I find it delightfully ironic that there’s a major uproar over the proposed plans of a small Floridian Christian assembly to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A collection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic groups, as well as the president of the United States and other officials, have spoken against this scheduled performance, which, like so much else of little significance or value, is absurdly magnified through the lens of contemporary electronic means of communication.
It seems that most folks discussing this situation forget that burning books has long been a tradition of Christian organizations. Omitted too is the fact that “Jesus lovers” have a history of roasting other things that contain content for which their faith has inspired disapproval. In recent times record albums have been kindled. It is documented that over their two thousand year history Christians have incinerated artworks, buildings, and the bodies of people whose minds held—or were suspected to hold—concepts contrary to the dictates of their spiritual dogmas.
So, why this controversy? The current major spiritual faiths have gained global acceptance, despite having caused centuries of carnage, particularly through rivalry with one another. They are now all symbolically holding hands in a soggy “brotherhood of belief” unified in their clinging to irrationality against secularism, humanism and reason. They claim the behavior of their followers is now sanitized, respectable, “murder free,” and “good.” For the most part, they tolerate each other, having moved beyond the physical torturing and killing of differently thinking humans. Many different houses of worship coexist today without sending raiding parties to attack heretics. However, history records hundred of years of strife during which Christian sects slaughtered each other as well as Jews and pagans, along with those accused of witchcraft or otherwise consorting with The Devil. And certainly the crusades were an extended bloodbath during which the strongholds of Islam were assailed and many murdered. Monty Python aptly mocked the Spanish Inquisition, but it was not a joke to those who fell afoul of their monstrous, faith-propelled torture spree. Now the world’s spiritual folk hold ecumenical conferences when before they’d torch each other’s sacred spaces along with the worshippers inside if such was possible. But if one looks carefully, this detente of deity worshippers is a fragile thing.
The backlash against Islam post the 9/11 terror attacks has brought another issue to public scrutiny: a mosque is planned for construction near the site of the former World Trade Center. Now, for citizens of the United States—a nation which claims to promote freedom of religion and which has not condemned Islam in general, but only fringe fanatical adherents of that faith—it seems quite hypocritical to want to prevent the construction of this mosque, claimed by those who wish to construct it to also include proposed areas for other forms of worship and study. One would think that here would be an opportunity for American religious folks to prove the sincerity of their claims of solidarity.
However, we critical observers have been offered a glimpse of the face behind that bland mask of ecumenicism in the hatred poured out by many regarding this mosque. Satanists know that the desire for vengeance will out, as that is natural for our species. So a resurrection of age-old religious wars looms, demonstrating that even these contemporary watered-down faithful can quickly revert to the xenophobic paranoia that once was the rule around our globe when their progenitors held sway.
Do you recall the violence that erupted back in 2005 when a Danish newspaper printed twelve editorial cartoons which mocked Mohammed? Riots ensued which brought about the deaths of over 100 people and death threats as well as rewards offered for killing the creators of the cartoons were well-publicized. It warmed this old devil’s heart to see the chaos these drawings conjured, broadcasting to a worldwide audience the nature of what fanatical faith can produce. Now we are treated to more such international exhibitions of Islamic unrest in response to the suggested immolation of the Quran by a small gaggle of Christers.
Some of us find it healthy for competing ideas to clash in an intellectual forum wherein their value is determined through discussion, evidence and clear thinking. So, it should be noted that those who burn books often mean to destroy the ideas that inhabit their pages, generally motivated by the fear that the questions they generate cannot be answered by what has been declared to be holy writ. This is an act of censorship, a way of forbidding anyone from ingesting thoughts which are deemed dangerous. One might reflect back on this having been done during the reign of the Third Reich in Germany, so Christians have inspired other tyrants to follow their example in having both books and humans consumed by flames.
We Satanists don’t fear ideas and consider books as objects which should be read and judged with rigorous critical focus, not consigned to pyres. And I suspect that many other equally secular people would agree with me that it is far more damning to examine tomes such as the Quran and other “sacred” texts to expose the anti-rational and contra-human concepts enshrined in their pages. Here is to be found the true blasphemy against the nature of the human animal which should be held up to wide scrutiny so that our species might move away from millennia of superstition-fostered acts of terror and madness.
I posit that my fellow faithless would consider it a far more appropriate means to memorialize the victims of 9/11 by excluding all expressions of religion from that site which was visited by a malicious maelstrom of undeserved death. Those who believe in some supernatural force can never be trusted to act with reason, equanimity and justice, since ancient screeds crafted by desert dwelling lunatics can supplant their application of clear thinking at any juncture.
However, I expect business as usual to continue. Spirituality will be touted as a positive value, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The formal dance of feigned religious brotherhood will uneasily be pranced, with notable stumbles. Books and people will surely be cast into the flames by those who hold faith above reason. The false pledge towards unity of religions will eventually be shattered by further acts of violence—of that you can be certain. Listen carefully to hear the discords in that weakly-sung “Kumbaya.” Understand what that portends. The docile peace of the “lambs of God” is but a sham. Let this be a continuing lesson to sane human beings who live just and productive lives without the need for belief, that these antiquated religions should not be considered viable alternatives for others but should at last be abandoned by the world’s populace. Hyper-faith must emphatically be noted as a mental aberration, a condition not fit for participants in a global technological society.
How destructive will these believers be, how extraordinary the body counts from their future radical demonstrations of faith? Recall that the insanity of blind belief sees apocalypse as a viable option, so those rabid dogs cannot be expected to show discretion or mercy. Tolerance is tenuous, as these recent events make obvious. The spiritual will continue their acts of bigotry, violence and wholesale mayhem. Expect grander vistas of massacre and ruination. Will there eventually be a groundswell of reason and secularism once the debris has been cleared and the corpses laid to rest? Only our descendants—if any—will have that answer.
Written on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Peter H. Gilmore
High Priest of the Church of Satan
We Are Legion
A Moment In Time
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