Zoom Meeting Sermon October 23 2022

 

Topic: Sympathy for the Devil

Let me start by saying that I do not believe in the Devil as an independent entity. The only thing more irrational than an imaginary friend is an imaginary enemy. Evil is within the hearts of humankind, and the only hell is what we create for ourselves here on Earth.

That being said, it seems to me that the Devil character in Christian mythology is at least an equal to the God character, if not more powerful. God seems incapable of just blinking the Devil out of existence and eliminating “evil” from the world for all time.  Devils and demons can possess people and make them do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, violating their free will, which God apparently cannot do. In some ways, Satan is nicer to humanity than God is. The God character in the Christian Old Testament commits genocide, wipes entire cities from the face of the Earth, and strikes people down for breaking the pettiest rules, even if they don’t actually know what rules they are breaking. By contrast, the Devil only kills ten people in the bible. We can blame human atrocities on influence from the Devil, and a lot of people do, but those atrocities are committed of humans’ own free will. Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot chose to commit mass murder; none of them were possessed, except by love of power, which is one of the true sources of evil in the world.

The Devil’s origin story also makes no sense. He rebelled against his creator because he wasn’t given free will. Let me reiterate: with no free will, he committed the ultimate act of free will and rebelled. An angel rebellion makes as much logical sense as a toaster rebellion. Something that does not possess free will can only do as it is programmed to do by its creator. The whole idea of an angelic rebellion is a paradox, which makes the character of Lucifer and fallen angels in general a logical impossibility. It also indicates that god is flawed; he created something that didn’t work as designed, that in fact did the exact opposite of what it was intended to do, like a water fountain that catches on fire. Then god just casts them out to some underground hellscape, instead of making them disappear like any intelligent deity, where they can wreak havoc by messing with people. The worst part about this is that, if the god character truly is omniscient, then he knew the whole time exactly what was going to happen. In fact, if Christians are to be believed, he planned the whole thing, along with everything else that has ever happened or will happen. So why hate the Devil for something that god knew about and planned beforehand?

Satan’s whole purpose seems to be to torment those souls that God doesn’t want, which basically makes them colleagues. Maybe that’s why God allows the Devil to exist; they’re on the same side, and the Devil is just doing God’s dirty work. It’s as rational an explanation as any for an irrational idea.

I saw a sign that said: “Satan was the first to demand equal rights” and that’s one of the best endorsements for Satanism that I’ve ever read. The Devil is Christianity’s trickster archetype, and how a culture views its trickster god says a lot about them. Tricksters are the ones who challenge established authority, often leading to social and spiritual upheaval. In Navajo spiritual tradition, the trickster god Coyote is not reviled, but rather revered as an important part of their pantheon. The Crow in Australian Aboriginal mythology is both a trickster and a cultural hero. The Buddhist Sakra, despite being a trickster character, is often depicted in literature as a being who consults the Buddha on matters of morality. Questioning authority is how we bring about a more Enlightened paradigm; some laws need to be changed, some social conventions are actively damaging. We need those trickster archetypes to inspire us to learn more and become better people. The fact that Christianity villainizes its trickster archetype indicates its resistance to change, and Christianity itself has changed little since the Middle Ages. New sects have formed, virtually identical to the old ones, but with new books or new, silly rules about what you can or cannot do, but the basic premise remains the same: Any deviation from tradition and established rules, no matter how arbitrary and outdated those rules and traditions are, is blamed on infernal influence and condemned. We see this repeatedly throughout the history of Christianity because of the way it views its trickster character, and therefore the concept of social change via challenges to established authority.

Most Satanists do not actually worship the literal, Christian Devil. Modern Satanism is atheistic and teaches mostly common sense and basic decency. Some concepts discussed in the Book of the Path are based on The Satanic Temple and their beliefs, including the sanctity of bodily autonomy. Satanists themselves tend to be kind, honest people who will be nice to you unless you give them a reason to do otherwise. They are firm believers in free will and acting according to your own best interests, but their first fundamental tenet is: “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.” and it only gets better from there. Satanists view the Christian trickster archetype in a positive light, and therefore embrace social and spiritual change.

While there is nothing wrong with choosing to live your own life in accordance with Christian principles, Satanism is just as valid a belief system and is not inherently immoral or evil. It is healthy to challenge your beliefs now and then, to question and analyze them for harmful or toxic ideas, so that you may attain Enlightenment. Those challenges may be internally or externally inspired, and how you react to them says a lot about you as a person.

Can you see why no idea or established authority should ever be above examination? Do you welcome challenges to your own beliefs?

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