Methods and Perspectives in Understanding and Reaching Satanists




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Sacred Tribes:
Journal of Christian Missions to
New Religious Movements

Methods and Perspectives in Understanding

and Reaching Satanists

Copyright © John Smulo 2002



Introduction


Some of the more prominent figures who spun the web of modernity prophesied that in the near future the need for religion would end. However, contrary to this assertion, new religious movements have mushroomed to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to keep track of them.1 Large numbers of such groups are relatively unknown, and some of them that are known by name have become the victims of false stereotypes and misunderstandings. Enter Satanism.

During a time in which most new religious movements have hardly been researched, much less properly understood by the general public, Satanism has consistently received widespread attention, especially during the 1980s. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that this coverage has fostered an accurate picture of Satanism. A much better case could be made for the opposite conclusion. If the popular understanding of Satanism were compared to the Satanism expounded by Satanists themselves, the verdict inevitably would be that Satanism is one of—if not the—most misunderstood religions in existence today.

In this essay, we will firstly seek to understand a basic outline of Satanism. This will involve separating some common but mistaken perceptions of Satanism from the Satanism as understood and expressed by Satanists themselves. Secondly, we will seek to understand why Christians have been so ineffective in reaching Satanists. Then thirdly, we will explore how Christians can more effectively reach Satanists.


  1. Will the real Satanism please stand up?

There have been earlier persons and groups that could loosely be called historical prototypes of Satanism.2 However, modern Satanism as we know it began in 1966 with the late Anton Szandor LaVey’s founding of the San Francisco based Church of Satan.3 Since this time a large amount of other Satanic “grottos” or “churches” have arisen.4 Some of these are consistent with LaVeyan Satanism, and to a greater or lesser extent many others are not.5 Apart from the Church of Satan, other prominent Satanic organizations include the First Church of Satan, the Temple of Set, and the Satanic Reds.6

An accurate understanding of Satanism will only come as a result of studying primary source materials written by Satanists.7 Furthermore, because Satanism doesn’t take place in a vacuum, dialogue with Satanists is important. Most Satanists don’t gather together in Satanic churches for the practical reason that they do not find enough Satanists living around them to do so. Because of this, most Satanists from around the world socialize with each other through the Internet, including Satanic message boards, chat rooms, and especially Yahoo! Groups.8

As noted previously, a popular or stereotypical understanding of Satanism compared to an accurate one will result in many differences. For example, Satanists are commonly thought to believe in the Satan that is spoken of in the Christian Bible. However, the majority of Satanists following LaVey are atheist materialists. They neither believe in Satan nor God, demons nor angels.9 Thus the equation of Satanism with Satan worship is likewise mistaken.10 Church of Satan Reverend Marilyn Manson writes that what nearly everyone in his life
had misunderstood about Satanism was that it is not about ritual sacrifices, digging up graves and worshipping the devil. The devil doesn’t exist. Satanism is about worshipping yourself, because you are responsible for your own good and evil.11
The understanding that most Satanists don’t believe in a literal being named Satan has naturally led individuals to ask, “If Satanists don’t believe in a literal being named Satan, why call themselves a Satanist in the first place?” Paul Douglas Valentine of the Worldwide Church of Satanic Liberation answers,
It’s a very potent, shocking term—LaVey was right about that. But, as I got older I realised Satan was the perfect term because He embodies ideas of freedom and individuality you don’t find in other concepts of religion or God. Satan represents liberty in its utmost form. There’s no guilt involved in being who you are, standing up for what you believe in, even if it is contradictory to social mores.12
Thus, for Satanists living in a Christian—even post-Christian—society, “Satan” remains the model term to represent the thrust of Satanism in that it’s a word that encapsulates opposition against the general principles of especially Western society and that society’s most prominent religious affiliation.

LaVey was influenced greatly by authors such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, and Ragnar Redbeard.13 The core ideals of Satanism largely come from these individuals, and an understanding of them is helpful to the further understanding of Satanism. Whether or not many Satanists have themselves read such authors is questionable, nonetheless, those familiar with them will undoubtedly notice important parallels between these earlier authors and LaVey’s expression of Satanism, especially in The Satanic Bible. LaVey went so far as to even plagiarize a significant amount of Redbeard’s 1896 work, Might is Right in The Satanic Bible.14

Perhaps what has caused the most misunderstanding of Satanism by the public at large has surrounded sensational media stories and books written by Christian authors. The media regularly runs stories about Satanism in connection with ritual abuse, thus giving the false impression that the two are inseparable. Similarly, many Christians in their writings on Satanism connect Satanism and ritual abuse together. This is referred to as Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA).15

Christian authors have accused Satanists of virtually every type of abuse imaginable. For example, Ed Murphy writes,


Satanists seek personal pleasure. Some of them find it in having sex with children, animals, or even corpses. Others find it in torturing animals, children, young people, or adults. Others find it in killing animals, children, young people, or adults.16
Those who take the time to familiarize themselves with Satanic writings and Satanists themselves know that they have repeatedly stated these claims are false. For example, LaVey wrote,
There are sound and logical reasons why the Satanists could not perform such sacrifices. Man, the animal, is the godhead to the Satanist. The purest form of carnal existence reposes in the bodies of animals and human children who have not grown old enough to deny themselves their natural desires. They can perceive things that the average adult human can never hope to. Therefore, the Satanist holds these beings in a sacred regard, knowing he can learn much from these natural magicians of the world.17
Or yet again, LaVey says, “Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.”18

A common response to these assertions is, “But of course they aren’t going to admit any of these things.” Yet if Satanists genuinely don’t practice ritual abuse what other answer could they give? Thus the question, “Are Satanists involved in SRA?” becomes as loaded as the question, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Both questions have implied presuppositions that are unjust—unless there is a compelling burden of evidence to back up such claims. Though this isn’t the appropriate place to pursue this topic further, there are other helpful sources that have.19



Stereotypical Understanding Accurate Understanding





Satan = The Satan of the Christian Bible

Satan = Not a literal being but representative of Satanic ideals

Satanists worship Satan

Satanists don’t worship Satan

Satanists are involved in crime

Satanists abide by laws of their country

Satanists are involved in rape

Satanists affirm sex only between consenting adults

Satanists are involved in SRA

Satanists deny existence of SRA

However, it needs to be said that what is at stake in this debate is not only the reputation of Satanists. What is also on the table here is the ability of Christians to discern truth from sensationalism. As people who claim to follow the One who called himself the “Truth”, we need to tell the truth about Satanism rather than merely repeat false information based on media accounts or Christians who have been proven to be guilty of giving false testimony about Satanism.20

Finally, Christians, and especially ministers who are quick to promote a widespread SRA conspiracy before objectively looking into the evidence, or lack thereof, would do well to heed LaVey’s warning. He states,
People are tired of the noise. They grow tired of the hysteria. We couldn’t have planned it any better. When the Satanic hysteria gets to the point of absurdity, people start questioning the whole line of crap. It will eventually get so no one believes anything Christian ministers say anymore.21


  1. Why Christians have been ineffective in reaching Satanists.

We have thus far sought to separate truth from fiction in relation to Satanism, as well briefly interact with the main controversy surrounding it. Building on this foundation we can better understand why it’s much more common to come across Christians who’ve become Satanists than vice versa.22 Below we will explore some important reasons why Christians have done little more than alienate Satanists from further contact with Christianity.

    1. Misunderstanding Satanism.

Christians generally don’t understand what Satanists believe. Rather, they have commonly relied on secondary source misinformation that has appallingly often been spread by self-proclaimed Christian “experts” who themselves largely or wholly relied on secondary source material to, for lack of a better word, “research” Satanism. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Satanists, and it has left the credibility of Christians in general waning. It is therefore no surprise that LaVey has pointed out the inherent errors in seeking to learn about Satanism from Christians or other “experts” on Satanism. In his sometimes less than sensitive manner, LaVey asks the question, “How can they have more authority about Satanism than the adherents themselves? You wouldn’t have asked Hitler about the joys of Hanukkah.”23 One Satanic website that publishes a magazine even went as far as finding it necessary to put up a blacklist of “individuals, groups, and organizations…for spreading lies and misleading propaganda against Satanism.”24

What is perhaps most amiss in this situation is that Christians have often discounted persons who informed them that they have misunderstood their beliefs. For example, Russ Wise in his article “Satanism: The World of the Occult” demonstrated virtually every common misunderstanding of Satanism that we mentioned above.25 One respondent, who in this case was a Baptist turned Wiccan, responded to Wise’s article by saying,


A lot of Russ Wise’s article on Satanism made sense. The only idiot thing he did and every other person on that site did was make a common error due to lack of research. If any of you had researched Satanism properly instead of judging (which made you look very unintelligent) you would have realized that the practice of “Satanism” has absolutely nothing to do with Satan.26
Wise responded by first mentioning that space constraints kept him from elaborating on the topic. However, the main difficulty wasn’t that his article was too short, but that what was written was inconsistent with Satanism as believed and practiced by Satanists themselves. This was what the respondent was getting at in the first place. Wise then responded by saying that Satanism is subject to more than one opinion. This is true, but there is a framework to Satanism that is best understood through its main ideals which are held by virtually all Satanists. So even though there are different types of Satanism, as mentioned previously, there are boundaries that define Satanism.

Wise is only one example among many Christian authors who have misunderstood Satanism, and who as a result have led astray individuals who read and trusted that they gave an accurate account. We cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for Christian researchers of religions to rely on primary source material. Furthermore, we need to listen to what adherents of other religions say about their own religion. We don’t like it when others seek to define Christianity falsely and Satanists are no different.



    1. Negative Christian Experience.

Most Satanists I have been in contact with would state that at an earlier time in their life they would have considered themselves Christian. Lord Egan of the First Church of Satan, for example, left the Christian church and his faith at age nineteen and became a Satanist.27 Many Satanists still have family members who are Christian. Some of them come from homes of parents who were involved in full-time Christian ministry. As a result, most Satanists are generally familiar with Christian belief and practice. Importantly, virtually all of them have had negative experiences in church, with Christian family, or with Christians in general. So the general impression is, “Been there. Done that. And there’s nothing in Christianity of any substance for me.”

    1. Negative Christian Reaction.

Satanists are aware of the generally negative reaction that Christians have towards them. As a result, many Satanists have chosen to withhold the information that they have become a Satanist especially with Christian family members, friends, and co-workers. Satanists who are willing to share a general description of their beliefs to such people have at times chosen a more general description of their spiritual path such as “occultist”. When questioned why they haven’t been more open with them, a common answer is that they don’t feel that they could trust such persons to genuinely understand Satanic beliefs and from experience have concluded that such persons would instead choose to rely on already misunderstood stereotypes created by less than adequate research of Satanism by Christians or the media.28

    1. Anti Herd-Mentality.

Satanists react strongly against what they perceive to be a “herd-mentality” within Christianity. Here Satanists follow Nietzsche’s lead. The Christian, for Nietzsche, is “the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick animal man.”29 Parallel to this, “herd conformity” is one of LaVey’s Nine Satanic Sins, and a repeated critique that Satanists have of Christians.30 Satanists view Christians as blind followers, and in this regard they view themselves as those who have freed themselves from the pervasive influence of the Christian herd. Nietzsche wrote, “Every superior human being will instinctively aspire after a secret citadel where he is set free from the crowd, the many, the majority.”31 Following Nietzsche again, this resonates with the often elitist way in which Satanists view themselves.32

  1. How to reach Satanists for Christ.

Now that we have surveyed some of the reasons why Christians have been so ineffective in reaching Satanists, we will now look at several ways in which Christians can be more effective in their interaction with Satanists.

    1. Acknowledge Christian Misunderstandings.

In order for Christians to regain a hearing from Satanists, they will need to begin by admitting where they have misunderstood the beliefs and practices of Satanists. Since Christians have publicly disgraced the character of Satanists in their false portrayal of Satanism, Christians should also include an apology on behalf of Christians who have largely perpetuated these false stereotypes. It has been my consistent experience that Satanists have responded well and appreciated my candid admission that Christians have often mistakenly understood Satanism. This has created an openness and healthy environment for further interaction. There is nothing to be gained by withholding information that Satanists are already aware of. Furthermore, Christians should be upfront rather than deceptive in their interaction with adherents of other religions.

To be more specific, I’m suggesting that whereas Christians have been quick to point out that Satanists are involved in ritual murder, in reality it has been Christians who have been guilty for such atrocities as the Crusades,33 the Inquisition,34 and the Witch Trials.35 Whereas Christians have repeatedly stated that Satanists are involved in ritual rape,36 it has been Christian pastors who have made the headlines concerning affairs with prostitutes and sexual abuse37; whereas Christians have alleged that Satanists are involved in Satanic ritual child abuse,38 it has been Catholic priests who have regularly made the news with accusations of pedophilia.39 What the evidence points to is that Satanists have falsely been charged by Christians with the abuses that they have themselves been guilty of.

We may believe that admitting our faults will cause others to discount all that we say. But the opposite reaction is more likely. Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott wrote a book entitled Selling Satan that sought to find out the truth regarding Mike Warnke’s alleged claim to have been a Satanist high priest.40 In Warnke’s book, The Satan Seller, he claimed to have led a 1,500 member Satanic cult.41 As a result, the purported millions of people who read his book believed that his alleged first-hand testimony of being a Satanist accurately described Satanism.42 However, through Hertenstein and Trott’s careful research they showed especially through time frame discrepancies and first-hand testimony of those who knew Warnke during the time that he claimed to be a Satanist high priest that he couldn’t have possibly been involved in what he said he was.43 Importantly, in his book review of Hertenstein and Trott’s Selling Satan, Peter Huston writing for the Skeptical Inquirer had this to say about the impact of the book on him personally,
Many skeptics often find such evangelical Christianity objectionable. Personally, I did not find this to be the case as I read Selling Satan. In fact, it increased my respect for those who profess such beliefs.44


    1. Seek Understanding.

It should go without saying that an accurate understanding of Satanism is essential to any fruitful interaction with Satanists. Unfortunately, all too often this has not been the case. Because Christians have developed the reputation within the Satanic community of not understanding and misrepresenting their beliefs, a little understanding will go a long way. Reading primary source Satanic literature, asking questions, listening to, and observing Satanists are all essential factors to a comprehensive understanding of Satanism and its practitioners.

For most of us, this is a challenging call to step out into the presumed dangerous territory called “Fear of the Unknown”. Words such as “Satan”, “Satanism”, and “Satanist” evoke the worst fears for Christians in particular. However, a correct understanding of the way in which Satanists themselves use these terms as explained above should help allay our fears and prejudices.

Unfortunately, comments by respected Christian authors such as Mark Bubeck have further played on people’s uncertainties. He writes,
Most of us would readily see harm in a Christian’s reading pornography or viewing pornographic films to better understand that area of sin, but we may fail to see harm in curiosity about witchcraft and Satanism.45
What about Christian researchers who seek to understand and inform others about Satanism? In Bubeck’s words, Christians who describe the practices of Satanists in books and films are “out of place for believers” and do “a dangerous disservice to the Christian community.”46

The unfortunate outworking of such statements is that believers need to stay away from Satanists out of fear of the consequences of getting too close to such people. However, from a Christian perspective, this will not do. One suspects that our fear of the unknown is the driving force is here. We need to remind ourselves that the Gospel knows of no boundaries. Taking the lead, Jesus demonstrates that no one is isolated from God’s loving-kindness. When we, by our actions, isolate and alienate Satanists by our lack of understanding, as Christ’s ambassadors we misrepresent God himself.



    1. Don’t begin with Scripture.

Because Christianity is perceived by Satanists to be a herd-mentality, Christians are expected to merely “parrot” what the Bible or their pastor says rather than have thought through their beliefs. For example, when a Christian is asked why they believe the Bible is inspired by God as opposed to being a book inspired by humans, a Satanist expects them to quote 2 Timothy 3:16 in response: “All Scripture is God-breathed…” Many Satanists who originally went to Christian churches and had questions such as this, or other important and often difficult questions about the Christian faith, were often given simplistic answers that weren’t intellectually satisfying for them. If we respond with similar answers we will have little chance of having further dialogue with Satanists.

However, though I have said that Christians interacting with Satanists shouldn’t begin by quoting the Bible to Satanists, I have found that Satanists themselves have begun asking questions about the Bible and Christianity in general as our relationship has developed. For example, recently on the First Church of Satan e-group, another Satanist brought up the doctrine of hell with me. This has now gone back and forth for long enough that it has expanded to a document that has been entitled with the tongue-in-cheek email subject line: “Hell—The Epic Document”. In the past, countless other subjects about Christianity have been raised and I’ve had the privilege of responding to them.



    1. Dialog on Satanic ideals.

Though Satanists disagree on many subjects, they also agree on several defining Satanic ideals. We’ve already mentioned anti-herd mentality. Others include indulging without guilt and a priority on self. These are important areas to dialogue on. Some Satanic ideals, such as anti-herd mentality can be affirmed by Christians and we should seek common ground where possible. With other ideals, Christians will disagree. I’ve found that Satanists respond well to respectful dialogue and debate on these issues. Furthermore, this often includes or leads into a discussion of the Christian viewpoint and Christian belief and praxis in general.

    1. Reflect Jesus.

Though most Satanists have great difficulties with institutionalized Christianity, many don’t find Jesus objectionable. Because Satanists seek to push against the herd and are only willing to give Christians and Christian clergy respect where deserved, there are several passages in the Gospels that resonate these actions in the life of Christ. However, it is necessary to first place Jesus in the context of Judaism. Here we see that Jesus was a powerful individual who opposed the herd mentality. Jesus repeatedly lived outside the boundaries of the context he lived in, often discounting fervently held social and religious customs (Mark 2:1-12, 7:1-15). As was stated, these are actions that Satanists can relate to. Lord Egan of the First Church of Satan, for example, has written, “My venture into Satanism has given me a renewed appreciation of Christ, both as a man and a spiritual being.”47

Conclusion

Satanism has largely been misunderstood. Though it may be uncomfortable for us to admit, Christians have largely been at the forefront of disseminating the misinformation that has led to this. As a result, we have been ineffective in doing little more than alienating Satanists from the Gospel. In order to get out of the inadequate situation we have created, we need to go forward humbly, equipped with an accurate understanding of Satanism, and a desire to use this knowledge to faithfully communicate the Gospel in a manner that is appropriate to Satanists.




1 Toby Lester, “Oh, Gods!” in The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 289, No. 2, February 2002, 37-45. Harold W. Turner, Bibliography of New Religious Movements in Primal Societies, 6 Vols. (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1977-1992). David B. Barrett, Schism and renewal in Africa: an analysis of six thousand contemporary religious movements, (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1968).

2 Examples include the Franciscan and subsequently Benedictine French priest Francois Rabelais (1483-1553), Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-1781), who founded The Order of the Friars of St Francis of Wycombe, and the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Though none of these figures would have called themselves a Satanist, each affirmed ideals that are important to current expressions of Satanism. In LaVey’s words, “there are those figures—sometimes historical, sometimes contemporary—who I would identify as de facto Satanists, even though they might not have called themselves that because of the times they lived in. But by their actions, their writings, their attitudes, you can see that they were Satanists through and through.” Blanche Barton, The Church of Satan (New York, NY: Hell’s Kitchen Production’s, 1990), 70. It is important that we don’t overdo the historical influences of others, however, lest we be anachronistic.

3 LaVey’s writings, and especially The Satanic Bible, continue to be regarded by varying types of Satanists as the principal primers for understanding Satanism. LaVey’s books include: Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible (New York, New York: Avon, 1969); The Satanic Witch (Venice, California: Feral House, 1989); The Satanic Rituals (New York, New York: Avon, 1972); The Devil’s Notebook (Venice, California: Feral House, 1992); Satan Speaks! (Venice, California: Feral House, 1998). It is important to note that Satanists do not regard The Satanic Bible as binding for life and practice, nor as infallible. Most Satanists view The Satanic Bible as generally representative of their core ideals or beliefs, however many would say that they don’t necessarily agree with everything LaVey held to. However, LaVeyan Satanists are generally more apt to place a stronger emphasis on the importance of LaVey’s writings than non-LaVeyan Satanists.

4 Except for a minority of exceptions, Satanist churches appear to have a short lifespan. This is shown in part through James R. Lewis’ recently published encyclopedia entitled Satanism Today. Lewis included articles on Satanist groups such as the Church of Satanic Brotherhood that initially showed rapid growth, yet disbanded in about a year. James R. Lewis, Satanism Today: An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2001), 51-52.

5 Examples of other “types” of Satanism include free thought, Gnostic, and Luciferian.

6 For more information on these organizations, their websites are a good place to start. See First Church of Satan, http://www.churchofsatan.org/; Temple of Set, http://www.xeper.org/pub/tos/; Satanic Reds, http://www.geocities.com/satanicreds/.

7 Apart from LaVey’s books mentioned above, examples of other important primary sources include Gavin Baddeley, Lucifer Rising: A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock ‘n’ Roll (London: Plexus, 1999); Blanche Barton, The Secret Life of a Satanist (Venice, CA: Feral House, 1992); Barton, The Church of Satan.

8 Yahoo! Groups involve one email address that allows multiple users to interact on a specified subject. See http://groups.yahoo.com/. One of the more prominent groups, currently with around five-hundred subscribers, is the First Church of Satan Yahoo! Group. I have been involved with this “e-group” for over a year and have found the interaction a meaningful way to supplement primary source research of Satanism, and to dialogue with Satanists. Not all subscribers are involved in the discussion. Others prefer to “lurk” in the background and learn from the postings.

9 Statistically, only a minority of Satanists believe in a literal being called Satan. James R. Lewis, “Who Serves Satan? A Demographic and Ideological Profile” in Marburg Journal of Religion, http://www.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/lewis2.html. Accessed 9/24/01. This article was reproduced in Lewis, Satanism Today, Appendix III, 325-336.

10 Even the minority of Satanists who do believe in a literal Satan figure would very rarely speak of worshipping him. High Priest Lord Egan of the First Church of Satan writes, “Satanists are strongly opposed to devil worship and hierarchal systems which seek to enslave the spirit.” Lord Egan, “Aren’t Satanists “devil worshippers?””, http://www.churchofsatan.org/faq.html#devil. Accessed 11/21/01. Don Webb, High Priest of The Temple of Set states, “We have no "religious" interest in the figure of Satan, and indeed we do not worship Set—worshipping instead only our own potential.” Don Webb, The Black Beyond Black: The Temple of Set, http://www.xeper.org/pub/tos/beyond.html. Accessed 11/19/01.

11 Marilyn Manson and Neil Strauss, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell (New York: NY: HarperPerennial, 1998), 164.

12 Baddeley, 163.

13 For Nietzsche, see especially: Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist (London, England: Penguin, 1968); Beyond Good and Evil (London, England: Penguin, 1990); Thus Spoke Zarathustra (London, England: Penguin, 1969); Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (London, England: Penguin, 1979). For Rand, see: Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943); Atlas Shrugged (New York, New York: Signet, 1957); The Virtue of Selfishness (New York, New York: Signet, 1964). LaVey stated that his religion was “just Ayn Rand’s philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added.” LaVey as cited in Bill Ellis, Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2000), 180. For one Satanist’s appraisal of Rand’s philosophy, objectivism, in relation to Satanism see Nemo, Satanism and Objectivism, http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/SatObj.html. Accessed 5/9/01. For Redbeard, see: Ragnar Redbeard, Might is Right. St. Maries, Idaho: Fourteen Word Press, 1999.

14 For a few examples, compare Redbeard, 1-2 and LaVey, The Satanic Bible, 30; Redbeard, 21 and LaVey, The Satanic Bible, 33; Redbeard, 34, 36 and LaVey, The Satanic Bible, 34-35.

15 According to Perrin and Parrott, psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder coined the term satanic ritual abuse in a 1980 paper he presented at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. Robin D. Perrin and Les Parrott III, “Memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse: The Truth Behind the Panic” in Christianity Today, June 21, 1993, 20. Padzer is best known for the book he co-authored with Michelle Smith. The book chronicles how Michelle, with the aid of her therapist and future husband, Padzer, slowly remembered how her mother had her involved in a satanic cult from the age of five. The story became a catalyst for the satanic scare of the 1980s. See Ellis, 62, 115-116. Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder, Michelle Remembers (New York, Pocket, 1981).

16 Edward F. Murphy, The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1992), 499. The majority of Christian writings on Satanism hold the same view. Cf. E. James Wilder, The Red Dragon Cast Down: A Redemptive Response to the Occult and Satanism (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 1999), 21. Cf. also Mike Warnke, The Satan Seller (Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos, 1972), 49-55, 100-101, 104-105, 109.

17 LaVey, The Satanic Bible, 89.

18 Anton Szandor LaVey, The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth (1967), http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages.Eleven.html. Accessed 10/19/01.

19 See, for example: Ellis; Perrin and Parrott; James T. Richardson, Joel Best, and David G. Bromley (editors). The Satanism Scare (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1991). See also Kenneth Lanning’s FBI study on alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse in Lewis, Satanism Today, Appendix II, 299-324. Closely associated to this debate is the highly debated repressed memory theory. See Richard Ofshe and Ethan Watters, Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy, and Sexual Hysteria (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1994); Lawrence Wright, Remembering Satan (New York: Vintage, 1994).

20 For example, in regard to Mike Warnke’s fraudulent claims to have been an ex-Satanist see: Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott, Selling Satan: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke, Chicago, Illinois: Cornerstone Press, 1993; Richard Abanes and Paul Carden, “Warnke Ministries Hurt By Expose—Satanic Plot Alleged” in Christian Research Journal, Fall 1992, 6, 32; Perucci Ferraiuolo, “Warnke Calls Critics Satanists” in Christianity Today, November 9, 1992, 49, 52; Peter Huston, “Washed Up, Sold Out, and Spreading Hysteria” in Skeptical Inquirer, January 1995, http://www.csicop.org/si/9501/satan.html. Accessed 7/16/2001.

21 Barton, The Secret Life of a Satanist, 208.

22 More often than not, Satanists I’ve communicated with have come from Christian backgrounds. In Lewis’ survey of Satanists, 55% were raised Protestant, 20% Catholic, and 16% were raised with no religious background or didn’t respond. Lewis, Satanism Today, 328.

23 Barton, The Church of Satan, 77.

24 “The Blacklist” in Not Like Most—A Publication of Satanism in Action, http://www.purgingtalon.com/nlm/blacklist.htm. Accessed 2/28/02.

25 Russ Wise, Satanism: The World of the Occult, http://www.probe.org/docs/Satanism.html. Accessed 5/9/01.

26 Anonymous, Satanism has Nothing to do with Satan!, http://www.probe.org/docs/e-satanism.html. Accessed 5/9/01.

27 Lord Egan, personal email to author, 2/28/02.

28 For a related question see, Lord Egan, I'm a Satanist! How do I explain it to my parents??, http://www.churchofsatan.org/faq.html#parents. Accessed 2/28/02.

29 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, 128. As Robinson notes, for Nietzsche, “Christianity is a ‘herd morality’ that attracts and produces people who are pessimistic and timid.” Dave Robinson, Nietzsche and Postmodernism (Duxford, Cambridge: Icon, 1999), 26.

30 Anton Szandor LaVey, The Nine Satanic Sins (1987), http://churchofsatan.com/Pages/Sins.html. Accessed 11/4/01.

31 Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 57.

32 LaVey saw Satanism “developing two circles, an elitist group which I always intended my church to be, and the faddists who are becoming Satanists because it’s the thing to do.” Barton, The Church of Satan, 26. Barton states, “Instead of “proliferation of the weak,” LaVey went so far as to say “we must breed our new race of Satanists. We’re interested inpreserving [sic] and improving our genetic integrity…It’s certainly extremism, but we aren’t against Jews, Blacks, Whites…we’re against all insensitive, death-loving people.” Ibid., 81-82. Cf. Barton, The Secret Life of a Satanist, 212.

33 Louise and Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades (London: Edward Arnold, 1981).

34 Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Crucified Jew: Twenty Centuries of Anti-Semitism (London, England: Fount, 1992), 77-88.

35 For historical documents relating to the Witch Trials see Witchcraft in Salem Village, http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/. Accessed 31/10/01; John Warwick Montgomery, The Law Above the Law (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 1975), 58-83.

36 LaVey says, “Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.” Anton Szandor LaVey, The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth (1967), http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages.Eleven.html. Accessed 19/10/01.

37 For information on the Australian context see Clare Pascoe Henderson, Clergy Sexual Abuse in Australia, http://www.pip.com.au/~chenderson/index.html. Accessed 29/10/01.

38 One of LaVey’s Eleven Rules of the Earth is “Do not harm little children.” LaVey, The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth.

39 For statistics of this problem in the US, see Tom Economus, Catholic Pedophile Priests: The Effect on U.S. Society, http://www.thelinkup.com/stats.html. Accessed 29/10/01.

40 Hertenstein and Trott.

41 Warnke.

42 “The book sold, by the author’s own reckoning, three million copies in twenty years.” Hertenstein and Trott, 3.

43 See also Abanes and Carden; Ferraiuolo.

44 Huston.

45 Mark I. Bubeck, Overcoming the Adversary (Chicago, Illinois: Moody, 1984), 15.

46 Ibid. Bubeck goes against his own advice in his third book on spiritual warfare, The Rise of Fallen Angels. Many of Bubeck’s examples in this book involve unsupported examples of SRA. Mark I. Bubeck, The Rise of Fallen Angels (Chicago, Illinois: 1995).

47 Lord Egan, personal email to author, 2/28/02.



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