Wisdom of Kahana: The Business of Evil
Many times, I have been questioned regarding my disbelief in ‘Satan’ as the demigod of evil that is preached within so many other religious circles and factions. And though we do have mention of Satan in Job and Zechariah, that in no way infers that there is anything more to his existence than as a herald or servant of YHWH. As Karaite, my beliefs are based on the Tanakh and if it is not stated within those books, then I am not about to extrapolate and manifest some Hell-world with a lord of Darkness as other religions have done. But the world has built an entire industry based upon this heavenly servitor as being evil incarnate and the real question posed to me should have been phrased, “Why have we created a Satan,” and then I would have responded thusly:
If we examine the references to Satan as being the enemy of humanity, and his avowed purpose to destroy all virtue, then we automatically assume his opponents are the friends of humanity and the upholders of virtue. We accord them great tribute and recognition far beyond the status of normal men. Those that adopt the mantle of being opponents of Satan in turn become the source of our tranquillity and happiness because we take comfort in knowing that they are our shield against harm. In return over the ages we have given them our silver and our gold, to buy protection from the threat of Satan and many still continue to do so. And while the people huddled through history in their thatched wooden homes, with the winter’s draft seeping deep to the bone, those that amassed this fortune in gold and silver dwelt in the lap of luxury, sitting warm by their blazing fires and feasting upon the food wilfully donated to them by those same evil fearing people.
The Industrialization of Evil Inc.
Yes, without Satan, these religious teachers, those Priests, Rabbis, Ministers, Imams and Ayatollahs would not have prospered and benefitted from their wisdom and knowledge in the counteracting of Satan’s threats. Satan was the weapon of choice upon which they defended their careers and by which they could justify all their deeds. Without Satan there would be no fear of the unknown and man would no longer require an intermediary to intercede on his behalf with God. For then each man would know the extent of his own sin and recognize that each of us was responsible for our own actions and no longer could excuse our unacceptable behaviours on a being that we created to bear the guilt of all our transgressions by leading us astray through lies, guile and possession.
No longer would the people buy their beads, blessed objects, talismans and sacred scriptures to ward off the external evil that no longer existed. How many would lose their livelihood when the manufacturing of these items was deemed unnecessary? What would those people do, whose only vocation was to benefit from the fears and anxieties of those unclear about the true path to God? Then we would see a world in turmoil because it has only been through that fostered fear that man has made some of his greatest achievements. Monumental structures that extend the limits of architectural science that are built for one purpose only, so that we can find refuge from Satan’s evil. Spires that reach to the heavens, bells that ring melodious through the extent of the countryside and provide the excuse for communities to compete for bragging rights as to which sanctuary was larger or more beautiful or more expensive in its construction than the other.
And in those golden houses, built with the sweat and coin from those that feared the coming of Satan, they would raise their voices in consternation, begging to be protected from the evil force that despised man with every breath. They would plead with God to answer why Satan detests mankind to such an extent and those that pocketed their donations would answer, “Because God chose to love you more.” But sadly none would ever ask, “More than what?” for therein lies the ruination of their argument and the demise of their gilded empire. It matters little if YHWH loved humankind above the other spiritual beings he created. In His power and His wisdom, He would have accounted for such a contingency and would surely protect that which He loved. Nor would He have denied us freewill because that would have meant enslavement and since He loved us that would not have been permissible. The choice of which path to follow has always been our own and man has always been the master of his own destiny. Only through ignorance did we blame all the evils that befell us on an entity known as Satan. We gave him credit for the storms that destroyed our villages, for the rain that caused our floods and the sun that baked our lands so that they cracked and splintered until famine overtook our countyside. The plagues that felled us in the millions or caused our cattle and sheep to wither and die, we cast at Satan’s feet. The pestilence and the quaking earth we prayed would pass for we never intended to sin, only that Satan had led us astray in a moment of weakness. The wars, the hatred, the wishing on our part for a fellow human being to be laid low and to die, those stem from within our own existence, and can be seen throughout the animal kingdom. They are innate responses that have always existed within us since the dawn of time and it is only by our own will that we can suppress them. Not all the prayers within these golden cathedrals or all the money we can cast at those that claim they will deliver us from Satan’s clutches will eliminate that which has always existed within that part of our brain that is feral. Only you have the ability to do so for yourself. Far easier for those that fail to exclaim, “Satan made me do it,” than to acknowledge their own weakness.
Our Evil Within
Do not place your guilt into the hands of those who claim they are a weapon against Satan. The guilt is yours alone to bear, for the evil is something that you manifest on your own. It sprouts like a tree in a fertile garden if you permit it to do so for evil if given the opportunity will find other evil. For every place erected to supposedly fight such evil there is an equal institution built and dedicated to exalt and perpetuate mankind’s willingness to follow that other path. Once again, entire industries to provide the wanton pleasures of the hedonist, the sadist, and those enamoured by the darker pursuits. One merely has to scan the Web to appreciate how Satan has been used as the provocation for man’s originality of thought. Facebook and other social pages have become a tell all tales of incredulous aberrations for no other reason that some people do take pleasure in performing wicked deeds. Satan does not have an internet connection, man does. Eliminate Satan from the equation and we acknowledge that evil is not some supernatural force but instead a natural product of mankind.
Do not pray to God to be delivered from evil, but instead ask that you are given the strength and wisdom to overcome your own evil thoughts and intentions. Give not your gold and silver to the hollow dens of Satan-free Zones, but instead find comfort in the homes and gathering places of those of similar mind that wish to encounter God face to face upon their own terms. For often there is more evil plotted and committed in those gold gilded palaces than in all the neighbouring dens of iniquity. Acknowledge that we are all sinners, we are the source of evil upon this world and then you will fully understand why you are standing before God and praying for forgiveness. Appreciate that you exist in order to achieve an existence free of vice and sin and then you will have found purpose in living. Know that it often appears to be a never ending battle and you will find hope in knowing you gain strength with every skirmish. Perceive that it is not an easy task but nor is it impossible and not all the money in the world will free you from this Business of Evil.
Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana
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