Fear, The Devil, And Christian Clerics Gone Amiss
This Hub is in response to an assertion - question from Comments in my previous Hub, "Pantheism And Traditional Witchcraft."
In Comments, Prophecy Teacher said: "Concerning evil - I did not mean in the sense of Satan, but in the sense of death, pain and morals. I'm not confident Christians invented the "Devil" to impose fear - but I am confident people suffer pain. What - in a Pantheistic world - does what? Why pain? Why death? And are you sure of the answer you are going to give me?"
Evil is a word loosely and commonly used in our society. Well, I associate evil with Satan, and I think most people do. But, as I said elsewhere, I don't believe in either one. They were both invented to create fear.
You state that you are "not confident Christians invented the "Devil" to impose fear." Actually, the concept of the Devil (or Satan) originates in Judaism. Christianity only absorbed and then re-invented the bugger in ever new and more spectacular ways to use as a tool to win converts by using fear. The history of the Christian church is one of the systematic marketing and propagation of fear.
I'll illustrate this point.
In Pagan Northern Europe, a popular god had always been what can be called the "Horned God." In various localities and regions, the Horned God was a senior god in pantheons, was known by different names, was given somewhat different appearances (but usually had horns), and was known as having various powers. The Horned God was, and is today among many Pagans, generally attributed as the physical and spiritual masculine power of Nature.
He was, and is today among many Pagans, honored and revered.
Around 1100 C.E., the European peoples were marginally Christianized through centuries of concentrated effort to destroy Paganism. However, vast numbers of the common people were experiencing enormous suffering from repeated plagues, senseless wars and slaughter, worsening grinding poverty, and widespread Church cleric hypocrisy, corruption, and incredible cruelty.
The people saw their appalling experiences as solid proof of the fundamental failings of the new Christian religion. In disgust, many revived their Pagan worship and practices.
The Christian priests in Rome became very alarmed that their church was becoming more and more thought of as a callous farce devoid of any true spirituality. So, the clerics came up with a bold idea. They adopted an image of the Great Horned God and called it Satan. By adopting the Horned God's image and transforming it into the image of their Devil, the Christian Church discovered a new and clever way to trick the public into thinking that Paganism was evil, that Paganism was the real cause of their ills. Then they began to market this newest farce by stating that the plagues and massive suffering were the 'one true God's retribution for the sin of the public's false idolatry'.
This was a sinister plan of deliberately misleading propaganda aimed at demoralizing the public's marginal spiritual connection to the old gods. Well, this tactic worked surprisingly well.
Christ's priests then came up with an even more diabolical plan. They added pictures.
The Christian priesthood in Rome came up with the idea to tailor a picture of their Satan to show in each European locale's church. They took the physical likeness of each locale's previously publicly known depiction of the Horned God and labelled each picture "Satan." This tactic was also incredibly successful.
As the years passed, the locally customized pictures of "the real Devil" sprung up across Europe and stroked dread into the hearts of the European populace. Of course, priests also went on sermonic tirades in support the Church's effort to obliterate all traces of Paganism. The populace slowly turned from their true gods and became fearful adherents of Christianity, just as ordered (bullied).
This may have been the first international use of pictorial propaganda.
Europe then settled into the most repressive of the Dark Ages.
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