From an outsider’s perspective, when addressing the religious parts of the Silent Hill series, it would be understandable to call the cult in the series Christian. While the self-named Order in Silent Hill isn’t actually Christian, much of their belief system and mythos is based on Christianity. Oddly enough, one of their biggest differences between the Judeo-Christian faith and theirs is their version of Genesis, the creation story.
You see, in the mythos of the Order of Silent Hill, humans created God, a bizarre inversion of the Adam and Eve story.
In Silent Hill 3, the protagonist Heather (the reincarnation of Alessa Gillespie from the first game) enters the Order’s underground church. Within the sanctuary, the player is able to have Heather examine the paintings surrounding the chamber, which detail the creation and death of the Order’s God. According to the depictions, God came into being after a man, offering a snake, and a woman, offering a reed, prayed to the sun for salvation and joy. Their combined plea breathed life into God, who immediately set out to give order to a humanity steeped in chaos.
God eventually used up all of her energy, and returned to the dust, though not before promising her followers that she would one day return. The members of the Order fervently hope and pray for her return, looking forward to the supposed Paradise that God will bring. As Heather and the player find out by the end of Silent Hill 3 however, this supposed Paradise is nothing more than a cleansing by fire of all humanity upon God’s resurrection. While the Order believes this to be Paradise, it’s nothing more than a horrific apocalypse.
Something that confuses the player base to this day is the actual nature of the God of Silent Hill. What is She, really?
We fight God in several forms throughout the series, most notably in Silent Hill 1 and 3. In Silent Hill 1, depending on your actions throughout the game, the God either manifests as an angelic being known as the Incubator, or a demonic entity named the Incubus. God’s incarnation in Silent Hill 3 is deliberately reminiscent of Alessa from the original game. This is because Claudia, the antagonist of Silent Hill 3, adored Alessa as her best friend and came to associate her with God Herself. Among all of these incarnations however, the God showed hardly any supernatural intelligence, only a desire to harm the player.
Is this God really something of supernatural origin, or just a particularly strong monster born by the powers of the Otherworld, the vicious truth-manifesting force dwelling within the titular town?
To determine the answer, we can analyze several bits of information from the games. In Silent Hill 3, we find out that throughout the entire game, Heather has been carrying the fetus of the Order’s God within her, most likely an echo from Alessa’s trauma in the original game. Although Heather’s adoptive father Harry Mason defeated the incarnation of the God, Incubus in Silent Hill 1, it seems that the abomination lived on in Heather. That, or Claudia may’ve done something to implant the fetus within Heather.
Throughout Silent Hill 3, Heather finds herself stalked in the Otherworld by an entity known as Valtiel, God’s Angel. This entity cannot possibly be the manifestation of somebody’s unconscious, and appears to act independently of Heather and Claudia. Valtiel’s sole loyalty is to the abomination growing within Heather until the climax of the game. This could be seen as a hint that there is some realness to this “God” after all, that it’s a tangible evil entity, maybe even a demon.
This is subjective, but worth noting. When Heather investigates the stained glass in the Order’s underground chapel depicting their God, she remembers part of Alessa’s childhood. Alessa frequently prayed to the Order’s God, but none of her prayers were ever answered. Although this might be a far-reaching conclusion, to me, this is a hint that the thing the Order worships didn’t have the ability to answer prayers. This may also be seen as a hint at its lack of actual supernatural power.
All things considered, it’s likely that this “God”, as revealed in the mythos of the Order, is nothing more than evil obsessions and desires manifested by the Otherworld. After all, this is an entity complacent with its followers abusing children for the sake of propagating faith. No wonder it constantly manifests with a demonic appearance.
Aside from that, there’s also an analogy to real-world faiths in the creation myth of the Order’s God. Humans throughout history have had a tendency to create different interpretations of God to justify their horrific atrocities against one another. This is especially prominent in the 2006 film adaptation of the first few games. While the plot in the movie isn’t an exact carbon copy of the games, much of the underlying religious analogies are still present. The cult in the film worships a female deity they call God, an entity that is somehow okay with them immolating anybody they deem impure, even a young girl. Because you see, in their eyes, a girl born out of wedlock is considered sin incarnate and deserves to be burned to death as such.
Harry Mason’s counterpart in the film, Rose Da Silva, does a viciously powerful job of calling the cult out on their sins at the end of the film.
As I’m sure we have all seen at some point, the theme of humans making up different versions of God to justify their atrocities isn’t exclusive to fiction. It happens all the time. People frequently use God as an excuse and cover-up for the sins they commit against each other. This has been potentially one of the biggest, longest standing accusations against American Christianity, especially Evangelicalism. When prominent Evangelical leaders act without mercy, or pursue goals driven by profit over people’s lives, they fail to act as diplomats of God Himself. When these people claim to act as messengers for God, people blame God in turn for these individuals’ wrongdoings.