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Advice for Christian Evangelists
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2003 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
To Christian evangelists:
Below is some advice on how to go about converting a particular type of Satanist to Christianity.
Why would I, a Satanist, want to give you such advice? Because the particular Satanists in question, whom I will call our Brat Brigade, are an embarrassment to other kinds of Satanists. You would actually be doing the Satanist scene a big favor by taking them off our hands, so that they can be an embarrassment to you rather than to us.
By the "Brat Brigade," I mean those whose Satanism serves primarily as a justification for gratuitous nastiness. As the name suggests, most Brat Brigade Satanists are teenage boys. However, not all of them are teenage boys. Some are older, and a rare few are female. Conversely, by no means do all teenage male Satanists qualify as members of the Brat Brigade.
Brat Brigade Satanists include, as a subset, Black Circle Boys -- those who venerate Satan as a god of "Evil" primarily in the sense of gratuitous harm, and who believe that Satanism entails killing and torturing animals, or even humans, in the name of Satan. I call them Black Circle Boys, after the 1997 movie of that name, regardless of their actual age or gender. (Most of them are indeed boys.) However, the Brat Brigade is a much larger category than Black Circle Boys.
In my experience, most Brat Brigade Satanists are not very familiar with Christianity. In nearly all cases that I'm aware of, they were brought up in some very superficial type of Christianity, in which the Christian God was equated with "sugar, spice, and everything nice" (as one young Satanist has put it).
Despite their ignorance about Christianity, Brat Brigade Satanists typically have many Christianlike religious instincts. Without even realizing it, they'll say some of the same things about Satan that many hardcore Christians say about their God. For example, at least one has said, "you are either with Him or against Him."
Thus, it seems to me, many Brat Brigade Satanists are probably the kinds of people who would be deeply drawn to hardcore Christianity, if only they had a more complete understanding of Christianity.
But they are exceedingly turned off by the more superficial, nicey-nicey versions of Christianity. They yearn for a God of wrath, vengeance, and raw power. And, to them, Satan is it.
Their ideas about Satan are drawn, for the most part, not from Christianity but from such pop cultural sources as horror movies and metal lyrics. Hence, just as many Brat Brigade Satanists have only a very superficial, one-dimensional, nicey-nicey concept of the Christian God, so too some of them have an equally superficial, one-dimensional, nasty-nasty concept of Satan. (See my article Satan and "Evil" in Christianity.)
However, some Brat Brigade Satanists do have a somewhat more sophisticated (or, at least, more elaborate) understanding of Satan. Do your homework regarding your quarry's particular form of Satanism, whatever it may be. For example, if your quarry has bothered to read LaVey's Satanic Bible, you should read it too. Note that there are many different kinds of Satanism.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that your own personal encounters with Satan give you sufficient insight to understand Satanism. If you fear that your own Christian faith isn't strong enough to withstand reading Satanist literature, then you have no business trying to evangelize Satanists at all. You will succeed ONLY in making yourself look like a willfully ignorant fool.
With the above in mind, here are my suggestions on how to talk to a Brat Brigade Satanist, based on my understanding of how Brat Brigade Satanists think and feel. (I will refer to your quarry as "he," because he will indeed be male in the vast majority of cases.)
First, in most cases, evangelizing a Brat Brigade Satanist would probably be an easier job for a man than for a woman, because you'll need to appeal to masculine feelings such as war-instincts.
Before you begin discussing either Christianity or Satanism per se, talk about other things first, to establish some common ground. For example, ask your quarry about his political views, including his views on war, various economic issues, and the death penalty. Chances are, you'll agree with at least some of his political opinions and can cite Bible passages in support of them. Focus on areas of agreement, not disagreement, between your quarry's political views and Biblical Christianity as you understand it. Chances are, you and he will both be amazed at how many areas of agreement there are.
Ask what your quarry thinks of various kinds of occultists and Pagans, e.g. Wiccans. Chances are, he'll have some nasty things to say, some of which you can agree with,
In all discussions with your quarry, listen for signs of the following:
- Contempt and resentment toward "liberals," "humanists," and sophisticated urbanites -- i.e., toward the very same secular establishment which also happens to be the number one enemy of the Christian religious right wing. Many Brat Brigade Satanists (and some other Satanists too) mistakenly equate Christianity with the more liberal, humanistic sector of the secular establishment. Point out their error in that regard.
- Homophobia. Chances are, sooner or later, your quarry will try to insult Jesus, Christians, Wiccans, or other people by calling them "fags," or "gay," or some such expression. If your quarry ever does say such a thing, point out that the Bible condemns homosexuality, and that the penalty for homosexual acts in Old Testament times was death by stoning. Then ask who your quarry thinks is the author of the gay rights movement, God or Satan? (If your quarry is a LaVeyan, point out that LaVey urged tolerance for homosexuals in the chapter on "Satanic sex" in the Satanic Bible -- back in 1969, before gay rights became fashionable.)
- Anti-intellectualism -- in support of which, of course, you can cite plenty of Bible passages too.
Once you've established common ground, then, if you have not done so already, make an effort to learn about your quarry's particular version of Satanism. Read any recommended reading material, and ask (gently!) for clarification on anything that seems inconsistent. Again, look for sympathetic common ground between Biblical Christianity (as you understand it) and your quarry's version of Satanism. Chances are, you'll find at least a little bit of common ground, and quite possibly more than a little bit.
Only then should you begin discussing Christianity in earnest.
When you do discuss Christianity, focus on the wrath of God. Not God's wrath toward your quarry personally, but God's wrath in general. Your aim, at least at first, should not be to frighten your quarry. Instead, your aim should be to glorify your God in a manner that will appeal to your quarry's boyish war-instincts. Thus, do not begin by talking about hell. Instead, re-read your Old Testament and talk about all the various wars, plagues, and other disasters in the Bible and how the vast majority of them were inflicted by God, not by Satan.
Don't neglect the New Testament either, of course. Your emphasis here should be on Jesus as a macho man. Many Brat Brigade Satanists (and other Satanists too) have somehow gotten the idea that Jesus was a wimp. Not true at all, judging by the episode of Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; and John 2:13-17). To do that, Jesus clearly had to be a pretty big, husky, forceful guy.
In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus's driving the money changers out of the temple is intertwined with another interesting episode, the cursing of the fig tree (Matthew 21:17-20 and Mark 11:11-20).
Most importantly, Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34).
If your quarry voices contempt for "turning the other cheek," point out that certain martial arts, e.g. Tai Chi, are actually based on a principle very similar to "turning the other cheek." (Alternatively, depending on your theology, you may prefer to use Gary North's statements on The Ethic of the Sermon on the Mount and Turning The Other Cheek.)
Back to the Old Testament. A couple of other Bible verses that might perhaps come in handy are these:
- "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)
- "The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness." (2 Chronicles 6:1) (Note: Do not make any assumptions about what this verse means without first looking up the context!)
Sooner or later, of course, you'll want to talk about your God's loving side, as well as his wrathful side. But make that later rather than sooner. Too soon, it will be a definite turnoff.
At some point, you may need to convince your quarry of the value of such ethical virtues as honesty and cooperation. Your best bet would be to make the case on a practical level, in terms of how the virtue in question (1) helps a society run more smoothly and thereby (2) increases the likelihood of victory in war. (Without point #2, your quarry might fail to see the value of a smoothly-running society.)
Speaking of victory in war, you might want to tell your quarry how Christianity became the state religion of the Roman empire. The Emporer Constantine had a dream in which he saw a cross and was told, "In this sign you shall conquer." And we can be pretty sure that what Constantine had in mind was military conquest, not "conquest" in some metaphorical sense. By that time, Christianity had become very popular in the Roman army, so Constantine probably figured that adopting Christianity as Rome's official religion would boost the army's morale.
If your quarry complains about Christian sexual morality, ask him how often he actually manages to get laid. Chances are, not very often. Point out that the easiest way for him to get laid on a regular basis would be to convert to Christianity and marry a Christian girl. After all, Christian women outnumber Christian men by a pretty wide margin, so his chances of finding a Christian woman desperate enough to marry him are pretty good.
If your quarry says something to the effect that Jesus's death on the cross proves that Jesus was "worthless" or didn't accomplish anything, point out that Jesus did succeed in starting the world's most popular religion (or faith, or whatever you call it) -- an undeniable accomplishment which few have matched. (Here is a website with statistics on world religions.) Of course, you'll also need to point out that only a minority of professing Christians have actually bothered to read the Bible and learn what Christianity is really all about.
In addition to my suggestions above, please note that you might be dealing with a kid with severe emotional problems. In that case, it's probably a good idea to study up on the art of counseling troubled teens, in general.
Well, good luck. Hopefully you'll succeed in either (1) converting your Brat Brigade friend to Christianity or (2) forcing him, at least, to think hard, thereby turning him into a more sophisticated Satanist. Either result would be an improvement, from my point of view.
Note: The advice given here is intended primarily as satire. I don't know whether and to what extent it could actually work. It has not been field-tested. If you're a Christian who has decided to try it out, please let me know your results. I would be very interested to hear from you.
Note to webmasters, especially Christian web masters: This article is copyrighted, and you do NOT have my permission to make an online copy of this article. But please do feel free to LINK to this page.
On a more serious note, see also: