I happened to find myself listening to a band today that I have not heard in a very long time. They are called ‘Böhse Onkelz,’ they are perhaps the most controversial band to ever take the stage in Germany. At times embracing a racist and hate-filled attitude, at other times trying to distance themselves from that ‘scene’ by disavowing any racist affiliations. At all times irreverent, half the time under some sort of chemical influence, and at some times even funny. They’ve been making music for over 30 years, and along the way have managed to get some of their music banned in Germany. As far as I know, they have released one music video. They have a following in Germany that is astounding – their most recent reunion tour sold out in half a day, to the tune of around 100,000 ecstatic fans. They have been, since the late ’90’s and early ‘oo’s, not an uncommon sight in the top ten of the German hit charts.
The song I listened to was called “Kirche,” which means “Church.” As I mentioned, these guys can be counted on to be irreverent, and this song is certainly no exception. But amongst the various lyrics talking about urinating on the Pope and his Roman headquarters, there was a line that actually sparked a line of contemplation: “Denn wer keine Angst vorm Teufel hat, braucht auch keinen Gott.” Loosely translated, this means, “who doesn’t fear the devil has no need for God.”
Setting aside the Christian – Pagan divide for a moment, and looking at this statement more neutrally, is something like this actually true? Many, I think, would say that it is: our gods (whichever ones we happen to follow or believe in) are often believed to protect us from the more disruptive forces in the universe. If we have no fear of these disruptive forces, then it stands to reason that the purpose of protection can be removed from the gods. The question is, is that the only purpose our gods serve? To protect us not just from the proverbial evils without, but the evils within? To me, this seems a highly passive form of playing the spiritual victim: there are forces of good, there are forces of evil, all contesting for what? Rule over our species? Like the philosopher, Lucretius, of old, I guess I always figured the gods had more important things to do with their time.
My relationship with the gods I work with and follow is not based on this model at all. I do not call on my gods for protection, I seek to protect myself. I do not need them to drive the evil out of my heart: I have a moral compass, I understand right from wrong, and I think it’s my job to determine for myself what I do or do not do. So do I need the gods? Sure, but I need them as I would need any trusted family member or friend. So, as a non-Christian, I’m inclined to say that I really do not concern myself much with Satan. I do not need my gods for protection, as I’ve been graced with the tools I need to protect myself until Fate decides otherwise – and against Fate, even the gods are not all that powerful. I enjoy the presence of those gods I follow in my life. I enjoy the wisdom and inspiration they offer, as well as the hope. These things I do need.
So ultimately, although I disagree with the line from the Böhse Onkelz song itself, I can see the perspective from which they are speaking. I was happy and thankful to find myself inspired to contemplate this topic today; and was surprised that this line of contemplation was sparked by hearing a song from a band that has made such a notoriety out of itself over the years.