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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-12-28 12:44
Subject: [writing] In which I am a Tool of Satan
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:highly amused
Music:work noise
Tags:books, culture, mainspring, religion, writing
One of the problems of having a dualistic worldview is that you are forced to see the world in terms of dualities. Through my routine ego surfing, I found this interesting blog post by a Christian fantasy author, commenting on a review of Mainspring Powell's | Amazon | Audible ], and my response to that review.

The post is really quite thoughtful, and logical within the terms of her faith and worldview. (Hat tip to lordofallfools for reminding me of the difference between internal logic and external logic.) At the same time, she explicitly conflates secular humanism with the works of Satan.

Speaking as a secular humanist, I'm here to tell you I have nothing to do with Satan one way or the other. Just like Jesus, he's a Christian construct, and is no more or less relevant to me than Vishnu or Thor or the Great God Goobalooba. The dualism inherent in Christian thought is an internal problem for the Christian worldview. It doesn't apply to me.

(I am curious to know if she's read the book herself, though.)

Confidential to Xtianity: I'd like an opt-out on the whole tool of Satan thing. Kthxbye.
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mevennen
User: mevennen
Date: 2007-12-28 21:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
God knows what she'd think of my novels. Under the wider circumstances and all.
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Coffee Shop Whore
User: skidspoppe
Date: 2007-12-28 21:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm just thankful The Great God Goobalooba is finally getting the shout he/she deserves!
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-28 21:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
No, she didn't call me a tool of Satan in so many words. She first says:

"As is necessary to make fantasy a tool of atheism, authors are redefining good and evil."

Then she says:

"It is the ultimate reversal, which is why these books seem intriguing to some, and it is a clever tactic—to take a tool meant for one purpose and use it for another. I recognize that method as something God Himself does. That Satan, the ultimate copycat who cannot create anything, employs this scheme is not unexpected."

Which I read to mean that fantasy which does not serve the cause of God is employed by Satan.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
User: saoba
Date: 2007-12-28 21:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My husband used to wander around at cons with a button which read (in Norse runes) 'Mindless dupe of Loki'.

He'd tell people it was because he was a traditionalist. 'None of that new fangled Satan stuff, y'know?'.
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Laura Anne Gilman: trouble?  moi?
User: suricattus
Date: 2007-12-28 22:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:trouble? moi?
You are not a tool of Satan. You are a tool-using imp of Satan. Sheeesh, these people with no idea of corporate structure...

(I'm actually quite annoyed by the fact that I've eviserated an angel and made a demon the good guy, and yet haven't gotten any hate mail from fundies [although I did get one fellow saying he was praying for me])

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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2007-12-28 22:12 (UTC)
Subject: Bakunin...
Michael Bakunin
"All religions, with their gods, their demi-gods, and their prophets, their messiahs and their saints, were created by the prejudiced fancy of men who had not attained the full development and full possession of their faculties."
[God and the State]

Michael Bakunin
"But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first free-thinker and emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge."
[God and the State]

"The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth."

...

"I myself am human and free only to the extent that I acknowledge the humanity and liberty of all my fellows... I am properly free when all the men and women about me are equally free. Far from being a limitation or a denial of my liberty, the liberty of another is its necessary condition and confirmation."
[The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution]
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2007-12-28 22:13 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bakunin...
(In other words... even were Jay a tool of Satan, even were Satan to exist... Jay would still be on the right side.)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Richard Parks
User: ogre_san
Date: 2007-12-28 22:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Another aspect of the dualistic viewpoint is that there is no opting out. Just because you don't believe in Jesus doesn't mean you're NOT a Tool of Satan. It's a closed universe, essentially, so you're either with 'em or agin' em.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-28 22:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Which explains a lot about Republican politics...
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User: aries_jordan
Date: 2007-12-28 22:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:sharkgrin
You should at least qualify as a limb of Satan.
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tobias_buckell
User: tobias_buckell
Date: 2007-12-28 22:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm proud to likewise be among the ranks of evil atheist authors using the tool of genre for insidious means:

http://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/2007/09/christianity-disappears-in-space-i.html

:-)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-28 23:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, that *is* spiffy.

I have book coming out in 2008 from MonkeyBrain, Death of a Starship, wherein the primary protag (there are three) is an Orthodox priest. I went to a great deal of trouble to portray him sympathetically as a sincere person of faith, whose character and actions are informed by his belief. We'll see how people cope with that.

Oh, and this priest is essentially the "men in black" alien hunter for a far future star-spanning empire in a galaxy where the Fermi paradox continues unresolved.
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User: ellameena
Date: 2007-12-28 23:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Why is it that you describe yourself as a secular humanist? Where did the term originate? (I honestly don't know.) Are people really using it positively? Are you sure you know all that you're claiming when you use it? Calling yourself a secular humanist in the company of Christians is like naming yourself a coyote in the company of chickens. If you don't want to be called a tool of satan, stick with something more neutral, like "The Antichrist". Because "secular humanist" translates "E-V-U-H-L" to a large proportion of Christians, especially evangelicals. Maybe that's exactly the effect you were going for, but then you don't get to complain. ;-)

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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2007-12-28 23:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Let's see: I define myself in terms of my fellow man's capacities; that's "humanist." I do not subscribe to any of the many and varied god-stories that my fellow men tell me: that's "secular."

What label should I use? Bright?
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J.K.Richárd
User: neutronjockey
Date: 2007-12-28 23:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You should write a series of "Jay Tracts" like Chick Tracts , except for the bad kids.
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Rafe
User: etcet
Date: 2007-12-29 07:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
... and the compelling artwork.
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Cheryl Myfanwy Morgan
User: cherylmmorgan
Date: 2007-12-28 23:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have been a Tool of Satan for several decades. It is apparently part of the Terms & Conditions of working in the role-playing games industry, which I did many years ago. I have to say that, while Mr. Satan's benefits package isn't always what it is cracked up to be (e.g. by Mr. Faust), nor is it anywhere near as bad as some of his detractors make out. Indeed, I seem to have done rather well in many aspects of my life since entering his employ. I note that I have not been asked to sign anything, either in blood or otherwise. Nor have I been asked to hand over my soul. It has been suggested to me that this is because I never had one, which may or may not be true, depending on whether or not such things exist.
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Cheryl Myfanwy Morgan
User: cherylmmorgan
Date: 2007-12-28 23:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
PS - Jay, please ignore the comment in screening - finger trouble. Sorry.
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mallory_blog: pic#46762371
User: mallory_blog
Date: 2007-12-29 01:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:pic#46762371
well actually...

Set predates Christianity and you can find it in the Kemetic or Netjerian dialogue around the brother to Osiris and/or he who "covers the rich dark bottom land in sand" a reference to the Sahara encroaching upon the Nile -- which can be metaphorically translated to suggest the covering of arable soils (say modern constructions and concrete) are the actions of Set worshippers - by extension the most covered lands, if you consider this country the relationship makes the actual actions of most people Setian in nature or against nature, as it were.
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2007-12-29 01:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thor has his own comic.
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