The Christian Guide to Atheists: Satan Worshipers
This will be the first post of many in the series The Christian Guide to Atheists. Be sure to read Alise’s blog entry and thank her for starting this series (and for letting me be a part of it).
I hope that this will help build bridges and understanding between the atheist and Christian communities and allow for us to have respectful, intellectual conversations with each other that enable us to learn from one another and become better individuals that can live and work together.
The first installment of the The Christian Guide to Atheists is the myth that atheists are worshipers of Satan, specifically the Satan or evil-doer of Christianity (as opposed to those of Islam and other faiths).
This is probably one of, if not, the most common misconception about atheists and/or the most common insult that is thrown at us.
Let me first start this off by distinguishing “Satan worship” (also known as theistic Satanism, Devil Worship, Luciferianism) from Satanism (also known as LeVeyan Satanism), which is what we generally think of when we are talking about Satanists. Many people, Christian and atheist alike, can get these easily confused, but they are not the same thing.
“Satan worship” is just that. The being known as Satan/Lucifer/the Devil/etc., as defined by the Christian faith, is to be worshiped just as a Christian would worship Yahweh/Jehovah/Elohim/etc.
Those who partake in Satan worship do believe in the existence of Satan, and of the Christian god too, but choose to worship Satan instead, for whatever reason that may be.
LeVeyan Satanism is different from “Satan worship” and theistic Satanism. LeVeyan Satanists are those consisting of the actual Church of Satan. This is more of a counterculture philosophy and lifestyle, which makes Satanism very…interesting.
Satanists do not believe in Satan, despite the name. They, for lack of better words, believe in and worship themselves, but not as if they themselves are gods.
The main objective of Satanism is about building morality around yourself, instead of having morals and values dictated upon you by society, and to make people rethink the things that they consider taboo, especially sex. They do not let people tell them what they should and should not do, and they do not let guilt and fear dictate their lives.
Satanists are, for the most part, atheists, but not all atheists are Satanists. To put this in perspective, the vast majority of Arabs are Muslim, but not all Muslims are Arab. This analogy can be a little misleading though too. To be clear, Satanism is a very small minority in atheism.
Now, I could go on and on about Satanism, as it is a very fascinating phenomenon to learn about (not that I have ever taken part in it), but before I get too far off track, I will get back to the issue at hand.
The idea that all or most atheists are worshipers of Satan, or Satanists for that matter, stems from the belief amongst some Christians that atheists hate Christians, hate God, and are actively anti-God (which is another part of the series we will get to later), and what is more anti-God in the eyes of Christians than Satan? So atheists must obviously believe in and/or worship Satan (or that they are followers of Satan and just don’t know it, because Satan has corrupted them).
As Alise pointed out, these kinds of statements “[do] not show a willingness to understand what atheism is, at its core.” Atheism is simply the belief that there are no gods. It is not the belief in and/or worship of anything supernatural, let alone the Christian Devil.
And these statements can be very hurtful and harm the efforts of Christians, like Alise, who are genuinely trying to build relations with atheists. If these are not asked as legitimate questions about atheism, which I have run into before, then they are usually meant as slurs and insults to make us look and feel like evil, immoral people, which we are not. We simply don’t believe in the god(s) and other supernatural beings of the Christian religion or any other religion.
It is a very good tactic of demonisation, I must admit. What better way to discredit someone than by setting up a false dichotomy that puts them in the camp of the angel that rebelled against God and caused the fall of humanity?
Yes, atheists might be opposed to the idea of a god (because we do not see any evidence for their existence) and the ideals and values we see purported in Christianity (i.e. homophobia, misogyny, nationalism, etc.), but that does not mean we believe in or are worshipping that specific god’s counterpart. There are many evil-doers who are equivalent to the Christian Devil in other religions around the world (the first that comes to mind is Hades/Pluto in the Greek/Roman pantheon). We do not believe in or worship them either, just as much as any Christian.
In conclusion, atheism is not Satan worship or even Satanism (even though Satanists can be atheists). Atheism is merely a belief that gods do not exist, and this belief usually comes about because of the lack of evidence we find for the existence of these beings. Christians have the exact same belief, only about every other god that has ever existed in human history.
The next installment, which will be out next Monday, of The Christian Guide to Atheists will be “Deconverted Atheists Were Never True Believers.” I’m sure many of us atheists have heard this one before too.
Again, I wish to extend my sincerest thank you to Alise for starting this series and for letting me be a part of it.
Posted on March 4, 2013, in Internet, Religion/Atheism and tagged alise, alise writes, atheists, barking atheist, barkingatheist, christian guide to atheists, devil, dragon, leveyan satanism, lucifer, satanism, satanists, the barking atheist, the christian guide to atheists, the christian guide to atheists satan worshipers, thebarkingatheist. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.