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The New Satanism

Updated: May 14, 2023

By Douglas Groothuis

Fox News reported that on April 28, a “group of Satanists cheered as two leaders opened SatanCon 2023…with a formal ceremony renouncing ‘symbols of oppression’ by ripping up a Bible and a Thin Blue Line flag, representing police.” This diabolist gala was sponsored by The Satanic Temple and was held in Boston.

But members of The Satanic Temple (which claims to have 700,000 members) do not believe in Satan as an existing being. This is nothing new. Long ago, Anton LaVay (1930-1997), author of The Satanic Bible (1969) and founder of the Church of Satan, said the same. Satan, for them, is a symbol of rebellion against authority and of autonomy from all religious traditions and the basic structures of authority that hinder the individual and untrammeled will. Similarly, the first edition of Sal Alinsky’s influential book, Rules for Radicals (1971), was dedicated to Lucifer. The epigraph stated this:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.

The Satanic Temple is an atheistic, anarchistic, and pro-abortion advocacy group that identifies as a religion to receive certain political benefits. Their web page tells all:

TST [The Satanic Temple] has petitioned the state of Texas to allow Satanic Temple members the ability to continue to receive voluntary abortions as part of religious ritual. Texas’s trigger ban on abortion took effect after the reversal of Roe v. Wade. . . TST claims that this ban infringes upon its members’ right to practice their religion…

Thus, these “satanists” claim uniquely religious rights for their atheistic, anarchist, and pro-abortion agenda. They are clever characters, one must grant.

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) wrote in 1864 that “One of the artifices of Satan is, to induce men to believe that he does not exist.” If you deny the existence of Satan, you will then not be wary of his wiles nor will you come to Jesus Christ for deliverance from his dark domain. The lyrics to Keith Green’s song, “No One Believes in Me Anymore” (1976), is worth quoting in full.

Oh, my job keeps getting easier

As time keeps slipping away

I can imitate your brightest light

And make your night look just like day

I put some truth in every lie

To tickle itching ears

You know I'm drawing people just like flies

'Cause they like what they hear

I'm gaining power by the hour

They're falling by the score

You know, it's getting very simple now

'Cause no one believe in me anymore

Oh, heaven's just a state of mind

My books read on your shelf

And have you heard that God is dead?

I made that one up myself

They dabble in magic spells

They get their fortunes read

You know they heard the truth

But turned away and followed me instead

I used to have to sneak around

But now they just open their doors

You know, no ones watching for my tricks

Because no one believes in me anymore

Everyone likes a winner

With my help, you're guaranteed to win

And hey, man, you ain't no sinner

You've got the truth within

And as your life slips by

You believe the lie that you did it on your own

But don't worry

I'll be there to help you share our dark eternal home

Oh, my job keeps getting easier

As day slips into day

The magazines, the newspapers

Print every word I say

This world is just my spinning top

It's all like childs-play

You know, I dream that it will never stop

But I know it's not that way

Still my work goes on and on

Always stronger than before

I'm gonna make it dark before the dawn

Since no one believes in me anymore

Well, now I used to have to sneak around

But now they just open their doors

You know, no one watches for my tricks

Since no one believes in me anymore

Well, I'm gaining power by the hour

They're falling by the score

You know, it's getting very easy now

Since no one believes in me anymore

No one believes in me anymore

No one believes in me anymore

C. S. Lewis affirmed the demonic strategy in his modern classic, The Screwtape Letters:

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. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

Well, I do believe in the objective existence of Satan, who is a spiritual creature who rebelled and is continuing to rebel against God’s authoritative goodness. Jesus was tempted by him in the wilderness before the start of his public ministry and prevailed (Matthew 4; Luke 4). Satan is no god, but a ruined rebel who, while powerful, is doomed in the end, since he is, as Jesus said, to be cast into “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Yet Satan and his demons want to take as many people with them as possible. Mere mortals on their own are no match for the demonic hordes. But those who have repented of their sinful ways and turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and new life and are delivered from their power forever. As Paul wrote to Christians

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15; see also 1 John 3:8).

The new Satanism is really the old Satanism. While The Satanic Temple disavows belief in its namesake, its namesake is happy for their unbelief, since they ultimately do this bidding, nonetheless. Anyone who advocates for abortion as a religious ritual protected by the First Amendment is under the sway of the evilest being, who is, among other things, “the father of lies” (John 8:44). We should call him out, rely on Christ, and live in the truth.

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