}PPANASONI} THE THREAT OF SATANISM About five years ago, when the movie 'War Games'came ou

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}PPANASONI} ** THE THREAT OF SATANISM ** About five years ago, when the movie 'War Games'came out, there was a commotion in the popular press about 'computer hackers' who break into top secret military computers with their modems. It made little difference to the press that they had misused the old computer term, hacker (which really refers to any dedicated computer enthusiest who spends a great deal of time with his hobby, especially if he is writing programs or working with his hardware). Of course, generalizing like that made all computer- ists look like criminals, which is a fallacy. Now it seems that the same sort of deffective logic may be occuring again, in a different field. The generalization we are seeing is the bunching together of all occultism, New age, and non_Christian religions as 'Satanic'. This is especially being done by 'Christian Funda- mentalist', and 'Born Again Christian'media, but the publicity is ricocheting into the more general press as well. As in the case of the War Games hysteria five years ago, this faulty journalism may be causing more harm than good. It is time to investigate the claims and the motives of the people behind it. WHERE THERE IS SMOKE THERE IS FIRE Evil is appealing and entertaining. It sells things. Is it any wonder then, that the press and Fundamen- talist Christian groups glorify evil? What they are talking about is Satanism, the worship of the Devil. But we've gone through that before. It was about 400 years ago and it was called the Inquisition. Thousands of innocent people were tortured and lost their lives because of this same sort of deffective logic. In more recent times, Hitler slaughtered millions of Jews, gays, and other minorities for the same or similar 'reasons'. In fact, Satanism was probably practiced during the middle ages, and it is probably practiced today. But before you go jumping on the next bandwagon, let me point out a few of the things the Fundamentalists aren't telling us. Occult means hidden or secret knowledge. It generally refers to a wide area of philosophy, metaphysics, and alternative religions. Based upon that deffini- tion we can say that Satanism is a *type* of occultism. We certainly cannot say that all occultism is Satanism. In fact, Satanism is only a very small part of the occult. Further, it would be inane to call the numerous non-Christian religions in the world 'Satanic'. Satanism, and the glorification of evil is being promoted by the very Fundamentalist groups out to stop it. It is also being promoted by certain movies, books, and musical groups. There is a romatic attractiveness to Satanism which is appealing to *dabblers*. And the more publicity there is against Satanisms, the more dabblers there will be who become involved with it. It may even be that a few of those dabblers are perform- ing those reprehensible acts so wildely publicised (desicrating churches and cemitaries, ritual murder, etc.). Another thing about Satanism is that it is a form of rebellion. Classically, Satanism is a Christian heresey. In other words it operates within a Christian worldview. (Anyone not disposed to the Chris- tian worldview cannot be a Satanist, by deffinition.) It always was, and still is, a form of rebellion against the Christian church, and the 'establishment'. That is why many 'outbreaks' of Satanism occur in small towns in conservative, 'Christian' parts o73 of the country. For some teenagers, Satanism may be a symbol for feelings of rebellion against authority. Some of the 'new wave' and 'heavy metal' rock music groups capitalize on this fact in their music. TYPES OF SATANISM Certainly there is a great difference in the beliefs and prac- tices of those individuals we would call (or who would call themselves) Satanic. We need to define some terms for three distinct types of Satanism. CLASSIC SATANISM, or 'true' Satanism, is a 'religion' in which Satan, as the embodiment of evil, is worshipped in deffiance of God and Christianity. Such Satanists believe that God has betrayed the human race. The practice of classic Satanism implies an upside-down reversal of traditional values and standards, and a perverse pleasure in practices such as self-indulgence, cruelty, violence, and depression. Certainly this is the 'hard core' of Satanism. HEDONISTIC SATANISM, is a watered-down version of the above. The tendency here is to be- lieve that Satan is misrepresented, and is not actually evil at all. Such groups cannot be considered inherently evil. They are made up of mild-mannered accountants whose greatest 'perversion' is to follow the 'Playboy philosophy' of sensuous pleasure, that is, 'it is alright to do it if it doesn't hurt anyone.'MOCK SATANISM, is Satanism for a 'kick'. Put here the dabblers, the misinformed, and certain rebellious teenagers, reacting to their music and movies. They see Satanism as a romantic notion. This is not serious Satanism at all. Rather it is a 'fad' and media hype. YOU CANNOT OUTLAW SATANISM If it is nothing else, Satanism is a religion or a system of belief. It is protected under the constitution, so long as the practice doesn't break any laws or hurt anyone. Most Satanists are off in their own world, doing their own things, and should be left alone. The very few *criminal types* who break laws and cause mischive, are *individuals* who should be prosecuted as individuals, not as a movement. Even in the occult community, Satanism tends to be regarded in a negative way. Mostly, it is simply ignored. Real believers in Satanism are a very small minority. COMMON FALLACIES ABOUT SATANISM While it is true that some Satanists may participate in magical and occult practices, such practices does not imply that all occultism is Satanic. Just because I like Italian food, doesn't mean I am Italian. The presence of occult books, even of the infamous (and best selling) 'Satanic Bible' is not proof that someone is a Satanist, any more than the presence of the Bible is proof he is a Christian. Similarly, the presence of an altar, of candles, or of magical implements is not specificly Satanic. It may indicate an interest in the occult, but even that is a gener- alization. Some mainstream religions, such as Buddhism, may use these things. A pentacle (ie, a five-pointed star) is not specif- ically a Satanic symbol. It is a legitimate symbol in occultism for protection against evil. And it is a symbol in Judaism (along with a six-pointed star). The pentacle has, unfortunately been maligned by occult subject movies. When they do their homework they *invert* the pentacle for Satanic (or evil) purposes. A pentacle with the point up is a good pentacle. A pentacle with o73 the point down is considered evil. An analogy might be made with the Christian cross. Displaying the cross in normal fashion is considered good. However, an inverted cross is a Satanic symbol. Of course that doesn't mean the cross itself is a Satanic symbol; it is Satanic only when it is inverted. WHITE HATS AND BLACK HATS The world is not a western. You can't always tell the good guys from the bad by the color of the hat that they wear. And it is an oversimplification to blame the problems in the world upon a Satanic conspiracy. There is no conspiracy. Name calling, and the alarmist tactics being used by certain Fundamentalist groups will not benefit anyone. Evil is not more powerful than good. The best protection against evil is to be a good person. Phil Hansford Mysteria 818-353-8891 (modem) April 6, 1988. (revised)

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