Na pervuyu stranicu
Arhivy Minas-TiritaArhivy Minas-Tirita
  Annotirovanniy spisok razdelov sayta


Сатанизм - определение и краткое описание (англ.)


"Британская энциклопедия" on-line

Also called DEVIL WORSHIP, worship of Satan, or the devil, the personality or principle regarded by the Judeo-Christian tradition as embodying absolute evil in complete antithesis to God. This worship may be regarded as a gesture of extreme protest against Judeo-Christian spiritual hegemony. Satanic cults have been documented in Europe and America as far back as the 17th century, but their earlier roots are difficult to trace, just as the number of real satanists in any period is frequently overestimated. Churchmen have readily attributed satanism to "witches," and to such heretics as Gnostics, Cathars, and Bogomils, but that charge does not correspond with the heretics' own understanding of their beliefs, and the alleged satanism of those persecuted in the heyday of witch-burning may rest on no better foundation than the overheated imagination of witch-finders and confessions obtained by torture. By the same token, devil worship ascribed to non-Christian religions is usually based on polemic or misunderstanding. Modern witchcraft and neopaganism are not to be confused with satanism, since these groups worship not Satan but pre-Christian gods. Satanism, as devotion to the Judeo-Christian source of evil, can only exist in symbiosis with that tradition, for it shares but inverts its worldview.

Satanist worship has traditionally centred on the "black mass," a corrupted rendition of the Christian Eucharist, and ritual magic evocations of Satan. Some recent satanist groups have supplanted those practices with rites of self-expression reminiscent of psychodrama and hyperventilation.

Satan and the origin of evil

In the Old and New Testaments, Satan (the devil) appears as the representative of evil. The philosophy and theology of the Enlightenment endeavoured to push the figure of the devil out of Christian consciousness as being a product of the mythological fantasy of the Middle Ages. It is precisely in this figure, however, that some aspects of the ways God deals with evil are especially evident. The devil first appears as an independent figure alongside God in the course of the Old Testament history of religion. In the Old Testament evil is still brought into a direct relationship with God; even evil, insofar as it has power and life, is effected by God: "I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, who do all these things" (Isaiah 45:7).

Satan gives expression to the demonic side of the divine wrath. In the Book of Job he appears as the partner of God, who on behalf of God puts the righteous one to the test. Only in postbiblical Judaism does the devil become the adversary of God, the prince of angels, who, created by God and placed at the head of the angelic hosts, entices some of the angels into revolt against God. In punishment for his rebellion he is cast from heaven together with his mutinous entourage, which were transformed into demons. As ruler over the fallen angels he henceforth continues the struggle against the Kingdom of God in three ways: he seeks to seduce man into sin; he tries to disrupt God's plan for salvation; and he appears before God as slanderer and accuser of the saints, so as to reduce the number of those chosen for the Kingdom of God.

Thus, Satan has a threefold function: he is a creature of God, who has his eing and essence from God; he is the partner of God in the drama of the history of salvation; and he is the rival of God, who fights against God's plan of salvation. Through the influence of the dualistic thinking of Zoroastrian religion during the Babylonian Exile (586-538 BC) in Persia, Satan took on features of a countergod in late Judaism. In the writings of the Qumran sects (who preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls), Belial, the "angel of darkness" and the "spirit of wickedness," appears as the adversary of the "prince of luminaries" and the "spirit of truth." The conclusion of the history of salvation is the eschatological battle of the prince of luminaries against Belial, which ends with judgment upon him, his angels, and people subject to him and ushers in the cessation of "worry, groaning, and wickedness" and the beginning of the rule of "truth."

In the New Testament the features of an anti-godly power are clearly prominent in the figures of the devil, Satan, Belial, and Beelzebub -- the "enemy." He is the accuser, the evil one, the tempter, the old snake, the great dragon, the prince of this world, and the god of this world, who seeks to hinder the establishment of God's dominion through the life and suffering of Jesus Christ. Satan offers to give to Christ the riches of this world if Christ will acknowledge him as supreme lord. Thus, he is the real antagonist of the Messiah-Son of man, Christ, who is sent by God into the world to destroy the works of Satan.

He is lacking, however, the possibility of incarnation: he is left to rob others in order to procure for himself the appearance of personality and corporeality. As opposed to philanthropia, the love of man of Christ, who presents himself as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind out of love for it, Satan appears among early church teachers, such as Basil of Caesarea in the 4th century, as the misanthropos, the hater of humanity; vis-a-vis the bringer of heavenly beauty, he is the hater of beauty, the misokalos. With Gnosticism, dualistic features also penetrated the Christian sphere of intuitive vision. In the Letter of Barnabas (early 2nd century) Satan appeared as "the Black One"; according to the 2nd-century apologist Athenagoras he is "the one entrusted with the administration of matter and its forms of appearance," "the spirit hovering above matter." Under the influence of Gnosticism and Manichaeism (a syncretistic religion founded by Mani, a 3rd-century Persian prophet), there also followed--based on their dualistic aspects--the demonization of the entire realm of the sexual. This appears as the special temptational sphere of the devil; in sexual activity, the role of the instrument of diabolic enticement devolves upon woman. Manichaeistic and Gnostic tendencies remained as a permanent undercurrent in the church and determined, to a great extent, the understanding of sin and redemption. Satan remained the prototype of sin as the rebel who does not come to terms with fulfilling his godlikeness in love to his original image and Creator but instead desires equality with God and places love of self over love of God.

Among the Fathers of the early church, the idea of Satan as the antagonist of Christ led to a mythical interpretation of the incarnation and disguise in the "form of a servant." Through this disguise the Son of God makes his heavenly origin unrecognizable to Satan. In some graphic, and almost comic, medieval depictions Christ appears as the "bait" cast before Satan, after which Satan grasps because he believes Christ to be an ordinary human being subject to his power. In the Middle Ages a further feature was added: the understanding of the devil as the "ape of God," who attempts to imitate God through spurious, malicious creations that he interpolates for, or opposes to, the divine creations.

In church history, the eras of the awakening of a new consciousness of sin are identical with those of a newly awakened sense for the presence of "evil"--as was the case with Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley. In the Christian historical consciousness the figure of Satan plays an important role, not least of all through the influence of the Revelation to John. The history of salvation is understood as the history of a continuous struggle between God and the demonic antagonist, who with constantly new means tries to thwart God's plan of salvation. The idea of the "stratagems of Satan," as developed by a 16th-century fortress engineer, Giacomo Aconcio, had its roots here: the history of the world is a constant attempt of Satan to disrupt the salvation events of God through ever new counter-events. This altercation constitutes the religious background of the drama of world history. Characteristic here is the impetus of acceleration already indicated in Revelation: blow and counterblow in the struggle taking place between God and Satan follow in ever shorter intervals; for the devil "knows that his time is short" (Revelation 12:12), and his power in heaven has already been laid low. On Earth the possibility of his efficacy is likewise limited by the return of the Lord. Hence, his attacks upon the elect of the Kingdom so increase in the last times that God is moved to curtail the days of the final affliction, for "if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved" (Matthew 24:22). Many of these features are retained in the philosophy of religion of German Idealism as well as in Russian philosophy of religion. According to the 20th-century Russian philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev, like the Germans Friedrich Schelling and Franz von Baader before him, the devil has no true personality and no genuine reality and, instead, is filled with an insatiable "hunger for reality," which he can attain by stealing reality from the people of whom he takes possession. Since the Enlightenment, Christian theologians who found the mythical pictures of Satan to be irrelevant, distorting, or confusing in Christian thought and experience have set out to demythologize this figure. Apologists such as he British literary figure C.S. Lewis and the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, however, have written cautionary words. They conceive that it would represent the devil's most cunning attempt at self-camouflage to be demythologized and that camouflage would be a certain new proof of his existence.



Новости | Кабинет | Каминный зал | Эсгарот | Палантир | Онтомолвище | Архивы | Пончик | Подшивка | Форум | Гостевая книга | Карта сайта | Кто есть кто | Поиск | Одинокая Башня | Кольцо | In Memoriam

Na pervuyu stranicy Отзывы Архивов

Хранители Архивов