Satanism: The Allure of the Dark Side - Part 4

Dr. Ron J. Bigalke

Satanism is a topic that most people would rather ignore, yet Christians dare not be ignorant with regard to Satan’s strategies and the various temptations the devil uses to allure the unsuspecting. Second Corinthians 2:11 reminds believers not to be ignorant of the devil’s ploys, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan.” The believer ought to approach the devil’s strategies with a solemn perspective, recognizing that matters of life and death—heaven and hell—are involved.

Christians should avoid frivolity and flippancy because Satan is “the dragon, the serpent of old” (Rev 20:2); consequently, he is deadly, prowling “around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8), yet he “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). Lewis cautioned, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”1 Some believers regard Satan too nonchalantly. The demonic world exploits “the fact that ‘devils’ are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination.”2 Others, however, see “demons behind every biblical bush,” or excuse sin as the devil’s work (as Flip Wilson popularly remarked, “The devil made me do it”). The fact that people rarely give Satan a thought, let alone his profound influence, is confirmation enough that the devil has dulled their senses regarding eternity. If believers are to seek first God’s kingdom (Matt 6:33), Christians must be convinced of the reality that Satan and his demons are seeking to oppose that purpose.

Modern Satanism
English occultist Aleister Crowley is most responsible for the revival of interest in Satanism and the black arts. Indeed, modern Satanism can be directly traced to Crowley. Crowley was notorious for his depraved personal behavior. Sadly, modern society is unique in its admiration, fascination, and esteem of such individuals to celebrity stature. Crowley’s influential writings and the establishing of his ideology in the vulnerable minds of the impressionable and searching are evident in the hippie culture of the 1960s.

“The Family,” as Charles Manson and his group of followers were known, are a principal example of a subculture termed “Acid Satanists.”3 As the name implies, “Acid Satanism” promotes the use of drugs (especially LSD) as fundamental to their cult. Typically, such groups are almost entirely untraditional, drug-obsessed cults, which are concentrated upon the charismatic or hypnotic personality of the sectarian leadership, as these young people celebrate satanic rites. The authoritarian nature of these psycho-hippie cults has resulted in the term “acid fascism,” which describes the lost souls whose ego structures have been dismantled by LSD, and subsequently they become victim to father-figure cult leaders like Manson.4

The Process Church of the Final Judgment is considered Satanic because they worshipped both Jesus Christ and Satan. Some of the members of Manson’s “Family” believed he was both the Messiah and the devil. One of the prosecutors of the Family believed that Manson may have incorporated philosophical ideas from the Process Church, and representatives of the Church visited him in jail subsequent to his arrest (due to connections being made between the Family and the Church).5 Processeans who interviewed Manson published the dialogue in the Death issue of the Church’s magazine.6 The Process Church was formed in the 1960s by English couple Robert and Mary Ann de Grimston, former members of the Church of Scientology (and thus declared “Suppressive Persons” by L. Ron Hubbard). They primarily attracted perturbed youth, and specialized in gaining wealthy individuals, with many of them having connections in business, entertainment, and government.

Processeans believed that Christ and Satan had destroyed their enmity with each other through love, and “had come together for Armageddon.”7 Process members called upon true believers to become Jehovans, Luciferians, or Satanists, because all three were going to unite at the End. The Process Church wore black hooded cloaks and Goat of Mendes patches, and proselytized earnestly with glossy publications containing images of death, Nazi symbolism, and encouragements to participate in sexual perversion and violent behavior. Followers were urged, “Release the fiend that lies dormant within you, for he is strong and ruthless, and his power is far beyond the bounds of human frailty. Come forth in your savage might, rampant with the lust of battle, tense and quivering with the urge to strike, to smash, to split asunder all that seek to detain you.”8 By 1974, the founders came into conflict with each other, yet various splinter groups functioned in secret.

From its renowned stronghold in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, many of the hippie movement dispersed south to the Santa Cruz Mountains. The “counterculture haven” was soon overwhelmed with satanic activity and witchcraft cults.9 Europe also witnessed a conspicuous resurgence of satanic activity during the 1960s. Cemeteries and churches in Great Britain were vandalized, occult graffiti appeared on church walls, and evidence indicated that black masses and ritual animal sacrifices were performed in various locations. A “religious” group in Switzerland called the Seekers of Mercy disbanded in 1966, when a young female member in their care died under atrocious and mysterious circumstances.10 While criminal and violent activities definitely characterized various satanic groups that came into formation during the 1960s, one exception of a law-abiding variety is the Church of Satan.

Religious Satanists
Founded on 30 April 1966 by Anton LaVey, the Church of Satan was the first aboveground satanic group. Reacting against the perceived hypocrisy of conventional religion, LaVey initiated a new form of Satanism, which has continued to develop in various directions by several groups that emerged from the Church of Satan. The organization garnered much attention from the publication of its manual, The Satanic Bible (1969), and the sequel, The Satanic Rituals (1972). LaVey advocated a philosophy of personal hedonism and pragmatism, as opposed to worshipping Satan as a literal being. He described his beliefs as an atheistic religion of individual hedonism, which combined aspects of ceremonial magic and occultism with various materialistic philosophies, under the auspices of the archetypal Satan.

LaVeyan Satanism is embodied by the following nine statements: “(1) Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence; (2) Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams; (3) Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit; (4) Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates; (5) Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek; (6) Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires; (7) Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his ‘divine spiritual and intellectual development,’ has become the most vicious animal of all; (8) Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification; and, (9) Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!”11

The most active derivative of the Church of Satan is Michael Aquino’s Temple of Set. Aquino was ordained to the Church of Satan’s priesthood, yet abandoned LaVey’s group in 1975 due to disagreements with LaVey’s decision to make bargains for church memberships and priesthoods. According to the Temple of Set, the Christian notion of “Satan” is a corruption of the Egyptian god of darkness, Set. The greatest difference between the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set is that Aquino maintains that Satan exists as a truly sentient being. Aquino teaches that members (“Setians”) may become gods through a process called “Xeper” (“becoming” or “coming into being”). Setians also oppose violent activities, and no criminal practices have been ascribed to the Temple of Set (even though Aquino received much anti-Satanic sentiment during the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, and was even accused of having engaged in ritual abuse).

Outreach to Satanists
Scripture does not reveal much concerning Satan’s nature or origin. The Bible simply asserts the existence of a personal evil being, who is the “adversary” (Numb 22:22; Ps 109:6) and leader of fallen angels (Matt 12:24). More than other angels, Satan is “mighty in strength” (Ps 103:20; cf. Jude 9), yet God restrains him spatially (Job 1:10-12). The devil can only function as God permits (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Satan domineers the kingdoms of humanity (Luke 4:6), and seeks “to devour” those who are estranged from God.

While recognizing that Satan exists, Christians must guard against exaggerations and falsifications that have negative consequences. Much hysteria has arisen concerning Satanism in recent decades, and while not denying that violent satanic activities have occurred, they are not as common as portrayed by the popular media. Therefore, in a manner that does not foster incredulity, a rational perspective and reasonable composure are to be esteemed.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong in principle with the religious Satanists’ desire to seek pleasure; the problem, however, is they are pursuing it wrongly. Fallen sinners too frequently attain pleasure for what is not best or simply evil. Christians, in particular, must revere the experience of the intrinsically good and what is the believer’s utmost, superlative interest. As a matter of gospel witness, Christians are to “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Ps 34:8a). Believers must help Satanists understand that life’s pleasures, which they desperately seek, are ultimately found exclusively in the Lord God. Indeed, the Creator made humanity to love Him and enjoy Him forever; it is for this purpose that God has so lavishly blessed his people with His grace and mercy. With the awakening of the Holy Spirit, Satanists may realize that their pursuit of pleasure is fundamentally rebellion against their Creator; and, consequently, they are in desperate need of God’s forgiveness. When this conviction occurs, the Satanist is able to be rescued “from the domain of darkness, and transferred . . . to the kingdom of [God’s] beloved Son” (Col 1:13).

1  C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (reprint, Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour, 1990) 9.
2  Ibid. 40.
3  Jutta M. Birkhoff, Donatella La Tegola, Stefania Zeroli, Giuseppe Armocida, and Felice Carabellese, “Acid Satanism: Some Thoughts on Two Recent Cases,” Italian Journal of Criminology 8 (2014): 39-49.
4  David Dalton and Robin Green, Mindf***ers (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1972).
5  Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter (New York: Bantam Books, 1975).
6  Timothy Wyllie, Love Sex Fear Death (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2009).
7 Ibid. 160, 216.

8 “Revival” [online] (Feral House, accessed 21 April 2017) available from; see also, Adam Parfrey, ed., Apocalypse Culture (New York: Amok Press, 1987).
9 Bill Ellis, Raising the Devil (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2000) 178.
10 Arthur Lyons, The Second Coming: Satanism in America (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1970) 84.
11 Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible (New York: Avon Books, 1969) 25.

Midnight Call - 07/2017

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