diane_vera (diane_vera) wrote,

"Satan" and the "God" of Christian dominionists

In the Dark Christianity LiveJournal community, in a thread titled They're at it again, begun by roseross, there was a comment by underlankers referring to dominionist Christianity as "de facto Satanism." Naturally, I questioned that.

This led to a conversation in which I wrote:
Actually, dominionist behavior is consistent not with the worship of a "God of Evil," but simply with the strong belief in -- and hatred of -- an alleged all-pervading evil being/force that must be cast out. You mentioned the Japanese and ancient Egyptian Devil-like figures. Both these cultures are/were notoriously xenophobic. Strong belief in a hated Devil figure naturally leads to paranoia, which naturally leads to all manner of oppressive attitudes and behavior. As far as I can tell, the more liberal kinds of Christians tend not to believe in a Devil. However, both today's dominionists and the more traditional kinds of conservative Christians do believe in a Devil and do have a tendency (carried to a greater extreme by the dominionists) to see everything outside their own narrow little box as being of the Devil.

underlankers's reply contained the following:
The most effective means to destroy the Light is to turn it into a force of destruction on par with the Darkness by taking facets of it and dialing it up to 22. Dominionism is this for Christianity.

To which I replied:
Not "on par with the Darkness," but, rather, far worse than anything "the Darkness" could possibly come up with. It would be psychologically impossible to build a fanatical religious mass movement revering a deity whom the adherents themselves regard as evil. Fanaticism is rooted in opposition to, not worship of, an alleged Devil.

I do agree that "The most effective means to destroy the Light is to turn it into a force of destruction ... by taking facets of it and dialing it up to 22." I would just like to ask that you not refer to this as "Satanism."

Then underlankers wrote:
And yet were such an all-powerful evil figure to exist, what's the best means to beat his adversary? Hijack said adversary's own movement and create his own subset of same religion which happens to give him access to the same kind of power and presumably destroy the One Holy and Apostolic Faith from within.

Are you a LeVayan or summat?

I decided to post only a brief reply there and a more detailed reply here, because in-depth discussions about our own current religious beliefs are not on-topic there.

In my opinion, the very idea of "absolute evil" is an absurdity. It cannot possibly exist. See my page about Elliot Rose on the absurdity of "Evil" as a principle.

One of the philosophical considerations that helped me give up (a fundy-leaning form of) Christianity, at the age of 15, was my realization that the whole idea of "absolute Good vs. absolute Evil" was very war-propaganda-ish, and that it was highly unlikely that either side in any conflict could be 100% good or 100% evil.

Many years later, I had a totally unexpected series of profound, ecstatic spiritual experiences involving a Being that answered to the name of "Satan." Then, for several years after that, I spent quite a bit of time pondering what those experiences meant. I did not accept Christian theology, or an inversion thereof, but considered a variety of alternatives.

Recently, a few friends of mine and I agreed on the following "micro-creed" as an oversimplified summary of some important aspects of what "Satan" means to us:
We revere a God,
Who manifests at that which is feared,
Who dares us to face down our fears,
and to stand with those people who are unreasonable feared.

In those forms of Christianity and Islam that promote belief in a Devil, Satan is associated, primarily, with any and all straying outside the religion's own little box. However, to anyone with intellectual integrity, it is a good thing, not a bad thing, to face down irrational fears and to explore ideas outside one's own ideological box. So, if there's a divine Being out there that wants us to face down irrational fears and to have intellectual integrity, an enticing "Satan" would be the most emotionally resonant form under which such a Being could manifest to people in our culture.

No, I'm not a LaVeyan. I'm a theistic Satanist.

See also What is Satanism? and Satan and "Evil" in Christianity (and Satanism).
Tags: against theocracy, theistic satanism, theistic satanist interfaith discussion

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