By Eric Holmberg
Published January 6, 2008
As we now approach the moment of truth, there are two common excuses that begin to roll around in people’s minds kind of last ditch stabs at self-justification. One deals with the issue of intention and motivation.
“Hey, it’s not my fault that some of the groups I listen to sing about bad things. I mean, hey, I’m only in it for a good time you know, blow off a little steam. I’m not going around worshipping the devil or anything.”
We’ll come back to this issue in a moment when we look at the bottom line of satanism and what it really means to follow the devil. But first let’s deal with the other excuse, one that is particularly common with “religious” people those, who in the words of scripture, “love feeling good more than they love God holding to a form of religion, but denying the power of it.” (2 Timothy 3: 4, 5 (paraphrase)) Ironically, it’s people in this group that are often the most resistant to the saving power of God.
“I don’t like the satanic stuff. I like the easy stuff, the neutral stuff like Whitney Houston or George Michael or Phil Collins. I like stuff like that.”
First off, as we have seen, many of the artists who are considered neutral are not neutral at all when you look beneath the surface. Take, for example, one of the reigning queens of pop music, Whitney Houston.
Though probably one of the nicest individuals within the contemporary music scene, as an artist there is no question that she has endorsed, or at least permitted, a worldly brand of sex and sensuality to be used to sell her music. While no where near as brazen as Madonna, aren’t poses like this or videos like “Saving All My Love for You,” a blatant celebration of adultery, just another, more subtle side of the same coin?
And even more important, isn’t the so-called neutral stuff, by the very reason of it’s subtlety, potentially more destructive than the overt wickedness found in hard core rock ‘n’ roll? Surprised? Well, stop and consider the following fact of life. For something to be true, it has to be completely true. Inject into it even the smallest falsehood and that truth immediately becomes a lie a weapon in the hands of the one whom the scriptures call the “father of all lies” (John 8: 44).
And while there is no doubt that Satan’s greatest triumph in this arena is to see people swallow lies devoid of even the slightest trace of virtue, cons like “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, the fact is that his most effective deceptions are those that carry a degree of truth. And that’s why the middle of the road, in music as well in many other areas of life, can sometimes be the most dangerous place of all.
By way of an analogy, take strychnine, one of the most powerful poisons in the world. In its raw state it is unattractive and extraordinarily bitter. Left in a room with young children, it’s unlikely that they would pay much attention to it and even more unlikely that they could stand to eat enough for it to be fatal.
So it is with some of the more extreme forms of rock music that directly glorifies death and Satan. Most people avoid it, although it must be noted that our society has become so desensitized and perverted that some are only too happy to take this bitter poison straight.
To the point at hand, however, if you were to take this same poison and sugar-coat it and add pretty colors to it and make it look, for example, like M & M’s ,and then leave it with the children virtually everyone of them will eat the poison without hesitation.
If you were the devil, which method would you find the most reliable the bitter poison, or the sugar-coated candy?
As the great philosopher and writer C. S. Lewis noted in his classic The ScrewTape Letters, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is a gradual one the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Time Incorporated, New York, 1961, p. 39)
Using another analogy, the biblical picture of man without God is much like this poor fellow right here he’s in critical condition, suffering from a sinful wicked heart that has separated him from God. Spiritually dead and unable to do even the least thing to help himself, when his heart stops beating, he’ll be launched into an eternity without hope. This person is in desperate need of help.
Extreme forms of music, like heavy metal, glorify this fallen state. Perversion, despair, death, hell, Satan, and all the other horrors associated with sin are rubbed into the face of the listener. Incredibly, some subject themselves to this. Many others, however, opt for the safer stuff and head for the so-called “neutral” or “pop” music.
But what does the pop musician really have to offer his listener? Cries of “love,” “peace,” and “we are the world” don’t mean much to a dying man. In fact, by ignoring his condition, or offering instead a false hope of salvation, this poor wretch’s situation has only been made worse.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with singing about love unless it’s the conditional, selfish love popularized by contemporary music. There is nothing wrong with singing about peace and caring for the world. These are all virtues taught and practiced by Jesus. There’s nothing wrong with even singing about death and despair as long as it is done within the framework of truth and God’s redemptive purposes. Understand that God is reality, His word is truth, and His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is salvation from sin.
Heavy metal mocks this. Pop music ignores it. Which is ultimately worse?
As we saw in Part I, the primary reason for our existence is to know and experience God an act called worship. Understanding only too well fallen man’s tendency to lose sight of eternal things and reduce reality to a head-long quest for emotional and physical satisfaction, God cautions us throughout the scriptures to seek first His kingdom and not let the world’s system wear us down. “Above everything else, guard your heart (in other words what you listen to, watch, and do) for it is the source of life. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the left or the right… Let your eyes look straight ahead” (Proverbs 4: 23-27).
Hundreds of years later, Jesus amplified this teaching when he said that our eyes should be single, completely focused on God. If they are not “… your whole body will be full of darkness … No one can serve two masters. You’ll end up loving one and hating the other” (Matthew 6: 23).
The bottom line for us is that if we really love God, we’ll find ourselves naturally offended by things that mock His character, ignore His love, or pervert His truth. If instead, we gravitate to and embrace these types of things, we don’t really love God, we simply can’t.
“If anyone loves the fallen world’s ways, the love of the Father is not in them. For everything that is in the world, the desires of sinful man, the lust of his eye, and the boastings about what he has and does comes not from the Father, but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2: 15-17).
Now, let’s get back to the other key excuse people use to avoid the truth the issue of intention and motivation. Interestingly enough, rock’s fans aren’t the only ones who live behind a wall of denial in this area the artists themselves often like to play dumb.
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page denied any evil motivations behind his legendary involvement in the occult when he said, “I do not worship the devil, but magic does intrigue me.” (Hit Parader Magazine, July, 1975, p.64)
Stone’s guitarist Keith Richards told an interviewer, “There are black magicians who think we’re acting as unknown agents of Lucifer.” (Rolling Stone Magazine, August 19, 1971) In other words, if something is going on outside our control, it’s not our fault.
All American boy Michael Jackson, whose phenomenally popular video “Thriller” is filled with occult imagery, including his transformation into a werewolf and necromancy, or contact with the dead, begins the video with the following disclaimer: “Due to my strong personal convictions I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.”
And both Ozzy Osbourne and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister try to down-play the obvious elements of rebellion and the occult in their music by claiming that it’s all in fun, and then professing to actually be closet Christians. (Ozzy professed to be a Christian during his interview on the Geraldo Rivera broadcast entitled “Exposing Satan’s Underground.” Dee’s profession occurred during his testimony before Congress on the subject of obscenity in rock and roll.)
What do these denials mean? If all these people mean well or are just trying to have a good time, they and their fans can’t be considered followers of Satan, can they? Well listen carefully because everything we’ve seen and heard so far has been leading up to what I am about to say. Part of the reason that many people have such a hard time with this “Satan worship” business is because they have a caricature of the devil and his religion in their minds. He’s the horn-headed dude in the red pajamas, and following him, should he even exist, means sacrificing babies, drinking blood, or something else equally horrible or weird. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
As we have already seen, Satan is an invisible spirit and a master of disguise. His ability to pass himself off as an angel of light can fool the rebellious, or the spiritually ignorant, into thinking that black is white, truth a lie, and even that God Himself is the one telling them these things. And as for following the devil, many who openly do so can tell you that, at least for them, it’s nothing like the movies portray it. And that’s what’s so frightening. For example, Anton LaVey, the high priest of one satanic church, explains the essence of satanism as follows:
And he must as a Satanist, knowing this, realizing what his human potential is, eventually, and here is one of the essential points of satanism, attain his own godhead in accordance with his own potential. Therefore, each man, each woman, is a god or goddess in satanism.
So in essence, satanism is simply each person acknowledging no one else, not even Satan, as a higher authority as our own god or goddess, each of us is free to do as we please. Theologically, this philosophy is reduced to a single axiom found in the fourth chapter of the book of Satan, “Say unto thine own heart, ‘I am my own redeemer’” (Book of Satan 4:3).
We are all born with a sense that we are not complete and something is missing the rest of life becomes a quest for wholeness and fulfillment; in theological terms, “redemption”. Whatever we look to for this, be it God, money, power, sex, or anything else, that person or thing becomes our redeemer by definition, our god. Satanism states that that god is us.
In a nutshell, Christianity declares that each of us bears the stain of sin and are, therefore, completely unable to save ourselves. We need a “Messiah”, a supernatural redeemer. Every other religion in the world says, in one way or another, that we are not really that bad and that through our own efforts we can redeem ourselves. In this they share the bottom line of satanism and much of rock ‘n’ roll.
A pleasant number-one hit song becomes a startling presentation of satanic philosophy when viewed in the light of Truth. The religious imagery of Jacob’s ladder, fallen angels, and running from salvation make it clear: “Step by step, rung by rung, We are our own redeemers.”
Van Halen also denies the need for God’s saving power in their hit song “Best of Both Worlds”.
Contrary to Sammy Hagar’s advice, Jesus said that if we are to have heaven on earth or anywhere else, “we must be born again” (John 3:3).
Another way this philosophy is expressed in satanic theology is in Aleister Crowley’s most famous and enduring proverb, “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.”
Before we examine the implications of this law, it’s quite extraordinary how it, like much of Crowley’s life and philosophy, has taken hold in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Led Zeppelin had “Do what thou wilt” inscribed into the vinyl on the initial pressing of their third album. Pharmacological guru of the rock ‘n’ roll generation, Timothy Leary, for whom John Lennon wrote the song “Come Together,” had this to say on one television interview:
Well, I’ve been an admirer of Aleister Crowley; I think that I’m carrying on much of the work that he started over 100 years ago. And I think the 60’s themselves you know Crowley said he was in favor of finding your own self and “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” under love. It was very powerful statement. I’m sorry he isn’t around now to appreciate the glories that he started.
One of those glories involved rock musician Bobby Beausoleil. He took Jimmy Page’s place composing the music for Kenneth Anger’s film “Lucifer Rising” and also took “Do what thou wilt” very seriously. Ultimately it led him to Charles Manson and participation in one of history’s most gruesome serial murders. Crowley’s legacy had reached its full potential.
But that potential lives on in a more subtle way in the lives of countless millions who have “…been made spiritually blind by the god of this age.” (2 Cor. 4:4) This blinding deception has been focused on obscuring one of life’s most elementary truths that ultimately there are two kingdoms and two types of people; those in God’s kingdom who have been redeemed by God and those in Satan’s who are trying to redeem themselves.
In the same way that the Kingdom of God holds to one supreme commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” (Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:30), so satanism can also be reduced to one essential law, “Do what thou wilt.” Contrary to the deceptive stereotype, no black masses or wild sex rituals are necessary to be a follower of Satan simply deny the love and the authority of God by living your life the way you want to. You can even be religious, attend church regularly, tithe, perform good works. If it’s a religion based upon your own terms, you are still comfortably fulfilling the dictates of Satan’s most primary law, “Do what thou wilt.”
How ironic that men like Crowley and LaVey should understand better than most people who attend church, the true root of sin and the essential duality that divides asunder the whole of mankind.
Each of us is ultimately given a choice upon which hangs the weight of eternity. We can go our own way and remain forever lost or we can reach out to the One who is “… the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14: 6)
To use an analogy, if what we believe is the music and what we do is the dance, we can, in the words of Billy Idol, “Dance with ourselves” remaining “… dead in our sins, following the ways of this world and its ruler (Satan) … gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, following its desires and its thoughts …. being by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1b,2,3). Or we can turn our ears to Heaven’s music and allow God to teach us a new dance, a new way of living our lives.
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
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Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
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