• The Darkened Corridor

My issues with the cultural perception of satanism.

Sit down and watch a significant proportion of horror films, and you’re likely to see some reference to satanism as the source of evil intention and selfish desire. Indeed, the symbolism is so strong across culture that I dare bet the image of satanism is enough to conjure up a series of cinematically crafted images of what that entails.

The tabloid media is all too quick to leap on the satanism-story band wagon; the cultural perception of what it looks like is enough to fulfill the sensationalist agenda to a T.

Back in ‘15 a story suggesting that Derbyshire was the UK hot bed of satanic worship, based entirely on 17 Bolsover residents returning their census proclaiming themselves to be satanists. Out of a town with a population at the time of 75,866 you can see why 17 satanic worshippers would lead the tabloids to declare it a hot-bed of satanic worship.

I would at this point like to clarify my position. I’m an atheist, I have been since I left a heavily religious school where we were taught that the bible was unquestionably fact. I don’t believe in god, the devil, or any of the religious stuff in between. I have no agenda to promote satanism, or any other religion because I don’t believe in them. From my perspective, this is much more a piece about sensationalism, cultural perception, and the potential effects of it, rather than a critique or endorsement of any belief structure.

Owing to this perspective, I would like to suggest that the cultural perception of Satanism perpetuates the crimes that occur in its name.

The overall cultural osmosis around satanism that has occurred has meant that to many it is what is seen in films,tv, historical accounts, and in the tabloids. It’s a criticism that ensures that it is firmly perceived as bad, and means that we’re not surprised when the serial killer from both fact and fiction confesses to worshiping satan.

So ingrained are our beliefs about satanic worship, that it’s become a macabre justification in it’s own right. This article in the Sun isn’t at all ambiguous about what it blames for the crime in question. Satanism is an easy way to convey to a readership or viewership that the subject is an unquestionable evil. This single faceted view of the human condition is great at tapping into historical perceptions, acting as a shortcut to lead to judgement.

I don’t intend to present answers for the situation, prejudice in general is much too large an issue to attempt to wade into on a tiny little blog like mine, but it is my sincerest hope that we can, as a society, focus on the truth rather than becoming transfixed on a single label to cast a verdict, rather than forming our entire judgement solely around it.