Archive for religion

On a fiery cloud in a field of war

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 31, 2013 by Johnny Broken

I wish I could say what it was that sparked my interest in the afterlife. I know it wasn’t anything simple like the death of a relative, because to be honest, when I was young I barely knew the bulk of my relatives that died.

“So Aunt… who?”
“Your Aunt Matilda. The last time you saw her was probably when you were 6.”
“Oh.”
“She lived out of state. But she’s your father’s brother’s second…”
*my mind starts to wander to the last cartoon I watched*
“…so the funeral is tomorrow, okay?”
“Yeah. Sure.”

And I can guarantee you a lot of my family couldn’t (and still probably can’t) tell the difference between disappointment over having to go to these sorts of things versus disappointment that someone actually died. So no, it wasn’t thoughts of what my dearly departed relatives were up to.

I can say though that I’ve been interested in mythology for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I got hooked on Greek mythology first, so it might have been a fascination with Hades or even Olympus that started my wondering about what happens when you die. And somewhat related to that note, I did go to a Catholic elementary school, so all the talk of a heaven filled with billowing clouds and angels strumming golden harps contrasted with the junior version of Dante’s Inferno might have something to do with it.

I’m also fairly certain some of the blame can be placed on Hollywood. I can’t remember anything specific older than Beetle Juice, but I’ve always been drawn to movies and cartoons and stories about ghosts and the “other side” and the like. I guess you could say it’s the idealized representations of “life” as a free spirit that draw my interest mixed with so many different possible outcomes. That why I like shows like Supernatural (more on that in a few paragraphs), and part of why Dead Like Me never clicked with me. Hot damn that show was depressing. Life sucks and being dead is just as inane? Ew.

And I realize that it may seem that I’m focused on Western concepts versus things like reincarnation or ascension to a higher plane, but I really do mean to be all-inclusive here. I guess it’s the essentially endless possibilities for what could happen when you die that I find so intriguing. Yeah, it’s possible that once you cease functioning, you’re done and there isn’t anything else, but that’s… boring. Oblivion doesn’t leave much room for, well, anything, so while I’m not discounting it as a possibility, it’s kind of moot to ponder. “I wonder what it’s like to not exist anymore” seems kind of dead end. (No pun intended.) Reincarnation is interesting, but as I understand it, you don’t know, or you’re not supposed to know, that you’ve been reincarnated.

So that narrows down where my interest lies in all this. It’s being dead and knowing that you used to be alive that I find so… enticing. The best way that I can explain it is a sense of having stepped into a new existence to the point of no return while knowing that your old life is still there, just without you. Make of that what you will, I’m sure there’s a metaphor for what I think of my own life in there somewhere.

That aside, let’s run with the idea of eternal paradise a bit.

First off, there’s that whole “eternal” thing. Now granted time is a unit of measurement that we invented, but you can at least think of when things will start and end. High school. College. A marriage. Your child growing up. A vacation that you’re excited about and look forward to. A business meeting that you’re dreading. A visit with your relatives that’s going so badly that time seems to have slowed to a crawl. Or a date that seems to be going so well you wish it wouldn’t end. And, ultimately, you know that once you hit your 60’s, and 70’s, you’re not much longer for the world. (Barring some unforeseen scientific advancement in our lifetimes, but I digress.) So that’s a couple examples of things that you can think about to measure the passage of time. Now just try to imagine that you no longer have any ending point.

Would you be able to continue the things you experience into eternity? Not that I know from experience (or likely ever will) but there’s that punchline about marriage that you love your spouse, and want to spend the rest of your life with them. But you like cornflakes too. Do you really want to have cornflakes for breakfast every day for the rest of your life?

And then there’s the whole paradise thing. Which is kind of funny to think about because one man’s heaven is another man’s hell. Some cultures believe(d) the ideal way to spend eternity was in a neverending battlefield. Some say that merely getting to be in the presence of “god” (in the same room? Zipcode? Plane of existence? I was never that clear on how that worked.) is such a warm and fuzzy feeling that it’s all you need for eternal bliss. Some want(ed) to spend eternity in an unending banquet filled with your family and friends. Some prefer getting to do… whatever… in a big open field.

And getting back to that whole Catholic thing, I was lead to believe I’d get to spend eternity in a white robe chilling out on clouds in the sky. Uh… yay? Which reminds me of another thing I don’t understand about the idea of heaven. You’re not supposed to be overly indulgent in life. There are pleasures that tempt you, obviously, but you’re supposed to control yourself in regards to them. So the concept of heaven is that it’s a reward for all your hard work in life. Okay, so far, so good. What I don’t get is that some folks seem to interpret their heavenly reward as an eternal life full of the pleasures they limited themselves to when they were alive.

Uhh… what?

So you spend your life in moderation in order to get an eternal life filled with your own personal harem of hot women (or men) or all the cigars you could want or your favorite food or, well, whatever it is you love. I hope you see what I’m getting at here. It doesn’t make sense to me to live your life one way so that you can spend your eternal life the opposite way.

Then you have eternal torment.

Somewhere along the line I got it stuck in my head that there’s room for advancement in hell, if you do it right. (And this was well before Supernatural, honest!) Not just in the sense of easing your suffering with the possibility of actually getting out of there. I mean advancing in the ranks of Hell’s legions. Surely if the beings responsible for punishing evil are evil themselves, there must be level of “evil” that they look favorably upon? And yeah, that appeals to me.

And finally (for now, anyway), there’s what you’re going to look like for the rest of your life. Of course you might not care once you’re finally there since you’ve, like, ascended or something. Or you might be naked and know it. You might end up in rags. You might end up in billowy white robes. Or, and this is the part that gets me, you might have to spend eternity looking like you did on the day you died. That’s part of why my eventual suicide involves so much planning.

Yeah, I’m a bit obsessed with how I look. And when you have as many physical defects as I do, you pay a lot of attention to your appearance. (Never mind growing fond of the reaction one gets to dressing a certain way.) I have strict guidelines for how I dress depending on what I plan on doing that day, and usually, the more importance I place on the occasion, the gothier I go. And even if it doesn’t do me any good looking the way I want to while I’m alive, maybe, well, I don’t know, really. Maybe demons like the militaristicish gothy steampunk aesthetic. Which, in theory, might get me some bonus points or something. But if nothing else, at least I’ll look cool when I’m dead.

-Johnny

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Devil’s Advocacy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 24, 2013 by Johnny Broken

What is evil?

I was going to directly quote a dictionary until I noticed one of the listed definitions of evil was “that which is evil.” Seriously, Captain Obvious? Great editing job there. I’m also going to avoid using any terms like “sociopath” and “psychopath” because both of those words seem to get different meanings depending on the time of day. So, moving along!

We joke that taxes are evil. Or the judge on the reality TV show that didn’t vote for the contestant with some actual talent is evil. In one area of the world drinking alcohol is a crime punishable by jail time, and in another it’s a given aspect of adult life. Views on marriage vary greatly all over the world. Some religions think you are going to end up in eternal torment if you don’t agree with them. Other religions just want everyone to get along. There’s a branch of Satanism, for example, that believes that you can basically do whatever you want in your life (within reason) and as long as you repent before you die, you’re fine to make it into heaven. Who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong?
What about what we have little control over? Is wanton destruction evil? What about a child being born with severe birth defects compared to a newborn that’s a picture of perfect health? Now generally speaking, there are some “universal” constants like murder and theft. You could also probably count forcibly imposing your will on others. But once you get past the basics, things get tricky.

So why would I want to associate with evil? And by the by, The Evil Midnight Blog What Blogs at Midnight is a joking reference to a comic book called The Tick. (Hey, it seemed hilarious at the time.) But for that matter, my amusement with an insane supervillain called The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight probably says… something… about me too.

As you may have gathered by now, I do not have normal views when it comes to morality. I think it started back in junior high (which was actually in the same location as my elementary school, which was grades 1-8. So I tend to think of junior high as later elementary school, not early high school.) when my classmates started turning against me for whatever reasons kids do the horrible things they do. Which in turn actually led to multiple dreams (day and night) where I killed my classmates in rather comic book-ish style. And believe me, when you’re young and the foremost thought on your mind is how much you hate 99% of the kids you know, it starts to alter how you look at the world. You don’t want to wear the white Simpsons shirt and purple shorts you wore last year any more. That’s what they do. The bad guy on that action show you like dressed in black, and no one messes with him. Maybe that’s the way to do it?

And then you start to notice that the heroes on TV and in the movies have a lot more in common with the people you hate than they do with you. And the heroes seem to always be saving people you hate too! So the popular, good looking people who like sports and crappy music are the good guys? The good looking hero gets the girl? That’s not how your life is. The bad guy was spurned by the girl he was attracted to? The other kids mocked him because he looked different? He was weak, and wasn’t good at the other games the kids played? That’s more like what you’ve been through.

And then you start wondering about just why the “bad guy” is so “evil” after all. So he wants money. Well, don’t we all? Or maybe he just likes destroying things. Well if you didn’t have to clean up after yourself, you’d break a lot more stuff too. Or maybe he wants to rule the world. Well, most people are kind of stupid, they need someone to tell them what to do. And you’re smarter than they are, so isn’t that how it works anyway? The smart people tell the dumb people what to do.

And then you get a little older, and your mind is opened up to the world of R rated subject matter. Well… hmmm… maybe that guy that got caught in the crossfire wasn’t going to do anything with his life, so that’s… no real loss, right? Or that guard, he was in the military, so he got himself into that situation, they probably expected him to die. Oh, that guy at the bar that tried to get in the villain’s way was just a jerk anyway, he deserved it. And that other guy was old, he was going to die soon anyway. But that hostage lady who was really scared of her captor, there’s no need for him to do… that! That’s not right!

Granted I’m simplifying things extremely here, but I came to the conclusion (I actually typed that out as “confusions” the first time, heh) during my formative years that while I think my thought process tends to lean towards evil, I have my limits. Which is probably part of why an old friend, let’s call him #6, always used to chide me that “Pft. You’re not evil!” when this came up. Yeah, I’m not out murdering people or dealing drugs and I’ve never been in jail for breaking the law. And I have two responses to that. First, there’s a reason they say you should beware the quiet ones. Second, there’s a saying in the geek community that goes something like “I may be chaotic evil, but I’m not stupid.”

So I’ve done some crazy stuff, and I believe in some even crazier crap, but I don’t have a criminal record. Does that disqualify me from being evil? The geek community also tends to call a villain who lives by their own personal code of ethics “noble evil” and I love the sound of that. Another way of describing what I’m getting at is that “even evil has limits,” which I also think rolls off the tongue fairly well.

The thing is though, for as hateful, spiteful, and death-obsessed as I am, somewhere along the lines a sort of Gentleman’s Code fixed itself into my way of thinking. Be polite. Treat a woman with respect. Don’t steal from someone, because it sucks to have your stuff stolen. If you have a job, y’know, do it. Don’t be a freaking slacker and drag everyone else down because you’re lazy. Don’t be an ass in public.

These dueling personal codes also make Renaissance Faires the weirdest, albeit still highly enjoyable, experience for me. On one hand, I’m rooting for the villains because I don’t understand why bad guys always have to lose. (I mean bad guys win in real life, and people make incredibly boring true-to-life shows/books/movies and stuff all the time. So why not make something exciting and true-to-life where the bad guy wins?) But on the other hand, a knight declaring his opponent has fought honorably on the field of battle almost brings me to tears because it’s so awesomely awe-inspiring.

So yeah, I may not think fascism is such a *spooky fingers* bad idea. (I actually think it’s even better if I’m the one making the rules). I also don’t care if some random person dies, or if my own brother is getting married, or what your newborn looks like. But at least I’m nice about it to you.

-Johnny

What did I do? Concluded

Posted in Updates with tags , , , on July 17, 2013 by Johnny Broken

Things were pretty much as normal as they get for me until after I had graduated high school and I randomly ran into a girl I used to have the hots for. (For what it’s worth, she doubled in weight and proved to be screwier than I am. Hence the “used to” part. Shallow, maybe, but… eh.)

We got to talking, and the conversation meandered to something along the lines of how I either confused or flat out scared her now too. “You used to scare ME. What the hell did I do to a crazy punk rock girl like you?!” I started thinking, until she handed me a folded up note that she still kept with her. Turns out, it was a rambling suicide note, complete with illustrations, that I had passed her back in high school. The note was in my handwriting, but I cannot stress this enough, to this day I have no memory of ever writing or drawing anything on that damn piece of paper.

Rather stunned at the time, I stammered an apology, and did my best to save face. Needless to say I’m pretty sure that girl still thinks I’m a certified nutcase, but that’s the least of my worries. I now had two circumstances of doing some, well, scary stuff, and I cannot remember doing either of them. (There’s actually a third thing during the same time period that I know of that I have no memory of doing, but it’s significantly less morbid. A teacher was passing back assignments one morning, and I panicked because I didn’t remember the assignment, let alone doing it. Then he handed me back what I had turned in, a complete drawing, in my style, of my cat with an accompanying haiku. And nope, no memory of doing that, either. And, uh, yeah, back in the day I used to fancy myself as someone who could draw. Wanted to do it professionally an’ everything too. Now you know, I guess. That’s another story for another time though.)

Thinking back about it, I’ve tried to piece together the timeline to figure out what was going on.

1) Satanist phase begins
2) Offered up my soul to demons while extremely distraught
3) I said something to the religious girl
4) I wrote a rambling suicide note.
5) Stepped in a church for the first time in years.
6) Confronted with evidence of things done between Steps 2 and 5 that I cannot remember.

So. Yeah. You may have a few theories of your own as to what happened. And I have mine. To be perfectly honest, I think I actually got myself possessed.

I’m serious.

You can stop laughing.

Or I’ll just wait here.

Anyway. I fully admit I’ve done some outlandish things in my life. I’ve pretended to cast really-real-world spells in front of a crowd. I’ve spread rumors that I was going to sacrifice classmates. I’ve tried to commit suicide multiple times. I’ve gone into a mental ward of my own free will, twice. I cosplay. And I can vividly remember all of it.

But when it comes down to whatever the hell I said to that religious girl, to this day I am at a complete loss. I don’t even remember approaching her the night I’m told I scared her shitless, let alone ever saying anything to her.

And you know when you can at least think of your frame of mind or the experience of creating something? Yeah, none of that for that damned suicide note.

Call it what you will. But at this point I’m pretty much convinced I got myself possessed by… something. And whatever that something was took control during that conversation and the creation of that note. (And I realize that having no memory of drawing the cat sort of throws off the dark theme of the other two occasions, but I wouldn’t have brought any of this up to begin with if it made sense.) And remember what I said about feeling a little funny right after walking into a church for the first time in years? I think that’s when I, well, when I induced a self exorcism. Entering that holy ground got rid of whatever hitched a ride with me.

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. But it’s equal parts frightening and fascinating to me that this happened. Losing control when you’re, say, drunk has the potential to be sort of fun. Suddenly losing control and having no idea what you did for a few minutes one night when you’re completely sober is, well, scary. And I only know about these three events because they were brought to my attention after the fact. For all I know there could be other things I did during this period of time that I have no memory of. And that’s like… a plot point out of some weird mystery based video game.

On the other hand, if I did manage to “invoke” something that night, even on a small scale, the possibilities are endless. So it’s not throwing a fireball. Big deal. Seriously, even if minor “parlor tricks” are the only kind of “magic” possible, that’s still something. And if there is even the slightest possibility that I have done something legitimately mystical, exploring that further is something that I would actually consider life worth living for. Never mind how amused I’d be if something out there actually has a claim on my soul due to whatever I did all those years ago. (So I have a weird fascination with demons and the concept of Hell too. What harm could that possibly do?)

Are there other explanations for what happened? Probably. Are any of them more viable than my possession theory? Did I somehow manage, accidentally or intentionally, to block so many events from my memory on my own? Did my time in the mental ward have something to do with it? I haven’t had any mental block episodes since, so I really don’t know. Granted I haven’t tried any invocations since either, so maybe I should see if I can do it again?

-Johnny

What did I do?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by Johnny Broken

I haven’t been “religious” for a very long time, and it’s arguable that I ever really was legitimately religious in the first place. Grew up in a Catholic family, and just sort of followed along as directed to church and private school and whatnot. I had been losing interest in the blind faith I’d been brought up on for years by the time my Satanist phase hit, but the thing is, I’ve always had an interest in all things mythological.

These days, I call myself a pagan, if anything. I don’t follow any regular practices, but I like to think that I’m significantly more open minded than most when it comes to whatever someone can have faith in, as long as they don’t try to push it on me. Hard to say what I believe as far as what’s out there though, as the only thing I’m certain of is that there is a “high power” out there and it hates me. But I do like reading up on as many different concepts as I can, which probably stems from my longstanding fascination with the mystical and magical.

So let me just get this out of the way now. Yes, I want to believe magic is possible. Real life is too boring for EVERYTHING written about the supernatural and magic (or magick, whatever) to be completely fake. To that end, I have been building my own collection of magic related books, but I don’t have anything like the musty old tomes of wonder you’d see in a movie, mind you. Though I would give an arm to get something like that. I figure that if I keep sifting through enough crap, eventually I have to find something that actually works.

Anyway, I had a point for bringing this up and probably losing most of you as soon as I said magic. But I need to set up a little more context to my mindset nowadays and at the time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that for as much as I generally don’t like going out in public or to parties or to commonplace events (like sports), I do like my niche crowd stuff. Geek conventions, Renaissance Faires, concerts, people I know doing things I find fun, that’s the stuff I will go out of my way to get to. And since I was a kid, one of the things that bugged the ever living hell out of me is knowing that there’s something that I WANT to go to, but for whatever reason, I can’t make it. That’s when the feeling of missing out hits me.

Back when I was dating #5, there was a double date night set up. My friend #6 and his girl were already at their place, and #5 was there too, waiting for me. But the weather forecast that night wasn’t the greatest, and I didn’t have a car that night for reasons I can’t quite remember. So as luck would have it, my getting out to this double date depended on my mother. Which wasn’t happening because of the weather. To put it lightly, I was furious. After an hour or so of arguing and yelling and angsting over the situation, I was at my wits end, which gave me an idea.

I’d been reading about how to invoke spirits, and considering how distraught I was at the time, I figured it was as good a night as any to try. So for the next, well, I don’t remember how long, but I spent a good long time offering up an improvised and heartfelt prayer (yes, oddly enough THIS would be the first time I ever really meant a prayer) to whatever ancient spirit of evil was listening. I don’t remember what I asked for, if anything, but I do remember offering up my soul. When I couldn’t think of anything else to say to whatever demons may have been listening, I shambled off to play some video games and left it at that.

I basically blew off the whole ordeal, if not outright forgot about it, until a few months later. Half asleep on the way home, I drifted on the road, and was abruptly knocked out of my daze by the sound of metal scraping metal. I whipped around to notice that I had actually drifted into another car. Jerking the wheel straight, I started to panic. Oh god, I thought, I was going to be in trouble for damaging someone’s car or my own car or something. Fearing the worst, for whatever reason this time, I felt the need to offer up a prayer to whatever benevolent force might be listening. I’d go to church for the first time in years and I’d turn my life around if nothing ever came of that horrible metallic scraping noise.

I got home, and couldn’t find any damage on the car. The next morning, no one woke me up for an explanation as to why someone was calling about damage to their car. Relieved to no end, I decided that if I had just experienced some divine intervention, I was going to follow up on my end of the bargain. And yeah, I made it to a mass within a few days for the first time in a long, long time. I want to say I did feel odd for a moment as soon as I set foot inside the church, but I think at the time I figured it was just, y’know, feeling awkward about being in a church. Might have had something to do with my having spent months coming up with crazy stories to tell my classmates about how I worshipped the Devil.

An indeterminate amount of time after I walked into a church for the first time in years, I was talking to a friend from my time with the public high school’s theatre group, and a female friend of his came up. I vaguely remembered her acting very oddly around me, and I asked my friend about this. He was antsy at first and didn’t want to talk about it, which of course really only increased my curiosity. Eventually I got an answer out of him, which only made things… worse. His female friend, who was kind of devoutly religious, was apparently terrified of me because of something I said to her, possibly regarding the Satanic Bible. Other people were able to verify this story, though no one would confirm exactly what I said.

The thing is, to this day I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of EVER talking to this girl. Never mind saying anything so dramatic that she’d be scared shitless of me. As a favor to my friend I never approached the girl about it, but if nothing else, this whole ordeal did add significantly to my dark and mysterious persona at the time.

Hmmm.

*scans up the post*

I seem to have been rambling on here for a long time already and I haven’t even gotten to what actually freaks me out about all this. So tune in next week, same evil time, same evil blog, for other two stories about things I don’t remember doing and my rather offbeat theory about what really happened.

-Johnny