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Chapter 3 - Religion
as a manipulative tool
We might imagine that the first generations after the flood were strongly impressed by what God had done. However as life expectancy shortened and new generations arose, even something as dramatic as world wide destruction began to fade into the realm of myth.
It is from around this time that we start to find archaeological evidence of human activity and records describing that activity. The area of Sumer (in present day Iraq) gives us the earliest record of this activity. Featured prominently are religious activities.
We do not have a detailed account of how Satan crafted the false religions of the world. However, we can see that he and his agents are fully engaged in their operation;
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. - 1 Corinthians 10:20
Demonic possession has not been common in Western Civilization. However, as more and more people dabble with the occult, this is beginning to change. When Satan wants to influence people he (or his agents) can suggest ideas to try to mentally 'nudge' people. However, when he needs more direct contact he may use a person who has become demonically possessed. Today this can be observed with those who channel demonic voices. The establishment of false religions gives Satan a good cover for those who are more directly controlled by him. The possessed person does not have a natural or persuasive communication so that when declared to be receiving information from the gods, this strangeness then becomes an asset for him. This can be seen in videos of people 'channeling' spirits such as Elizabeth Claire Prophet, J.Z. Knight, or Jane Roberts.
People on the edge of survival know that weather significantly impacts both agriculture and animal husbandry. If people can be made fearful, they can be made to accept almost any proposition offered to ally their fear. While gangsters usually threaten physical harm if not paid off, priests can threaten the anger of the gods (usually poor harvests) if they are not paid off. In this people are seduced with the illusion that they can control their environment through appeasing the gods.
Satan finds willing agents such as those who would be priests to propagate his deceptions because it profits those agents. In contrast to laboring in the fields, the religion racket offers those who administer it a much more comfortable life, elevated status, and even relative wealth.
Over time Satan may repackage the manipulative dynamic from the ancient 'It is your fault there is a drought because you have failed to appease the gods' to the more modern 'It is your fault there is global warming because you have used oil and coal'. However, the tools and process are pretty much the same.
It is impossible to over-estimate the influence false religions have had over mankind in getting us started and continuing down the paths Satan would have us travel.
1. The elevation of 'important' people we look to as a source of truth. While early religious division simply separated the gullible from the exploitive, the inclination of people to accept those designated 'worthy' or 'superior' would eventually spread to include the wealthy, aristocracy, educated, and even famous.
2. Seeing ourselves as being able to influence the 'gods'. God wanted us to trust in and accept his provision. Satan offered a view that things like rainfall variation were due to successful religious effort or punishment for religious negligence. As a result, we can be made to ignore the real God and attempt to manipulate false gods.
3. Accepting the burden of supporting those who claim to protect us. The idea that we should set aside the fruits of our labor to provide a comfortable life for a person who tells us that the weather is our fault seems at first glance to be foolish. However, once ritual, tradition, and peer acceptance has been established, few seem to question it.
4. The introduction of ritual. For people to be effective in a collective, they need to adapt themselves to procedures, scripts, and repetitive, almost mindless, execution of instructions. This facilitates Satan's desire that what he sets in motion will continue with minimal demands from him to sustain it.
5. Raising children to conform to religious requirements. As a population grows from clan to tribe to a people, a religious tradition can become an established mechanism that helps shape families into what will become 'society'. Even subtle manipulations of religious practice can leverage many people into directions they would not have chosen for themselves.
6. Difficulty and hardship are punishment. Hardship and difficulties in life were consequential to mankind falling into sin. They often keep us from the damage we do ourselves when we are comfortable and prosperous. Most religions describe difficulty as punishment and ease as reward. This perspective serves to motivate people to seek ease, often at the expense of others.
7. Cultivation of ambition for social prominence. Divisions in a society serve to cultivate envy and desire such that much effort is expended to advance oneself.
Religion has proven to be a formidable tool for Satan. In addition to getting people to murder their own children and each other, he frequently wove male and female prostitution into his religions. We can understand some of Satan's character from a description given by Jesus;
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. - John 8:44
As the father of lies, religion is a particularly effective tool to help him create a false understanding of the universe within which he can more easily lead people to do his bidding. Woven into his various tapestries of lies are the manipulations of all sorts of human desire and lust.
The view that there was only one God and he took a personal interest in each person and each person could depend on him was something Satan had to destroy if he were to get people collectivized under his control. His alternative presentation was of a universe ruled by many gods who were just as vain, capricious, and evil as people. However, since they were so powerful, they needed to be appeased, appealed to and placated by intermediaries such as lesser gods and priests.
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