I only started this writing yesterday, and I’m already literally being handed material for my blog.
On my way to eat lunch after class today, I managed to avoid being handed a pamphlet by a religious group, but afterwards I was feeling unwell and had decided to go home. On the way out of the building, I just took the pamphlet because this was easier than trying to politely explain that I’m not interested. I took one glance at the pamphlet and was immediately struck by the desire to walk back and argue with the person who handed it to me (I’ve had a small but growing desire to challenge the stuff this group says for several months now), but I was already in go-home-take-nap mode. Instead, I’m just going to talk about it on my blog.
This particular pamphlet is a little booklet with the words “Satan versus Christ” in bold on the front, followed by a few bullet points, one of which is “Never worship the deceiver–Satan–or demons.” Why on earth would they say this? I mean, really, who worships Satan? Most Satanists don’t even worship Satan (if we are talking about LaVeyan Satanists, they are generally atheists and/or agnostics), and there are really very few Satanists. The best estimate I can find is that the number of Satanists in the world is probably measured in thousands or tens of thousands*, as compared to nearly 7 billion total people on the planet. If we go with a high estimate of 100,000 Satanists, that’s less than 2 thousandths of a percent (0.0014%) of the population, and that could easily be overestimating by a factor of 10 or more.
So why is this statement prohibiting Satan worship so prominent on this pamphlet? The only thing I see it accomplishing is encouraging myths such as Satanic ritual abuse, by implying that it is not that unusual for someone to worship Satan (and anyone who worships Satan must, of course, be terribly evil). When I was a child, my mother forbade me to celebrate Halloween, because on that date there were supposedly evil devil-worshipping witches gathering together in covens to be evil. I still regret having missed out so thoroughly on such childhood fun, and I find it a bit disturbing that I don’t have to look far at all to think of an example of this sort of Satanic cult myth. It’s really quite similar to the beliefs behind various infamous witch trials a few centuries back.
possible certain that they are trying to imply that anyone who worships a god other than theirs is actually worshipping Satan. In one section in the little booklet, they equate idol worship with devil worship. There are also sections condemning witchcraft and divination, in a booklet which talks about how bad the devil is on nearly every page, which again encourages the devil-witch-cult myth (and also the misconception that all witches/Wiccans/occult types/etc. are devil worshippers). They also explicitly state that the only choices are between serving Satan or Jesus. So, basically, their god is the only right one, and anyone not worshipping their god is actually worshipping Satan. And by that definition of Satanism, there are 5 or 6 billion Satanists in the world.
Yea, an attempt to convert me by telling me I’m worshipping Satan isn’t really going make me very receptive. It also rather bothers me when people start going on about devil worshippers and Satanists when they don’t actually know anything about Satanists. It really doesn’t take that much effort to read a wikipedia article or something. I mean, is it really so much work to try to learn a little bit about other people’s beliefs if you’re spending so much time trying to convert them?