The Big Picture: The Devil You Know - Part I

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bor3ds0ul:
Is it alright if I ask for links to sites or books with more information about the origin of the Christian devil? It seems like a very interesting topic of study.

Wikipedia isn't a bad place to *start*, but there's plenty of good information out there in book form if you're willing to delve deeper. Here's my recommendation list (I'm actually researching this myself at the moment, so this is also *my* reading list), all of which can be found on Amazon and some can probably be found at your local library (or obtained by inter-library loan):

"The Old Enemy" by Neil Forsyth (I think this is the best of the list, but it's also a bit pricey at around $30 used. It's academic, but Forsyth's writing is accessible and engaging, and his research is fantastic. I'm reading this now.)

"The Origin of Satan" by Elaine Pagels (She veers from the central topic, and covers a lot more early Christian history than simply focusing on Satan, but still useful and valuable context.)

"The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots" by T.J. Wray and Gregory Mobley (I haven't read this one yet, but I've seen it recommended. I think the focus is more overtly religious here than in the other books, but it still looks pretty good on paper.)

"Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity" by Jeffrey Burton Russell (This is actually part one of a four part series (Satan: The Early Christian Tradition, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages, and Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World are the other three parts) and is quite good, and has the advantage of being inexpensive (~$3 per book, plus shipping) in the used editions. The only drawback vs. the Forsyth is that they were written almost 30 years ago and some of the modern material is dated and some of the historic material lags behind current research. But they're a great starting point if you want to read further after Wikipedia!)

Therumancer:
Err, well a couple of corrections.

For starters the whole "Michelle Remembers" thing tends to come down to whether you believe in regression hypnosis, the basic idea that a trained psychiatrist, can use hypnosis to access your deep memories and allow you to remember, or convey, things that you do not consciously remember without it. The idea being that pretty much everything you see, think, or experience is stored there somewhere, even if you can't always access it.

This isn't a matter of belief, this is a matter of science, and memory doesn't work that way. The "tape recorder" notion of memory has been thoroughly debunked, and the idea that false memories can be planted has been conclusively proven.

What's more "Satanism" for a lot of people generally speaking comes down to fancy ways for them to justify sociopathic behavior, ...yeah, I'd imagine there have been plenty of abusers who got organized (like we see busted in kiddie porn production rings and such) donned satanic trappings for fun/atmosphere and pretty much did their thing.

There has never been a scintilla of evidence of any such thing. If you have such evidence, please bring it forth and the FBI would love to hear it-- you know, having spent scads of taxpayer money investigating this nonsense and finding it all to be bunk. Are there some genuinely unpleasant people who identify as Satanists? Yes, just like there are genuinely unpleasant people who identify as Christians, and any other religion on earth. (Oddly, I've seen people trying to hang all manner of unpleasant behavior on Satanists, but I never see complaints about Satanists being cozy with Neo-Nazis-- this is the thing that has most repulsed *me*, as a Satanist, about organized Satanism.) But this molestation-Satanism connection you're so gleefully speculating about doesn't exist, and IMO it's not okay to be so credulous about a thing that has cost innocent people their livelihood, their children, and in some cases (West Memphis Three, for example) their freedom.

As far as the whole pagan/neo-pagan thing, one thing I have to keep reminding people of is that according to strict Christianity there are only two real forces, god and the devil.

I don't think anyone forgets your theology, they simply don't allow your theology to dictate facts. Fact: Neo-Pagan religions don't worship Satan. That your religion would like to conflate every other god who has existed in human history with Satan doesn't change the facts, they simply change how *you* view them.

Arguably it could justify torturing people until they "found god", and then killing them (to send them to heaven before further temptation) as being a humanitarian act by it's own standards.

Could, and has in the past and continues to do so today.

I'm also a big believer that a lot of the pagans were generally speaking not nice people themselves. Us European barbarians wound up freaking out the Romans with the crap we got up to, and really that is what the Christians were still dealing with after the fall of Rome. Basically the situation probably wasn't helped by all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else. You generally weren't dealing with a bunch of peaceful "wise women" dancing in the moonlight and nothing else. That sells well to the new age crowd, but when you start looking back at the crap barbarians were up to back then, and understand there really wasn't a dividing line, it paints a different picture. Every once in a while you see shows on TV where they show caves full of bashed in skulls, depictions of bloody rituals, and similar things, not to mention going off about how the Vikings went around ripping people's rib cages open to make "the blood eagle" as a sign of appreciation to Odin (a pagan deity) for a long time. So really there was kind of an element of "you kill our people horribly, we kill yours" at the end of the day though the Christians by and large won, and did so by killing or converting all of their rivals.

And your source for all this luridness is... TV shows. Please read some actual history, would you? I'd be happy to provide actual scholarly recommendations on whatever aspect you'd like. Humans, though, have been human throughout the course of our existence. Any group that has held power has done both heinous things and admirable things. Arbitrarily deciding that your group is "civilized" and the rest are "barbarians" is silly, harmful, and in many of its manifestations, more than a little racist. At least you acknowledge that killing and forcible conversion is a thing your religion has done-- do you also acknowledge that coerced conversion is a thing it continues to do? Or acknowledge that modern polytheists aren't raiding, skinning, or blood-eagling anybody?

Didn't either the BBC or Channel 4 do a documentary last year where they looked at the evolution of the devil through art work? Where he went from this almost beautiful sorrowful angel to a snarling beastman? I think it was called something similar to Painting the Devil, The Devil in art, how the devil was made, ya know, it was one of those kinda titles. Wish I could remember it. It goes brilliantly alongside this.

Is it just me, or is it really impossible to tell this (if you don't know the background) from an episode about the evolution of an iconic comic book villain?

I'm sorry. What you wrote as a disclaimer, I read it as "Get ready to get your jimmies rustled".

Luckily (for me), mine didn't :D

If you liked the ground covered here please watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUPE0CilXOw

It's a fascinating doco that goes into more depth than Bob does when covering how the western concept of the devil has evolved through time.

The devil of school shows in many forums during this video:

History, knowledge, education.

Begone, foul fiend!

leviadragon99:
So... a giant collection of fanfiction used to near-literally demonise people and religious iconography of other faiths and anyone the church didn't like the look of... yeah that sounds about right.

It's not every day that 'Dante's Inferno' and 'Paradise Lost' get dismissed as fanfiction.

bor3ds0ul:
Is it alright if I ask for links to sites or books with more information about the origin of the Christian devil? It seems like a very interesting topic of study.

first point of reference kinda goes without saying, the bible. then skim through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_in_Christianity and check out some of the references at the bottom of the page, which should point you towards more detailed sources

bor3ds0ul:
Is it alright if I ask for links to sites or books with more information about the origin of the Christian devil? It seems like a very interesting topic of study.

I can't speak to any of the texts cited in the video, but I have a book by Gerald Messadi called "A History of the Devil."
It does a rather good job of detailing the nemesis figure as it appears in global religions and the impact of modern society. It's a good read if you're interested on the subject matter.

http://www.amazon.com/A-History-Devil-Gerald-Messadi%C3%A9/dp/156836198X

I'd love to see Bob dig into the Chtulhu Mythos, personally, seeing as it's another great example of appropriation of someone else's faiths and beliefs.

Lovecraft was looking for a set of baddies that would feel suitably Chtonic, and he had quite a bit of personal background in Semite history. He more or less followed the clergy's usual procedure and twisted Dagon, a Mesopotamian fertility god with fish-man iconography, into *his* version of Dagon, that's actually opposed by Lovecraft's perception of Science as being the province of the Learned Man - AKA a White, Anglo-Saxon man of highly specific breeding and extensive academic value.

So instead of pushing a religion's agenda, Lovecraft more or less pushed his very 1910s-politically-accepted view of the Western world by way of some odd bits of remaining Colonialism. The catch is that since he has a fairly pessimistic view of the world, all that knowledge and celebrated academia is represented as being better off sealed in an ivory tower of sorts - along with the rest of his imagined forbidden texts.

I never really connected the dots the way you did, but that makes sense. Good job.

NaramSuen:

Therumancer:

Simply put with all of the things busted over the years that have been confirmed real, it actually seems even more plausible that it could have been going on as far back as the 1980s especially seeing as some of the big child-porn players were apparently active back then.

The book was published in 1980 and the events which Michelle "recalled" during her psychiatric sessions started when she was 5 years old in 1955. The book is bunk and attempting to tie it to modern day sex tourism is a stretch at best.

Also, I would like to see what evidence there is of "all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else." I am not saying that these pre-Christian people were awesome, I just haven't read anything that suggests they were any worse than the Christians that followed them.

Because, when you sit down and watch stuff on history channel, read books on the subject, or whatever you find plenty of people showing examples of this kind of thing having been done because it's exciting and gets attention. Something like say "Ancient Aliens" might do something like point out how pagan people all over the world practiced some kind of cranial modification where they would like bind someone's head so as they grew it would deform into odd alien-like shapes (and show the skulls). Point out the piles of human sacrifices found in mass graves, rooms covered with skulls with oddly precise astrological alignments, and similar things. Not saying that show in particular but you see this kind of stuff regularly, with people trying to tie it into something or other. For example there is no true evidence these guys were doing this for the sake of aliens masquerading as gods, but the bottom line is that there IS evidence of all these gruesome things having taken place in the name of religion, whether it was aliens or whatever behind them. I actually saw a show at one time talking about things human skin was used for and the trade in items crafted from it (I believe it came up on "Oddities" as well at least once with a book brought to them), going from things like the (fake) human skin lampshades allegedly crafting by the Nazis, to the way how a lot of books, expecially medical texts, were oftentimes covered in human skin, albeit usually from dead bodies, and then going all the way back to ancient peoples doing everything from shrinking heads for trophies, to eating hearts, to making garmets from the slain. I believe the European barbarian version was to make cloaks of "patches" of human skin from slain or captured enemies, as opposed to making a "man suit" so to speak. So basically every time you'd kill someone you'd cut a piece off of them, and then sew it onto your cloak, each patch being another dude you killed that you can show off to all your warrior buddies. Which on a lot of levels isn't all that different from guys who lopped the heads off of their enemies, and then shrunk the heads for display, sometimes wearing them through their belts or whatever. When it comes to the patches I believe the intent was to show how old the idea of patches and earning them was, saying it kind of evolved from forgotten pre-history to things like athletes simply earning letters for their jackets, or boy scouts their badges, etc...

At any rate, don't get me wrong, it's hard to say they were subjectively "worse" at the time because the Christians were themselves behaving like a group of psychopaths when you get down to it, crafting all kinds of lovely methods of mutilation and torture in the name of their god as well. The point is more than it was more of a conflict which the more advanced and civilized people won, than a matter of simple slaughter of an innocent people. New Agers like to try and portray it as something like a bunch of innocent people picking flowers and dancing around being gathered up and tortured to death for lulz, it really wasn't, it was more a matter of barbarian cultures coming into conflict with the remnants of Rome which increasingly defeated and eradicated them through real war and targeting the culture as they got their act together and the dark ages slowly came to an end.

Also do

Please forgive the quality, but this video reminded me of this:

It's pretty sad to know that some people actually think satan is a red horned figure in spandex and holding a fork.

JenSeven:
Bob, not sure on your sources on the Witchhunts and persecution.
Terry Jones gave a much better and more logical explanation in his Medieval Lives: The Damsel.

The important bit comes in at about 19 minutes into the video.
The rest is also interesting, but that's where the point is.

These are on youtube?!

Hey everyonem stop whatever the hell you are doing now and watch this series. It's brilliant. Think of any fictional depiction or trope associated with the medieval ages; this series will smash 'em.

Polarity27:

Therumancer:
Err, well a couple of corrections.

For starters the whole "Michelle Remembers" thing tends to come down to whether you believe in regression hypnosis, the basic idea that a trained psychiatrist, can use hypnosis to access your deep memories and allow you to remember, or convey, things that you do not consciously remember without it. The idea being that pretty much everything you see, think, or experience is stored there somewhere, even if you can't always access it.

This isn't a matter of belief, this is a matter of science, and memory doesn't work that way. The "tape recorder" notion of memory has been thoroughly debunked, and the idea that false memories can be planted has been conclusively proven.

What's more "Satanism" for a lot of people generally speaking comes down to fancy ways for them to justify sociopathic behavior, ...yeah, I'd imagine there have been plenty of abusers who got organized (like we see busted in kiddie porn production rings and such) donned satanic trappings for fun/atmosphere and pretty much did their thing.

There has never been a scintilla of evidence of any such thing. If you have such evidence, please bring it forth and the FBI would love to hear it-- you know, having spent scads of taxpayer money investigating this nonsense and finding it all to be bunk. Are there some genuinely unpleasant people who identify as Satanists? Yes, just like there are genuinely unpleasant people who identify as Christians, and any other religion on earth. (Oddly, I've seen people trying to hang all manner of unpleasant behavior on Satanists, but I never see complaints about Satanists being cozy with Neo-Nazis-- this is the thing that has most repulsed *me*, as a Satanist, about organized Satanism.) But this molestation-Satanism connection you're so gleefully speculating about doesn't exist, and IMO it's not okay to be so credulous about a thing that has cost innocent people their livelihood, their children, and in some cases (West Memphis Three, for example) their freedom.

As far as the whole pagan/neo-pagan thing, one thing I have to keep reminding people of is that according to strict Christianity there are only two real forces, god and the devil.

I don't think anyone forgets your theology, they simply don't allow your theology to dictate facts. Fact: Neo-Pagan religions don't worship Satan. That your religion would like to conflate every other god who has existed in human history with Satan doesn't change the facts, they simply change how *you* view them.

Arguably it could justify torturing people until they "found god", and then killing them (to send them to heaven before further temptation) as being a humanitarian act by it's own standards.

Could, and has in the past and continues to do so today.

I'm also a big believer that a lot of the pagans were generally speaking not nice people themselves. Us European barbarians wound up freaking out the Romans with the crap we got up to, and really that is what the Christians were still dealing with after the fall of Rome. Basically the situation probably wasn't helped by all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else. You generally weren't dealing with a bunch of peaceful "wise women" dancing in the moonlight and nothing else. That sells well to the new age crowd, but when you start looking back at the crap barbarians were up to back then, and understand there really wasn't a dividing line, it paints a different picture. Every once in a while you see shows on TV where they show caves full of bashed in skulls, depictions of bloody rituals, and similar things, not to mention going off about how the Vikings went around ripping people's rib cages open to make "the blood eagle" as a sign of appreciation to Odin (a pagan deity) for a long time. So really there was kind of an element of "you kill our people horribly, we kill yours" at the end of the day though the Christians by and large won, and did so by killing or converting all of their rivals.

And your source for all this luridness is... TV shows. Please read some actual history, would you? I'd be happy to provide actual scholarly recommendations on whatever aspect you'd like. Humans, though, have been human throughout the course of our existence. Any group that has held power has done both heinous things and admirable things. Arbitrarily deciding that your group is "civilized" and the rest are "barbarians" is silly, harmful, and in many of its manifestations, more than a little racist. At least you acknowledge that killing and forcible conversion is a thing your religion has done-- do you also acknowledge that coerced conversion is a thing it continues to do? Or acknowledge that modern polytheists aren't raiding, skinning, or blood-eagling anybody?

Polythesists are no more or less guilty of criminal and anti-social behavior than anyone else. The problem of course being that people like you basically try and make cases for complete and total innocence and any criticisms being inherently false. At the end of the day you can find sources, all well justified and researched, on all sides of each other, all debunking and trying to call each other false and challenging each other's sources. It all comes down to what you want to believe.

At the end of the day, yes I believe there are a LOT of crimes and sociopathic behaviors that can be tied to organized non-Christian religions operating under the table. Just as it can be done with Christianity. You start looking into cults and they basically come in every variety you can think of, with most of them having ties to some ancient belief structure. The problem of course the more money and power involved in an organization the harder it becomes to prove anything concrete assuming they do a reasonable job of compartmentalizing information. Scientology would be a good example of this, as would certain powerful Christian sects that managed to get away with a ton of crap while remaining relatively unknown and hiding within the general body of the religion. For example we'll likely never know the full extent of what "The Solar Temple" was up to (one of the real conspiricies that was busted, and as a result lays fuel to others), and of course the "Church Of Claire Prophet" was busted before it could actually deploy the army it was building and outfitting.

When it comes to organized Satanic cults, understand that if your using "Satanic" to begin with you are by definition using the Christian definition, which ultimately makes most of what I mentioned by definition "Satanic" even if the people involved are not following Christian theology (or even think they are worshipping "God" but with his so called "real teachings"). Scientology for example is by Christian definition a "Satanic Cult" which in turn means any claims of people being sexually abused or taken advantage of in the context of Scientology is effectively "Satanic Ritual Abuse".

In a more direct fashion, involving the devil horns, inverted pentagrams, and all of that garbage all you need to do is visit a porno shop and you find tons of themed products and props because it tends to be really popular with the kink set. There are likewise porno movies using this as a theme. As a result it's heavily tied to the sex trade, whether anyone involved actually believes in the religious garbage or not, the look/idea of it probably just gets them hot.

You might not like my points, but the bottom line is that it's not a straightforward "Christians Bad, New Agers/Pagans good/innocent victims". Pretty much any horror story you've heard about Christians can be just as easily thrown back at New Agers if you really want to. Albiet it gets more attention with Christians because Christianity is more popular and thus it's more sensational, and the whole fringe/pagan/alternative religion thing tends to be popular in Hollywood and the Media.

Barciad:

leviadragon99:
So... a giant collection of fanfiction used to near-literally demonise people and religious iconography of other faiths and anyone the church didn't like the look of... yeah that sounds about right.

It's not every day that 'Dante's Inferno' and 'Paradise Lost' get dismissed as fanfiction.

So you're saying they're real accounts of actual events?

They're works of fiction based on another story, fanfiction, they happen to be among the best examples of that medium in the history of fiction, but that doesn't change the fact that they're fictional or inspired by another work of what I personally believe to be fiction, or is at the very least, a work with a lot of nonliteral allegory and metaphor.

Who said anything about dismissing them as fiction of worth? I'm just dismissing the mythology of the devil as anything to take seriously seeing as it's based and extrapolated almost entirely from third-hand sources with clear ulterior motives at play.

Therumancer:

NaramSuen:

Therumancer:

Simply put with all of the things busted over the years that have been confirmed real, it actually seems even more plausible that it could have been going on as far back as the 1980s especially seeing as some of the big child-porn players were apparently active back then.

The book was published in 1980 and the events which Michelle "recalled" during her psychiatric sessions started when she was 5 years old in 1955. The book is bunk and attempting to tie it to modern day sex tourism is a stretch at best.

Also, I would like to see what evidence there is of "all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else." I am not saying that these pre-Christian people were awesome, I just haven't read anything that suggests they were any worse than the Christians that followed them.

Because, when you sit down and watch stuff on history channel, read books on the subject, or whatever you find plenty of people showing examples of this kind of thing having been done because it's exciting and gets attention.

A statement like "all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else" needs something more specific than stuff on the history channel and I don't think that we should consider either "Ancient Aliens" or "Oddities" as reputable sources for anything other than entertainment. Also, you probably shouldn't refer to pre-Christian groups as barbarians because some of them had highly stratified and advanced societies; "civilization" as a concept is not unique to Christianity.

Not surprised by any of this really. Western religions have always looked down on other religions, to the point where most of the other options are laughable to many people these days. Why else would they travel the world and destroy other religions while promoting their own.

Its a nice thing to have a group to turn to (there are some positive aspects, granted), but many religions have had blood on their hands at some point. I choose to opt out of any organized religion, but if you dig any of them, knock yourself out.

Anyway, thanks Bob. I've learned else something new today.

NaramSuen:

Therumancer:

NaramSuen:

The book was published in 1980 and the events which Michelle "recalled" during her psychiatric sessions started when she was 5 years old in 1955. The book is bunk and attempting to tie it to modern day sex tourism is a stretch at best.

Also, I would like to see what evidence there is of "all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else." I am not saying that these pre-Christian people were awesome, I just haven't read anything that suggests they were any worse than the Christians that followed them.

Because, when you sit down and watch stuff on history channel, read books on the subject, or whatever you find plenty of people showing examples of this kind of thing having been done because it's exciting and gets attention.

A statement like "all the non-Christians basically killing and skinning people and wearing them like capes, building shrines out of skulls, murdering people on stone slabs, and whatever else" needs something more specific than stuff on the history channel and I don't think that we should consider either "Ancient Aliens" or "Oddities" as reputable sources for anything other than entertainment. Also, you probably shouldn't refer to pre-Christian groups as barbarians because some of them had highly stratified and advanced societies; "civilization" as a concept is not unique to Christianity.

Actually to correct a few things here. We're talking in a very specific context of what was going on in the areas occupied by Christians at the time through most of what we call Europe. Groups like the Gauls, Vikings, Goths, and others very much were Barbarians and exactly who is generally referenced when the term is used.

Furthermore as I pointed out about my sources, the ultimate conclusions and theories of things like "Ancient Aliens" are of course suspect, but the facts they present are not. Basically they will do things like visit a site and say "here is where all of these sacrifices were conducted, in this preserved site you can still see skulls of the victims arranged in niches on the wall" the site existing, what it was used for, etc... is all not in dispute it's a matter of record, which is what they try and use as a springboard for their more outlandish theories, saying that in it proves alien involvement when you look at similar structures/rituals/sacrifices/mythology in another area thousands of miles away on another continent where the primitive barbarians that built that site could not have gone. This is incidently why a show like that can get on something like "History" because along with the crackpot theories it provides solid, verifiable, historical information, that simply happens to be made more entertaining by watching some dude with hair like Yahoo Serious saying "It was Aliens!". With Oddities the show is about a shop that buys, sells, and trades weird items, and like Pawn Stars manages to make a show of having experts come on to examine items and explain things about them and the history behind them. For the most part your basic argument is pretty much that because you don't like it, that the accepted parts of history that really very few people bother to dispute unless they are new agers, are wrong.

When it comes to the term "Barbarian" in a general sense the qualifier is to be considerably less civilized than other civilizations around at the same time. Barbarians do indeed have organizations, cultures, etc... I mean the peoples we now generally call "Vikings" were barbarians at the time they were doing their think, and there are books upon books of stuff written about them. Gauls, Goths, Hitties, etc... all had their own customs, cultures, and nuiances, but they were at the time Barbarians in the shadow of rome, and later the cultures that came after it.

Beyond the context of this argument is the somewhat politically incorrect, but still perfectly accurate and valid, concept of "neo-barbarism" which is a big deal in certain academic circles right now. The basic gist of it being that while you have a number of advanced societies right now, some of them are far more advanced culturally, morally, and technologically than others. Global trade and information sharing also blurring the situation due to the fact that barbarians today can get access to technology and innovation through trade far beyond what their society could achieve on it's own without outside assistance.

This is one of the reasons why you see so many academic comparisons between the USA (and ultimately a lot of the rest of the first world) to the Roman Empire. Specifically in terms of a na´ve, moralistic, world view that despite some early brutality and once mighty military actions, prevents it from seeing threats right in front of it. The Romans ultimately let Barbarians rise up and crush them because they believed trade and economics would prevent it, as well as the threat of a military that was ultimately nowhere near where it needed to be for accurate defense or responding to threats for reasons of trade and diplomacy. Among the arguments the Romans made were that nobody would ever dare try and destroy(or even attack) The Empire because without them, who would maintain the roads? When you hear someone make a reference to "Barbarians At The Gates" it comes from the fact that the Romans became so oblivious to reality they literally ignored armies of their enemies forming up right in front of them (with plenty of times to change the situation) because they refused to acknowledge that there was a genuine threat.

The idea of Neo-Barbarians is that you have many fairly advanced cultures who still far short of the cultural, and moral development present in the dominant and most advanced ones that set the standard. For example you have entire regions that still have yet to embrace reason as opposed to spirituality, having not yet on their own gone through the equivalent of a renaissance. This of course raises interesting questions above and beyond comparisons to Rome (where the barbarians threatening the western world are currently cultures like China and the peoples of The Middle East) about the responsible distribution of technology and nations that are not ready for it having access to say nuclear technology even if they allegedly want it simply for "peaceful purposes" which of course raises questions about what to do when they steal that knowledge and develop the technologies on their own.

The irony here of course being that civilization is arguably defined by the people who were the slowest starters historically. China/Asia and The Middle East had flourishing civilizations while us "white folk" were living in caves and our only real taste of civilization was as slaves. That equasion changed, and now you have a bunch of those same Barbarians weighing the same kinds of problems and issues that those peoples once did, except with them well below the civilization curve no matter what technology might have wound up in their possession.

Of course I don't expect you to agree with all of that, and of course it's politically incorrect to be that blunt, but the point is that being a "Barbarian" is relative, and today to try and separate the old situation from the current situation with the current problems the term "Neo" is oftentimes added onto it because the current levels of technology and sophistication of barbarian peoples who might now have been around for thousands of years and indeed been mighty world-defining empires in of themselves now, raises all kinds of questions the ancient world never had to contemplate.

To put it into a perhaps less controversial context, if the civilized people of the planet today were to meet a starfaring race with far more advanced cultures and technology than we possess, we would also be Barbarians. Say if we ran into a race that had successfully ended all internal hunger, conflict, strife, etc.. along with developing far more advanced technology. It's entirely contextual. Though I suppose most prefer "developing nations" and similar terms to "Neo Barbarians" here on earth.

SonOfMethuselah:

fnartilter:
The book is a fabrication? As in does not actually exist?

Dammit! I kind of wanted to read that when you mentioned it.

No, no, the book exists, but the content (which was supposed to be a true story) is in all likelihood false. I actually think I have a copy kicking around somewhere, which is nice: new copies sell for like $250 on Amazon, and even a used copy will run you $50. I may have to dig it out, now.

OT: I find it funny that this episode popped up not long after The Devil and Corvo Attano piece that I read ... last week, was it? I don't know whether it was on purpose or not, but it's still pretty cool, because taken together (plus the second part when Bob posts it next week, I presume) they form a really nice picture of the representation of the devil in popular culture.

Oohhh. Great and not so great. That is an expensive novel. Do they not print it anymore or something? Does it have to be smuggled into the country by Han Solo, and arrive at the door with a Navy Seal escort?

I am actually quite suprised Bob did NOT mention Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust. He is depicted as A devil. It is a very influencial interpretation of the concept of evil for modern culture.

fnartilter:

SonOfMethuselah:

fnartilter:
The book is a fabrication? As in does not actually exist?

Dammit! I kind of wanted to read that when you mentioned it.

No, no, the book exists, but the content (which was supposed to be a true story) is in all likelihood false. I actually think I have a copy kicking around somewhere, which is nice: new copies sell for like $250 on Amazon, and even a used copy will run you $50. I may have to dig it out, now.

OT: I find it funny that this episode popped up not long after The Devil and Corvo Attano piece that I read ... last week, was it? I don't know whether it was on purpose or not, but it's still pretty cool, because taken together (plus the second part when Bob posts it next week, I presume) they form a really nice picture of the representation of the devil in popular culture.

Oohhh. Great and not so great. That is an expensive novel. Do they not print it anymore or something? Does it have to be smuggled into the country by Han Solo, and arrive at the door with a Navy Seal escort?

No, I think that the places selling the book on Amazon want to get as much money out of the book as they can. According to the Chapters website, I could get one for, like, $11 if I wanted to. If you're really interested, it would probably be worth your time to look around a bit. You'll probably be able to find it dirt cheap, given the age of the book.

It's weird to me, as a non-Christian living in the Western World, to see how much tiptoeing you need to do when acknowledging Christian iconography as myth, be it here or the "people of multiple faiths" warnings in Assassin's Creed. Meanwhile, any other religion gets to basically be discussed from anthropology or sociology with very little repercussion.

I'm all for not hurting people's feeling when it is avoidable, but there are limits to what I'll endure. To wit, I am willing to give a pass to the notion of taking the Bible as somewhat factual, but when it comes down to "we know for a fact medieval priests sort of made this up but a bunch of fundamentalists in the US still choose to believe this is true" territory I'm a bit creeped out.

So yeah, I can live with the notion that, hey, there are mentions to Satan in the Bible, even in passing, so if you believe in that stuff, I guess it's something you think it's true. When it comes down to rewriting known history for the sake of supporting unreasonable beliefs, though, I think that's where I draw my line. Theologists openly discuss biblical rewrites, expansions and deformations. I think MovieBob gets to do that without having to apologize in advance, too.

Great episode!

Ahh yes, the satanic panic of the 90's. I'd never looked into what kicked it off in the first place, but I became aware of it through all sorts of amusing talk show radio and jerry springer that represent the weird intersections of confused popular culture and confused youth and over the top public personalities.

I think my favorite though was Bob Larson, (christian evangelist, radio talk show host) VS Boyd Rice (industrial musician, satanist, misanthrope). Hilariously incompatible negotiation made even funnier by this youtuber's image montages.



Therumancer:

NaramSuen:

Therumancer:
[quote="NaramSuen" post="6.840667.20667187"][quote="Therumancer" post="6.840667.20666173"]Snip.

Snip.

Snip.

Ok Therumancer, I'm not going to debate about your use of the term "barbarians" to refer to these cultures, but i want to correct you on something: I reccomend you watch a documentuary called Ancient Aliens Debunked. It's made by a christian, and he does say that something may have occured in the ancient past, and that there are certain consistent themes in anchient mythology that require some good explination. What he does is point out how alot of their "verifiable" evidence is actually either misinterprited versions of existing places or traditions (Puma Punku, Nazca Lines), mistranslated texts (Sumerians and the gold-collecting Anunnaki), and in some cases completley fabricated out of thin air (The Crystal Skulls).

Here's the documentuary in its full 3-hour form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9w-i5oZqaQ

And there's the thing split up into three parts:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN7T8WzpZi8
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5TlNnN4bDQ
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWpKsJLXBR4

MonsterTalk did a very good episode back in November covering some of this sort of background material on Satan/the Devil, especially covering the notion of being "the adversary", where the term adversary here is used more in the vein of the British court system rather than as an evil nemesis.

http://monstertalk.skeptic.com/speak-of-the-devil

"...it should be understood that none of the jokes, humor, etc., herein are intended to be taken as derisive or dismissive of the same in any way."

True that! If you want to go see Movie Bob make derisive personal comments against you as a Christian, go to his blog! Where he proudly declared that you're all "sick, and should be treated as such".

You know what? No. Fuck me. This video was extremely good spirited. That's it; Bob, as of this video, you are NOT an asshole anymore.

*tear*

harryhenry:

Therumancer:

NaramSuen:
Snip.

Snip.

Ok Therumancer, I'm not going to debate about your use of the term "barbarians" to refer to these cultures, but i want to correct you on something: I reccomend you watch a documentuary called Ancient Aliens Debunked. It's made by a christian, and he does say that something may have occured in the ancient past, and that there are certain consistent themes in anchient mythology that require some good explination. What he does is point out how alot of their "verifiable" evidence is actually either misinterprited versions of existing places or traditions (Puma Punku, Nazca Lines), mistranslated texts (Sumerians and the gold-collecting Anunnaki), and in some cases completley fabricated out of thin air (The Crystal Skulls).

Here's the documentuary in its full 3-hour form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9w-i5oZqaQ

And there's the thing split up into three parts:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN7T8WzpZi8
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5TlNnN4bDQ
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWpKsJLXBR4

I've actually seen parts of that before, and in return I'd suggest you re-read my posts as I myself mentioned a lot of this.

It's like this, if one of these guys decides to head to some ancient temple site, and points to a bunch of niches in the walls full of human skulls for example, the bottom line is there are niches full of human skulls, right there, showing the ancient people in that area killed a whole heck of a lot of people and made ornaments out of their head filling. Whether this done to appease some alien masquerading as a deity, or the specifics of the religion, the bottom line is the people in this area whacked a bunch of people and used parts of their bodies for religious purposes.

At the end of the day, your more or less correct, that the whole alien angle is at best theoretical, and it can be questioned. Of course at the same time I don't take freelance "debunkers" seriously in most cases when they are dealing with stuff verified by a major network and it's people. To put it into comparison when someone decided to do a show claiming there were experts researching the existence of mermen and undersea civilizations, with most of it (including the very existence of "experts" who were actors), there was an immediate backlash far beyond anything Ancient Aliens (which remains on the air) has gotten, largely because AA's basic history is fine, and they actually do have people visit the sites and such, enough people agree with them to make a fight out of it if they really wanted to. None of this really matters of course within the context of this discussion.

However, "Ancient Aliens" was just one source I mentioned, I simply used it as an example of a kind of show, of which channels like "History" run a lot, that is to say shows where they actually visit ancient temples, burial sites, and show off "interesting" remnants of vanished civilizations, using their violent and deranged behavior to shock and entertain while teaching about what happened in some of these parts of the world.

Finally I'll say that for me this isn't really a "Christians are better than ancient pagans" argument. I am a Christian, but not a deeply spiritual one. Truthfully if you've been paying attention here, and to my posts in the past, I've basically already said that like with most things the bigger bastards win. At the end of the day The Christians were better organized, more advanced, and more brutal than the people they were in competition with, which is why they won. Just like how I'll frequently point out that during "World War II" us "heroic allies" beat Hitler not because of our morality and the righteousness of our cause, but because we were simply bigger bastards. Take all the evil stuff you hear about Hitler on the battlefield, increase it by about 50% and that was how bad we were. It's just that as the winners we get to right the history books, so our maniacs are "heroes" and theirs are "war criminals". When you compare what guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris did to the Axis (Germany in particular) to say The Blitz, it kind of shows, the difference is that we view The Blitz with horror, but gloss over "Bomber" and his antics because we won, either way it was the mass bombing of civilian populations and infrastructure to break a people. Hitler couldn't push it to the point of winning, we did. Points like this I bring up periodically in various discussions to explain why I am such a brutal bastard in advocating mass murder as a way of resolving long standing conflicts and it's nessecity in winning wars. In the context of this discussion it's not "Christians were good, pagans were bad" it's more a matter of both sides were utter, murderous, bastards, and the bigger bastards won (which is pretty much world history in a nutshell sadly enough). My point is that pagans were not innocent, peaceful, victims... NOT that the Christians of the time were great guys, and didn't do worse. What's more it's quite possible that had they won the pagan peoples defeated by Christianity would have gone through a renaissance themselves and become considerably nicer, and more civilized, and turned out along the lines of modern new age movements, that said this is not the course history took. On one side you had church-lead purges and inquisitions and the like, and on the other you had those practicing murderous barbarian faiths. It's like a hypothetical boxing match between Charles Manson and The BTK killer, there is no good guy.

That was interesting, thanks, Bob!

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