There is a rising conspiracy theory, known as Qanon, which teaches that a cabal of pedophilic and child-eating satanist elites are controlling the world. This seems like a good time to talk about Satanism.
- A Christian phenomenon in that the word “Satan” is a Christian term. “Satan” is a character derived from the judeo -Christian tradition. While present in the Abrahamuc religions, it is not usually found inside of it. Non-Christians do not usually call themselves “Satanists”
- The exception to this is the relatively small and recent religion of Satanism. Founded in 1966, this religion draws in Christianity and other sources, with their “Satanist Bible,” which seeks to teach the opposite of Christianity. Their core motto is “do as you please” (the opposite of “love God/your neighbour”). Satanism is not a world religion and is not large.
- Wicca is modern-day witchcraft (the closest to what Christians would call “Satanism”). It is a revival of the Druid religion which existed in Europe before Christianity. Modern day Wiccans live by the motto, “do as you will, but harm none.” They seek to restore order and harmony with themselves and nature. It is sometimes called paganism. Wiccans often call themselves witches and warlocks and meet in covens. They do not, however, call themselves “Satanists.”
- In the 80’s and 90’s, many Christians best-selling authors made claims that Satanist elites were brainwashing the young through cartoons such as Care Bears and the Smurfs. Mike Warnke was exposed as a fraud for his claims of the “true nature” of Satanism. Others made the false (and confusing) claim that the New Age movement was actually Satanism.
- The true issue here is that after enjoying a privileged position as the only religion in the West for centuries, Christians kind of forgot that there are other religions in the world. Ever since the Salem Witch Trials (1698), (when people were executed for practicing traditional African religion, imported by African slaves) American Christians have tended to call all non-Christian religion “Satanism” or (which is the same thing to them) “witchcraft.”
- While it is true that the Bible can legitimately be interpreted as saying that all other beliefs are wrong, and come ultimately from Satan (1 Tim. 4:1), this is not the same thing as believing that every religion other than Christianity is “Satanism.” Many authors purposely cause confusion on this point, misleading the readers, and leading to a fear-based-knee-jerk reaction.
This very narrow-sighted view of other religions has a dark past, and I do not see it providing much light in the future.
The next time someone shares with you a link exposing “a secret Satanist agenda,” remember: the word “Satanist” really only makes sense to Christians. There are many religions in the world, with many beliefs: but they do not call themselves Satanists.
Someone who is “exposing Satanism” is trying to get a reaction out of Christians and post-Christians. It is our equivalent of the “boogey-man.” But Satan is a figure which exists only within Christianity.
While it is entirely probable that there are many dark forces, world religions, ideologies and mysterious societies running our world — I find it very highly unlikely that “Satanism” is a word which could describe any of these, and I find it more than unlikely that a “cabal of pedophilic Satanists” is secretly running the world.