What Do You Say?  

Posted by Devin Parker

I just want to bang this off quickly before I go to pick Marilyn up from work, because it's been buzzing in my head all day.

This morning I took a break to play a little World of Warcraft. I have a character I play who is in a guild - guilds being social groups you can create and join, usually centered around some theme or idea, from "people who just want to kill stuff and rack up [the equivalent of] points together" to "people who want to roleplay that we're a clan of Orcs in the World of Warcraft". One of the features a guild has is a special chat channel in which you can talk to all of the other members of your guild while playing. All of this is incidental to my point.

So I'm playing the game, and I type on the chat channel about an amusing occurrence: the battles that people can join to play against each other are numbered through the day, and the battle I just finished with was number 666.

One of the other members of my guild says "Did you know that's the number of the Moon, and of Thoth?" I replied that I didn't really do the whole numerology thing; when she said it wasn't so much numerology as astrology, I said that I didn't really hold with divination of any kind. Out of curiosity, I asked, where does this idea come from, Egyptian texts or what?

She says, "Spiritual Satanism. It's the third clairvoyant point" or something similar. Searching for something to say that wouldn't be misinterpreted in the chat as some kind of personal slight, I basically replied, "Uh, yeah, that would definitely be my opposite number." Which, while it seemed a somewhat clever pun to me at the time, and a James Bond-like reference at the same time (which I forget that no one ever seems to understand when I make it), was possibly not the best reply I could have mustered. It was all I could come up with at the time.

But that little conversation has remained in my skull, buzzing around like a housefly. What exactly do you say when someone tells you they're a Satanist? I think the question is only made more awkward when it's done in the arena of a computer game, but I can't think of a single forum where there wouldn't be at least a hint of tension. Certainly the person who tells others "Did you know that this is an interesting facet of Satanism?" must do so expecting to receive, at the very least, odd looks. Is this some goth kid looking for attention in the most ostentatious way possible? Is this some refugee from the Bible Belt who has concluded that being a Christian must mean being a close-minded ass who swears at and beats up people who don't conform to his idea of "normal"? Is this someone who doesn't literally worship Satan, per se, but gives that name to an amalgamation of anti-religious, individualistic concepts?

I don't want to be a jerk; from what I've seen of her in the guild chat, she seems nice enough. But on the other hand, you've just told me that you're knowingly in league with the Enemy. I don't know quite how far people can travel down the road of corruption, quite how twisted they can become in devoting themselves to actual Evil, but my suspicion is that the person who roleplays an honorable Orc in a computer game probably doesn't believe that babies should be tortured for fun. I find myself reasoning that she has no idea what she's signing up for, ultimately speaking, just like the majority of other people, who turn their back on Christ's offer of salvation. I just can't get around the use of the name.

I hope that she changes. I hope that this is some stupid phase and that she grows up and realizes how dumb it all is. But if she were to die today, and she found herself standing before the Creator of Universes, the Final Judge of All, what could she possibly say in her defense? I have no idea what Hell would be like for her, but how would you feel if the only name you could offer was the name that everyone KNEW was that of the enemy? It kind of takes the wind out of the idea that you were believing a different mythology - "I was worshipping Thor! I was worshipping Zeus!" - when you've chosen to use the name that the Bible specifically names as the bad guy...

My mind is boggling over this one.

EDIT: Okay, so a quick internet search reveals a bit more. Wikipedia and religioustolerance.org mention "Spiritual Satanism":

Wikipedia: Theistic Satanism, also called Spiritual or Traditional Satanism, is the worship of Satan, and consists of several viewpoints and groups.

religioustolerance.org: Theistic Satanists (a.k.a. spiritual Satanists, Devil worshipers) worship the Christian concept of Satan as an actual deity.

Thus, we're not talking about someone who foolishly bundles notions of individualism, atheism, and anti-religiosity under the name of Satan ("We don't worship the devil, we just use the Hebrew word to signify an adversarial view to the Abrahamic faiths. Why are you looking at me like that?"), but someone who literally worships Satan himself, knowing full well that he is the Enemy.

(Having said that, apparently one of their spokespersons is concerned about the rise of Neo-Nazism in their ranks. I guess because that would be Bad.)

The website that religioustolerance.org references mostly talks about wanting to think for oneself, shrouding itself in Anton LeVey mystique with a corny heavy metal soundtrack. I imagine that these people would wet themselves every bit as much as anyone else if confronted with the truth of things, but at this point I'm beginning to find my generosity wavering.

I tell myself that if she only knew what it was she was really signing up for, she'd be out of that faster than...well, faster than a really fast thing. But who knows how depraved the human heart can become? I don't think I'm prepared to give the jaded, sinful human being the benefit of the doubt any more. If she doesn't wise up and finds herself before the Throne of God in this state, well... I wouldn't want to be there to see it.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 11, 2008 at Monday, August 11, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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