We are lucky to live in a time of information, of social tolerance, and personal freedom.
Especially so we who fly under the banners of “unorthodox” religions. We heathens, heretics, blasphemers, pagans, et cetera, are perhaps, the most fortunate. Gone are the days of inquisition, at least in most developed countries, we in the “first world” are able to use this glorious age of information for true and meaningful self discovery.
Hell, even the ones who don’t use it for anything meaningful are able to DO so. It was not more than three hundred years ago, even the most well meaning “white-light” witch would have been drown at the hands of her small minded populace. Even atheists were subject to the cruelties inflicted by the denizens of God not long before that.
Tommaso Campanella wrote his infamous “Atheism conquered” while imprisoned for such heresy. He, like many other atheists at the time, would have been simply tortured to death or burned at the stake, but instead he feigned madness, saying her unable to control his thoughts and thus, was spared with a lifetime in prison.
During these years he continued writing, first a paper that spoke fondly of the Spanish Monarchy and it’s divine appointment. When the Spanish government took favor to it, he wrote “Atheism conquered” a piece, which on the surface, appears to be a “debunk” of atheism and a decrying it as truly inferior and heretical ideology compared to the grand designs of Christianity. Presented as a series of debates from fictional atheists against a grand embodiment of Christianity, the heretical atheist are “put in their place” by the sincere and weighted words of the teaching of God.
However, when examined closely, the diatribes, arguments, monologues and over all position presented by the Atheists, are so impassioned, so heartfelt, so vivid, and convincing, that it is easy to see the tongue-in-cheek approach taken in its writing. The Christian response to each heretic is stodgy, stiff, and full of the same Sunday School rhetoric the Church has always been known for. It was aloof enough, however, that it spared Campanella from execution and he continued writing. Yet, it was engaging enough and so thinly veiled that it became the atheist manifesto for its times and great minds and writers have since referenced it, and more notably, its creation.
So why then, is this important? In this day and age, we can get on social media, find the darkest death metal lyrics, paste them on the most scandalous and blaspheming picture we can find, and post it for all to see. No garrote poles, no thumb screws, no pitch and fire execution. We no longer need the veil that Campanella needed to have our heretical ideas put forth, so why bring it up at all?
My point is this, in this age where open blasphemy has become fashionable, we forget that there was a time when it was not. In fact, it was tantamount to child molestation, and in the case of the Christian Church, far worse. After all, if they burned pedophiles, they would have run out of priests!
It is important to remember the luxury we have when we invert a cross, or bad mouth a religious leader. There are pockets of the globe where you will be stoned to death in the street for it. It is truly a luxury and one that has become far to easy to exercise.
More importantly, however, is to remember this, if you take away only one thing from this essay, it is it this:
“Blasphemy” is THEIR word. It was their stone to cast.
All the titles I mentioned above :heathens, heretics, blasphemers, pagans, apostate… the list goes on and on. None of those were chose for being fashionable. No one has ever worn those mantles because they defined who they were. These monikers were branded, sometimes literally, by the Church. Never was a heretic so named because they offended no one and chose the title. No, any self appointed blasphemer does so with their aim to piss off the Papacy.
You may be reading this and thinking, “But I AM a heretic and proud of it!”
Great! Me too, but that term was not ours and the power and imagery that goes with it, is in direct opposition of, specifically, the Christian/Catholic Church. Without whose dogma, the words would be limp and powerless.
I am not saying we should cease in our aesthetic war, not at all in fact. I enjoy the visual aesthetic of inverted Christianity, the Devil, the demons, the fallen angels. I love death metal and the imagery that comes with it. I wear my sigil of Baphomet, if not openly, proudly. Most of these I do for me, for my enjoyment, but I have to acknowledge the fact that all of it exists because THEY branded it.
THEY created this monster.
THEY perpetuate the fear and animosity.
THEY operate on fear and when we scare them, THEY feel vindicated and feel just in their struggles.
So all the disaffected, Hot topic goths of this day and age, with their Cradle of Filth shirts and pentagram hand tattoos, are only cementing the resolve of the God-adorers.
So why then, do we bother using the imagery, as Satanists, of monsters, blood, death, and all things unholy, if our goal is to be truly UN-holy?
Well as stated, I, and many others I know, feel drawn to it. As the outcasts, the “Alien Elite”, we take comfort in the darkness, and enjoy the titillation of fear. Beyond that it is a clear warning, and the first hurdle anyone must mount when researching Satanism. If you cannot get past the “Haunted House” motif of the shell, the chewy caramel center won’t appeal to you. Stratification in action for the most part, and this is no secret.
I am also a believer that the symbols of heretics, the embrace of the grand Darkness, is a long and deep line in the sand to those who coined the very term “blasphemy”. For, anyone who points a finger and shouts, “Heretic!” is not my friend, nor could they be.
My embrace of the term is a big indicator to them that they are not welcome, and they no longer have any power over me. The Sigil of Baphomet may as well be painted with a “Do Not Disturb” sign when shown to the huddled masses, but then, to those that fear it, it already is isn’t it?
In summary, we must remember those who died and suffered greatly because of the symbol and ideals we hold dear. We must remember who inflicted it. Remember who, like Dr. Frankenstein, raised this monster.They gave us power when they gave us this fear, they gave us substance when they created the word.
Now the balance of power has shifted and we no longer need fear retaliation. They try to “save us” using the same tired old psalms and quotes that Campanella used in “Atheism Conquered” but we remain just as passionate, vocal , and eloquent as the fictitious apostates. This time the veil is drawn back.