Marilyn Manson recently discussed his religious beliefs with Beliefnet.com, a Web site the focuses on religion and spirituality. Here is an excerpt of the interview. You can access the entire interview by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.
What was your religious upbringing? My first memories of religion were being taken to Episcopal church. My father was Catholic, but my mother, I believe, was Episcopal. So I sort of veered off into the watered-down version of Catholicism.
At the same time I was going to a nondenominational Christian school, where I was taught a very underhanded form of Christianity. For example, my Bible teacher would ask the class, "Is there anyone in the room that's Catholic?? or "Is there anyone that's Jewish?" If there was no response, she would talk about how wrong those other religions interpreted the Bible. So at an early age, Christians already started to appear to me as people who believed that their interpretation of God was the only one that was right.
Then I started to learn about Revelations, and they pumped a lot of fear about the end of the world into us. I used to have nightmares about the Antichrist — what would happen, where it would come from, and who it would be. The Christians also created this myth about the rapture, which if you look through the Bible, doesn't exist. There is a verse in the Bible that mentions that when Christ returns, he'll come like a thief in the night. So there was a movie they would play for us about the rapture called Thief in the Night. It was about everyone who fell prey to the lure of the Antichrist and got the mark of the beast would be left behind during the rapture. Cars would be abandoned, and people would be starving and killing each other. Everyone else would float up into heaven.
When I turned about 14, I developed a friendship with this guy whose mom was the secretary to Ernest Angley, the faith healer, who's very popular in the Midwest. He had a television show, and he was sort of like Liberace mixed with Jerry Falwell — very glitzy, very high-tech. He had a gold cathedral, one of the most decadent places I'd seen, until recently when I went to the Vatican — that outdid it! But whenever I spent the weekend with my friend, I would have to go to these Friday night services that began at midnight.
That sounds wild.
It was odd because you were starting to fall asleep — it's the perfect time to brainwash people. People were tossing money onto the stage and speaking in tongues. It was very terrifying, like a horror show. It may have been what inspired me to become a rock musician!
So that was the point where I started to seek out other interpretations of God. And initially, when you rebel, you go for the obvious choices — heavy metal, Satanism. To me, Satan ultimately represents rebellion. Lucifer was the angel that was kicked out of heaven because he wanted to be God. To me, what greater character to identify with?
So initially I was drawn into the darker side of life. But it's really just human nature. I started to learn that everything that's considered a sin is what makes you a human being. All the seven deadly sins are man's true nature. To be greedy. To be hateful. To have lust. Of course, you have to control them, but if you're made to feel guilty for being human, then you're going to be trapped in a never-ending sin-and-repent cycle that you can't escape from. And you're going to be miserable. Ultimately, you'll be living in your own hell. So there's no need to worry about going to hell, because hell will be on earth.
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