An American Wrestles With God by Benjamin De Casseres

AN AMERICAN WRESTLES WITH GOD
BY BENJAMIN DE CASSERES

LIKE all children, I was born without a belief in or a knowledge of God.
A four-year-old may astound the world by suddenly improvising a melody on the piano, reciting Pindar in the orig­inal, doing lightning calculations, or writ­ing a passable poem, but that same child will look at you in a perfectly idiotic manner when you ask it, “Do you believe in God?”—unless it has been coached. Child evangelists—the most revolting of human abortions—are all made, not born. They are the machine products of evangelistic parents. There is no such thing as a spontaneous religious prodigy. It is always a hideous mutilation of child­hood. No such being ever made its appear­ance in a family that was non-religious. Of any real knowledge of God, of course, it has none.
Thus the child is born, and generally continues until puberty, an atheist, or, at least, an indifferentist. It plays, it makes believe. It plays at being papa and mamma, but it never plays at being God, or the devil, or Jesus, or Mary. It may have a tremendous imagination. It may be in­ventive. It may listen by the hour to fairy tales and tales of adventure; but it never imagines God or gods. It looks on Sunday-school or church as a bore, or as a rendez­vous for meeting other girls and boys, or as a place to dress up. It looks on its prayers at night as a branch of play, or, again, as a bore.
It is only at puberty that the idea, the feeling of God takes form—with sex, death, good and evil. And even then, with the vast majority of boys and girls, God is the last and least important of concepts.
The parental notion of the Creator, along with the bag and baggage of the standard creed, is accepted, and then dismissed as something to be used, like the wall fire-extinguisher, only in case of emergency. The interest that a few children, before puberty, show in God is only part and parcel of their intense curiosity. They are merely curious, not religious—and often unconsciously satiric.
“Now I lay me down to sleep. . . . If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.” This was my earliest contact with God. I said it every night for years, following the words as my mother pronounced them. They hadn’t the slightest meaning to me. There was even a trace of aversion in me when I hopped into bed and awaited the mean­ingless formula. My head was full of the game of prisoner’s base, or pussy, that I had played in the afternoon, or of Captain Mayne Reid or my real God, Oliver Optic. The prayer finished, I resumed my thoughts about the street boys or the characters in Optic’s book, more real at that time then ever God was to Plotinus. I had no curi­osity at any time, as I remember, about the meaning or the words of the prayer. It was a duty, like the weekly dose of rhubarb and magnesia.
I remember only one other contact with God until I was fourteen years old. “Re­member,” said my mother one day, apro­pos of what I do not now recall, “that God can see you everywhere—no matter where you are.”
“Do you mean to say, mother,” I asked, “that God can see me if I stand under Schimmel’s awning on the corner?”
I now recall the peal of laughter that I heard from her with far more pleasure than I got from my first lesson in the om­nipresence of God.
I went to a Jewish Sunday-school (Sat­urday morning), where we were read to out of the Old Testament with explana­tions, based on the stories, of the good­ness (!) of Jehovah. These readings and lectures left no more impression on me than the Einstein theory on a flea. The class, when it got loose, never spoke of the matter, but went straight to marbles and pussy.
The boys and girls that I played with up until my twelfth year were, as I an­alyze them now, either vapid or cruel. They were all obscene, either actively or passively, including myself. All of us coming of middle-class, ultra-respectable, church-going people, we inherited our instinct for the obscene. We had in us the germs of sexual perversion, pyromania, greediness, theft, cowardice, all forms of cruelty and exhibitionism. Those that were passive in regard to these matters we regarded as milksops—they were not part of our gang. The most popular girl among us was almost hermaphroditic. She spat, fought like a boy, took a chew of tobacco with us, and was always in our stone-fights. I, with the rest of the boys, had my sling-shot with which to kill sparrows. I tortured mice, and used to help pull the rope on the cattle at the slaughter-house, and watch the men cut the throats of the cows and bulls, delight­ing in seeing the blood gush forth and the dying struggles of the animals. This was the “divine innocence” of our childhood —and maybe it was just that that Jesus meant when He said we must be as little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I do not know.
But the point is this: As a boy, I, along with the others, took my inherited “wick­ednesses” naturally and with glee. But there was one name never mentioned in all those years either by myself or my pals, male or female, and that was the name of
God. Those golden days were deliciously atheistic. Nor did we ever hear of the Devil, or if we did, the word had no meaning. So it remains, to me, the most curious and significant of my backward.. looking experiences that the belief in God, the consciousness of God, is not inherited, is not instinctive, although every other psychic attribute—including kindness and good-fellowship—is in the blood and nerves of every child.

II

So there was no inkling, no herald, of the great adventure that was to befall me—the adventure of my soul with the idea of God—until puberty, which came in my fifteenth year. My interest in the uni­verse awoke when I began to blush and stammer before girls. From my twelfth year to my fifteenth I accepted God and the inspiration of the Old Testament with­out any thought about the matter. I had been told that they were facts, like the Boston Tea Party, the assassination of Lincoln, and the belief that a strip of bacon around the throat would cure a sore throat.
But tumescence begot in me revery, a sense of mystery, a vague uneasiness, soli­tude, apprehensions, glamour, question­ings. I fell in love. I began to pity street beggars. I read the newspapers and pon­dered. What made me walk? Look! I could stop walking whenever I willed! I peeped through a street telescope at the moon, and nearly fainted at the over­whelming power of my first cosmic emo­tion. I did not know what I was doing for an hour afterwards. Space! the Infinite! a world hanging in space unsupported!—what was anything? What were we all? What was this thing I was living on? Something expanded tremendously in me. I reeled like a drunken boy through the streets. The hush of a mighty awe fell upon my soul. Human beings whirled before me like ghosts. My girl-love be­came an ethereal being. I walked on air.
An immense tear—a stupendous tear, an unburst tear—seemed to keep my heart from beating.
God! That word dropped into my brain like a bomb. That word now became the Word. Sex-ache and God-ache took pos­session of me simultaneously with a de­moniacal fury. All this took place within a period of an hour after looking through a street telescope for a nickel. That night was the first broken night’s rest in my life, a healthy, regular life until then. The next day I went through my work in a cigar-store in a trance. The Moon, the Universe, Space, Time, Women, Life, Will —it was a witches’ dance, an initiation, a dreadfully beautiful Awakening. It was the Footprint on the sand. I had discovered the presence of the Being Who was des­tined to become my Friday, Whom I was to hate, deny, curse, love, cajole, thump, dismiss, call back, slay, resurrect.
That was my first adventure with the World Spirit, with the Presence; the be­ginning of a prolonged and eternal parley, of a perpetual love-hate duel between my­self and God.
Thenceforward nothing was of any ulti­mate importance, nothing was worth while, compared to the existence or non­existence of God. All turned on that question. Until that was established, all that was, is or could be was meaningless. I was embarked on the Sublime Adven­ture. I was looked on askance—above all, by my parents. “You can never know .. . Do not think about such things . . . You will go crazy.” But the mystical bud had opened in my brain, and no power, pa­rental, economic or religious, could pre­vent the unfolding of that marvelous flower with its changing perfumes—that monstrous poppy which breeds ecstatic poisons, kills with rapturous swoons, emaciates and dilates simultaneously: God.
I now no longer believed in the Old Testament. The New Testament I had not yet opened. I bought a booklet at the Friendship Liberal League’s clubrooms which pointed out one hundred and forty-four contradictions in the Old Testament. I marked them out carefully in an old second-hand Bible that I picked up on the stalls of Leary’s Old Book Store. I showed them to my father. “We should not inquire into such things.” He feared what I now knew—that God had not actually written the Old Testament. I had the pleasant thrill of fear in this adventure. Had any one adventured there before? I asked myself timidly, knowing nothing of the Higher Criticism. “While I do not believe in the inspiration of the Bible, I do believe in a God,” I murmured to my­self over and over in my lonely meditative walks in Fairmount Park. I was afraid to let go of God—a good God, a merciful God.
But how reconcile this belief with that singing, blind boy that an elderly man led down Eighth street every day? His sweet face, twisted in pain, nearly made me faint with pity. He was the symbol of earthly injustice, an enormous question-mark, a challenge to my belief. I hurried by him as though I were guilty of some­thing I could not define. The problem of Evil thundered with iron knuckles on the door of my belief in a good and merciful Father. Maybe the Devil ruled the world! —I swept that aside as monstrous. l feared the personal consequences of such a belief. I might be paralyzed or blinded if I accepted it.
Then came the great event which seemed to be manufactured for me. On May 31, 1889, the dam above Johnstown, Pa., broke and the waters carried away the town of Johnstown and drowned five thou­sand whirling, plunging, struggling men, women and children. As everything that has ever happened to me, mentally or physically, since puberty is related pri­marily and fundamentally to the two questions, Is there or is there not a God? and if there is, How does anything I am experiencing modify my conception of Him?, the Johnstown flood and its heart-wrenching details acted with the same power on my imagination and nerves as Voltaire said the destruction of Lisbon by an earthquake in 1754 had acted on him—”from that moment I disbelieved in the goodness of God.”
I read all the pathetic details of the brutal “act of God” in the Philadelphia papers. I saw each day the wagons going up and down the streets collecting bed­ding, clothing and money. I saw at night in my dreams the children wrenched from the arms of their mothers, families ob­literated in an hour, and the horrors of death as the waters receded. In my in­flamed imagination I could hear the prayers and curses of thousands.
The thundering waters of the Cone­maugh washed away forever my belief in a good, merciful, humanized God. My rage knew no bounds. I hurled oath after oath at Him. I consigned Him and His universe to Hell. I declared everlasting war on the Author of the universe. Luci­fer, Cain and the Devil looked like saints to me now. I did not turn atheist (I have never been an atheist). I turned God-hater. I was anti-God. The Creative Power was evil! God was more real than He had ever been. But He must be destroyed! Atheists were cowards, just as cowardly as those who affirmed a smiling, benefi­cent, all-merciful God. I would destroy the belief in a good God and take up the war against Him where Lucifer and the revolting angels had dropped it—for dropped it they had; one could see that, I thought, by the way prayers still went up from the churches and synagogues.
Prayers instead of anathemas! I in­stinctively felt that if I turned atheist my evolution would cease. I might as well turn Catholic. There was too much fight in me to let God go. I had never believed in free will; therefore I had no bone to pick with man. He was a victim. I wept over his ills, his fate. To the degree that I pitied man I cursed God. I shouted my challenges and questions into the spaces. I came to understand the legends of Prometheus and Christ. I felt the need of world-sacrifice. I felt like stopping people in the street and telling them the Truth —they muss know who I was and what I was here for!
The blind boy was individual evil. He was Man. Johnstown was History, natural and racial. My adventure by 1890 had come to attain cosmic proportions. I was a black pessimist, furiously anti-God. Death was a fact. Immortality, like free will, was the ruse of priests to let God out of a bad theological hole. I nearly fainted more than once at the sight of thousands on the street who lived in mortal error. They walked and talked and acted as if they were going to live for eternity! How to tell them that the grave was the end, that the universe itself would come to an end, that all was futile?

III

The stars began to obsess me as the moon had. I studied astronomy. I knew the names of all the stars. My own nothingness in endless space fed my instinct for suicide. Why exist if I was nothing? I wrote mourn­fully pessimistic poems on the transitori­ness of life. And always came back to God, incessantly, like a cat returning to watch a mouse-hole.
I began to read. I literally ate up books —the Baron d’Holbach’s “System of Na­ture,” which satisfied my prejudices but did not satisfy my intellect or my meta­physical mysticism; Huxley, Spencer, Dar­win, Ecclesiastes, the Greek tragedies, Byron, Locke, Omar Khayyam, Tom Paine, Bradlaugh, Saltus’ “The Philos­ophy of Disenchantment,” which had a powerful effect on me; von Hartmann, Schopenhauer, Büchner, Buckle, Gibbon, Berkeley, Tyndall, Lyall, all the theolog­ical writers I could find in the old Mer­cantile Library at Tenth and Chestnut streets, George Henry Lewes, Shelley, Humboldt, Wallace, Haeckel, Voltaire—
History, physics, philosophy, meta­physics, poetry, astronomy, fiction—I was looking for a point to assault God, to argue Him out of His universes, to find a weapon to drive through His heart and liberate Man in an eternal sleep. Men at that time were talking about the mystery of the Northwest Passage, the mystery of the Poles. Baby talk! Here was a boy walking among them—in Fairmount Park —meditating the dethronement of God!
I went into the gallery of the Park Theatre at Broad street and Fairmount avenue one night to hear Robert G. In­gersoll lecture on Voltaire. Pleasing, elo­quent, true, and worth the quarter I paid. But an agnostic! Pah! Agnosticism was a liberalized form of atheism. “I do not know!” Why, God was the one thing I did know! His works, his methods, his existence were staring you in the face, Mr. Ingersoll! God exists-écrasez l’infame’, I hurled back at Ingersoll.
The core of the matter was that I had not yet outgrown the God of the Old Testament. My rage was the rage of Jeho­vah Himself, the rage of King David, the rage of Isaiah and Jeremiah. It was pity and mental torture sublimated to a de­vastating anger.
At war with God, looking on man as something that had better be annihilated, the frustrated religious forces in me then transferred their need of worship and love to Nature. At sixteen I became panaleptic. It came at about the time of my moon intoxication and increased in madness as my rage against God increased. It actually took the place of sex-rapture. I regarded girls as nuisances, toys, snares of God, a way of damnation. (This attitude to­ward the female has never quite worn off.)
I made every foot of Fairmount Park my own. I watched the waning and the coming of seasons as one watches the sleep­ing and waking of his mistress. I rolled in the grass in ecstatic frenzy. I kissed the trees, I almost swooned in the breezes, I lay on the ground staring for hours into the blue of heaven until I was near to bursting with mad pleasure, all of which had strange sex-implications which trou­bled my then chaste soul, but which now cause me an ironic grin. The great event of my life then was Springtime, a hal­lowed miracle. I did not at that time confound God and Nature. But I think it was this early Nature-worship that was the germ in me of that supreme conscious­ness of Beauty and Power, unstained by ethical conceptions, that finally swallowed the old God in me and incorporated him in a transcendent apotheosis of xsthetic amorality.
From 1890 until the turn of the century my life was occupied with four things—God, books, alcohol and suicide. The three latter were all roads to the first, modes of noosing Him, underground pas­sages to His throne, where I intended to confront Him and demand in the name of all things that had lived and died since the beginning of Space and Time the Why?
I now discovered Pascal and Descartes, and through them returned to Ptolemy’s egocentric universe. The stars may not revolve around the earth, but they did revolve around me, for if, as Pascal or Descartes said, the universe is a circle with its circumference nowhere and its centre everywhere, then each one of us is the centre of the universe. Each being is then the measure of all things. I did not revolve around the sun and the stars; they revolved around me!
Following Pascal and Descartes came Emerson and Whitman to confirm my egocentricity in trumpet tones. They lifted me to the pinnacle of extreme in­dividualism. They dared me to dare all things. They dared me to confront God. They gave me back my dignity as a unique being. But while accepting their doctrine of the almighty ego, I rejected—my bitter, militant, ethical sensibility rejected—their smug acceptance of things and the essential goodness of the Oversoul. Egoity, dilated to cosmic proportions, superposed itself on a raging hatred of the temporal order, its futility and imbecility.
It was about 1903 or 1904 that there was a fissure in my brain, a sinister slit in my consciousness. A face, humorous, satanic, ferocious, floated up from the depths of that fissure. It was the Spirit of Tragic Humor. I lost Thee, my Enemy, my Friend, my Torturer and my Consoler, in the bil­lows of my laughter. As my consciousness and my brain halved, I saw myself for the first time as a ridiculous little witling, and God, if I thought of Him at all at that time, as a Scaramouch, a roguish blue­behinded ape. Lucifer died that Narcissus might be born. I guffawed with God, with the gods, for I felt also at this time my monotheism dissolving into polytheism. I forgot Heaven and discovered Olympus. I was a gay Narcissus. I looked into the lake of my mind and saw a clown-face. I found the exquisite uses of my flesh. God incarnated as a bawdy Eros. He winked at me out of the ale-pot. I still thundered at times against Him, but I felt I was cursing a phantom. The sense of evil, the sense of sin, vanished.
Spinoza until then had been but a name. I knew his philosophy only by hearsay, in second-hand expositions. I began to read him. I began to meditate on panthe­ism, on a God who was the spirit of evil as well as the spirit of good, a God who was Power and Beauty unallied to man­made ethical attributes. I heard the first notes of a transcendental symphony, or, rather, the beginning of a titanic struggle between two opposing and equally power­ful forces such as Wagner put into the Overture to “Tannhäuser”
Now the Great Adventure was in full march again! Spinoza and King David were face to face at Armageddon—and Arma­geddon was in my soul. The Psalmist of Hate and Humility faced the serene etern­ist of Amsterdam. I passed from bitter curses to ecstatic swoonings. I rocked Heaven with my shrapnel, and recouped my strength by rendering up my soul to the Impersonal Spirit. I celebrated both of my brain armies in a passionate prose-poem to Spinoza and his God.
Then came 1914. Dead was the God of Spinoza in me, dead the God of the ale-pot and the bawdy Eros, during those four years of planetary cannibalism. The spirit of King David and his immortal barbaric God possessed the world, pos­sessed me, and I hurled anathema upon anathema at Him, reversing the smug at­titude of David, but preserving his passion and his rant.
This bearded old Jehovah of the Jews, this marvellous creation of the Old Testa­ment poets, would not walk out of my soul. In my Great Adventure He remains my sword of Excalibur. He is the greatest and truest of man’s anthropomorphic crea­tions. He is the very garment and texture of Reality. He is Mars, the Serpent, the Instinct of Self-Preservation, Big Brother with a club and sling-shot. He was not born of closet speculations and theological subtleties, but of direct contact with reality.
He mirrors the Earth we live upon and its sublime victim—Man. He was built of blood, thunder, lightnings, fear, flood, famine, pest, hate, murder, life, death, war and covetousness: an epitome of the adventures of the human race on the planet Earth. He was (and is) the perfect mirror of life in all its cruelty, irony, humility, hypocrisy, implacability and amoralism. No Spinoza, no Nietzsche, no Christ can dynamite Him out of His heavens, be­cause those heavens that lock in Jehovah —the old storm-god of the Midianites­are locked forever in our hearts and brains. He is practical, pragmatic, the literal I Am of every-day life. He is mud-and­blood humanity. He is the Errinye of personal vengeance. Christ may have a Second Advent; Jehovah’s Second Advents are perpetual. Flatten Him out to a philo­sophical abstraction in times of peace and prosperity, He will round to form, gather up His lightnings and His siege-guns when Death stalks the world. Jehovah, in a word, is not a God but the Superman.
So during the World War I hated Him and I loved Him. I used to fling anathemas at Him. He became confusedly identified with the God of Spinoza, and both lapsed into Satan.

IV

In 1918 admiration was born like sweet lullaby music out of the fantasia of hate, despair and disillusion. I again heard the Pan-phallic pipes of Greek polytheism. God was laughing at me—impotent sun-midge of a day! I took the God of Spinoza and the God of King David and Hellenized Them. I renounced homogeneous unity for heterogeneous diversity. I carved gods out of God. I paraphrased the saying of Goethe, that the meaning of Life is life itself, into The meaning of God is earth-spirits, air-spirits, water-spirits, flower-spirits, star-spirits, individual daemons, familiars. The bright, etheric face of Shel­ley rose out of the wreck of Spinoza and King David. I was in the clutch of mate­rial ecstasy. A mystical atheist!
But polytheism was, after all, only a Merlin garden that I had stumbled on and loitered in with half-closed eyes and wide-open nostrils on my way to the Bright Tower. I am primarily a creature of intellect, and not of sentiment. The heart is the cloudy crucible of all prob­lems. The brain is the clarifier. Too long had I been imprisoned in the crucible.
Near my fiftieth year the ascension to the eyries of the brain began in earnest. Liberty dwells on mountain-tops. There one has unobstructed vision, preternatural sight, a sudden revaluation of values. My brain is the mountain-top of my soul. I myself had the Bright Tower within me all these years, obscured and weed-hidden until now by my emotional judgments, by my “common humanity,” by my un­conscious craving for “salvation”—sal­vation of my own blowsy ego. All great, enduring revelations come from Intellect, the cold, clarified visions of Artists and Ironists. And I saluted Goethe, Nietzsche and Jules de Gaultier.
So at last! Artist and Ironist!—that is God! Supreme, innominable, immanent bainter, poet, musician, satirist, roman-:et, mathematician—that is God! He is an ethereal Beethoven and Shakespeare, a Rodin and Cervantes, a Euclid and Ein­stein, an Aristophanes and Aeschylus, a Wagner and Dostoievsky, an Aphrodite and Zeus. God is all of these—and myself!
God has nothing to do with human beings except as characters in an eternal serial, an eternal dream-tale, an eternal fabulous drama. Good and evil are art-motives. God is superhuman, unhuman, inhuman. He dreams scenarios, of which we are the puppets. Our agonies and prayers are situations. He is Spinoza’s God, the Eternal Return of Nietzsche, the Oversoul of Emerson, the Unknowable of Spencer, the Mephistopheles of Goethe. He is All—omniscient, omnipotent, omni­present, eternal creator, eternal playboy, eternal incarnation; the great dramaturge.
Arriving at this truth, I was released. I, with the rest of the species, am part of the music, drama, farce and mathe­matics of the Supreme Artist. And when I utter sadly “Such is life!” because of my disillusions, defeats and strangled de­sires I say, “But such is God, too!” For God is Life.
But Why? my brain still asks at times; and then again I am Lucifer organizing the revolting angels against Heaven, Prometheus launching curses at Zeus, and a King David raining death and destruction on Life. Why? Is the tragic farce, the music, the artistry worth while?
And a veiled sigh comes to me from the depths of myself; a veiled sigh, or is it a veiled laugh?—and I hear a voice:
“I have assigned to man the sublime role of Why? for an Eternity. Why? is the master-key to my art. That word Why? is the name of all My dreams, tragedies and farces on all the stars. It is the real name of every being I have ever made. It is the name of every sun I have ever created. It is the name of every picture I have ever painted. In the Legend of Life Why? is my eternal Hamlet.”
So I am thus, like all living things, identified with God in all His manifesta­tions, in all forms and on all planes—a Tantalus of Eternity.

Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer | Francis Galton, 1872

Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer

Francis Galton
Fortnightly Review vol. 12, pp. 125-35, 1872

Lifted from Galton.org, with great respect and appreciation, so, go there for other stuff. 

An eminent authority has recently published a challenge to test the efficacy of prayer by actual experiment. I have been induced, through reading this, to prepare the following memoir for publication, nearly the whole of which I wrote and laid by many years ago, after completing a large collection of data, which I had undertaken for the satisfaction of my own conscience.

The efficacy of prayer seems to me a simple, as it is a perfectly appropriate and legitimate subject of scientific inquiry. Whether prayer is efficacious or not, in any given sense, is a matter of fact on which each man must form an opinion for himself. His decision will be based upon data more or less justly handled, according to his education and habits. An unscientific reasoner will be guided by a confused recollection of crude experience. A scientific reasoner will scrutinize each separate experience before he admits it as evidence, and will compare all the cases he has selected on a methodical system.

The doctrine commonly preached by the clergy is well expressed in the most recent, and by far the most temperate and learned of theological encyclopaedias, namely, Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible. The article on ‘Prayer,’ written by the Rev. Dr. Barry, states as follows: ‘Its real objective efficacy.., is both implied and expressed (in Scripture) in the plainest terms …. We are encouraged to ask special blessings, both spiritual and temporal, in hopes that thus, and thus only, we may obtain them …. It would seem the intention of Holy Scripture to encourage all prayer, more especially intercession, in all relations and for all righteous objects.’ Dr. Hook, the present Dean of Chichester, states in his Church Dictionary, under ‘Prayer,’ that ‘the general providence of God acts through what are called the laws of nature. By this particular providence God interferes with those laws, and he has promised to interfere in behalf of those who pray in the name of Jesus …. We may take it as a general role that we may pray for that for which we may lawfully labour, and for that only.’

The phrases of our Church service amply countenance this view; and if we look to the practice of the opposed sections of the religious world, we find them consistent in maintaining it. The so-called ‘Low Church’ notoriously places absolute belief in special providences accorded to pious prayer. This is testified by the biographies of its members, the journals of its missionaries, and the ‘united prayer meetings’ of the present day. The Roman Catholics offer religious vows to avert danger; they make pilgrimages to shrines; they hang votive offerings and pictorial representations, sometimes by thousands, in their churches, of fatal accidents averted by the manifest interference of a solicited saint.

A prima facie argument in favour of the efficacy of prayer is therefore to be drawn from the very general use of it. The greater part of mankind, during all the historic ages, have been accustomed to pray for temporal advantages. How vain, it may be urged, must be the reasoning that ventures to oppose this mighty consensus of belief! Not so. The argument of universality either proves too much, or else it is suicidal. It either compels us to admit that the prayers of Pagans, of Fetish worshippers, and of Buddhists who turn praying wheels, are recompensed in the same way as those of orthodox believers; or else the general consensus proves that it has no better foundation than the universal tendency of man to gross credulity.

The collapse of the argument of universality leaves us solely concerned with a simple statistical question – are prayers answered, or are they not? There are two lines of research, by either of which we may pursue this inquiry. The one that promises the most trustworthy results is to examine large classes of cases, and to be guided by broad averages; the other, which I will not employ in these pages, is to deal with isolated instances. An author who made much use of the latter method might reasonably suspect his own judgment – he would certainly run the risk of being suspected by others – in choosing one-sided examples.

Continue reading Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer | Francis Galton, 1872

TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES OF EGOISM

TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES OF EGOISM

(I posted this in 2010 and for an unknown, and disconcerting reason it’s no longer on my blog. I went to look for it yesterday and couldn’t find it, so I transcribed it once more.)

Know thyself. —Solon.
Knowledge is power. —Bacon.
To thine own self be true. —Shakespeare.
The beautiful is always severe. —Segur.
If it be right to me, it is right. —Stirner.
Moderation is the pleasure of the wise. —Voltaire
God helps them (only) who help themselves. —Franklin.
Love is the union of a want and a sentiment. —Lamartine.
Self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting. —Shakespeare.
To scoff at philosophy is to act as a true philosopher. —Pascal.
very mortal is relieved by speaking of his misfortunes. —Chénier.
Man is Creation’s master-piece. But who says so?—Man. —Gavarni.
It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. —Voltaire.
He who is devoted to everybody is devoted to nobody. —Delavigne.
God is generally on the side of the strongest battalions. —Napoleon.
Under the freest constitution ignorant people are still slaves. —Condorcet.
In jealousy there is usually more self-love than love. —Rochefoucauld.
Goodness, for the most part, is but indolence, or impotence. —Ib.
When our vices leave us, we flatter ourselves we are leaving them. —Ib.
The greatest of all pleasures is to give pleasure to one we love. —Boufflers.
We like those to whom we do good better than those who do us good. —Saint-Réal.
Trust in God and [that is, so far as you] keep your powder dry.—Cromwell.
It is easier to be good for everybody, than to be good for somebody. —A. Dumas fils.
The more honest a man is, the less he affects the airs of a saint. —Lavater.
To know man, borrow the ear of the blind and the eye of the deaf. —Ib.
Who despises all that is despicable, is made to be impressed with all that
is grand. —Ib.
Everybody exclaims against ingratitude. Are there so many benefactors ? —Bougeart.
A woman by whom we are loved is a vanity ; a woman whom we love is a. religion. —Giradin.
Diversity of opinion proves that things are only what we think them. —Montaigne.
To love is to ask of another the happiness that is lacking in ourselves. —Rochepedre.
Virtue is so praiseworthy that wicked people practice it from self-interest. —Vauvenargues.
There is pleasure in meeting the eyes of those to whom we have done good. —La Bruyère.
The art of conversation consists less in showing one’s own wit than in giving opportunity for the display of the wit of others. —Ib.
Egoism is another name for self-preservation ; the egoist, after providing: for self, turns altruist. —Tilden.
High positions are like the summit of high, steep rocks: eagles and reptiles alone can reach them. —Mme. Necker.
The men of future generations will yet win many a liberty of which we do, not even feel the want. —Stirner.
One is free in proportion as one is strong ; there is no real liberty save that which one takes for one’s self. —lb.
There are persons who do not know how to waste their time alone and hence become the scourge of busy people. —Bonald.
Not to enjoy one’s youth when one is young, is to imitate the miser who starves beside his treasures. —Mme. Louise Colet.
All passions are good when one masters them ; all are bad when one is a. slave to them. [The same is true of ideas]. —Rousseau.
You can tell more about a man’s character by trading horses with him once than you can by hearing him talk for a year in prayer meeting. —American Maxim.
Forget this superstition (that the day of noble deeds is past), steep your souls in Plutarch, and through believing in his heroes, dare to believe in yourselves. —Nietzsche.
To be regardful of others within reason is intelligent egoism, but it is necessary to distinguish those who are worthy of our regard from those who are not. —Tak Kak.
The discoverer of a great truth well knows that it may be useful to other men, and, as a greedy with-holding would bring him no enjoyment, he communicates it. —Stirner.
Everywhere the strong have made the laws and oppressed the weak ; and,. if they have sometimes consulted the interests of society, they have always. forgotten those of humanity. —Turgot.
Napoleon the exploiter said, ” The heart of a statesman should be in his head.” The exploited will never be saved till they make the brain the seat of their patriotic affections.
Religion and moralism say that we may have passions, but we must not allow our passions to enslave us. The egoist extends the suggestion to include ideas. He has ideas, but he remains the master of them All the ideas he has he will use as he sees fit. If of a speculative intellectual turn, the egoist cannot doubt that there is the greatest good for all in egoism, and as he can find. satisfaction in proving it, he may undertake to do so. —Tak Kak.

Books, Rifles, Witches, Laws, Podcasts

My “visial editor” and media upload functionality on my blog was down, stopping me from easily making new posts here for a bit. I installed a wordpress plugin “Use Google Libraries” and it seems to now function. I can assume causation, but I don’t really know.

The notice of this blog post will be my 1,000th Tweet. Dunno if that’s a good thing or not.

Since my last post, there have been a few things to post about, but I’m going to be a little lazy here and post short descriptions and links:

  • “Book and Rifle Club” shirt design through ASP Apparel. ( news | direct | FB page )
  • The Compleat Witch Illustrated Bibliography Project ( news | direct | FB page )
  • “Slaughter’s Law” was coined by Jack Donovan (and I approve) ( direct )
At the Comfort Diner in New York, recommended!

Since I’m in the listing mood, here are a few podcasts I’ve been enjoying since I posted about them last:

And Adam of 9Sense did this:

Rev. Slaughter on the “Billy Madison Show” 99.5 KISS 12-14-11

After High Priest of the Church of Satan Peter H. Gilmore was contacted by TMZ to comment on Christian football player Tim Tebow, various media outlets were wanting to jump on the bandwagon and get a Satanist on air.
As a media representative, it’s part of the responsibility I’ve taken on to do these kinds of things.
A the program director for “The Billy Madison Show”, out of San Antonio, Texas, contacted us for a spot on their morning show.
All in all, it was as expected, the hosts were shallow and ignorant of Satanism, though I’d sent them some of the basic documents beforehand. They want ratings, not sincere debate, so they constantly projected their own fantasies onto me, even ignoring points I’d just made seconds beforehand.

I’ve made a number of annotations to the YouTube video version, hopefully they’ll pop up as it plays. You might have to maximize it.

The audio is available on soundcloud.

“Where is the graveyard of dead gods?” H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan

Repetition Generale
By H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan

(from The Smart Set, March, 1922)

THRENODY.— Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a day when Jupiter was the king of all the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And what of Huitzilopochtli? In one year — and it was but five hundred years ago — no less than 50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remem-
bered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest. Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried on with the sun. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted, he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, he is now the peer of General Coxey, Richmond P. Hobson, Nan Patterson, Alton G. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler and Tom Sharkey.

Speaking of Huitzilopochtli recalls his brother, Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca was almost as powerful: he consumed 25,000 virgins a year. Lead me to his tomb: I would weep, and hang a couronne des perles! But who knows where it is? Or where the grave of Quetzdcoatl is? Or Tlaloc? Or Chalchihuftlicue? Or Xiehtecutii? Or Centeotl, that sweet one? Or Tlazoltcotl, the goddess of love ? Or Mictlan? Or Ixtlilton? Or Omacatl? Or Yacatecutli? Or Mixcoatl? Or Xipe? Or all the host of Tzitzimitles? Where are their bones? Where is the willow on which they hung their harps? In what forlorn and unheard-of hell do they await the resurrection morn? Who enjoys their residuary estates? Or that of Dis, whom Caesar found to be the chief god of the Celts? Or that of Tarvos, the bull? Or that of Moccos, the pig? Or that of Epona, the mare? Or that of Mullo, the celestial jackass? There was a time when the Irish revered all these gods as violently as they now hate the English. But today even the drunkest Irishman laughs at them.

But they have company in oblivion: the hell of dead gods is as crowded as the Presbyterian hell for babies. Damona is there, and Esus, and Drunemeton, and Silvana, and Dervones, and Adsalluta, and Deva, and Belisama, and Axona, and Vintios, and Taranucus, and Stdis, and Cocidius, and Adsmcrius, and Dumiatis, and Caletos, and Moccus, and Ollovidius, and Albiorix, and Leucitius, and Vitucadrus, and Ogmios, and Uxellimus, and Borvo, and Grannos, and Mogons. All mighty gods in their day, worshipped by millions, full of demands and impositions, able to bind and loose — all gods of the first class, not pikers. Men labored for generations to build vast temples to them — temples with stones as large as hay-wagons. The business of interpreting their whims occupied thousands of priests, wizards, archdeacons, evangelists, haruspices, bishops, archbishops. To doubt them was to die, usually at the stake. Armies took to the field to defend them against infidels: villages were burned, women and children were butchered, cattle were driven off. Yet in the end they all withered and died, and today there is none so poor to do them reverence. Worse, the very tombs in which they lie are lost, and so even a respectful stranger is debarred from paying them the slightest and politest homage.

What has become of Sutekh, once the high god of the whole Nile Valley?
What has become of:

Resheph
Baal
Anath
Astarte
Ashtoreth
Hadad
El
Addu
Nergal
Shalem
Nebo
Dagon
Ninib
Sharrab
Melek
Yau
Ahijah
Amon-Re
Isis
Osiris
Ptah
Sebek
Anubis
Molech

All these were once gods of the highest class. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Jahveh himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor or Wotan. Yet they have all gone down the chute, and with them the following;

Bile
Gwydion
Ler
Manawyddan
Arianrod
Nuada Argetlam
Morrigu
Tadg
Govannon
Goibniu
Gundfled
Odin
Sokk-mimi
Llaw Gyffes
Memctona
Lieu
Dagda
Ogma
Kerridwen
Mider
Pwyll
Rigantona
Ogyrvan
Marzin
Dea Dia
Mars
Ceres
Jupiter
Vaticanus
Cunina
Edulia
Potina
Adeona
Statilinus
Iuno Lucina
Diana of Rhesus
Saturn
Robigus
Furrina
Pluto
Vediovis
Ops
Consus
Meditrina
Cronos
Vesta
Enki
Tilmun
Engurra
Zer-panitu
Belus
Merodach
Dimmer
U-ki
Mu-ul-lil
Dauke
Ubargisi
Gasan-abzu
Ubilulu
Elum
Gasan-lil
U-TinHlir ki
U-dimmer-an-kia
Marduk
Enurestu
Nin-HMa
U-sab-sib
Kin
U-Mersi
Persophone
Tammuz
Istar
Venus
Lagas
Bau
U-urugal
Hulu-hursang
Sirtumu
Anu
Ea
Beltis
Nirig
Nusku
Ncbo
Ni-zu
Samas
Sahi
Ma-banba-aima
Aa
En-Mersi
Allatu
Amurm
Sin
Assur
Abil-Addu
Aku
Apsu
Beltu
Dagan
Dumu-zi-abzu
Elali
Kuski-banda
Isum
Kaawanu
Mami
Nin-azu
Nin-mah
Lugal-Amarada
Zaraqu
Qarradu
Ura-gala
Suqamunu
Zagaga
Ueras

You may think I spoof. That I invent the names. I do not. Ask your pastor to lend you any good treatise on comparative religion: you will find them all listed. They were all gods of the highest standing and dignity — gods of civilized peoples — worshipped and believed in by millions. All were theoretically omnipotent, omniscient and immortal. And all are dead.

THE GREAT SATAN – Kevin I. Slaughter lecturing at WSU Nov. 16th

I will be speaking at Wayne State University on Wed. November 16th, for their Separation of Church and State Week, sponsored by the Secular Student Alliance.
The given title of my lecture is “THE GREAT SATAN: Satanism is the most American Religion”, and I will be discussing Satanism and the fight against puritanism.

It is FREE and open to the public.

Mark Twain’s Americanism by H.L. Mencken (1917)

Mark Twain’s Americanism

by H.L. Mencken (1917)

When Mark Twain died, in 1910, one of the magnificos who paid public tribute to him was William H. Taft, then President of the United States. “Mark Twain,” said Dr. Taft, “gave real intellectual enjoyment to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come. He never wrote a line that a father could not read to a daughter.”

The usual polite flubdub and not to be exposed, perhaps, to critical analysis. But it was, in a sense, typical of the general view at that time, and so it deserves to be remembered for the fatuous inaccuracy of the judgment in it. For Mark Twain dead is beginning to show far different and more brilliant colors than those he seemed to wear during life, and the one thing no sane critic would say of him to-day is that he was the harmless fireside jester, the mellow chautauquan, the amiable old grandpa of letters that he was once so widely thought to be.

The truth is that Mark was almost exactly the reverse. Instead of being a mere entertainer of the mob, he was in fact a literary artist of the very highest skill and sophistication, and, in all save his superficial aspect, quite unintelligible to Dr. Taft’s millions. And instead of being a sort of Dr. Frank Crane in cap and bells, laboriously devoted to the obvious and the uplifting, he was a destructive satirist of the utmost pungency and relentlessness, and the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion, whether social, political or religious, that ever lived.

Bit by bit, as his posthumous books appear, the true man emerges, and it needs but half an eye to see how little he resembles the Mark of national legend. Those books were written carefully and deliberately; Mark wrote them at the height of his fame; he put into them, without concealment, the fundamental ideas of his personal philosophy — the ideas which colored his whole view of the world. Then he laid the manuscripts away, safe in the knowledge that they would not see the light until he was under six feet of earth. We know, by his own confession, why he hesitated to print them while he lived; he knew that fame was sweet and he feared that they might blast it. But beneath that timorousness there was an intellectual honesty that forced him to set down the truth. It was really comfort he wanted, not fame. He hesitated, a lazy man, to disturb his remaining days with combat and acrimony. But in the long run he wanted to set himself straight.

Two of these books, The Mysterious Stranger and What Is Man? are now published, and more may be expected to follow at intervals. The latter, in fact, was put into type during Mark’s lifetime and privately printed in a very limited edition. But it was never given to the public, and copies of the limited edition bring $40 or $50 at book auctions to-day. Even a pirated English edition brings a high premium. Now, however, the book is issued publicly by the Harpers, though without the preface in which Mark explained his reasons for so long withholding it.

The ideas in it are very simple, and reduced to elementals, two in number. The first is that man, save for a trace of volition that grows smaller and smaller the more it is analyzed, is a living machine — that nine-tenths of his acts are purely reflex, and that moral responsibility, and with it religion, are thus mere delusions. The second is that the only genuine human motive, like the only genuine dog motive or fish motive or protoplasm motive is self interest — that altruism, for all its seeming potency in human concerns, is no more than a specious appearance — that the one unbroken effort of the organism is to promote its own comfort, welfare and survival.

Starting from this double basis, Mark undertakes an elaborate and extraordinarily penetrating examination of all the fine ideals and virtues that man boasts of, and reduces them, one after the other, to untenability and absurdity. There is no mere smartness in the thing. It is done, to be sure, with a sly and disarming humor, but at bottom it is done quite seriously and with the highest sort of argumentative skill. The parlor entertainer of Dr. Taft’s eulogy completely disappears; in his place there arises a satirist with something of Rabelais’s vast resourcefulness and dexterity in him, and all of Dean Swift’s devastating ferocity. It is not only the most honest book that Mark ever did; it is, in some respects, the most artful and persuasive as a work of art. No wonder the pious critic of The New York Times, horrified by its doctrine, was forced to take refuge behind the theory that Mark intended it as a joke.

In The Mysterious Stranger there is a step further. What Is Man? analyzes the concept of man; The Mysterious Stranger boldly analyzes the concept of God. What, after all, is the actual character of this Being we are asked to reverence and obey? How is His mind revealed by His admitted acts? How does His observed conduct toward man square with those ideals of human conduct that He is said to prescribe, and whose violation He is said to punish with such appalling penalties?

These are the questions that Mark sets for himself. His answers are, in brief, a complete rejection of the whole Christian theory — a rejection based upon a wholesale reductio ad absurdum. The thing is not mere mocking; it is not even irreverent; but the force of it is stupendous. I know of no agnostic document that shows a keener sense of essentials or a more deft hand for making use of the indubitable. A gigantic irony is in it. It glows with a profound conviction, almost a kind of passion. And the grotesque form of it — a child’s story — only adds to the sardonic implacability of it.

As I say, there are more to come. Mark in his idle moments was forever at work upon some such riddling of the conventional philosophy, as he was forever railing at the conventional ethic in his private conversation. One of these pieces, highly characteristic, is described in Albert Bigelow Paine’s biography. It is an elaborate history of the microbes inhabiting a man’s veins. They divine a religion with the man as God; they perfect a dogma setting forth his desires as to their conduct; they engaged in a worship based upon the notion that he is immediately aware of their every act and jealous of their regard and enormously concerned about their welfare. In brief, a staggering satire upon the anthropocentric religion of man — a typical return to the favorite theme of man’s egoism and imbecility.

All this sort of thing, to be sure, has its dangers for Mark’s fame. Let his executors print a few more of his unpublished works — say, the microbe story and his sketch of life at the court of Elizabeth — and Dr. Taft, I dare say, will withdraw his prominciamento that “he never wrote a line that a father could not read to his daughter.” Already, indeed, the lady reviewers of the newspapers sound an alarm against him, and the old lavish praise of him begins to die down to whispers. In the end, perhaps, the Carnegie libraries will put him to the torture, and The Innocents Abroad will be sacrificed with What Is Man?

But that effort to dispose of him is nothing now. Nor will it succeed. While he lived he was several times labeled and relabeled, and always inaccurately and vainly. At the start the national guardians of letters sought to dismiss him loftily as a hollow buffoon, a brother to Josh Billings and Petroleum V. Nasby. This enterprise failing, they made him a comic moralist, a sort of chautauquan in motley, a William Jennings Bryan armed with a slapstick. Foiled again, they promoted him to the rank of Thomas Bailey Aldrich and William Dean Howells, and issued an impertinent amnesty for the sins of his youth. Thus he passed from these scenes — ratified at last, but somewhat heavily patronized.

Now the professors must overhaul him again, and this time, I suppose, they will undertake to pull him down a peg. They will succeed as little as they succeeded when they tried to read him out of meeting in the early ’80s. The more they tackle him, in fact, the more it will become evident that he was a literary artist of the very first rank, and incomparably the greatest ever hatched in these states.

One reads with something akin to astonishment of his superstitious reverence for Emerson — of how he stood silent and bare-headed before the great transcendentalist’s house at Concord. One hears of him, with amazement, courting Whittier, Longfellow and Holmes. One is staggered by the news, reported by Traubel, that Walt Whitman thought “he mainly misses fire.” The simple fact is that Huckleberry Finn is worth the whole work of Emerson with two-thirds of the work of Whitman thrown in for make-weight, and that one chapter of it is worth the whole work of Whittier, Longfellow and Holmes.

Mark was not only a great artist; he was pre-eminently a great American artist. No other writer that we have produced has ever been more extravagantly national. Whitman dreamed of an America that never was and never will be; Poe was a foreigner in every line he wrote; even Emerson was no more than an American spigot for European, and especially German, ideas. But Mark was wholly of the soil. His humor was American. His incurable Philistinism was American. His very English was American. Above all, he was an American in his curious mixture of sentimentality and cynicism, his mingling of romanticist and iconoclast.

English Traits might have been written by any one of half a dozen Germans. The tales of Poe, printed as translations from the French, would have deceived even Frenchmen. And Leaves of Grass might have been written in London quite as well as in Brooklyn. But in Huckleberry Finn, in A Connecticut Yankee and in most of the short sketches there is a quality that is unmistakably and over whelmingly national. They belong to our country and our time quite as obviously as the skyscraper or the quick lunch counter. They are as magnificently American as the Brooklyn Bridge or Tammany Hall.

Mark goes down the professorial gullet painfully. He has stuck more than once. He now seems fated to stick again. But these gaggings will not hurt him, nor even appreciably delay him. Soon or late the national mind will awake to the fact that a great man was among us — that in the midst of all our puerile rages for dubious foreigners we produced an artist who was head and shoulders above all of them.

Satanism as Weltanschauung, a lecture in 9 parts (plus Q&A bonus)

I’m pleased to release the video of a lecture given on March 1st of this year when I was invited to speak on the topic of Satanism for a class at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Filmed in HD and edited to include quite a few graphics not presented in the original lecture, I’m pleased with the outcome and hope that for those already familiar with Satanism there is enough to still keep you interested and possibly entertained.

Embedded below is a playlist of all 9 videos, to play without interruption.

Below are two parts of the Q&A session that followed:

If you enjoyed the lecture and would like to make a voluntary monetary donation, please do so below:

Satanism as Weltanschauung

Ch. 1 “Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself…”

Rev. Kevin I. Slaughter introduces himself and gives a short biographical background to establish his long-held interest in Satanism explicitly, but also the occult or hidden aspects of culture.

Ch. 2 “A Brief Overview of Satanism”

Rev. Slaughter gives a very brief overview of Satanism, what a Satanist is, and how it is viewed by society.

Ch. 3 “The Satanic Bible”

Rev. Slaughter discusses the first High Priest of the Church of Satan’s book “The Satanic Bible”. He reads “The Nine Satanic Statements” and other pertinent selections from it.

Ch. 4 “The Satanic Scriptures”

Rev. Slaughter discusses the current High Priest of the Church of Satan’s book “The Satanic Scriptures”. He reads pertinent selections from it.

Ch. 5 “Egalité vs. Hierarchy”

The natural world is stratified, the weak, slow and stupid tend to be worse for wear. The smart, quick and strong tend to have a better time of it. In the animal kingdom, the world that we exist in, it is eat or be eaten.

Rev. Slaughter makes reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”, and reads an excerpt from Theodore Dalrymple’s book “Life at the Bottom”.

Ch. 6 “Lex Satanicus”

Satanism takes few overtly political positions, and there is absolutely no affiliation between the Church any political party. The Satanic philosophy positions itself as a third side, rejecting the simplistic dichotomies of good vs. evil, republican vs. democrat, liberal and conservative. The one position most clearly associated with politics is Lex Talionis.

Ch. 7 “Magic”

Magic, in the Satanic sense, is not about shooting fireballs or riding on broomsticks, we do not have “spells” that guarantee sex or death – the two things people always seem to want a spell for. When the Satanist performs greater magic, it is an emotional psychodrama, intended to charge the participant with a specific feeling or to put him in a specific emotional state. It’s made clear in the writings that Greater Magic is an emotional working as opposed to intellectual. Like the power of a masterfully written book or piece of music has, this productive fiction is useful and possibly necessary to the human animal.

Ch. 8 “A Few Unkind Words…”

In this part of the lecture Kevin discusses Christian Child Abuse, a blog that collects stories about pedophile priests. He discusses religiously motivated atrocities committed by Islam and Judaism in the name of their religion and accepted by their communities.

The website is found at http://christianchildabuse.blogspot.com

Ch. 9 “Love”

Satanism isn’t merely a reactionary stance, it is about knowing ones self and building real relationships with worthy people. Rev. Slaughter recites a poem titled “Love” that was written by freethinker Robert Greene Ingersoll, to illustrate this and other points in the Satanic worldview.

Kevin has participated in two oratory contests where contestants read their choice of Ingersoll’s work, and won first place in 2010. The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8UPNFcnYIM

Rev. Slaughter is an official representative of the Church of Satan. More information can be found on the website http://www.churchofsatan.com

Filmed and edited by Kevin I. Slaughter for Underworld Amusements: http://www.underworldamusements.com

Music composed and performed by Michaelanthony Mitchell