Friday, November 14, 2014

Making Deals With a Digital Devil--Online False Witness Against Bob Dylan

Deals With a Digital Devil--
Why the Astonishing Campaign of Online False Witness
Against Bob Dylan Should Matter to Us All
by Sand Sheff

“But let us not talk falsely now; the hour’s getting late.”
Bob Dylan –All Along The Watchtower (1967)
In 2009, a 41 second clip featuring American songwriter Bob Dylan was uploaded to YouTube by an anonymously owned website known as—a site which showcases examples of "satanic" influence (many legitimately disturbing) in pop culture. The clip had been taken from a 2004 CBS Television 60 Minutes interview between journalist Ed Bradley and Dylan. The 41 second clip in question was titled by the uploader: “Bob Dylan Admits he Sold His Soul to the Devil”.
From that simple and grotesque beginning, that easy upload, Dylan’s name has been smeared across the world in many Christian circles and associated with all manner of evil in the entertainment industry. That original clip (with the “sold his soul” tagline) has now been viewed over 2.5 million times. It has also been copied and used as “evidence” in numerous other on-line “documentaries” about the illuminati, devil worship in the entertainment industry and so on. These add up to millions more views. It appears likely that the snippet in question has been seen at least 6 million times, and the real figure may well be much more.
It is interesting to compare the huge viewership of that clip to the amount of YouTube views given to recorded live performances of his Christian songwriting:
Pressing On has 40,000 views
Aint Gonna Go to Hell For Anybody has 6,500 views.
Saved has 131,000 views
Gotta Serve Somebody  has 35,000 views
The sum of the views of his Christian work and message put together apparently add up to less than a tenth of the viewership of the video clip in question.
The most important impact of the libel is anecdotal. In conversations among many Christians ( both in real life and online), it is now apparently taken for granted that there exists a film clip online showing Bob Dylan admitting to having sold his soul to the devil. As we’ll see when we read the transcript, Dylan says no such thing. For anyone who is familiar with his work, such an assertion is patently ridiculous. To those who have followed his career, the video simply shows him to be referencing his allegiance to God in an untypical, albeit awkward, fashion—sounding and looking like a man who truly doesn't like to be on camera.

But a worldwide false witness machine churns on of its own accord, running on its own unstoppable algorithms, taking the mind of the human race with it. Its claims are being accepted by many folks, people who apparently want to believe Mr. Dylan said something he plainly didn’t or are too busy to question the information. The entire premise and execution of the slander may seem juvenile and unworthy of a response. In the old days, such an absurd allegation would have no place to spread and ignoring it would indeed have likely made it "go away". But these are the days of the computer network. I have come to the conclusion that the allegation is spreading rapidly and being widely (though obviously not universally) accepted, even by some intelligent people. These people perhaps do not see that someday this same machine may come for them, for their reputation, for their dignity, for their name.
I feel driven to craft a response. First, I must say I think that many people are genuinely concerned about the increasing appearance of dark elements in modern media and entertainment. There is some very creepy stuff being splashed across the screens of the world. But I believe that those who are perpetuating the slander of Dylan are using people's legitimate suspicions of the entertainment industry to falsely associate him with their primitively frightening claim-that he is a surreptitious worker for the Enemy of God.

This particular type of attack is unprecedented in its scope, in its unwarranted targeting of a much beloved poet and entertainer, and by the "Christian" orientation of many of the accusers. Politicians are expected to be the subject of such internet attacks, but those types of videos are so many and so varied (are they tyrants, aliens, reptiles, shapeshifters, etc?) that pretty much everyone takes such videos with a grain of salt. There is no real concept of libel when it comes to politicians--being the target of allegations is part of their job. There is something different about the attack on Dylan. For one thing, his songs often contain moral and spiritual dimensions to them. I'm not going to claim Dylan is some saint. I doubt he would be much fun to listen to if he was. But he's certainly not a proponent of the devil's business on earth. That much I will claim.
The lessons that can be drawn from this uniquely modern slander touch on many aspects of our culture, including our relationship with music, celebrity, society, spirituality, technology and truth.
I will attempt to approach some of these issues as best I can. I’m not a professional writer or academic and I’m certainly not a music critic, nor do I ever want to be one. I'm an American songwriter, performer, and laborer who personally believes in the truth of the Bible and also considers himself a fair student of history, technology and culture, and the works of Dylan. If you don’t believe the Bible, or if you don’t care for Dylan’s work, that’s fine with me. I still hope you find interest in my primary argument-that a worldwide machine of defamation and deceit has clearly been established around us. This development affects us all.
I don’t feel as though the works of Bob Dylan require a defense. Defending him or his work is not exactly my point. But I still feel in my gut, my spirit, that this particular libel needs a response, in particular a Christian response. Once again, I don't feel you need to be a Christian to understand or appreciate my arguments. I hope for my words to be of positive effect to whomever may read them, and they have been written with that intention.
Mr. Dylan, not surprisingly, hasn't addressed this slander against him, nor can we even be sure he's aware of it. Nonetheless, as he's no doubt an astute observer of society, he's surely aware of the exponentially increasing power of the network itself. That power bodes ill for human freedom on many levels. The ability to anonymously libel, slander, defame and humiliate is built into the structure of the internet itself-and though everyone is perhaps somewhat aware of this unpleasant truth, it's still one of the most important lessons we can draw from this episode. In this essay, we will look at the edited clip in question and compare it to other quotes from the interview (which itself was edited). I will then look at what was said from a Christian and a logical perspective. Next, I will attempt to offer samples of his work during his long career. Finally I will look to draw some conclusions as to why this particular slander took place. The final conclusions I draw about the nature of the Computer Network may seem radical to some. Still, I hope that they will be seriously considered.
First we will look closely but briefly at the accusation itself. Here follows the entire transcript of the 41 second clip, courtesy of CBS News.
Narrator: So why is he still out there?

Dylan: "It goes back to that destiny thing. I mean, I made a bargain with it, you know, a long time ago. And I'm holding up my end- to get where I am now," says Dylan.

Narrator: And may I ask with whom you made the bargain?
Dylan: (stuttering)"With the chief commander," says Dylan, laughing.

Narrator: Of this earth?
Dylan: "Of this earth and the world we can't see."
Let’s look at this exchange. First, does Dylan ever say he cut a deal with the Devil? No. He states he made a bargain with "that destiny thing". Let’s go back a few minutes in the same interview to where he talks about destiny.
Narrator: What does the word "destiny" mean to Dylan?

Dylan: "It's a feeling you have that you know something about yourself - nobody else does - the picture you have in your mind of what you're about will come true," says Dylan. "It's kind of a thing you kind of have to keep to your own self, because it's a fragile feeling. And if you put it out there, somebody will kill it. So, it’s best to keep that all inside."

That may be a familiar feeling to many of us. In recent conversations I had with Christians (good people who do good work) concerning this video, they stated that “no Christian would ever say he cut a deal with God”. Well, maybe it’s true that they  or their preachers wouldn’t say such a thing. But does that mean NO Christian would EVER use the word “deal”  or "bargain" to describe his relationship with the Creator, or how about a Jewish person, for that matter? The word covenant is expressed throughout the Bible. What exactly is a covenant anyway?

Dictionary definition of covenant:
Covenant-noun: An agreement. Verb: agree, especially by deed, lease or written contract
A covenant is a deal. You do this and I’ll do that. Precisely the "bargain" God offered the Children of Israel on Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that the dilemma of the prophets Ezekiel and Jonah?  If you read their prophetic books, it’s seems more than just a bit of a “you do this or else” situation. Yes, it’s not totally New Testament sounding, but it's still Biblical and a valid way of expressing a spiritual relationship that by its essence is extremely difficult (if not almost impossible) to appropriately put into words.
Next, he is asked with whom he cut the deal.
Dylan: The commander of this world and the one we can’t see”.
Who is the Commander of this world and the one we can’t see? h
Here's the Bible.
“And Jesus came to them and said, ‘”all authority in heaven and on earth has been given me’”---Matthew 28:18
Now we come to a sticky point of theology and human nature. Who's in charge of the world? Is it God or the Devil? The devil is often said in the New Testament as being in charge of the world, but most people believe (as I do) that this is referring to the political, social and economic structures of the world---"worldly" things. There are some Christians throughout history who go much further than this and feel that the devil is in charge of the entire natural world. I personally don't believe the Bible supports such an idea. For one thing it leaves little room for the power of prayer, or earthly space for the Holy Spirit to operate. For another thing, I see no evidence of evil in flowers, clouds, babies, rocks or koala bears. God created and remains in charge of the world. Evil is an energy that has been loosed upon the world. I am not the only person to see things this way. It is the fundamental  tradition of all major religions. There is a darkness that grows within and clings to various exhibitions of human power in this world. But God is ultimately in charge.
"The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people."  Daniel 4:17
In the conversations I've had and in commentary available online, it is asserted (paraphrasing) that “no Christian” would call God a "chief commander", as Dylan does, because only Satan uses military terms. I deeply disagree. Jesus himself says he brought not peace, but a sword. In Revelations, Christ is portrayed as a Conqueror. In Revelations, war breaks out in Heaven. The psalms are filled with imagery of war. Paul says "put on the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6) Spiritual war against evil is how it must be overthrown. Dylan has referred to God or Jesus as a “Captain” ( Lonesome Day Blues -2001).
The most common refrain of anonymous internet commentary and real-life conversations concerning this video is that “no Christian would say things this way”.  There is something disconcertingly familiar about the implicit demand that others express themselves exactly the way you do or be condemned as heretics or witches. While it is undoubtedly true that no Christian would swear allegiance to Satan (“you cannot serve two masters” Jesus said), is it really true that absolutely no Christian ( or Jewish person) would ever say he cut a deal with destiny or refer to God as his Chief Commander? The claim seems to be that if you don't say things just the way these folks and their pastor do, you serve the devil. The strain of the effort to create and sustain this false witness is palpable. It would be laughable if we didn't also see where this love of false judgment could be headed, to a worldwide Salem witch trial where we all have to watch what we say. The judges at such trials are rarely doing God's work, to put it mildly. The devil has regularly put self-proclaimed "christians" to work doing his business for him. Surely, after centuries of genocides, slave trades, crusades, conquests and bloody inquisitions, both grand and petty, we can at least agree on that. A little self-reflection might go a long way towards potentially understanding the true will of the Creator-as well as understanding the psychology of the urge to condemn others. There is an element of envy and hatred in the condemnation and false judgment of others, and those that find themselves the targets of such irrationality and cruelty throughout history are often the most intelligent and creative members of society.
Now, back to the interview. Dylan says he cut his deal with destiny “To get where I am now”.
In online commentary, this has been leapt upon as referring to Dylan’s fortune and fame, that being the apparent reason for “selling his soul”. But any knowledge of Dylan’s music and personal history reveals someone who is almost certainly uneasy about fame and fortune—he’s not exactly one to be seen at all the big celebrity parties, does not appear to have a taste for fast cars, and has repeatedly turned his back on mass market expectations at the peaks of his fame, most notably by ceasing to be a rock star in 1966 and by becoming a born-again Christian in 1978. More importantly, he has consistently refused to be seen as a prophet, or "special", or even a spokesman. He does not want to be "followed" or held up as a leader for any cause, political, religious or otherwise. Given his propensity for speaking truth humbly in the face of mockery and ignorance, “where I am now” would more likely be referring to his position as a respected voice in the world, or just simply his gratitude in remaining alive and active at an advanced age.
Viewing the clip without the tacked-on filter of the “sold his soul” title, one might merely, as I and many others do, see a shy aging man attempting to warily describe to a prying newsman something he has perhaps never publicly verbalized before—how he conceives of his relationship with God and his own destiny.
Sure, maybe he didn’t say it just “right”. Maybe he didn’t think his analogy completely through before he spoke, or take some televised opportunity to call Jesus "Jesus" or whatever everybody thinks he supposed to do—maybe he didn’t foresee how anyone would be looking for just such a moment, such a “misstep”. Maybe he was thinking he was still in another time, a time when we didn’t have to watch every word we uttered quite so carefully—before it all could be captured on video, edited and manipulated and circulated indefinitely with some leading, libelous tag attached. If we cannot see how this type of foul focus could be brought to bear on our own lives and statements and missteps, then we are fooling ourselves about the powers of the consolidated computer network.
Let’s return to the interview. Here is a quote from earlier in the exact same interview.
Dylan: "The press, the media, they're not the judge - God's the judge,"
Would someone who announces he has sold his soul to the devil proclaim just moments before that God is the ultimate Judge? He had already set the context of his later statements, and plainly stated who he believes is in charge of the world in the exact same interview the libelous snippet is taken from. The snippet was removed out of context to paint him as something he is not. Someone could do the same thing to any of us with equal effectiveness.
In the spreading of this “viral” video, we are witnessing an extraordinary modern version of an ancient false witness. I believe that is irrefutable.
For one thing, the whole idea of “selling your soul” in some literal Faustian pact with a tangible devil may be theoretically possible (Satan's temptations of Christ come to mind), but it just seems a bit far-fetched in the case of someone whose work is so obviously humane and intelligent as Dylan.  Let's look at the "sold your soul" motif as it relates to music and The Bible. The most famous reference to this in history comes from the mouth of Jesus.
"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul." Mark 8:36
The most common ways of selling your soul in this world, the ones Jesus most preached about, are old fashioned greed, hypocrisy and the love of power. There is plenty of that going on all around us.
In popular music, the idea of selling ones soul for musical prowess goes back to an old slander about the 1930's bluesman Robert Johnson, whose gifts on the guitar supposedly came from him making a pact with Satan at "the crossroads". Not surprisingly, there is absolutely no genuine corroboration of this claim. It is just an odd myth, smacking of envy and even racism, that has been repeated enough times to gain some slight measure of anecdotal respectability. Here's the first lines from Robert Johnson's "Crossroads":
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above "Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please"
The song itself recounts begging God for mercy. It seems odd how the substance of his plea has been ignored. Instead his short life and impressive music are recast in an ugly and patently false light. A variation of that phony mold has been used to slander certain popular musicians ever since. His songs are certainly dramatic. But just because he sings that "there's a hellhound on my trail" doesn’t mean that he worships Satan. It likely means that he was in the same boat as the rest of us, in a world filled with temptations and trials.
Now, there is definitely an undercurrent of dark worship that has made itself known as Rock music splintered into the dozens of sub-genres we are familiar with today. Some early hard rock and metal bands, though probably not specifically involved in any devil worship, surely paved the way for the explicitly satanic messages currently available in the "music" of hundreds of "death metal" bands, none of whom I care to address by names. More insidious are the increasingly dark occult and transhumanist trappings in the videos and performances of mainstream pop celebrities, culminating in the recent Grammy ceremony that opened with a human sacrifice and went on to give awards to "robots".
No one I have read claims Dylan's music resembles death metal. So why was Mr. Dylan targeted? Who or what would have an interest in such a targeting? Perhaps more importantly, what does it mean for us all that this type of character assassination may await even the most cherished and forthright of social and spiritual spokesmen? What does it mean that so many of us are so quick to believe an obvious lie?
Why Dylan? There's a reason, I believe. My explanations may be tough to hear and harder to accept but I hope you will hear me out when I get there. First though, it only seems fitting that we briefly survey the works of Mr. Dylan as they relate to this topic. Jesus exhorts us to judge a man by his fruits.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? “ Matthew 7:16
Judge a man by his works. 
From later in the Gospels, when the Pharisees seek to stone Jesus, comes this vital rephrasing of the same idea.
"They took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, 'I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?' John 10:31
For which of Dylan’s works do his accusers seek to stone him?
Of course, Jesus was ultimately condemned at trial for “saying the wrong thing”.
“Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?" They answered, "He deserves death!" Mathew 26:65
That same self-righteous unreflective intensity expressed at the trial of Jesus, that same base envy of wisdom and popularity, pervades the caustic commentary of many of Dylan's online denouncers, the ones who have claimed he "sold his soul".
The most powerful example in The Bible of selling one’s soul is Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Dylan has been famously called "Judas" before in a recorded and filmed incident, by an Englishman at a 1966 concert who appeared upset with Dylan's electric music. Dylan responded:
"I don't believe you. You're a liar."
The online commentators who spread the libel of Dylan are selling him out not even for money, but for online view counts, for the fleeting sense of self-importance awarded by the algorithmic totals of the network.
Judge a man by his fruits, not by some anonymous interpretation of an out- of- context quote posted on an unbelievable machine. It would seem right and fair to offer this same latitude to anybody. Do we condemn our friends and family for something we think they said? Or do we try and figure out exactly what they said and put those words in a larger context of what they have said and done in the past? This is the wise and decent route, but one that is quickly abandoned in the post-modern binary hyperspeed universe.
When looking at works, I would think one would skip his interviews (he can be evasive and cynical--even a bit profane--during interviews-gasp...). It seems like his works would be what he is most famous for, what he intended for the public to hear—that would be his songs and his performances.
Please bear with me as we quickly survey a timeline of Dylan's career. I will quote some material Dylan has written or sung that has religious aspects. Of course, much of his material are love songs, cultural commentary, story songs, poetry etc…Still, I challenge anyone to find any truly satanic material in Dylan’s career. He has confronted and described in detail the darkness at times, and cast a light on troubled frames of mind and spirit, but you will not find him embracing evil, celebrating it or advocating others to find petty power in greed, lust or oppression. I know this all is pretty obvious but I'm just saying it one last time for the record. He's one of the good guys, dang it.
His first album (Bob Dylan- put out when he was 21) contains two traditional gospel songs, Gospel Plow and In my Time of Dying-
“Meet me Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air.
And if my wings should fail me, won’t you please bring another pair?”
(In My Time of Dying-1962)
That is a pretty extraordinary debut statement to be made by a Jewish kid from small-town Minnesota. Was it at this moment that those who defame him claim he had given his soul to Satan? It seems more likely that the opposite was true and his career was blessed for his early witness. 
His next album (Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963) contains one of the most famous and beloved songs of modern times “Blowin in the Wind”. You might think that no one would possibly argue that such a wise and gentle song about justice and peace, one that has been adopted by so many gospel singers and the civil rights movement, could possibly be satanic. You would be wrong. Astonishingly, there is a website and a You Tube video with more than a million views that directly implies just such a thing. The site claims Dylan was possessed by demons when he wrote Blowin in the Wind and other songs. It also implies that such inspiration is commonplace in the musical community.

On that same 1963 album are two other unprecedented indictments of injustice and oppression—“Masters of War”  and “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” –as well as love songs and some funny songs too.
1964’s Times They are a Changin’—famously quotes Jesus.
 “The first one now will later be last”
When The Ship Comes In“   recounts the Old testament.
“like Pharoah’s army they’ll be drowned in the tide, and like Goliath they’ll be conquered. "
Does someone who has "sold his soul" acknowledge such stories of the Bible in this way? Do they sing against the oppression of America's blacks and poor as Dylan does on Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, Only a Pawn in Their Game, or Death of Emmett Till?
1964 also brings the song, “I’d Hate to be you on that Dreadful Day.” a sentiment that perhaps should be shared with those who knowingly perpetuate the libel of Mr. Dylan.

"Well, your clock is gonna stop at Saint Peter’s gate
You are gonna ask him what time it is-  he’ll say, “It’s too late”
You’re gonna yell and scream: “Don’t anybody care?”
You’re gonna hear a voice say
“Should've listened when you heard the word down there”
Hey, hey! I’d sure hate to be you
On that dreadful day"

I'd hate to be You on That Dreadful Day--1964

His next albums (1964 to 1966) are filled with social observation and musical poetry. They are not necessarily religious songs, but are still deeply honest poetry. Mr. Tambourine Man, It’s Alright Ma, Like a Rolling Stone, Sad-Eyed lady of the Lowlands. None of these songs proclaim allegiance to the darkness. They describe elements of the human condition that had been largely unexamined in our musical traditions. He used a rock band sometimes, but that is not by itself evil. So do most modern Christian artists. He abruptly quit being a rock star at the height of his fame in 1966 and didn’t tour again for years.
Dylan never made “psychedelic” music by any musical standard. His music has remained consistently folk, country and blues based, with significant contributions from various popular traditions. He did not appear at Woodstock (even though he lived essentially next door at the time) and intentionally distanced himself from the hippie and radical movements, choosing instead to live quietly and raise his children.

In 1967, a time when most bands were making heavily distorted sounds or psychedelic music. Dylan was starting a family and making simple folk based songs. The songs are essentially humane and decent
(I Dreamed I saw St. Augustine, I Pity The Poor Immigrant, All Along the Watchtower). Obscure sometimes, but Dylan is not the first poet to write in parables. His music from 1967 to 1972 is largely country music, much of it recorded in Nashville.

From 1970:
“ Father who takes the darkness away, builder of rainbows up in the sky…Father whom we most solemnly praise”
From album New Morning
1973 --here's a song for his children. This is the first line:
"May God Bless and keep you Always...
....May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the Light surrounding you"
Forever Young


From Knocking on Heaven’s Door… (1973)
“ Mama put my guns in the ground, I can’t shoot them anymore,”
I do not see how a Prince of Darkness could be capable of inspiring a song that has touched and consoled so many people as Knocking on Heaven’s Door has. Asserting heaven as a reality would not seem to be a priority for Beelzebub. This also happens to be one of the first real songs I ever learned to play on the guitar as a young kid. It matters to me deeply. I believe it probably also encouraged me to not dismiss the Bible and to think about God even though I had a hard time with some of the people in the churches of my little town. I doubt I am alone in the impact of Mr. Dylan’s work.
In the mid 1970’s Dylan’s songs were colored by tough events in his personal life, but never can you find him cursing God or advocating suicide or revolution or murder. They are just songs, often beautiful or difficult and always interesting.
In 1979, Dylan went public with the fact that he now believed in Jesus Christ. I saw him go on Saturday Night Live when I was a kid and sing “Gotta Serve Somebody
“It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody”
I was just a 12 year old kid in rural Oklahoma but I still see it now clearly in my memory. There was this man on my fuzzy TV screen who I’d never seen before. He looked like a rock star. But he wasn't singing about what the rock stars usually sing about. He was talking about God and the devil. What an act of fortitude to demonstrate on national television.
Dylan remains the most influential performer in history to ever publicly proclaim the truth Jesus Christ at the height of his fame and begin producing work solely based on that relationship. And he was Jewish to boot! Not only that, but the songs he created were not some banal, recycled praises. Instead they were original, powerful, scriptural and apocalyptic- often directly referring to the second coming of Christ and God’s Judgment on this world.
He put out 3 albums of gospel music (Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot of Love).
He wrote songs like “Saved” (1980)
“I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb”
Pressing On” (1980)
“Pressing On to the higher calling of my Lord”,
In the Garden” (1979)
“When they came for Him in the Garden, did they know?
 Did they know He was the Son of God?
 Did they know he was the Lord?”
 When He Returns (1979)
 “For like a thief in the night, he’ll trade wrong with right, when He returns”
—also, When You Gonna Wake Up? Covenant Woman, Property of Jesus, Every Grain of Sand and dozens more.
Some people claim he refuted his faith after those albums, but there is little or no proof in his work for that. There does seem to be a likelihood that he became disillusioned with the church, but that hardly seems like a fault. Some of the truest believers I know are disillusioned with the Church. It also appears that he made a choice to write his songs in a less directly evangelical fashion—more in parable style—and return to the freedom of singing about lots of different topics and songs from his earlier career. Hey, it’s a free country. He is who he is. He can do what he wants.
The fact remains that the songs of Bob Dylan have probably gotten more people to pick up the Bible than any other popular entertainer in history. Johnny Cash (Dylan's close friend) might be right up there in a close second. Both Dylan and Cash not only reaffirmed the faith of millions but encouraged millions more to consider their own spirituality and relationship to God.
His first “post-Christian” album is actually quite Christian…”Infidels” from 1983 contains brilliant apocalyptic songs like Man of Peace
“sometimes Satan come as a man of Peace”,
“ A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet.
  He’ll put the priests in his pocket, put the blade to the heat,
  take the motherless children off the street and
  place them at the feet of a harlot”

This stuff is straight from Revelations.
License to Kill
“well he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool,
 and when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled”
 -aint it true, Bob.
Infidels also contains the only world famous rock song defending Israel’s right to exist-- Neighborhood Bully, and one of the best musical critiques ever written against the policy of sending American jobs overseas—Union Sundown. None of these concepts seem like they would be high on the priority list for the high chief of Hades.
Dylan made some unsuccessful albums in the mid 80’s, but there are still some great songs and great statements of faith and truth.
“I saw thousands who could’ve overcome the darkness; For the love of a lousy buck I watched them die”
When the Night Comes Falling From The Sky 1985
Nowhere in these works (and trust me, I have searched) can I seem to find a place where he denies the power of God or asserts anything else but a fundamentally moral (though often world-weary and ironic) view of the human condition.
1988--Death is Not the End
“Oh the Tree of Life is growing where the spirit never dies—and the bright light of salvation shines in dark and empty skies”
1989’s Oh Mercy
“ Ring them bells, Saint Martha, for the poor man’s son; ring them bells so the world will know that God is One” (Ring Them Bells)

“If I shut myself off so I can’t hear you cry, What Good Am I?”
(What good Am I)
1990 Under the Red Sky
“God knows there’s a purpose. God knows there’s a chance. God knows you can rise above the darkest hour of any circumstance”
(God Knows)
It would take a pretty cynical mind to claim that these are the words of someone who doesn’t believe in God, much less someone who actually worships the enemy of God and has taken a lifelong vow to that end. Yet apparently there are those out there who would quite seriously go that far. They have set forth on a campaign of false witness, attempting to direct Christian conversation in this world-and there is evidence that they are beginning to succeed. We will take all this back up in a minute, but first let’s continue to survey Mr. Dylan’s works up to the present day.
In the early 1990’s he put out two albums of song covers, mostly traditional songs--like Shenandoah, Hard Times, Diamond Joe. Dylan is quite the musical historian and a solid interpreter of other folk’s songs as well.
In 1997, he released Time Out of Mind
“ There’s things I could say, but I don’t. I know the mercy of God must be near.” (Not Dark Yet)
“ I’ve been all around the world, boys, now I’m trying to get to Heaven before they close they door,” (Tryin’ to Get to Heaven)
His next work, Love and Theft, was released on Sept.11th 2001. The final verse of the album says this:
“Look up, look up, and see your Maker, for Gabriel blows his horn,” (Sugar Baby)
Make of these things what you will, but you might want to think twice before you call him dirty names.

2006 brought Modern Times, “Beyond the Horizon”, “Thunder on the Mountain” and “When the Deal Goes Down”. There’s that “deal” phrase again. but it’s a great song and obviously an ode to life, Judgment Day, God and love.

" We learn to live, and then we forgive; o'er the road we're bound to go.
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
that keep us so tightly bound.
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies and
I'll be with you when the deal goes down."

If there was any doubt about where Bob Dylan stands, he actually put out a pretty darn good Christmas album in 2009 and donated all his royalties from the album to charities to feed the hungry.
It seems unlikely that many cold-blooded Satanists are out there singing Oh little Town of Bethlehem and Hark the Herald Angels Sing  with all his heart and ragged voice like this old man does.
Finally now he’s in his seventies, singing about the Titanic on his album Tempest (2012).
The watchman, he lay dreaming
The damage had been done
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
And he tried to tell someone

The captain, barely breathing
Kneeling at the wheel
Above him and beneath him
Fifty thousand tons of steel

He looked over at his compass
And he gazed into its face
Needle pointing downward
He knew he'd lost the race

In the dark illumination
He remembered bygone years
He read the Book of Revelation
And he filled his cup with tears

When the Reaper's task had ended
Sixteen hundred had gone to rest
The good, the bad, the rich, the poor
The loveliest and the best

They waited at the landing
And they tried to understand
But there is no understanding
On the judgment of God's hand

The news came over the wires
And struck with deadly force
Love had lost its fires
All things had run their course

The watchman he lay dreaming
Of all the things that can be
He dreamed Titanic was sinking
Into the deep blue sea . (Tempest) 2012
So here we are arranging digital deck chairs on our Titanic while the old man bids us adieu. It is that same old man who has been singing to us for fifty years while this final machine was installed, consoling us with truth in song. His work told us to be strong in the face of oppression, to stand up for right, to hold tight to God. Now an automatic algorithm bearing greasy false witness is the earthly reward for his efforts and dignity. His name defamed, his wisdom largely ignored, his work generically and automatically insulted in the world of likes and views and shares. He has probably learned to expect nothing less from the satanic computerized mill.
Thus ends my brief summation of the progression of Mr. Dylan’s “fruits”, his work on earth. It is the slimmest of overviews. His songs are in the hundreds and have helped many a soul through many a dark night. Do his anonymous slanderers have a greater volume of contributions they wish to share with us? What souls trapped in personal anguish have they inspired to keep “pressing on” as Mr. Dylan has consistently done for years? He has stood up against the machinery of war and death, spoken out against prejudice and oppression. And he has publicly stated that Jesus is the way.
Those who have slandered him have an opportunity to apologize and withdraw their slander, or be forever associated with it. My hunch is that they will not remove their videos, but you never know. By now this libelous viral video has a life of its own, is translated into Spanish, and appears in perhaps dozens of internet documentaries—included as yet another "damning" piece of "evidence" against the entertainment world in general.
One of the unfortunate parts of this episode is that much of what is said in these documentaries about the entertainment industry is valid. There is a dark and ugly wind blowing across the televised stages of the brave new world. It is expressed in pop culture and music with ever-increasing brazenness. It needs to be addressed and confronted. But leave Mr. Dylan out of it. He deserves far better than this. Those who include him as evidence of devil-worship in entertainment demolish their own credibility, and thus drive untold thousands away from their more justified assertions.
To misrepresent another is false witness, a sin so drastic it is included in the Ten Commandments alongside murder and idol worship.
The ability to effectively libel others anonymously in cyberspace is a very recent development, one that has bearing on all our lives. Young people all over the world are killing themselves after being "cyber-bullied". Honest citizens are having their lives ruined by anonymous slanderers. Businesses are at the mercy of hostile, often phony, "reviews". The search result with the most views attached or the most money behind it becomes what passes for the "truth". The power over reputation and the ubiquity of the surveillance state have combined to create the ultimate social control mechanism. It is already affecting the behavior and judgment of people all over the world. It is changing our society in ways we are only beginning to understand. We need to see how falsehoods of all stripes can and will be spread through the network as it continues to create its alternate reality.
The network is an extremely dangerous place for the human race to place its trust, from a spiritual perspective in particular. But to understand why I believe this so strongly I find it necessary to once again ask the question:

Why was Bob Dylan singled out for such an attack?

Dylan is not just your average celebrity. We are encouraged to think of musicians as just celebrities (or worse, "idols") but they are not. A gifted musician is not the same as an actor, politician or business tycoon. Musicians are different and we instinctively regard them as different. Even children do. How so and why?
A musician's work is unique, because the art they create is intended to be given away in the most fundamental way. They give us "our" songs. Their songs become our songs. Anyone who has experienced the power of music, which is most people, knows this feeling even if they have not expressed it. Singing a powerful hymn at church does not make you contemplate the author. It just makes you sing. Singing your favorite song in the car at the top of your lungs is a prime example of the song becoming "your" song. "It's my favorite song", you might say. Music is from a place beyond time and authorship and self-consciousness. It takes us to a comforting spiritual place beyond time and self-consciousness. It takes us into the experience of spirit. That is why good music is often seen as coming from the Spirit of God Himself, and not as the result of some odd biological aberration. It is a comfort. We believe in music, often more than we believe our favorite preachers or even our parents. Music is like a friend that often "knows" us better than anyone else. That is why we associate it with a supernatural honesty. There is an inherent graciousness in music, something that makes it different from all other art forms-and something that makes those excel at it different from some TV celebrity or politician. To be truly great, a musician must surrender to inspiration. Where that inspiration comes from then becomes the issue.  
Bob Dylan is regarded by many as one of the greatest songwriters of our time. Indeed, he is often called THE greatest songwriter of the modern age. He certainly has tremendous melodic and lyrical gifts. Obviously his voice is not easy for some to enjoy, but the harsh qualities of his voice have lent it a sense of honesty to many listeners, myself included. There are perhaps millions of souls (religious and otherwise) who find Dylan one of the ONLY voices they trust to emerge from the world of entertainment.
Please listen, there is still such a thing as truth, even in a world seemingly at the mercy of lies. Furthermore, there is a way to convey truth through music. This is vital to remember. The Psalms of the Bible were songs. King David was a songwriter. David was also very much just a man; a man with some serious faults and innocent blood on his hands. That does not mean that the psalms he composed were phony. Far from it. Indeed, it was his humanity that helps make the psalms sound honest. They become our psalms.  Their inherent believability is one of the chief reasons they form the foundation of much of Judeo-Christian praise. The psalms are not uniformly joyous. They are often tense, with the narrator questioning God as to why He will not intercede on behalf of his people. They "wrestle" with faith like we do and ultimately bear witness to a power that seeks not dull-witted blind devotion, but wise commitment to His Will. They make sense to us down here. One of Jesus’ last words on the cross are from a Psalm of David’s:
“My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22).
Jesus (and David’s) cry of anguish is a song. It is also one of the most stunning and profound moments in the testament of any religion anywhere. It cements the honesty of the account of Jesus’ life and death. The pain of those words and that sentiment rings TRUE. These are truths conveyed in song. We need to remember that truth can be conveyed in song.
Truth is not necessarily conveyed by platitudes of praise, though one might think that's all there is if you listen to contemporary “christian” radio, a corporate construct, where one will wait in vain to find authentic, deeply human gospel music on a par as that which has already been made by artists such as Dylan, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and many others. Instead Contemporary Christian music is about the "hits", just like pop music. Out with the old, in with the new—as long as it sounds gooey. Jesus said:
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 7:21

Just because we tell everyone we are Christians (crying “Lord,Lord”)  or claim we are saved or go to church every Sunday does not necessarily mean we are doing the will of the Father in Heaven. Upon this crucial reality, this narrow gate, this difficult distinction, apparently hinges eternal life.
Jesus was unique in his ability to convincingly convey truth and still not be a sinner-though he chose to walk with sinners. Indeed, Jesus was unique however one wishes to view Him, His words and His story.
But as vital as the words of Jesus Christ are to us, it's still just human nature that most of us like to listen to regular singers (sinner/songwriters-hah, hah) too. These are folks who sing songs we can recognize- reminding us of truth as it relates to the present moment we live in. They remind us of feelings of love, expressing our sadness for us, giving us soundtracks of triumph and happiness and feelings of all stripes that cannot be verbalized but are still necessary. These singers do their calling with varying degrees of success, talent and honesty. Bob Dylan struck a chord with millions of people, not because he was possessed by the devil or because his fans were just a bunch of deluded drug addicts, but because he was honest, and he sounded honest. He was able to transmit truth to us so that we did not feel alone down here in this story. That does not make him better than other men, but it does make him different than most men, putting him in the company of other good singers, songwriters and psalm-writers. Most men are simply unable to convey that type of truth convincingly, consistently or in a particularly unique manner.
In my belief system, the only power which can be used to convey such truth must come from the Spirit of God—the Holy Spirit. That spirit is not uniquely accessed by Bob Dylan or your preacher. It is available to all.
Why was Bob Dylan singled out to be insulted, defamed?
What is the worst thing you could say about a man who is trying to do the will of God? Who is struggling to convey truth? You would say that he is possessed, that he has sold his soul to the devil.
That is what they said about John the Baptist. That is what they said about Jesus. And that is what they say about Dylan (Trust me-I’m not comparing him to them, just comparing the responses of men to their work!). I am sure the ancient accusation of demonic possession is what they and IT (the Adversary, The Accuser) will say about us if we stand up to the devil on earth.
Why Bob Dylan?
Bob Dylan is not just a great songwriter, my friends, and he's not just a great religious songwriter—though I think he's superbly used Biblical references and imagery throughout his career. I don’t think it's just his "faith"  that's brought on this new unprecedented technological campaign of defamation. Something much more specific and dangerous to the Dark side was seen in his work; something that's perhaps angered that Darkness-if you place stock, as all major religions do, in this world being a battleground between the forces of Good and Evil.
Please listen to me now. What has really made Bob Dylan most unusual?  There are plenty of good rock and rollers, country stars, social 'protest' singers etc...Why was he unique? Here’s a shot at it. Bob Dylan is our greatest, most respected and most heard apocalyptic songwriter. In fact, he is undoubtedly the most widely heard apocalyptic poet --not just of our lifetimes, but of the modern age. There is no other public figure that even comes close to his audience and impact. Hardly anyone even tried. As the end times kept approaching, and the ultimate machine of our deception was being created, as the beast of war and lust and greed and power cemented its earthly power, no entertainer or artist with a broad public forum (meaning truly worldwide) really spoke out consistently about these matters but Bob Dylan. Johnny Cash definitely tried at times. Hank Williams too. But surely both of them would cede to Dylan the position of premier apocalyptic poet of our time. He was the most important modern reminder to the world that there really will be a Judgment Day, and that the idea of Eternal Justice is vital to justice being done here on earth. His songs also reminded us that certain signs will accompany the coming of a prophesied beast- a beast that glorifies itself as a god while it throws the world into slavery. Dylan saw and surely continues to see the Bible as a living document that refers to the world of the here and now. He believes in the Bible, as many of us do, not just as a blueprint for personal salvation, but as a warning of the struggles that await us in the end times.

That is why the beast hates Dylan, because Dylan warned us about the coming of the beast. Bob Dylan's music told us to pick up our Bibles and read for ourselves about this. Some of us listened. And I for one might not have made it through all those dark nights of my soul intact if it hadn't been for the honesty and encouragement of his music. That's why I choose to denounce the unholy slander of Mr. Dylan, for whatever it may be worth.
          The devil uses his new machine of false witness, deception and total control to lie about Dylan and manipulate his words- saying in a brazen lie that Dylan is a servant of the same darkness he has spent his whole life singing against.
  From the beginning of his career Dylan has cursed the works of the    devil, sang against tyranny over the mind and body of man, praised
 God and asserted that our actions on planet earth will be brought
 into judgment by that God. Starting in 1979, when he began a
 closer relationship with Christ, he began to sing even more clearly
 about the signs that will close the age:
          “Are you Ready to meet Jesus? Are you ready for that judgment?
            Are you read for that terrible swift sword?
            Are you ready for Armageddon?
            Are you ready for the Day of the Lord?—I hope you’re ready.”
            (Are you Ready 1979)
Dylan warned us how the phoniness of the media and entertainment industry was trying to sell us a lie about who we are and what this life
was about—how it also conspired to shut us up.
            “They got some beautiful people out there, man.
             They can be a terror to your mind and show you
            how to hold your tongue.
             They got Mystery written all over their forehead.
            They kill babies in the crib and say ‘only the good die young’”
                        Foot of Pride—1983
            What do those who have defamed Dylan say about his musical
          gifts? Apparently, they say he was possessed by dark spirits or was channeling demons. Some man whose real name may or may not be Scott Webb (whose post on this matter has more than 1.2 million views) has put up a youtube video with this very assertion,
using the disingenuous title of :
          “Bob Dylan interview and a very revealing one at that”.         
Beneath the title he says in a classically creepy backhanded way, “interesting for those who see the common thread of celebrities channeling or being possessed by spirits.”  Yuck.
What is his proof for the monstrous claim that Dylan is channeling demons? It is the fact that Dylan says (in that same 60 Minutes interview) that he wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 10 minutes. Then Dylan happens to say many of his songs come from some wellspring of creativity and appeared "like magic”.         
Are people genuinely making the assertion that musical creativity is demonically inspired because one might toss out the everyday words “like magic” to describe its arrival? Dylan didn’t say they were sprung from his Ouija board or from channeling spirits, he used a common cliché' that is used with utmost banality every day all over the world to talk about the sudden or mysterious appearance of something. i.e. " I'd been looking for that screwdriver everywhere, then like magic it appeared in my pocket"

To condemn the mysterious appearance of inspiration condemns virtually every musician in history. As any performing musician will tell you, there simply isn’t enough time to really “think” beforehand as you are playing. You just play. You just feel. Does that mean some devil is pulling the strings? Most songwriters have a similar experience as Dylan when writing good songs. You get inspired. You write it down. It often happens very quickly. You don’t know where it comes from. You assume it’s from the heart, or God, or the wind. Look at the words or the notes. Do they seem evil or don't they?
A house divided cannot stand. Either your work glorifies good things and dignifies the creation or it doesn’t. But the musician is in a peculiar spot in this world--he is a conduit for a truth called music.
Here is a vital quote from scripture concerning the great prophet Elisha. 
          “But Elisha said, 'now bring me a minstrel'. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.”
            2 Kings 3:15
In this scripture, music is obviously a contributor to the holy space of prophecy. And the implication is that Elisha enters a kind of holy trance induced by the power of music.

If David wrote the 23rd Psalm in ten minutes, would that surprise anyone? Would that he mean he was possessed? Such an assertion is preposterous. David and Elisha were men capable of touching the Holy Spirit. We have all been promised access to spirit. Spirit is all around us. What will become of us if we accuse everyone who goes into the space of the Holy Spirit of being possessed by demons?

There are those among us who are using this machine, this international computer network, to attack the forces of good, the allies of God. They need to be offered correction and a chance to recant their slanders. If they decline that opportunity, all we can do is cease associating with them and their poison.

Musicians are not channeling demons just because they perform music in a spiritual state that defies description. They are just doing what musicians have done for thousands of years, allowing their mind to take a backseat to spirit. It would seem that if you insult them, you might be insulting that spirit. Sure there's demonic music out there. We’ve all heard it. But it’s pretty obvious what it generally sounds like:

          Satan got you by the heel, there’s a bird’s nest in your hair
            Do you have any faith at all? Do you have any love to share?
            The way that you hold your head,

            cursin’ God with every move-
            Ooh, I can’t stand it, I can’t stand it
            What are you tryin’ to prove?
            Dead man, dead man
            When will you arise?
            Cobwebs in your mind
            Dust upon your eyes
          (Dead man--1980)
Dylan is likely the only man in the history of popular entertainment to take a stand the way he did at the height of his fame--- a stand for Jesus, for God, for a Judgment Day where all our actions are brought into the light of the Creator. He now is slandered by the machine that threatens to bring our enslavement. Is that surprising? 
                   What is that machine? If you want to know what I have to say, you can read my book for free. "Real is Good—Reality, Freedom and The Computer network." at

For a variety of reasons I don't have time here to fully recount, I have come to the conclusion that the international computer network is becoming a tyranny--a tyranny that is at once political, social, cultural, psychological and spiritual. It is the summation and reorganization of all prior historical tyrannies made more effective and universal because it is being installed with our consent. Its already documented social dangers are a precursor to its inherent spiritual nature. It is installing itself fully and truly worldwide so that the story which must be told will be told. It is the final tyrant of the human story. All its symptoms of total surveillance, robotic nightmares, virtual realities, its accelerating attempts to blend man and machine, its addictive dreams that swallow freedom and our children’s minds are symptoms of one final awful disease, as the great riddles of the last pages of the Bible finally manifest in the land of the living. The net. The web. The trap is laid for freedom. This calls for some serious endurance of the saints. It's time to stay peaceful, think smart and let good music be on our side! 

Sure, here comes the big villain-sort of just like we thought it might be:

          “He’s a great humanitarian, a great philanthropist.
            He knows just how to touch you honey and
            how you like to be kissed.  He’ll put his arms around you, you can feel the  tender touch of      the beast,
            You know, sometimes Satan come as a man of peace.”
            (Man of Peace-1983)

Sure, the other side is  putting on a  spooky show.  But there is nothing to be scared of . It just is what It is.  It cannot defeat the God of Love. This was written down a long time ago. There's a way to stay free. All said and done, Dylan gave us some good music. Thanks, Mr. Dylan. Adieu..

          Our fabulous new friend, the keeper of our little movie shows, the worldwide temptation and self-esteem machine that has replaced our live expressions of community, art, music, spirituality. That, my friends, is the body and brain—the eternal prison-- of the beast. Trust me, I don't like to say it any more than you like to hear it.

And  I wish I didn't have to say it over the internet itself ---but these days it's the only show left in town.
          It wants total control over the free will of man. It is demonstrating its power to entrap, deceive and defame. We do not have to agree to its demands on us.
          Pray to God. He loves us and does not want us enslaved. Stay strong and sane. Keep a sense of humor, love your neighbor. Sing and dance as often as you can. Thank you for listening.

Making Deals With a Digital Devil
Why the Astonishing Campaign of Online False Witness
Against Bob Dylan Should Matter to Us All
by Sand Sheff
written In November 2014
all Dylan quotes courtesy of Special Rider Music SESAC
you can reach sand at

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