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Satanism - Some Misunderstandings

In the last post, I refered to a 1990 article that finally made a distinction between New Age, the Occult, Wicca, and Satansim. I have typed it out, verbatim, from the journal. This article was notes from a presentation by the Rev. Colin Clay: Chaplain at the University of Saskatchewan, given on May 11, 1990. He also writes about drug use and cults, what Satanism is and it's dealings with Christianity, and so on. I'm just typing out the part that deals with the differences between the religions.

Satanism - Some Misunderstandings

Thre is some confusion today with respect to New Age, the Occult, and Wicca (Witchcraft) - none of which should be associated with Satanism. New Age is an all-embracing term for a wide variety of spiritual experiences, most of which reflect a reverence for nature, the earth and the cosmos closely resembling the thought of our primitive ancestors many thousands of years ago. Some of the ideas are disturbing to those in traditional religions, e.g. the concept of God being in each person, the possibility that we have had previous lives on earth, and the notion that we can have out-of-body experiences and make contact with other spiritual beings in the cosmos. The New Age may be confusing to some - but is not Satanic and it achieves its "highs" through chanting, mediataion and prayer - not, as a general rule, through hallucinatory drugs. Some have said of New Age that the "drug of the 90's is cosmic consciousness".

In the most scientific age in human history, more people than ever are engaging in occult practices, from tarot cards and horoscopes to ouija boards and palmistry. While the use of marijuana and othre hallucinogens can never be ruled out, the primary purpose of occult practice appears to be its alleged contact with those supernatural forces which appear to control use and all other events in the world. It is this fatalistic philosophy which takes away all sense of personal responsibility. The rise in popularity of all kinds of occult practice may be attributed to the growing mistrust of science and the scientific achievements which have not achieved the hoped-for utopia.

Although the later Middle Ages and the post-reformation period witnessed an obsession with the evils of witchcraft - and saw the deaths of hundreds of thousands of witches, mostly women, accused of consorting with the devil - the acient craft of Wicca closely resembles New Age in its reverence for nature. Apart from having some holidays in common, it has no connection whatsoever with Satanism. Wicca, as we understand it in most parts of Canada, is a benign philosophy, encouraging celebration with the elemental spirits, the earth goddess and the spirit that resides in every living creature. It must be admitted that there are some forms of "bad medicine" to which the name black witchcraft is given: this can be the "flip side" of North American native spirituality and some would see similarities between this and that found in the West Indies (such as Haitian voodoo) and in thsoe parts of Africa where the charms and fetishes of voodoo originated. In such groups, as we might expect, there is extensive use of hallucinatory drugs.

It must be emphasized that any form of evil sorcerty, wherever it may be found is the "flip side" of a loving, nuturing and caring spirituality (such as that round in the native religions of North America). We might ask whether it may not be true that every religion has its "flip side". Without doubt, Satanism is the "flip side" of Christianity.