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[ Religious tolerance and Satan - Who IS the father of all lies?]

To: alt.religion.christian.baptist,alt.religion.wicca,alt.traditional.witchcraft,alt.religion.satanism
From: "Two Crows" 
Subject: Religious tolerance and Satan -  Who IS the father of all lies?
Date: Sat, 02 Sep 2000 00:34:41 GMT

Disciple of Christ:
    Ok, you've drawn me out to speak up on the issues that are extant
between Christianity and Paganism (where both are umbrella terms for a wide
array of faiths/denominations). As you wish, I'll "share my thoughts with
the Christians" as you requested and cross-posted in an attempt to bring
forth. Since I subscribe to three out of the four NG's you tagged, it won't
be too far out of my way to express myself to the fourth, which I have
personal experience in as well.
    I've visited the website you linked and find it an expression of the
very issues I intend to address in this long essay. I ask that those reading
this peruse the "Jesus is Lord" site, and also
the following site for an educational contrast.

    Almost every Saturday evening for the last 20 years I have spent time
with a strange collection of people. We discuss several topics of interest,
not least of which is the nature of religion and tolerance, and how it
relates to past and current events. The list of attendees includes
practicing Baptists, Atheists, Agnostics, and Pagans. The list has changed
over the years but has always included Christians, Non-Believers, and most
recently practicing Pagans. We have enjoyed the presence of Mennonites,
Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, and a wide range in between. While the
discussions have certainly been heated at times there has never been any
violence or lingering disdain. Most notably the longest standing members of
this eclectic group have never given up their convictions, but they have
given up the misconceptions that prevented them from being friends who agree
to disagree. It should be noted that I am a practicing Pagan who's best
friends are a practicing Baptist and a practicing Mennonite. Both of them
come from a long history within their chosen faith, most notably the
Mennonite who can trace his faith and family to pre-colonial times. Over the
years we've helped each other in a variety of ways, not least of which are
mentioned in the Bible as the measure of sincere charity. We quite simply
love each other in a truly brotherly fashion without giving up our
convictions or altering our faith one wit. That some would consider these
Christian gentlemen as being unequally yoked with darkness for sharing their
friendship with me I have an essay below that demonstrates the issues
surrounding Paganism and Christianity.

    Not everyone knows the academic history surrounding their chosen faith,
the practices it has held over the centuries, or even the myths that infuse
all religions. These myths are of two major varieties - the mythology of
religious figures and happenings, and the mythology of history. The first
type is inspiring and intended to impart wisdom on a wide range of topics.
The second concerns the misconceptions most religions have about themselves,
and in some cases constitute willful fraudulence in an attempt to validate
their particular faith by the hoary cloak of antiquity. In the most innocent
of mythology pertaining to a given faith historical amnesia is prevalent.
Neither Christianity nor Neo-Paganism are free from this later type of
mythology. In that light I contend that rare few modern Pagan faiths existed
much further into antiquity than the later part of the 18th century, and
that the Christian faith known as Baptist cannot trace its lineage much
further than the mid 17th century in Britain, much less to the figure of
John the Baptist as they so often claim. That the Baptist faith is
considered a Protestant denomination by academia links it almost inseparably
to the history of the Catholic faith that it most plainly disdains to this
day. With this in mind let us proceed to the heart of my essay, that being
the person of Satan, and his relationship with Christianity, Paganism, and
peace on earth.

    Many in the Fundamentalist/Literalist Christian Movement contend that
any practice outside of that proscribed by the Bible, and most often the
Authorized King James Version of the Bible (circa 1611 CE) are tacitly or
actively accepting servitude to the "god of this world" who is the person of
Satan. While the core doctrine of almost all Christian denominations
revolves around the Fall/Redemption process, the fundamentalist doctrines
rely more heavily on the Principalities of Satan as the lever to right
action, and the eventuality of the White Throne Judgment and Lake of Fire
condemnation of the majority of mankind as the pressure to lever salvation
itself (the doctrine of Predestination aside). I will not at this point
attempt to dislodge anyone from their belief in Satan, Hell, or damnation,
because for those who base their cosmology in such myths they are most
certainly a part of their contingent reality. What I will attempt is to put
the process of demonization into perspective, and illustrate that the quest
to conquer evil is sometimes the very root of evil itself. I will not need
to revisit the Spanish Inquisition, European Witch Craze, or the unfortunate
happenings of Salem to illustrate my point. Let us instead visit the history
of the figure of Satan and compare it to events both historic and modern.

    Prior to about 600 BCE the attribution of both good and evil was
ascribed to the deitic personages of various religions equally, and that
included Judaism. With the cosmic strife between good and evil set forth by
Zoroaster in the Zend Avesta we see the attribution of evil to a single god
set in opposition to the creator god, in this case Ahura Mazda and Ahriman
respectively. It should be understood that Zoroastrianism was the first
world religion, and most certainly was extant over a wide area in the times
we are examining. Prior to this time the Jews ascribed both positive and
negative happenings to JHV, and didn't separate evil into the personage of
STN, who at that time was merely a tempting spirit sent by JHV himself to
try the faithful. Even the Hebrew word STN was a term for an "adversary" and
not an individual spirit entity, and most certainly not a proper name of a
given spirit. For the ancient Jew worldly evil was a passing instance that
didn't carry any lingering power, or focused intelligence, short of the
negative repercussions that it brought on in necessary reality. While a
murder was unfortunate, and not considered good by any stretch of the
imagination, it was wholly attributed to the choice of a mortal man, and not
the urgings of an evil deity bent on destruction of the human race. Even the
"Klippotic" elements of the Jewish Kabbalah, which most certainly existed in
some form at that time, were not seen as personages, merely the purchase by
which creation took form through the Holy Name of G*D.

    In the times just preceding the birth of Christ we see a very different
system for the attribution of evil. The Essenes, and other radical
Rabbinical traditions are by this time firmly latched onto the concept of
the eternal struggle between light and darkness, good and evil. This
struggle is of course personified in the "good" Jews who follow a more
literal interpretation of the Torah, and the "corrupt" Jews who make
alliances with the Pagans of the Roman Empire. It is in this atmosphere that
we first see the idea of the traditional Apocalyptic end times battle where
the light wins only after a great destruction that rids the world of the
children of darkness. That the Essenes managed a self-fulfilling prophesy by
their attitudes and suspicious actions is another story in itself. That
their brand of light didn't win against the evil Roman Empire and usher in a
new age of holiness is a historical fact.

    Entering into this age of good vs. evil is the historical figure of
Jesus of Nazareth, the very person of the Christ, and the soon to be Savior
of the World. Without much debate on the literal accuracy of the New
Testament, the reliability of eyewitness accounts, or the inerrant word of
God being preserved these last 2000 years intact, let us agree that the
words of Christ do include the person of Satan, the concept of Hell, and the
very aspects of damnation for which the present Christian faith holds as
truth. That these concepts are most prevalently presented in the Gospel of
John is no small point of interest, and that they are minimal in comparison
to His other teachings should be a clue as to the point of His overall
message. That Jesus preached radical egalitarianism and that the Kingdom of
God is near at hand, and not someplace in the distant heavens should be
noted.  The most astonishing aspects of His message is that He didn't stone
whores in the streets, He spent time with the socioreligious untouchables of
His day, and didn't exactly follow Jewish law. His answer to why He didn't
wash His hands before dinner are most important to the fact that He was a
radical in the Radical Rabbinical tradition Himself. That He dispensed with
the Ten Commandments in lieu of Two Commandments is also of importance to
this fact. This wasn't a shorthand way of remembering the spirit of the Law
of Moses, it was a complete refusal to accept anything but love as the law.

    How this relates to the person of Satan is simple. Very evidently we can
see that the person of Satan has undergone some changes throughout history.
That he wasn't always the "god of this world," "the prince of the power of
the air," "the adversary that rages like a roaring lion," or "the angel of
light" should be visible in the documents and archeology discovered over
time. That many chose to see him as the prevalent source of all evil or the
deceiver bent on taking the souls of mankind to a hell that was made only
for him, is a choice based in the information available to a person at a
given time in history. Accepting any of the tenets of Christianity is also a
choice based in the information available at a give time, and the personal
beliefs of any individual lucky enough to hear the Gospel first hand
themselves. (That there is no clear route of salvation for those who didn't
hear, which is answered most often by the fact that their ancestors knew
before they left the garden and therefore they are accountable to something
they never heard is another debate.) That some will not chose the Gospel as
their truth is even explained in the New Testament itself, although I
disagree with John's reasons why (more likely Mary's words, but that's also
another debate.)

    How this relates to religious tolerance is also simple. We all know that
people see things differently, particularly where religion is concerned.
That it is very possible that Christianity is the only real truth must be
considered by anyone who hears the Gospel. That many chose to stay with the
religion of their fathers is a reality that none can deny, and that
damnation is a very real possibility is something they must also consider.
In the case of Pagans, Wiccans, and Satanists this consideration is given a
much deeper amount of thought than most would believe. I can't speak for
Satanists, but I do know that many Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches study the
Bible quite extensively and most are fully aware of the possible
consequences if they are wrong about their choice in faith. It should be
understood that many Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches were either once
Christians themselves, or come from a Christian background. That they chose
their religion most consciously is something that all evangelicals should be
firmly aware of. That most of them wish no harm to the individual Christian,
or the religion of Christianity, is also something that must be stated. They
simply want to be left alone to their own devices, and the same chance to
see if their choices were right in the afterlife as you. That your own Holy
Word has something to say about such people cannot be avoided. I'll leave
the chapter and verse to those of you who want to study it out.

    When Jesus spoke of the Samaritan being the neighbor that should be
loved He was talking about the most vile of religious untouchables in His
day. He was talking about the people the Jewish Orthodoxy, and most of
society, were used to looking down their noses at. They were quite simply
everything that His society hated and looked down on. That the word
Samaritan is interchangeable with the following words is something that you
might all want to consider: Papist; Nigger; Jew; Wiccan; Lesbian; Faggot;
Witch; Pagan; Homo; Queer; Spick; Chink; Secular; Non-Believer; Infidel;
Once Born; Loser; Idiot; Whore; Prostitute; Fornicator; Pervert; Reprobate;
Apostate; Unregenerate; Hell-Bound; Sinner; Enemy of God; Abomination;
Satanic; Demon possessed; Worldly: ect..

    When in the course of your evangelizing you encounter a person who won't
show you hospitality you should dust your feet off and move on to the next
community. The Pagan community has been hospitable to your right to preach
the Gospel, but they are unwilling to accept it as the only truth. Most see
it as a way to the Creator, but not the only way. Perhaps you should
consider dusting off your feet to them, and move on.

    Jesus had some comments about a particular Pagan man who was a Roman
Centurion in need of help for his daughter. Roman Centurions in Christ's day
were most certainly Pagan, and many were of the Cult of Mithras (which has
some things to say about the concept of resurrection I might add.) When he
came to Jesus for help Christ said of him, "I have seen no greater faith in
all of Israel." The scriptures do not say anything about this man's
conversion, or about Christ offering him the Gospel of conversion, only that
he had a great deal of faith. Paul had some things to say about the
religiousness of the people of Athens, and proclaimed that the unknown god
was in fact Jesus. While I must admit that Paul was a wise man he was
basically offering them a way to see his point of view as applicable to
them. The missionaries of Northern Europe in the distant past did the very
same thing by allowing the Pagans to take their deities into the church with
them as saints.

    That evil exists is not often in dispute, but the source and nature of
evil is. We Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches don't believe it comes from a
personification of evil, only from an imbalance in nature and that includes
the nature of man. We don't believe in the fall of man or in the need of
redemption in the same way Christians do. We believe the divine spirit is
within us all from the time of birth until the time we return to spirit. We
do believe in responsible action, responsibility to one's choices, and that
what harm we bring to others comes back to us eventually. We do not believe
in the person of Satan as a real being who is deceiving us, and we do not
believe that the generative power of the universe has made something that is
flawed or to be turned over to darkness. We hold very highly the concept of
brotherly love, the right of all people to be who they are, and that
everyone should be responsible for their actions and choices. We do not
sacrifice blood, children, or engage in any conspiracy to further the
kingdom of Satan. We quite simply don't believe in Satan as anything other
than a godform, but we do believe in the sacredness of the person of Jesus
Christ. Many of our respected elders, and teachers from the past, exhort us
not to blaspheme the name of your God, not because we see Him as the only
one, but because we are assured that your investment of faith in Him is a
sacred thing not to be taken lightly. We ask that those of you who chose to
see us as hell-bound and evil do not blaspheme our right to invest our faith
in our gods, even if you see such faith as futile.

    This world is full of individuals who see things differently, have
different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and have different ambitions. In
any event we have to share this planet with people who don't believe as we
do. In many cases these differences exist within the family itself, and that
includes the family of God, no matter what god that is. I contend that
within the confines of the walls of any single church everyone therein has
various beliefs, and differing relationships with their god. That each
individual is a precious life is not openly disputed, but we all know that
the tenets of religion have historically enticed the faithful to see the
non-believer as worthless, or worthy of death. Without in-depth descriptions
of all the most horrendous act committed in the name of many different gods
I know it is likely that everyone agrees that religion can be the stimulus
to a great many atrocities. That these atrocities all started with acts
similar to Phelps' "God Hates Fags" campaign should be evident to even the
least skillful scholar.

    We need to agree to disagree on matters of faith, and come together on
issues that we should all agree on, and that being the fact that we don't
need to kill each other over race, religion, or creed...or even sexual
preferences for that matter. In closing I have this to say and interpret...

    Repent (change your mind about things) for the Kingdom of God (peace on
earth and goodwill towards men) is near at hand (so close you can reach out
and touch it)...

Live and Let Live
and above all Know Thyself...
Two Crows

 wrote in message
> Each one may have a different label, but YOU ALL WORSHIP THE SAME
> Christians view this page for the truth!!!
> Repent NOW!!!
> Sent via
> Before you buy.

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