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The strange appeal of Satan worship

I was struck by reports about the rise in Satan worship among young people in a region of Northeast India. It is causing some concern to religious leaders.

Church leaders of Nagaland claimed that in Kohima alone, 3,000 people, who are mostly teenagers and youths, have taken up such practices.

Rev. Zotuo Kiewhuo, senior pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church here, said there were more than 3,000 Satan worshippers in the capital alone and the cult was spreading like “wildfire”.

He said the cult was practised by youths in schools and colleges and added it has been going on for the past four to five years. The Baptist clergyman said youngsters have imbibed the culture through social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter.

What is going on here? If I had to guess the causes, I suspect that it may nothing more sinister than young people rebelling against the traditions of their parents by going in the opposite direction. They do it with clothes and music, so why not do it with religious practices?

I knew nothing about Satan worship except what I saw in the 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby a long time ago and it seemed to me like campy fun. Here’s the climactic scene, so don’t watch it if you plan on seeing the film!

So I looked up what Satan worship actually consists of and came across this description about the basic tenets as laid out in the book The Satanic Bible by Anton S. La Vey.

  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, 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.
  9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.

Actually, many of these seem pretty reasonable. No wonder the young people of Nagaland find these tenets preferable to their traditional religions. It is only surprising why it is not even more popular.

Comments

  1. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    From the linked article there seems to be no evidence of youngsters actually *worshipping Satan* outside of the word from a couple church leaders.
    Quotes from them like

    Kikon, senior pastor and founder of Faith Harvest Church, said he was not sure about the number of Satan worshippers here but claimed to have come across such persons recently.

    And

    “I have come across even a Class VI student practising Satan worship,”

    (It would be nice to know what he actually witnessed this student doing!)
    And

    The organisers of the programme said that “dark forces was sweeping Kohima and there was an unseen warfare wrecking societies, institutions, families…

    This just screams to me “misunderstanding”. Kinda like how some less educated think atheist means “a hatred of god”. I’m wondering if to these reverends “rejecting mainstream religion and culture” = “worshipping Satan”.

  2. Nepenthe says

    From that list, it sounds like Satanism is extremely popular in the US, but that those who don’t go in for costumes and rituals call it “libertarianism” or “Objectivism”.

  3. dantalion says

    @1:

    Satanism as described by LaVey was heavily influenced by Ayn Rand.

    Mano:

    If I had to guess the causes I’d say church leaders are making up these satanists to scare their congregations.

  4. says

    Yeah, except the tenets of Satanism are a LOT more honest, coherent and believable than anything any libertarian ever said.

  5. doublereed says

    I thought Satanism is typically just tongue-in-cheek, where kids are basically just having fun and purposefully pissing off Christians.

  6. doublereed says

    you know, like the flying spaghetti monster, only with more constumes, candles, and sex.

  7. says

    Indeed, LaVey openly stated that it was Randism dressed up in ritual. There’s another, even smaller group called the Temple of Set, who actually believe in magic but are otherwise identical to the LaVeyans, who are atheistic in fact, and just call themselves Satanists because it annoys Christians (once again, LaVey said as much).

  8. Chiroptera says

    I was struck by reports about the rise in Satan worship among young people in a region of Northeast India. It is causing some concern to religious leaders.

    Fortunately for the Satanists, religious authorities in India (like religious authorities everywhere) are more worried about people who expose religious fraud.

  9. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Well, as god is obviously mad, bad and dangerous to know, it’s reasonable that people will decide that His Infernal Highness, the Prince of Darkness, Satan is a much more reasonable supreme being, especially as the propaganda against him obviously lies and falsehood…
    There’s an entertaining short story, Displaced Person by Eric Frank Russell based on this premise.

  10. MNb says

    The only appeal of Satanism is that it’s anti-established religion. Around 1970 both the UK and the USA saw a rise in popularity as confirmed by the temporary success of three bands:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coven
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Widow_(band)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sabbath

    It’s ironical that BS, the only band with lasting success, BS, was actually anti-satanic. Their third album is full of christian lyrics.
    It’s not as innocent as you seem to assume:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Crowley
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Nine_Angles
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_Satanism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Witch

  11. raven says

    I’d be real careful about believing a word of that.

    The sources are xian ministers!!!

    C’mon, lying is one of their three main sacraments.

    And it isn’t even in India. The US fundie ministers say the same thing and often. Yoga, Tarot cards, rock music, satanism, dancing, liberals, they are always just on the edge of taking over the USA.

    Hagee once said on TV that on Halloween, a million US children are sacrificed by the satanists.

    The actual number is known. It’s zero, and this is according to the FBI which spent years tracking down xian’s reports of satanists and ritual human child murder. You don’t think we would notice if a million children went missing in one day?

  12. F [is for fluvial] says

    (It would be nice to know what he actually witnessed this student doing!)

    Playing Dungeons and Dragons?

  13. says

    Completely agree. We should be very hesitant to believe whatever some minister says about Satan worship. It wouldnt be the first time they used that line to galvanize the believers: “Satanists are seducing our children. Give us more money, so we can fight this.”

    There may be some Satan worshippers around, but it would be foolish to believe it just on the word of a professional liar with a financial stake in the matter.

  14. raven says

    (It would be nice to know what he actually witnessed this student doing!)

    Playing Dungeons and Dragons?

    It could be way worse than that.

    The student could be reading…a science book.

    Hard to believe but kids have been seen with eldritch books from beyond time and space such as geology and biology textbooks.

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