Posted by: mystic444 | October 23, 2016

“Lucifer”

In the late 19th century, a man named Albert Pike – Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Masons – wrote a book entitled Morals and Dogma. One statement within this 861 page book is frequently quoted by denouncers of Masonry to show that Masonry (at least in its higher degrees) is “Luciferian” or “Satanic”. This statement is:

Lucifer, the light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its intolerable light blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls? Doubt it not!” (http://www.masonicinfo.com/lucifer.htm)

(In the linked article, the statement does not appear in its entirety in one place. I have combined two partial renderings of the statement. The first partial rendering in the article begins with “Lucifer, the son of the morning” and continues through “Doubt it not!” The second partial rendering – late in the article – begins with “Lucifer, the light-bearer” and contains everything except the ending “Doubt it not!”)

 

The problem with using this quotation to indicate that Mr. Pike was a worshiper of “the evil one” – Satan/Lucifer – is that he was in fact a devout Christian until his dying day! The statement is in reality a Christian protest against, and repudiation of, the use of the wonderful name “Lucifer” (“light bearer” or “light bringer”) to refer to Satan, the “Spirit of Darkness”. He is saying that it is simply absurd to call one whose characteristic is “darkness” by the name “light bringer”.

 

Instead, he says that the real “Lucifer” (light bringer) is “he who bears the Light, and with its intolerable light blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls” – that is, from his Christian perspective, Jesus Christ himself! Satan may pretend to be the “light bringer”, disguising himself as an “angel (messenger) of light”, but he is a liar and fraud. It is Jesus Christ, according to Christian thinking and teaching, who is the light and who brought that light into the world.

 

What is the source of the word “lucifer”? Is it true that in Christian thinking the word properly applies to Jesus Christ, or is it really the “name” of “the evil one”, the “prince of darkness”?

 

First, the word “lucifer” is Latin, and means “light bearer” or “light bringer”. It is used as a descriptive title/name for the “morning star” (“daystar”) – the planet Venus – because Venus appears in the sky just before dawn, is quite bright, and could be seen as introducing and bringing the Sun into the morning sky. Being Latin, it does not appear in the ‘original’ Biblical writings (which are Hebrew in the ‘Old Testament’ and Greek in the “New Testament”). However, “lucifer” does appear a few times in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. Two of those uses are in Isaiah 14:12 (“Old Testament”) and 2 Peter 1:19 (“New Testament”). Since I’m seeking a “Christian” understanding of who the true “Lucifer” is, I’ll begin with the New Testament use.

 

2 Peter 1:19 reads (King James Version): “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts”. “Daystar” is clearly a reference to Jesus Christ.

 

The word translated “daystar” is the Greek word “phosphoros” – which is literally “light bringer” or “light bearer”. In other words, the Greek word “phosphoros” is the exact equivalent in meaning with the Latin word “lucifer”; and while it may surprise most Christians, “lucifer” is the word used in the Latin Vulgate to translate the Greek word “phosphoros”! So according to the Latin Vulgate, Jesus Christ is “Lucifer”!

 

Now since the Latin “lucifer” (as also the Greek “phosphoros”) is used as a title/name for “the daystar” and “the morning star” (Venus), Revelation 22:16 is also a testimony that Jesus Christ is “Lucifer”. This verse reads (King James Version):

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

Although “morning star” here is not “phosphoros” (or “lucifer” in the Vulgate), but the actual two words “morning” (“proinos”) and “star” (“aster”) – or in Latin, “matutina” and “stella” – the meaning is the same since “phosphoros” is the name given to the “aster proinos”  – and  “lucifer” is the Latin name given to the “stella matutina”. It is the same as using “Washington, D. C.” to name “the capital of the U. S. A.”. “Washington, D. C.” is not the same wording as “the capital of the U. S. A.”, but they both refer to the same city, and may be used interchangeably. So “morning star/daystar” is interchangeable with “light bringer” (“phosphoros” and “lucifer”). 2 Peter calling Jesus the “light bringer” (“lucifer”) and Revelation calling him the “morning star” (“stella…matutina”) are saying the same thing with different words.

How, then, did “Lucifer” come to signify “the Devil” or “Satan” in Christian thinking? It would seem to be rather ‘blasphemous’ to refer to “the evil one” by a name/title belonging properly to “the true light, which gives light to everyone” when he came into the world (John 1:9)!

The answer to that question is: a very faulty understanding of Isaiah 14:12. In the King James Version, this reads:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!”

Although the King James Version translated the word “light bringer” into the English “Daystar” in 2 Peter 1:19, the Latin translation of “Lucifer” was used instead of an English rendering in Isaiah 14:12. One might wonder why the KJV was not consistent, but the answer is obvious: having decided to use “Lucifer” as the personal name for Satan (which they believed to be the meaning of Isaiah 14), they could not “confuse” the readers by letting on that the Latin translation used that “name” to refer to Jesus Christ in 2 Peter!

However, Isaiah 14 has nothing whatsoever to do with a fallen supernatural being (angel), and everything to do with a Babylonian king who, from a Jewish viewpoint, was proud, arrogant, corrupt, and “fallen”. This is made clear in verse 4 (New International Version now):

“You will take up this taunt against the King of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”

Verses 16 and 17 make it clear that this “King of Babylon” is not some supernatural being directing and controlling the actions of the human king:

“Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the earth and made the kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home’”?

Everything in the passage refers only to an earthly king who would die like his fellow men and fellow kings, but would not enjoy the stately burial his fellow kings and rulers had (at least according to “Isaiah”).

The Hebrew word which the Latin translates as “Lucifer” is “heylel”, and its primary meaning is “to shine” and “brightness”. Just like the Greek “phosphoros” and the latin “lucifer”, it was used as a name/title for “the morning star/daystar” – Venus; therefore the church “father” Jerome did not hesitate to use “lucifer” to translate “heylel”.

The Jewish translators who gave us the Greek translation of the “Old Testament” (the Septuagint) used the Greek word “heosphoros” (or “eosphoros” without the ‘breathing mark’ indicating the ‘h’ sound). This word means “dawn bringer” – the “eos” being derived from the Greek goddess of the Dawn, Eos. It is almost an exact equivalent of “phosphoros” – one of my resources claims it’s simply an older form of “phosphoros”. “Eosphoros”, like “phosphoros”, was used as a name/title for “morning star/daystar”. Therefore, “heylel”, “heosphoros”, “phosphoros”, and “lucifer” are all equivalents, referring to Venus – the “morning star”.

In Isaiah 14, “daystar”/”Lucifer” is being used in a mocking, derisive way. The Jewish author (whether or not it was a ‘prophet’ named Isaiah) was ridiculing the King of Babylon for his pride and arrogance in considering himself the brightest ‘luminary’ among the kings and rulers of earth. The author was certainly not claiming that the King actually was the “morning star” either literally or metaphorically – and even more certainly he was not claiming this distinction for an evil supernatural being!

If the English translators of those early English translations (such as Wycliffe, the Geneva Bible, the King James Version, and the Catholic Douay-Rheims edition) had actually translated into English rather than simply using the Latin rendering here, all of this confusion over the name “Lucifer” would have been avoided! All of the English versions I have consulted (both ‘old’ and ‘new’) actually translated 2 Peter 1:19 as either “daystar” or “morning star”. They should all have done so also in Isaiah 14:12. The ‘new’ English versions are correct in giving such renderings as:

“Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn!…” (New English Translation).

Or “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!…” (New International Version)

Such renderings make it clear (especially in context) that a human King is mockingly being called “shining one” or “morning star”, without any reference to a “fallen angel” with the personal name of “Lucifer”!

Albert Pike was correct: it is absurd to call a “Spirit of Darkness”, and “evil one”, by the name of “light bringer” (“Lucifer”); and from a Christian perspective this title belongs rightly to Jesus Christ as the author of 2 Peter said.

Wake up, Christians! According to your Scriptures, it is Jesus Christ who is “the true light” which “is already shining” (1 John 2:8). Cease giving that delightful designation to one whom you consider to be a “Spirit of Darkness”!

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Responses

  1. Hi there. Haven’t seen anything from you in a while, so just checking in. Hope you’re well, and busy off doing so many wonderful things, you just haven’t had time to blog. 🙂

    Take care.

    Lenna

    • Hello again, Lenna. Thanks for expressing your concern over my absence from blogging. I think there are probably 2 reasons why I have gone so long since my last blog article:

      (1) – Virtually everything I consider is similar to something about which I have already written one or more articles – and I don’t really like to be overly repetitious.

      (2) I believe there is more than a little bit of ‘depression’ over the U. S. Presidential election. I don’t mean just that Donald Trump won as opposed to Hillary Clinton; rather I find it extremely depressing that despite so many people openly expressing extreme dissatisfaction with both major candidates, they nevertheless couldn’t bring themselves to vote for someone else (Libertarian or Green Party for instance). They felt compelled to vote for either Hillary or Donald despite strongly disliking both. My ‘depression’ over this situation has been deep enough that I just haven’t been able to work up the interest in blogging about anything.

      Nevertheless, I do have two subjects in mind for articles: one purely religious (more absurd – from my viewpoint, anyway – misinterpretation of Biblical ‘prophecy’ by fundamentalist/evangelical Christians); and one combining both religion and politics (Christians who think they should have the right to force their religion on everyone else by means of government – whether through the judicial, legislative, or executive branches of government). Perhaps your comment will be just what it takes to get me going again!

      • I’m sorry you’ve been feeling down. I feel the same, though I also feel overwhelmed by all the various things that are happening, even apart from the elections.

        I don’t know what you mean about Christians trying to force their religion on everyone else, but I’ve been more concerned about the rise of satanists. Have you seen the “After School Satan” program? It’s really creepy.

        If this is what we’re in for, then I have to side with the Christians. 🙂

        • Lenna- After reading your latest comment, perhaps it won’t be ‘overly repetitious’ for me to write another article opposing Christian privilege and tyranny in government (and government sponsored programs such as public schools).

          I haven’t written specifically about the “After School Satan” program, but I have spoken about a related subject in a previous article (distribution of satanist literature in public schools): Denial of Christian Privilege Does Not Constitute Persecution of Christians. These “Satanists” promoting that program are not actually ‘worshipers’ of Satan, sacrificing virgins, etc; they are atheists who are willing to use the myth of “Satan” (meaning “adversary”) to express their adversarial position toward the myth of “God”.

          Their desire to distribute their literature in schools and run those after school programs are also always in response to distribution of Christian literature and Christian programs during and after school (on school property). Their actual position is that no religious (or anti-religious) literature and programs should be allowed in public schools; but if the government is going to allow one religious group access to children in public schools, then they must allow the same access to other religious and anti-religious groups. It seems to me that they are in fact not really wanting to promote themselves in the schools; rather they hope for and expect sufficient opposition to their programs that government will be forced to prohibit ALL religious and anti-religious advocacy in schools (and other governmental programs and institutions). I admit to being on their side in that endeavor; and until that objective is achieved, “Satanists” (rationalists and free-thinkers) MUST be allowed “equal access” with Christians and any other religious group.

          • I know satanists generally say they’re atheists and rational thinkers and so forth, but I don’t believe them. I think they disarm people by pretending their dark arts are jokes, satire, prove a political point, etc. It works very well too.

            I do understand the argument about equal access and separation of church and state. I’m really ambivalent about that too. I used to be more of a secularist, not because I wanted to defeat or marginalize religion, but to protect it. I think state religion can be corrosive. If you look at the Saudi monarchy, they do things under the guise of “defending Islam” that are really a way to squelch dissent. You won’t find their ridiculously harsh punishments in Islamic doctrine. It’s an exploitation of religion, not an expression of it, and it leads to a backlash.

            In the US where the separation between church and state is promoted, we’ve had higher church attendance (I read somewhere) than European countries, where the line is a bit more blurry. So it keeps the space pretty neutral and allows everyone to choose for themselves. All well and good.

            Except that now I think our society is immoral, greedy and depraved, and I’ve begun to think it was a big mistake to give up Christian values. It amazes me that people look around and see all of this and don’t see the secularism, and the satanic “do what thou will shall be the whole of the law,” as extremely damaging.

            I’m not Christian, of course, yet I’d like to see America be more Christian, not less. And I want Christians to curtail these satanists, by first seeing them for what they really are, and not just what they say they are. I cheer Christians who protest satanic public events and programs.

            I like to talk to you precisely because while some of our views overlap, some of our views are quite different. Usually I either can have a nice conversation with people who already agree with me, or an unpleasant argument with someone who disagrees. I want to explore issues with someone who doesn’t necessarily see things the same way, but who can have a polite, respectful conversation where we actually listen to one another.

            I like your blog and your writing, though I admit I find some of your views on Christianity shocking. I’m trying to understand why you have these views. It fascinates me, especially now that you’ve staked your place with satanists (!) over Christians. 🙂

            • Lenna – I guess it’s natural to like to carry on conversations with those who agree with us; but, like you, I can also enjoy conversations when we can ‘disagree agreeably’. So I’ll give you my reasons why I disagree with that first paragraph about not believing what the ‘satanists’ say about themselves.

              I can imagine how you feel about those ‘Islamophobes’ who say something like: “yeah, those Muslims tell you that their religion is a ‘religion of peace’, and all that talk about the Qur’an teaching its followers to persecute and kill all non-Muslims is just misunderstanding and perversion of the texts; but I don’t believe them. I think they’re lying, trying to deceive us until we’re trapped by them. Just wait ’til Muslims get in power (like Saudi Arabia and ISIS); you’ll be sorry then that you believed them!” I know how I feel about such statements, because I have read the Qur’anic texts in their contexts. So I believe Muslims when they tell me about their peaceful intentions – unless and until, of course, some should show by their actions that they’re liars.

              I used to believe that kind of thing about Roman Catholics – way back in the dark ages when I was a teen-ager and into my thirties. “You’ll be sorry if you let them attain power in this country!” I got over that kind of thinking, although I still have no use for Catholicism – nor any other branch of Christianity now. I AM afraid of letting ‘fundamentalists’ and ‘evangelicals’ attain power, because many of them openly admit that they want to subdue ‘non-believers’ and revoke their ‘supposed’ rights. I’m one of those ‘non-believers’, and I don’t relish the idea of ‘Christian power’ in government, schools, etc. I’m willing to take them at their word when they say they want Christians to RULE OVER and punish non-Christians, because there was a time in my life when I myself held to such a position and I know they mean what they say.

              At the same time I take at their word those Christians who repudiate that kind of nonsense. I also take at their word ‘satanists’ when they tell me they’re atheists merely making use of one myth to oppose another myth. I’ve read what I could find of their writings (I don’t believe I know any such ‘satanists’ personally), and I have seen nothing so far to make me think they’re trying to deceive and disarm us.

              I’m sure you want people to take you at your word when you talk about Islam and its teachings of peace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, etc.; and I expect you find it offensive when people say they think you’re lying and just trying to disarm us until Muslims can achieve power and authority. I just ask that you keep that in mind before accusing others of that of which you don’t wish to be accused.

  2. Starting a fresh comment, but it is meant as a reply. 🙂

    Okay. Let’s talk about what is wrong–in my view anyway–with saying that Muslims are lying when they say Islam is y when really it’s x. My arguments against this are in two streams, one regarding Islam and the other regarding Muslims.

    If someone says Islam is x, we can compare x to an actual doctrine. For example, when someone argue Islam promotes terrorism, we can see if the doctrine can reasonably be construed as such. In reality, Islam (1) forbids attacks on noncombatants (2) forbids vigilantism. There are what I would call consensus or near consensus views in Islam, and thus I think we can reasonably say a Muslim who blows up a busload of innocent people is doing so in spite of Islam, not because of it. If, on the other hand, someone says there is some basis for punishing adultery in Islam, they can make a good case–there is nuance they may miss, but we would be on shaky ground saying that is untrue. It is true, and it is in the doctrine and they can make their case, our only counter argument being the concept, context, nuance, practice, etc. There isn’t the same sort of slam dunk argument against someone who is critical of the notion that adultery should be viewed as a punishable crime.

    We know that Muslims do, however, sometimes engage in terrorism, and while they often cite secular reasons (unjust foreign policy being a common one), they carry out their acts under the banner of Islam. Some of them don’t bother to use the doctrine to justify their behavior, but others do. They contort beyond what I would argue as reasonable in order to justify actions as “Islamic” that arguably are not. These Muslims do exist.

    My question when someone criticizes Islam and Muslims is not whether or not I like what they’re saying, but rather whether or not what they’re saying is true. Or in less absolute terms (since absolute truth isn’t something we ever truly know), whether what they’re saying is reasonable.

    If they would reword some of their assertions, I believe they would go from unreasonable to reasonable or even quite reasonable. So if instead of saying “Muslims lie and say Islam is a religion of peace when it isn’t,” They said something like, “Some Muslims don’t behave as if Islam is a religion of peace, nor even a religion of just war.” The second sentence is true, and I wouldn’t scream “ISLAMOPHOBE” if someone made that statement. Nuance is not trivial.

    Applying similar logic so satanists, we can point out there are atheistic and theistic satanists, where some of them actually do worship satan. Anton Levey said he was an atheistic satanist. Though he made some claims that seemed to relate to the supernatural (like something about…my memory is fuzzy…..how he caused a natural disaster playing the piano?), he believed we would eventually see these connections and understand them in purely natural terms. In other words, we have powers of which we’re not aware or not able to prove–yet.

    I don’t know that I would say Levey was lying. I don’t know if he was or not. He and his followers seemed to promote something more akin to striving to be a psychopath than striving to serve a literal satan. His daughter Zeena and her husband Shreck have shed some light on things. Shreck said they wanted to use various means, notably music, to unleash the wolf in people and reverse the impact of Christianity. He elaborated by saying that he wants the opposite of Christian morals, and specifically mentioned how he doesn’t care about, for example, the homeless. Let them die and in another interview, Zeena said that’s how nature works and basically that we should be unapologetically self indulgent.

    We can thus analyze satanism from both a secular and a religious perspective, recognizing there can be different interpretations, just as there can be with Islam. Whether we can say there is a “revelation” and body of scholarly interpretation, I don’t know. I don’t think so, but we can look at what satanists have written and said. In my view, given their doctrine, I’m opposed to both the atheist and theist varieties as I see them as morally bankrupt and harmful.

    I think whatever kind of satanist you are, it makes perfect sense to disguise this agenda in various ways, and one of those ways is to pretend it is atheism in theatrical garb or perhaps just a funny joke, or whatever. If I were a satanist, of either variety, I would definitely want to disarm the public in this manner, especially if in the early stage people were still moored to Christian morality. I believe it makes sense, and I see evidence that’s exactly what they’re doing.

    If a person is simply an atheist, it’s difficult to see why they need Baphomet and all the various symbols and ideas we associate with satanism, as well as occult knowledge, which can be used to manipulate people. I differ from most Christians I hear discussing these matters in that they seem to believe occult (hidden knowledge) is dark and sinister, whereas I believe this knowledge it a tool that can be used for good or bad. It’s just knowledge, and like science, it’s something we apply for good or bad, depending on what we want to do.

    Atheists don’t typically sacrifice animals, draw pentagrams, cast spells, etc. That seems like a weird expression of unbelief. Now some are saying the only reason they are invoking those symbols is to carry this out to a logical extreme to teach a lesson about the separation of church and state. In other words, like the “Pastafarians” trying to get privileges for their “religious beliefs,” they are trying to point out the folly of giving Christians privileges. If you can talk Jesus, we can talk Satan and you’ll see why you need to keep this stuff out of schools, period. I get that.

    Except that’s not all satanists are doing. Not by a long shot. They don’t behave all year like typical, non-satanist atheists all year and then just trump up a school program to make a point. They are actively seeking to overturn the social and moral order, some of them anyway, which they openly state. Furthermore, in my view, they are succeeding in spades.

    So the question is do I want them to realize their vision and the answer is no. I don’t want them to unleash the wolf and encourage people to behave like psychopaths. That’s not a vision I share as an ideal. I think it’s a mistake to have tossed out the best of Christian values, which aimed at curtailing some of hunankind’s worst impulses.

    I think based on my own analysis, I should restate my position with a slight alteration. I don’t really care if they are atheist or theist satanists. What I care about is what I view as a…not hidden..but obscured agenda that is harmful, which many satanists are promoting in the guise of “freethought” and “rationalism,” when in fact their agenda is more sinister. You can allow free thought and be rational without trying to steer people into destructive self-indulgent hedonism, which is what I think they are truly trying to do. Just as you don’t want Christians foisting their vision on you, I don’t want these people foisting their vision on me.

    The school thing isn’t that hard to solve, since we can just go to absolute neutrality and kick the Christian programs out right along with the satanic programs and be done. Separation of Church and State preserved. That’s an option, though I think a sad one because I’d rather kids have the choice of Christian teaching and NOT satanic teachings–which I believe are truly evil–so another solution would be to state that in fact Christianity is our official religion. If we did that, then we would have to make sure our Christian country allowed sufficient freedom to non-Christians.

    If neutrality is permitted, I think the satanists win. I don’t think the fact they win indicates they should win, but rather that people are easily led to indulgence, even at their own peril. So which is worse? Curtailing Christianity through rigid separation of church and state, or empowering Christianity to curtail satanism, and the “do what thou will shall be the whole of the law” mentality more generally?

    You seem to favor the former, whereas I favor the latter. Would you agree with that conclusion?

    • Lenna – in answer to your question at the end of your last comment: yes I emphatically ‘favor’ the ‘rigid separation of church/religion and state/government. ‘Founding Fathers’ such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams fought hard for this principle, and won out over those who wanted to establish at least generic Christianity as the ‘State religion’. It is a major part of our national Constitution, and must be enforced unless and until the Constitution is changed (and that’s not so easy to do, thankfully).

      I hold that ‘Satanism’ is even less of a danger in the USA than is the alleged danger of Islam and Shariah law. The real danger here is Christian supremacy; the insistence of many Christians that despite the non-establishment clause, Christianity is (or at least should be) the established religion of the USA. I will fight with all my heart against Christian establishment. That of course does not mean that I seek the suppression and persecution of Christianity – it has the same rights (no more, no less) as any other religion in this country. But no religion can be ‘established’, and force its beliefs (including specifically religious moral and ethical beliefs) on US citizens through government edicts and judicial decisions.

      So far as these ‘satanists’ lying and hiding their agenda, I just don’t see it. I find them to be very open and even “in your face” about what they believe and promote. The Temple of Satan (the primary group behind current satanic activism) is “in your face” about their promotion of pornography and sexual freedom, ‘gay’ rights, pro-choice abortion stance, etc. They are just as open in their use of satanic symbols as Christians are about their symbols (crucifixes, manger scenes, religious holidays and decorations). They just maintain that their symbols are only symbols (including Baphomet and Satan), and they don’t ascribe any reality or magical powers to them. Check out their “about us” page, and click on “Campaigns” and “Newsroom” links at the top to see just how open they are about what they stand for.

      • I’m researched the satanists and length, reading many articles and a couple of books. I’ve also watched many videos both from their side and the side of their opponents, and whether its secular or theistic, I find it extremely harmful. The reason being I believe that morals are there for a reason, whether one believes those morals came from God or were simply wisdom passed on by people, about how to produce a tranquil, sustainable society. I see no value in undermining those morals so that each person is a god unto himself or herself.

        Nevertheless I see the point of a secular state, and until the last few years, also supported the idea unambiguously, though for different reasons. I wanted the separation not to curtail religion, but to save it from corruption. I fear the mix of religion and state power is corrosive. So whether one is trying to prevent religious encroachment or trying to preserve the integrity of faith, there are arguments for secularism.

        I have since been told that this is a Western view because the ulema played a “checks and balances” role in the caliphate, and thus didn’t have the same role as, for example, the Catholic church. I don’t know if that’s true or not. We don’t currently have a caliphate and haven’t since 1924. Now we have modern nation states, and they don’t seem to support the idea of mixing religion and state.

        Take for example the Saudi monarchy, which I don’t view as a proper form of government (“Kings, when they enter a country, despoil it, and make the noblest of its people the meanest. Thus do they behave.” Quran 27-34), but which does nevertheless claim to follow Shariah. Yet in my view, the Saudi regime clearly uses religious excuses to persecute political opponents and squelch the free exchange of ideas far too much, even for those of us who believe in preserving a prescribed social order. Where is it in Islamic doctrine you can imprison someone for writing something you don’t like on a blog, and then flog them 1000 times? I’ve never seen a credible precedent for that. The other example is the “Islamic Republic of Iran. I won’t go into detail, but I don’t think these are examples I want to follow, and they seem to create a backlash. Especially in modern times when it’s harder and harder to convince people of the value and truth of faith, I find this unhelpful.

        I want faith to survive and even flourish, so this is my reason for thinking maybe rigid separation is actually good. I won’t argue vehemently either way, however, because I don’t consider myself an expert on governance. The truth is I don’t know and am just speculating, but what we do know is at least for the US context, we already have the Constitution. The decision is made for the US.

        I think on the matter of After School Satan, the solution then is to not allow ANY religiously themed programs in the schools, even if they are voluntary and after school. If students want to partake, they can do it off school grounds, in a completely separate environment, whether that’s the After School Bible Study or After School Satan. It doesn’t seem really complicated to me, and as you pointed out, it is compliance with the Constitution, which we must honor. I dislike it in my heart but agree in my head, and in any case it’s just not up to me or any other individual since it’s already written into the highest law of this land.

        What I find interesting is the the people who have actually given me the most pause since I started thinking maybe we should declare ourselves a Christian nation is the behavior of Christians themselves, who seem to view me, a Muslim, as their enemy. Not all of them, but most of the ones who agree with my views on matters like satanism.

        I’ll give you two brief examples. First, my neighbor is a very devout Christian and she comes around telling me I need to take my headscarf off and follow Jesus. I told her I don’t want to take my scarf off and I already know about Jesus. I told her I feel religious people are under siege so as believers, we should stick together. She told me, though as politely as possible, that we are not fellow believers because I don’t believe Jesus if Lord, and I am therefore going to hell. She saw me as no better, and possibly as worse, than those who are actively attacking Christianity, which I found strange. She persisted in this thinking even after I pointed out that it’s not Muslims who are culturally assaulted Christianity. She agreed they are, but was clear that I can’t be her ally in defending her religion.

        The second example is on a blog where I followed an atheist to defend prayer. I left ONE (literally just one) comment and the moderator told me I had to leave is I was “Islamic or Muslim or both.” I don’t know how one can not be both, but she said it was a Christian blog, for and by Christians. This was not true. She started the blog with a Zionist Jew, there were Jews commenting there, and I had followed an atheist there, who was also allowed to comment. Keep in mind the atheist was ridiculing Christians and I was defending them. But I was the one kicked off after ONE comment, so that in practice, it was really a Jewish-Christian blog for anyone EXCEPT Muslims. That is what evidence suggests.

        I wish I could say these are isolated incidents but they’re not. The Christians who are accepting are generally very liberal and progressive and therefore we can get along just fine socially, but don’t share the agenda of defending traditional morals.

        My point being is I should probably be careful what I wish for!

        Based on my experience, it seems like Christians backed by state authority might very well attack me as a Muslim, rather than allowing me to practice peacefully. Again, I provided just two examples but there are many more, so perhaps I should be grateful that just isn’t an option.

        I don’t have definite answers. My mother thought the troubles we’re seeing were not a dispute between religious vs secular, but rather a season of history. She compared where we are now to cycles of history in the past, and the parallels I found convincing. She said we need not bother fighting this. We carve a niche in our own time and place, and do our best.

        I miss my mom. Maybe she’s right. There is no point shouting at the gray skies and freezing winds if you know for certain the spring always overcomes the winter. 🙂

        Thank you, Mystic, for sharing your views. I feel like this was a good “common ground” discussion, and that’s refreshing. I really look forward to your future posts.

        Peace and blessings to you and your family. 🙂

        • Thank you, Lenna, for giving me the opportunity to discuss things, in a friendly manner, about which we have some disagreement (as well as much agreement).

          Your two examples of the difficulties presented by Christians are very much to the point. The “separation of church and state” idea did not arise in a vacuum. The ‘founding fathers’ were all too familiar with how difficult Christians found it to get along with each other – much less people of other religions or no religion. Baptists and Quakers in particular had experienced a great deal of persecution both here and in Europe, and consequently they were very much in favor of the ‘non-establishment clause’.

          Many of the ‘fathers’ were not themselves Christians – or at least, not in a way accepted by ‘orthodoxy’. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison were Deists (although they were formally affiliated with the Episcopal church); John Adams was a Unitarian Christian – the height of ‘heresy’ since Unitarians denied the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ.

          These men certainly did not want Christianity to be ‘established’, since they themselves would wind up among the persecuted by the government. “Christians” can be a real terror when they’re in power!

          Patrick Henry argued for the establishment of a generic Christianity rather than a particular branch of the Christian church; but James Madison opposed him. Madison pointed out that if Christianity in any form was established, then someone would have to determine how far the bounds of Christianity reached. Who is a Christian? Most ‘orthodox’ Christians would not accept Unitarians (John Adams) as being “Christian”. Thomas Jefferson was considered by many to be “antichrist” because he denied so many ‘foundational’ Christian beliefs. He denied the “inspiration” of the Bible, believing that it was a very flawed work of very flawed men. He put together his (in)famous “Jefferson Bible”, which consisted of the four Gospels consolidated into one – in which everything which he found to be contradictory or unscientific was deleted (including the resurrection of Jesus). He was officially a member of an Episcopalian church, but was he a Christian? James Madison simply pointed out that to establish Christianity would inevitably result in the same bickering and persecution which had previously existed. (After all, were those hated Baptists and Quakers really Christians? Who decides the question?)

          Today the question would include whether or not Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and “Christian Scientists” can be considered Christians (fundamentalists and evangelicals would generally say a resounding “no”). What about the “mainline” churches (Episcopalian, United Presbyterian, United Methodist, etc.) who have within themselves a great deal of ‘heresy’ (much like what Thomas Jefferson believed): denial of inerrant Biblical inspiration, the ‘virgin birth’, miracles, and the resurrection of Jesus, perhaps his future physical second coming, etc.?

          Yes, Christians can’t even get along with fellow professing Christians – much less people of other religions such as yourself. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus etc. – not just ‘satanists’ – would definitely not fare well if the Constitution were changed and Christianity were allowed to become the official “state religion”. (Christians would be more likely to consider all non-Christian religions to be as much ‘in league with the Devil’ as they do ‘satanists’).

          Anyhow, thank you for your friendly discussion. I think I’ll try to put out another article within a few days – hopefully at least within a week.

  3. Also, sorry for the typos. I wrote this fast, between tasks as I’m busy without errands, guests and household chores today. I hope you can make out what I was trying to say!


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