I heard on Glen Beck a while ago that a Florida court decided in favor of the Satanic church allowing them to put up a public display near a Nativity scene. The display is pretty much what you would expect from the Satanic church: an angel falling into hell. Because of this, I wish to make a few comments on Satanism.
First, let me be clear, I am not an expert on Satanism (What serious person would want to be?). What little I know comes from having read the first few chapters of the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey (If I recall the name correctly), a book I purchased in the spirit of being “objective” and “non-judgmental” just for kicks back in my philosophy days. From what I recall, the official Church of Satan doesn’t endorse human sacrifice (well, gee! Thanks for that!). It embraces what is basically a hedonistic philosophy: follow your urges, sleep with whoever, whenever you can, etc… They don’t necessarily believe in Satan so much as they don’t believe in a God that cares. As they say, there is a Force in charge of the universe, but it cares not one whit for humans (Oddly enough, I agree with that and call that Force Satan—actually, I guess, that’s not quite true: Satan has malevolent intentions toward humans which is not quite the same as not caring—but I also allow that there is a transcendent God that does care).
My perception of Satanism is that it’s kind of a childish temper tantrum in the arena of religion. We’re sick of listening to the Christians, so we’ll go out and worship their Devil (Knock yourself out. I’ll just cross you off my Christmas list and find someone else to have a meaningful conversation with).
Satanists should be neither feared nor tolerated. They should just be ruthlessly mocked (and pitied). Okay, perhaps, to be charitable you should try to reason with them and persuade them away from their views, but I just doubt you will have much success. As for the court that let them put up their display, I suppose that’s what you get when you try to separate God and morality from your legal code (Not that I’m in favor of institutionalizing a religion for the U.S.A. but more like just giving God a hat tip. “One Nation Under God” and all that).