Satanism in the News

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A recent spurt of public Satanic activity has attracted the attention of the mainstream media. Whether it involves a Black Mass held in Oklahoma City (which failed in attracting attendees, but succeeded in attracting the media), or attempting to distribute an activity book in Orlando-area public schools, Satanists have been highly effective in using the media to garner attention for their groups.

How should Christians respond to all this activity from Satanists? Should we simply follow the practice (as some commentators assert) of “ignore them, and they’ll go away?”

It is, of course, important to avoid falling into what folklore and occult expert Bill Ellis calls “”Satanic panic,” ascribing greater power and levels of activity to Satanists than they currently employ (you can read more in our interview with Ellis). As we say in our Index of Cults and Religions,

Contemporary expressions of traditional Satanism are rare, and popular elements of it, including the testimonies of alleged former Satanists and Satanic Ritual Abuse have been discredited.

At the same time, however, we have also frequently warned against the danger of Satanists who truly believe in diabolical, occult power. For example, in the same Index definition quoted above we also say:

(Satanism is) represented by two separate groups, secular and traditional Satanists. The secularists do not believe in in a literal, personal, spiritual being called Satan, but rather consider Satan to be an archetype or symbol that represents the ideas of Satanic philosophy. Various satanic ideals include self-interest, indulgence, an anti-herd mentality, and an emphasis upon rational self-interest. Examples of modern Satanism include The Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey and now led by Peter Gilmore as High Priest, Michael Aquino’s Temple of Set, and Lord Egan’s First Church of Satan. Traditional Satanism, which involves the worship of the Satan of the Bible through a perversion and parody of Roman Catholicism, appeared in the fifteenth century coming out of the Inquisition.

You can learn about the best-known Satanic group, the Church of Satan, in our free Profile, which gives this Christian response to Satanism:

It is best to keep in mind when talking to Satanists that they generally are both atheists and hedonists. That being said, it is best to deal with them on both levels…Satanists need to see clearly that any pleasure they derive from sin is ultimately shallow and short-lived. It is sweet at first, but bitter soon afterward, and the philosophy of a Satanist eventually leads to a vacuous and wrecked life.

You can see the full response in our free Profile, and you can equip yourself for the vital ministry of reaching out to people in cults and false religious groups by subscribing to our free newsletter.

If you are a pastor and want the staff of Watchman Fellowship to speak in your church about Satanism or other topics, see our list of programs and feel free to contact us.