Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why Harvard Students' 'Black Mass' Act-Out Is A Dumb Idea

The Inquisition's torture of heretics, alleged witches, and unbelievers led directly to 'Sabbats' conducted for Satanic 'favors'

By now, virtually everyone not living under a rock is aware of the plan by a student group at Harvard University to conduct a "black Mass."  Even a letter from the vaunted university's President hasn't appeared to halt their determination.  As might be expected, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, ignited a furor by announcing that they were planning an educational program of ceremonies from different belief systems around the world, and that one of these ceremonies, in partnership with the New York-based Satanic Temple, was going to be a Satanist black mass.

The only problem? "Satanism" is a myth, a hoax perpetrated on those ignorant of the history of the "Satan" meme, and "black Masses" constitute a manifestation of the myth.  A columnist came close to exposing this nonsense in a column two days ago by noting:

"Because this is an easy mistake to make, it should be emphasized that most Satanists don’t literally worship the devil. They’re atheists who treat the figure of Satan as an inspiring piece of mythology, a symbol of individual freedom and resistance to oppressive orthodoxy."

But "atheists" is the wrong term to use. The accurate term would be anti-theists, and most specifically anti-Catholics. As I've taken pains to note in earlier posts, atheism is the simple withholding of belief in any claimed deity or supernatural domain or entity. Anti-theism, meanwhile, is active hostility to any claimed belief.  To therefore assert "atheists" in any remote way would even exploit "Satan" as a piece of mythology to work up Xtians is bare balderdash.

Did I dabble in black Masses? Sure! As I noted in my post of May 14 on exorcisms. But none of the dozen or so who attended took these affairs as anything more than a lark, a riff on Anton LaVey's "Satanic Bible' and humbug. Yes, we used sliced Snicker bars as eucharistic wafers, and burned 'curses' in a metal pan as prescribed by LaVey. Hell, I even donned a black cloak and "Satan" goat mask, but no one regarded it seriously. (They pretended to, but only to acknowledge the whole exercise at root was theatrical, like a play- and they were 'extras') It was a bunch of college students doing something besides getting pissed drunk on a Friday night.

This brings up the next remark from the columnist:

"What drew the most outrage is that, in a true black mass—to the extent that such a thing exists, and isn’t just the invention of medieval heresy hunters—there’s a prop representing a Eucharist wafer that’s symbolically desecrated, perhaps stepped on. A rumor, subsequently denied by the Satanists, that they’d be using a real consecrated wafer drove Catholics to new heights of frenzy"

This is where it gets almost like 'Alice through the looking glass' in separating psycho-drama from reality. I refer to the writer's reference to being an "invention of medieval heresy hunters". Indeed, this is the closest he comes to the truth. "Satanism" was invented and promulgated by the Church's demon-witch hunters themselves to further their warrant and reach and condemn even more hapless innocents to their fires, racks, leg breaking blocks, anal  spike seats and other devices.

Even before this we know that the 250,000 -odd women burned as witches were mainly anti-social elderly females or younger, single ones deficient in appearance - who also often kept cats as companions. Because the women - or their habits, odd behaviors and appearance- antagonized those around them, they were accused of "witchery".  The next step was merely to identify a painless spot or the symbol '666' on their bodies, and they were headed for the fires. The witch hunter's bible, the Malleus Maleficarum provided the template to use needles to probe flesh and excavate the evidence needed.

Other victims were simply practitioners of ancient beliefs that predated Christianity - as embodied in assorted rites of paganism. The collective suffering from the Inquisition's tortures had to be endured for centuries before some relief and reaction emerged. As observed by Peter Stanford ('The Devil', p. 183):

"For the most part the ancient traditions and beliefs that survived the torturer's rack took many decades, even centuries, to reassert their presence"

This "reassertion" he goes on to write, took the form of Catholic religious ceremonies "parodied by 'Satanic' hellfire clubs in the early eighteenth century."  The 'Black Mass' thus evolved as part of this parody idiom via deliberate invention, i.e. as the inverse of the normal Catholic Mass.  Hence the Eucharistic wafer stomped on before ingestion, crosses turned upside down and other inverted props. In other words, the whole phenomenon arose from a psychological reaction to centuries of tortures and dispossession of property. There was no genuine, self- consistent belief system.

Author Lauran Paine ('The Hierarchy of Hell', p. 113) takes even greater pains to describe what transpired:

"Ecclesiastics filled entire libraries and spent whole lifetimes proving people worshipped Satan. They influenced ten generations of more or less rational human beings, in Christendom believe this monumental fallacy.....The great hoax of witchcraft, which was as uniquely Christian as it was being incapable catalogued as mythology, folklore or anthropology, but which lay in the exclusive province of theology, arose from the concept of Devil worship. In Christendom was found the epitome of this belief which despite its longevity, was fallacious from beginning to end.

Those gloomy devout who imagined the black rites of Devil worship throughout Europe created an entire black theology based on their knowledge of Christian dogma and ritual - and no one accused them of perpetuating the most unforgiveable of all heresies - yet in fact this is exactly what they did."

 Lauran Paine's point is clear:  that the whole Satanic worship shtick is bull crap - a monumental hoax perpetrated by the religionists themselves. Hence, to re-enact a "black Mass" is merely to play into the original ecclesiastic hoax and emulate their rituals - only inverted. It is not, as the Harvard students believe, to demonstrate or replicate a ritual from an independent belief system. In other words, the Harvard students are merely going to carry out a phony rite invented by the Church's own Satan-mongering lot.

This is not to dispute that as the Inquisition wound down, 'Sabbats' of a sort were conducted - as Stanford notes - but this was not out of faith but to elicit favors. For example, recovery of bodily health, or property seized by the Inquisitors. Bear in mind the travails that millions had to endure while the Inquisition reigned.

In his revealing book The Peril of Faith, Martin L. Bard estimates that counting all such executions, plus deaths directly following from extreme tortures, plus witch burnings (which killed over 100,000 in Germany alone) more than 3 million perished over all the years of the Inquisition - from its start in the 13th century, to when the Spanish Inquisition finally folded in the 19th century. By proportionate statistics, this represents a comparative number of innocents slain that is roughly a factor three greater than all the Jews incinerated in the Holocaust. (Taking into account the population statistics during the inquisitional centuries vs. the global population statistics from 1940 on). Uncounted are all those innocents who suffered cruel, barbaric tortures, and then were released - only to die subsequently from tetanus, gangrene or other severe bacterial infection. If then you were such a victim-  maimed at the hands of "holy Mother Church"- why wouldn't you seek surcease from your physical or mental plight via begging "favors" from the Church's enemy, "Satan"?

Numbered among the victims were many women, who were branded as aiding and abetting "familiars" or discoursing with heretics and demons. Note it was Urban's Bull ('Ad extirpanda' ) that officially sanctioned torture at the discretion of the Inquisitors, and left open the degree to which it could be carried out.

Let's return to the author who writes:

"The Harvard Satanist fracas shows the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic church and its spokesmen. In their battle against the contraception mandate, they’ve made religious liberty their watchword, arguing that a believer’s right to follow the tenets of his faith is sacrosanct and must never be infringed, even if it causes harm or inconvenience to others. But when it comes to a belief system that the church doesn’t like, they claim, two-faced, that those beliefs can and should be stifled and their practice barred."

The problem again, is that "Satanism" constitutes no independent, self-consistent belief system as I noted above. It is a fraud, invented by the Catholic hierarchy itself, as Lauran Paine points out. Hence, the exercised Boston Catholics are railing against the Harvard students for replicating the Catholics' own Satanic fallacy and fraud. The students, meanwhile, are being played by actually thinking they're demonstrating a genuine belief system, when they're enacting a parody of one  -engineered within the Catholic Church itself.

Sadly, the bottom line in all this is that supernaturalism remains too prevalent in our supposedly advancing world.  Even the allegedly progressive and kindly Pope Francis—is pushing a major resurgence of belief in a literal Satan and literal demonic possession. This is appalling especially coming from a guy who used to study a natural science (chemistry) - but my hope is he's just mouthing this BS to not appear to diverge too much from Catholic codswallop. (Remember he took lots of heat from the Vatican's Curia for saying "atheists can get to heaven") So he doesn't want to press his luck too much.

What we need to do is extirpate supernaturalism from the modern landscape, and this especially pertains to the misbegotten "Satanist" meme.

To assist in this objective, the Harvard students' best option is to leave its "black Mass" out of its educational program of  belief ceremonies .

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