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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. PRISM 1234

    @"Evolved DNA"
    You said :"Prism1234..Incorrect.. what we would like is proof of your as-sertions.. instead we get plat-itudes and statements that are meaningless, as you have pointed out to Camile. You have to as-sume, as part of your believe system that those who do not "believe" or reject your god is living a pointless, immoral life. We do not "wallow in mud holes" as you would like to think..we have very full and exciting lives.. we see the true beauty of this world, the way evolution has and is working, the way you and I are a product of the universe itself and actually do owe our life to a sun that died eons ago...with the iron in your blood. Sorry we are far from depressed, hapless beings ...we are very positive.

    There is more hope for those who know that they are wallowing in the mud of this world, and desire to be rescued out of it, then for those who in the vanity of their minds consider themselves good, upright and moral, apart from God, and who think their lives without Him are complete......There are plenty of instances where Jesus confronted those who didn't see their need for God's righteousness! He always had the same message for them.... But it's not my aim to get into that. You've been told of those things before!

    As for you minimizing and belitling things I say, it's no loss to me, it never is, since the value of Truth I speak about is not subjected to any man's opinion... Truth never is! But, friend, you're the one at loss, and you will have to face that loss.....and this appointment you will surely not be able to miss!

    June 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • RdclCntrst

      "of Truth I speak about"

      And exactly how do we know that yours is THE truth? Because a book told you so? Jesus' word is only the truth if you believe that the bible is true. If the bible isn't true–which is obviously a matter of some debate; hence this article–then your "Truth" is just dogma.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "And exactly how do we know that yours is THE truth"

      You will not know till you get off of your high horse, and humble yourself before your Maker, OR till your day of appointment comes, and the Truth you rejected stares you in the face, as you appear before the One whom you rejected, without covering for your sins! God does not reveal Himself to the proud and arrogant, who ar wise in their won eyes! He knows what's in men's hearts! You seek proof, andf you'll get one.... but not on your terms, but His! HE is the LORD!

      June 8, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  2. Reality

    There is no Hell. Therefore, there is no Satan now, before or in the hereafter. Next topcic!!!!

    June 7, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      No, dear.....The reality of Hell is more real then reality of your life, dear Reality!
      And if you keep shutting your eyes, denying the knowledge that was put into your conscience by your Creator, which you silenced by pride and the love of sin that's in your heart, you will find yourself staring into THAT REALITY!

      June 7, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      June 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  3. Alexandria Davis

    "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."

    If they do not believe in God or Satan, then why do they call themselves Satanists at all. Isn't that acknowledging that there is a such being in the first place. Why not be the Church of Atheism or something? That would make more sense if you do not believe in either God or Satan.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:22 am |
    • RdclCntrst

      They use Satan as a metaphor for the contrarian nature of man. Christians believe that Satan rebelled, so they align themselves with the rebellious impulse by using that name. Just because many Satanists are themselves atheists doesn't mean that they don't recognize that religious symbols have currency and power. I myself am not Christian, and always wondered why Christians pray to a torture device.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  4. Eliteamericans

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuSqsopQEF0&w=640&h=390]

    June 7, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  5. ranman

    wow my ex girlfriend met a bum just out of prison and she dumped me but they both go to church 4 times a week and as soon as she gets out she calls me a muther <<<<<<< becuse i wont give her money for gas and cigarettes guess his plan to get 110.00 a week from me for child support cant keep there habits up but hey she,s better than me becuse she go,s to church !!!

    June 7, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  6. Muneef

    (Iblees,Satan, The Devil) all names are for one character that has disobeyed God orders;
          
    [2:34] And recall, when We ordered the angels to prostrate before Adam, then all prostrated save Iblis. He refused, boasted, and became disbeliever.
    ------

    [7:11] We created you, then we shaped you, then we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except Iblees (Satan); he was not with the prostrators.

    [7:12] He said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?" He said, "I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud."

    [7:13] He said, "Therefore, you must go down, for you are not to be arrogant here. Get out; you are debased."

    [7:14] He said, "Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection."

    [7:15] He said, "You are granted a respite."

    [7:16] He said, "Since You have willed that I go astray, I will skulk for them on Your straight path.

    [7:17] "I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative."

    [7:18] He said, "Get out therefrom, despised and defeated. Those among them who follow you, I will fill Hell with you all.
    ------

    [18:50] And remember when We ordered angels to prostrate before Adam, then all prostrated save Iblees (Devil). He was of the Jinn, and then he went out of the command of his Lord. Do you take him and his offsprings for friends apart from Me? And they are your enemies what an evil exchanges the unjust got.
    ----–

    So as it seems the person who named this Atheist faith meant by the name Satanic that it means the "Disobedient's" ?   

    June 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Reality

      Gabriel never existed!!!!!! No Gabriel, no communiques from heaven and therefore Islam has no foundation and no validity as a religion.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Cthulhu

      http://tinyurl.com/62tcamt

      June 7, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  7. Truth Teller

    How can you know what these folks think about death ? Don't they worship the father of liars. How can you believe them.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • RdclCntrst

      (sigh) You obviously didn't even read the article, or you would have caught the part about how the Church of Satan is doctrinally atheist. They don't "worship the father of liars", they use his name as a symbol of their desire not to be ruled by centuries-old dogma. They don't believe in a literal Satan with hooves and a trident, nor do they worship one.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  8. FairGarden

    Jesus defeated Satan, the human evil and death. He is coming back to take His rightful place on earth and in the universe.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  9. Muneef

    Yud-Nt Noh.

    Well done you sound very sensible guy and pure hearted one, I congratulate you parents for their good uprising of yours...may God bless you to find out more and be able to convince and guide people to Rightous path....   

    Kindly read Quran quotes for your reference ;
      
    [16:125] You shall invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and kind enlightenment, and debate with them in the best possible manner. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who are the guided ones.
    -------

    [23:96] Therefore, counter their evil works with goodness; we are fully aware of their claims.

    [23:97] Say, "My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the whispers of the devils.

    [23:98] "And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they come near me."
    ------–

    [29:44] GOD created the heavens and the earth, truthfully. This provides a sufficient proof for the believers.

    [29:45] You shall recite what is revealed to you of the scripture, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), for the Contact Prayers prohibit evil and vice. But the remembrance of GOD (through Salat) is the most important objective. GOD knows everything you do.

    [29:46] Do not argue with the people of the scripture (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) except in the nicest possible manner – unless they transgress – and say, "We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our god and your god is one and the same; to Him we are submitters."

    [29:47] We have revealed to you this scripture, and those whom we blessed with the previous scripture will believe in it. Also, some of your people will believe in it. Indeed, those who disregard our revelations are the real disbelievers.
    -------

    [41:30] Those who proclaim: "Our Lord is GOD," then lead a righteous life, the angels descend upon them: "You shall have no fear, nor shall you grieve. Rejoice in the good news that Paradise has been reserved for you.

    [41:31] "We are your all-i-es in this life, and in the Hereafter. You will have in it anything you wish for; you will have anything you want.

    [41:32] "(Such is your) ultimate abode, from a Forgiver, Most Merciful."

    [41:33] Who can utter better words than one who invites to GOD, works righteousness, and says, "I am one of the submitters"?

    [41:34] Not equal is the good response and the bad response. You shall resort to the nicest possible response. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy, may become your best friend.

    [41:35] None can attain this except those who steadfastly persevere. None can attain this except those who are extremely fortunate.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Reality

      Gabriel never existed!!!!!! No Gabriel, no communiques from heaven and therefore Islam has no foundation and no validity as a religion.========================================

      June 7, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  10. Thyrn

    There is no god, you have no soul, life is inherently meaningless and the universe is indifferent to your existence.
    Have a nice day 🙂

    June 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  11. Artist

    So Satanist are simply very dramatic atheists?

    June 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  12. 2cupsofjoe

    If a satanist can explain why the group is called "satanist" I would really be interested to know. If they don't believe in a heaven or hell, God or Satan, then why are they named after someone who is the ruler of hell? If they are going to throw around names, why not be called Godists. At lease their belief wouldn't have any negative associations. why would anyone want people to believe that they have negative associations about their beliefs.
    Just don't get it. I bet if I research it more, I will find out more that what this article implies about the so-called-satanists.

    June 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Texas Mike

      It seems to me that those who refer to themselves as "satanists" are following the historical definition of satanist, that of adversary or one who acts in opposition. In this case an adversary of theism. I think those who would worship the devil, or Satan as we refer to him, would be best known as Luciferians. I may be wrong, and I am open to correction; but, that how I make sense of it.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Unknown

      Hello, I would like to suggest any with serious inquire to please visit the official website: http://www.churchofsatan.com

      All of your questions can be answered there.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Oso

      TexasMike, that is a very good post. Very nice. I wish there were more ppl liek you posting here.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • RdclCntrst

      The CoS uses the name Satan as a symbol of man's rebellious nature. They reject the Christian notion that man needs any divine direction on how to live his life. At the same time, they recognize the currency and power of certain religious symbols and notions, thus the name. They could have called themselves the "Church of Rebels", but that sounds more like a Southern-rock band.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  13. charlie

    If God loves me so much,why would he want me to burn in hell forever because I can't see his existence? Innocent children die,greedy men prosper,wars rage,hate filled religious groups attack all that are different,tornados,floods,earthquakes,hurricaines.Is this the love God has for me?

    June 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • ScottK

      Makes me wonder if God is really against abortions when he seems to enjoy killing and torturing so many of his children, at least according to the Christians.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @charlie- Do you not believe in justice? Should the evil that humanity has done not go unpunished? Is there no divine wrath?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Scott- "seems to enjoy"

      This "enjoyment" you are talking about is firmly from your own imagination. I doubt you are going to find much scripture to back up God enjoying the deaths of the evil doers.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Nathan

      "Do you not believe in justice? Should the evil that humanity has done not go unpunished? Is there no divine wrath?"

      Yeah, like the evil of humanity that has the capability to feed everyone in the world but children are still dying everyday from starvation. Or like the evil of humanity in it's treatment of animals and driving some to extinction but yet humanity doesn't stop. Or like the evil of humanity that tears apart the earth to create goods and services we really don't need. Yes, everyone who participates in this should be punished and go to he-ll! Oh, that's right....there are reasons behind all of the madness.....

      June 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Nathan- I was thinking more along the lines of the evil of indifference. How we humans ignore the suffering of others at any level, even when we have the ability to serve.

      "God's concern is the prerequisite and source of His anger. It is because He cares for man that His anger may be kindled against man. Anger and mercy are not opposites but correlatives." -Rabbi Herschel (The Prophets)

      June 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Nathan

      "How we humans ignore the suffering of others at any level, even when we have the ability to serve."

      I was talking about indifference. So how many homeless people do you walk by and do nothing to help them? Do you even know how many starving people there are in your own community? Probably not.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Nathan- I know of quite a few and even work for a company that helps provide work for them. So...what was your point?

      June 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Nathan

      Even you suffer from indifference but you choose not to acknowledge it.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lycidas,

      How is burning in a lake of fire for telling your wife that she doesn't look fat amount to justice?
      I can't think of any evil that humans are capable of that is eternal and yet the only punishment available is eternal. Is that just?
      The child ra.pist who repents goes to heaven. The father who steals to feed his family and doesn't repent goes to hell. Is that just?

      Sounds to me like oblivion for everyone is more just, but the universe is not just.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • charlie

      So why can't God reveal himself to us so we can know he exists? Why is it like a game that we can't be sure of? If you're out there God why can't you answer our prayers? Did God create us or did we create God?I'm sure there are some very smart people out there but I'm just a simple man in search of some answers.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Nathan- I do not deny it. I never said I was perfect now did I?

      June 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Niminus- You seem to be making the assumption that all behavior is not taking into account. Intent is vital in how justice flows out.
      I do not presume to know how justice will come from God in all cases. Anyone that does is foolish. Usually when it comes to the topic of hell I avoid it because I do not think it is of dire importance to one who is trying to live a spiritually correct life.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lycidas,
      My, admittedly limited, understanding is that the Bible specifically states that liars will burn in a lake of fire. Please, correct me if I'm wrong and/or list the mitigating circu.mstances where lying is and is not acceptable.

      If you "do not presume to know how justice will come...," then how do you know intent is vital, or for that matter how do you know that it will be "just" at all and not abitrary and capricious.

      Beyond all that are you saying that you agree with the disproportionate punishments involved, e.g. eternal torture for stealing without repenting versus heaven for the most heinous crimes with repentance?

      June 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Nonimus- When you say liars...are you saying unrepentant liars or the repentant kind? You make sure to point out a child molester that wants repentance but you do not imply the one who must steal to live has any guilt in what they must do?

      As levels or responsiblilty...in Amos it is clear that God holds those with knowledge and power at a higher level of responsiblity than those who have no power.

      What I meant by justice was that I don't know exactly how punishment will come. I leave it to God as to who goes where after our lives are over. I never been a fan of those that tell others they are going to hell. Even Jesus implied to others to worry about your own salvation instead of worrying yourself over the small things others do.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lycidas,
      I was assuming unrepentant liars, but Rev 21:8 appears to indicate any liar,"'But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the se.xually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.'" (Of course, we won't go into what exactly 'sorcery' is.)

      What I'm trying to understand is how someone can claim to believe in justice and claim to want to make sure "the evil that humanity has done not go unpunished," if they don't understand the nature of the justice they are promoting.

      If you agree that an unrepentant theft deserves more punishment than repentant child ra.pist, then you're fine because I think the Bible agrees. However, if you think that the father, that steals some bread for his starving family and does not regret it nor repent of it, deserves a break from enternal torture and damnation, then you might want to reexamine the code of ethics portrayed in the Bible.

      On the other hand, if you don't know and are just leaving it all to "divine wrath," then how can you claim that it is just at all, if you don't actually know what will happen?

      June 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Nonimus- Ok...I see what you are meaning now. I can say what I believe on this matter. Basically there are two camps: God and not-of-God. Those not-of-God are the ones that find there way to hell/lake of fire. I have no doubt of that.

      I thought you was wanting me to break down why one person should go and another one shouldn't. In that case I leave it up to God because only God knows the inner workings of a person. I don't think any human can decide that any other person should or should not go to heaven or hell.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lycidas,
      Sorry, if I wasn't clear.
      So, if you are saying that those not-of-God get to "go jump in a lake" as it were. Does that mean that someone can live a perfect, or in this case sinless (except for being of-God), life and yet still go to the lake?

      For example, if someone followed all secular-related commandments, no lying, stealing, murdering, coveting, dishonoring parents, swearing/cursing, etc. and "loved thy neighbor," but didn't believe in God, even though he was fully aware of Christianity, would he still burn in a lake of fire for eternity?
      If so, then why?
      If not, then why not?

      June 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "if someone followed all secular-related commandments, no lying, stealing, murdering, coveting, dishonoring parents, swearing/cursing, etc. and "loved thy neighbor," but didn't believe in God, even though he was fully aware of Christianity, would he still burn in a lake of fire for eternity?"

      From my understanding...yes. Being "good" is not as much as a requirement as accepting God's grace and forgivness. But of course your theoretical secular person is not sin-free though.
      There was an example of this sort of in the Gospels. A young man who obeyed all the commandments came to Jesus and asked what he should do to be saved. Jesus said for him to abandon everything he had and to follow him. This troubled the man a lot since he had a lot of possesions. He went away sad. Jesus never denied the young man obeyed all the commandments but still implied he was lost if he did not follow him.

      Hope that made sense theologically.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Sure, that makes sense from a biblica perspective, but my question to you would be, is that just?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Is it just? Yes. From my limited point of view and as a follower of the faith.
      Though I will always leave the final call on divine justice to Him that is divine. Compassion is also an attribute of God besides being just.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Okay, why is it just if someone "good" in every way except worshiping God is condemned to eternal torture?

      June 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Because being "good" does not inst*itute a spirtiual change within. It's like what the Jewish Sages taught about fogiv*eness. When you have wronged a person, you have changed the makeup of the world. It has been damaged spirtually. Sure you can feel bad and do good the rest of your days, but that damage stille exists.
      You have to change within to as forgi*veness, choose to act against that which you have done. But the process isn't complete there, the person wronged must accept it, make it a aprt of themselves and give you that acce*ptance. The damage is repaired. The same is with sin and it's relationship with God. We have damaged creation with our spiritual actions and need to find grace and forgi*veness of God. Being "good" does not fix the damage of sin. Being good is not special, it is how we should be anyway..it's what should be average.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lycidas,
      I had to read your comment a few times, but hopefully I got the gist of it.
      If I understand what you are saying, then what damage would a hypothetical "good" person have caused, if they had never wronged anyone and yet didn't believe in God?

      Additionally, if someone causes damage to the world by comitting a wrong against another person and doesn't repent and ask forgiveness, then how does eternal punishment repair the world?

      June 7, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Lycidas

      "then what damage would a hypothetical "good" person have caused, if they had never wronged anyone and yet didn't believe in God?"

      Being good does not mean your are sinless.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Nonimus

      What sins are committed by the ideal "good" person?
      This probably requires a working definition of sin.

      June 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I think we might be at a fork in the road of sorts. Let me ask you this: Is there any person that you know of that is good all their life? That has never done something wrong?

      June 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Lycidas,
      Is there any person you know of that is a deity? And I mean actually know, not just knowing in the sense of "having a relationship with Jesus."

      I'm just trying to understand the concept of justice that is being portrayed here and dealing in hypotheticals is one way to flesh out the boundaries. If those boundaries are, "because God says so," then perhaps we are at an impa.sse.

      Although, I would say that there may be an ontological problem here, if I'm using that term correctly. If the basis for "perfect" justice is "God said so," then what is 'just' is based on the whim of one ent.ity, which doesn't seem 'just,' to me, at all, it seems like tyranny. On the other hand, if "perfect" justice is 'just' regardless of what God says (even if he always agrees) then justice transcends even God, which invites the question, "what is above God that created justice?"

      So, if that is the end of our discussion so be it. I have enjoyed it and learned a bit, so thanks.
      'til the next battle, peace to you and yours. 😉

      June 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  14. W.G.

    If your a satanist or an atheist , jsut one question what if your wrong??? In hell there are no atheist and satanist really wish
    they would´ve been good Christians . Just a thought what if your wrong ???

    June 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Lincoln Place

      "you're", not "your".

      June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Laughing

      Oh, the old "what if you're wrong" question. It's a favorite among christians (and other religions) to ask an atheist how embarrassing its going to be when we meet this god person and have to explain ourselves. Let me answer in two parts. Firstly, and I'm sure many of my peers will agree with me, why should I live my life in quasi fear that I might be wrong and that there's a god. You seem to think that asking if we're wrong will reform our ways, but heres the deal, I don't think anyone should live in constant fear of a supreme being who is vain, petty and contradictory at every turn. What if I'm wrong? Then I guess I go to a version of hell that you have in mind. Considering I'll already be dead I'm still sort of unsure how hell can be so bad if I won't have a body that will feel pain or die, whatever that's a question for a different debate.

      The other way I'll answer is this, what if you're wrong. Is it unbearable to think that this life is actually important because you don't get another one that you believe is full of rainbows and flying godmen and dead relatives. Personally, I think I'm living life to a greater extent because I'm fairly certain this is the only one I get so I better make it count, vs. christian believers who think that they get another life after this so dedicate their one life on earth to an imaginary being. Are you going to feel foolish that you wasted your life as a willful schitzophrenic? No, because you'll be dust like the rest of us, but can you stomach right now that Atheists are right?

      June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • LinCA

      Pascal's wager again.

      This only holds true if ALL of the following assumptions are correct, or have at least a better than 50% combined chance of being correct:
      1) There is a god
      2) This is the only god
      3) This one god is the christian god
      4) This christian god is as you describe him/her/it
      5) Your god doesn't care if you "fake it" and gives full credit for pretending to believe

      June 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  15. Be real

    Sooo...let me get this straight. The satanists, believe there is no God, BUT, hold themselves as the same 'God' that doesn't exist? And...they don't believe in the Satan whom they are named after??....Somebody's in major denial. here.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  16. NAE

    so if you believe in No God, that each one of you is a God then why be called Satanists or the church of satan...Why form a church if you are worshipping yourself..btw, isn't it just right that those that form the church of satan, deify themselves, just like satan or lucifer at the begining of Genesis tried to do himself, that he was greater than God, so now these so called satanists "deify" themselves and deny that there is a God period...I'm thinking that some of these satanists know what is coming but are in denial and so they believe that nothing is in the afterlife and we should celebrate the life lived here on earth..and that in iteself is correct cause this world does belong and is run by satan and that all him and his followers have cause after all is said and done, it will be ultimately DONE for satan and his followers or followers of themselves...

    June 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  17. meai

    Atheism is a cheap way to rob humans of their faith in a God who has created everything and who holds everything together. Just look at creation is perfect in every single way. Math is perfect there are no error in it. Science is perfect. I still can not believe there are people out there that think it all came from a random explosion and has all grown to become perfect? When will it all be perfect? If we are there how come there is still evil in this world? How come evil tends to create chaos? Satan is not perfect it will never be. Evil itself acknowledges the existence of good, a good GOD. Atheist need to explain all this questions to themselves and believe (have faith) that this is true. As a Christian my faith relies in a God who loves and has given us the freedom to love him back or not. If we don't then evil has power over us to destroy us. Very simple and easier to believe(have faith) in. Atheist are selling themselves cheap. They will reap the fruit of their believes and I don't think it will be a pleasant surprise.
    GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Noel

      Yes, evil creates chaos. So therefore, are all the Evangelical pastors that like to preach fire and brimstone, as well as the Westboro Baptist churs Evil? Hmm, there's your 'Christians' for you. There are many Christians I know that are wonderful people, and those are the ones that accept that everyone is allowed to worship The Lord exactly how they want as long as they are causing no harm to themselves or others.
      If God is ever loving, wouldn't he love these Satanists just as much, it doesn't seem like they are doing anything evil, but more that they are just fed up with Evangelical Christians like yourself telling them that they will go to hell simply for not thinking exactly the way you do like some kind of brainwashed sheep.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Sean

      Is your faith so weak it's threatened by those who don't share it?

      June 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Amused

      If, as you say, God is perfect and creation is perfect, then why is god's entire universe completely imperfect and random? You obviously have ignored all facts and information about evolution of life of this planet. There is not a single perfect thing on the earth, except for myth and delusion.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • charlie

      If everything God created is so perfect , why did my little girl die? If everything is for the glory of God,what glory did he get out of that?If there is a God that loves us ,show us some mercy.Reveal yourself to me so I know you exist....But you won't Either you won't or you can't

      June 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Be real

      This is actually a reply to Noel:
      1. The priest and pastors are human and created beings just like yourself who are subject to error. No one is perfect or righteous before God. Only God is perfect. Which is why, Scripture if anyone read it, continually warns us to keep our eyes on Jesus, God in the flesh, who gave us the example of how to live. We must strive to be like Him not necessarily the Pastor or Priest, they are running the same race.
      2. God is all loving. This is why He created the universe and man in the first place. To have fellowship with Him. Just as parents yearn to have children of their own to have fellowship with and to reflect their love through. FYI: we have all done wrong in the eyes of the true and living God. None are righteous, yet we are still (even the satanists) the objects of God's love. The Bible says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ "is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). God loves the sinner, but hates the sin. Jesus loves Satanists to death, haven't you read John 3:16? He loves them, and there is nothing they can do about it. He will never stop loving them or you. God is Love. He is the true Love that the hearts of all mankind seek and search for.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @charlie- "what glory did he get out of that?"

      The glory of her company, and being able to show her his.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Lycidas Show her his what? Where are you going with this?

      June 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      John, let's pretend you have passed the 6th grade shall we?

      June 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Lycidas But, but the Buddhists told me I should maintain a childlike mind! Dang it! WHY do I EVER listen to believers?????

      June 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I believe that Buddhists also believe in the concept of respect toward other's beliefs.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Lycidas That would depend on which branch of Buddhism you are talking about. I don't belong to any, though I do tend to enjoy the absurdist humor of certain varieties, notably Zen. Zen Buddhists say that you can be a Baptist Zen Buddhist. Not sure that the Baptists would agree. But Christian Zen Buddhism would be a lot less bleak and gray and dreary than the Christianity one generally encounters!

      June 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Christianity is pretty big JR, might not be what your expect Zen and it would turn out to be.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Lycidas Well, pretty much anything would be an improvement, eh? And zen would bring in some humor and humility sorely missing. Might even save some of you guys from getting a major cosmic comeuppance come judgment day. You never know until you try!

      June 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I think your exposure to the small Baptist minority has clouded your views of Christianity as a whole.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Charlie, God says that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts..." As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my thought about your thoughts", says the Lord...
      We humans are fallen creatures, and when man sinned against God, the whole creation became cursed, because of what man(kind) did. That's why there is so much suffering, injustice, wars, disease and death in this world, and it will be till the Lord Jesus Christ , the Prince of Peace comes again, to rule and reign in righteousness and justice on this Earth.
      The first time He came as a suffering savior, who became the Lamb of God , bearing the sins of all mankind, so that all those who believe in Him, and take refuge in His Name, will not be condemned, but be saved from God's wrath and His judgment.
      But when Christ comes the second time, He will come in glory and majesty, as a mighty warrior, defeating His enemies, with satan himself, who is the father of lies whom He will defeat, together with all his armies who followed him.... Then He, the Lord Jesus Christ will rule, establishing His Kingdom.

      You have many questions, and your posts reflect pain that's in your heart. God knows your pain, Charlie, and He knows the questions you have. But I will tell you one most important thing, which God has shown me in my own life's experience... The biggest danger that lurks at every human soul is the one where satan, the father of lies attempts to cast doubt and discredit the character of God to a human being, and he/she falls into the trap of believing those lies... Because if he can do that, he achieves his aim, to separate this person from the only source of hope he/she has! That's why you see so many even on this blog, speaking against God in such dam-ning ways! Satan has sold them a lie, and they have fallen in his strap!

      But you,Charlie, go to God with a humble and contrite heart, and pour it out before Him. It's o.k. to be angry, but not rebellious... God knows what's in your heart, and that you hurt. He suffered pain, so He knows yours! You must humble yourself and seek Him, friend!
      He said that if you seek Him, you shall find Him, if you seek Him with ALL YOUR heart! He said He is nigh to those who are humble and of broken heart, but the proud He knows afar of... Those are His own words...
      Remember this Charlie... If God never did anything for us, human beings, and if He had left us in this world totally desolate, but provided the way of salvation like He did for us through His Son Jesus Christ, it would be more then we could ever ask or imagine!....
      But He did not leave us orphaned... He is with us, He helps us, He is our ever present FRIEND, and COUNSELOR in our time of need... You don't seem not to know that... But you can know, and He does want you to know..... Don't go to a man to search for God... Go to Him alone, straight to Him, go to read His word, The Holy Bible.... Start with the Gospel of John, then Acts of the Apostles, Romans, and so on.... Read slowly, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you! Then you will find His words come alive to you, and He, the Holy Spirit will give you understanding. He will also pour such presence of His love over you that you will not be able to deny His presence with you... He will show Himself to you in such way that you will know that it is the Lord!...
      Many things you have been troubled about God will give you answers to them , but most of all, He will give you the assurance and peace in your heart, that no matter what ever happens, you will never be alone, nor forsaken.
      Just open you heart to Him, and don't allow the spirit of Pride silence your heart's longing to know God, and refrain yourself from blaming Him, because who is man that he should judge God?! We are the vessels, He is the potter..... He does not let us understand everything, but He shows us His love and faithfulness, and gives us His grace, so that we can trust His character, and know that, even the things we don't understand are in the power of His hands, and we can trust Him with our lives and with things we have not yet explanations about.

      I hope and pray that you will take to heart what I wrote to you here. Just remember, Charlie, you are not alone... You are loved by God, and He wants to reveal Himself to you. Do not let satan beguile you, you must be aware of his schemes, particular the one that throws mud on the character of God, and refuse them all. God's word says, to "resist him(satan), and he will FLEE from you". Because he can't stand to be resisted....
      And finally, I want you to know one most beautiful thing you can be sure of, if you come to Jesus Christ, and receive eternal life by faith in Him... you will see your little girl one day, and all your tears will be wiped away, this is the promise of God to you, because God does not lie! His promises are only time – distance away from becoming reality!
      Good night, friend!
      God bless and keep you!

      June 7, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Lycidas I was raised in the United Methodist Church, then had experiences with the interdenominational group Young Life. Then came study with the Baptists. After that, the Jehovah's Witnesses. Later, I had a teacher who wanted to convert me to Catholicism and I went to a few masses. Later still, I had an evangelical girlfriend and attended some evangelical services in a church that gathered in a restaurant in Chicago. I have also of course done a lot of reading. So no, my experiences with the Baptists, though notably negative, is not what I base my view of the entirety of Christianity on.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Lycidas

      @John Richardson- That's good.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  18. CW

    Very sad indeed....Jesus offered the ultim-ate sacrifice. Its up to all of us to accept and follow him.

    Satanist = H.ell

    These folks could read Genesis and see that they are not the first to "deify themselfs".....been there done that...it didn't work out too good the first time so I wonder what makes them think it will work this time.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • John Richardson

      A nasty death and three days in hell (which actually lasted well under 48 hours) is not the sort of thing I would volunteer for – except if I knew I would then be alive again and then swept up into heaven not just to live, but to reign for ever and ever. So no, that wasn't the ultimate sacrifice.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @John Richardson
      ....and the Lord says to you " behold , the fool, in the vanity of his own mind! "

      June 7, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Prism1234 Was the "lord" looking in the mirror when he said that? Seems like a fair assessment of someone who had a bad three days before reigning in heaven forever who keeps moan and groaning about his oh so ultimate sacrifice.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Artist

      CW

      Very sad indeed....Jesus offered the ultim-ate sacrifice. Its up to all of us to accept and follow him.

      Satanist = H.ell

      These folks could read Genesis and see that they are not the first to "deify themselfs".....been there done that...it didn't work out too good the first time so I wonder what makes them think it will work this time.

      ------–
      That was his delusion and issue, not mine or the worlds. No doubt Jesus was mentally ill and could have benefited from treatment:
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      June 7, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  19. Yud-Nt Noh

    All I am saying is, that there is no way that everything just happened. When I said that the human body was perfectly made I was trying to get at the fact that it can support life. After years of study our scientist cannot recreate everything that God has. No one will ever be able to recreate the spirit that completes our bodies to make us. Im not telling you to believe what I or millions of people believe. I am just stating why I and many others believe it. Faith in Jesus Christ has done a lot of good. Believe it or not this nation was based on Christian values and without them this nation will fall.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • MIke

      You are only a Christian because your parents or guardians taught you to be so when you were still young and your brain not mature enough to reject such illogical nonsense. If Christianity were a choice to be made at adulthood, and not before, then only 1% (if that) of Americans would be Christians. But it is not a choice, it is forced onto young, impressionable minds. That alone is a good enough reason to oppose it.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Michelle Green

      To Mike: I became Christian at age 44. My dad is a non-believer and my mom is a non-practicing Catholic. They never made me go to church. I choose God all on my own. Now I'm sure you will have a smart reply ready so go ahead and reply – but you are wrong.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Amused

      Christian revisionists, such as yourself keep repeating this myth over and over, desperately trying to make it true, but it is not ! This country was created and conceived to be a nation "of the people" and "for the people" with freedoms to think and believe as they wish without the tyranny and oppression of any particular religion. This country was specifically established to protect the rights all ALL people to believe as they see fit with no particular favor over any one belief system. This was a result of the movement of SCIENCE and REASON that had started in Europe, but was being attacked and oppressed by the Catholic church! Here in America those scholars of science and reason could find refuge from religious persecution! THAT is what this nation was actually designed to be. A refuge for rational thought!

      June 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Michelle Green: Then you have no excuse.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Michelle Green I became an agnostically tinged animist all on my own. Well, actually, it was a mix of experience, thought and exposure to a variety of ideas that I encountered in reading, conversation and elsewhere. So I guess it wasn't really ALL on my own, eh? It's even less so in your case. Your parents may not have pushed you, but Christianity, though waning, is still the most widely subscribed to belief system in this society and far and away the loudest, with many denominations and independent churches aggressively seeking converts and blaring their message all over. So you still instantiate the general case: people tend to believe what people around them tend to believe.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Mike
      what makes you an authority on why are people believing in Jesus Christ? How can a person who is spiritually dead know what Life is all about? You are as a blind man , who argues with the one who sees, telling him "there is no such thing as sight, and it';s all your imagination"
      YOU are the dead man, and You are the blind man! And unless you cease to fluff yourself as and authority to speak for us who know Jesus Christ, God will have the same to say to you as to the poster above: " behold , the fool, in the vanity of his own mind! "

      June 7, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  20. SeanNJ

    Reading the article, Satanists just sound like atheistic humanists who only use the word "Satan" to be controversial and confrontational.

    It seems to get the religious folk riled up, so I guess it still works for that purpose.

    @Yud-Nt Noh: You've received no answers. I'm sorry you're so afraid of the unknown that you need mythical nonsense to make you feel better about your own mortality.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • MIke

      Yeah, that's pretty much what they are; humanists that are atheists. They have particular rituals and rites and such that they perform that gives them a sense of community with one another, like other religions.

      They promote taxing churches as well, which is a laudable goal for a church.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • FairGarden

      Humanism caused the two world wars in Europe. Europe proved how evil humanists are. Humanism is a broke – does not work with mankind. Man need God to be good.
      Secular USA = a headless, meaningless body

      June 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Oh yes, those mercantile imperialist humanists, fascist humanists and communist humanists really did a job on the 20th century!

      June 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Fairgarden are you adelina ? You sound the same....

      June 7, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Evolved DNA: She doesn't hide very well, does she. lol

      June 7, 2011 at 9:34 am |
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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.