Sunday, February 26, 2012

Satanic Influences

You'd need a pretty large ruler to measure my incredulity that as a part of political dialogue in this country I'd be addressing this as any more than a remote historical reference. There are a couple things in religious mythos that I find real offensive and at the risk of offending sensitive sensibilities I'm going to name them.
Santa God - the granter of wishes with a list
The Exclusive Club God - gotta say the right words right omnipotent creator of universes

The King of Lies, Deceiver of Kings, the ultimate evil, that guy - Satan is my target... because that's the title.(I learned with "Harley Porn" not to kid with titles) It would seem that the US of A is being targeted by this character, really, somebody semi-important said so.(in front of god and everybody) This Satan personage is the flip cover of Santa God. He is an active malevolent actor in the world with a list. He has his favorites and those he'd destroy and he can be brought to play by wishes. If certain people are to be believed he's pretty good at his job.

Sorry, I just don't buy into this blame game, this personification of a concept like evil. If God is good he must have an opposite, like light and dark because... well because. Some of this follows from the "Exclusive Club God" concept because you cannot be good without the right God and the right Words, it just doesn't matter what you do or try - you're wrong if you do it otherwise. This puts an onus on God, he can't be the source of evil since he's the good so somebody else has to bear the burden. Never mind that means that either God created or tolerates (because of an oops) EVIL in person of Satan. I know there are all kinds of stories about how this came to be - that's the short version.

I get along with the idea of a Creator because it works for me, nothing fancy to be found there, just that. I don't mind metaphors about evil, about the impulses of us to be small, to be greedy, to be murderous, to be... Folks, if I talk about my "bad side" I assure you that I am nowhere schizophrenic to think that there's other little rat bastard residing in my consciousness. I'm talking about a desire to not do things the hard way, to not have to put myself out not some cartoon horned guy standing on my left shoulder whispering in my ear. Whatever I do requires some time, energy, and some kind of thought and I don't just want to increase that. After all, I started out as the ultimately selfish and self-concerned being there is - a baby. From that start I began to learn and that's the part, right there, that counts.

I learned that I wasn't the only one that was hungry and I already knew I didn't like being hungry - I had discovered that those other shapes were not there simply for my benefit, that they existed as separate humans - and they might not like being hungry either. That learning process applied across the board creates a moral set which is based most firmly on the recognition that I am not the center, that I share reality with others who are similarly constructed. That learning can get broken or shorted or a lot of things that result in behaviors that reflect something entirely different. What I'm doing is using a lot of words for one, empathy.

A society cannot allow a mental defect that results in bad outcomes to remain unchecked. A society won't work if indiscriminate killing is allowed, it simply won't hang together. That is an entirely different question than the one of a moral set that proposes killing is wrong and prohibited by that empathy thing. We teach soldiers to suspend that empathy in warfare where its degree interferes with the mission. There are consequences to this suspension, we seem to agree it is worth it.

Jesus (and others) put it pretty clearly, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." More words meaning empathy. God and rituals are not required for empathy, it is a natural understanding of humans existing, but it does require work to keep it in effect and in actions. Because effort is tightly bound to survival we do not lightly increase it any more than a mountain lion goes looking for a fight to get dinner. Because we're not mountain lions we're capable of placing an abstract above some considerations and that varies wildly. It doesn't require a Satan to place empathy behind other considerations, all it takes is a lack of willingness or a mental defect.

Sometimes people are broken in ways we really don't understand and even when we understand something like a brain injury, we don't quite know how they get there. We know that brains can have their wiring scrambled or chemicals missing resulting in undesirable behaviors. Before we knew some of those things about outwardly human people it was assumed some spiritual, some invisible influence must be at work.

Religions would cease to exist without followers, Greek mythology is practically speaking extinct. The connection between the followers and hierarchy was broken, for a lot of reasons, but it was broken. Religions are hierarchical, there are the deities, then there are the books/words, then there are the interpreters, and then there are the faithful. The structure collapses if that hierarchy isn't maintained and there are methods for ensuring that it does. Fear is the most common because it is easiest. One of the first things we learned was that pain was to be avoided and the assertion that disobedience will lead to pain is real effective. Most of us learned that absences of pain didn't mean happiness, but not being happy beat the heck out of pain so the absence of "glory" won't quite do to keep the troops in line. The something more involves stuff like lakes of fire presided over by the natural deity of disobedience - evil personified, our guy Satan. It was a stroke of genius or maybe necessity to make the disciplinarian and source of disobedience or lack the same guy. Keep in mind that maintaining that hierarchy requires exclusivity, if something outside that club works, all those pieces are unnecessary. A whip hand is required and Satan wields it. My choices are join the right club or be whipped.

So it is that a nation's government that concerns itself with the worldly and temporal order of its citizens without religious strictures is in violation. It is under the sway of the guy with the whip.

1 comment:

SEB said...

I like this!!