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At the risk of getting the Cracked offices fire-bombed, I'd like to pose a question: "What if Satan is the good guy?" I imagine a lot of you, upon reading that, immediately shot back with a question of your own: "How much Ancient Aliens do you fucking watch, man?"

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This is my Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Not that it matters, but the answer is: "All of it," and, yes, it's a topic that was brought up on an episode called The Satan Conspiracy at one point. That said, it's an idea that's been around for a long time, well before the History Channel got involved. We don't actually talk about it much on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...

Instead, guests Cat Rhinehart (My Super Overactive Imagination) and Jeff May (Day Jobs) do their best to convince me that religion is a thing kids need in their lives. I certainly didn't have much in mine as a kid. My parents both went to Bible colleges, but if they cared anything about the Bible after that it definitely didn't show.

My grandmother was a churchgoer until the end, but she never forced going to church on me. In fact, on the only occasion when I recall having to tag along, she bought me a dinosaur pop-up book so I wouldn't be bored. I was six at the time, so that was a plan I could get behind. However, when we got there, as it turned out, someone was being baptized. For some reason it struck me as mildly terrifying to watch ...

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What's terrifying about this?

... but I had to watch. To this day, my memory of the event involves the entire room being lit with a really dim red light while it was happening, kind of like in an office building when the electricity goes out. That seems highly unlikely, in retrospect, but when I picture it in my mind, that's still exactly how I see it.

From then on, organized religion just wasn't a thing that stuck with me. With so many choices and so many people saying their choice is correct, my instinct was always to just assume everyone was wrong and that I'd have to come to my own conclusions. I accept that this might not work for everybody, though. Sometimes, people need structure and order and discipline in their lives. You need someone to follow. So, because I give zero fucks which book you do or don't believe, you can take it as seriously as any other recommendation when I say that, this season, maybe consider switching to Satan. Here are a few reasons why ...

6
Because He's Why You Know Things and Ask Questions

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Hey! You believe the story of Adam and Eve, right? Just joking, but you at least know it, right? God makes a man and a woman, drops them into the middle of the Garden of Eden, and tells them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. A talking serpent shows up and convinces Eve to ignore that one command and, just like that, we're all born a bunch of filthy sinners because we possess the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, and all that other fun stuff.

Perfectly reasonable! Anyway, whether he was an actual serpent or not is open for debate if you don't value your free time much, but most people agree that the "serpent" in question represents Satan. Before he came along, we were built to blindly follow God without ever questioning how or why the things around us happen.

I mean, call me whatever you want for saying it, but that doesn't sound particularly great to me. I'd honestly rather know some things and make some decisions and, to hear the Bible tell it, Satan is the one who made that possible. Is that really such a bad thing? Well, it depends on who you ask.

5
Because He's Not the Bad Guy in a Lot of Other Cultures

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The idea of a figure coming down from the sky and delivering knowledge to mankind isn't unique to Christianity. It turns up in all sorts of cultures and mythologies. Ancient Greece, for example, has Prometheus, a titan who worked closely with Zeus to do all kinds of meaningful and movie-worthy shit until he was ultimately punished for stealing knowledge from the gods and sharing it with mankind. History hasn't exactly painted him as a bad guy for his transgressions, no matter how much Ridley Scott dragged his name through the mud.

Or how about Kukulkan, the "serpent deity" sometimes associated with Maya and Aztec cultures?

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This is him?

Same basic story: works closely with the gods, delivers knowledge and information and the basic tools of civilization to mankind, war ensues. There are even some stories that involve him becoming too prideful about all his beauty and power and ultimately losing both as a result.

If that sounds familiar it's probably because it's not at all unlike what happened to Satan in his more radio-friendly days when he was still called Lucifer. Depending on what point in history we're talking, the word "Lucifer" translates to "bringer of light."

You guys like light, don't you? Well, thank Satan for it. Speaking of that ...

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4
Because He's Probably Way Easy on the Eyes

Wikipedia

Don't even pretend this shit isn't important to people these days. Attractiveness might as well be currency in this country, and depending on who you believe, Satan was basically the Rob Lowe of angels. The prettiest, the smartest ... the closest to God you could get without being God. That's Rob Lowe.

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He's like the Zac Efron of responsible adults.

It's also an apt description of Satan in his pre-fall, Lucifer days. He eventually became too full of himself and lost his place among God's elite. Even people who abide by the most corporate versions of Christianity agree on that part, but what happened next seems a lot less clear.

As we we've covered previously on Cracked, everything from those wacky hooves and horns to his famous trident, the Flavor Flav clock of Christianity, are all attributes we've given to Satan over the years.

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"Faaaaaaaaaake!"

All we really know about what he looks like comes from that description of Lucifer. The part where he loses his boyish good looks upon being cast down to roam the Earth is just kind of assumed.

Well, who's to say he didn't just stay that pretty on Earth? He actually returns to Heaven in the book of Job, where he works social experiment shenanigans in tandem with God himself like a couple of power-drunk buddy cops. "God don't like ugly" is a basic tenet of every religion. It's a safe bet Satan was still a looker when God gave him the go-ahead to make Job's life a living hell.

So, if you believe all that shit, is it such a stretch to believe that, rather than morphing into a snarling beast, Satan still looks as Rob Lowe as ever?

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Even this Rob Lowe still probably gets more ass than you.

You certainly can't rule it out, because, you know, nobody can prove any of this shit. It's certainly something to consider when deciding which path is right for you, though.

3
Because He Doesn't Really Want to Torment Your Soul for Eternity

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As we've also covered previously on Cracked, our most commonly accepted vision of hell is complete bullshit. All of that stuff about Satan holding court over a room full of fire and brimstone and eternally tormented abortion doctors carrying demon babies to full term comes mostly from works of fiction like Dante's Inferno. "Hellfire" doesn't actually appear until Revelations, and it's no more pleasant for Satan than anyone else.

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Looks pretty rad, though!

The word "hell" is mentioned 54 times throughout the Bible, and only 12 of those times does it refer to a place that's on fire, and it was likely referring to an actual place where people burned things, like trash and dead animals. So, a landfill, basically, and in those instances it was being used as a comparison to describe the fire that eventually consumes the Earth.

In most cases, though, "hell" refers to a grave or place of darkness. Well, a lot of us definitely go there when we die, if nothing else. As for immediately heading to a fiery place of punishment to suffer for eternity, that's not explicitly stated in the Bible either. It is said at one point that God has the means to hold the unjust back until they can be punished with everyone else when judgment day finally arrives. It's at that point when people start getting judged and the hellfire comes raining down. Until then, if you're basing your beliefs on what's actually written in the Bible, a world history's worth of people are either in Heaven right now or waiting in a dark box to find out if they make it or if they die a second, possibly more horrific death.

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Patience is a virtue.

So, in that sense, the choices you make come down to a matter of whether you want to go to Heaven or just die for good at some point. Not quite as harrowing of a choice as Heaven versus an eternity of cruel and unusual punishment. At this point, to be completely honest, what I need to know is what happens when you're in that box? Like, do you know you're just stuck in a box forever like some kind of straight-to-streaming sequel of the underrated Ryan Reynolds spirit-crusher Buried? If so, that's close enough to hell for me. I'd like it noted right now that I want to be cremated and placed in an urn near the television of someone with tastes similar to mine until we sort out where I'm going. It shouldn't be an issue for me either way, though.

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2
Because Hedging Your Bet Is Way Easier Than You Realize

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Aside from that unintentionally terrifying baptism I watched as a kid, there's one other memory of church that stands out for me, mostly because it happened way later in life. Hey, have I mentioned that I smoked crack a time or two before? Of course. I mention it all the time, lest any of you have to find out unpleasant information about me secondhand and be burdened with the responsibility of having to shame me for it.

Anyway, I bring it up because, if you read that article, you might recall the story of a guy named Neil, with whom I used to work overnights at a grocery store. He'd recently relocated to the Midwest from the Far East (Connecticut). He married a girl and moved in with her family, and it was all great except for the huge catch that the family was devoutly religious, to the point that my friend was required to attend church every Sunday morning as a condition of living in their house.

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It wasn't this church, specifically, but it might as well have been.

I'd always go with him because, while his dedication to Jesus might have been lacking, he was devoutly Italian, so he used the occasion to cook a gigantic meal for everyone each week. So, we'd drive to church, smoke weed in the parking lot, go inside for a bit, then go to his family's house to eat.

While I generally paid little attention to what was being said, I did find it interesting that this church, which was non-denominational, operated under the idea that, once a person was saved, it couldn't be undone. "It's in the book," was the term they used. Two minutes of letting someone read you a passage about Jesus aloud in return for a lifetime of knowing nothing, not even writing a Cracked article about why people should rethink their stance on Satan, can undo your eventual salvation.

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In a perfect universe, doing this to your dog will still get you damned in some way, though.

So, when one of the hype-men or whatever they're called in that kind of church approached to ask if I'd be up for being saved, I literally had nothing to lose except for the approximate amount of time it would take me to smoke a cigarette, which I also really wanted to do at that particular moment. I didn't, though, and ... boom. It's in the book. That was easy. It took less time than I spent getting my eyebrow pierced in high school, and I regret it way less.

Of course, stumbling into a tiny church in Mazomanie, Wisconsin, in the midst of a weed stupor, isn't the kind of soul lottery you're all going to win. If you want to shore up your afterlife bunker with the minimum amount of work possible, I'd suggest just doing it online, which is also apparently an option. You don't even have to involve other people, except the Lord, naturally. Read a few lines and enjoy your guilt-free existence. Does that speak to the forgiving nature of God or the complete and total triviality of the "rules" of most organized religions?

Ha! I know, right? Now let's get back to hailing Satan.

1
Because What if Satan Is Just Science?

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You fucking love science! It says so right there on your T-shirt and everything. So, here's a thought: what if Satan is really just science? All we're really dealing with, no matter what religious texts or beliefs we're talking about, are accounts of alleged events that were written and passed down by regular-ass people like us. Our capacity to know how much of it is fact and, even then, how the retelling of those facts has been twisted and altered to fit the ends and needs of the people who wrote these things down, is extremely limited. We just know what people have told us.

So ... what if everything they told us is a lie? It's not like history isn't already littered with examples of people, intentionally or otherwise, omitting important facts and information from the official record. More often than not, when you add those details back into the conversation, you end up seeing that subject in a completely different way. You might recall that this here site I work for wrote an entire book about that very phenomenon. Is it possible that Satan is just another part of that cycle? Yeah, of course it's possible. It's so possible.

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No more or less so than whatever the fuck is happening in this picture.

The religious establishment spends a lot of time arguing against the validity of the defining scientific principles of our time, and it's always been that way. Science and free thinking and asking questions about why things are the way they are has been the most consistently identifiable enemy of organized religion throughout the ages, and it always will be. Trying to answer all the question of how and why the universe exists is our version of flying too close to the sun. We're proud of what we've learned how to do without divine intervention, and we're going to take it as far as we can, and the people who want you to just shut up and follow God will never see that as a good thing and will never stop warning anyone who will listen about what happens when we try to play God.

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Some badass movie shit is what.

Are those warnings valid? I don't know, but if the science exists to explain everything without God, the people broadcasting those warnings stand to lose everything. That definitely plays a role in how much stock I put in the the things they say.

Don't take all this science praise as some kind of declaration of my conversion to Satanism, though, and the idea of listening to an atheist talk long enough to try to recruit me into that cause is every bit as enticing as the prospect of hearing it from a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness (unless it's Prince).

If we're ever going to unravel the mysteries of the universe, though, it's most likely going to happen through science, and, if the Bible is to be believed, everything about that desire can be traced back to Satan "tricking" us into wanting to know how the world works. I'm not saying that is or isn't the case, because, again, no one can say for sure. I'm just saying that, if it is, I'm not convinced a lot of people aren't backing the wrong horse.


Adam is not going to hell for this, no matter what you say. Follow him on Twitter.

For more from Adam, check out 4 Irrational Fears That Aren't as Irrational as They Seem and 4 Organizations Everyone Hates (For Stupid Reasons).

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