Very few phrases can cause such a visceral reaction in people. Even today, in 2015, where the world in general is quite secular. Atheism, at least in the west is viewed by many as the philosophy of logical people. Theism is a dying perspective, primarily due to the utter failing of the mainstream religions to be of much use whatsoever. But even so, the accusation of being a devil worshiper is still the first thing people distance themselves from.
When someone comes out of the “broom closet” and announces themselves as a Wiccan, Pagan, or any other fringe religious group, what do they almost always follow that statement up with? “But…I DO NOT WORSHIP THE DEVIL!”
I find myself laughing along in agreement with Keith Nicholson’s sentiment in “Above Below Within: Planetary Magick and the Greek Gods” (pg.35);
Neo-pagans will fight their way to the head of the trough for any possible information that removes validity to Christianity. Such examples might be: Jesus was a pagan construct; Horus was a predecessor; and so forth. However, when their own gods are examined, they cry in unison, “Foul!” More importantly, they’ll proclaim defiantly that Satan (and the devil) does not exist in their pantheons of gods. However, they’ll call on any other god-form they desire, even if not in their own pantheon, except of course, Satan or the devil. Hypocrisy!
Fundamentalist churches often preach that atheists are actually devil worshipers, which of course is utterly idiotic and laughable. But they preach it regularly. It is stated as a matter of fact. I know this because I was raised in a very fundamentalist minded Pentacostal church and I heard it frequently. They still hold to the monotheistic ideas so strongly that anything not in agreement with their god is of the Devil. Period. And this, of course is said to discredit atheists and to try and paint them as incapable. “Well, Jane Doe can’t know what she’s talking about, and she certainly can’t be trusted. We can’t vote her into office, she’s an atheist, clearly she’s being influenced by Satan.” You might think I’m joking, but sadly I’m not.
In a youth group I was made to attend as a teen, there were a few times where the leaders would “lay hands” on an atheist minded kid, and they would pray to cast out the devils and demons who they thought were causing the person’s doubt and skepticism. It was less dramatic, but very similar to the more intense versions of this practice which they do to those who might be plagued with addiction, depression, or illness, on those silly Televangelist shows. (To give this church some credit, they saved all that stuff for the adult services at least.) There were actually deacons who were designated to stand around with sheets, ready to rush over and cover women who might have a “wardrobe malfunction” when they would collapse, or “fall out” in the “holy-spirit” while having demons cast out of them in their Sunday dresses.
This is how I came to originally align myself with Satanism. It was my breaking away from the Christian perspective in the only way I knew how at the time. So at thirteen, while following Faust’s lead, I wrote up a pact, lit a candle, drew a bit of blood, and called on the Devil. It was not scholarly or well informed. It was honestly that simple. And to this day, as someone who has now studied, at least to some degree, most of the worlds various religions, spiritualities, and magickal practices, I will still stand here and say;
I worship the Devil, and I stand in league with Satan.
The funny thing is, this statement is controversial even among the majority of Satanists and Left Hand Path practitioners as well. Which, I can understand to a point. The archetype of Satan is the one who does not bow. And Satanism in general is a philosophy that respects free will, self determination, and strength. So to many “worship” appears as an anti-thesis of these ideas.
At the risk of sounding like a grade-schooler, I think this is a term that the definition is worth taking another look at. So according to Webster there is a simple definition as well as a full definition;
Simple Definition of worship
the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god
: excessive admiration for someone
Full Definition of worship
chiefly British : a person of importance —used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors)
reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence
It seems clear to me that the simple definition is nothing more than the connotations conjured up by this word. Excessive admiration is not a smart move, ever. To place anyone, human or divine, on a pedestal is dangerous, and often a mistake. That is not what I mean when I say worship.
I hold to the full definition above. I see the Deity I worship as a being of importance. I see Him as both a natural and divine being, as well as a supernatural power (or essence). I express my reverence and veneration to this Deity through my rituals, and by having the utmost respect for Him, until/unless such respect is no longer warranted or deserved. As of today that has not occurred. In fact what began as respect has turned more into a profound awe. But even still, I do not bow, I do not grovel, and I do not beg. Such acts would be disrespectful to everything Satan or Satanism represents. I fully expect that if I went to my altar, got on my knees, and pleaded tearfully for favors that I’d get a well deserved anti-cosmic kick in the ass, and told to get some damn respect for myself before wasting His time again.
My worship is an alignment with Him, a working with the Deity, not standing below Him. I seek enlightenment. I seek strength. I seek self-evolution, and I seek empowerment. So who better to respect as a teacher? Who better to apprentice with? Who better to turn to as my guide while navigating the abyss? He is like the Virgil to my Dante, and I will not deny that I do indeed worship the Devil.