It’s Easter again, the day when billions believe a man rose from the dead that one time. I thought I was dead once too, but it turned out I was just in Santa Ana.

(Angry Santa Ana residents can forward their hate mail to Forbes on that one, btw.)

The Internet is already full of atheists poking fun at Christian doctrines, as well as some who present reasoned counterarguments about Christian beliefs and institutions. I usually go easy on that stuff because, hey, it’s been done.

But since it’s a special occasion, I’ll propose a thought experiment: Imagine that, like a post-modern sinner in a Chick Tract, you’ve never heard of Jesus.

Imagine nobody ever told you about Easter, the crucifixion, Salvation™, etc. Imagine it was all new.

And now, imagine how scary this all sounds.



Ever wonder if those other two guys hanging there are feeling left out?

Now I don’t want to alarm anybody, but there’s a potentially dangerous cult recruiting in our community.

It’s hard to say what their beliefs are since they so much of their time fighting over doctrine, but one of the centerpiece tenets is the worship of the corpse of an executed criminal.

In many of their temples they bow down and pray to gruesome images of a dead body strung up on a wooden scaffold. Other factions get rid of the body and just worship the torture device that killed him instead; less mess that way I guess.

This dead prophet was some sort of megalomaniac who claimed he was king of the entire world. But in fact his own people hated him so much that they begged the authorities to kill him.

This cult aggressively recruits violent criminals. Their priests say that even the most shocking crimes—murder, rape, abuse, you name it—don’t matter as long as you join them and feel sincere about it.

And multiple witnesses and former members tell me that they even practice ritual cannibalism. They believe that by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their dead prophet, they’ll live forever.

And make no bones about it: They’re coming after our kids.

Okay, gag’s over, but here’s the thing: Turn back the block to the pagan Roman state and you’ll find many people really DID say some of this sort of thing about early Christians.

In fact, Roman-era anti-Christian smear campaigns bore a wearying resemblance to later nonsense charges against “witches” and Satanists: child murder, cannibalism, incest etc.



Well, at least it’s solid craftsmanship.

Historian David Potter noted in his 1994 book Prophets & Emperors: “Christians offended just about everyone’s sense of nature, and disturbances in the natural order were often thought to be the result of actions offensive to the divine guardians of that order.

“In antiquity, pollution, impiety, and error were all defined as actions that broke the proper relationship between mortals and gods. They were actions that were quintessentially unnatural.”

But now of course the “disturbances” of the Christian cult are status quo in America—and for that matter in Rome. Enough social privilege will make even the freakiest shit in the world seem normal.

I bring this up because fundies, evangelicals, conspiracy assholes, and other Anti-Satanist weirdos often try to intimidate us with the assumption of normalcy.

After all, just over a year ago, vaguely humanoid fungus Tucker Carlson warned his national audience that Satanism is all about “horrifying normal people in the middle of the country.”

And although it’s trite to argue that such opinions are all relative…well, very often they are.

How does a religious belief become “normal?” How does a heresy become “horrifying?” Mostly time, privilege, luck. And some colonial expansion helps a lot.

At times like Easter, members of mainstream religions often feel they can preach without fear in mixed company. Whereas Satanists may hold our tongues even among sympathetic crowds. This can’t help but wear down your morale sometimes.

But if that happens, remind yourself that the line between heresy and homogeneity is always thinner than the Easter Sunday crowd considers. And everyone is someone’s heretic.



“All I’m saying is this is spooky as fuck and I don’t care who knows it.”