Marilyn Manson. Mere music, harmless fun, or is there something more sinister involved? One thing for sure, is that both Manson, and many of his fans, take themselves, and the message that the man proclaims very seriously indeed. What a lot of people miss with Manson is the fact that he is totally religious. This article will examine some of the belief’s that Manson adheres to and will also point out areas of concern for those who are attached to his music. It might be appropriate to mention here that some Goth‘s deny that Manson is Gothic himself. Be that as it may, many Goth‘s do follow him, and Manson himself has not objected to the term being applied to him and his band, at various periods throughout his musical career.
Anton Lavey’s Satanism
Marilyn Manson (real name Brian Warner) is a self-confessed Satanist in the First Church of Satan started by Anton Lavey (now deceased), in 1966 in, San Francisco. Lavey’s branch of Satanism stands for just about everything the opposite of what Christianity is, and this comes out again, and again in Manson’s words and stage shows. One of La Vey's claim to fame is that he is the author of the book The Satanic Bible. Surprisingly though, La Vey's brand of Satanism declares that it does not believe in Satan, nor God, as personal beings, as such (although a few individual's in the movement may view Satan and God differently). Rather, La Vey taught that Satan stood for a symbol of man's darker carnal nature and believed that this nature should be harnessed and encouraged to grow. To La Vey, Christianity is an establishment of great bondage which seeks to enslave humanity into another system. These philosophies and religious declarations come out again and again in Manson’s words and actions. For example, in an interview in 1995, Manson is asked:
"Do you believe in the existence of Satan as an entity?" Manson replies: "I think Satan is a word that you can use to describe your animalistic side if, as a whole, everyone's animalistic nature - I guess Satan exists in that sense - that part of everyone's personality. I don't believe in it as a "being". It's a word that represents rebellion, represents Man, represents a defiance towards society and God and the things that are forced upon us and are considered to be normal and acceptable." (An Interview with Marilyn Manson at the Capitol Ballroom, Washington, D.C., November 9, 1995).
Although Anton Lavey’s brand of Satanism denies that Satan is an actual personal being, other Satanic groups do not have the slightest doubt that he exists. For example, Doreen Irvine, in her book From Witchcraft to Christ describes how Satan would often appear to her and members of her coven. The Bible also describes Satan in personal terms. For example: He speaks (Job 1:6-2:1-5; Matt 4:1-11); he has a will (1 Chron. 21:1; Luke 22:31; 1 Thess. 2:18; 2 Tim. 2:26); he tempts (Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 7:5); and he oppressors people (Acts 10:38), all characteristics that we would expect from a personal being, not a symbol of abstract force. Jesus called Satan "The father of lies" (John 8:44). What lie could Satan tell that is more diabolical other than deceive those, such as Manson and La Vey, into serving him but at the same time denying he exists?
Manson is asked if he thinks the Christian God loves him, to which he replies: "If God existed in the way that Christianity wanted it to - no, He would have no love for me, because I represent everything that He would teach NOT to be. Not by choice, not by me saying "I want to be 'bad' and I want to be 'wrong'" - just by me being myself and having different morality. My good and evil is different from their good and evil." (An Interview with Marilyn Manson at the Capitol Ballroom, Washington, D.C., November 9, 1995). It is truly tragic that Marilyn Manson thinks this way about the God who created him. The truth is that God does indeed love Marilyn Manson. We all do wrong, and the Bible says that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). No one is so bad that he is beyond God’s forgiveness, if that person reaches out to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. John 3:16 succinctly describes God’s love for all: "For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." God loves each one of us so much that He sent Jesus to give His life for each one of us. No one could demonstrate their love for us more than that.
God’s people should also respond to Marilyn Manson, and his followers in an attitude of genuine Christian love. Sadly, there may be some Christians, who out of fear and ignorance, may well respond to Manson and those who listen to his music, in a way that is not honouring to God. I believe that Manson’s former Christian school, Heritage Christian School displays the right attitude even though Manson stands for everything the opposite to what he was taught as a youngster. This is seen most notably in a memorandum put out by school concerning their most infamous former pupil:
"Those who have been and now are associated with Heritage Christian School continue to be genuinely concerned about Brian Warner and the path he has chosen - both for this present life and the life to come. Our students and staff strive each day to respond to the God who loves us by making personal choices of faith, word and deeds that will honor and please Him as well as extend His love for others. Hundreds of Heritage Christian students have chosen God’s way and are living happy, productive, fulfilled lives. It is the kind of life I believe Brian Warner really wants and I hope, one day soon, that he finds in the God who deeply loves him." (As quoted in Kerrang!, April 4, 1998, p. 16).
Christ and Christianity
Manson is well known for his outspoken comments, and acts, against Christ and the Christian Church. His recent album Holywood has a picture of a rotting man on a cross, and Manson often refers to himself as "Anti-Christ superstar". One writer said:
"Christianity is at the top of Marilyn's laundry list. And Antichrist Superstar, he says, is not only a direct indictment of Christianity's "weak value system", but a direct attempt to demolish the old structure, to "Bring on the apocalypse." (Alternative Press: February, 1997, Marilyn Manson, Artist of the Year, p. 44).
An observer at a Manson concert wrote the following:
"... the concert was filled with blasphemous acts such as: tearing a Bible in half and yelling out that we shall not be suppressed by the fasciousness of Christianism any longer." (Manson's Beautiful People by Nicole H., Gulf Coast American Family Association Website)
Another observer at a Manson concert wrote:
"Manson read from the Satanic bible and held a Satanic altar call in Lubbock, Texas....Throughout the concert, Manson led the crowd in various acts against the Church, against family and parents, and against Christ. (From eye-witness accounts, AFA Journal, April 1997).
What influence does this have on the fans who attend Manson’s concerts? One observer wrote:
"...fans and performers hurled obscenities like snowflakes in a blizzard." (These included an f-word barrage and profane variations of the names of God.) Security officers confiscated several knives and box cutting tools as well as bottles of alcohol from fans." (News-Register, Wheeling, WV, 2/16/97).
The Bible says:
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious, gossips, without self control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." (2 Tim. 3:1-4).
Abortion and Human Rights
In an interview in 1995 Manson was asked the following: "...what are your thoughts on abortion?", to which he replied: "I think the problem that always arises with issues like abortion, between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life, nobody really wants to deal with the problem, and that's birth control. I think if more people concentrated on dealing with that - making birth control more of an issue - then you wouldn't have to deal with the idea of abortion. I don't think stupid people should breed, so in that sense, I'm pro-abortion." (An Interview with Marilyn Manson at the Capitol Ballroom, Washington, D.C., November 9, 1995). This view of Manson, that "stupid people" should not breed, and that some should be aborted, is certainly influenced by the Satanic philosophies of Anton Lavey. For example, Lavey does not think that all humans are equal either. He stated:
"I consider [helping the needy] a most ignoble endeavour...It would be most merciful to help them of the life they seem to hate so much. People should be happy I‘m not a humanitarian - or I‘d probably be the most diabolical mass murderer the world has ever known" (Barton, The Secret Life of a Satanist, p. 211. As quoted by Bob & Gretchen Passantino, Satanism, p. 74).However, despite this contemptible view for the weaker, and more needy, the Bible’s view of those who are weaker is one of love and support. To begin with, all humanity is seen as having equal worth in God’s sight (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9). Also, Jesus Himself, throughout the Gospels, often sought out those who were viewed by others as being outcasts, weak, and inadequate in some way.
Creation, Evolution, and Aliens
Regarding origins, Manson is asked by an interviewer: "What are your thoughts on evolution?" to which he responds: "Well, I don't have any specific theories about the origin of Man, but I tend to believe in Social Darwinism, so I believe the evolution of society. I guess I believe, to a certain degree, the Darwin Theory. But at the same time, I'm open to the idea of aliens and I'm open to the idea of a lot of different things. I'm not, however, open to the idea of Genesis and Creationism. It doesn't work for me." (An Interview with Marilyn Manson at the Capitol Ballroom, Washington, D.C., November 9, 1995). However, despite Manson‘s belief in evolution and rejection of creationism, there are actually great difficulties with Darwin‘s theory, and an abundance of evidence that the universe we live in was created by God, just as the Bible says (see the following link for an excellent site discussing these issues: Answers in Genesis).
Manson‘s words on suicide speak for themselves:
"If someone wants to kill himself -fine, you know?" chuckles Marilyn,..."Suicide is that person's option." (Alternative Press, February, 1997, Marilyn Manson, Artist of the Year, p. 44).This kind of attitude cheapens human life, and is totally irresponsible for someone whom people follow, to say such a thing. Each persons life is precious and a gift from God.
On the issue of drugs, Manson said, on an American television chat show:
"I think drugs can also work as a bit of social darwinism. It kind of weeds out the -- you know, a lot of people that abuse drugs make the people that use them look bad...Everybody take drugs and we'll be fine. Let's all take drugs and we'll be fine." (Politically Incorrect, October 2, 1998).
Someone attending a Manson concert observed the following regarding the promotion of drugs:
"He [Manson] said something like he had a revelation the night before and god spoke to him. He said god told him Jesus makes marijuana, Jesus makes cocaine, Jesus makes LSD. Then he said Jesus takes drugs, why can't we? And a big lighted sign came down that said DRUGS." (Mechanical Animals Concert Review, by Jessica, November 1998).
Again, as with Manson’s words regarding suicide, his promotion of drugs are equally irresponsible. Every day thousands of lives are destroyed, and families torn apart, as a direct result of drugs.
It is my prayer that God will reveal Himself in power to all those who follow Marilyn Manson, and indeed the man himself. If you are a fan of Marilyn Manson, and have read this far, I would firstly say thank you for reading through this. I would also ask you to consider your life and its meaning. God’s plan for you is that you come into a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for you to take your sins and was raised to life to give you a new life. To receive this new life you must repent (turn away from all that the Bible calls sin - e.g. anger, sexual immorality, pride, lies, etc.), and then come to Christ in simple faith, asking Him to forgive you and come into your life. If you do this (and mean it!) God will cause you to become ’born-again’, that is you begin a new life, and you can be assured of eternal life beyond death. For the Christians reading this, I would challenge you to reach out in love to those who listen to Manson’s music. If Jesus walked the earth today, He would be at a Marilyn Manson concert, walking amongst the lost souls and revealing God’s love to them. God calls us to reach out to the lost.
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