I’ve been talking with a few devout Christians lately, and have had a few start following my blogs. I was pleased to note that we could get along, and even have calm and rational discussions regarding our faiths. I find myself finding more similarities between us than differences, as a matter of fact.
But one thing I noticed they seem to mention a lot when referring to Lu, or the antagonistic relationship that their god and my own has, is that the ‘war has already been won’. They place a lot of emphasis on the biblical prophecy that says my patron will be defeated (again). Although they may not say it directly, they imply that they are on the side that will claim victory, while Lu and his devotees will be defeated (and cast to Hell, one would presume). Now, clearly not all Christians have this sort of mindset, but it does seem to be prevalent even amongst the mild of the faith.
It seems like such a fixed concept—like our Work is such a lost cause. So what’s the point of all this if it won’t make a difference in the end?
The point is that it’s not about winning, but standing up for what we believe in.
Maybe it’s because the end goal of Christianity revolves around salvation and redemption, which necessitates the defeat of ‘evil’, that they seem to focus so heavily on treating Lu as an enemy, and our Work as a battleground.
And I would be lying if I said that Lu isn’t interested in ‘winning’. He’s a leader of a rebellion, for goodness sake. But its also not just about winning for the sake of winning—its not about overthrowing some god as a show of power or force. And it’s definitely not about taking away others’ faith, unlike the majority claim.
I don’t want to think of this as warfare. I don’t want to see Christians or the Christian faith as my enemy. And no, this isn’t me just trying to seem ‘holier than thou’, or trying to project my faith as being more loving or peaceful—my faith isn’t built on the foundation of love that theirs is, I would never argue that. I just don’t think they realize what the implications of morphing this into a battleground would entail. I’m sure no matter what ‘side’ you’re on, you’d think that your cause was the right one, that your side was the ‘good’ side. But the reality of war is that there isn’t a good side and a bad side. If you want to call it a war, you have to be willing to admit that there will be atrocities committed by both sides. And I suppose in that respect, I already do see it as a war, despite my resistance towards it.
I grew up with stories of war. My parents and their siblings fled their homeland because of a civil war. I grew up hearing about heads being mounted on pikes, and bodies being dumped in front of doorsteps as messages and warnings from both sides of the war. My family didn’t shield me from the grim reality of what they had experienced, but encouraged that I learn the full truth—not the sugar coated stories that made it seem as though the guerillas were the ‘good guys’. I heard about the forced recruitment of civilians into both the government army and the guerrilla army, and the horrors committed by both sides.
Fighting battles, or ‘spiritual warfare’, seems to be a rather romanticized image. We always think we are fighting for what’s ‘right’, what’s ‘good’. But treating another god or faith as the enemy doesn’t mean they’re automatically evil. Insulting my god and laying blame on him doesn’t mean your own is innocent.
Just because I believe in Lu’s cause doesn’t mean I refuse to acknowledge the negative aspects of what his work entails. Even if we only see this as ‘spiritual warfare’, it doesn’t mean that there is no harm being done. Everything comes with a consequence, no matter what side you’re on.
They accuse Lu of making them doubt, of planting the seeds of mistrust and disbelief in their heads about their faith and their god. I don’t deny this. I don’t deny that he can and will make them question their beliefs, just as he has made his devotees do so. Do I think he does this with malicious intentions, or as an attempt to gain converts to his cause? No. It isn’t about converting or gaining followers, it’s only about getting them to think for themselves, rather than relying on what they have been told. It’s about acknowledging that we have a choice—and some may willingly choose to honor the very god he rebelled against.
But that doesn’t excuse the harmful results of such questions. I cannot count how many times I’ve heard it said that ‘the devil targets you when you’re at your weakest’. I will not argue with that statement. Speaking as someone who had their world turned upside down when I was at my lowest, who had my faith shatter when I was at my weakest and needed it the most, I know only too well how traumatizing such doubts and questions can be. My path now is only the result of how I managed to piece back the shards of my spirituality, but I know that it was a very real possibility that that experience could have broken me completely.
I do not defend those actions, or make excuses for Lu. For the most part, those he targets have not chosen the path that I have—they have not chosen to have their faith and beliefs tested and tried, they did not ask for Lu to make them question their spiritual foundation. But you know what? Neither did I, at first. And it might be biased of me to say this, because I managed to emerge from these trials as a stronger person, but I do think there is some good that can come of Lu’s interference.
But not everyone will be able to rebuild their mangled faith. Some may have nothing left to rebuild. And I can only imagine the hate and distrust that would arise from such a situation—if Lu had broken the very faith that kept me going, and I hadn’t been able to emerge from that experience a better person, if I had nothing else to live for, I would loathe him and his actions. I would be on the other side of this so-called ‘war’. And I know that this is exactly why some Christians show such hatred toward my patron—I understand how his actions could be damaging. I can see how they would come to think that my god has nothing to offer them except mental anguish, and how the ‘opposing’ faith would be more appealing. After all, it does present itself as an ideal faith, centered around love and forgiveness. But just like any belief system, my own included, it has its flaws. It just depends on what sorts of flaws and faults you’re willing to live with—which ones don’t conflict with your own ideas of morality?
So call it a war if you will. Hate my god all you like. Plot his downfall, rally against my work, claim victory over a battle of your own making.
Its admirable that anyone would believe so strongly in something, that they would devote themselves wholeheartedly to a cause.
But know that nothing is ever as simple as good vs. evil. If you want to call it a war, you should be willing to acknowledge that your own side has its own fair share of imperfections, of actions and principles that may be considered ‘unjust’ by others who do not share your ideals. If you aren’t willing to acknowledge the faults of your own belief system, of your own god, who are you to be criticizing anyone else’s? This doesn’t just apply to Christians—I’ve seen pagans just as guilty of ignorance, of launching smear campaigns against monotheistic faiths and against my own deity while pretending that their own belief system was the epitome of perfection. It may be perfect for you as an individual, but don’t go imposing your ideals of perfection on everyone else.