Skip to comments.Satanism 101: The Faith Behind the Headlines
Posted on 07/01/2014 10:16:46 PM PDT by nickcarraway
From efforts to install a monument at the Oklahoma Capitol to a controversial Black Mass at Harvard University, Satanists are all over the news.
But are they, along with Wiccans and pagans, all together in one non-Abrahamic lump?
Not at all, say experts on paganism and the major Satanist groups websites.
Paganism is an umbrella term for a wide variety of traditions outside the Abrahamic faiths. Wicca is the largest but there are countless others, from Druid to Heathen to people who are creating their own faiths even as we speak, said Laura Wildman-Hanlon, a Wiccan priestess and editor of Celebrating the Pagan Soul.
Satanism is a different path, she said. Most pagan faiths are polytheistic and probably just as diverse as all the forms of Catholic and Protestants who worship from the same book but approach it differently.
Satanic Temple in news
The headliner Satanists of the moment are followers of the New York Satanic Temple. This is the group behind the controversial Black Mass a mocking version of a Catholic Mass minus a consecrated host for the Eucharist held across the street from Harvard Yard in May.
According to the Harvard Crimson newspaper, the event originally planned for a campus site had only 50 people attending, while hundreds went to a genuinely Catholic holy hour at a nearby church in protest.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Satan takes on a number of forms as the embodiment of evil as a snake who tempts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as the devil who tempts Jesus with promises of worldly power, and as a dragon who is consigned to a lake of fire and brimstone of eternal damnation. Within Islam, Satan (or the devil) rejects God and fights alongside an army of mischievous spirits known as jinn.
The Satanic Temple, which calls itself an organized religion, has held provocative public events, including trying to install a monument on the Oklahoma Statehouse grounds.
The leader of the group, Lucien Greaves, makes frequent appearances at atheist and humanist groups to explain the goals of the Satanic Temple.
The groups website lists tenets that include:
Encouraging benevolence and empathy, practical common and justice.
Relying on the individual will, rational thought and the best scientific understanding of the world.
Respecting the freedom of others.
Reaction to Catholicism
However, there are multiple visions of Satanism, including one that takes a very different stance. Anton LaVey founded a Church of Satan in 1966 that stresses Satanism as a reaction to Catholicism, including rebelling against the church and satirizing its beliefs.
In LaVeys view, Satanism is a philosophy, not a religion. Satanists dont worship a devil with horns and a pitchfork. Indeed, they dont worship anyone. They are atheists in an indifferent universe. However, Satan is seen as a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism.
The Church of Satan says each person is a god and theres no room for others, including Satan, Lucifer, Cthulhu or whatever other name one might select or take from history or fiction.
The churchs rituals are described as self-transformational psychodrama designed to purge oneself of unwanted emotional baggage.
Satanism, paganism differ
Thats not exactly paganism, in the view of Julie Fennell, assistant professor of sociology at Gallaudet University.
As a pagan and a sociologist who has studied modern neo-paganism, I would say a pagan is anyone who self-identifies as a witch, who self-identifies as a Wiccan or anyone who follows a primarily Earth-based religion that holds the Earth is sacred and God has both a feminine and masculine quality.
Wiccans have a very clear understanding that the universe cares what you do. Good or bad, it has consequences. They dont think it is an indifferent universe, said Fennell. Satanists believe you are only answerable to yourself.
If its not of God its of satan, period. So many deceived.
Good Lord, not the pagans. Those goofballs are the biggest bunch weirdoes I have ever seen, with their pretend doctrines and their obviously made up rituals. The real pagans were not at all nice guys, what with the human sacrifice thing, and the Romans stamped them out seventeen hundred years ago with good reason.
The “satanists” OTOH are just a bunch of stupid kids trying shock mommie by being naughty. “These men are nihilists, Donny, you have nothing to fear” to quote Walter.
Originally they claimed to have a consecrated host making it a decidedly anti-Catholic rally.
Sounds like the Obamadoctrine.
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