Delusion: Book Reviews>



Beware Satan!

By Bob and Gretchen Passantino

Copyright 1994 by Bob and Gretchen Passantino. Permission is granted for non-commercial replication of or excerpting from this material, provided (1) that appropriate notice is included of its copyright status, as above, and (2) that an appropriate reference to the Answers In Action name, address and phone number be included with all replicated and excerpted material.

(The Black Mask: Satanism in America Today by John Charles Cooper. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Publishing Company, 1990, Trade paperback, 192 pages, $7.95.)

Dozens of lurid, sensational books on Satanism cram display racks at our local mall bookstore. The bold covers and screaming titles promise blood, gore, mystery, terror, and sinister incantations. The lineup at our local Christian bookstore is nearly identical -- the only differences being that in the Christian books Satan finally loses and God wins by a hair. Book after book promises to deliver facts, evidence, sound analysis, and constructive advice. Book after book fails, most simply rehashing common rumors and proposing fantastic conspiracies. In fact, out of the two hundred book working bibliography we developed for our own research on satanism and witchcraft, we recommend only one Christian book as a good general introduction to contemporary American satanism: The Black Mask by John Charles Cooper.

This short, fast-paced, well-documented book brims with pithy, laser-sharp observations about satanism. Cooper is not speaking off the top of his head: he has spent thirty years teaching, counseling, and observing the American religious scene. With a minimum of words he clearly summarizes the causes, development, and current status of satanism. Following are excerpts illustrative of the gems scattered throughout the book:

Fixation with the occult indicates that our society has neglected the human soul, indeed neglected the human being, in pursuit of the scientific-technological revolution and the power and wealth technocracy has promised and delivered -- to some (p. 25).

Satanism is political rebellion, ethical inversion, religious heresy, and suicidal self-loathing, all mingled in one great, taunting gesture of obscenity, thrown in the face of the universe. . . . Satanism is the ultimate in deviant behavior, the preeminent in perversion (p. 32).

Satanism, in the modern sense of that concept, began as a search for sexual "kicks," sensual enjoyment, and power over others. That is what it remains today (p. 38).

Popular culture, the way we see ourselves and the way we are with one another, is the source of satanic activity, not some "organized conspiracy." . . . We are the people our parents warned us against. We, who call license "freedom," are the sources from which the young and the unbalanced draw the elements to create their individual "hells" (p. 53).

[Satanism] is utter selfishness, pure egotism in action, and a quest for personal power and unlimited sensual pleasure. Destructive occultism represents the triumph of the will and the rejection of all authority. . . . (p. 54).

Satanism blesses and encourages the expression of all that is natural to adolescent development -- rebellion, defiance, and specialness -- yet it lacks a positive, rational framework and totally disregards relational, social, and religious boundaries and values (p. 61).

These feelings of power, the desire to control, and the pathological pleasure in hurting others are emotions quite close to those expressed in the utter hedonism, the conscienceless pleasure seeking of the committed destructive occultist (p. 112).

After much thought, I believe that the claims of breeders and great numbers of MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder] cases are classic examples of urban legends. The reality of satanic crime makes unthinking belief in unsupported claims unnecessary. I may be wrong, of course, but logically there is no cause to accept claims without proof (p. 120).

Those fascinated by the occult and drawn to the practices of Satanism are obsessed with the dark, the filthy, the dead, the irreverent, and the antisocial (p. 124).

In a personal interview, Cooper explained he wasn't afraid of the controversy stirred by some of his more controversial statements against conspiracy theories and against the credibility of breeders. "Truth is my only motivation. I debunk what is not true because it is not true. I have no agenda but truth. As a Christian, I believe you can't remain in a state of grace without upholding the truth."

John Charles Cooper has a broad background in philosophy, theology, pastoral counseling, and teaching. Cooper has several earned degrees, including an M.Div. from Lutheran Seminary, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy and theology from the University of Chicago. He has written dozens of books throughout the last thirty years. Currently Cooper teaches philosophy and religion at Eastern Kentucky University and pastors All Saints Lutheran Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Cooper has extensive experience counseling troubled youth concerning cultic and occultic involvement, and has consulted with numerous law enforcement representatives.

The Black Mask combines facts, evidence, sound analysis, and constructive advice for dealing with the deadly world of contemporary American Satanism. Cooper's book shows an intensity of commitment to moral absolutes and spiritual integrity that alone rescues the Satanist from himself. As Cooper observes, "Ignorance can be overcome with instruction, but moral stupidity continues its devastation year after year" (p. 41).

Answers In Action
P.O. Box 2067
Costa Mesa, California 92628

(714) 646 9042

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The Wide Paintbrush: Review of Painted Black

Bob and Gretchen Passantino

Copyright 1990 by Bob and Gretchen Passantino. Permission is granted for non-commercial replication of or excerpting from this material, provided (1) that appropriate notice is included of its copyright status, as above, and (2) that an appropriate reference to the Answers In Action name, address and phone number be included with all replicated and excerpted material.

(Painted Black by Carl A. Raschke. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990, 276 pp., $16.95)

"At last," we thought, "a book from an academic that both takes the religious implications of satanism seriously and actually surveys field data." We have been frustrated over the lack of well-documented, logically sound evaluations of contemporary American satanism. Irresponsible sensationalism abounds, and we're frustrated that there's no current book that deals comprehensively with contemporary American satanism.

That's why we eagerly anticipated Painted Black by Dr. Carl Raschke, professor of religious studies at the University of Denver. Raschke has a good background in formal research methods, familiarity with current events involving satanism, and experience in understanding religious values, worldviews, and commitments.

Sadly, Painted Black didn't meet our expectations, but it does have its strong points. Foremost in its favor, Raschke has accumulated information on a myriad of contemporary American activities, both legal and criminal, associated in some way with satanism. For readers who are unfamiliar with the widespread power of contemporary satanism, the various cases recounted are eye opening and educational. Raschke details the Matamoros killings, the Newberry killing in Missouri, the protracted McMartin Preschool case in California, the Fuster case in Florida, and many others. Raschke's frequent references to social values and activities throughout history also bring interesting perspectives to contemporary satanism.

However, the serious shortcomings of Painted Black far outweigh its few strengths. The book is from a major publisher, and its flyleaf describes the author as "America's leading authority on satanism and contemporary occultism," but it's another giant conspiracy theory with no more proof than Constance Cumbey's New Age conspiracy, Alberto Rivera's Roman Catholic conspiracy, or Tony Alamo's Catholic/Jewish conspiracy. Raschke writes like an inflammatory crusader who will put his own biased spin on evidence, argumentation, and quotes. He tries to prove his conspiracy of satanism plus drug rings plus organized crime plus pornography by combining isolated facts and ambiguous evidence. Fallacious argumentation abounds. Dismissing contrary testimony by implicit tautology is a favorite technique of conspiracy hunters. Deny what I'm accusing you of, and your very denial becomes a proof I'm right. After all, it's natural for a guilty person to deny his guilt! (Of course, the avid conspiracy hunter neglects to consider that innocent people generally deny their guilt, too!)

Satanism is real, powerful, and dangerous. It is enjoying unprecedented success in America today. We can't afford to dismiss its very real threat. But we also can't afford to mishandle our investigation and evaluation.

Answers In Action
P.O. Box 2067
Costa Mesa, California 92628

(714) 646 9042

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Spiritual Warfare: Designer Weapons for Contemporary Christians

By Bob and Gretchen Passaintino

Copyright 1991 by Bob and Gretchen Passantino. Permission is granted for non-commercial replication of or excerpting from this material, provided (1) that appropriate notice is included of its copyright status, as above, and (2) that an appropriate reference to the Answers In Action name, address and phone number be included with all replicated and excerpted material.

Spiritual warfare: Images of demonic battle, satanic destruction, and angelic triumph spill from the display racks and shelves of our local Christian retailers in doctrinal treatments, novels, Bible studies, children's stories, prayer manuals, and Christian living handbooks.

A new awareness of satanic influence in daily life has spurred Christians to learn how to combat the unseen evil influences that seem to sabotage our growth in Christ. The concept behind spiritual warfare, that is, the adversarial relationship between Christians and demonic power manifested in the world, is certainly biblical (Ephesians 6:10- 20; 1 Peter 5:8; and 2 Corinthians 11:4-14).

Christians throughout the centuries have grappled with the tension between the omnipotence of God and the limited, destructive power of the demonic. The ancient church uniformly required candidates for baptism to renounce Satan openly, a practice still preserved in Eastern Orthodoxy, the Roman church, and other sacramental denominations. Martin Luther expressed the tension well in the words of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, saying, "Though hordes of devils fill the land/All threat'ning to devour us,/We tremble not, unmoved we stand;/They cannot overpow'r us./Let this world's tyrant rage;/In battle we'll engage./His might is doomed to fail;/God's judgment must prevail!"

Earlier in this century conservative writers such as Jessee Penn Lewis (War on the Saints), Donald Grey Barnhouse (The Invisible War), and Ruth Paxson (The Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian) explored the Christian's struggle with evil. C. S. Lewis framed the battle within fictional contexts, including the classic The Screwtape Letters and The Space Trilogy.

However, as a genre, spiritual warfare literature emerged over the last four years, owing its explosive popularity initially to the fiction of Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness). There is even a fiction series for children, "The Spirit Flyer Series" by John Bibee (InterVarsity Press, 1983-1991 -- seven volumes), which is actually one of the best and most doctrinally conservative.

Today spiritual warfare has become a label for almost any Christian book that has as its theme the Christian's struggle with sin and evil, including books on Satanism, dysfunctional families, compulsive behavior, immorality, demonic activity, and end times Antichrist speculation. Everybody is fascinated with spiritual warfare, and nobody wants to be a battle casualty, but clear definitions and doctrinal expositions are scarce. Thomas B. White, in The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Servant, 1990), says to engage in spiritual warfare is "to learn to detect and deal with the subtleties of Satan." Wrestling with Dark Angels (Regal, 1990) classifies spiritual warfare as everything "within the context of this cosmic-earthly spiritual warfare dimension of reality." Most spiritual warfare books affirm the intensity of the Christian's struggle with evil, such as Kay Arthur's assertion in Lord, Is It Warfare?, "I believe many Christians live in defeat, because they don't understand that once they become children of God, they enter into war with the devil himself."

The current crop of spiritual warfare books often contribute positively to understanding Christian maturity in the midst of evil. Most of the books encourage readers to rely on the power of God, strongly exhort readers to abstain from sinful activities (which make one vulnerable to spiritual attack), and affirm the reality of the spiritual world.

Evelyn Christenson's Battling the Prince of Darkness (Victor, 1990) opens with a strong focus on the triumph of Christ over Satan,

Two opposite rulers -- but certainly not equal rulers! In the spiritual battle of the universe Satan always has been the loser, and Jesus always has been the winner. And those we win to Jesus are not only rescued from the doomed kingdom of the Prince of Darkness -- but are citizens of the kingdom of Jesus. Eternal winners!

Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock, in A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Servant, 1991), break into three parts how abstaining from sinful practices impacts the believer's life: "to become aware of our vulnerabilities, to renounce the sins we've yielded to in our areas of weakness, and then with the help of the Holy Spirit to strengthen our defenses against the evil one."

Edward Gross, in Miracles, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare (Baker, 1990), points out the necessity of recognizing the reality of the spiritual world and spiritual power, both the demons' and God's:

Paul states that the nature of our battle is spiritual, not physical (Eph. 6:12). Therefore, its weapons also are not physical, but spiritual (2 Cor. 10:3,4). It is as foolish for a soldier to oppose a squadron of bombers with a sword as it is for the Christian to fight against spiritual enemies with dependence upon human wisdom or strength. Only the spiritual armor that God has provided is sufficient for victory in these battles (Eph. 6:10-18).

Along with the good principles gleaned from the current crop of spiritual warfare books are, unfortunately, some tares. First, because this is a relatively new trend, authors have little previous commentary to learn from, and consequently there is more speculation, supposition, and sometimes outright error than there would be in literature about a subject already comprehensively explored. C. Peter Wagner, in Territorial Spirits (England: Sovereign World, 1991) notes, "The growing interest among scholars, pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and lay Christians in strategic-level spiritual warfare cries out for research and teaching." Second, readers caught up in the demonic drama of spiritual warfare are tempted to attribute to the demonic was is actually due to personal moral irresponsibility. "The Devil made me do it" is a still-popular clich­ because, although people recognize its fallacy, they believe it anyway. Writers tend to present teachings about "territorial spirits," "demonization," "generational sins," etc. with the same dogmatism as well-developed historical and biblical theology. Neil T. Anderson, in The Bondage Breaker (Harvest House, 1990), expresses his belief that personal sin can devolve into spiritual bondage, explaining,

Repeated acts form a habit, and if you exercise a sinful habit long enough, a stronghold will be established in your mind. Once a stronghold is established you have lost the ability to control your behavior in that area.

A third vulnerability in this genre is the sensationalism usually associated the demonic. Books focusing particularly on Satanism make some of the most sensationalistic, unsubstantiated claims. Mark Bubeck, in The Satanic Revival (Here's Life, 1991), reports unsubstantiated, subjective testimonies of satanic activity as though they were documented, officially validated facts. Jerry Johnston, in The Edge of Evil (Word, 1989) uses a nationally discredited story of supposed satanic involvement as documentation for his sensationalistic claims about satanic power and activity.

Finally, many contemporary books on spiritual warfare, including Johnston's, Bubeck's, White's, and Anderson's, promote the controversial, minority view that Christians can be controlled against their wills by demons. Whether this is called demon possession, demonization, demonic oppression, or something else, such a view has never been the majority view of the evangelical Church. All of the contemporary books advocating the minority view rely heavily (in some cases almost entirely) on personal experience rather than comprehensive biblical exegesis. Thomas Ice and Robert Dean, in A Holy Rebellion (Harvest House, 1990), as well as Edward Gross, support the traditional theology, arguing well from scripture that Christians cannot be controlled by demons.

In addition to general treatments on spiritual warfare, there are also specialty books. Wagner's book deals specifically with "territorial spirits," Arthur's and Sherrer & Garlock's are especially for women, and John Bibee's are excellent action stories for children. Is the value of studying spiritual warfare equal to its popularity in today's Christian market? A survey of the available books shows the question can't be answered the way it's asked. Of course whatever the Bible teaches, including "spiritual warfare," is valuable for each Christian to study (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and to neglect an area of biblical doctrine is to be spiritually malnourished. However, today's popular, often sensationalistic, and trendy books on spiritual warfare seem overall to contain more empty calories than balanced nutrition.

Read a few of the books, especially the less sensational such as Michael Green's Exposing the Prince of Darkness (Servant, 1981) or Richard Mayhue's Unmasking Satan (Victor, 1988). Using your Bible as your guide, take the nutritional wheat and leave the abundant tares.

"Enemy-occupied territory -- that is what this world is," commented C. S. Lewis, "Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed . . . and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage." Let's be prepared for the battle, but let's do it with the tested and true weapons of biblical armament (Ephesians 6:10-14) rather than the untried plastic prototypes of contemporary designer weapons.

Bob and Gretchen Passantino are the directors of Answers In Actions and award-winning journalists and authors. See also their book When the Devil Dares Your Kids (Servant, 1991)

Answers In Action
P.O. Box 2067
Costa Mesa, California 92628

(714) 646 9042

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[reformatted: boboroshi ] [original URL source:]

    The Ordur of Kaos Under Satan (TOKUS)
         -- the underlying k@s that makes all this possible
    Satanism Archive
  • Smackers          -- self-described Satanist expressions
         Compare outsiders' descriptions of Satanism and satanism:
  • Propaganda      -- non-Satanist religious and academics
  • Delusion           -- 'satanic ritual abuse' fear-mongering
    Mother Church (CoE)
         -- the progenitrix of eco-ethics

(c) 1999 (nagasiva)
items referenced in this archive are
copyright the authors cited per the Berne standard.

Illustr. credits: "krampustile" was cybercrafted by tyagi nagasiva, scanned from a 1932 postcard printed by "Erika" with krampus on red and white background, 1998; 'Snake Bar Devils' is an improvement on the 'Authentic Candle of Desperation' packaging from Botanica Del Leon Rayon (Mexico) by t. nagasiva, 1998.

Related sites of interest:
The Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Satanism Bibliography: composite booklist of relevant sources on Satanity and devildom, by category
Satanic Blood Pact: explanation of how, why, and when to make a blood pact with the Devil
      Adversarial AEon Begins: the particular and specific incident of a Satanic Blood Pact described
Manifesto Satanika: a generalized Satanic sociopolitical manifesto, with a helpful elaboration
nocTifer: a tender-hearted Satanian (nagasiva yronwode) in all avenues of expression
      Bookmarks in compilation from the Magus of the AEon of the Adversary

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
      Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century hoodoo accounts, with ex-slave narratives & interviews
      Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: readings and hoodoo services
      Hoodoo Library facilitating an education on conjure, and help procuring modern sources
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, and a way to obtain them
Free Spells from eclectic witches, Coven Kyklos, in their Book of Shadows, called "Spiritual Spells"
Lucky Mojo Spell Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, and more
Mystic Tea Room: tea leaf reading, teacup divination, and a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Tarosymbolismatrix Tetraktypisciseferoticus: the symbolic foundation of a novel Tarot deck
Change Oracle: rudiments of Yijing (I Ching) and several means of using it for readings
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Usenet FAQ Archive: arcane and spiritual FAQs and REFs, brought to you by Lucky Mojo
YIPPIE: the Yronwode Institution, bearing the standard of indigenous ethnomagicology

Arcane Archive: thousands of archived usenet posts on religion, magic, mysticism, and spirituality
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: inter-faith; candle services; Smallest Church in the World
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist