‘LOL stands for Lucifer Our Lord’ and other lies told by the deluded self-righteous

This is ridiculous:

If you can’t view that image, it says:

BEWARE: Stop using the abbreviation “LOL.” “LOL” stands for “Lucifer our Lord.” Satanists end their prayers by saying “Lucifer our Lord,” in short, “LOL.” Every time you type “LOL” you are endorsing Satan. Do not use “LOL” ever again! Keep Satan out of your life. Share this advice to Christians.

This is a lie. It is an obvious, intentional and ridiculous lie.

It’s not true, and no one is really stupid enough to believe it’s true, but they find the game of pretending it is to be titillating.

It’s exciting to pretend you’re standing up against Satan. It’s pleasant to imagine that you are more righteous than your Facebook friends because you avoid the abbreviation LOL. What a convenient tribal marker to set you apart as a heroic, good and godly person.

And what a rush, pretending that you have secret knowledge that others must turn to you to receive. You are enlightened, they are benighted. They should listen to you so you can set them straight and save them from Satan and all his satanic monstrosity.

Those are the emotional rewards of playing this game. That’s why participating in such delusional deceptions can feel good. All of those emotional rewards may be counterfeits, but the counterfeits are so much easier than trying, and likely failing, to actually be heroic, good or godly.

We can laugh at the nonsense of that Facebook version of Satanic panic, imagining that those passing it along are just too naive, ignorant or dim to know any better. But that’s not the dynamic here. They do know better. This isn’t stupidity or ignorance, it’s pride.

Pride makes the deception attractive, and embracing the deception — immersing yourself in it — requires you to reject reality in favor of something else.

The end result is something that may appear indistinguishable from appalling ignorance, but it’s a different disease with a different cure.

Here is another version of the exact same delusional nonsense:

Planned Parenthood offers Black Friday discounts on murder of unborn” screams the headline.

Oh Noes!1! The Satanic baby-killers are discounting the Satanic baby-killing for Lucifer Our Lord!

Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast offered the special, saying, “Visit our West Palm Beach or Kendall Health Center for special after Thanksgiving savings on Friday, November 23rd.” It appears you would have been able to save $10 on the murder of your unborn child yesterday.

It makes things a bit easier, doesn’t it? After all, who doesn’t want “cheap and easy” for discarding the unborn? We might as well get it done between our trip to Starbucks and our Black Friday shopping.

This is a lie. Two health clinics in Florida offered $10 discounts for office visits on Friday for patients getting well-woman check-ups, contraception consultations or STI screenings. Not abortions. (And, seriously, how much of a raging misogynist asshole do you have to be to even imagine that a $10 discount would create some kind of incentive for getting an abortion?)

This lie is as obvious, as intentional and as ridiculous as the “LOL” lie at the top of this post. And it is being told for all of the same reasons.

The blogger at “Front Porch Politics” is lying because it makes him feel good about himself. He is lying to make himself feel righteous by imagining others to be demonic. He is lying so he can pretend he has secret knowledge that others must rely on him to bestow. He indulging in a role-playing fantasy in which he battles Lucifer Our Lord, a lonely enlightened hero in a benighted world. He is lying in order to invoke tribal markers that he believes set him apart as heroic, good and godly.

And he is writing for others who wish to participate in the counterfeit emotional rewards of this delusional lie.

This invitation to deception is not true or right or good. But it is very popular among evangelical Christians desperate for some way to at least briefly feel like they are heroic, good and godly.

Lies, pride and willful delusion. That’s the cancer at the core of American evangelicalism, the corrosive rot that has turned bearing false witness into a spiritual discipline. LOL.

"Reality is broken. I was explaining the "Patheos closed a blog" situation to a IRL ..."

Intra ecclesiam nulla salus
"This is why I'm sure that if a team owner tells all his players to ..."

If it’s good enough for Andre ..."
"You're making me want to write "the whole Belmont clan takes on Turbo Jesus""

Intra ecclesiam nulla salus
"The clobber-verse hermeneutic, as our gracious host has been known to describe it."

Intra ecclesiam nulla salus

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • vsm

    I particularly like the people who make up bizarre etymologies for everyday words and phrases like picnic, buck and rule of thumb and then try to eradicate them from English.

  • LouisDoench

    Why oh why did you show me this thing!!!!! 

  • fuchsialucia

     If you’re asking if I indulge in self-righteous othering, I must plead guilty (I do try not to, but I’m often clocked over the head with the realization that I’m doing it again).

    If you’re asking if I am self-righteously othering liberals who fall like ravening wolves upon any excuse for self-righteously othering wingnuts who self-righteously other liberals who… please excuse me while I try to find my way out of the fun house.

  • Worthless Beast

    The Fun with Acronyms there… Why did my mind flash back to the Timecube?

    The ANGEL one really made me LOL.  “Angry Ninjas Groping Elderly Ladies,” especially since in one of my recent fanfiction works for a thing that I like, I tried to portray one of the canon’s guardian races (a race of ninjas!) as being quasi-angel-like.  They don’t tend to grope old ladies, though… they just tend to turn into them after a few centuries, and are adorable when they’re old.

  • reynard61

    Everything I do, I do for the LOL*(s).

    *Love Of Luna

  • Magic_Cracker

    Without endorsing everything that appears on the site, I recommend Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature for its rather thorough-going unpacking of the numerous fallacies, particularly the posts on Objectivist jargon.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I keep reading it as God Swill

    That’s the idea!

  • Will Hennessy

     KISS, naturally, stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”: a philosophy which I as a musician agree with.

    …and, of course, AC/DC stands for Altruistic Christians Doing Charity.

  • Will Hennessy


  • Will Hennessy

    For the record, I don’t use the Laughing Out Loud abbreviation because I find it inane, not because of any satanic connection. But if people want to use it, hey, fine by me.

    In the words of Demetri Martin: “I type LQTM–Laugh Quietly To Myself. It’s more honest!”

    Or in the words of Lore Sjöberg: “SMYOAALTS.”*

    *–Spare Me Your Obnoxious Abbreviations And Learn To Spell.

  • Vermic

    Angry Ninjas Groping Elderly Ladies: great mobile app idea, or greatest mobile app idea?

    I remember a similar scare in the late 70’s when everyone was all atwitter about the band KISS, which STOOD FOR KIDS IN SATAN’S SERVICE.

    Gene Simmons used to joke that it stood for Kids In Sunday School.  See, it works both ways!

    Remember the panic over the Proctor & Gamble logo? This smells like a retread of the same thing. People really are that stupid (or nasty, or however you want to characterize it — I agree with Fred that it’s a lie believed because it’s so much *fun*, in a horrible twisted sort of way).

    This is a good place to link to Fred’s series of posts from 2008 on P&G and similar panics.It starts with “False Witnesses” and is no less relevant or essential reading now as four years ago.

  • ReverendRef

     OH!!  Sign me up.  Especially since my drug of choice is pretty much any filled confection.  And this is probably what got Eve into trouble.  That tree was really a tree of jelly donuts, and when the serpent asked, “WWJD,” she obviously said, “Me.”

  • Jessica_R

    Nothing it going to top the genuine warning that “GMBO” or giggling my but off is an abbreviation texting tweens use. Because, you know, actually explaining what LMAO means would get Letters from the Professionally Offended for using swears.  

  • Interestingly (or not), Ayn Rand was very fond of claiming not only that
    words have Real True Definitions whose meaning trump connotation,
    context, and intent, but that she gets to decide what those Real True
    Definitions are.

    Ah, so THAT’s why Libertarians keep telling me that monopolies cannot exist without government enforcement. All those things I think of as monopolies aren’t actually monopolies.

    I assume this also relates to how “altruism” is the most evil thing possible in Rand-land.

  • JustoneK

    You’re making that up  :o

  • Tricksterson

    As someone who has actually occasionally practiced magic,  yes it is!.  In fact all magic really is is  a means of focusing one’s intent.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Different sense of ‘magic’, I think. What you’re doing is wanting something to happen, deliberately focusing your attention on it, possibly with props. (Or so I understand. Sorry if I’m fucking up.) What’s happening when people say ‘intent is not fucking magic’ is, to use the standard metaphor, Adam stepping on Betsy’s foot and Adam expecting that his lack of intent to hurt Betsy means that Betsy does not have a hurt foot, even when she is telling him to get the fuck off because ow.

  • Tricksterson

    Ooh!  Me!  even though as a diabetic (who recently got put on insulin) I really shouldn’t.

  • Tricksterson

    Lolis Out to Lunch?

  • Magic_Cracker

    Indeed, per the Ayn Rand Lexicon, “The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.” (more at link)

    When put that way, who would want to be altruistic?

  • Jessica_R

    Nope, read about it here, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/08/22/one-big-exhale-never-did-me-no-good/

  • When put that way, who would want to be altruistic?

    Well, if you’ve internalized the first part about yourself whatever reason (which can happen, though any account I could provide would only be anecdata), the second actually looks kind of attractive as a way to gain a sense of meaning in your life. But I don’t think the first part is actually reflective of a healthy mind-set, and as you can find altruism from people who are not horribly depressed or self-loathing, then anyone who isn’t a major asshat would probably agree that her definition doesn’t hold up.

  • CeeQ

    Wretched isn’t it?!?!?!? LOL

  • Yeah, it’s things like this that make me think it might not be a joke.

    That, and the fact that some people already don’t know what LOL means.  I understand there are people who think it means “lots of love.”

    As in:

    Hi honey,

    Aunt Mary’s cancer may be back.  The doctors are running some tests.  Call me as soon as you can.


  • My sister has a story about a friend who rather unfortunately thought “LOL” stood for “Lots Of Love”.  Unfortunate, because she texted it as words of sympathy in response to a text from a friend relaying a death in the family.

  •  I didn’t work one out for RO(T)FLMAO, but I did come up with “Rolling One For Lucifer” for ROFL.

    For KISS, I heard both Kids & Knights versions.  Never heard of the AC/DC ones, though.

  • The “Lots of Love” thing sounds a bit like an urban legend because I know I’ve heard it before with similar contexts, and the similarity across tellings feels a little suspect. It’s possible I’m being overly suspicious and there really is this congruent alternate etymology that keeps popping up, but still. Hm.

  • That redefining thing makes more sense of the recent Libertarian we had around here, a few weeks ago or so, who insisted that taxation = charity, at which point I invoked Humpty Dumpty on him.

  • MikeJ

     Rolling One Tightly For Lucifer My Angelic Overseer

    That’s what my friends and I always mean any way.

  • Am I the only one remotely curious about where this thing came from in the first place?  Who created it?  Where did they come from?  What were they thinking?  I secretly suspect it’s a hoax perpetuated by someone who got sick and tired of Facebook friends using LOL as punctuation and figured this was the best way to discourage it.

  •  “Who the fuck listens to KISS and AC/DC anymore?”

    KISS was on Letterman not long ago. I did have very amused flashbacks to my childhood – my elementary school teachers in 1977 were pushing the “KISS are eeevil!” thing.

  • Scientology does it too. It’s one of the markers of over-controlling organizations; they redefine terms so that outsiders think that they’re harmless or support the same things they do, but the internal definition is not at all what it seems.

  • I found it necessary to correct this terrible misconception. The correct honorific is ‘HAIL SATAN’, not “Lucifer Our Lord”. 

  • ohiolibrarian

     You knocked him off a wall!?! I don’t think you should.

  • ohiolibrarian
  • arcseconds

    I think I say this every time Fred says “these people don’t really believe this stupid thing, they’re just pretending”.   

    So let me phrase this as a question this time.  Why would they not believe this in a perfectly straightforward actually believing it kind of way?

    People usually believe things (straightforwardly) when they:
    a) fit into their current worldview
    b) are reported from a source they take to be reliable
    c) don’t already take themselves to know the contrary

    it also helps, but isn’t strictly necessary to also have

    d) makes them feel good in some way.

    Let’s just take another piece of nonsense lots of people, including perhaps many here (in the past if not currently), believe:

    “Columbus set out to prove all of the flat-earth people wrong, and demonstrate the Earth was round” .

    Now, many people believe this.  I’m pretty sure I believed it at one stage.  I don’t think they pretend to believe it. They believe it because:

    – they already believe that people in the past were quite stupid and ignorant
    – they already believe that people in the past commonly believed the earth was flat
    – they often already believe Columbus to be a great revolutionary explorer, part of the myth of the founding of the USA.

    b) – they get told this by a source they take to be authoritative.  This may even be a history teacher
    – the original book that started this, Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Washington Irving, presents itself as a substantially non-fiction account, written by a well-known literary figure.

    c) – they don’t already believe some other account of Columbus’s reason for voyaging, or at least not one that excludes this (it’s compatible with finding another route to the indies

    d) – it’s nice to believe you’re living in an enlightened age, where you know so much more than those ignorant buffoons in the middle ages
    – for Americans (or Americaphiles (is this a word?) ) it’s a nice founding myth.

    In the case of people who are inclined to believe in things like Lucifer our Lord:

    a) – they already believe that they exist in a small island of righteousness in a sea of evil.
    – they already believe satanists are rife
    – they already believe satanists hide themselves to some extent, but have enough hubris to proclaim their allegiance in obscure ways. 
    – they already believe in coded messages

    b) – they take stuff coming in to their inboxes from their co-religionists to be a reliable source of information.
    (lots of people do this, and not just from people that they trust, either.  I’m sure we don’t think people falling for Nigerian scams ‘pretend to believe’ in the scam.)

    – contrariwise, they don’t take the mainstream media to be reliable at all, so unlike most people (who might well think the media is biased, but they don’t generally think it’s outright lies and deceit), this is one of the few channels that they actually truest.

    c) – well, Fred’s already discussed this.

    What makes these two cases different? OK, ‘c’ may be doing more work in the later case, but it’s not the only thing at play.    In both cases, the pre-existing worldview is one that’s at least somewhat informed by how good it makes the holder feel.

    Sure, the LOL thing probably makes less sense ultimately, and I’m sure the LOL-haters are on average less good epistemic agents than the people who believe Columbus was trying to prove the earth was round.  If they thought about it, there’s a lot of aspects that look a bit odd – if satanists were really everywhere, why would they need to hide.

    On the other hand, the Columbus story doesn’t make a whole heap of sense either, and I’m sure most people who bought it didn’t think about it a whole lot, either.  (What made Columbus believe the earth was round?  Why was this convincing to Columbus but not to anyone else? How did he fund his voyage or get crew if everyone thought it was a suicide mission off the edge of the Earth?   Given that he didn’t really circumnavigate the globe, how did everyone go from being flat-earthers to round-earthers but geocentrists in time for Galileo? )

  • I wasn’t sure whether that was obvious enough or not, and I’m not sure whether you really got it or not, but regardless, here’s the Through the Looking Glass context I quoted at the time:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

  • stardreamer42

    Yes, and that’s also why coercion is something only governments can do. If your boss tells you “suck my dick if you want to keep your job”, that is totally not coercion, but “pay your taxes or go to jail” is.

  • Random_Lurker

    [quote]This invitation to deception is not true or right or good. But it is
    very popular among evangelical Christians desperate for some way to at
    least briefly feel like they are heroic, good and godly. [/quote]

    But what is the cause or motivation of this desperation?  This behavior is not exclusive to evangelicals, but it is conspicuously concentrated among them.  Why?

    It’s a mystery to me.

  • JayemGriffin

    That explains why the high C developed a peninsula.

  • Indeed, per the Ayn Rand Lexicon, “The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.” (more at link)

    When put that way, who would want to be altruistic?

    Ooh, ooh, me, me!  

    Actually, that describes several of my values pretty closely.  Heck, I have had more than one fantasy about charging with the Light Brigade.  Tragic waste of life that it was, there was still something romantic about it, affirming that your duty to others outweighs your own life, and that you value that duty more  than you value your own existence.   Heck, Robert A. Heinlein (who is otherwise very similar to Rand in philosophy) understood that, “Duty is a debt you owe yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily.  Doing so can involve anything from years of patient work to an instant willingness to die, but in the end the reward is self respect.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Heck, I have had more than one fantasy about charging with the Light Brigade. Tragic waste of life that it was, there was still something romantic about it, affirming that your duty to others outweighs your own life, and that you value that duty more than you value your own existence.

    But if one dies now, then one cannot continue carrying out that duty to others. Sometimes that is not important. Sometimes, particularly when one’s death now would accomplish little and one’s life later could accomplish much, it is.

  • Tricksterson

    No, you got it pretty much right

  • hamletta

    I’d lay money down that the only Poe involved in this is “Purity Of Essence.”

    I sent this to my co-worker, who just this week got hisself a(n) “LOL” bumper sticker with the Obama logo as the “O.” 

    Bless his heart, he’s the lone wingnut on the (tiny) staff of our inner-city mainline church. He’s good-humored, though, and the parishioners support him in email.

  • hamletta

    When I got my first modem and went into my first AOL chat room, every joke I cracked got an LOL, which I understood to mean “Love online.”

    Thought I was a regular Carole Lombard, I did.

  • Matri

    You would like to think it is a Poe. Your sense of humanity would honestly scream for this to be a Poe, that this cannot possibly be real.

    And then you turn your gaze over to candidate Mitt Romney…

  • Probably one of those urban legends with a bit of truth to it. “My mom thought LOL means ‘lots of love'” is a mere statement of fact, not even worth mentioning to anyone. “… and used it in an extremely inappropriate way in an email” turns it into a story that people will listen to and spread.

  • Lliira

    If the only acceptable fantasy is a Satanic Baby-Killer LARP then people
    will join it because our brains can’t handle a complete lack of


    They get all hot n’bothered over anal sex, too. Those bad bad homosexuals, having all that anal sex (it’s not like women have asses or anything)… all those bad bad positions they use… and all the bad bad sweaty hot men groping each other and penetrating each other with big hard dicks… they’re so very very bad, we must spread word of how bad they are, in extensive detail.

    Of course, they make up half the crap they say, but then that’s the power of porn. And porn that you don’t admit is porn is especially powerful. And it happens on the other side too, with certain feminist anti-porn crusaders obsessing over how horribly demeaning and non-pleasurable anal sex  and BDSM in which women are submissive supposedly inevitably is for women. When you mark off a portion of consensual adult human sexual possibility as BAD, do not pass go, do not collect $200, you’re gonna get obsessively porny about it.

  • Lliira

     you value that duty more  than you value your own existence

    Oh barf.

    Some things are worth dying for. But duty? It’s mostly b.s. and mostly means “do whatever those in authority want you to do.” The Light Brigade died worthlessly, those lives were lost for zero reason, it was a stupid and senseless way to die. I can’t blame them, because their choice was to be shot in the front by enemies or shot in the back by erstwhile friends. But there is nothing whatsoever of value in dying for that kind of “duty”. It’s not duty — it’s waste of life in order to prove to the authorities that they’re still the authorities. Also see: World War I.

  • arcseconds

     Does ‘duty’ only mean ‘duty to your country’ to you?

    I mean, I’m used to saying and hearing things like ‘it’s my duty as a friend’, or ‘it’s my duty as  a parent’, or ‘its my duty as a doctor’.