Well, we’re off to a good start with Exodus 24:4-8. The first thing Moses does when he get’s down from Mt. Sinai is write down God’s words. Already a huge problem is revealed. How could he possibly write them down, verbatim, from memory? God has been babbling on since Exodus 19, a dialogue of about about 3,700 words. For Moses to memorize them after a single hearing is like having someone read you the first three chapters of Les Misérables, and then being able to write a flawless copy with just a single listening!

Oh but it gets much better still! With the law written down, Moses then builds an altar with twelve pillars (one for each tribe) and sacrifices a bunch of oxen. He bleeds the animals dry, saving their blood in a basin, and burns their carcasses. Half of the blood Moses spills over the altar as a peace offering for God (this is what God demands for peace!), and the other half is smeared on the Israelites as Moses reads from the law. This grizzly scene is just one camera crew away from a blood orgy.

Ironically, this description is also precisely how panic-stricken religious folk described the ritual Satanic abuse in the 1980s. Killing animals, smearing blood on each other, reading from ancient texts… just add a pentagram and you can’t tell the difference between a ritual from the bible and a ritual from cheesy horror flick about Satanism.



Maju writes:


I always say that Satanists are Christians. You need to be Christian or something of the like to believe in Satan.

Baughbe writes:


Correct, both parts of the same religion. Just differenct sects like Baptists, Catholics and Satanists. There are even Orthodox Satanists and Reformist. Friend of mine dated one for a while. She was no crazier that the fundie he dated before that.
Gee, I wonder why this was left out of 'The Ten Commandments' film? Would have been a great scene!

TheAlmightyGuru writes:


It really depends on the type of Satanist. Anton LaVey's Satanism is a philosophy that doesn't believe in gods or even Satan. Instead, it follows a form of egoist self-worship and incorporates aspects of Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophies. Ironically, it's quite similar to the goal of the Tea Party.

Richard writes:


Honestly, if I believed a word of the bible, I would be a Satanist. That guy seems downright mild compared to god, and is the only one who seems to have been able to somewhat tame the reign of terror god inflicts on people.

someguy writes:


an interesting book that talks about the relationship between satan and God in a cool fantasy way is called "to reign in hell" by steven brust

in which satan and yahweh are equals that come to a disagreement and yahweh starts a propaganda campaign against him. it is a pretty good book.

Yeshivakid writes:


What's really fascinating here is that the concept of Satan as an evil figure does not exist at all in the OT and Judaism. In all my years in yeshiva, despite all of the extremist teachings and ridiculousness, we never once discussed or learned about "Satan" as a person or figurehead. The idea of Hell doesn't exist either. A mild form of Purgatory/Limbo is believed in, but that's a little more complicated and Kabbalistic, and not something they teach in the schools.

The idea of "Satan" in Jewish belief is more psychological, abstract, and complex. A direct translation of the word "satan" is similar to the concept of "opposition" or an adversarial obstacle. In several passages it is used in reference to a known person obstructing another's path (roughly "you are being a satan/adversary to me"). It is also used in a few places as a more innocuous verb (from the root STN), meaning "to withstand" something.

The word IS used with an article "the" in front of it in a few spots, ("HaSatan"), but the majority of the time this is referring to the word as its conceptual meaning, i.e. "the adversary", in reference to a particular person (who isn't necessarily evil incarnate, but is simply the current "bad guy" of the story, or causing some plotline difficulties).

Another explanation of the concept encompasses the abstract internal Freudian idea of the id, and the human selfishness that leads to choices that hurt other people. In this case "satan" is still not the figure of the Christian Satan, but simply of the more internal pull to do something frowned upon by religion, authority, and society's rules.

It's uncommon, but known in a couple of orthodox circles to introduce the idea of satan to children as the figurehead icon, but that's similar to people who teach their kids about Santa Claus. Once they're old enough to understand the truth, you explain what it's really all about.


Oh the irony!