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Of Satanism And Sacrifices

Coming later today here on Irregular Times: An article dealing with the subject matter of Satanism, child sacrifices, witch trials, and J. Gordon Melton, a professor of American religious history at Baylor University and founder of the Institute for the Study of American Religion.

For background as I am completing the article, I’d appreciate hearing the thoughts of readers about two subjects: One rather general, and one quite specific.

General: What is your understanding of Satanism? What is it, and what do you think of it?

Specific: Can anyone find any evidence that would stand up in a court of law today to substantiate the accusation that Athénaïs de Montespan and Étienne Guibourg killed babies as sacrifices in Satanic rituals in the time of King Louis XIV?

Update: The article is now online — Real History of the Black Mass.

affair of the poisons

16 comments to Of Satanism And Sacrifices

  • Ohio Vietnam war vet.

    Religion, as we see it expressed across the Earth, is based mostly on ignorance, fear, fantasy, money-grabbing and getting power over people. Religion in all of its forms is anti-science, since scientific exploration exposes the falsehoods of religion. Personally, I have never met someone who died and came back from the dead. I have seen absolutely no proof that there is a “hell” or a “heaven.” Yes, from a societal standpoint, some aspects of some religious dogma may be positive, such as “thou shalt not kill” in the 10 Commandments. But a high percentage of religious belief diverts humans from searching for reality in themselves and the world. Hitler’s army wore belt buckets that said “Gott mit Uns”–God with us. Lots of people, all through history, have used religion for their own selfish ends.

    It’s interesting to me that a man who is the focus of a world religion is credited with saying these things. Apparently, a high percentage of humans aren’t paying any attention to these very valid statements.

    BELIEVE NOTHING just because a so-called wise person said it.
    BELIEVE NOTHING just because a belief is generally held.
    BELIEVE NOTHING just because it is said in ancient books.
    BELIEVE NOTHING just because it is said to be of divine origin.
    BELIEVE NOTHING just because someone else believes it.
    BELIEVE ONLY what you yourself test and judge to be true.

    Buddha — Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta

    “test and judge to be true.” How many people can claim that they actually do this before accepting a belief?

    Finally, the first rule of religion is, generally, “don’t ask any questions.” OBEY, blindly (and, yes, bring money—Hello, Jim Bakker, ad nauseum.) End-Game: Religious belief has the potential to wipe out human life on Earth now that humans have the A-bomb.

  • Dave

    Hey Ohio Vet, for every Jim Bakker there are a thousand unknown (to you) small time Pastors who visit the sick, take care of the orphan and the widow, feed the hungry, visit the prisons, clothe the naked and teach their little flock to do the same. Whatever it is that they believe, it plays out in ways that get people involved in keeping millions from falling through the societal cracks. Science believes that we all came from the dirt just like the Pastor’s Good Book says. I have actually seen people take what they believe into the prisons and change lives. Take what you don’t believe into the big house and see how far it goes. The world is waiting to hear about it.

    • Bill

      Gotta go with Dave on this one. Ohio Vet, I completely understand where you’re coming from. Yes, of course, innumerable crimes, large and small, have been committed time and again in the name of religion. Many religions, in fact, including the one founded upon the Buddha whom you purport to quote so appreciatively. Just as innumerable crimes, large and small, have been committed time and again by non-believers. The fault is not inherent in religion. The fault is inherent in our selves. And for every such crime there have been a hundred kindnesses, self sacrifices, seeds planted. Blaming religion is an easy, simple-minded cop-out. Blame yourself instead. And all the rest of us.

      Oh, and, by the way, your Buddha quote is utterly bogus. It is a notoriously bad translation of an out-of-context snippet of the Kalama Sutta — so bad that it has pretty much nothing to do with what Gotama actually said to the Kalamas, and completely twists his intent. And thank goodness. For how could we possibly respect someone who instructs us to “believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true,” for that would lead me to disbelieve that dropping a cinder block on my son’s head might hurt him…unless I tested it. Fortunately for those of us who do not speak fluent Pali, there are several quite good English translations of the Kalama Sutta available. One easily accessible one is available here. You should study it.

      • J Clifford

        So, then, Bill, how come this standard of putting fault in the individual followers of a religion, and not the religion itself, applies to Catholicism and not Satanism – when as a religion, Satanism is only really a few decades old, and is a protest movement against the excesses of Christianity?

        It seems that Harvard University’s standard for Christianity is that all faults are forgiven in the name of tolerance. Harvard University then comes down harshly against anyone who dares to point out the faults of Christianity, refusing to show the same attitude of tolerance for protest that it grants to religion.

        Is religion fairly granted a status of being beyond criticism? Is this an attitude becoming of an academic institution – to place certain ideas beyond protest?

        • Bill

          I don’t defend Harvard’s attitude, J. Aholes gonna be aholes. And I don’t have much of an opinion either way regarding Satanism, first because I am not well read on the subject, secondly because I have the sense that it is really mostly a prank used to make a point, but mostly because whatever floats your boat is fine by me, as long as nobody gets hurt. Nor do I suggest that religion should beyond criticism. I’m just a big fan of treating diseases rather than symptoms. The many admitted flaws of religion and rationalism alike are symptoms. The disease is that of the Grinch — our hearts are two sizes too small.

  • Dave

    J., the Satanism of the Anton LeVey/Alister Crowley variety is the “do what thou wilt” system popularised in the 1960’s with LeVey’s Satanic Bible and Crowley’s appearance as a cardboard cutout on the cover of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album, soon followed by Blind Faith’s “Do What You Like” with the cool Ginger Baker drum thing. Prior to that time, it seems as though Satanism wasn’t talked about for a few centuries and today it appears to have as many denominations and manifestations as Christianity itself. This Black Mass thing at Harvard has a lot of people whining and complaining, but if they look closely at their own scriptures they will see that kings, prophets and priests of old never whined about it because they saw it as having no power at all.

    • Bill

      Dave, do you really think that a book hardly anyone of our generation has even heard of, much less read, plus a picture of one cardboard cutout (among many others) on another piece of cardboard, moved an entire generation to libidinous Satanism and free love driven by the jungle drums of Ginger Baker? C’mon.

      The ‘free life’ movement of the 60s and 70s (as I prefer to think of it) was a historically inevitable and quite healthy reaction to post-WWII single-minded materialism, tightly wrapped mindless moralism, planet-wide destruction of Mother Earth for the sake of a quick buck, and the bleeding-out of a generation in a mindless war that was sheer folly. The movement’s protagonists as a whole, including myself, were neither amoral libertines (though, from the outside, subscribers to Readers Digest were certainly fed that line) nor heroes. They were just another in a countless chain of generations stirring the pot of smugness…mankind’s auto-correct mechanism. We did some genuine good, and made some genuine mistakes, and then those of us who survived took a bath, got a job, and settled down to making babies and attending PTA meetings and renovating our kitchens. You sometimes seem to me to have a near-obsession with the Sixties as the root of all modern American evil. While I always regret self-delusion, nonetheless I’m kind-of happy for you for this, as it suggests that you have been spared much exposure to actual evil.

  • Dave

    Bill, in answering J.’s question I refer to the book, songs and popular culture of fifty years ago to help define Satanism with which I have a passing knowledge. These things in my view are examples of the resurgence of Satanism in the 20th century that did indeed permeate much of popular culture of the, here we go, sixties. Read about Aleister Crowley, the Brit version of Timothy Leary, both men instrumental in the widespread reacreational drug experimentation of the day. The Church of Satanism, Wicca, etc had their origens in the early 20th, engaged the pop culture in the late 20th c. Your narrative of your doings back in the day seems to be all about Vietnam – the “bleeding out of a generation in a mindless war” which, by the way, took somewhat more casualties in ten years than auto accidents did in any one of those years. I too regret self delusion. It was the big thing to many, and the narrative works for them. I think a much bigger thing was going on and I think there is a much larger narrative if we look and listen.

  • Dave

    Now don’t go all Forrest Gump on me here, Bill. I should have been very, very specific in replying to your free psychoanalysis. I am referring to a paradigm shift in the way we all do life in our time segment of the industrial revolution — the entire culture, the counterculture, everything from space exploration to the civil rights movement. If one wants to tell the story of those changing times it will have to be in larger terms than Viet Nam, which was one small part of the whole. You got me way off topic here.

  • Doug

    Well, Well, Well…. I wonder how you will be after 1,000 years just to warm up so to speak. Hell won’t be entertaining. The Lake of Fire which is the second death will be there for an eternity. Mock make jest! now however understand God is not mocked. What will you do at the Great White Thrown of Judgement . This is where all unsaved people will be judged. This judgement will take place at the end of the 1,000 year millennial reign of Jesus Christ called the Advent. For me I will just believe The Lord and accept him as my Saviour. Kings James Version says A Fool says in his heart there is no God. Accept the Lord today and I mean no harm to anyone. Understand once your in Hell there is no coming back, the Rich man who asked for one drop of water over 2,000 years ago is still there. I hope everyone will get saved before the Lord returns.

    • Bill

      Ah yes. Religion as Stockholm Syndrome.

    • J Clifford

      How can anyone trust a being that throws people into fire, on purpose, for the goal of making them suffer? What kind of crazy version of being “saved” is it to lurk in the shadow of such a beastly thing as that, Doug? You’re safe because you’re cowering in the shadow of this god, and threatening other people with burning?

      That’s weird, Doug, and kind of sadistic.

      Isn’t it interesting how Christians tell stories about Satanists being cruel, and then in the same breath threaten people with righteous burning?

      Psychologists would call this projection.

    • Jim Cook

      If you’re wrong, you’re deluded, Doug. If you’re right, you’re following a sadistic monster to cover your ass.

  • Doug Deakin

    Kind of Sadistic! it’s not sadistic. Projection. Hmmm here is a projection a Psychologist and a Satanist leading each other in the dark won’t they both fall in the ditch. I’m not threatening anyone God the Father is pleading to all not to be lost accept his only begotten son and have eternal life
    or reject Yeshua Hebrew, Jesus English interpretation and be lost. There will be a judgement for the Christian or rather Saved person at the judgement seat of the Lord and then there will be The judgement for the unsaved person who rejects Christ at the Great White Thrown where the book will be opened and if your name is not written and at this judgement it will not be there this is where the almighty will reject you for rejecting
    the Lords salvation. it’s a hard concept when a person is living in sin worshipping False Gods ie: Dagon, the Moon , the Sun, Baal, Isis, Harvest Gods and on and on when there is only one God and he states that he did not know any other God . By the way Mr. Clifford God does not get
    any pleasure in people going to Hell. Yes Jim cover my rear you bet!!! I am taking the same stand that Joshua made when he had similar accusations mad He stated (As for me and my Family we choose to serve the Lord.) I fear the Lord and choose to live.

    • J Clifford

      So, Doug, you’re suggesting that Harvard University should continue to teach its students to accept as valid only those religious beliefs that cause people to tremble in fear of the Christian god?

      I can’t see how that attitude is in accordance with a sense of respect for the reality of religious diversity in contemporary American society.

      Harvard went with the moral standards of the Salem Witch Trials on this matter.

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