The Rolling Devils

29 July 07

Recent concert of the Rolling Stones in Belgrade has caused a huge hype. The geriatric rock’n‘roll was sort of a symbol of cultural and even political progress during the 1990s in Serbia, as it stood against xenophobia — standing both for freedom that rock and roll brought to masses and for keeping up with the rest of the world.

What would this Pratchettian world look like without the involvement of the conservative force, though?

An official of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Amfilochios (Amfilohije is the monk name of Risto Radović) took the liberty to characterize the Rolling Stones as an ungodly bunch singing daemonic songs.

Don’t hold your breaths, dear friends, I have nothing at all against it. Why would I? I am talking the Church’s side for the first time in my life.

What Amfilochios did was rather understandable. We must all keep in mind that he is a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This church has its interpretation of the Bible and Christianity as the whole, and they decided that there is a clear line between good and evil. To them, a white bearded feller is good and exists in the Heaven, and a red skinned dude is bad and lives in the Hell.

We can’t criticize Church’s characterization of the Stones. Whoever believes that good and evil are two clearly distinct notions is allowed to take such a stand. Those of us who grew up and now perceive all the shades of the world understand that music, like other art, is there to paint us those shades of reality.

If Guernica represents something bad, terribly bad, inhuman perhaps, it still lights a human perspective to the event by the very fact that it was drawn in such an emotional way. If a death metal band sings of death and daemons, it does it using very live instruments and very live voices.

The difference between religion and real life is that in our humble existence, unlike in the Bible, questions go unanswered and there are moral dilemmas that we know we can’t solve.

If a person like Amfilochios is entitled to believe in good and evil, then he is entitled to say that everybody who doesn’t believe in such a distinction is evil. If he is entitled to spread stories about existence of God, then he is entitled to tell us whom God favors and what sort of a behavior does it sanction.

Cheers to organized religion!


  1. meeee
    Jul 31, 09:12 PM #

    Guernica & Colin Powell

  2. Warchild
    Jul 31, 09:59 PM #

    Apparantely the rolling grandpas were also asked to proclaim “Kosovo is part of Serbia.” That cracked me up, although it makes sense – they fit the demographic.

  3. bganon
    Aug 1, 02:04 PM #

    Not really such a huge surprise. Goes to show generally how out of touch the clergy are with people. In the meantime the percentage of those that follow organised religion will continue to decrease – at least in the West…

  4. Dejan
    Aug 1, 04:03 PM #

    Warchild, nah – I doubt that really happened. The only sligh outburst of “nationalism” was when they greeted people who came from nearby countries, including Croatia, which caused a quiet “boo”. :)

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