Thursday, April 19, 2007

Heresies of the horned god.

I came across a fundamentalist website today. You know the sort of thing - you're all going to Hell, no matter what, unless you do precisely what we say, when we say it. No discussion. No deviation from our absolute rule. They 'save' by dictation, not persuasion. It's here but turn off your speakers or risk being depressed by sombre music.

This was filled with such things as 'Harry Potter teaches children how to be witches', 'Dungeons and Dragons will turn all your young into devil-worshippers'.

I tried Dungeons and Dragons when I was young. I didn't become a devil-worshipper. Frankly, I found it all rather dull. And none of the Harry Potter spells are anything more than a bit of fake Latin. It's a children's book, and no more evil than the Wizard of Oz.

These kinds of sites twist history to suit themselves. For instance, they declare that the Celts worshipped Satan (who the Celts had never heard of) and that Halloween was the central Druid festival. On Halloween, the Druids apparently walked from house to house demanding food, the origin of Trick or Treat. All the dead walked the streets.

What utter crap.

Trick or treat is a recent American invention. It was unheard of here in the UK even in my youth. It's new, not ancient. Druids had no need to demand anything. They were in charge!

Halloween was the Celtic New Year. End of harvest celebration, big bonfire, beer, jump through the flames as a cleansing ritual (once the fire died down so nobody suffered burns). That sort of thing. If the druids were there, they were drunk. It had nothing at all to do with death or the Devil. The whole thing was hijacked later, not by witches, but by the church. Yes, it was the church who declared this an unholy festival. The new breed of Satanists latched on to that and took it to themselves.

The chief god in the Celtic pantheon was called Hu, and this god had a son. His name was--wait for it--Hesus.

Does that sound like they worshipped Satan, or someone else?

When Christianity arrived, I imagine it going something like this:

Pilgrim: "The son of God has come to Earth and died for your sins."

Shabby Celt: "Oh yeah? If that's true, what's his name?"

Pilgrim: "Jesus."

Shabby Celt: (after a pause) "Well, that does sound like the Son of God all right. Must be true then."

Christianity had no trouble establishing among the Celts, because they already believed most of it anyway. They weren't worshipping Satan. They had a host of minor gods (godlings? godlets?) and one principal god. Christianity had one principal god and a host of angels. The transition wasn't difficult.

There was no need to stamp out the Celtic New Year festival. The druids didn't care about it all that much anyway. The big thing for them was (and still is) the solstices and the equinoxes. The people did care about it. It was the big end-of-year party, and this new religion wanted to forbid it. There was considerable bad feeling about that.

The site also claimed that Easter was a Christian festival overrun by Pagans.

Propriety forbids me using the words I'd like to here.

It's a shame, because the Celtic religion and Christianity were perfectly compatible. If the early church hadn't stamped so hard, they wouldn't have caused so much bad feeling. Satanism might never have surfaced at all. It is, after all, merely an anti-Christian thing rather than a real religion. Saying the Mass backwards? Desecrating old churches? That's not a religion. That's an anti-religion. It arose because of the Church's attempts to stamp it out, not despite them.

As for the Horned God, that wasn't Satan. That was most likely Pan, or the Green Man. Celts had no devil and no Hell. To them, if you didn't make it into Heaven, you were sent back here to try again.

If some recent Goatman reports are to be believed, that horned god is still out there. More on that later.


tom sheepandgoats said...

Unusual for Christian groups, (100 years ago, not now) our people have always maintained that hell is a crock, unsupported by scripture.

C T Russell, an early JW, who traveled and spoke extensively, was often billed as "the man who turned the hose on hell and put out the fire."

Romulus Crowe said...

What gets to me with those hellfire and damnation groups is that it's conversion by coercion. It's no different to holding a knife to someone's throat and saying 'join us or die'.

People join, not because they believe, but because they're afraid of what will happen to them if they don't. So hellfire and damnation gets two kinds of followers.

Those who are scared of an imaginary Hell, and do what they're told.

And those who enjoy putting the same fear into others. These rise through the ranks pretty fast.

The 'religion' is used as a cover for a domination cult, in those cases. It's not just Christianity that gets used in this way, any religion can be--and is--used to cover this sort of tactic. Some have even made up entirely new religions just for the purpose.

There are those who follow their religions as they were designed to be followed, and I can respect that even though I don't have one myself.

Any group that says 'join us or die' or 'join us or burn in pits of sulphur while little red men pelt you with rancid frogspawn' is not really a religion. If people have to be terrified into joining, it's a protection racket.

Unfortunately, it's a very successful racket. I believe you mentioned this sort of thing on your own blog, Tom? A 'snare and a racket', wasn't it?

tom sheepandgoats said...

Yes, I did, and it was.

Having said that, and in spite of your right-on points, we too would preach hell if it found scriptural support. But it doesn't.

There are three original language (Hebrew or Greek) words that English Bibles translate as hell. So....find the meaning of those words, and you've found the meaning of "hell."

None of them, by any stretch, denote a place of eternal fiery torment.

Oh, all right. There is one more word, but it's used only one time. And it doesn't fit either.

Romulus Crowe said...

Three words that describe Hell... Tell me they're not 'Glasgow', 'Saturday' and 'Night' ;)

I tried it once. It certainly looked like Hell to me.

The Celts also had no concept of Hell, which presumably helped in their conversion to the early church. For them, spiritual life was a one-way trip from creation through Earth to Heaven (I can't remember the words they used now, I'd have to look them up).

If you failed on Earth, you didn't go to a Hell. You were sent back to do it all again. Not an appealing prospect at the time, I'd imagine.

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