Evil is first and foremost a religious notion. It means whatever a religion dislikes. Christianity assimilated various pagan deities and practices when obliged to make concessions to stubborn peasants predilections (hence the incorporation of Diana worship into Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary), but it otherwise proscribed all other and earlier deities as devils. The chief devil, Satan, is himself a composite figure. He is Lucifer, he is the Green man of pagan nature beliefs, he is the lusty goat-footed satyr who sported with nymphs in the groves of antiquity. He is, in short, the representative and personification of things the church whised people to stop liking and doing.
As Lucifer, the devil began as a grand and beautiful angel whose sin was disobedience-a frighful crime in religious eyes: for the height of virtue is unquestioning obedience to God’s will, whatever it is(even if God tells you to cut your child’s throat, as in the Abraham story). Milton liked Lucifer’s desire for autonomy and self-expression, and for his resulting rebellion against the absolutist oppresion of God; which is why the poetry of Paradise Lost soars, as if on archangels’ wings, whenever Lucifer-Milton’s tragic hero-is central to the action.
As the Green Man, satyr, or any supernatural figure not sactioned by orthodoxy as angel or saint, Satan represents forces of nature and aspects of the world which the church wishes to suppress, chief among them the appetites for sex and pleasure. To do this it employs the time-honoured trick of demonising them and making people afraid of them, portraying them as ugly and dangerous. (Governments do the same in propaganda about enemies in times of war.) And then, to sink the roots of this fear deep, the church introduces the idea of evil and the devil to children, for it knows that if it can cut early psychological scars it has a better chance of holding on to the minds thus wounded.
All religions are anxious to proselytise the young. Society seems not to see either the absurdity or the danger in the fact that pupils in one school are taught, as truths of history, that the Normans conquered England in 1066 and that Jesus is the son of God, in another that the Normans conquered England in 1066 and Jesus us not the son of God but that Mohammed received the definitive divine revelation, in a third that the Normans conquered England in 1066 and that neither Jesus nor Mohammed is of any significance besides Guru Dev-and in a fourth that the Normans conquered England in 1066 and all three of Jesus, Mohammed and Guru Dev are false distractions, attention to whom is likely to provoke God’s jealous wrath.
Yet in schools all over the country these antipathetic ‘truths’ are being force-fed to different groups of pupils, none of whom is in position to assess their credibility or worth. This is a serious form of child abuse. It sows the seeds of apartheids capable of resulting, in their logical conclusion, in murder and war, as history sickeningly and ceaselessly proves.
There is no greater social evil than religion. It is the cancer in the body of humanity. Human credulity and superstition, and the need for comforting fables, will never be extirpated, so religion will always exist, at least among the uneducated. The only way to manage the dangers it presents is to confine entirely to the private sphere, and for the public domain to be blind to it in all but one respect: that by law no one’s private beliefs should be allowed to cause a nuisance or an injury to anyone else. For whenever and wherever religion manifests itself in the public arena as an organised phenomenon, it iis the most Satanic of all things.
Una vez que nos ha quedado claro que los Normandos conquistaron Inglaterra en el 1066, podemos decir que la religión es, sí señor, algo perteneciente al ámbito privado. Ahora bien, creo que la religión no depende de lo culto que eres: es una creencia. Y sí, la religión tiene que enseñarse en los colegios pero como parte de una asignatura que se llame historia de las religiones. El que quiera catecismo, puede ir a la iglesia que más a mano le quede.
Versión de los Guns N’ Roses.