heroes, the righteous, and mortals related to or chosen by the gods would dwell in a blissful and happy afterlife with the gods, while Tartarus is the underworld where the rest go when they do, with all of the truly wicked and evil souls residing in the fiery pit of Tartarus. In general the concept of a transmission of a soul to an otherworldly plane after the death of the body occurs not just in Greek mythology, but several pre-Christian pagan traditions, as well as the monotheisitc religion of Zoroastrianism, whereas in Judaism there was no immortal soul and Sheol was the realm where all of the dead go regardless of moral conduct in an existence severed from life and from God.

Then there’s the little things. Many Christian Saints likely evolved from past pagan deities and figures, and others became the demons recorded within Christian demonology. The Saints also, in a sense, took on the function of the old tutelary deities, serving as the patrons of nations, cities, territories, activities, families, and other things, and they could also be prayed to for various favours, which may explain why many American Protestants and Evangelicals consider Catholicism to be a pagan religion rather than a form of Christianity. The depiction of angels as winged humans isn’t entirely Biblical (Jewish tradition has all sorts of monstrous and chimeric visages for its angels), drawing instead from the Greek depictions of beings like Eros or Nike and Roman beings like Victoria. You can see this in the angelic statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus in London, depicted as a winged angel with a bow in the fashion of a mature version of the Roman Cupid, which was conveniently renamed The Angel of Christian Charity, or how in the Roman Senate all statues of Victoria were removed from the Senate to suit Christian sensibilities, except for one statue which possessed wings. Among the differing views on daemons in Greece, Plato’s view of them as spirits that watch each individual to whom they are allotted probably influenced the concept of a guardian angel that sometimes appears in Christian circles. In general, both the angels and the demons come from the concept of daemons. And of course, many holidays we celebrate have their basis in older pagan festivals. Christmas has its roots in Saturnalia and various Germanic festivals, and St Valentine’s Day has its links to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. Even Western marriage is said to come from the early Christian embrace of Roman weddings.

Eros as “The Angel of Christian Charity” in London

Much of Christianity as we know it derived its culture and philosophy from Greek and Roman philosophy and pagan religion, which it used to form a doctrine palatable to gentiles and generate a non-Jewish superstructure for a religion that was still ultimately Judaic at its base. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to say that all of Western heritage comes from Christianity, when in reality the bedrock of such heritage was established before Christianity, mostly by Greek and Roman Hellenism. All the while, Christian power sometimes actively worked against the heritage it utilized to construct itself by destroying artifacts of Greek and Roman paganism and rejecting the principles of republican democratic governance they gave to the West.

However, to say that Western culture is Pagan culture would be anachronistic in the current context. Although the base of our cultural heritage is pre-Christian rather than Christian, things have evolved rather dramatically over the last few thousand years for European civilization, and now secularism makes up the current form of our culture, having shaped that which has come before and moved it away from strictly religious purpose. Rather than Western culture being Christian or Pagan in character, Western culture, like all others, exists as a dialectical, evolutionary continuum, wherein the form of what is considered culture and civilization modifies itself over time, sometimes gradually and sometimes radically, giving rise to new forms in a cycle of perpetual re-creation. The same condition goes for all of human history, a continuum upon itself, a continuum of our continual evolution and struggle for emancipation. It is ultimately this reason combined with the absence of anything resembling modern Western values in the Bible that I reject the argument for the Cultural Christian position, for it is arbitary to try and pigeonhole Western culture as Christian culture.

Of course there is the argument further still that Christianity was a beneficial force to the development of European civilization, and was instrumental in defending the continent from the march of Islam, especially during the Crusades. The reality, however, is quite different. The Teutonic Knights (a.k.a. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem) often slaughtered their fellow Christians in Poland and raided the territories of Lithuania, forcing Poland and Lithuania wage war against them in the First Battle of Tannenburg. The Teutonic Knights also engaged in conquests of Orthodox Russia backed by the Catholic Church. In 1204, the Crusader armies sacked the Christian city of Constantinople, killing thousands of civilians, raping women, even nuns, pillaging churches and monasteries and smashing altars to their own God. As a result of such sacking, the Byzantine Empire was left weakened and unable to defend itself from the advance of neighboring Islamic forces, such as the Ottomans and the Sultanate of Rum. And of course, the Crusaders were known for massacring fellow Christians who followed a different sect, as happened to the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade. Far from uniting Europeans under the Christianity, Christian power was simply the glue for a civilization that constantly went to war with itself under the auspices of the Catholic Church, with, ironically, the lives of fellow Christians crushed underfoot. And that’s not even counting the times they massacred pagan Europeans, such as in Verden.

Also, despite modern propaganda concerning how Europe’s Christian ancestors drove out Islam wherever it reared its ugly head, Christian powers in Europe actively collaborated with the Islamic Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries, including England, France and Transylvania. Martin Luther was even somewhat sympathetic to Islam on the grounds that Islam rejected the veneration of images and opposed the Catholic Church. Islam was even tolerated by the Dutch at the tail-end of the 17th century, with Muslims being hosted in Dutch trading ports. So much for Deus Vult.

A depiction of the Sacking of Constantinople in 1204

So not only is it utterly arbitrary to attach Christianity and Christian power as the basis of Western civilization, and not only was Christian power ultimately the source of a lot of violent national and ethnic conflicts in Europe that resulted in thousands of deaths, but Christian power isn’t even the strong bulwark against Islam that traditionalist ideologues claim it to be, given that the Crusaders allowed for Islamic powers to make ingress into Europe and the Protestants were happy to ally with Islamic powers to the East in opposition to the Catholic Church. Christian power truly was a cannibalistic, self-destructive, self-betraying force in its day, on top of being tyrannical, regressive and intolerant. A force of barbarity to behold.

Finally, the Cultural Christian position often entails an attempt to justify conservative politics using religious scripture. But if you’ve ever taken even a cursory look at the Bible, you’ll soon become aware that the Bible is not a consistent political manifesto, and there are several different verses that can be used to justify any position across the political spectrum, even in cases where it doesn’t mean what the people invoking it says it means. In this context, Cultural Christianity for the most part becomes simply the secular version of the longstanding right-wing Christian trope of using an internally inconsistent and contradictory tome to justify their overarching politics.

In summary, the Cultural Christian position is a vanity. It neglects the reality that Christianity as we know it is largely a product of Hellenic ideas and philosophy mingling with apocalyptic Jewish faith, and the reality that history, culture and civilization are continuums compounding upon themselves to start with. It neglects the barbarous reality of Christian power. Its assumptions about the relation between Christianity and Western values are not actually supported by history or even the Bible, and are the work of pure propaganda and pure ideology. It exists solely as the result of a contradiction of having a conservative mindset towards religion and culture within a Western Christian context but being unable to believe in God or the supernatural claims of Christianity. It, frankly, serves to appeal to the feelings of not just Christians (many of whom reject Cultural Christianity anyway because it’s not really belief in God and Jesus) but also the atheists who hold this position because, for some reason, they feel that Christianity equals The West (which, by the way, also dovetails nicely with dumb right-wing political thought concerning the “clash of civilizations”). If someone tells you that he/she is a Cultural Christian, feel free to laugh at such a person. They deserve it.

Alright, fuck it, America probably needs The Satanic Temple

You guys know me by now: I’m not the biggest fan of The Satanic Temple. I kind of supported them in the early days of my blog, but then I went on to criticize them on numerous occasions, particularly last year as I found their particular brand of liberal politics unappealing despite their support for secularism. I was starting to see them as opportunistic, self-aggrandizing political activists who used Satanism as a costume through which to promote secular atheism through culture jamming, and was really annoyed that they had really nothing to do with Satanism. Now of course, much of that is probably still true, but insofar as their utility is concerned, I think recent developments in the US regarding religion have led me to change my mind.

This week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the creation of what’s been dubbed the “Religious Liberty Task Force”. What is it exactly? Apparently it’s supposed to be the US government’s way of “implementing religious freedom”. Which, knowing American politics, simply amounts to increasing the power of Christianity in the public sphere. Sessions justifies this by claiming that there’s basically a conspiracy in America to undermine the religious freedom of Christians. To quote Sessions himself:

“We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives,” he said. “We’ve seen U.S. senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma—even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office. We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips.”

Jack Philips, of course, was the man who was sued by a gay couple for refusing to make a custom same-sex wedding cake. But let’s just get to the point.

“Let’s be frank: A dangerous movement, undetected by many but real, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. It’s no little matter. It must be confronted intellectually and politically and defeated.”

That’s right. Jeff Sessions, and presumably others within the US government, believe there’s an unspecified, unnamed, mysterious movement that seeks to destroy religious freedom in the United States. Of course, there isn’t, really, but that never stopped anyone before. Honestly it seems like a major tell that this claim Session is making is most probably bullshit when he seems reticent to even give a name to his enemies. I mean who the hell are these enemies of religious freedom supposed to be anyway? Atheists? Humanists? Pagans? Liberals? Muslims? Satanists? Communists? Democrats? Freemasons? Pope Francis? Nazis? Jews? Stop me if I get it!

Who am I kidding? From what I have heard its likely that he might be referring to the rise of secularism, or the whole bake the cake issue – Sessions extrapolates the truly horrific burden of….the idea of actually having to serve gay customers gay wedding cakes…into some kind of grander conspiracy against Christianity and its believers. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that many liberals and human rights advocates are already worried that this “Religious Freedom Task Force” is simply a pretext to limit the rights of gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals under the auspices of Christian dogma cloaked in the mantle “religious liberty”.

Either way, it looks to me like the Trump administration is going to attempt to elevate the power of Christianity withing the political sphere by trying to grant more protections to Christianity under the law. And, to be honest, I think The Satanic Temple was probably trying to warn people about the Trump administration’s obvious play to Christianity, and that’s why they joined in on the anti-Trump protests during Inauguration Day back in January 2017.

That’s why I’ve decided to change my tune on them for the time being: it seems like they were probably right about the American government under Trump moving to expand religious power, and naturally I think they are one of the main forces in American cultural politics who could stand against this.

While I still dislike aspects of the actual politics they tend propose – I think of it as a mediocre liberalism with a dash of the brand of contemporary identity politics that comes with it – and I almost certainly maintain that they aren’t Satanists nor are they interested in Satanism (though me being a self-identified Luciferian one might wonder why I would complain), I am ready and willing to admit that some of their activism has been pretty effective. The famous Baphomet statue provoked a debate about the separation of church and state and got the Ten Commandments movement removed from government property, and I think that the After School Satan project, while admittedly weird in its execution, was a decent counter to the prevalence of Christian after school programs designed to indoctrinate children across America. I also approve of their Grey Faction, dedicated to debunking SRA conspiracy theories and related falsehoods. Now that there’s this looming threat of the expansion of religious power in American politics, it looks like the time is ripe for further activism on their part in order to confuse the conventional political boundaries regarding religious freedom in order to win the battle for secularism.

And I must say just as an aside, for a year or two until recently I was under the impression that the power of Christianity had declined and that fundamentalist Christianity was a toothless political force. But Donald Trump has made it explicitly clear that, in his view, religious organizations (read: Christian bullshit) will make up the bedrock of American society and that he will support Christianity, as evidenced by his statement from a few months ago. In a way this could be seen as a revival of George W. Bush’s policy concerning faith-based initiatives, which if anything is yet more proof that Trump is nothing more than Bush 2.0 (or should it be 3.0, counting Bush Sr?). Not to mention, the Republican Party has a stranglehold over the entire government (unless this blue wave I’m hearing about has anything to do with it), which makes it inevitable that there would be a religious agenda of some kind. And evangelical politics is not going away yet in America, especially now that the evangelicals seem to be getting social/religious conservatives in the Supreme Court, and guys like Jim Bakker and Rick Wiles will continue to have certain talking points mirrored by the conservative movement in the US. What’s more, a large section of Alex Jones’ hot takes now center around some kind of insane, coked up Christian victim complex wherein Christians are being persecuted by demons from the fourth dimension and how “left-wing Satanists” (or something) hate you and want you dead because you’re not one of them, and not only has he had correspondence with Donald Trump on his show but it also looks like the FBI might be taking his views seriously and acting on them. Needless to say, there is still some entrenched power

So take a bow, TST. You are not the kind of people who I wholeheartedly support for various reasons, but you might prove to be useful in making sure America doesn’t completely fall into theocracy, which would be an abomination to behold on top of numerous other developments. Keep culture jamming until all of this is over.

OK guys, you win this one. Good luck out there.

Two theories regarding the Asuras

A while ago someone named Kabirvaani left an interesting comment on one of my very old posts about the Asuras, suggesting that page 300 of James Houghton Woods’ book The Yoga System of Patanjali references an Asura as the bringer of a psychotropic drug that confers enlightenment upon those who imbibe it. Intrigued, I decided to investigate the idea and searched for the book’s text, and found an online source for the book. While researching this subject, I decided to make this post about two subjects. The first is the subject proposed by Kabirvaani concerning the Asuras and psychotropic drugs, the second is a different theory proposed by another blogger named Kata no Kokoro, who suggested, commenting on another post, that the post-Vedic conception of the Asuras might be based on the philosophy of Carvaka – a school of Indian philosophy based on epistomological materialism – with the intent of demonizing that philosophy on contrast to the religious idealism of most Hindu schools and the authority of the Vedas. We will deal with both these subjects in the same post, to save me bothering with two separate posts.


The Asura maidens and their magic drugs

Before we get to what page 300 of The Yoga System of Patanjali has to say, let’s look at what the page before it has to say on the subject of how “Perfections proceed from birth or from drugs or from spells or from self-castigation or from concentration”.

1. The power of having another body is the perfection by birth.

2. [Perfection] by drugs is by an elixir-of-life [got] in the mansions of the demons, and by the like.

3. By spells, such as the acquisition of [the power of] passing through space and atomization [iii. 45].

4. [Perfection] by self-castigation is the perfection of the will, the faculty of taking on any form at will (kamarupin) [or] of going anywhere at will, and so on.

5. Perfections proceeding from concentration have been explained.

Note the second part. Apparently there’s an aspect of Indian yoga wherein a yogi can attain “perfection” through an elixir obtained through in “the mansions of the demons”. Who are the demons exactly? Of course, it is none of than the Asuras, the grand enemies of the Devas. From page 300:

2. He describes the perfection which proceeds from drugs. A human being when for some cause or other he reaches the mansions of the demons (asura), and when he makes use of elixirs-of-life brought to him by the lovely damsels of the demons, attains to agelessness and to deathlessness and to other perfections. Or [this perfection may be had] by the use of an elixir-of-life in this very world. As for instance the sage Mandavya, who dwelt on the Vindhyas and who made use of potions.

Regarding the lovely damsels of the demons, doing some digging I find that Vedic mythology does attest to female Asuras having knowledge of mystical plants and herbs. In the hymns of the Atharvaveda, specifically Book 7, there is a hymn that references a group of entities named the Asuri, who seduce the deity Indra by means of a magic herb.

“I dig this Healing Herb that makes my lover look on me and weep,
That bids the parting friend return and kindly greets him as he comes.
This Herb wherewith the Asuri drew Indra downward from the Gods,
With this same Herb I draw thee close that I may be most dear to thee.
Thou art the peer of Soma, yea, thou art the equal of the Sun,
The peer of all the Gods art thou: therefore we call thee hitherward.
I am the speaker here, not thou: speak thou where the assembly meets.
Thou shalt be mine and only mine, and never mention other dames.
If thou art far away beyond the rivers, far away from men,
This Herb shall seem to bind thee fast and bring thee back my prisoner.”

– Hymn XXXVIII of the Atharvaveda

The Asuri is said to refer either to a specific entity whose identity is unknown, or a group of beings. In either case, Asuri is simply the feminine pronoun of Asura, hence Asuri refers to female semi-divine or demonic beings. According to Nagendra Kr. Singh in Vedic Mythology, the Asuras were very knowledgeable on matters of magic and medicine and their women knew how to use magical and medicinal plants. They were said to hide such medicines under the ground so that the Devas could not find them.

So, while I have been unable to locate the female Asura I was referred to, I do learn that female Asuras are associated with magical plants within Vedic mythology. This establishes a mythological basis for the maidens of demons bringing the elixir of life in The Yoga System of Patanjali. There is definitely a tradition with Indian mythology wherein the Asuras provide magic medicines, which could have been extrapolated into what is described in the book.

Taw Waes Suwan Asura Deva Carrying Amrita by Ajarn Saeng Apidej

We can perhaps think of the Asuras within Vedic mythology as possible sources of enlightenment through psychotropics, at least insofar as the premise of enlightenment through drugs is concerned. Of course, this is only within the older Vedic Hinduism. Since the Asuras are treated as demonic in post-Vedic Hinduism, this idea is probably treated as some kind of demonolatry by modern Hindus.


Carvaka and the Asuras

Carvaka (often spelled Charvaka), also known as Lokayata, is a school of Indian philosophy that rejects theism, reincarnation, karma, the soul or Atman and Moksha, and viewed the best means of acquiring as being not from revelation or religious scripture but through direct perception via the senses and through the practice of empiricism. Such a view is recognizable in the Western world as materialism or naturalism, and is associated with contemporary atheism. It was said to have been developed by a Vedic sage named Brihaspati at around 600 BCE. Curiously enough, Brihaspati is also the name of a planetary deity, the patron of the planet Jupiter, who was consider the guru of the Devas and related to the fire deity Agni.

There is a myth within the Upanishads in which Brihaspati is said to have created the Carvaka doctrine in order to deceive the Asuras. According to the Seventh Prapathaka of the Maitrayaniya Upanishad:

Brihaspati, having become Sukra, brought forth that false knowledge for the safety of Indra and for the destruction of the Asuras. By it they show that good is evil, and that evil is good. They say that we ought to ponder on the (new) law, which upsets the Veda and the other sacred books. Therefore let no one ponder on that false knowledge: it is wrong, it is, as it were, barren. Its reward lasts only as long as the pleasure lasts, as with one who has fallen from his caste. Let that false science not be attempted, for thus it is said:
(1) Widely opposed and divergent are these two, the one known as false knowledge, the other as knowledge. I (Yama) believe Nakiketas to be possessed by a desire of knowledge; even many pleasures do not move thee.
(2) He who knows at the same time both the imperfect (sacrifice, &c.) and the perfect knowledge (of the Self), he crosses death by means of the imperfect, and obtains immortality by means of the perfect knowledge.
(3) Those who are wrapped up in the midst of imperfect knowledge, fancying themselves alone wise and learned, they wander about floundering and deceived, like the blind led by the blind.

Sukra might be a reference to Shukra, or Shukracharya, who if you remember from my second Mythological Spotlight was the guru of the Asuras and the planetary deity of Venus. Indeed, Sukra is the Indian name for the planet Venus. It might be suggested that Brihaspati took the appearance of Sukra in order to deceive the Asuras into believing what were deemed false teachings, presumably to undermine their ability to defeat the Devas in battle in order to help the Devas defeat them. It is not certain if the Brihaspati mentioned in the Upanishad, but it is commonly held that the deity Brihaspati and the human Brihaspati are separate entities, which would make sense given it is unlikely that the Devas would have sincerely believed in materialist philosophy. Given this and the ability of the Upanishadic Brihaspati to transform into Shukra and his imperative on behalf of the Devas, I suspect that the Brihaspati referred to here is probably the planetary deity and not the human sage.

Brihaspati (the planetary deity, not the sage)

The Padma Purana also contains a dialogue in which Rudra (or Shiva) refers to Brihaspati as the one who proclaims the “much censured” doctrine of Carvaka. In the same text, Buddhism is also referred to as a false doctrine, proclaimed by an incarnation of Vishnu, and that Rudra proclaimed a “pseudo-Buddhist” doctrine referred to as Maya. Rudra also says that he ordered a man named Jaimimi to expound the doctrine of Purva Mimamsa – a doctrine that, while it seemingly endorses the authority of the Vedas, holds that the material universe to be endless and without liberation – which Rudra describes as stating godlessness and invalidating the Vedas. It is established here that the Hindu deities go out of their way to, within the context of the lore, deceive the enemies of the Devas by promoting Nastika doctrines (that is, doctrines that go against or contradict Vedic scripture, typically atheistic philosophies, thus heretical doctrines within the context of Hinduism) in order that they might defeat and destroy them.

Another example of this happening with regards to Jainism is when Vishnu sent a teacher named Mayamoha to teach the Asuras the Jain religion in order to that they could be defeated. The rationale behind such a theme seems to be twofold: (1) the Asuras are strengthened by following the Vedas and performing the proper rituals and penances, hence they lose power when they reject the Vedas, which serves to paint the Vedic religion as imparting power to believers, and (2) the non-Vedic religions are treated as so wicked and false that clearly they are either the doctrines of demons or tricks from the gods designed to weaken their enemies.

This theme is echoed in the Puranic myth of the Tripurasura, a group of three Asuras (Vidyunmali, Tarakshaka and Viryavana) who were the sons of Tarakasura. After the three Asuras perform a series of religious austerities known as tapasyas, Brahma grants them the following reward: they will live for a thousand years in three palaces for each of them – one made of  gold, one made of silver, and one made of iron – which reside in different realms (one in heaven, one in the sky, and one on the earth) and align every thousand years, and can only be destroyed by an arrow that can penetrate the three realms when the palaces align. The Devas, feeling threatened by a bunch of Asuras having that much clout, appeal to the Trimurti to destroy them. Brahma refuses on the grounds that it was he who granted them the boon to begin with, and Shiva refuses because he saw that they weren’t doing anything wrong, but Vishnu comes up with a plan to trick them into becoming non-believers in order to justify their destruction. He creates a man out of himself, whom he named Arihat. Arihat was shaven and wore dirty clothes, thus he had the appearance of a bald ascetic monk. Arihat was instructed to teach the Tripurasura a religion that contradicts the Vedas – one which holds that there is no afterlife, that heaven and hell exist only on Earth and that there is no reward or punishment in any life after this one. After this, Shiva destroys the Tripurasura and their palaces once they align. Given the description of a lack of an afterlife and the emphasis on this world within this belief system, it is very likely that the “false religion” in this story is none other than Carvaka.

Shiva destroys the Tripurasura and their palaces

Another myth within the Mahabharata (specifically Book 12) describes a being named Charvaka, who is identified as either an Asura or a Rakshasa, who was believed to have impersonated one of the Brahmanas in order to accuse the Pandava prince Yudhishthira of killing his kin.

A little while after when the Brahmanas had become silent, a Rakshasa of the name of Charvaka, who had disguised himself as a Brahmana, addressed the king. He was a friend of Duryodhana and stood therein the garb of a religious mendicant. With a rosary, with a tuft of hair on his head, and with the triple staff in his hand, he stood proudly and fearlessly in the midst of all those Brahmanas that had come there for pronouncing benedictions (upon the king), numbering by thousands, O king, and all of whom were devoted to penances and vows. That wicked wight, desirous of evil unto the high-souled Pandavas and without having consulted those Brahmanas, said these words unto the king.’

“Charvaka said, ‘All these Brahmanas, making me their spokesman, are saying, ‘Fie on thee! Thou art a wicked king. Thou art a slayer of kinsmen. What shalt thou gain, O son of Kunti, by having thus exterminated thy race? Having slain also thy superiors and preceptor, it is proper for thee to cast away thy life.’ Hearing these words of that wicked Rakshasa the Brahmanas there became deeply agitated. Stung by that speech, they made a loud uproar. And all of them, with king Yudhishthira. O monarch, became speechless from anxiety and shame.’

When the real Brahmanas revealed his ruse, Charvaka was killed by their utterance of the Hun sound, the sound of Brahma. It is possible that the demon Charvaka was a demonization of the Carvaka school, a way of painting adherents of Carvaka as liars who deceive the public and impersonate the pious. However, this would depend on when the Mahabharata was compiled and published, given that the Mahabharata is likely to have been written at around 400 CE, many centuries after the emergence of the Carvaka school.

Finally, let’s look at the Upanishadic myth of Virochana, son of the Asura Prahlada, who together with Indra sought out the creator deity Prajapati to learn about the nature of Atman, the divine self or soul in Hindu theology. According to the Chandogya Upanishad, the two deities sought out his wisdom on the promise that whoever found it would gain the possessions of all worlds. After staying with Prajapati as his disciples and living the lives of Brahmacharis (as in, men who pursue Brahman) for 32 years, Prajapati tells both Indra and Virochana of the Atman and instructs them to see their reflections in a pan of water. After seeing their reflections, they left and relayed the revelations they believed themselves to attained. Virochana returned to the Asuras and told them that he learned that the body and the Atman are one and the same and thus the bodily self should be glorified, while Indra thought this was wrong, went to Prajapati for clarification twice before spending yet another 32 years with him as a Brahmachari, then another 5 years, before finally Prajapati told him:

“This body is subject to death yet it embodies the deathless and bodiless Atman. This embodied Self falls into the trap of all dualities like pleasure and pain, but the bodiless Atman is not touched by any duality. So long as the Atman resides in the body and attaches itself to them he seems limited and restricted, but again when freed from the body becomes one with the infinite spirit. When the Atman leaves the body, goes wandering freely in the infinite worlds. The eye, the ear, the senses, the mind are there only in order that the Atman may see and hear and think. It is on account of Atman and in the Atman that the things and beings exist. He is the Truth and the final repository of all existence.”

Indra comes to believe the doctrine of the Atman as the ultimate truth, as divine consciousness that embodies itself in the flesh in order to perceive the world and is freed from the body to wander infinity after the death of the body, while Virochana comes to believe that the bodily self is the self itself and the object of concern and reverence. Since Carvaka holds that consciousness exists only within the body, it is pretty likely that the doctrine Virochana and the Asuras learn is materialism, the doctrine of Carvaka.

To close this post, it’s worth noting the old Vedic character of the Asuras. As I’ve pointed out here many times before, Asura was once technically a title applied to the Vedic deities themselves, denoting the power, strength and might of the deity. They were sometimes also thought of as a semi-divine class of beings who were neither good nor bad, and possess the magical powers of maya. After some time though, as the old form of the Vedic religion got displaced by the new form of Hinduism, which was based on the Puranas and the Upanishads (which still claimed the authority of the Vedas as sacred mind you), Asura changed from a signifier of divine might, to a class of morally ambiguous semi-divine beings, to class of anti-divine beings if not outright a class of demons who are often materialistic. Perhaps this association with materialist doctrines stems from the conflict between orthodox Vedic Brahmanism and the emergent Nastika doctrines, such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Carvaka, as well as Tantric schools of Hinduism, not to mention the rise of a new form of Hinduism based on the Upanishads that sought to change the character of Hinduism.

The devas, possibly representing orthodoxy, pull Vasuki’s tail, the asuras, possibly representing heterodoxy, pull Vasuki’s heads.

As Hinduism was dealing with the Nastika doctrines, it made sense that, in order to maintain the authority of theistic Hindu doctrine, the Brahmanists and Upanishadists sought out to ridicule the Nastika doctrines, especially Carvaka. It also possible that they destroyed most first-person sources on Carvaka (that is, texts written by its adherents rather than its detractors), given the dearth of texts and information on Carvaka. Essentially, the new Brahmanists demonized the materialist doctrine, and other Nastika doctrines, by positioning them as doctrines believed by demons (Asuras and Rakshasas), often through the deceptions of the Devas and the Trimurti. The Asuras in and of themselves are not based on Carvaka, but the Carvaka doctrine became somewhat affixed to the Asuras through the Puranic and Upanishadic myths.

Thanks to Kabirvaani of Shivahaoma and Hata no Kokoro for providing the inspiration for this post

A history of Satanic Temple shenanigans

Oh boy, have I got a treat for you. The Church of Satan released an article on their Twitter, a fact sheet about The Satanic Temple, written by Reverend Joel Ethan, outlining evidence for The Satanic Temple being a parody activist group, in their words, “a self described “Yes Men” styled satire/activist group that uses satanic-themed imagery and language to get media and public attention”. For those who perhaps don’t know what Ethan is talking about, the Yes Men are an activist group that impersonates high profile individuals, particularly the heads or spokespeople from major corporations, and creates fake, satirical websites to impersonate the web pages of individuals and/or corporations they dislike in order to raise awareness about various social issues that they’re concerned with.

What I intend to do with this post is explore the points raised by the Church of Satan in-depth, to explain the important details and why they add up. There’s fourteen points in the article so I will probably have to truncate my analysis for each of them. Either way this is going be another very long post, and I will leave the link to the article by Joel Ethan at the end of this post. By clicking that link, you can access all of Ethan’s sources for yourself and draw your own conclusion.

First, Ethan states that The Satanic Temple began as a film project, specifically as a fictitious Satanic cult set to appear in a mockumentary movie entitled, funny enough, The Satanic Temple, centering around “the nicest Satanic cult in the world”. There was apparently hoax involved surrounding The Satanic Temple’s alleged support for Florida Governor Rick Scott, which the Miami Herald revealed was essentially a publicity stunt, the true purpose of which has never been revealed by the group’s founder, Lucien Greaves, who himself was also the casting director for the movie. What’s interesting about this is that if you were to perform a search of The Satanic Temple’s Rick Scott rally on the Internet, you’ll find that this mock rally was reported by many mainstream news outlets as a bunch of Satanists seemingly expressing genuine support for Rick Scott’s “religious freedom” policies, when it was a stunt.

During this time, it appears the organization was also billed as having a belief in a literal Satan, to quote from their webpage from years ago:

The Satanic Temple believes that God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.

Hail Satan!

You read this doctrine any way you want, but to my mind this does not necessarily suggest that Lucien Greaves intended the organization to be a theistic Satanist group. Remember that they started out as a satirical religion for a mockumentary. It’s reasonable to assume then that this statement of belief is not, in fact, a genuine statement of doctrine, but a part of the act. Curiously enough, however, among the documents contained within The Satanic Temple’s trademark filing, one of them makes, alongside this statement, the following statement:

The Satanist harbors reasonable agnosticism in all things, holding fast only to that which is demonstrably true. The cultural narratives through which we contextualize our lives must be malleable to conformity with our best scientific understandings of the material world… Those understandings, in turn, must never be so rigidly codified as to themselves be inflexible to advancements yet unknown. Thus, Satanism is an evolving religion, unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Belief must reconstruct itself to fact, not the other way around. This is the Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, even (and especially) when to do so irretrievably dissipates blissful and comforting delusions of old. That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise.

Sound familiar? It sounds a lot more like The Satanic Temple we know today other than the belief in a literal Satan serving as Man’s conduit, on behalf of God no less, to the point of seeming like a contradiction, perhaps even a more sincere statement of belief that the former statement about God. In fact the first half of that statement can be found on the IndieGogo page for their Adopt-a-Highway campaign (which incidentally seems to have failed to reach its goal of $15,000).

Then there’s Malcolm Jarry, the co-founder. You might remember him from the post I wrote about him where I took him to task over the concept of “Jewish Satanism”. In a New York Times article dated to July 2015, Jarry states openly that the original idea for the movement was as a secular activist response to George W. Bush’s creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, a US government office created to support religious organizations. He envisioned The Satanic Temple not as a genuine expression of Satanic philosophy, albeit one at odds with the Church of Satan’s ideas to an extent, but as a protest movement against George W Bush’s religious conservatism, well before discussion about religious freedom was as big as it was in the 2010’s. He and Lucien had been planning for something like this for apparently a long time, presumably waiting for the opportunity to get started.

But there’s another interesting aspect to this story as well. It seems that the artist and former high priest of the Church of Satan Shane Bugbee appears to have exposed Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry back in 2014. Writing for VICE Magazine (ordinarily not my favorite source for journalism, let’s just say), Bugbee revealed that a man named Doug Mesner approached him at his home asking for a copy of a republished edition of Might Makes Right by Ragnar Redbeard, the very same book that he would later go on to denounce over its apparently racist content and from there complained about Anton LaVey’s views about social stratification, meritocracy and egalitarianism. How’s that for an irony? He later produced illustrations for the book and, in 2002, Shane Bugbee did a radio show with Doug where they discussed that very same book. Doug is also recounted by Bugbee as having been introduced to many intellectuals at Harvard University, some of whom he apparently later exposed as frauds. He also recounts of how he, apparently, would insult and harass alleged survivors of ritual abuse. Bugbee also revealed in a separate blog post that he was asked to take the role of someone named Lucien Greaves, implying that Lucien Greaves was, at the time, not a person so much as a persona or a character utilized by The Satanic Temple for their purposes, the role of whom was eventually taken on by Doug Mesner himself. As for Malcolm Jarry, according to Bugbee he is actually a man named Cevin Soling, who also happens to be the owner of Spectacle Films, the studio that was working on The Satanic Temple mockumentary and have also documented their adopt-a-highway campaign. Interestingly enough, simple searching for Cevin Soling will show you that the same man who owns Spectacle Studios is also an alternative rock musician and an advocate for the abolition of public schools, which he thinks are brainwashing American children, and got interviewed by Stephen Colbert about his film The War on Kids. He also identifies Cevin as one of two rich kids financing The Satanic Temple, the other being a man named David Guinan, who is apparently director at a company called Arise Media.

Going back to Mesner, it’s in the same VICE article authored by Shane Bugbee that Doug Mesner outright admitted to starting The Satanic Temple as a dark religious take on the Yes Men, as well as a “poison pill” in the debate over the proximity between church and state in America.

So far I’m getting a picture of how back in the early days of The Satanic Temple, and perhaps even well before its foundation, that this was not intended as a serious religious movement at all, but rather as a satirical political activist movement with clear political goals in mind. I must say, if only Tucker Carlson had actually done that amount of research into Lucien Greaves and The Satanic Temple before the two terrible interviews he did with Lucien Greaves, then maybe he would have actually got one over on Lucien Greaves instead of practically whining about how Satanism as a whole is not a real religion because he’s a Christian but hey; I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Jarry also proves to be an interesting character. If Shane Bugbee is correct and Malcolm Jarry is indeed Cevin Soling, then from the outset this seems like a man who is strongly invested in social activism, and one of his main themes seems to be children and public education, and apparently gay marriage and abortion if the Times of Israel is anything to go by. So a very politically-minded, noticeably liberal and left-leaning political themes, which if you’ve ever looked into The Satanic Temple seems to be one of the main themes of the organization. What’s also fascinating is that, around 2013, you’ll notice that Doug is fairly chill about the fact that he’s not very serious about this and it’s actually just a satirical group, whereas in later years it almost looks like he and his cohorts are taking this project more seriously. So is it a case of do they believe their own hype now, or is this still part of an act, just that instead of being simply satirical they intend it as a much more serious political movement?

Now, the next thing brought up is the bizarre fact that the website for The Satanic Temple seemed originally to list the founder not as Doug Mesner/Lucien Greaves, but instead a man named Neil Brick, the head of an organization called SMART, which claims to publish information about stories of ritual abuse. Apparently Doug Mesner and Neil Brick had a falling out over the subject of ritual abuse. I’m guessing Doug put Neil’s name there as prank gesture? By the way, Neil Brick’s SMART organization seems to get into some interesting shit, at least according to Doug in his article on a website he runs called The Process Is. Just read this section from an article he wrote about them. This is from when he visited a SMART conference in 2009.

The S.M.A.R.T conferences are an opportunity for the victims of the satanic conspiracy to exchange their horrific tales, offer support to one another and, most importantly “just be believed”. Victims are encouraged to bring an accompanying “support person”, as much of the material covered in the 2-day series of talks is considered to be “triggering” (that is to say, it may cause flashbacks in the similarly traumatized).

Does that sound familiar? Because to me it sounds like an SJW conference about misogyny and rape. It sounds like Hillary Clinton and scores of modern feminists ranting about how people who tell you they were raped should just be automatically believed even in the absence of credible evidence. It sounds like the Alex Jones-inspired equivalent of a Tumblr convention. And here I was beginning to doubt horseshoe theory. Not to mention, What. the fuck. is this shit?

“We could all decide [Satanic Ritual Abuse] isn’t really true”, LaBrier announced, provoking no real discernible response from the crowd.  She admits that she could pass off her “recovered memories” as “hallucinations”.  But then, “the events [of the past] are not important to me anymore”.  Their only significance is in “what they mean to me in my evolution as a human being.”  Indeed, she will conform reality to her beliefs rather than the other way round.  As she recalls warning possible skeptics at a talk she delivered to an Indiana University class, “Don’t you ever question my reality!

You know I think I can see the problem Doug might have had with such a gaggle of conspiracy theorists. Particularly when, according an article he posted on the Daily Kos, he saw people rant about “using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms”. Yeah, can’t imagine why Doug might think this guy’s nuts.

Moving on a step, the article next claims that The Satanic Temple is a registered trademark of the United Federation of Churches LLC, registered to Douglas Misicko, apparently the true identity of Doug Mesner (which would make Doug Mesner yet another pseudonym), who is apparently behind another group called Reason Alliance, a non-profit corporation that supports pretty much the same ideas as The Satanic Temple. In fact it looks to me like Reason Alliance might just be another extension of The Satanic Temple. This also seems to relate to the After School Satan project. While The Satanic Temple publicly claims that they believe that religious organizations should not be tax-exempt, they, via Reason Alliance, applied for tax-exempt status and successfully obtained it. Now that I know this, it strikes me how hypocritical Doug Menser and Malcolm Jarry are, going out of their way to apply for tax-exempt status while simultaneously saying they don’t believe religious organizations should be tax-exempt. Almost as if, like so many cliche American left-liberals, they don’t practice what they preach. Unless what they preach itself is only an act. Or maybe applying for the tax-exempt status itself was a prank, a way of impersonating a religious organization whilst simultaneously preaching against religion. Now maybe that’s giving Doug Mesner too much credit.

You may remember Brian Werner, former high priest of The Satanic Temple as well as the lead vocalist of a long-standing death metal band named Vital Remains. He resigned from the organization back in 2014, and he had quite a few complaints about them, which he explained in his video. He views the organization as hypocritical because while it ostensibly resents hierarchical order, in contrast to Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan who, at least in its early years, embraced meritocratic hierarchy, its leadership gave Werner the title of High Priest for his perceived merit within the organization and had no qualms with handing out titles like “reverend” to various individuals. I suppose this is all part of the act as well, surely? He also complained that the leader, Doug Mesner, was appointing chapter heads without a vote from anyone, one of them told him that he had never read The Satanic Bible or heard of Aleister Crowley, Michael Aquino or the Al Jilwah, a Yazidi holy text I recognize as a book held in high regard by some theistic Satanists. He stated that this person, along with several other individuals he recognizes as clowns unworthy of the Satanic mantle, only got into the organization because they were appointed by someone behind the scenes. He also expresses resentment and despondence over how, apparently, he and Doug were loyal friends during his membership of the Satanic Temple, they were seemingly like brothers, and how after the statue had been completed and Werner wanted to talk to Doug about what was going on, he didn’t try to address those concerns with him and instead had a lawyer do the talking for him. After this, he complains that while almost every Satanic movement agrees fundamentally, on some level, with the original tenets of The Satanic Bible – individual sovereignty, reverence of individual will and power, the strong shall rule the weak and the clever shall rule the strong, refusal to turn the other cheek when one is smited, opposition to psychic vampires, and control of one’s own destiny; the tenets he recognizes as being pretty much universal to all strands of Satanism (and like any true Satanist I agree with them as well) – he recognizes that The Satanic Temple doesn’t embody these ideals. Like I mentioned earlier, Doug shuns these ideals, because they are not compatible with his egalitarian leftist outlook.

What’s more, two spokespeople from The Satanic Temple were interviewed by one Lauryn Petrie on a blog called Broke Ass Stuart, and this is what they had to say about membership.

No. There’re two types of membership. Anybody can go to the national site at with a simple email address you scan sign up for the newsletter and become a member. And then there’re Chapter members, and that requires some responsibilities to be involved on some level. Every Chapter does that a little differently. No has to pay anything unless you want a card and a certificate. That costs $25, but by no means do you have to do that. If there’s a local chapter where you are, to join you do have to be accepted, but there’s no initiation or anything. You don’t even have to be a Satanist, you can just be a strong ally who believes in the political and secular actions without being super stoked about all the aesthetic aspects.

So according to them, you don’t have to be a Satanist, not even by Doug Menser’s idea of what Satanism is, in order to join The Satanic Temple. All you have to do is support their political causes. I think if Brain Werner had seen this, he would see this as further evidence of his conclusion that The Satanic Temple aren’t actually a Satanic organization.

Finally, you know all that business with the Ten Commandments monument, back when I actually kind of supported The Satanic Temple’s efforts to erode the influence of Christianity? Well Ethan, in his final point, points out that The Satanic Temple’s campaign to erect a Baphomet statue alongside the Ten Commandments were immaterial, and that they had nothing to do with the case. Instead, the ACLU, representing Christians who viewed the monuments presence as a means of political grandstanding over what, for them, is a sacred part of their religious faith. But after the ACLU won, The Satanic Temple publicly claimed victory for this whole thing, and people believed them. Why? Easy. Because The Satanic Temple generated publicity, they “started a conversation”, you might say, by doing precisely fuck all other than troll their political opponents. I say fuck all, because once you look at what the ACLU had to say, this wasn’t actually about The Satanic Temple’s grievances at all. They just shared the same views on the subject and took the credit.

And that’s all the points that Joel Ethan brought up. What’s funny is that really none of this is new information. It was out there, and the parody act that they did in 2012-13 was apparently known for quite some time, but apparently it didn’t occur to many people, certainly not to me at the time, and certainly not to the mainstream media – can’t say I blame them in retrospect, such facts would run counter to a narrative that was tied to a lot of publicity, controversy and therefore ratings. The Church of Satan seems to just be re-posting these facts, apparently simply to inform us all that this is the case. I can’t say I know if that’s true, I don’t know what their true motivations are for reposting the old information besides their obvious rivalry with The Satanic Temple. I have to say though, I am convinced more than ever that The Satanic Temple are atheists pretending to be Satanists, using Satanism as a costume for their own political goals, and I feel disappointed with myself for not knowing some of this information much sooner.

I am finished with this organization, not that I was ever a member. With all due respect to anyone reading, if anyone still believes that these people are real Satanists, when in fact they weren’t even genuine from the beginning, I can’t help you. I am more opposed to them than ever now, for I have come to realize that these people are outright charlatans and deceivers. They don’t care about Satanism, they don’t practice Satanism philosophically nor do they practice what they preach, they have never been Satanists, and worst of all they lie in order to advance their own goals. Ironically, all to fight lies and perceived tyranny.

The Church of Satan’s Fact Sheet on The Satanic Temple, via Reverend Joel Ethan:

Is Britain really a Christian nation?

It has come to my attention that David Cameron has claimed that the UK is a Christian nation and tonight ITV is shitting out a half-hour TV special that talks about whether or not the UK is a Christian nation. So I’ve decided to finally get off my ass and cover the same subject. To be honest, I don’t know what took me so long to write about the subject. In the past, I’ve wrote about the fallacy that America was founded on Christianity, so why not the UK? I guess I just wasn’t as interested in talking about it initially compared to talking about Christianity in America.

Anyways, let’s start with the argument that any idiot may use: the argument that most British people are Christians so Britain is a Christian nation. This argument is nonsense because all that means is most people in Britain are Christian. That’s it. Demographics don’t make a nation Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist. For the UK to be a Christian nation, one or both of two things have to be true:

  1. Christianity, or more or less an organization representing the Christian faith (such as the Church of England), would have to wield supreme or at least dominant political influence or authority.
  2. The laws of the United Kingdom would have to be based on Christianity.

People often assume that because the royal family in the UK is Christian, and endorses Christianity, and are considered Head of State, that the UK is based on Christianity. Problem: the Royal Family aren’t really very powerful anymore. In modern times they only exist to inaugurate Prime Ministers, make TV appearances, and smile for the camera. Seriously, the Queen is exceedingly wealthy but does nothing but make droll TV appearances every Christmas, travel round the world, and other trite that affects nothing. Oh, and guess who pays to keep this useless royal family in their wealthy abodes? The common people. That’s the only reason they’re around enough to get us thinking they do anything.

Now the Church of England used to wield supreme political authority in Britain, obviously supported by the royal family. However, the church no longer has that kind of political authority in modern times, and the royal family isn’t changing that any time soon. And keep in mind, during this time you could get killed by the state for witchcraft and in general not being a Christian. So in case you think Christian Britain was free, think again.

I would advise that we keep the following five things in mind regarding the concept of “Christian Britain”:

  1. Whatever rights you have in the UK now were the same rights that were opposed by the Christian church long ago. The only reason Christians seem to think that their religion embraces any secular human rights is because they lost the battle and to compensate the Christian just assimilated as a Christian norm probably without even reading the Bible twice, just like any pick-and-choose believer who claims to follow the Bible but does not follow it entirely. And think about this: if you say you follow the words of the Bible, and that the Bible is the truth, you don’t put yourself in any logical position to cherry-pick from the Bible. It’s not as though it’s like my case where I can take beliefs from places and form my own system with them, most Christians don’t afford themselves that freedom
  2. If you were really living in a Christian country, you wouldn’t be allowed to worship any god other than the Christian one and his son, and it’d be illegal to practice any religion other than Christianity, since the Christian faith doesn’t allow you to worship any god other than Jehovah/Yahweh and forbids any other worship or religious practice. That means if you’re a Muslim or Hindu in a Christian Britain, you’d be practicing your religion underground living with the constant looming threat of discovery and persecution by the state. In fact I’d be surprised if they didn’t bring back the Inquisition in some way, or burning witches on the stake.
  3. If you were really living in a Christian country, you also wouldn’t be free to practice any sexuality other than heterosexual in a consensual manner. And while we’re still talking about sex, a Christian country would most likely make it illegal to sex before and/or outside marriage, after all, you aren’t allowed to do that in Christianity. You wouldn’t even be allowed to masturbate because it would be considered a sin. Abortion would also be completely illegal, and so would contraception if the laws are based on Catholic Christianity. In fact, I would think discourse on sex would be limited to how evil it supposedly is. You wouldn’t be able to talk frankly or openly about sex, which would lead to more sexual diseases.
  4. Practicing magic, witchcraft, or occultism would be illegal if you were living in a Christian country, mostly because the Bible forbids magic and sorcery, and I assume this would apply to fortune telling too when you consider the Bible also forbids soothsaying and fortune telling. Any non-Christian esoteric practice or folk tradition would be criminalized in a Christian country. I must wonder if cremation would be made illegal too, since I doubt cremation is very accepted among Christians and might be associated with pagan practice (interesting to note by the way: Islam also forbids cremation and traditional Jews are prohibited from practicing it). I can’t help imagining a Christian Britain would forbid wearing the skin and heads of animals because of the belief that it was merging human and animal, which conflicts with the Christian separation of human and animal, not to mention wearing animal heads and skins for pagan revels would be illegal. I also don’t think any non-Christian holidays could be celebrated, or Halloween for that matter, and the only reason Christmas and Easter would stay is because we’ve connected them to Christianity.
  5. Britain was pagan first, not Christian. Even if you choose not to refer to the Celtic Britain, which was scattered into many different tribes, as Britain, Roman Britain was still pagan, and bear in mind the Romans conquered Britain as the province of Britannia in the 1st century AD, and Romans in those days were still pagan (they didn’t turn Christian until the year 380 AD). And let’s not forget, a lot of British law, along with much of Western law came from pagan Rome, including the concept of trial by jury, along with numerous other things.

The fact is, Britain is a secular nation, and it’s not that hard to see that. Not to mention, religion is slowly losing influence in politics, though you might not always know from looking. Before you mention “God Save the Queen”, remember that, as I said, the royal family is for show with no less authority than a stick insect. If the UK weren’t ultimately secular, points 1-4 from above would all apply in some way. We at least have the freedom to practice any religious belief we want, or none at all, and worship any god we want, or none at all, that alone puts a dent in the status of “Christian nation”.

All I can say in closing is what lots of people in the UK are probably thinking already, that David Cameron is on another quest for votes and gaining favor with religious and right-wing quacks. It’s hardly any different to America to be honest, except that it’s for more droll over here in the UK. Nonetheless, I think we shouldn’t let any of this “we are a Christian nation” crap have any influence. If men like Cameron had their way, we would be a nation where freedom of choice is a painfully distant memory.