Saturday, December 8, 2018

Jesus Meets Satan in the Capitol

If you visit the Illinois State Capitol you will see the encounter between Jesus and Satan. It is, of course, an encounter of symbols.  Representing Jesus: a Christmas Tree and holly. Representing Satan: a statue depicting a snake wrapped around an arm holding an apple.  The intended meaning of the symbol is displayed on a sign which reads: “”Knowledge is the greatest gift.” (source: Madeline Holcombe 

What fascinates me about this story is that the Satanic Temple, which sponsors the statue, claims on its’ website, "We do not promote a belief in a personal Satan…To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions."  In other words, Satan isn’t a person; ‘Satan’ is an ‘idea’ or a ‘belief’ that denies the personhood of Jesus Christ. If Satan isn’t a real person, then neither is Jesus. The symbols, in the minds of the Satanic Temple members, represent a battle, then, of knowledge versus superstition.  Christmas, they would say, is a myth created by the superstitious for the entertainment of the ignorant.

When boiled down to its essence, Christmastide is a series of symbols celebrating the gift of God’s Son to save a doubting, dying world.  Meanwhile, the ‘world’ not only denies Jesus is God but in fact sees the whole “Christmas” season as ‘archaic tradition-based superstitions.’  Christmas: ’tis the season for a good economy fueled by the duped, they say.

Much of the world is happy to celebrate the concepts of  ‘peace, joy, love and hope’. Even the members of the Satanic Temple embrace the "struggle for justice" and believe people should "strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures," according to its website. The question is whether the world waits this season for a real person.

What makes the members of the Church of Jesus Christ different from the members of the Satanic Temple? “Come and worship, come and worship, worship________, the newborn king.”

Fill in the blank.

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