Got a Goodreads account? Enter this giveaway for a chance to win both Bishop & Holiday books, autographed by me! Interdimensional travel, red tape in the afterlife, mythical babes, three-headed dogs, alien spiders, and daemonic possession: all in a day’s work for the Bishop & Holiday Paranormal Agency.
I took forever in the shower again. Got myself wrapped up in a mental God vs Devil essay that I had to commit to paper and share, because that’s what we do in this age of narcissism where our every thought and utterance is naturally profound.
Basically, from a writer’s standpoint, I have every reason to be against God, and every reason to root for the Devil. In short, if I weren’t an atheist, I’d be a Satanist.
Think about it. Satan is the original anti-establishment underdog, vilified by a text (or series of texts) that are clearly biased against him from Page 1. Yes, he’s personified as the ultimate evil who opposed the glory of God and was cast out for trying to overthrow him. But nobody was around to see that happen, and if we take it as more than mythology, the story has been passed through the ages like an epic game of Telephone, probably distorted more and more over time, assuming it wasn’t totally distorted to begin with. We were created in God’s image (allegedly), and human society is cruel: you disagree with the clique, you get cast out and made to look like the bad guy to anyone who will listen. It happens on earth all the time, usually over really petty shit, so why can’t it happen on a cosmic level, too? Anyone ever ask Satan for his side of events?
My aunt and uncle had a falling out earlier this year, and separated for a while. They’d done this before, and we knew nothing of their personal lives or what they’re like as a couple in private, and it was none of our business anyhow, so we didn’t pry. We also didn’t pry when we heard that Uncle apparently wasn’t going to patch things up with Auntie this time, and remain separated, which upset Auntie quite a bit. Well, Auntie is the blood relation to our family — my mom’s sister — so naturally our whole family labeled the Uncle as a vile bastard.
Again, without knowing anything about the particulars. Maybe he was a despotic patriarch in private, and this was another form of his cruelty. Maybe Auntie had a habit of fooling around with other men, and this time he wasn’t accepting her apology. Maybe he found out she was a wizard or an alien. Point is, we had no idea what the hell happened, except that Uncle wasn’t taking her shit anymore. Didn’t stop the whole family from casting Uncle out.
Humans do this kind of petty bullshit all the time, and we are clearly made in the likeness of our gods, if any scripture is to be believed. So it stands to reason that God probably threw Satan out over some petty bullshit, and everyone just goes along with it because fuck that guy, God’s awesome and good and perfect. It says so in that book that’s totally not biased at all. I mean, there was that time he had bears maul a bunch of little kids for making fun of an old guy. And that shit he pulled with Job and Abraham was pretty fucked up. Oh, and I guess we can’t forget the time he drowned the whole planet except for one family that was still paying his spiritual protection racket. But those don’t count. God was having an off day on those days, so shut up and stop blaspheming.
“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” -Mark Twain
If there were a version of the Bible told from Satan’s corner of the ring, I bet we’d be in for a VERY different view of events. Probably also biased. The truth, as always, would probably be somewhere in the middle.
Either way, I’d rather spend my afterlife with the underdog than with a God who is basically a cosmic despot in both testaments. Consider both versions of Hell that people imagine: there’s the one that Satan allegedly runs, where he collects the souls of the damned like playthings; and there’s the one God created as the ultimate prison for Satan and all sinners that follow him.
If Satan runs the place, he’d have to have his own benefits in that afterlife. If he conned people out of their souls just to throw them into a torture chamber forever, he’d end up with maybe two or three souls, then everyone would wise up and never listen to him again. We wouldn’t even be able to use him as a scapegoat for every despicable thing we do. If you had the option to either have sex with your neighbor’s fifteen-year-old son/daughter or NOT be flayed alive for all eternity, I don’t care how depraved you are, you’re picking Door #2. It’s not like human prison where there’s a chance you won’t get caught. God sees all, and punishes all. You have sex with that kid, you’re going to cosmic jail for all eternity.
Basically, if Satan wants to collect sinners’ souls, he has to make Hell a 24/7 block party, to the point where “absence of God” seems like a good thing. It’s just good business sense. And trust me, if Satan is real, he/she is a businessman.
And let’s face it, absence of God probably is a good thing, if you consider the alternative version of Hell from Dante’s Divine Comedy: the one where you burn forever and ever for making as little as a single mistake. Or worse, burn forever and ever for not kissing God’s boots.
The more I think about it, the more appealing Hell is to me. Satan really has the easiest sell imaginable.
“Hey, you wanna go to heaven and live in eternal servitude to a despot that will burn you for eternity over a single moment of weakness? or do you wanna come downstairs where every day isn’t Bible Camp and have a couple cold ones?”
Ultimately, if Heaven and Hell are real, I’m probably choosing Hell. Thats where all the jazz musicians are anyway.
And now you know why I take a half hour in the shower every fucking day.
Check out my bookstore if you like my writing. I have two books out that will either entertain or offend you. Probably the former, though one can never be sure this day and age.