Sacrum Profanum: The crisis of secularism

Some time ago a Polish musician, Adam “Nergal” Darski get involved in an episode that highlights the contemporary crisis of secularism. Nergal is a well known musician in his homeland and leads a rock band called Behemoth. That’s right, his music is known at the music scene as death metal, a song with strong criticism. His performances fills live houses with fans from around the world to hear their music and watch the theatrical band performance. The song is sing in English and those who hear the guttural vocals and watch the band’s performance, often associated artists to some Satanist cult or something like that. Nergal was accused of blasphemy in Poland and therefore can respond criminally! Why? The musician tore a Bible during a concert as part of his performance and declared that the Catholic church has “the most murderous cult on the planet“.

During the Middle Ages, many people were sentenced to death for the crime of heresy. As apologetics of Catholic church likes to say, the church never killed a single scientist. Just condemned for heresy, circumstantially, that was a crime punishable by death and the State should execute the sentence. Is really circumstantial the habit maintained by the Catholic Church to punish opponents of its liturgy? Someone might think that the attitude of Nergal, perhaps, was deserving punishment. However, we stop to think whether criticism is, indeed, a social aggression? or is it the only freedom of speech that we still have?

Looking at the situation from a more coherent point of view, I would say that cannot be defamation or slander to say that the U.S. government killed, at least, some hundreds of innocents in Vietnam (my point is confirmed by Chomsky in yours bright Reasons of State). Absolutly, cannot be a crime to say that a murderer has killed people. But the crime of Nergal was not slander or defamation, was blasphemy! That, in the view of Catholic church, is worse than any genocide recorded by history.

We’re in serious danger of going back to the Middle Ages, which not incidentally was known as the dark ages. The hand of the church interfering in decisions of State can only generate darkness. Interestingly, our conversation began talking about the artwork of Nergal in Behemoth, which seems to have something to do with darkness. Some priests have even called Nergal of Satanist. The pressure generated by the religious speech and groups of mobilized Christians caused the Nergal output of a television program where the musician participated as a juror. The TV corporation itself has come to recognize the talent and skill of the artist for the job, but had no alternative but to dismiss the musician. For the TV was not a difficult choice to choose between a qualified artist or an audience.

The criticism grew and the representatives of the Catholic Church accused Nergal to apologize to the Devil and that his presence on TV channels would have serious consequences on the decency and religious morality. When Nergal performed the actions that triggered all these events he was between four walls, surrounded by a public that rejected any religious belief in the first place. How could they be influenced?

Nergal published a book entitled “Sacrum Profanum.” In that work, a clear view about the myths and the role of religion in society is presented by the musician.

“Man created ‘God’. We gave ‘Him’ human characteristics and personified ‘Him’. Then the kneled before his own creation as if he took out from himself everything all that is great, creative and good, and put it on pedestal. Then man looked at himself as if he was something worse and weak. Why? I don’t know. What I know is that by adopting creative and expansive attitude toward the world, each of us can accomplish our divine element. We can do that without help from any figures hanging on the wall and without any prayers to idols or golden calves. I don’t force anyone to agree with my views. I don’t mind if people are defying me for them, negating them or debating. This is the essence of freedom. The essence which is killed by the ‘revealed truth’ in the name of which the whole cultures are eliminated. When I’m attacked by Christians, I proudly respond: “Your God was nailed to the cross; mine has a hammer in his hand. Draw your own conclusions”. I just effectively fight the illness, regardless if it’s cancer or religion. (NERGAL, 2012)”

The view of Nergal and critical message that his art carries is very clear. It has absolutely nothing to do with Satanism or any other form of mysticism. In fact, his vision is very reminiscent of the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), who argued that God is a creation of human narcissism. In the end, what one see is State and society ceding to church pressure. The church has used all its weapons to not have their power decreased, which includes silence opponents.


Ludwig Feuerbach. Preleções sobre a essência da religião. Vozes, 2009.
Adam Nergal Darski. Sacrum profanum. Gruner+Jahr Polska, 2012.
Noam Chomsky. Razões de Estado, Record, 2008.

Este texto também foi publicado pelo site da Sociedade Racionalista.

Creative Commons License
This work by Alison Felipe Alencar Chaves is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


4 pensamentos sobre “Sacrum Profanum: The crisis of secularism

  1. I have read this and completely agree to what you are saying. The world is governed by the church and people rely on them to impose decisions on them. People should choose a path of their own and stand up for themselves.
    And I agree to the words of Adam for he has been saying it for years and people have been following him since because he understood the true face of communism.

    • Thanks for the comment Sharvin, I needed to write about this subject. I think that such texts can help remove the stigma about the style of music, as well as showing that the art of Adam should be valued in a world where people do not need fairy (or any kind of mysticism) to pack your sleep.


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