The Rising World Religion
Neo-paganism, Neo-satanism or Neo-christianity - What's the Difference?
by Berit Kjos
"I play Dungeons & Dragons, read comic books, watch Star Wars, play video games, and believe in one of God's great mysteries: evolution. I am also a Christian. These things are not mutually exclusive. Stories are a gift He gave us to entertain, explain, and educate. By telling and glorifying something like magic, we don't teach that it is right. We teach that it is fun." Louis
"I believe in GOD. I go to church, I pray. I love Harry Potter. It's a fun movie, and in NO way promotes "evil" witchcraft. That is why the characters are "good" characters...." Laura
"Stop looking too far into things and ruining it for the youth. ... Stop casting judgment on symbols.... I am Satanist, but don't judge me as a Satan worshipper. I have no guilt of what I do. It is Christians who should feel guilt." Jasyn LaVeigh
"...the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light...." John 3:19
In these times of "managed change" and merging values, the old religious differences are fading fast. As the new ethic of tolerance and consensus grinds away the traditional obstacles to "common ground," most opposing beliefs seem to melt together. A new form of "Christianity" is being shaped to fit the today's vision of global solidarity, and that same vision is also squeezing paganism, moderate (not militant) Islam -- even Satanism -- into its universal mold.
A modern version of Satanism? That's the aim of two California students who started a Satanism club at San Mateo High School. Calling it The Satanic Thought Society, they plan to study the teachings of Anton LaVey (who founded the Church of Satan) and "the philosophical teachings of alternative religions." Shedding the old dark edges that offend and frighten, they promise to present a new face: no "devil worship," no rituals, no black magic.
"These young men are really interested in the philosophical teachings of alternative religions," said Principal Jacqueline McEvoy. That's true. Like many neopagans, they will mix and match diverse customs as they invent their own beliefs. The Church of Satan website illustrates the new synthesis well:
"We live by the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ ...
"Christians do not have a patent or trademark on the word, ‘God.’... Many Satanists do not envision an abyss which separates the creator from the created. God is not only in my life, God [not satan] is my life. Simply put, God IS. ... Satanists generally believe God is diffused through nature and consciously expressed through you!"
This feel-good blend of personal pantheism and monism is also seeping into traditional religions: god is everywhere and in everything. Threfore all is god. Therefore, all is connected. Therefore all is one. Shirley McLaine proclaimed it, Wiccans affirm it, and Al Gore described it in The Earth in the Balance (1992):
"The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously throughout the world has... spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths. This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilization's responsibility for the earth is concerned." (pages 258-259)
Even "Christians" are imagining God as a universal force. For Jonathan, who sent the comment below to our website, the Star Wars series provides the perfect context for change:
"I am 16, and was raised a Christian. I am active in my church, and am close to my Pastor. I am also a fan of entertainment.... In my youth group at church, our guide had us watch all 3 Star Wars as an afternoon. She wanted us to see the Biblical Truths in them. We discussed how the force represents God in all of us."
Ashamed of the cross and afraid to offend, many other neo-Christians have renounced the very heart of our faith: Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Small wonder, considering the last decades of contrary suggestions, group pressure and growing hostility toward God's unchanging truth and values.
Nowhere is that hostility more evident than in the classroom. Dozens of examples are shown in chapter 4 of Brave New Schools[Establishing a Global Spirituality], but the following assignment from the "Kids" page of the United Religions (URI) website, illustrates the mind-changing tactics that drive the transformation.
Remember, the URI works with UNESC0 and its world education system to establish a spiritual form of "unity in diversity." But they cannot conform the world to the new spiritual pattern until they "free" its people from the "divisive" and "extremist" old Biblical values. This assignment models a process that has proven its transforming power:
"For this assignment, students will be writing a paper or story in which they will create their own religion. It should include the major components they have studied, including sacred texts, basic beliefs, holy places and spaces, as well as holidays or festivals. It could also include special passages, symbols, icons, and whatever concept of God or holy guides the religion has.... The possibilities are endless- their imaginations and your boundaries are the limits. ...
Another possibility would be for students to make presentations... and answer questions as if they are the leader of the religion." URI Kids - Activities
Although Aaron, another visitor to our website, didn't learn his values from this URI lesson, he illustrates its natural outcome. After reading our comments about Dungeons and Dragons, he sent us the following messages:
"I am a Dungeon Master. I am in the midst's of designing a world for my friends to participate in.... I am twenty years old, play D&D every week with my friends, and still believe in God. I come from a very strong Christian background."
Like Tolkien, Aaron is fascinated by medieval myths and magical worlds. "I have almost completed my campaign world, more specifically the mythology of the world," he writes. "I have researched many different mythologies that we as a planet have had. Everything from the primitive Olympian gods to the currently worshiped Buddhist culture in the east."
And, like Tolkien, Aaron has designed an alternate world based on "primitive cultures religion." But while he delights in the pagan medieval world, he still clings to his identity as a Christian.
"After all, it is the medieval times, and one filled with magic and such. So, I have many gods, somewhat similar to the Nordic mythology of old. But, because I created these gods, that does not mean that I have lost my way with the Lord. I still am a good Christian and do everything a good Christian should. ... I know better than to abandon the Lord, but I have been participating in Dungeons and Dragons for 7 years now....
"I am a very big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, and I also know that he is a very devout Christian. One may not be able to tell be reading his books. ... I just wanted to bring this to your attention. The fact that someone can still play D&D and believe in the Lord."
I sent Aaron a question recently: If Jesus said to you, "Come follow Me," would you be willing and able to leave D&D and follow? Or do you imagine that Jesus Christ, our holy God, would happily join in your game about other gods, spirits and magical forces?
Aaron has not yet answered, and I am not surprised. When Christianity is lifted from its Biblical foundation and planted into a pagan setting, the issues of right and wrong fade away. Sin and guilt become meaningless and the cross irrelevant. Human dreams and feelings, not God's word and will, become the guiding light and the driving force. And the old truths, facts and logical thinking drown in a sea of new values and feel-good, self-made beliefs.
Without those truths, the world has no real standard for discerning right from wrong or God's wisdom from the world's futile philosophies. Apart from God's Word, it seems noble to unify, not separate, those familiar opposites. The Church of Satan summarizes it well:
“Our objective? Closure to this unnatural dichotomy... Bringing flesh and spirit together. The establishment of a New World Order, free of guilt, self-loathing and shame, where every man and woman is the god of his or her own life.”
The Satanist does not worship evil. We honor ourselves and nature and respect opposition in balance! Evil ... is simply a convenient label we slap on those who are politically incorrect. The ascended masters of Eastern Philosophy are the fallen angels of Western Philosophy. One man's ‘demons’ are another man's ‘saints.’
“Yes, we inhabit a universe of conflict and duality, but the source of all life is the One, whose center is everywhere...." http://www.churchofsatan.org/faq.html
High school Satanism club prompts parental outrage: "A group of San Mateo High School students trying to stir up controversy formed a club based on Satanism, a religion typically associated with hedonistic philosophy and with the rituals of black magic. Calling themselves The Satanic Thought Society, co-president of the club James Doolittle admits he originally started the club with his friend Matt Heeney to 'rile things up a bit.' But now that the two juniors have studied the teachings of Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, they say Satanism helps people to express themselves. ...
"'Satanism doesn't support hate for no reason,' Doolittle said. 'Satanism says it's OK to feel hate, because hating allows them to love more.'"