What if…?Posted: February 14, 2015
I can understand people’s misconceptions and prejudice about Satanism and Satanists, in fact it is not at all hard to understand. Before I met Cassie I probably thought many of those things myself. I would say that 98% of what you read or hear about Satan in the Western/Christianised world depicts him as pure evil and his followers as the same. And then again the whole idea of the Left Hand Path (which I believe originated in Eastern traditions) can be oversimplified to mean selfish, nasty and depraved. Thus Satan and his followers are extremely bad, cruel, selfish folk who derive pleasure from hurting and destroying others, injecting chaos into order and celebrating depravity.
The problem is that while many of us might come to some consensus about what actually constitutes evil or depravity privately, in reality and in law it is the Christian church and the governments it has supported which has effectively dictated what should be seen as evil or depraved for many centuries. So while most of us might actually agree that murder, rape and child abuse are very wrong, the Christian church has for centuries set arbitrary rules and standards about what is evil. These include the notions that homosexuality, sex outside marriage, abortion and even challenging the Pope or other religious authorities on matters of doctrine can be sinful or even evil and in some cases punishable by death. And like many invading armies when moving into new territories, the Christian Church went about dismantling and discrediting the local structures, authorities and cultures. So the Pagan Horned God of nature became associated with a rebranded version of a shadowy figure from Judao-Christian tradition, the Devil, Lucifer or Satan.
I must stress that I am not an expert; but it does seem to me that if you look into the history of The Devil as presented in different epochs of history through the three Abrahamic religions ( Judaism, Christianity and Islam) the picture that emerges is a confused one… Sometimes a fallen Angel, sometimes God’s agent, sometimes the tempter, the accuser or the antagonist, sometimes working against “God’s” plan, sometimes a part of it… The pure evil of Satan only seems to become really prominent when the church needs to emphasis it’s authority (often with the sword and lots of blood).
As modern Satanists, Cassie and I are not so much confronting the Christian Church. We are doing something we hope is far more effective; we are ignoring it.
What if Christianity, Judaism and Christianity had never existed? Well, for a start the Middle East might be a much more peaceful and harmonious place! But let’s have a look at a bit more fantasy history…
The Romans would have remained Pagan. Who knows whether this would have speeded up or slowed down the demise of their Empire. To be honest I think the Roman Empire would have degenerated a little more quickly because for all it’s faults, Christianity did become a unifying factor. But Europe would have remained strongly Pagan for many more centuries, with Roman influences merging with Germanic, Nordic and Celtic traditions. In some ways the speed of civilisation may have slowed down because it was the single language (Latin) and the development of an internationally literate clergy using the Bible that helped spread and popularise some of the ideas we associate with intellectual development. However, writing, literacy and even an internationally understood language could easily have developed in a Pagan Europe as well.
And what a socially different place it would have been. Probably less centralised (no Pope in Rome), possibly Germany and the Nordic Countries would have been more central to European development. And instead of being the enemy of all that was deemed to be civilised, The Horned God and his Goddess consort under various names would have been at the heart of most European spiritual traditions. Witches might have been venerated rather than burned and may indeed have found themselves at the centre of the dawning scientific enlightenment. I imagine Paganism in Europe would probably have developed in a very similar way to Hinduism in India. And probably there would have been contact and cross references. Each town or even household might have their own particular deity(s) and over-arching myths and legends would have developed to link many of them. As Pagans we would not have seen our bodies or our animalistic nature as sinful or wrong; we would not be forced to grow up feeling ashamed of our human nature. Endlessly in sin-debt to a judgemental God
I think it is fair to say that while science was often at odds with Christianity, it’s development grew on the back of Christian intellectualism. On the other hand, since paganism is so related to nature I don’t think there would have been the animosity against science or the centralised vested interests that conspired to refute and punish scientific discoveries. Thus I think the scientific revolution and enlightenment may have come more swiftly and smoothly in Pagan Europe and then spread to America without the dogmatic fundamentalists who even today refute and hinder science.
if that had been our history I think modern Europe and America would by now be atheistic and scientific in essence but our common pagan heritage would form the backbone of our spiritual beliefs. We might now understand that the myths and legends of old as ways to understand and work with nature and we would not question our place in the natural world or be alienated from it. Satan might not be known by that name, but the horned God of nature would not be our enemy; he would be our friend and spiritual father and teacher.
And perhaps also without the example of Christianity to cloud the issue we would understand more easily that we have to rely on our own moral judgements and that there are many paths to personal and spiritual development. What we now refer to as the Left Hand Path would not be seen as an opposition to prevailing Christian sentiments of morality, but as one of many possible routes to progression. A route which doesn’t shrink from the dirt and grime of the world but gets down in the dirt and realities of life. A route which celebrates life and recognises balance and harmony depend on working with both light and darkness. A path that understands that light and dark are not always so easy to tell apart and that both are necessary to be whole.
Of course all this is fantasy and speculation. We cannot in fact rewrite history or change the past. But by imagining how things might have been different perhaps it is easier to see Satanism in a different perspective. A perspective Christians don’t want anybody to see it by.