Rituale Satanum - Nox Mortar - Between Heresy, Blasphemy And Hate (CD) download full album zip cd mp3 vinyl flac
In the parable of the tares, to take but one example, Jesus looks forward to the time when all unbelievers will be burnt in hell. Matthew 30; see also John 6; Matthew The bundles of weeds to whose burning Jesus looks forward in this parable of the Last Judgment are, of course, symbols; they stand for the living bodies of those men, women and children who have not accepted the Christian gospel and who are therefore destined to burn in the fires of hell.
In the New Testament itself there is never any suggestion that this wrathful judgment should be enforced by mere humans. But these words were premised on the assumption which informs the whole of the New Testament — that the apocalyptic moment when God himself would come to judge the world was imminent and should be expected almost daily.
When that moment failed to come the temptation for those consumed by a burning faith in a religion which was itself zealous for judgment was to assume for themselves the role of the divine judge. Gradually the words of Jesus and Paul which I have quoted above, taken together with many other passages from the New Testament, came to be construed as a licence for the persecution of all who were deemed heretics. The persecution of pagans, Jews, Muslims and dissident Christians began in the early middle ages.
But it did not emerge on a large scale until the creation, in the first part of the thirteenth century, of the Inquisition. From small beginnings the Inquisition rapidly grew to become one of the mightiest and most powerful institutions in Europe. Parents were encouraged to betray their children and children their parents; anonymous denunciations were received with enthusiasm.
If the victim confessed to holding heretical views then he or she was spared much suffering. If the victims made no confession they were tortured:. The heretic was dragged into the torture chamber and shown all the terrible instruments of torture. If this dreadful display did not make him confess to his errors, then the instruments were applied to his body, one by one, in a process of slowly increasing pain … Tortures lasting three or four hours were not unusual.
While the victim was being tortured, the rack or other instrument was frequently sprinkled with holy water. A heretic might be tortured in this way for hours, until his body had become a flayed, bruised, broken and bleeding mass of.
Overwhelmed by pain and half out of his mind with anguish, he would usually, after a few hours of this torment, give all the Information that the Inquisitors wanted to hear … .
Yet it is probably true to say that the Inquisition was the greatest engine of ideological conformity ever devised by the West and that its influence lasted long after the institution itself was dissolved.
Indeed, to a degree which is scarcely ever acknowledged in our history books, the very Protestants who had rebelled against its authority tended to make new constitutions and new laws in the moulds which had been cast by their persecutors. Instead of transcending the Inquisition they reproduced some of its most repressive features. For, contrary to a widespread modern historical myth, it is not the case that the Reformation replaced a state of religious tyranny by a state of religious freedom.
It may well be that Martin Luther is sometimes celebrated as a champion of such freedom, but this view of his achievement rests upon a misconception. I can do nothing else. God help me. Submission to this objectively present authority was freedom of conscience as he understood it. Contrary to most modern assumptions Milton did not support freedom of the press except in those areas where he felt his own liberty was constrained.
The freedom of expression which Milton sought to seize for himself, in other words, was of a kind which meant that a form of tyranny should be imposed on others. Although Anabaptism would once have been regarded as a heresy, the term Luther preferred was blasphemy. At various times, particularly, in the later stages of his career, he condemned not only Anabaptism, but also Arianism, Judaism and Islam as blasphemies.
Sin was blasphemy, the political opinions of the peasantry were blasphemy, even missing church was blasphemy. All Catholics were blasphemers. Their Mass was blasphemous and their popes blasphemers and Antichrists.
They should be compelled to worship in Lutheran churches on pain of excommunication and exile. Inafter some hesitation, Luther finally endorsed imprisonment and death for Catholic blasphemies, in order to ensure that their contagion did not spread. It became part of the Protestant currency. Servetus was a gifted theologian and a scholar of genius.
He had, however, opposed the doctrine of the Trinity and he had imprudently compounded this crime by openly opposing Calvin as well. Having unsuccessfully denounced Servetus to the Catholic Inquisition, Calvin eventually had him arrested in Geneva where he was tried for heresy and blasphemy and sentenced to death. He was overruled by the court and Servetus was burnt the next day along with a copy of his heretical book.
The executioner used green wood which burnt slowly. Servetus screamed continuously as the lower half of his body burnt. After half an hour he passed out and died. Both Luther and Calvin were, in this regard, following the example of the Inquisition in seeking to suppress opinions because they were deemed subversive of religious authority.
But one of the effects of the Reformation was actually to extend the scope of such measures. For when the Reformation made the monarch head of the established church, as happened in England, religious and political questions became intertwined. The habits of suppression which the Inquisition had created in the sphere of religion were now extended to the sphere of politics.
The sacredness and supremacy of church and state were maintained by prosecuting dissidents for two related crimes — on the one hand for heresy and on the other for treason and sedition. In England the crime of speaking against God was punished as heresy until the early years of the seventeenth century.
The penalty was death. Gradually, however, the old laws of heresy fell into disuse. This happened in most Protestant countries, where, having been repeatedly accused of heresy themselves, Protestants came to dislike the term.
Both in England and in colonial America the concept which gradually took the place of heresy was that of blasphemy or blasphemous libel. Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the courts frequently invoked the blasphemy law with a quite vicious repressiveness against those who made disrespectful references to God or Rituale Satanum - Nox Mortar - Between Heresy or the Church. In particular ribaldry or obscenity directed against Christianity was rigorously outlawed.
Even those who rebelled on doctrinal matters or who questioned the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked might find themselves arraigned on a charge of blasphemy and they could by no means be certain of acquittal. Infor example, the Cambridge academic and deist, Thomas Woolston, was successfully prosecuted for writing a series of pamphlets in which he denied the literal truth of the miracles of the New Testament and argued that they should be construed allegorically. For originally, at least, the punishment of blasphemers sometimes involved not only imprisonment but also torture.
Infor example, James Nayler, a Quaker from Bristol, was charged with claiming equality with God. It should not be thought that these measures had a merely religious significance. For to interpret them in this way would be to introduce a distinction between religion and politics which was foreign to seventeenth-century Europe.
This was made abundantly clear in England inafter the prosecution of an apparently deranged man, who claimed that Jesus Christ was a and a whore-master and that religion was a cheat.
During the trial the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Matthew Hale, articulated clearly the principle which had always been implicit in the English concept of blasphemous libel — namely that Christianity was part of the law of England, and that a threat to the Church was, by its very nature, a threat to the State. The laws against blasphemy were not simply restraints on religious freedom. They were a crucial part of an entire body of legislation whose other major instrument of suppression was the law against sedition.
This in effect transferred the aura of sacredness and holy dread which had been developed around Christianity to the laws of the state and the government which upheld them; speaking critically or disrespectfully about the government or its officers was construed as a kind of political blasphemy and was punished no less severely than its religious counterpart. With some variations between different countries, these legacies of the Inquisition were preserved throughout most of Europe.
Contrary to the received view they were not even abolished in the United States. Only those who bowed to this authority were deemed worthy to enjoy the liberty which the First Amendment guaranteed. In theory at least those who opposed either God or the revolution which had been brought about in his name could claim no such freedom, for both the law of blasphemous libel and the law of seditious libel remained in force.
This theory almost always operates in nascent or immature democracies. In such democracies laws against freedom of expression are invoked frequently and censorship is often pervasive and violently enforced. The underlying fear is that, if freedom of expression were to be permitted even in the smallest degree it could eventually lead to a flood of conspiracies, revolutions and internal disorders which would rock all stable government and eventually submerge the state itself.
Parallel fears can be seen clearly in the history of attitudes towards obscenity. The organisers of these campaigns never hesitated to use the most violent sanctions provided by the law in order to restrain the imagination and outlaw any form of art which might be deemed immoral. Indeed, there has always been a close relationship between obscenity laws and blasphemy laws, with obscene or scurrilous language tending to be construed as one of the characteristics of blasphemy.
Blasphemy laws survived in Britain, America, and many European countries including Germany throughout the nineteenth century. But in our own century these laws have gradually fallen into disuse. In Germany the law against blasphemy has been abolished. In Britain laws against blasphemy remain in force and, in theory at least, they are still the main means whereby Christianity is protected against obscene or extreme abuse.
In practice, however, they have scarcely played any role for many years. Indeed in the distinguished British judge Lord Denning declared the British law obsolete and at the same time consigned the floodgate-theory to the history books:.
The reason for this law was because it was thought that a denial of Christianity was liable to shake the fabric of society, which was itself founded upon Christian religion. There is no such danger to society now and the offence of blasphemy is a dead letter.
As has already been noted, in the offence of blasphemy was fleetingly revived in Britain. The result was a vigorous campaign to abolish the laws, a campaign which has been renewed in the wake of the Rushdie affair.
Although the account of the blasphemy laws which I have given here diverges significantly from the orthodox libertarian view, the path I have followed so far is at least within shouting distance of that well-beaten track. The basis of my disagreement is very simple. For what students of religious and social history have almost always failed to observe is that the seeming obsolescence of blasphemy laws does not indicate simply Blasphemy And Hate (CD) we have grown out of them.
Both in cultural and in psychological terms, it might be a great deal more accurate to suggest that we have grown into them, and that, behind the change in legal attitudes towards blasphemy, there lies a profound process of cultural and psychological internalisation. Such a process of internalisation is unlikely ever to be complete. In any ordinary social relationship it would be considered an unpardonable breach of good taste for a sceptic or a non-believer to engage in obscene blasphemies against Jesus or against the Christian faith in the presence of a devout Christian.
So profoundly do we seem to have accepted the sacredness of the Christian religion that such blasphemies would probably be considered distasteful even if they were uttered only in the company of fellow sceptics or unbelievers. For we should never forget that these standards are, in part at least, the historical precipitate of torture and terror.
In highly disciplined industrialised societies such as our own, it is quite possible to abolish old laws while leaving intact the habits of repression which they originally helped to engender. Imaginative artists have, in effect, been licensed to engage in blasphemy on behalf of those who, because of their own relative imaginative rigidity, find it difficult to do so. But even the licence we give to artists to blaspheme is itself severely limited.
Occasional blasphemies can be tolerated in the confidence that their example is unlikely to be followed; there is no longer a danger of the floodgates of impiety springing open. Extreme or obscene blasphemy, however, is still effectively either outlawed or restricted to special contexts.
It is quite true that this kind of restriction is not normally regulated by invoking the law. But here once again we encounter the results of a process of cultural internalisation. Because of this process individuals or organisations can, to a large extent, be relied upon to impose the kind of censorship which was once enforced by the state.
Very often it is imposed by publishers themselves, and it is surprising how rapidly some publishers have managed to forget their own recent history in this respect. Not many years ago almost the entire print-run of a Penguin book was burnt Rituale Satanum - Nox Mortar - Between Heresy the grounds that its contents were blasphemous and would be deeply offensive to many Christians.
The Penguin edition of Massacre was introduced by Malcolm Muggeridge and published in at the time that Penguin was under the direction of the young publisher Tony Godwin. Many booksellers, however, found the book deeply offensive because of its blasphemous content and some conveyed their feelings to the founder of Penguin, Allen Lane, who had by this time almost retired from the firm.
His response was swift and effective. Allen Lane took this action not because he was a practising Christian himself, but because many of his friends and bookselling colleagues were, and had conveyed to him their strong distaste for the book. Of course it may be argued that Allen Lane was wrong to act in the way that he did. But given that he did it would be hypocritical not to recall his actions now. For they place the controversy over The Satanic Verses in a much needed perspective.
They remind us above all that in Britain, as in most other Western countries, the Christian religion and the sensitivities of individual Christians are protected not so much by the force of law but — far more significantly — by the manner in which ancient and seemingly obsolete public blasphemy laws have been adopted as private standards. In order to adhere to these standards almost all broadcasting organisations in Europe and the United States routinely vet their programmes for blasphemy.
At the same time both publishing editors and proprietors like Allen Lane frequently intervene in the publishing process in order to moderate, edit, or indeed suppress works which might be considered blasphemous.
His proposal to make the film in Britain met with intense opposition which was eventually successful. In a similar kind of censorship played a significant role in the handling of the British film The Life of Brian.
As blasphemy it was, even in its original version, extremely mild. Yet the film was surrounded from its inception by intense anxiety, in some quarters of the British Establishment, about the offence it might cause. As a result it gained a certificate for general release only after some cuts had been made. Perhaps more importantly still, the film was shunned by British television companies, who declined to show it for fear of offending Christians in this country.
Once again a blasphemy was restrained — or its circulation effectively curtailed — not by the force of law but by the fears, anxieties and sensitivities of individuals. The action which Allen Lane took inthe successful campaign against The Many Faces of Jesusand the partial suppression of The Life of Brian tell part of the story of the way in which attitudes towards blasphemy have evolved.
But it is not the whole story. A far more telling perspective on the status of blasphemy is offered if we consider the manner in which, in our once Christian state, the authority of the individual conscience has gradually been accorded the same position, and been veiled with the same sanctity, as the authority of the scriptures in earlier centuries.
The elevation of the individual conscience and the manner in which we now defer to its authority is one of the most important parts of the Protestant inheritance. Whereas the medieval Roman Catholic Church had developed a vast apparatus of external authority, and a complex ecclesiastical hierarchy by which all individual believers were bound, Protestants in general — and Puritans in particular — regarded external authority with distaste, and placed great emphasis instead on inner discipline.
One of the great ideals of the Puritan movement, deriving from St Paul — who had in turn derived it from Old Testament prophets like Ezekiel — was that the laws of God should be written not upon tablets of stone, but upon the individual heart of every true believer. The emergence of this trend can be discerned in Lutheran Protestantism, but it developed in its strongest form in countries where the Calvinist influence prevailed, particularly in Britain and America.
The radical implications of the new conscience-centred attitude towards Christian doctrine were spelt out by John Milton. He was one of many seventeenth-century Puritans who, basing his arguments in part on the corrupt and distorted nature of the text of the Bible, rejected it as an infallible guide to the will of God.
For Milton, the ultimate court of appeal always remained that of reason or the inner conscience. The implications of this conscience-centred revolution for the crime of blasphemy were far-reaching indeed, and continue to make themselves felt today.
As long as the Bible continued to be regarded as the ultimate authority in matters of faith, any attempt to quarrel with the sacred word or with the traditional biblical images of God was anathema and was vigorously condemned.
But gradually, as the conscience-centred revolution deepened during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a conflict began to grow between the old scriptural images of God and the new demands of the internalised conscience. Indeed blasphemy, or attitudes which verged on blasphemy, even began to have a certain theological attraction for some of the most rigorous and conscientious Puritans.
The trial of James Nayler inwhich has already been referred to, is a perfect example of this trend. This religious appropriation of blasphemy is by no means only a feature of our Protestant past, for in some significant respects it continues today. But their books are at the same time coldly rational attacks on the traditional scriptural image of God which many ordinary Christians continue to worship and from which they continue to draw immense psychological comfort. In terms of any traditional Christian view, the vision of these new theologians is not simply radical or revolutionary.
It verges on blasphemy and is profoundly threatening. It is little wonder that so many Christians have found these writings so hurtful. In liberal intellectual circles, however, there is scant sympathy for such Christians and a great deal of fellow-feeling for the radical theologians who have so scandalised them.
In view of this, and in view of the way in which we have virtually enthroned blasphemy as an orthodox part of modern Christian theology, it is scarcely surprising that we find it so difficult to understand the feelings of the countless thousands of ordinary Muslims who were outraged by the publication of The Satanic Verses.
We should have no doubt at all that in some cases this feeling of outrage was taken up by Muslim extremists and exploited for their own religious and political ends. It was felt so strongly for the simple reason that much of the Islamic world has not passed through the kind of conscience-centred revolution which is such an important part of our own historical experience.
The Koran remains the essential and only sanctuary of God and of the Prophet Muhammad, and any attempt to tamper with that sanctuary or to abuse its holiness is seen as an attempt to destroy religion itself. It is because the faith of ordinary Muslims relies so heavily on external authority and on the sacred tradition of the Koran, and because they identify this tradition with all that is precious and emotionally rich, that many Muslims are prepared to defend the sanctity of the Koran and of the figure of the Prophet with such passion and such apparent rigidity.
By placing this conflict in a historical context I hope I have made it clear that one argument which is commonly advanced about The Satanic Verses is unsound. For it is emphatically not true that most European Christians enjoy now, or have ever enjoyed, an unlimited liberty to blaspheme against the Christian faith. In some countries Christianity is still nominally protected by the law. But in all Western countries, including the bastion of free-speech, America, it is even more securely protected by a whole series of taboos which have become a part of our culture.
By banishing a palpable injustice in order to ratify an impalpable injustice, it would almost certainly leave the Muslim communities who live in these countries feeling more precarious and more threatened. To say this, however, does not in itself resolve any of the most important questions which have been raised by the publication of The Satanic Verses and by the Muslim response to it. For the fact that Muslims — or for that matter any other group of people — might feel threatened, discomforted or offended by the publication of a novel is not in itself a reason for suppressing that novel or declining to publish it in a paperback edition.
Truth itself is sometimes painful, disturbing and offensive. That being so, the question which remains unanswered is whether blasphemy can itself be a vehicle of truth, and whether the right to engage in blasphemy against a particular religion, or indeed against all religions, is therefore a precious right which should be defended at all costs. In order to answer that question, I believe that we need to locate it not in some hypothetical Utopia but in the real historical and political world.
There are a number of situations in which the right to blaspheme would indeed appear to be worth defending. Calvin, in the words of R. Much the same might be said of Russia during the time of Stalin. I have introduced these two examples quite deliberately, however, in order to show that, although blasphemy may sometimes appear to be desirable, it is not always politically expedient.
For tyrants who use religious terror in order to impose their own forms of political discipline do not make exceptions of blasphemers; they make examples of them. We should not conclude from this that dissidents living within such regimes should always avoid blasphemy.
But in such regimes any dissidents would be unwise to regard blasphemy as a permanent political duty. Rather it should be seen as an extremely difficult political art in which would-be blasphemers play a game of brinksmanship, balancing the disrespect they express for the regime under which they suffer against the chances of punishment.
At best it would have been to throw away valuable human resources by going to war with a strategically useless weapon. At worst it would be the equivalent of supplying arms to the enemy. For tyrants are almost always skilled at taking the scurrilous insults and obscenities which are associated with blasphemy and directing these back against the blasphemer.
What happens, in effect, is that those who engage in blasphemy against repressive regimes provide the leaders of those regimes with the very kind of unclean Antichrist they need in order to unite followers behind them and sustain and redouble their repressive zeal. Blasphemy, then, when it is exercised by the powerless against the powerful, may seem to be justifiable, but it is often politically naive and it may have the effect of strengthening the authoritarianism of the regime which is attacked.
In this respect it is very like violence or terrorism. Terrorist attacks on extreme repressive regimes may sometimes seem morally right, but they are not always advisable.
In reality, however, it seems reasonably clear that his book has had precisely the opposite effect to that which he intended. Old School Attack 3. Absolute Cruelty 4. Nuclear Beast 5. Preacher of Hell 6. Prisoner of Wickedness 2. Absolute Cruelty 3. The Circle 4. Walpurgis 5. Empty Throne 6.
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