Satanism vs. Pseudo-satanism: Disambiguation and argument against conflation from within Satanism as a New Religious Movement by Christina Engela
In this book I discuss the harm caused by the conflation of Satanism as a religious movement with the Christian-created myth of “pseudo-satanism” by Christian evangelicals, as well as providing a simple disambiguation to distinguish the two from each other.
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There are numerous diverse forms of Satanism globally in terms of religion, which include theistic, atheistic and even non-theistic forms, and using different archetypes and deistic identities within their beliefs and practices, including Satan, Lucifer and Set, et al.
Numerous examples of “occult experts” exist, who deliberately distort Satanism, Satanic literature, or perceptions of these, in order to conflate Satanism as a new religious movement with the Christian-created self-fulfilling prophecy and archetype of “mythical” or “pseudo-satanism”.
In South Africa, claims of “Satanic Ritual Abuse” are still regarded as the purview of law enforcement in a front-line sense rather than as an issue to be addressed by the mental health profession first and foremost, as is the practice in other countries such as the USA, and UK. Christian clergy holding influential positions within law enforcement have historically worked to separate the perception of Satanism in South Africa from that of other countries, which they describe as “law-abiding” and “harmless”, in order to demonize and persecute local Satanism as “harmful religious practice”, “anti-God” and “a belief system which leads to crime”.
Instead of being interpreted through the lens of mental health as in other countries, alleged “satanic crimes” committed by criminals adopting the “devil made me do it” defenses are instead taken at their word and discussed and interpreted through religious views of an elite religious police “occult related crimes unit”.
From a view internal to Satanism as a new religious movement, the disparities between religious forms of Satanism and the specter of so-called “occult-related crime” as pushed forward by persecutors of Satanism, are glaringly obvious.
In spite of a tendency by supporters of “Satanic Panic” conspiracy theory to conflate religious Satanism and “pseudo-satanism” with each other, the differences between Satanism as a new religious movement and the Christian-created and promulgated tabloid-prophecy-fulfilling myth called “pseudo-satanism” are many and clear, and their origins and adherents exist in a totally separate manner, as discussed in this paper.
In spite of this clarity to those close enough to the subject to perceive these differences for themselves, many others not suitably placed to perceive these differences, seem to have difficulty in separating or differentiating Satanism in its religious forms from the archetype of “pseudo-satanism”. Many even reject attempts to correct the misconceptions and assumptions under which they operate.
Once the clear key differences between Satanism as a NRM and the archetype of “pseudo-satanism” are more widely understood, this could only lead to the end of a perpetually threatening and omnipresent recurrent religious moral panic – the specter of “Satanic Panic” hysteria, elements of which is still evident in South Africa even today.
Keywords: Satanism, New Religious Movements, conflation, pseudo-satanism, satanic-panic, hysteria, misconceptions, occult related crime unit, South Africa.
Originally released in 2021 as an academic paper, now also available as an eBook, coming soon in paperback form.