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June 4th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Study: How Satanists see death

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - You probably won't hear "Amazing Grace" at a Satanist's funeral, but you just might hear "My Way" by Frank Sinatra. A researcher from Concordia University recently published a journal article with some rare access to high level Satanists exploring what they think about death and dying.

Members in the Church of Satan are traced back to Anton LeVey who in 1966 founded the church in San Fransisco. He is also the author of the canon of sorts for the group, The Satanic Bible first published in 1969. Today, the church is based in New York and membership numbers are hard to come by.

One of the main tenets of the faith is atheism. Not just a disbelief in God but also in the devil or Satan. Satanists believe God is an invention of man and instead deify themselves.

According to the official website of the Church of Satan: "We Satanists are thus our own 'Gods,' and as beneficent 'deities' we can offer love to those who deserve it and deliver our wrath (within reasonable limits) upon those who seek to cause us—or that which we cherish—harm."

Cimminnee Holt, the author of the journal article explains further:

"Members of the Church of Satan, that is Satanists, assert that they are a life-affirming religion, yet reject the notion of an external mystical dimension and a spiritual afterlife (yet retain a particular understanding of a “worldly” afterlife), while also actively engaging in ritual practices infused with death imagery."

Holt writes that even though the Church of Satan does not believe in a physical afterlife (neither heaven nor hell), their doctrine speaks to a practitioner living on in this world through the life they led.

"By building on their own charismatic display of autonomy and exhibiting mastery in their respective fields, individuals increase the likelihood of more people remembering them after death. Satanists are, literally, creating their own afterlife in the memories of those they have
affected."

After a long back and forth between Holt and two high level clergy in the Church of Satan, the two Satanists agreed to speak as official representatives of the church.

The Satanists gave the researcher unique insights into how they saw death and their own funerals. Holt writes:

Warlock JPL states that a secular ceremony containing no religious elements would be acceptable, but outward signs of his religious affiliation are unnecessary. He would like to be remembered fondly by loved ones and for his life to be celebrated. Similarly, Reverend JR agrees that those whom he knew and loved should attend his funereal. The funerary details are to be decided by family. However, as a “strictly endogamous man”, the Reverend maintains that his funeral would “naturally” be “Satanic in nature if not in strict ritual.”

(snip)

"The memory of the Reverend JR’s father is an example of Satanic afterlife; it was the father’s life that is important, not his death, and the imprint of that life on his loved ones creates a posthumous legacy. The Reverend informs me that his father requested Frank Sinatra’s 'My Way' to play at his funeral. Reverend JR expresses that he felt his father had lived up to the sentiment of the song, a sentiment the Reverend shares in his own life (pers. comm. Oct. 26, 2007)."

The communications between Holt and the Satanists stretched over four years. Holt said she deliberately left out identifying details, like occupation and geographic location, about the two Satanists. The wall of privacy seems to have helped the Satanists to open up about their thoughts on death.

Holt's article appeared in The Journal of Religion and Culture, which is produced by graduate students from the Department of Religion at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Death • Satanism

soundoff (1,068 Responses)
  1. What?

    RELIGION IS SALES..any religion...

    June 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    Is just wanted to mention a spiritual knight, called bishop Athanasius. He struggled against the heretic, satanic prophet and hells angle Arius. Today the Christian Church remembers one of her greatest leaders: Bishop Athanasius. I call him Defensor of Faith. May he enjoy God's presence for ever and ever.

    June 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hells angle? How obtuse.

      June 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Skizzy

      LOL@Tallulah13

      June 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • JohnR

      Good one, Tallulah!

      June 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Goodgrief

      wtf is a "defensor"?
      A defender who's ass is sore?
      You're Catholic, aren't you?

      June 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @tallulah13

      Excellent ! 😀

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Norm

      Bishop Athanasius? Never heard of him at all. Ever.
      How can people remember someone they've never heard of before?

      June 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Cricket Bat

      Nothing like seeing the wildly delusional posts of a rabid believer in dogma. Nope.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Oso

      I just want to mention a spiritual lightweight who goes by the name Rainer Braendlein.

      June 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  3. Jarno

    A comment about the moderation – PLESE READ THIS MODERATOR, IF YOU ARE THERE.

    Is there no automatic system to notify moderators of comments awaiting moderation? Or are the moderators simply lazy? Because I've had three comments now, on earlier opinion pieces on this blog "Awaiting moderation" for more than a week now. I've reported this through the feedback system, but that has gotten me nowhere. Please start showing some professional pride, and actually dig in to the pile of comments that you have backlogged, awaiting your eyes for such a long time.

    June 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There are no moderators. They just kick out comments that have letter combinations that might be taken as offensive. For example: the word consti.tution. Note where I put the period. The three letter combination that surround the period is considered to be a forbidden word. Just go over your posts, look for combinations that may seem offensive to rather delicate minds, and put some sort of break in there. If you catch them all, you'll be able to post.

      June 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Here is a partial list. I didn't compile it or put them in order. I just saved it.
      Reality did the original one I think, and I neglected to see who put these in order.

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      --–
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      ba-stard
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      do-uche
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      fu-ck......!
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      ji-sm
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sh-it
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
      -–
      Allowed words / not blocked at all:
      anal
      anus
      ass
      boob
      crap
      damn
      execute
      hell
      kill
      masturbation
      murder
      penis
      pubic
      raping (ra-pe is not ok)
      shat (sh-@t is not ok)
      sphincter
      testes
      testicles
      -r-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      ba-stard
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      do-uche
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      fu-ck......!
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      ji-sm
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sh-it
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.

      June 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Hist 101

      @Bucky
      In the beginning.....Reality had a few tips on the word filter and the list was only t-it, c-um, and maybe one other I cannot recall.
      Then I decided to do some testing as there appeared to be more than just those few examples that Reality had listed.
      The first list of mine was not in alphabetical order and I added many combinations to it – and decided to put them in order to make it easier to read.
      I also added other tips, like ones on "html entlties" and smileys used, but most ppl just need the list of letter combos, so I don't use the extra stuff much anymore.
      The list is free for anyone to copy and pass along – even to our mentally deficient fellow posters of the deluded variety.
      I want to hear what they have to say so I can marvel at their different types of deficiency. So pass the list along and don't worry where it came from. I haven't run into too many new additions lately, so if you find a new letter combo- test it first.
      – Zeb / Sum Dude

      June 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Hist101

      Sum Dude...! How are you my friend ? 😯

      Hope that all is well.

      BTW-Give me a 'sign' it's you whatever new moniker you are using on any give article/post.

      Peace brother...

      June 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Thanks Zeb. It should be rather obvious what "offensive" combos are, once you get the initial concept. But thanks for the history lesson. I applaud your efforts. I still think we should be able to come up with a "shareware" scan of our posts that would highlight all potential offenders. Working on that.

      June 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • I have released the flying monkeys!

      @Peace2All –
      No names needed here when I have my own personal stalker, eh?
      The fix is simple enough – we just need to register names to post.
      Being anonymous would not change, just the ability to use the names of other ppl posting.
      When an angry little kid feels wronged, the expression of this anger can take many different forms, as we can all see and remember our own youthful anger by way of analysis.
      In my stalker's case, this is impersonation of whatever name I may use. What a shock.
      The lack of protests from fellow christians shows how good they are (not).
      Anyway, I'm doing fine, thanks. I'm guessing you're fine, too.
      This lack of "name protection" is pretty pathetic, though.
      I have not seen any other blog with this problem.
      Other blogs have moderators or soft-ware that covers these issues, yet CNN saves all its web-design dollars for the other blogs. There is no excuse for this lack when other CNN blogs require registration before posting.
      And the few changes I've seen here have been very sparse and um...not all that wonderful.
      I will continue to post my "offensive" posts, don't worry. 🙂
      But using one particular name just isn't the thing when I have an on-line stalker of tender age and even more tender brain.
      Have fun guessing which posts are mine. I've noticed that there are some other ppl who are using my arguments quite well – I guess I'm a leader of sorts now.

      Fly my pretties! Fly!
      😛

      June 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Wicked Witch of the West

      @Bucky Ball – No shareware for me, thanks. All it takes is a bit of proofreading which most posts need anyway.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @W W W,
      Elphaba,
      You are my hero. You said some of the the best things I ever heard, "I don't cause commotions, I AM one", "Well, we can't all come and go by bubble", "Well, it seems the beautiful get more beautiful. While the green ...","And now, my beauties, something with poison in it. Poppies...Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleep. Now they'll sleep!", "Ring around the rosie, (sp?) a pocket full of spears". 😈 BTW, didn't realize you had a stalker. 😦 Any day they could allow the capacity for a sort by "name", which would not reveal an email address, but would sort posts by poster, no matter their moniker. Will bite them on the patootie.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Wicked Witch of the West/Sum Dude

      Yep... I too, wish CNN would fix this problem. But... I will be watchin' out for ya' ! It's not like your posts in terms of content and 'tone' are hard to miss ! 😀

      Have a good one, bro...

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  4. Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

    If satanists don't believe in dog, then they also couldn't believe in a winged spirit creature.

    There are many interesting articles about good angels and bad angels.

    1. http://www.cyodine.com/angels/History.htm
    2. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vida_alien/alien_watchers14.htm

    (To name just two.)

    Elaine Pagels', (from Princeton), "The Origin of Satan", is great.

    I fail to understand why this group, (satanists), have chosen, of all possible names, to call themselves by THIS name ? Is it a PR stunt ? They clearly can't possibly believe in bad angels. Interesting.

    June 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @QGF

      Hello my 'spo-oky action at a distance' friend...

      I actually read Pagels'..."The Origin of Satan," and "The Gnostic Gospels." Good reads...

      You Said: "I fail to understand why this group, (satanists), have chosen, of all possible names, to call themselves by THIS name ? Is it a PR stunt ? They clearly can't possibly believe in (bad angels). Interesting."

      LOL... Very nice !

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Hi Peace2All,

      I just came by to greet you. Are you around?

      June 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Agreed my M-theory friend. It seems Satanists and traditional theists are locked in mutual disgust "entanglement" 🙂

      June 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer

      Hi Rainer...

      Yes... I'm around for awhile. I left you a posting below? in German, for you to look at. My intentions were and are good for writing it to you. I hope it is received as such.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  5. Justin

    Just because there is no heaven or hell, it doesn't mean we should get sloppy with spelling!

    Paragraph 1: “but you just my hear ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra” [might]
    Paragraph 3: “One of the main tenants of the faith” [tenets]
    “Not just a disbelief in God but also in the devil or Satan.” [Incomplete sentence]
    Third block quotation: “those whom he knew and loved should attend his funereal.” [funeral]

    June 4, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Thanks. You just save saved me a few minutes typing. Editor must be on vacation.

      June 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I kind of like tenants of the faith. I wonder if they get a discount on rent?

      June 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @tallulah13

      LOL... I'm thinking the answer to that would be a 'no'... !! 😀

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Rainer Braendlein

    By the way Arius is even mentioned in Revelation 9: 1-12: Here he is called Abaddon or Apollyon. The German reformers have compared historical events with the Revelation and one of the results was a new nickname for Arius: Abaddon.

    I join the German reformers, and in their name I call Ariues hells angel or satanic prophet. I am not concerned about The Hells Angels of course.

    June 4, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • JohnR

      Oh, so Arius got to read about himself in Revelation? Funny, wasn't that supposed to be about the end times. And yet here we are all these centuries later!

      Be glad you didn't live when the political factions were fighting for doctrinal control.

      June 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Norm

      If Arius is mentioned in Revelation, then that should give you a clue as to the falseness of the Bible, as many centuries have passed since he lived and died.
      Rainer, you are a clueless git.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  7. JohnR

    Rainer, your interpretations are utterly reckless and if you lived back in the day when Christians truly ruled, you would have likely ended up being branded a heretic yourself.

    June 4, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Dear JohnR,

      are you a Roman Catholic bishop or something like that.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Dear JR,

      as far as I know, Arius has ended up similar like Judas Iskariot.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • JohnR

      You are totally surreal, Rainer.

      June 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  8. JohnR

    Matthew 24: 36 – "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Arius did his best to reconcile the cacophony of things said in the bible. For that he doesn't deserve to be demonized by the graceless winners of the trinitarian debate.

    June 4, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Dear JohnR,

      I am glad that you cite the Holy Writ. For some years I myself had problems to understand the verse, you cite.

      Here is the solution: Christ did not want to become known the time of his second coming. He just used a kind phrase, because he did not want to hurt his disciples and wanted to avoid any further discussion. Assumed he had simply said: "I don't want to tell you the time of my second coming", the disciples had started to torture him with never ending questions.

      Furthermore we should be aware that, not depending on Christ second coming, we can die every second. After death we lose consciousness and Judgement Day approaches with light speed. In conclusion we should live every day with the awareness that the current day can be our Judgement Day.

      June 4, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Dear JohnR,

      meditate a litte about the following verses, also written in Matthew Chapter 24:

      42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

      43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

      44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh

      This verses only make sense when the hour of the thiefs arrival is always the current hour or second. Thus, concerning our behaviour, we should consider every current hour as the hour of Christ's second coming.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • JohnR

      Rainer, I am not quoting this verse because I believe it or anything else in the bible. I am simply showing that Arius had a very reasonable case even on biblical grounds and that it is therefore downright creepy to demonize him.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Ranier
      "and wanted to avoid any further discussion. Assumed he had simply said: "I don't want to tell you the time of my second coming", the disciples had started to torture him with never ending questions."

      Agree. Acts 1:6 : "Lord wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?" was their very last question, and indicated to him, (and to listeners or readers), that they had fundamentally, completely and utterly misunderstood the motivation and non-political nature of his preaching efforts. He must have been very disappointed.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  9. James Black

    .
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]

    June 4, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  10. JohnR

    What I don't understand is why they use the Judeo-Christian name for the "devil" (such a quaint idea), only to deny the existence of any such enti-ty. That is simply ridiculous.

    Oh, and we may all live on a little while in the memory of others, but eventually we will all be forgotten about. Even the most famous figures in history will eventually be forgotten. You may as well live while you're alive, eh?

    June 4, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Norm

      I'll drink to that.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • CM

      It is symbolic. Being a part of a group that denies the dichotomies laid out by all religions, but the one that is perhaps most abundant in the west being Christianity. The reason a Satanist can not believe in a literal devil, is because many of them are rational, and see past devisive techniques of indoctrination, while at the same time championing Satan as the ultimate symbol for their own ideals. Example – the archetypal Satan is defined by refusing to bow before god, and is associated mythological lay with the Tree of Knowledge. What better way to be a Satanist than to bow before no god but thyself, that includes any notion of worshipping any externalized deity, even Satan.

      July 15, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  11. Jo Ann Scott, Bland, VA 24315

    For all who believe the stories and propaganda about Israels attacks on civilian targets.
    NOTE HOW IT IS FITTED TO SHOOT MISSILES truck pix didn't paste, but it clearly shows where the missle launchers are in the bottom of the (dump) truck bed. Captured Palestinian "garbage truck" from Gaza

    This is a captured Palestinian garbage truck from Gaza.

    The truck is set up to fire 9 Kasem rockets and then drive off innocently.
    The note pasted on the drivers door says In case of traffic violations, please contact The Palestinian Authority.

    The Israelis have evidence of ambulances and emergency vehicles set up the same way.

    Doesn't it make you all "warm and fuzzy" that Obama just gave the Palestinians 400 million dollars from your taxes?
    Question, who gave this SOB the authority to give these thugs this money. He should have to be tried for treason
    over something like this.

    June 4, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      And Ms. Scott, your point is ? What does that have to do with this article on satanists/satanism ?
      Or are you just wandering around ranting here because you have nowhere to go ?

      June 4, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • David Johnson

      The Palestinians have a right to a state, just as Israel has the right to exist.

      Having said that, I admit that I support Israel and would want the U.S. to go to war, if necessary, to protect her.

      Israeli girls are cute. Palestinian girls...not so much.

      Cheers!

      June 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Oso

      But does Israel really have a right to exist? Or any country? Consider the tho-rny problems surrounding the concepts of "ownership", "nation-states", and military power. None of them are intrinsic properties. They are only ideals without support in the real world if you discount shared beliefs.
      When I read an in-depth article about the religious conflicts in Jerusalem, it was fairly objective and gave many testimonies from many sides: Jewish, Muslim, Christian.
      I saw no reason to feel that ANY side in these religious conflicts had any real justification whatsoever for ANYTHING they did.
      Too much of it was the overwhelmingly stubbornness of the "old guard" on each side. No one has really changed the outlook of those different peoples in hundreds of years despite all of the world's advances in all the sciences.
      If I was in charge, I'd wall off Jerusalem from everyone, dig up everything and fling it into the sea.
      Nobody in this world needs Jerusalem for anything. It's just a place.
      ...
      If Israel has a right to exist after invading and holding the land by force, then why don't we just invade some more places ourselves? Why don't we invade Canada and Mexico? It would certainly make more sense than being in Afghanistan and Iraq.
      And we should be able to seize anything from anyone anywhere at anytime – Might makes right, right?
      Imagine all the "free" oil we could get by seizing every tanker! Gas prices would go way, way down!
      Yeah! Let's do it! Imperialist America Rules The World! AwwwYeaaahhh!

      June 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Oso

      Dude! I just gave you the best of all reasons that Israel deserves to exist: Their woman folk are pleasing to the eye.

      Consider: If a Jewish girl was good enough for god, who am I to argue? Did He seduce a Palestinian girl? NO!

      Cheers!

      June 5, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  12. Colin

    It will be very telling to observe the content and quality of comments posted to this story by Christians and other theists on the one hand and atheists on the other as the day unfolds. A small sample so far.

    Atheists

    David Johnson – I don't understand. I am an atheist. I don't believe in god or the devil. But, I don't call myself a Satanist or a Christian. I don't worship that which does not exist. It seems pointless somehow. We do live on after our deaths, through our friends and loved ones. But there is no evidence of a soul or an afterlife. Not with the devil they don't believe in, or with the god(s) they don't believe exist. When our brains die, we simply "aren't" anymore.

    Sir Craig - Okay, right off the bat they are NOT atheists. Atheism is utterly devoid of ANY kind of deification or metaphysical nonsense. Atheists also eschew any form of dogmatic behavior, despite what the religious would have many believe (science is NOT dogma – get over it).

    Atheist Steve – Implying that we consider ourselves Gods carries too much baggage. Gods implicitly possess supernatural powers. We are merely aware that no outside metaphysical forces are affecting our lives. Our paths and decisions are of our own making and we are the architects of our own destiny.

    Theists

    Rainer Braendlein – True Satanists will never tell you the truth about themselves. According to the Holy Writ Satan is the father of lie and murder. Lucifer is a proud, fallen angel, who wants to rule the universe. He is dangerous and God's enemy. He even dared to tempt Jesus Christ and finally revealed his whole "glory" to Jesus, because he wanted to be adored by
    Jesus. Thank God, Jesus has overcome the temptation, because otherwise, I suppose, the universe had collapsed.

    FairGarden – Jesus saves even a demon-possessed. The name of Jesus alone saves human souls from the dominion of darkness. Satan is a defeated foe.

    Mike – Eric Marrapodi is tellling all atheists to get off this board. God Bless You Eric!!

    I leave it to the reader to decide which group is showing itself to be the more rational, articulate and, quite frankly, sensible.

    June 4, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yes Colin it will be telling. Certainly the readers will side with their convictions but to use an unfortunate comparison it will probably seem like some brought a knife to a gunfight.

      June 4, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • LinCA

      AtheistSteve said:"...it will probably seem like some brought a knife to a gunfight."

      ... and it isn't the sharpest one in the drawer.

      June 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  13. Rainer Braendlein

    True Satanists,

    will never tell you the truth about themselves.

    According to the Holy Writ Satan is the father of lie and murder. Lucifer is a proud,
    fallen angel, who wants to rule the universe.
    He is dangerous and God's enemy. He even dared to tempt Jesus Christ
    and finally revealed his whole "glory" to Jesus, because he wanted to be adored by
    Jesus. Thank God, Jesus has overcome the temptation, because otherwise, I suppose,
    the universe had collapsed.

    Although the triune God is the true ruler of the universe, Lucifer seems to have some limited power.
    Once upon a time Satan attacked the devout Job, but before he had to ask for God's permission.

    Judas Iscariot got possessed by Satan, shortly before he turned in Jesus Christ. Judas became saturated with Satan like a blotter with ink. Judas never came out (solely his pontifical colleagues of course knew the truth about him)
    Even at the last supper he continued to play his role. According to the Sripture Judas was greedy for money and could not stand when a devote woman came to anoint Jesus with a costly salve. Obviously Satanists cannot adore the real Jesus.

    Real Satanists are at places, where you would never suppose them. Remember Judas Iscariot, who probably had the reputation of the most devout apostle.

    Some of you may have some knowledge of ecclesiastical history. Arius was a historical person. He was a famous theologian in ancient times. He was very acknowledged. Suddenly he started to distribute a new doctrine about Christ.
    He stated, Jesus Christ is not God's only begotten Son, but merely God's best creature or a human being, teaching God's ways. That's awesome, a big part of Christianity accepted the doctrine of Arius. He managed to betray a lot of Christians.
    Of course some faithful bishops kept the good old doctrine and started to fight against Arius (by words). Finally the struggle increased unduly and even the Roman emperior Konstantin got involved. Thank God Arius could be cursed at last. However he had managed to kill a lot of souls by making them believing in a false Christ.

    A real example: The German Evangelical Church (EKD) is led by a man, having nearly the same heresy like Arius. Nobody realizes.

    Jesus Christ warned his disciples from wolves in sheep's clothing, he meant Satanists in the clothing of bishops.

    Have you now understood the danger of Satan?

    June 4, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      It truly confuses me how otherwise bright individuals can put so much stock into ancient texts written by ignorant iron-age peoples. Anecdotal testimony is entirely insufficient as evidence of the existence of the supernatural. By what criteria do you determine the veracity of any of your claims? Surely you believe what you assert but how can you know what you believe to be real and true? The gnostic position held by vast numbers of theists is unsupportable. The Bible isn't evidence of anything and the stories within are inconsistant with natural laws and reason. How is it that theists are able to compartmentalize their religious beliefs separate from their otherwise rational outlook on reality? Releasing myself from the confines of religious belief to accepting secular views was a watershed moment in my life. Now as I look around at the pervasive nature of religion in the world I am dumbfounded by the gullibility of the masses. It's almost as if I awoke to living in bizzaro world. Thankfully the tide of secularism seems to be gaining ground over irrational ancient concepts. The voices of reason will eventually prevail as religious beliefs fall to the wayside. I only hope I live long enough to see religion take its place among other failed ideologies like astrology.

      June 4, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • JohnR

      Rainer – Arius lost a politcal feud. The very verse all the Christians were quoting a couple of weeks ago re "even the son not knowing, but only the father" vindicates Arius's rejection of the idea that the son and the father are somehow one. It's ultimately pointless to even wonder who is "right" or "wrong" in these mythical matters. But to call someone evil because his sincerest best attempt to understand scripture deviates from yours or that of the people holding the power in his day is itself evil. Yes, Rainer, your words here are evil.

      June 4, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Colin

      Steve, well said. My girlfriend had exactly the same liberating feeling when she cast off the nonsense. She is an ex-mormon and actually emailed Dawkins to thank him (God Delusion was what libertaed her).

      June 4, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Yes, I am a sinner. My comment is just the opinion of the worldwide Christian Church, which I have dared to join. For 2000 years the Christian Church believes the following doctrine: I believe in God the Father the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, born by the virgin Mary ... .

      Do you want to blaim me, when I just state the creed?

      June 4, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • JohnR

      Yes, Rainer, I blame you for adopting the creed.

      June 4, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Sorry JohnR I live in Germany. Which event do you mean by your following statement?: The very verse all the Christians were quoting a couple of weeks ago re "even the son not knowing, but only the father". I have not yet heard about it.

      June 4, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • JohnR

      The verse is Matthew 24: 36 – "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Arius looked at verses like this and drew HIS conclusions. To demonize him for it is outrageous.

      June 4, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      You can't du-ck personal responsibility by making a statement like that. Yes I DO blame, (blaim ? ) you.
      For 2000 years, (and obviously longer), millions of humans "believed" the doctrine that the world was flat.
      Do you ever think about what the words mean that you use ? In stating your belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, you imply that it is logical to say "eternally begotten", which is the equivalent, in the English language, to saying "eternal, but having a beginning", or "being (both) black AND white" etc., etc. Either the second person of an eternal coequal trinity was "eternal", or it wasn't. Can't be both eternal, and "begotten". This is a time dependent paradigm, which is nonsensical, for an "eternal", or non temporal ent"ity.
      I DO hold you responsible for statements you make, even ones that you justify by claiming their widespread, and long held use. Their are countless examples of those having been proven false. "Do you want to blaim me, when I just state the creed?". That is an example of the logical fallacy of "Irrelevant conclusion", and specifically in that category, an example of "argumentum ad populum", (an appeal to a majority).

      June 4, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Fordham Jock

      Mindful of Twain's "Never argue with a .... (etc.), Ok, I have a couple minutes. I'll give this a try.

      "True Satanists, will never tell you the truth about themselves."
      - What is a "true" satanist ? Is that as opposed to the fake ones ? Does someone do "satanist testing" and stamp the real ones and the unreal ones ? Do the untrue satanists tell you the truth about THEMSELVES ?

      "will never tell you the truth about themselves"
      - You know that how ? How many satanists do you know? Name two.

      "According to the Holy Writ Satan is the father of lie and murder. Lucifer is a proud,
      fallen angel, who wants to rule the universe.
      He is dangerous and God's enemy. He even dared to tempt Jesus Christ
      and finally revealed his whole "glory" to Jesus, because he wanted to be adored by
      Jesus."
      - Is that really the best you can do ? What exactly is your purpose for repeating those allegorical and mythological concepts in this context ?

      You know what........never mind. It's too nice outside, and this is banging my head against a wall. Almost every word of every sentence, and every concept and statement in this post is unexamined, "objectionable", and illogical. My time estimate was extremely inaccurate. Please forgive me.
      Have a good day.

      "Have you now understood the danger of Satan?" Not in the slightest.

      June 4, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

      @Buckminster Fullerene
      Bucky,
      Love it when you talk Latin at us. 😕

      June 4, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      Hallo Rainer ...

      Nur ein paar freundliche Beratung. Wenn Sie hier besser auf die Blogs machen wollen, müssen Sie kommen mit besseren Argumente auf Fakten basiert.

      Wenn nicht, werden diejenigen von uns, kritisches Denken, unter anderem gemeistert haben, zu zerreißen weiterhin Ihre Argumente.

      Du scheinst ein netter Kerl, und ich wollte Ihnen einen Rat geben, dass "kann" eine Hilfe sein zu können, dass der Grund, warum ich schreibe Ihnen in Deutsch, so dass nicht in irgendeiner Weise in Verlegenheit bringen.

      Auch freundliche Beratung ... nehmen es oder lass es.

      Grüße,

      Peace ...

      June 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow, Peace. I'm impressed. Two years of German in college and all I got is "das ist nicht zollpflichtig."

      June 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @tallulah13

      LOL... No need to be impressed, but thank you anyway. Hint: Google Translate

      Wonderful tool for language.

      You Said: "das ist nicht zollpflichtig." -–Is that dutiable...? I think that's what you are saying there.

      Anyway, I hope that you are well.

      Continue with your wonderful posts !

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • JohnR

      Aber die ganze Zusammenverschnuepfigkeit scheint auseinander gegangen zu sein, oder?

      June 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Peace2all

      Howdy !
      We discovered another one also, with an audio feature. You can type in anything, in any language, and out pops the translation, in text AND audio. Like having a personal translator.
      Have a great weekend. 😈

      http://translation2.paralink.com/

      June 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Bucky Ball

      Hey, Bucky... Thanks for the 'link' I likey !!!

      Hope that you are having a good one as well.

      Peace brother...

      June 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Rainer Braendlein

      Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      It doesn't matter how prideful Satan was / is. If god is omnipotent, by definition He cannot be defeated. He is all powerful. Unless Satan went to school in the little bus, he wouldn't have rebelled.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      What's funny, is that Christians bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      But, Christians never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.

      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning...even before Satan supposedly rebelled.

      If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice.

      If the predictions of the bible concerning Satan and the end times are true, then all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment of these predictions, are predetermined. A prediction cannot be subject to chance.

      Christians do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

      Cheers!

      June 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      'For 2000 years, (and obviously longer), millions of humans "believed" the doctrine that the world was flat'
      And to make it even more telling it was only the uneducated that believed that. Educated people knew it was not flat as it had been proven by the Ancient Greeks.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  14. AtheistSteve

    I think the entire idea of the Church of Satan is pointless...worse it actually creates problems by feeding into the misconceptions that theists already have about atheism.

    First it reinforces the idea that demonic forces are at play in our rejection of God.
    Religious folk are quick to jump to the conclusion that our choices are being manipulated by Satan the great deceiver. The decision to reject theist claims is rooted in logic, critical thinking and skepticism. Atheism is solely cocerned with the God question, but rational thought extends also to the dismissal of all supernatural notions in general.

    Second it fuels the notion that atheism is another type of religion.
    Atheism stands apart from religion. We have no bible, no clergymen, no rituals or dogma. Atheism says nothing about how you should live your life and makes no claims about morality. Calling atheism a religion is like saying non-stamp collecting is a hobby or baldness is a haircolor.

    Third it states that we deify ourselves.
    Implying that we consider ourselves Gods carries too much baggage. Gods implicitly possess supernatural powers. We are merely aware that no outside metaphysical forces are affecting our lives. Our paths and decisions are of our own making and we are the architects of our own destiny.

    Establishment of a church for Atheism is contrary to goals of what atheism is actually pursuing. The patrons of the Church of Satan may in fact be atheists but nothing constructive comes from parroting the practices of theist religious pomp and ceremony.

    June 4, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • JohnR

      Correct on all counts, AtheistSteve! The "Satanist" moniker strikes one as a bit of adolsescent tempestuousness.

      June 4, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      AthiestSteve..I agree entirely...and well said.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Peace2All

      @AtheistSteve

      Well said, brother...

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      It may not make sense to you, and probably not to many others. However, for those who ascribe to it, it serves a purpose, just as faith does to those who ascribe to any particular belief.

      Clearly, not all atheists are Satanists. However, to be a Satanist, one must be an atheist. The name, I suspect, was adopted originally to sneer at the very belief of theists, and Christians in particular, that they are deceived by the devil, that they in fact serve the devil, when the truth of the matter is that they do not.

      I know a couple of people who are members of the Church of Satan. I also know a few Luciferists (who actually do consider the devil their god), and at least two Maltheists (who believe god exists and is evil). While there are some similarities, they part ways at theism.

      June 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • JohnR

      @myweight Yes, the original adoption of the term 'satanism' seems to have been a sneer. But I still think the urge to sneer in this way should have been suppressed. LaVey made it clear that he was for science and rationality, but I think he delved a bit too deeply into the pit of petulent emotion in adopting this name. But what's done is done and what I REALLY don't understand is why people would want to continue to use this name. But, hey, whatever.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  15. FairGarden

    Evil = corruption of good
    Evil does not exist on its own or for the sake of its own. It exists as corruption of something good, like a cancer.
    God made everything good but the freewill of angels and humans brought evil into this world.
    Those who do not worship the one true Creator God worship self or demons or both.
    The human hunger for power and control is the ideal hub for demonic works.
    There is eternal judgment upon all evil. No human force is stronger than Satan, devils or demons.
    God alone is. Jesus liberates anyone who trusts in Him alone.
    Call upon His name for salvation and deliverance.

    June 4, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Wicked Garden

      Too bad it's too late to tell all that to those victims who DID call on Jesus and got nothing in return.
      They would likely have something to say to people like you. But they are dead, just like your Jesus.
      Your god does not listen to prayers. All you get is happenstance and random events that you are no doubt pleased to interpret as "God's will".
      When you are ready to think for yourself, will you have anything left to think with? Time is running out.
      You are wasting your life on something that has been proven to be a lie. That sounds evil to me.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  16. James Black

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]

    June 4, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  17. FairGarden

    Jesus saves even a demon-possessed. The name of Jesus alone saves human souls from the dominion of darkness. Satan is a defeated foe.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:58 am |
    • Ron

      @ FairGarden,

      Please, "Satan is a defeated foe."
      If that's the case, why do Christians fear him so much if your god has defeated him already? Apparently, you must not truly believe this because most Christians I've encountered are simply terrified of their Satan.
      Another important point, Satanists do not define themselves by your beliefs.
      I'm always amazed how Christians make the assumption that everyone is or should be judged and beholding to their religious beliefs but become upset and irate if others make the same presumption on them.
      Like your Jesus said, you don't want to be judged, don't judge others.
      I am never disappointed when it comes to conservative/Evangelical Christians judging others. It's almost appears to be a "god given right" in their minds. This is why so many others laugh and simply ignore your words.

      June 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Free

      FairGarden
      There are no "demon-possessed" as far as we can tell, only folks with mental illnesses, many of whom can be treated medically.

      And if Satan is a defeated foe then we can finally put aside all that rapture nonsense, right?

      June 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  18. Mike

    Eric Marrapodi is tellling all atheists to get off this board.
    God Bless You Eric!!

    June 4, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Mike

      Hey -Mike...

      "Eric Marrapodi is tellling all atheists to get off this board. God Bless you Eric !!!"

      I'm curious...First please direct me to 'where specifically' -Eric is stating that...? And also, how do you 'know specifically' that -Eric is telling atheist's such things...?

      Very curious !

      Peace...

      June 4, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • JohnR

      Yo Mike! What does Jesus say about liars?

      June 4, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • tallulah13

      A) Where does it state that? B) I could tell all people who like American Idol to get off these boards. I doesn't mean they have to. I have no authority, he has no authority. Only CNN has that power, but there is no way of telling who is atheist and who is not, so it's not really feasible. C) Your comment is very silly.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Den

      Maybe Mike is referring to the obvious misinformation that fills the article?

      June 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  19. Sir Craig

    Oops, sorry – I forgot CNN has a filter that should have been scrapped ages ago. Here is my original comment, with a slight change to avoid that pesky filter:

    Okay, right off the bat they are NOT atheists. Atheism is utterly devoid of ANY kind of deification or metaphysical nonsense. Atheists also eschew any form of dogmatic behavior, despite what the religious would have many believe (science is NOT dogma – get over it).That there were only two people who were identified as 'high level Satanists' for this article reveals that who Holt got a hold of were most likely a pair of attention-starved wannabes. (This is more evident when they speak of their particular 'afterlife' being an almost worshipful remembrance of their lives.)

    Anton LaVey was most certainly a Satanist in that his "church" sought to cast "God" in an altogether unfavorable light, which by definition means they had to accept the presence of a "God". That is the very anti-thesis of atheism, and someone should be a bit more aware of that particular distinction. Holt was had.

    June 4, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  20. David Johnson

    From the article:
    "One of the main tenants of the faith is atheism. Not just a disbelief in God but also in the devil or Satan. Satanists believe God is an invention of man and instead deify themselves."

    I don't understand. I am an atheist. I don't believe in god or the devil. But, I don't call myself a Satanist or a Christian. I don't worship that which does not exist. It seems pointless somehow.

    We do live on after our deaths, through our friends and loved ones. But there is no evidence of a soul or an afterlife. Not with the devil they don't believe in, or with the god(s) they don't believe exist. When our brains die, we simply "aren't" anymore.

    This almost seems like a group of guys who can't get dates and spend their time playing dungeons and dragon in one of their parent's basement. I AM THOR! A god! At least 'till my parents make me send my buddies home...

    Cheers!

    June 4, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • T-party

      @ David Johnson great points!!

      June 4, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, thank you for saying what I wanted to say better than I could ever say it. They really are a bunch of LARPers aren't they?

      June 4, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • myweightinwords

      It's window dressing.

      The original premise revolved around shock and showmanship, while at the same time giving members an outlet.

      You can be an atheist and still use language and ritual that resembles that of theists, in large part because those words and rituals are a part of our collective consciousness as a society.

      June 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Free

      David Johnson
      I think they want to say that they take matters into their own hands (within reason, probably legal limits), but I can't wrap my brain around someone upsetting me and my decision to "smite" them. Sounds a bit megalomaniacal to consider yourself and your actions in such grandiose terms. Just the kind of person who considers their reflection in a mirror and says "I am a god!", so I think your comment on teenage boys is probably bead on. I wonder if they skinny, with long hair and enjoy heavy metal? Wayne's World comes to mind.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @myweightinwords

      You said: "You can be an atheist and still use language and ritual that resembles that of theists, in large part because those words and rituals are a part of our collective consciousness as a society."

      Most rituals are a means to an end. I want to go to a happy afterlife, so I worship my god in this order, because I believe it pleases Him / Her.

      I, as an atheist, could still use language and ritual that resembles that of theists. But, why would I want to, since I have looked at the evidence and concluded that theists are delusional?

      You said: "The original premise revolved around shock and showmanship, while at the same time giving members an outlet."

      Grow up! Get laid. The fat chicks always put out *wink*. Your statement seems to confirm my earlier post. You guys are just into fantasy games. And shocking your parents with your devil worshiping.

      Cheers!

      June 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.