Sunday, June 5, 2011

Christians embarrassed about/ashamed of Satan? (Silence on the Satan(ic) front).

Christians embarrassed about/ashamed of Satan? (Silence on the Satan(ic) front).

I'm Canadian, and here in Canada there's not a whole lot of public god talk. Some, sure, but it's sparse and mostly negligible. Down south however, in the good ol' US of A, it's ubiquitous. It's just god god god. Politicians, athletes, celebrities, televangelists, news anchors, radio hosts, television personalities, basically everyone pimps their god in public. And of course, the majority of them are referring to Yahweh, the god of the Bible, when they speak about this god character.

Interestingly however, very few of them ever mention Satan.

Ever notice that? If so, ever wonder why?

I mean, if they believe in Yahweh, they must believe in Satan, right? I know there are those who say they believe in Yahweh but reject the existence of Satan, but I don't think there's a logical justification for that rejection. It seems to me that the basis for said rejection is the very thing I want to address here:

They know that the idea is fucking silly.

Think about it: How many American people publicly talk about the Christian god? Tons, right? Now, what percentage of those would you say ever mention Satan? I'd say 20% at best. It's probably closer to 10%, if that. It's certainly not close to 50%, and there's absolutely no way it's above 50%. It's absolutely the minority of those folks who mention Yahweh that also talk about his arch nemesis Satan (aka Beelzebub, Lucifer, Belial, etc.) and I firmly believe that it's because, at least on some level, they recognize how silly belief in Satan is, and they are embarrassed by/ashamed of this belief, and therefore don't mention him in public.

I think it's absolutely true (and I think they recognize this) that people who wouldn't bat an eye at the mention of god, people who would in fact be in agreement, would suddenly find themselves uncomfortable, if not incredulous, at the mention of the Prince of Darkness. I mean, why else wouldn't he be mentioned? If they believe that god is the father of good, and Satan is the father of evil, and they always talk about good and evil, why would the not mention Satan when discussing evil? They make certain to mention Yahweh in relation to the good, so why not the same treatment for Satan and evil? It's wise to know thine enemy, correct? People need to be prepared in order to have any chance at fighting off his evil influence, do they not? He sure as hell gets mentioned inside churches every week, doesn't he? Yet in public, when they are not among their tight circle of like minded worshippers....silence on the Satan front.

And the reason for this? As I said, I think it's recognition, on some level, that the idea of an evil fallen angel who lives inside the core of the earth, plotting against humanity and doing things like making people gamble and have affairs, is utterly ridiculous and beyond childish. It's completely fucking asinine, and deep down, they likely don't even believe it themselves. And it's that that's the key, because I think if they really acknowledged that, they'd find that perhaps some other things didn't quite add up, and then things would snowball and then....ya, scary stuff, so they avoid it by not going there, and keeping the Satan stuff to safe moments, like when they are in their little Sunday morning echo chambers, where everyone around them is saying the same shit they are, not questioning a damn thing, and presents absolutely no danger to them in terms of making them think uncomfortable thoughts. No one on Sunday is leading them into cognitive dissonance with logical expressions of incredulity and skepticism.

Just think about athletes for a moment. They are always thanking god for their success- yet how many blame Satan for their defeats? How many rappers blame Satan for not winning that Grammy award?

Why is that?

Is it because, while they get away with the god thing, mentioning Satan would elicit a negative response? Would they perhaps....sound fucking insane?

Be honest with yourself, even if you are a believing, practising Christian, unless you're a fundamentalist, you'd probably cringe a bit upon hearing Lebron James blame his poor football game on Satan, wouldn't you?

You would, and you know it.

Why, though? You believe in Satan, don't you? You believe that he is the author of evil, do you not? So if it's valid to thank god for the good, why is it not equally valid to blame Satan for the bad? Is it because, deep down, you don't really believe in Satan? Is it possible that on some level, you recognize the ridiculousness of the hypothesis, but you'd just rather not face that because of the possible ramifications such analysis might present you?

Or am I being too presumptuous?

Is there another reason why a large number of the people who proclaim to believe in god and the devil always mention god, but never his antithesis? Why does it seem like the very mention of Satan in public is anathema? Verboten. A faux pas? Do you honestly deny that anyone who did seriously discuss Satan in public would immediately be written off as crazy, even by some of those who profess to believe in the same religion the person in question does?

Think of your politicians. They ALWAYS mention god in your country. Like, to a sickening degree. How often do you hear them mention Satan? You'll quite often hear things like “God is on our side.” Apart from some scoffing from the atheistic camp, these remarks get by with the person saying them being left unscathed. Cheered on, in many circles, in fact. However, have them say something to the effect of “The Devil is working against us,” and suddenly things sound different, don't they?

President Obama repeats the stupid “God Bless America” mantra. Imagine if he also said “And Keep Us Safe From Satan.” Or “Deliver Us From Evil.” Or even better, “God, Protect Us All From the Dark One.” Sounds pretty fucking crazy, doesn't it? Yet, that's your religion!

There's no way he'd be able to get away with saying those things. People would laugh him out of the White House. Yet, ask yourself, how is that any different, worse, or crazier than talking about 'blessings' from god? Remember, it's your holy book, and it's very explicit about the existence (and origins) of this fallen angel with many names. There are no logical grounds upon which one can reject the existence of the Satan character while simultaneously affirming the existence of his polar opposite, the good in the good vs. evil narrative that is the Bible, Yahweh.

I think that, if one were to examine this further, they'd inevitably come to the conclusion that Christianity has an identity problem. Christians are quick to mention their god, but reticent when it comes to THE DEVIL (muahahahaha). The two characters are intertwined in the narrative of the Bible, and there's nothing in there that points to the Devil character being anything other than literal, yet many Christians say that they do not believe in him, and those that proclaim, at least on the surface, to believe in him, are reticent to really discuss him (the extreme fundamentalists are of course one strong exception to this rule....and, ironically, they sound fucking crazy, don't they?) in public. Why is that? Well, as I have stated several times, I think that there's a recognition there. A recognition of the fact that of all of their beliefs, those regarding the source of 'evil' are (or at least sound) frankly stupid, and so the preference is to keep that part of it quiet.

I fully believe that they are ashamed of this belief. They are embarrassed by it, and I think that, if they were to investigate, through introspection, the source of this embarrassment/shame, they would stumble upon some scary notions, like, for example, the idea that perhaps some part of them knows this Satan character doesn't exist....or at least suspects it. And that's when things get really scary, because they might start to wonder about other things, and they start to either acknowledge or feel for the first time, certain doubts. Doubts that could crack their beliefs wide open. And so, knowing this, they choose to believe in Satan, or at least make pretensions towards a belief in Satan, and they make sure to just keep said belief quiet. President Obama (or other public figures) mentioning Satan would be like the IRS auditing your financial records, only this time, it's you doing the probing into your own secrets, and we don't want that, do we?

And so Satan stays out of the public discourse, the public lexicon, and the public eye (for the most part; the fundies trot him out at every turn, and seem all the more insane for it......don't they, fellow Christians?).  


  1. I actually never noticed this before until you brought it up. There's definitely a sort of hypocrisy with this, and it's definitely thought provoking.

    Something I came up with while reading was that, as you mentioned, the idea of a devil making people do these sinful behaviors is completely ridiculous and insane. We have a good idea about what kind of stimuli reinforces sinful behavior and how something like that can come about in people and tempt them, and we also know that the idea of losing a sports match or failing at something is the fault of someone, not some evil force holding you back.

    Yet believing that God will help you succeed at something is comforting. We know what can potentially cause and reinforce bad/unsuccessful behavior, but good behavior? Well, who's to say (to them) that God wasn't helping them just a little bit to help meet success?

    It helps someone's state of mind to know that God is on your side, helping you achieve something and get through an event or a particular time in your life. Or sometimes people just say it to boost some public image for themselves. Either way, acknowledging that Satan has some kind of power over someone's life, or has some power over bad events, is scary, so any sort of politician, celebrity etc who does happen to believe in that doesn't want to mention it in the public circle because it's not what people want to hear. They only want comfort in the idea of knowing God is behind them helping to guide their success.

  2. LOL, there's an advertisement right next to this blog that advertises a Christian dating site. ''Find God's match for you.''

  3. Alright.. I'm going to have to disagree with you for the most part.

    Now, as far as political figures or entertainers (sports, media, etc) go, yes, you're correct about the percentages. But I'm fairly certain that it has less to do about being "ashamed of" the belief in Satan, and more about just a general belief in "God = good". Using the term "God" in a positive light, regardless of one's beliefs or religion, can be a powerful tool here in the US. Not everyone believes in Satan (not everyone is a Christian either, even if it is the dominant religion here), but the social stigma that comes with the word "God" is rhetoric that puts someone in a higher respect (albeit unjustifiably or unfairly). To prove my point, those that do not use "God" as a tool in political circles, typically do not stand a chance here in the US (again, regardless of religion or lack of). Nothing to do with Satan really. More about "power". (Ironic)

    Now, as far as your average Christian is concerned, belief in Satan and talking about Satan I think are publicly discussed, based on my observations. In their own circles and outside (depending on the denomination). Some of the larger denominations will publicly go out and hand out flyers about Satan's evil plans and how people can be saved. Turn to the right station and you'll see the same thing. But being outside of the states, you don't really hear about that since what's on the news are the political figures and entertainers for the most part.

    It also depends on geographical area. Differing areas have differing denominational groups. The larger the numbers in a given area, the more talk about Satan is open and public.

    I don't think many Christians are ashamed of talking about Satan or demons. However, some do believe that talking about them brings about more demons or evil things, so in some cases that is why these things are not discussed often.

    Regarding your argument of blaming Satan for bad things happening; unfortunately it doesn't really follow. Satan isn't typically viewed as being behind every perceived bad thing that happens in one's life. He is more of a tempter of sin; anything that makes someone grow apart from their belief in God. So losing a game or breaking a foot isn't typically seen as evil type bad, just a part of life.

    Furthermore, I'm going to also have to disagree with your claim that Satan has to be believed in literally and that there is no way around it. Belief in Satan as a real being is a relatively new idea (keyword: relatively, when speaking about books that are thousands and thousands of years old).

  4. The Old Testament doesn't really offer much to a literal interpretation. Genesis says a "serpent" tempted Eve; it is only later that people interpreted this as being Satan, after already having the preconceived belief of Satan as a literal figure(much like interpreting "the word" in Genesis as being Jesus).

    You'll also find Satan in the book of Job, which I believe was a parable. But taken metaphorically or literally, then you run into a lot of problems with a belief of Satan being an evil fallen angel. This is because Satan in Job is depicted as a tempter. 1. He is in God's presence (which some Christians profess as impossible, as "nothing evil can be in the presence of God"). 2. God ALLOWS Satan to do bad things to Job, in order to test his faith. This doesn't really fall into the whole Satan defying God thing.

    My Biblical knowledge is a little rusty right now, but given the basis for which the Satan figure is founded on, it is probably more reasonable to suggest that Satan is a metaphor for temptation (against God). And if not more reasonable, then at least ambiguous enough to have that belief.

    The term "Satan" isn't used very often. Especially in the Old Testament (except in Job). Look at the verses in the Old Testament, and you'll see Satan depicted as a tempter that is by God's side (think of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and the man that tries to tempt the children into selling any of Wonka's secrets, who ends up being someone who works for Wonka).

    In the New Testament, Satan is still depicted as a tempter in Jesus's stories.

    Now, curiously (or not), Satan is depicted more as a literal being (or something other than a tempter or meaning temptation) in Paul's writings. (You know, the same guy I wrote about who was perhaps the only guy to write out against homosexuality?) Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Timothy (all written by Paul). Note that in these cases, Paul's few writings heavily influenced Christianity... got a theme going here...

    The book of Revelation is different, in that is highly metaphorical (was written by John), although not often thought of as such. (Ask almost any religious Jew, and they can point out the metaphors dealing with the Romans, etc).

    And again, many passages attributed to being about Satan in fact have nothing to do with Satan (again, preconceived notions, which lead people to project theses beliefs on irrelevant passages simply to reinforce their beliefs, in disregard to the intent of the original meanings).

  5. This is Liz, just didn't want to sign Skye out. It never likes to sign him back in after I do that! Interesting blog! I enjoyed it :)

    I have to agree with Skye's first comment though. But to add a little to it - In religion is seems people regard their relationship with God as intimate... but something that is ok to share with people.

    I myself have seen demons. I would say the majority of my family would say the same. I can't speak for anyone but myself but when you see something like that, you don't want to shout it to the world. It shakes you to the core, makes you wonder what else is out there that you are not seeing. In a way, it is more intimate then your relationship with God. "Knowing" (and I use quotations, because I cannot present you with proof) that there are things out there that know your fears and weaknesses and will use them against you in any way possible... it can be an awful feeling.

    I tried convincing myself I was crazy, having hallucinations. But in the end I knew I couldn't deny every single thing I had seen, there were enough times I experienced shit with people around. And not the same people every time. People who didn't believe or, in a few cases, weren't raised in religious households and were too young to have formed any opinions at all (I started seeing stuff when I was very small and wasn't sure what was going on).

  6. It's basically the same thing as in a politheistic religion. For example, say that you believe in the 12 Gods of Olympus. You acknowledge their existence, but you follow only one God. You don't go to Aphrodite's temple to worship Zeus. You might worship one of Aphrodite's priestessess, if you know what I mean, but deffinitely not Zeus. It's basically the same.

    I'd really like to see an athlete/politician etc. go all out Messiah in the middle of a game/speech. I'd laugh my ass off.


Tell magx01 and the rest of The Thoughtful Gamers what's on your mind!