Sabrina Spellman is the Antichrist We Need

SPOILERS, obviously. When the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premiered last October, few people expected that the titular heroine would turn out to be the Antichrist (unless you’ve read the comics, which I haven’t, so don’t try me). Yet here we are. And where I was initially annoyed with how the show-runners clumsily inserted the reveal into a teen drama. But now I’ve leaned all the way in and come to realize that in these trying times there is no better candidate for Antichrist than a teenage feminist wearing headbands and turtlenecks. In case you are wondering exactly how a teenage witch becomes the antihero of the apocalypse, here’s a brief overview of how the show treats Judeo-Christian scripture. While a show about witches may seem like a great time to sidestep or discount modern religious traditions, this one presupposes a kind of “truth” to the biblical texts. Even if the canonical version is wildly biased, God created the human beings, there’s a garden of Eden, and a Jesus. Now I should point out that the show never refers to her as the “Antichrist” specifically; instead, Sabrina is called the Herald of Hell. But with the show’s underlying acceptance of the New Testament as true, she is cast as a latter-day antichrist no matter what they call her. As the show explains, she is the “herald of Hell” not only because she is the daughter of, but performs perversions of the “Nazarene’s.” Though the figure of the “antichrist” is shockingly vague in the book of Revelation (really, look.), Spellman’s anti-miracles track with our overarching cultural conception of the figure. Rather than following the “false creator god” (Ialdabaoth, anyone?). Sabrina and her family belong to the Church of Night, an organized religion that worships the fallen angel Satan. Although the Church of Night rejects the false god and beliefs of the canonical Bible, it is merely a mirror of the Catholic Church. Even though the worship of Satan is supposed to be based on “free will,” the Church of Night is just as militantly dogmatic, hierarchical, and patriarchal as any modern Church. Sabrina fights the pillars of the Church of Night at every turn. She lays bare the sexism that lies in the power structures, rituals, and Satanic scriptures of her church. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shows that patriarchy is damning no matter what dogma it cloaks itself in. In her turn as Antichrist, Spellman subverts the apocalyptic expectations of everyone – both Satan & Scripture – and instead becomes the savior of women: dethroning Lucifer, planting his consort Lilith as Queen of Hell, and thus destroying the Church of Satan. I’ve really come around to this idea of Sabrina as the Antichrist in recent weeks. This past month has seen state after state attempt to legislate women’s bodies and limit their reproductive freedom. The majority of the people (with some exception) making these laws in Alabama and Georgia are men; and I don’t even need to look up each state legislator to know that their public zeal for this legislation is likely couched in their own religious beliefs. But privately, many of these same advocates have also been accused of making their mistresses, wives or daughters get abortions. Like Sabrina finds in her own chilling adventures, much of the legislation made in the name of any religious tradition to “protect” tends to be a cover for “control.” In tumultuous times (or really at any time) there are always conspiracy theories about the Antichrist. Look up just about any president or monarch or religious leader on YouTube and you will find well crafted videos explaining why said man is definitely the Nero of our times, signaling the end of days. We also tend to turn towards “post-apocalyptic” literature for an escape that has suddenly become far too real. But let’s think about what a teenage witch Antichrist could bring us. While Sabina is supposed to herald in the end of days and help establish an earthly kingdom ruled by Satan, the only thing she actually heralds is the end of days for patriarchy. So, Sabrina is the Antichrist we need, but we definitely don’t deserve her…at least not yet.
Author attempting to replicate Sabrina’s own greatness.

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The Atheist Nun

A baby academic making her way in the world of Late Antiquity & beyond.

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