One of the problems I have found with some Christian apologists is the propensity of some of them to be disingenuous, at best, when characterizing Satanists. Many of them fall into the trap of the informal fallacy of composition. In logic and reasoning, a fallacy of composition is when someone makes the assumption that what is true of a small portion of a population is true of the whole population. A composition fallacy is like asking one student in a classroom what their favorite color is and then making the assumption that it is the favorite color of all of the students in the classroom.
When someone hears the term Satanist, they cannot help but imagine blood sacrifices, ritualistic murder, demon summoning and all sorts of other wild magical things. This perception of Satanism is actually taken from a very small minority of Satanists that have been popularized by the media and disingenuous apologists. The truth about most Satanists is much less exciting than the perception and, as it is in the newspaper business, not worthy of print. Most people don't know what a true Satanist is or even have a true perception on one.
John Smulo demonstrates this point in his article in the Sacred Tribes Journal called "Spiritual Warfare Profiles of Satanism: Are They Misleading?” John asks the question, are Satanists fairly portrayed in work by popular Christian authors? John then demonstrates that the truth is, most Satanists are actually atheists, and they don't even believe in an evil entity named Satan or Lucifer. A vast majority of them do not engage in animal sacrifice or conjure up demons.
We may wonder then, why do they choose to call themselves Satanist if they don't believe in Satan? When Saul D. Alinsky dedicates his book, Rules for Radicals; to Lucifer what does he really mean? Does he believe in the devil and sacrifice goats? Doubtful. Satan is an icon for Satanists and other people. Satan is an icon that, in their minds, stands in drastic opposition to the western culture and the Judeo-Christian ethic we call the “golden rule;” do unto others as you would have them do to you or love your neighbor as yourself. Satan stands as an icon of selfishness, self-fulfillment and do unto others before they do unto you.
Satan becomes an icon of their worldview and philosophy. He is viewed as a nonexistent representation of their philosophy. Notice how he is characterized in the Satanic Bible:
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, who, 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!
Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible
"Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement 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." Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
Why do Christian apologists tend to paint with a broad brush when characterizing Satanists? If I was only to read their books and then I ran in to a real live Satanist and started asking them about conjuring demons and animal sacrifices, they would look at me as if I was crazy. I would have lost all credibility I had up until that point. They won’t care what I have to say after that. I don’t know why some popular Christian apologists make such generalizations, but, if I am not careful to check their facts, I could end up looking like a fool.
We characterize people and make the assumption that the real difference between us is they worship a spiritual being called Satan, Lucifer or the Devil. In reality, the difference is one of philosophy. It is important to make sure we know where they are coming from if we want to engage in any type of meaningful dialog.
One of my Christian friends commented that my issue is just one of semantics, because Satan is still behind the philosophy. I don’t disagree that Satan is behind it because, technically, from a Christian point of view, Satan would be behind all the world’s false religions and teachings to one extent or another. However, the issue is how Satanists view themselves and their beliefs. We have to addresses them from where they are.
Check out my past blog on the Domains of Spiritual Warfare