So Satan is in Detroit now…
There was an unveiling of a one-ton, 9-foot-tall bronze statue of Baphomet in Detroit on July 25th. The Detroit Metro Times reported on the event and interviewed Jex Blackmore, a member of the Satanic Temple’s executive ministry and a Detroit resident.
While still being bizarre and creepy, what’s quite interesting about this whole thing is the Satanic Temple is made up of a bunch of people who don’t actually believe Satan exists and they are more of a political, free-speech group than they are a religious or faith group.
So they are non-Satan Satanists who make statues of Satan and sell their souls to Satan, while all the while not actually believing in Satan.
The Satanic Temple uses the literary Satan as a mythological foundation for a non-supernatural religion, in order to construct a cultural narrative that can usefully contextualize life experiences and promote pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity. Both of the co-founders are “atheistic Satanists” – they do not believe that Satan actually exists.
The church actively participates in public affairs. This has manifested in several public political actions and efforts at lobbying, with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against religious organizations that it believes interfere with freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
So the Satanic Temple is much more like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster than actual Satan worship.
Both groups use satire and metaphor to promote things like the separate of church and state, gay rights, freedom of speech and what they’d consider true freedom of religion.
The original plan for the Baphomet statue currently residing in Detroit was that it was to live on the Oklahoma state Capitol lawn next to a statue of the Bible’s Ten Commandments. This was obviously a protest by these atheists that the Ten Commandments monument is unconstitutional. Oklahoma’s Supreme Court recently declared the Ten Commandments monument unconstitutional, thus Baphomet’s owners no longer had a case to place him on the lawn either.
As a Jesus-following pastor who loves the Bible, I do agree that it’s unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments on government property without also representing everyone else’s religious beliefs as well. This doesn’t bother me, but that’s because I don’t believe our country is a “Christian nation,” nor do I ever think it really was. I’m not that interested in marrying my Christian faith with a group of slave-owning Founding Fathers who lied to and butchered Native Americans to the point of genocide, so said Founding Fathers could have more and more wealth. Or a “Christian nation” who has had law and law after law that benefited white people at the oppression of all others, shaping our landscape to this day. These aren’t Christian values, period. Knowing that the Declaration of Independence, which many Christians think is a Christian document, calls Native Americans “merciless Indian savages” and the US Constitution considers blacks to literally be 3/5 of a person is enough for me to say a hearty “Amen” to the separation of Church and State.
Let me be clear, I think what the Satanic Temple group is doing is evil. I think it’s an intentional mockery of God. In order to purchase tickets for the Baphomet statue unveiling, you had to electronically sign a document selling your soul to Satan for eternity: (source: Patheos.com’s Friendly Atheist blog)
I agree that by signing this document under any name, given or adopted, actual or pseudonymous, I am hereby avowing my soul to Satan (aka Abbadon, aka Lucifer, aka Beelzebub, aka The Antichrist). I do so knowing that He (aka The Fallen One, aka The Father of Lies) or any of His representatives may choose to collect my eternal soul at any time, with or without notice. I understand that my signature or mark representing any name, real or made up, upon these papers constitutes a lasting and eternal contract, and that there will be no further negotiations on the matter of my eternal soul.
The purpose for the “soul contract” wasn’t that these people actually believe in Satan or God or an afterlife, but that they wanted to weed out protestors from attending their event. The only people who knew the date, time and location of the event were those who purchased tickets, and to purchase a ticket you had to agree to the above “soul contract.”
Snarky, creative and effective.
When buzzword topics like this appear, especially an hour from where I live in Lansing, I try to look below the surface and see what Christians can learn from this. Does part of me want to strap on my Old Testament soldier gear and go and tear down the statue of Baphomet, Elijah or King Josiah style? Yes. And I think it’s important to acknowledge and even commend Christians for feeling this way, to a degree.
But at the same time, it’s really important to remember that we don’t live in Elijah or Josiah’s day, we live in Jesus’ day, where he tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:38-48). He doesn’t tell us to give hateful and violent threats, which is how many Christians have been responding to the statue and its representatives.
Beyond our response, we need to ask ourselves why we don’t get so riled up over actual idols of Satan in our culture? You know, the ones we actually worship?
Hoarding of stuff / materialism / greed.
Selfishness. Pride. Arrogance. Self-righteousness.
Our children (when our lives revolve around them).
Our lack of children or our lack of a spouse or our lack of _________ that we yearn for as if it will give us what only God can.
Churches who only care for themselves and not the poor.
Churches who don’t preach repentance of sin or how we’re under the wrath of a holy God unless he intervenes with his blood shed on the cross. But instead believe that “all ways lead to heaven.”
Churches who preach how God’s job is to make you rich…if you give to the church/pastor of course.
How we don’t pray.
How we don’t read our Bibles and meditate on the Word.
Sneaky isn’t it?
Satan is not called “The Deceiver” and “The Father of Lies” in Scripture for nothing.
Deception is a slight of hand trick. Look at my hand as I wave it around (e.g. a statue of Baphomet), while the real trick takes place totally unnoticed…in your habits, in your budget, in your priorities, in your apathy, in your complacency.
Let’s funnel our vitriol against Satan away from “The Satanic Temple” group or the Flying Spaghetti Monster group and toward the way he has gotten foothold and after foothold (Ephesians 4:27) in our own lives and churches.
James 4:6-8 “God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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