God vs. Satan: Bungle in the Jungle

I suppose there’s no need to rag on the History Channel and their choice of programming any more. It’s been done quite a bit. And besides, I personally have learned more about history from the homeless man that throws trash at me every morning than from basic cable. It may not be totally accurate history, but if you can get past the smell of booze and mutant body odor when he comes around, not to mention the fact that he looks like the guy from the Oakridge Boys with the long beard, it’s at least as entertaining and as pertinent to the story of humans as many of the shows on the History Channel.

But what the hell? Perhaps they deserve a little more ragging. And besides, Elyse sort of established a good vs. evil theme with today’s Afternoon Inquisition. So let’s do it. 

Last night, the History Channel aired a program, called God vs. Satan. The hour-long show (available on DVD for a mere $24.95) follows the battle between good and evil from Satan’s initial fall from grace through the “end of time”. The description of the program on their website reads:

What will the battle of Armageddon look like? Will it take place at a battlefield in Meggido, Israel, as stated in the Bible? Take a tour of the final days on earth as envisioned by believers of the three Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Examine the final chapter of the ultimate battle between good and evil from accounts in the Talmud, the book of Revelation and the Koran. Discover how these religions differ, where they agree and what might occur during this epic war.

Now, that description sounds a little more thoughtful than the show actually is. At least in the description, the History Channel hints that the material is merely the vision of religious believers, and therefore is open to interpretation or even outright dismissal. And in the show, the narrator does indeed ask direct questions about Armageddon, like “Will it take place at a battlefield in Meggido?”. But the producers never examine the possibility that an epic final battle may actually never take place at all. Nor do they speculate that the story of the fallen angel into hell, and that of the end-times, might just simply be elements in a collection of ancient legends and myths that were dreamed up by mad men?

In other words, they don’t look at the history.

The material is presented as though the book of Revelations is a schedule of events we’re just waiting for. There are some references to believers in the three Abrahamic religions, but there is no critical analysis of those religions or the sources for the stories in their sacred texts.

And the sad thing is, it wouldn’t be that difficult to point out some major problems with the story.

For example, God always kicks Satan’s ass. Always! In bouts with God, Satan is absolutely winless. It all started when Satan got too big for his britches in heaven way back before the rise of man, and was tossed out. From there, it was one ass-kicking after another. Even God’s kid got in on the action.

But according to Revelations, Satan is going to try to beat God again by taking over the Earth.

That’s not evil personified. That’s stupidity personified.

He should know he can’t beat God. Christ, he friggin’ lived in heaven for thousands of years. Doesn’t he know by now that God is a bad ass? How many times does he need to be thrown out of one hyperphysical realm into another before he gets the hint? Doesn’t he know what the words “all powerful” mean? Are there no dictionaries in hell?

And even if there aren’t, doesn’t Satan know the minds of men?

I want to sit the guy down and say:

Hey, Satan, men have a book that says you’re going to lose. Not just once more, but twice more! After the first time, you’re going to be chained up for a thousand years, and then when you try to beat God yet again, you will finally be dismantled for good. It says so right there in the book that God himself wrote! Don’t you read?

Dude, just let it go. Take the missus and get away for a while. Do some traveling. Forget about God, and how much you hate him. It’s not worth it.

Unfortunately, the History Channel doesn’t talk about this type of silliness in the program; this silliness that’s built right into the old stories. Even worse, they give zero air time to any critical voice.

Maybe they’re trying to give folks a bit of an entertaining fright around Halloween, but couldn’t they once have a good critical examination of this type of mumbo jumbo? Just once?

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. The answer to their question is obvious: the final battle will never occur. Why?

    Real estate.

    When the Bible was written, Earth was the only planet in existence. Between God, humans, and Satan, available real estate got thin, and its fairly predictable that tension would build until a knock-down, drag-out brawl ensued.

    However, now that its proven mathematically impossible for additional habitable planets to not exist, Satan has options. If God really wants this planet so badly, Satan can simply set up shop next door. Should they both prove indefatigably set on Earth, by the time they get around to launching their legions, they will probably find Earth devoid, the humans themselves having moved on, leaving nothing to fight over but a cold, barren stone. In which case, the deities would probably just pack up their toys, pout, and go home.

  2. That’s not evil personified. That’s stupidity personified.

    I must admit, this never even occurred to me as an argument against the existence of the devil. Not that I spend much time thinking up arguments against something so silly.

  3. @jtradke: Except the bible, presumably, was written by the winning side of the war in heaven. How do we know that Satan didn’t throw the battle, in order to make himself appear weak? After a few millennia of recruiting human souls, he might be ready to go back and whup some divine butt.

    If he were, you know, real.

  4. Why not just leave it at: ‘I saw this on the History channel and thought it would have been better if they had included an option whereby they considered that it all could be untrue.’

    Why did i have to read light weight semi-informed dismissive analysis of Christian mythology?

    Bad mood today. Forgive me. I am skeptical of bad writing.

  5. @LBB: Unless of course the one who wrote Revelations (John?) was the heavenly equivilant of “Baghdad Bob”.

    Bob: There are no demons in heaven!
    *horde of imps with pitchforks run past the screen*
    Bob: It says right here Satan will lose!
    *A passing succubus (with boobs even ;) ) poses seductivly for the camera*
    Bob: Trust us. We are victorious….CRACKLE
    *static followed by “please stand by” on screen*

  6. @writerdd:

    Ha, you obviously haven’t been reading your Time Cube theory! It makes just as much sense as Revelations so it must be true!

    “Ahem, time is a circular cube and the earth has 4 days in 24 hours and anyone who disbelieves the 4 Corner Earth Days is an evil adult….

    Nooooo, I’ve caught Gene Ray disease!

  7. How many times does he need to be thrown out of one hyperphysical realm into another before he gets the hint? Doesn’t he know what the words “all powerful” mean? Are there no dictionaries in hell?

    According to Revelation, Armageddon was supposed to happen before the generation alive at the time died. Perhaps the reason it didn’t is because Satan isn’t stupid and DID take vacation.

    *This all assumes Satan and God exist and that Revelation is true.

  8. The History Channel is about ratings more than history. After all, considering history means thinking – and we all know what means. Low ratings.

    Maybe the History Channel is afraid of the far-Right and that’s why they didn’t consider “None of the above” as an answer.

    Personally, after reading Revelations and trying to understand the tortured logic by which certain people have tried to make it fit reality, I have decided that both the author of Revelations and the believers have been into the ‘shrooms again. ;-)

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