Following the appearance of a possible Satanic rite on a nationally televised awards show and at least two new films featuring the evil one, people might get the wrong impression the devil is making a comeback. As we know, Lucifer and his fellow demons have never left us. From the rebellion against God to his work in the Garden of Eden and right up to today, demons continue to interact in our world with the purpose of pulling the spiritual thread from the fabric designed by our loving Creator. How many demons are there? We do not know. The answer Jesus got to this inquiry was “legion.”
With more people dropping from the roster of believers in God with every passing day, it only makes sense that belief in the devil is likewise waning.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils,” C.S. Lewis once wrote. “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
Those who reject the divine relegate the devil to the shadows, that place where he and his legion tend to have the most success. The devil is not fussy, but rather happy to have people believe or disbelieve whatever they choose as long as it fits his ends.
He is powerless without human cooperation, which explains why he has molded himself into myriad human constructs, whether it be the worship of Baal or Moloch in ancient times or our modern and more antiseptic version of infanticide in the form of the abortion industrial complex.
The devil probably does not mind the current attention he is getting in popular culture these days with the recent releases of a big-budget Hollywood production and a low-budget, more intimate film where demons are the device from which both plots revolve.
At the end of last month, the second part of C.S. Lewis’ warning was on full display in the city of Boston. That is where SatanCon, a convention for satanists everywhere to mix, mingle, go to lectures, attend a gala, and celebrate the devil himself took place this year.
My guess is that some attendees might argue they are not displaying Lewis’ “excessive and unhealthy interest” in demons. Rather, they might argue, their delusional pursuit of “satanism” represents a kind of defanged God-less ethics system with the intent to unshackle the human spirit from religious oppression.
Just as people want Christ without the cross, the Satanic Temple, which is the sponsor of SatanCon, wants the license of the devil without the consequences.
The Satanic Temple has no commandments. It does have seven tenets spilling over with benign and even positive words like “compassion,” “justice,” and “wisdom,” all concepts the devil has been using since he was East and West of Eden.
The devil can only work with the creation God left behind, and since God saw it and said it was good, the devil must pervert the good and turn it on its head. Christ is the Paschal Lamb, so the Satanic Temple has a goat. God has Ten Commandments, the devil, through his spokesperson at the Satanic Temple, has only seven tenets.
We Christians sometimes want God on our terms, God more in our image than we in his — especially when his love and his teachings seem hard. In response, the Satanic Temple offers a long weekend event marketed much like a New Age self-help seminar.
Most of the events and lectures people attended at the SatanCon “festival,” which, by the way, was sold out, cannot be reprinted here out of a sense of propriety. But there was one seminar that seemed to accurately sum up all the others: Judas Marduk’s presentation “Deconstructing your Religious Upbringing.”
As with everything demonic, symbols of good or the divine are turned on their head. They have a “black” mass to counter the holiest thing that occurs on earth. They turn the cross upside down. According to the Satanic Temple’s website, they are really just about encouraging “benevolence and empathy among all people, rejecting tyrannical authority.” Sounds like a Shriner’s convention — until you consider the source.
If my mom was alive — and I stipulate she did not have the same theological expertise as C.S. Lewis — she would have given attendees of SatanCon some beneficial advice to heed: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.