Satanism is really a joke if you think about it. If you do any research on Anton LaVey, the most famous almost universally recognized face of Satanism, he was actually an atheist. He didn’t believe in any of that shit because to believe in Satan, philosophically and logically speaking, you have to believe in God. And the people who came up with the modern dogma, if you want to call it that, of Satanism, are atheists.
They don’t believe in God. They don’t believe in a deity. They don’t believe in a being that exists out of time, who is omnipresent and all-powerful. They don’t believe in any of that. They don’t believe in a creator, but they came up with this Satanism movement really as a goof.
And the funny thing about it is that it triggered so much negative attention that it actually made money. People bought Anton LaVey’s books. So what would any self-respecting, capitalist atheist do in that situation? That’s right. You formalize this position by saying, “Yes, there is such a thing as Satanism.”
I just want to throw that out there because the public perception of Satanism is really out of this world. A lot of people think that this is real. A lot of people think that people actually believe this. I mean, there are a lot of people who do it tongue-in-cheek to get attention.
I mean, if you don’t believe me, just look up a pair of rockabilly pair of musicians in Los Angeles, who started a Satanist church. They get a lot of following, but when you read in between the lines, it’s BS. They don’t really believe in Satanism as a religion, but it triggered a lot of nerves. It had to because of the greater Christian world that this idea was circulating in. It really became a success more because of the reaction from people than the religious fervor, if you even want to call it that, of the people who seemingly espouse it at first.
It is within this context that I need you to see the intersection between youth culture and metal. Death metal has a bad reputation, especially Scandinavian death metal. A lot of people say, “Oh, that is Satanic music. When you play that music, you’re basically communing directly with the father of lies, Lucifer himself.”
Well, that is the reaction to Satanism. It is the Christian reaction. This is precisely why Satanism is very powerful and popular with kids. Its kind of like going to somebody who you know is scared of spiders. You come up to him with a Tarantula in your palm. How do you think he would respond? He would freak out, right? You know that it is predictable. You know that he’d always do that, so you do it again, and again, and again.
The same applies to youth culture because let’s face it if you’re between the age of 12 and 32, you want your own place in the world. You want your identity, but you’re a kid. You haven’t really tried anything yet. You haven’t really figured things out. You definitely haven’t been crushed by life enough times to actually develop wisdom.
You want respect. You want your place in the world, so you do this stuff. And there is something very tempting about doing something that you know predictably will freak people out. With Satanism, it is tied into the Christian Satan, which is totally different from the cartoon Satan that is at the core of modern Satanism in heavy metal.
These are two totally different things because, in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition, Satan was originally the angel Lucifer. In fact, when you read up his name, it means “Dawn Star”. That’s how high up in the angelic hierarchy Lucifer was. He covered God’s grace. That was his job. Can you imagine? He was basically second in command. The godhead is God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Those are three persons in one God. Then, a step lower is Lucifer.
In fact, according to some traditions, Lucifer was one of the first created beings. He was high up there. Then, of course, he became corrupted because he was so powerful. He rebelled against God and one-third of the angels were cast out of heaven. But they remained angels if you read the Scriptures. They were evil because they were destroying God’s law and perverting his character in the mind’s of people, but they were still angels.
In fact, in First Corinthians, the apostle Paul said, “Even the devil can appear as a bright angel.” Everything that you can think about that is pure, worth, lovable, respectable, commendable and worth having can be the devil. That’s really deep philosophy there.
That’s why it really is quite a laugh-out-loud riot to see the cartoon Satan that is played up. It’ really tongue-in-cheek because musicians are poking fun at that cartoon. It’s really a sad piece of performance art that it continues to trigger this rebellion among the youth but is really based on a cartoon. So that’s the interplay here. And it really is sad some people think this is real.