I did some looking around this afternoon and wanted to write down what I found. I was prompted to do this research after an article appeared in the Washington Post titled, “An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school.” I’ll comment on the article at the bottom.
I am a practicing Christian. (I am also a mathematician, so reason plays a key role for me.) I believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the way to eternal salvation and a fulfilling life on earth. Satan is working against us. Satan uses various (often indirect) means (c.f. C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters). I believe that all three of the the following (even though the first two claim to not worship Satan) are the work of Satan.
Some statements taken from Wikipedia.
I intend to be intentionally brief. Follow the links for more.
Church of Satan
Started in 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey. Church of Satan is dedicated to the religion of LaVeyan Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible, which was written by LaVey. The church does not believe in or worship the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan. High priest Peter Gilmore describes its members as “skeptical atheists.” The Church of Satan does do some good things, and they want outsiders to believe that.
While they say they do not worship ‘satan’ or the devil, their website has numerous images of, for lack of a better term, evil looking beings and images associated with satan. What one focuses on is what one pays attention to and what one often comes to worship. To say the Church of Satan is ‘inherently evil,’ would be an exaggeration (and something a mathematician wouldn’t say), and therefore I am not saying that. I do conclude that the Church of Satan is on the wrong track and should be avoided by children and adults.
The Satanic Temple
(According to Wikipedia, was founded in 2014) Both atheistic and humanist, their stated mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people”. The group was co-founded by Lucien Greaves, the organization’s spokesperson, and Malcolm Jarry. As above, The Satanic Temple does do some good things, and they want outsiders to believe that.
Satan is thus used as a symbol representing “the eternal rebel” against arbitrary authority and social norms.
Their beliefs appear to be quite close to LaVeyan Satanism.
[Similar comment:] While they say they do not worship ‘satan’ or the devil, their website has numerous images of, for lack of a better term, evil looking beings and images associated with satan. What one focuses on is what one pays attention to and what one often comes to worship. To say the Church of Satan is ‘inherently evil,’ would be an exaggeration (and something a mathematician wouldn’t say), and therefore I am not saying that. I do conclude that the Satanic Temple is on the wrong track and should be avoided by children and adults.
This is ‘full-blown’ satan worship. Joy-of-Satan.org says, “We know Satan/Lucifer as a real being,” and “True Satanism is about elevating and empowering humanity, which was our True Creator (Satan’s) intention.”
A common theme of Church of Satan, Satanic Temple, and Theistic Satanism is self-centeredness (humanism) and the importance of me, myself, and I. Christianity has as it’s #2 great commandment to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.
I couldn’t find an official website, but here is www.joyofsatan.org
Clearly, Satan-worship (Theistic Satanism) should be avoided by children and adults.
Washington Post Article
The Satanic Temple is offering their After School Satan Club as an alternative to Christian after-school programs.
While one might think that I (as a Christian) would say, “Oh, we need to fight to get the After School Satan Club out of our schools,” I’m not going to say that (at least in those terms).
Here’s my reaction:
- We have freedom of religion in this country. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights says so.
- This is our society. We love to let people do whatever they want to (‘especially if it doesn’t hurt someone else’).
- I actually agree with the courts, The Satanic Temple should be allowed to have their own after-school program (as do the Boy Scouts, Awanas, and the Good News Club).
- Free will is not just a decision made by the United States, but a decision God made. Each person is given the choice to believe in Jesus Christ or not believe. (I would say there are many reasons and proofs why one should, but that’s for another day.) Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, has a wonderful chapter on the temptations of Christ. He extends the temptations to shed light on God’s logic of allowing free will (in particular, what God decides not to do, to get us to believe).
- Satan is always working to disrupt and distract us from God (try running the PowerPoint for a church service some time). The After School Satan Club is just one more example.
- We, as Christians (and those who believe children should be playing soccer after school for that matter), need to offer something better. We must work hard to help people believe in the truth of Christ.
- The Satanic Temple is ‘selling’ humanism. This is pretty easy to sell and has been followed since ancient times. Humanism is our natural tendency. We’d rather be comfortable than get blisters raking someone else’s yard for them.
- A primary message of Christianity (Christ) is service before self (to use the US Air Force’s words). To minister means to give aid or service. Serving others (ministry) is a harder sell than humanism, but one we need to help people understand. It is our #2 great commandment and ties to our first great commandment, because as Matthew 25:40 says, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did [fed, clothed, visited, etc.] for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Once understood ministry become a joy for Christians.