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A history of the Devil
04.11.2014
07:55 am

Topics:
Belief
Occult

Tags:
Devil

00666livedride.jpg
 
The Devil first appeared in early Christian iconography as a blue angel assisting Jesus on judgment day separating the goats from the sheep, as described the gospel according to Matthew (25, 31-33):

When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

A 6th century mosaic of the last judgement in Ravenna, in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Italy, clearly shows Jesus flanked on the right by an angel of light, in red; and on the left by an angel of dark, in blue. This is the Devil, who was seen in early medieval times as little more than a low-ranking bureaucrat, who was working for God.

Gradually, as the Catholic/Christian religion extended its power, the Devil began to take on a more sinister form. The blue angel sprouted horns, and slightly resembled a dragon. Interestingly, Hell at this time was not yet the fiery furnace it is depicted as today, the river of flames would be first painted with the last judgment mural at Torcello Cathedral in Venice, produced during the 11th century

The Devil slowly changed color to red, and took on elements from other mythical gods and creatures: firstly Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, and then another Greek god Pan, who was originally the god of shepherd. (His name meant “to pasture.”) It was Pan who gave the Devil his goat’s legs and cloven hooves. Our vision of the Christian Devil owes more to artists than it does to any descriptive verse in the Bible.

By the 1600s, this horned red Devil was used as a means to oppress and enforce the rule of the Catholic/Christian church. Anyone who spoke out against the church was a heretic and in league with the Devil. For if the church was God on earth, then those against the church were on the Devil’s side. This led to the brutal and horrific slaughter of thousands of innocent people.

Today, the Devil is still used to oppress and inspire fear. Most recently, the American government, under President George W. Bush, declared war on an “Axis of Evil,” while at the head of the US military were men who literally believed they were waging war on the Devil.

This documentary examines the creation of the Devil from mythical gods to source of terrorism and fear.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The worst, most bass slappinest Christian cover version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ EVER
03.24.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Belief
Kooks

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Christianity


 
A “Stairway to Heaven” double-header over at Christian Nightmares this morning. First up is Bold for Jesus, a former rocker who is now a “radical” Christian YouTuber. I think his definition of radical can be gleaned from his “Christian yelling” videos, such as this one, where he shouts stuff at cars for 16 minutes in front of a Toyota dealership.

Here’s his own description of what ye of little faith are about to receive:

I have not played the real Stairway To Heaven song since 1981. You can hear me talk at the end about slamming a pie on top of a teacher’s head. I had fun. I lived a radical rock n’ roll life for 10 years, and now I live radical for Jesus Christ.

Yes, this is the worst, most bass slappinest for Jesus cover of “Stairway to Heaven” that has ever existed. It goes on forever, but it gets funnier and funnier as forever plods goofily along. Then he tells a story about an absolutely hilarious (well hilarious to him) high school pie throwing incident.
 

 
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, here’s Paul Crouch Jr, the son of televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—as you can see the nut didn’t fall very far from THAT particular tree—exposing the Satanic messages that are revealed in “Stairway to Heaven” when the song is played backwards back in 1996. Does Bold for Jesus know about this???
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Shine On You Shitty Diamond: Worst Pink Floyd cover band. Ever.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘God’s cartoonist’: The ongoing bizarre cult following of Jack T. Chick

angels chick tract
 
As a child in the Bible Belt I somehow missed out on Jack T. Chick’s weird fire-and-brimstone religious comic books. I was sporadically taken to a pretty low-key, boringly mainstream Methodist Church where his tracts would have been viewed as kind of embarrassing. As an adult I heard people with evangelical Christian backgrounds bonding over the nightmarish anxiety Chick comics had caused them as children. Fundamentalist churches made stacks of these proselytizing, emotionally charged, conspiracy-rich, racist, homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-pagan, anti-feminist, Islamophobic comics available to very young kids. Since 1961 over 235 different tracts have been published, selling almost a billion copies. They have been banned in many countries, including Canada, as “hate literature.”
 
chick deveil
 
Despite censorship, the comics have been read by a staggering number of people all over the world. Youth ministers hand them out on the street, and (presumably non-English speaking) missionaries distribute them overseas, spreading quirkiness like the Pope being the earthly manifestation of Satan. Someone once tried to hand me one in a bowling alley in England! People like Exene Cervenka were ahead of their time in recognizing Chick comics’ (and other Bible tracts’) value as collectible underground folk art and pop culture artifacts. The early X song “Beyond and Back” was taken from the title of a Chick tract. The online Jack T. Chick Museum of Fine Art contains an exhaustive collection of his titles, neatly summarized as:

He steadfastly exposes The Conspiracy of Catholics, Masons, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Agers, Rock & Rollers, and any other group the devil might use to damn your soul. Chick also offends Jews and Muslims with previews of their fiery futures in hell (but only because he wants to save them). The more taboo a topic, the more likely you’ll see it covered in a Chick tract!

Curator and tireless researcher Kurt Kuersteiner (who used to have a punk radio show) has written the definitive book about the worldwide phenomenon, The Art of Jack T. Chick, and in 2008 produced the documentary, God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick, which can be found in its entirety here. You don’t get a glimpse of the notoriously private man himself, since he is so convinced that people want to kill him (he’s probably right) that he lives in seclusion and hasn’t given an interview since 1975 (his first and last). The earnest sheer batshittery of his close associates is like watching a train wreck. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ synopsis of the film:

...while some Christians distribute the tracts in hopes of saving their fellow man from eternal damnation, secular fans collect them strictly for their entertainment value; the comics are so vividly drawn and outrageously over the top that they at times transcend their own intentions to achieve a sort-of grotesque self-parody. Eventually, the tracts became such highly valued pop-culture commodities that they were presented in galleries nationwide, and earned a permanent collection in the Smithsonian.


Kurt also perpetrated an awesome April Fool’s prank to demonstrate the censor-happy disapproval that Chick’s work has inspired.
 

The trailer for ‘God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick’:
 

Above, an episode of Boing Boing TV featuring Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher’s animated take on the Chick “classic” Somebody Goofed. This is Jack T. Chick in a nutshell. (Reportedly he’s seen this and liked it).

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Meet The Deadraisers: Christian group claims it can raise the dead


 
Now despite what you might be led to believe from the photograph evidence above, these fellas are not some over the hill ‘N Sync wannabes who never made the big time scene and who are now improbably still together and performing their shitty middle-aged boy band act (“Seventeen years of solid gold!”) at a cheap casino in Indio, CA.

Neither are the Deadraisers, as they call themselves, a gang of clean-cut middle-aged Grateful Dead-loving bikers… Mild ones? Maybe they’re Deadhead cyclists?

Nope, you’re not even close: In earlier centuries the activity that these gentlemen are principally involved with—the raising of the dead—would have seen them burned at the stake as witches. They used to call that “necromancy” and it could get ya killed. Now it looks like something that might get you a reality TV show?

These dudes don’t just want to follow Jeebus with all their hearts, they want those cool Matthew 10:8 zombie-making superpowers!

Tyler Johnson, author of How To Raise The Dead and Stories of the Supernatural: Finding God in Walmart and Other Unlikely Places and the founder of the Dead Raising Team, leads the group who pray for miracles and supernatural resurrections in hospitals and morgues at the request of bereaved families. They claim to have personally witnessed (or believe they “caused” I suppose) eleven people rising from the dead, but yet have no credible evidence they can cite to back this up.

When you capture one of them there “miraculous” resurrections on video, boys, then I’ll take your latterday Lazarus shenanigans seriously. Until then, I’ll just file this under “Delusional” (or worse).
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy’: Super twisted kids’ book about Satanic ritual abuse
03.17.2014
12:16 pm

Topics:
Belief
Books

Tags:
Satan


 
Damn, I don’t remember seeing this warm and fuzzy children’s book Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy—about Satanic ritual abuse—at my school’s library! The book, published in 1990 by Doris Sanford, is some crazy shit. Perhaps it’s even the scariest children’s book ever written? 

The book’s description:

The words of the text and the objects and situations illustrated are based on months of intensive research into the nature and practice of satanic ritual abuse. Any child who has been ritually abused will recognize the validity of this story.

Apparently the book was marketed towards school counselors, parents, mental health professionals and support groups to help identify signs of Satanic Ritual Abuse or SRA.

Here are some Amazon reviews if you’re on the fence on whether or not to buy this book:

- One HELL of a good read. Devilishly funny. My son, Damian, thought it was the funniest book he’s ever read. An all around great book to read around the sulfur pit with the family. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but honestly, LOOK AT IT.

- 4 year old saw this book and she is begging parents to send her to this school, where on earth are we going find a satanist school for the brat.

- You have to be a detective to follow the “story.” The book forces you to deduce the storyline from the progression of settings, because the book never tells you what is happening or why, or even who is talking. The child in the “story” just materializes in new contexts without explanation. The reader’s reactions are constantly along the lines of, “Where is she now? What is happening? Who is this person? Who is talking?” Each page introduces a new disjointed scenario and a new unattributed quotation, and it’s up to the reader to try to figure out what’s going on.

It’s like a simpleton’s version of True Detective...


 

 

 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Son-O’-God Comics’: National Lampoon’s cheerfully offensive super-hero Jesus


 
I live in Los Angeles and believe me when I tell you that I had not heard a single peep about that new Jesus movie—Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s Son of God—because, well, they don’t really market religious films here. In a city festooned with billboards for every damned offering large or small, good or bad that the industrial entertainment complex has in store for us, I think they figured that religious films aren’t for we West Coast heathens; that it’s a waste of money even bothering trying to, er, convert us, even for a big budget picture like Son of God. I can’t imagine Fox spent too much money marketing the film in NYC, either.

Nope, I only heard about this religious blockbuster after the fact, when all of the rightwing blogs like NewsMax, Breitbart and WorldNutDaily were crowing about how Jesus nearly kicked Liam Neeson’s ass in the box office boffo sweepstakes over the weekend. Go Jesus! (Is there anything, and I do mean anything, more pathetic than “rooting” for a movie, let alone pulling for the founder of Christianity to beat the crap out of a formulaic Hollywood action flick? Nothing, right?)

All this goofiness caused me to recall the cheerfully blasphemous “Son-O’-God Comics” that ran in a few 1970s issues of National Lampoon magazine.
 

 
In the Lampoon version of the New Testament’s central figure, “Benny Davis” a nerdy failure-to-launch boychick still living with his parents in Brooklyn, says the name “JESUS CHRIST!” (but not in vain) and transforms (ala Captain Marvel) into a muscular WASP super-hero version of Jesus with a six-pack, cape and halo, ready to do battle with Catholicism, Islam, the Scarlet Woman of Babylon, the Antichrist and even Bob Dylan.
 

 
The occasionally recurring strip was written by Sean Kelly (who would go on to become the founding editor of Heavy Metal magazine) and Michel Choquette, and (mostly) drawn by well-known comics artist Neal Adams, a “Silver Age” illustrator who worked on Batman for DC and a gazillion other comics.
 

 
I would be remiss in my duties writing on this topic without at least quickly mentioning how underrated National Lampoon is in terms of that magazine’s amazing and ground-breaking art-direction. If you consider that the 20th century will be looked upon as the golden era of the printed page, to my mind, the Lampoon’s Design Director, Michael Gross and Art Director David Kaestle created the most creatively free-wheeling and conversely the most detail-oriented magazine design on the planet. What they brought to America’s premiere countercultural humor magazine was an exacting eye for authenticity. If you were going to parody or satirize popular culture, it needed to actually LOOK LIKE the things you were referring to, or the joke would be lost. That was more or less a new idea at the time. In my opinion, the four years that Gross and Kaestle worked on National Lampoon is THE high point of art direction for a monthly print publication. Everyone always points to the the George Lois-era Esquire as the pinnacle of graphic design in magazines—and it’s great stuff, don’t get me wrong—but the Lampoon was even better, had more nuance and yet Gross and Kaestle’s work rarely gets the credit it deserves.
 

 
You can find out everything you always wanted to know about “Son-O’-God Comics” at Dial B for Blog.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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I Got You, God: Sonny and Cher pimp The Bible, 1970
02.21.2014
09:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Books

Tags:
TV Guide
Sonny and Cher
The Bible


 
According to my extensive and laborious research (I Googled it) this ad appeared in the November 28, 1970 issue of TV Guide.

The small print reads:

The people who make music today read the Bible. It’s that kind of book. It can make things work for you. Read the Bible. Find out where all the music is coming from.

And if you don’t have a Bible of your own, we’ll send you one for only a dollar. Hard cover and everything. Just one should do it. The Bible lasts a long time.

Bibles are good for people on bummers, like “Pammie” in Sonny Bono’s preposterously epic “Pammie’s on a Bummer.” He doesn’t even start singing until after three minutes have passed! “Singing” might be too strong of a word, here.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Process Church of the Final Judgement: Revelations of an apocalypse cult
02.18.2014
04:42 pm

Topics:
Belief
Books
Occult

Tags:
Timothy Wyllie
The Process


 
Alessandro Papa’s excellent new book, The Process: Archives, Documents, Reflections and Revelations, is an indispensable addition to the small number of publications devoted to the 60s apocalypse cult, The Process Church of the Final Judgement.

When I say small, I refer only to the handful of books—well, three—that includes Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment and Propaganda and the Holy Writ of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, both published by Feral House in recent years, along with William S. Bainbridge’s sociological study of the organization, Satan’s Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult, which came out in 1978. Not a lot.

The Process is the subject of fascination for many people—I’m one of them—because of how dark their theology was, and a desire to understand what caused the well-educated middle class members to join up with such a group in the first place. What weirdos! Although they appeared at first blush to be a Satan-worshipping cult—something Ed Sanders’ lurid Manson book The Family is partially to blame for—this view is very widely off the mark. The Processean tenants sought to harmonize the notion of the Christian eschaton with the carnage the cult’s young adherents had literally been born into, the bombed out ruins of post-WWII Europe. Christ would return and team up with Satan for the final judgement of mankind. After what had just gone down, would this have seemed so incredibly far-fetched? In this sense, the poetic Process theology, most of it coming via the inspired pen of the group’s charismatic leader, Robert DeGrimston, was firmly grounded in Judeo-Christian imagery and the thanatonic impulses of eschatological beliefs in general.

DeGrimston’s “Game of the Gods” described a universe where Lucifer, Satan and Jehovah battle it out on a cosmic chess board where we—and all of history—are just their pawns. This idea of the trio’s endtime “unity” comes from a not-so-esoteric reading of The Book of Revelation. I’m not saying this is exactly the same sort of energy that’s been channeled into the Left Behind book series, but there IS a certain similar impulse at play. Christians LOVE them a little end of the world, right, so how surprising would it be that something like The Process would sprout up in postwar Britain, where the participants were probably all raised as Christians? (This is a very difficult thing to shake, as many of you reading this can no doubt attest to.) That Charles Manson’s prophecy of a coming race war would find inspiration in DeGrimston’s end of the world sermonizing isn’t that surprising, either.

The thing is, I think people who are fascinated by the Process want them to be “darker” than they actually were. Based on the dramatic—indeed the infernal—prose of DeGrimston, they probably expect to find “rites” or Crowleyan sex magick rituals, when the reality was much closer to a “Jesus freak” coffee house with newsletters, folk singers and veggie burgers. Setting aside any “mindfucking” that authoritarian cults tend to engage in, viewed in retrospect, the Processeans actually seem pretty tame, an ascetic, gentle and devotional lot.

Papa’s book makes good use of his extensive collection of Process memorabilia. As the shadowy cult’s narrative history unfolds, he is able to refer to, quote from extensively and even reproduce from the vast amount of literature they produced. In doing so, Papa is able to give his readers an accurate picture of what actually transpired, cleaving the myth from the history and presenting the most objective portrait of The Process yet, even when it can be a little goofy.

The Process: Archives, Documents, Reflections and Revelations has been published in a limited edition of just 555 copies. You can order it from End of Kali-Yuga editions via eBay.

Below, a 2010 interview that I conducted with former Process member and author, Timothy Wylie
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Woman claims to see Jesus on bruised toe
01.28.2014
06:41 pm

Topics:
Belief
Idiocracy
Kooks

Tags:
Christians


 
According to KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, NM, a woman is claiming to see Jesus in painful bruises on her feet that she sustained after falling down the stairs

Paula Osuna’s fiancé rubbed some “holy” dirt from the town of Chimayo in New Mexico on her feet to help her heal. What happened next surprised her:

After putting the holy dirt on her foot and then bandaging it, she says the next day the bruise formed in the shape of Jesus on her second toe.

YOU DON’T SAY!

“My family has always done the pilgrimages to Chimayo and this is the first time I ever used it and I’m seeing something kind of come out full circle, I guess.” Osuna said.

Oh for Christ’s sake…

The best comment:

The caption should read “Crazy woman gets pushed down stairs and Jesus figured lets create an image of myself on this wacko’s toe.”

 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Peter Cushing: A moving interview on love and death with the ‘Gentleman of Horror’
01.23.2014
02:10 pm

Topics:
Belief
Television

Tags:
Peter Cushing

gnihsucretephorror.jpg
 
When Peter Cushing was a child, his mother dressed him as a girl. He had long blonde hair, tied with a bow, and enviable selection of dresses. His mother had always wanted a daughter, and was deeply disappointed that her second and last child was a boy.

One day Peter went missing, having wandered off in his frock to paddle in some puddles.  Fortunately, he was found by a local policeman. When his father called the police station to ask if by any chance they had found a missing boy, the desk sergeant replied there was no boy, just a little girl. It turned out, this little girl was Cushing, and it was the last time he was ever dressed as a girl.

His also mother meted out a strange punishment to her children. Whenever they were naughty, she would pretend to be dead. This caused the young Peter great distress, while his brother, being more robust, suggested kicking their mother to make sure she was dead.

While his mother was a brief but emotionally strong influence on his life, it was another woman, the actress Violet Helene Beck, who was the greatest, most beneficial and enduring passion in his life.

Peter met Helen when they were both struggling actors. It was love-at-first sight, and they married in 1943. Helen recognized that Peter was the better actor, and gave up her acting to support her husband in his career. Success was a long time in coming, taking Peter until middle age for him to make his mark: first in the BBC dramatization of George Orwell’s 1984, and then as Baron Victor in The Curse of Frankenstein.

Cushing became an international star appearing as Van Helsing in Dracula, Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, as Doctor Who in Dr. Who and the Daleks, and later as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars.

When Helen died in 1971, Cushing was bereft, and almost out-of-his-mind. It took him thirteen years to get over her death. He survived this time by working continuously, and being consoled by a letter Helen left him, and his belief that they would (somehow) meet again.

I was in the Peter Cushing Fan Club when I was a child. To me Cushing represented that old fashioned gentlemanly style of horror, in the tradition of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and even Basil Rathbone. Cushing had an intelligence and a warmth of personality that made the whole experience of being terrified tremendous fun.

The new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi once said (in an old Radio Times Q&A, I seem to recall) that he was also in the Peter Cushing Fan Club, and copied Cushing’s style of signature as his own. Understandable really, as who wouldn’t want to be such a distinguished and thoroughly decent human being?

In 1990, Peter Cushing (then retired) gave an interview to the Human Factor, where he talked about his love for his wife, his belief in an afterlife, his suicide attempt, his cancer, and the key moments from his childhood and his long and successful acting career. As an atheist, I don’t follow Cushing’s views of an afterlife, but his interview is still moving, poignant, and enjoyable—like watching the sun slowly set on a childhood summer.
 

 

Bonus: Peter Cushing’s last appearance on Terry Wogan’s chat show, 1988.
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Peter Cushing’s death wish

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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