The Satanic Influence (Way of the Master)

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The Satanic Influence is the 6th episode of the second season of Way of the Master.

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Contents

Episode Synopsis

This episode addresses the "dark influence" that Satan is exerting on the world that manifests itself as rock music, pornography, violent video games, and more. It contains interviews from Ozzfest, clips from concerts and lyrics of musicians who supposedly worship the Devil, Ray's discussion with a member of the Church of Satan and Ray and Kirk's criticism of modern preacher's who don't preach "true repentance."

Comment: Though Ray and Kirk make repeated claims that Satan is a real tangible being who can directly influence the world, they provide no evidence for this beyond metaphorical lines from Anton LeVey and cryptic song lyrics from Slayer. Similar to their God, skeptics are expected to take the existence of Satan on faith. This episode does the following:

  • Seriously misrepresents the humanistic philosophy of Satanism.
  • Relies heavily on anecdotal evidence from the supposed Satan worshippers themselves to prove Satan's existence
  • Takes quotes by Aleister Crowley and Anton LeVey completely out of context
  • Demonizes those who disagree with Christianity.

Episode walkthrough

Introduction

About this episode

(00:00-00:31)

  • As the camera pans over Ray and Kirk seated in a dimly lit alleyway with a spooky torch in the background to set the mood, Kirk greets the viewers and says, "Today we're going to talk about something that most people don't even think about, unless you happen to see a grisly murder scene with Satanic symbols at the scene of the crime. We're talking about Satanism... and not just the obvious and blatant work of humanity's greatest enemy, but also the most subtle of Satanic deceptions.

Comment: Right off the bat, Kirk incorrectly associates Satan worship with Satanism. Satanism, also known as the Church of Satan, was founded in the 1960's by Anton LeVey with "Satan" representing the carnal part of man and it's opposition to religions that deny the self; it's a metaphor not meant to be taken literally. Two of my close friends are Satanists and I can assure you, they don't worship Satan or any other supernatural being. Secondly, I've never heard of or seen a murder scene with "Satanic symbols" scrawled in blood above a corpse. As always, Ray and Kirk are big on assertions and short on evidence.

(00:31-1:01)

  • Opening Credits

Rock and Roll is the Devil's Music

(1:02-2:02)

  • An Ozzfest attendee answers the question, "Do you think there's any Satanic influence behind rock and roll music?" with..
"Hell no! And if you let music guide you in life, the way people do and blame it, use it as an excuse, that's f---ing stupid as can be."
  • A clip is shown of a performer who yells loudly into a microphone, "We will no longer be oppressed by the fascism of Christianity!" and his fans reacting with wild cheers.
  • Another fan is shown who rejects the premise that Satan influences rock and roll, claiming instead that "It's all a show, that's all it is."

Comment: While the footage is intended to show how ignorant these two concert goers are, all it really does is show that one rock star doesn't like Christianity. But to Ray and Kirk, the rejection of Christianity and supposed allegiance with the Lord of Hell are one and the same; in the words of Jesus, "he who is not with me is against me."

(2:02-2:24)

  • A box with a quote from Frank Zappa appears that reads, "I'm the devil's advocate. We have our own worshipper's who are called groupies. Girls will give their bodies to musicians as you would give a sacrifice to a god."

Comment: I could not find where this quote came from. However, please note that the "devil's advocate" is a well-known term for a person who argues a side just for the sake of the argument that was supposedly created by the Catholic Church for canonization hearings. And, even if girls are offering up their bodies as living sacrifices, this only proves that the girls are worshipping the musicians, not Satan.

(2:24-2:50)

  • More interviews with people who reject the notion that Satan has some influence on rock music, instead chalking up rock and roll's popularity to "Kid's care about what's cool and what isn't" and "People listen to what they want to listen to."

(2:50-3:06)

  • Clips from Insane Clown Posse concerts show, including one in which a white faced man announces, "And I'm influencing your children..."

Comment: Though Insane Clown Posse can look a bit freaky, band member Violent J stated in an interview with the Metro Times, "I believe in God" and insisted, "We're just telling scary stories." This aside, the implication from Ray and Kirk is that if something looks scary or confusing, it must be from the Devil.


(3:06-4:14)

  • Ray interviews a shirtless man who claims "There is no message in rock music that has anything to do with Satan or the Devil" which our dynamic duo counter with lines from Slayer's song "Alter of Sacrifice" which reads...
"Waiting the hour, destined to die, here on the table of Hell. High preist awaiting, dagger in hand, spilling the pure virgin blood."
  • Another red block comes up on screen with an uncredited quote from one of "two Slayer fans who murdered a 15 year old girl" that reads "I'm embarrassed I allowed Slayer's music to influence me."

Comment: Though the shirtless man is clearly wrong, this still does not prove that Slayer has any connection with the Devil... unless one takes their word for it, which seems odd for Ray and Kirk to want when they reject all other religions that say "Take our word for it." As for the murder case, I found several articles: one had a quote from one of the three boys involved in murdering the girl (the fact that the quote on Way of the Master got the number of boys wrong makes me even more skeptical of it's veracity.) According to Joseph Fiorella, one of the murderers, "The fact is that Slayer music didn't have anything to do with the murder. The police went into my house and saw some Slayer posters and records and they made up a motive that it's this devil thing. They don't have a motive -- so they make up their own." Another article reported that the supposed confession was "unrecorded." See "Facing the music" and "Are Slayer to blame for teen's murder?" on www.ew.com

Aleister Crowley and Black Sabbath

(4:14-5:37)

  • Kirk Cameron says, "Aleister Crowley who died in 1947 is known as the father of modern Satanism. Here's Ozzy Ozbourne singing a tribute to this Satanic High Preist."
"Mr. Crowley, what went on in your head?
Mr. Crowley, did you talk to the dead?"

Comment: This is hardly the kind of praise one would expect for a revered "high preist," with the first line questioning Crowley's sanity. The song goes on to say "Your lifestyle to me seems so tragic, with the thrill of it all. You fooled all the people with magic, yeah you waited on Satan's call..." Despite the fact that Ozzy incorrectly states that Crowley worships Satan, he sounds like he's mocking Crowley rather than praising him. And besides this, Crowley died 13 years before the Church of Satan was established, so he couldn't be a "Satanic high preist."

  • Kirk goes on to state that, "In (Crowley's) publication The Book of the Law he summed up the essence of Satanism, it is...
"Do as thou wilt, that shall be the whole of the law."

Comment: The Book of the Law is the central holy book of the religion of Thelema, not Satanism. The Book of the Law makes mention of numerous Egyptian gods and goddesses like Horus and Ma'at but oddly enough, no Satan, the Devil, or Lucifer. Kirk practically had to use this quote because it's about the only coherent thing Crowley wrote; beside cryptic metaphors and incomprehensible gibberish, the Book has a section that is literally random numbers and letters with Crowley insisting, "Someone will come after me and interpret this." Um... sure.

  • A quote flashes across the scene from a member of Black Sabbath that reads...
"Black Sabbath was launched in the U.S. with a party in San Francisco with head of the Church of Satan, Anton LeVey, presiding... all of sudden, Sabbath were Satan's right hand men."

Comment: We're beginning to see a pattern in which Ray and Kirk want the viewer to draw the conclusion that, "Because people say that they worship Satan, he actually exists and they really do worship him." Let's try this again with slighty different words: "Because Hindus worship Lord Brahma and the Hindu pantheon of gods, the gods really exist and they really do worship them." As for the quote, I don't have the album handy, but there's several ways one can interpret this. One: because Black Sabbath had Anton LeVey as a guest, people thought they were associated with Satan worship. Two: just like Christians (but possibly tongue-in-cheek) Black Sabbath is attributing their success to Satan; but again, just because someone says something doesn't make it true.

Interview with a member of the Church of Satan

(5:37-11:34)

  • Ray begins his interview of "Warlock" Jack Malebranche (a member of the Church of Satan) by asking for some background on the Church. Malebranche replies, "Well, the Church of Satan was founded in 1966 by Anton LeVey, who was kind of an interesting character. He had, uh, an interest in the occult and had been an organ player at different circuses around the country... eventually, in 1969 he published the Satanic Bible..."

Comment: So far, so good. Supposedly, LeVey saw the same people at risque circus shows as he did at tent revival meetings and this gave him a cynical outlook on religion, especially Christianity.

  • Ray asks Malebranche, "If you could summarize the message of the Satanic bible, what would it be?"
  • Malebranche responds, "Live life in the here and now."

Comment: Jeesh, and I thought it was going to be "Kill all the Christians." Also note that he didn't say, "Worship Satan" or "Try to trick people into going to Hell."

  • Ray continues and asks, "What would annoy the average Satanist about the average Christian?"
  • Malebranche responds, "I think Satanist's are generally very annoyed by everyone; we're a very misanthropic bunch. We have very small groups of friends who don't annoy us. I mean, uh... basically if a Christian preached to us we would find that annoying, because we just want to be left alone to go about our own business and follow our own interests. A lot of us are readers, and we kinda like to do our own thing."

Comment: Wow, this is one evil dude Rays got on his hands! He likes to read!? And to be left alone!? Gosh, I bet he's so wicked that he enjoys fresh air and rainbows! But, to be serious, what Malebranche is talking about is the real basis of Satanism: each person is their own "god," in the sense that each individual Satanist is the only one who makes decisions for his or her life.

  • A clip is shown right after Malebranche states that joining the church means "throwing your lot in with Satan... and taking up that archetype" of a "high ranking member" of the Church of Satan who says, "Satan represents the power of force in nature, and we feel that a cleansing of the idiot religion of the palette of Christ is in order... we're doing this through the venue of aesthetic terrorism, which we're doing through the use of art, music, writing; effectively what we call propaganda, the dissemination of information to influence what we call "iron youth"..."

Comment: Again, despite the creepy sculptures and drawings, this man is only advocating a non-violent way of spreading ideas. The part where the viewer is supposed to gasp is when he mentions directing information at kids; as we all know, only Christians are allowed to target children! (using venues such as Vacation Bible School, "Jesus camps," Youth group activities, etc. How many Satanist kid's camps do you know of?)

  • Ray asks, "I understand that Marilyn Manson joined the Church of Satan, how did that affect things?"
  • Malebranche responds, "Well, Marilyn Manson is a very big public figure, but he's also attracted a lot of young kids to the Church of Satan, and a lot of young kids aren't really Satanists. So, while we respect him and the things that he does" (an "interjection clip" is shown of Manson tearing pages out of a Bible and throwing them off the stage, as if to say "How could someone respect such actions?") "we find that we have to kind of go through (the people he attracts.)
  • Ray presses him to expound and says, "When you say they're not Satanists, do you mean they're not doubting enough?"
  • Malebranche laughs and replies, "No, they're more interested in shocking their parents. They want to put on the make up like he does... they're followers, and we want leaders in the Church of Satan."

Comment: I don't think this interview is going the way Ray intended. Besides the fact that Malebranche has still not said, "We worship Satan," he also has said that the Church of Satan is choosey about who they allow in; for the "drag lots of people down to Hell" group that Ray and Kirk claim it is, you'd think they'd accept anyone with open arms. Note, too, that Malebranche states explicitly that the Church of Satan is not really all that interested in young kids, which directly contradicts what the last clip tried to make the viewer believe.

  • Malebranche continues explaining the philosophy behind Satanism and says, "On a certain level, Satan is a part of ourselves that we tap into. When we say, "Hail Satan!" to a certain extent, I'm saying, "Hail me!"
  • Ray: "You're on the throne? So it's a self church?"
  • Malebranche: "Yes."
  • Ray: "But that would not that hold the shock value that the Church of Satan does, right?"
  • Malebranche: "Certainly... we want people who are not interested in what other people are going to think."

Comment: Well, I'm glad we've got that cleared up; now that Ray's discovered that Satanism is actually a self based philosophy, we can just forget about the whole first part of the episode.

  • A clip is shown of Anton LeVey, who says: "All religions are coming around to Satanism. We're in the throes of a new Satanic age." The screen then ominously fades to black.

Comment: Since we already understand what Satanism is really about, what LeVey is saying in context is, "People within religions are moving away from worshipping God/gods and beginning to follow their own will." As expected, Ray hasn't learned a thing from this discussion.

What Christians think about Satan

(11:35-13:05)

  • We're back with Ray and Kirk in the alley, and Kirk jumps right in. "The Bible says that Satan is the god of this world and that he will blind the minds of the unbelievers. Jesus called him "the Prince of this world" and "the Father of Lies." The Bible warns us, as Christians, to be ready to stand against the wiles of the Devil!"

Comment: The issue of Satan in the Bible is a bit fuzzy. Though he is featured as a prominent bad guy in the Book of Revelations and makes a few appearances in the gospels (such as tempting Jesus in the desert,) he comes out of nowhere and is mentioned only 3 times in the Hebrew scriptures. In two of his old testament book appearances (Chronicles and Job) he's clearly an angel who works for God. Christians also typically interpret Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 38 to be about Satan to give him a little back story.

  • Kirk: "Has Satan snuck in? Is there any deception within the church? Has he decieved you, or me?
  • Ray backs his co-host up. "Despite what the Bible says about Satan, that he's real, that he's a deciever... look at what's happened!"
  • Grafitti on a brick wall reads: "In 2004, 50% of those who claim to be born again actually deny Satan's existence"

Comment: Ray and Kirk are apparently trying to use this to show that people are being tricked by Satan, which is a form of begging the question. Query: "How do we know that Satan exists?" Answer: "Because he's deceived so many people into believing he doesn't!"

  • Kirk: "Even though the Bible says that Satan is real, 50% of professing Christians deny that he even exists! And that's a very scary thing to do, cause when you deny that Satan exists, you let your guard down, and that's when he can move in and bring deception to the church. It's kinda like, um, denying that terrorists exist. You let your guard down when you don't believe in them, and then they can move in!" (A clip is shown of a plane crashing into one of the already burning World Trade Center buildings.)

Comment: This is a terrible analogy that fails immediately. A terrorist is simply a title for a person that creates/causes terror, and we have ample evidence of people who like to do that. Unfortunately for Ray and Kirk, we have absolutely no evidence to suggest the existence of an evil immortal being who goes by the name of Satan. Their argument is basically an appeal to emotion which is intended to scare the listener into acting irrationally before he/she can actually take the time to consider whether or not Satan is real.

The Prodigal Son and the Unsaved

(13:06-16:36)

  • Ray proceeds to tell the story of the Prodigal Son, which he claims is a type of metaphor for non-Christians and what they ought to do to get back in God's good graces. The basic jist of the story is this: a man's son demands his inheritance ahead of time, then runs off and blows it on partying and prostitutes, eventually losing all of it. He decides to get a job feeding pigs, but the work is so disgusting that he chooses instead to return home and beg for his father's mercy. His father is overjoyed to have him back and gives him new clothes and a feast, because "My son was dead and now he is alive!
  • Kirk: "The story of the prodigal son is a picture of every person before they come to Christ. You and I had turned away from God to serve the Devil and the pleasure's of sin.

Comment: Ray and Kirk are presenting a false dichotomy that the only possible choice is serving God or serving the Devil (not to mention that they're assuming that the default position for a human being is worshipping the Judeo Christian God.) There are many atheists, agnostics and nontheists who live life for themselves rather than for a supernatural being; of course, our dynamic duo would simply argue that such people are deceived and are actually serving Satan.

  • Kirk: "The Bible teaches us that unsaved people live in spiritual darkness. It's as simple as this: if you're serving sin, you're serving Satan. You see, our natural appetites are unclean; we desire pig food!"

Comment: One wonders why the supposedly all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe would create people with these wicked desires and then punish us for having them. And a desire is not the same as an action; Ray and Kirk are essentially advocating a thought crime in which simply wanting to have sex with someone is as "bad" as actually having sex with that person.

  • Kirk keeps at it: "And if you don't believe me, just think about what people crave. Think about what's in your average soap opera or prime time television show. It's filled with things like adultery, jealousy, lust, fornication, rape, gossip, greed. Or popular movies today, with all of it's violence, filthy language, explicit sex and graphic murder!"

Comment: Kirk's argument is a type of argumentum ad populum that assumes because many people seem to approve of the listed actions that everyone (besides Christians, of course) must approve of them. Nonetheless, Kirk isn't going to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with him that these things are sinful; Atheists tend to see things as wrong that cause damage to a person or to society, and the majority of these things don't do that. Thus, he'd get our agreement that murder and rape are wrong, but we wouldn't see any inherent problem with gossip, jealousy, greed, etc.

  • He continues: "Look at the cover's at magazines that you can find at any book store; these used to be considered "soft core pornography" and hidden from young people's eyes. Think of the video games that kids crave; they're extremely violent and sexually perverted. Think of most rock music, with it's explicit sexuality, blasphemy and dark Satanic side. Consider the internet's multi-billion dollar hardcore porn industry, or how the average person uses filthy words and blasphemy in every day speech. Life in the pigsty is normal, natural, and totally acceptable."

Comment: Yet again, none of the actions that Kirk mentioned cause inherent harm. Frankly, I think most people would agree that it's better that pornography exists as a harmless way for people to relieve their sexual urges rather than do so in worse ways, like rape. Also, blasphemy means nothing to a person who doesn't believe in Ray and Kirk's god, just like the "sinfulness" of saying "Allah damn it!" would seem trivial to a Christian.

Satan in the church

(16:36-

  • Ray begins a segment in which he asserts that Satan has not only begun to influence "the world" but that he has moved into "the church" as well.
  • Ray: "Most people believe that the Devil is the darkest of figures, but the Bible tells us that he can present himself as an angel of light. Listen to what the Bible says about Satan's workers within the church:
"For such men are false apostles, (counterfeits,) deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles and special messenger's of Christ... And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness."
2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

Comment: Ray and Kirk have really upped the paranoia with this Bible verse, and their argument is nothing but an appeal to authority. That's right, Christians: be careful when you're in church, because there's bad guys who have nothing better to do with their time then sneak in and trick you so that you're not really worshipping God. Come on, no one does this! And this over-the-top suspicious attitudes towards friends and strangers alike is what that led to things like The Red Scare, the Salem Withc Trials, etc.

  • Kirk: "Satan is extremely subtle. The Bible says that he will even use professing men of God, ministers of righteousness, pastors, and teachers, to deceive the church!"

Comment: More fear mongering from the terrible twosome. Don't trust your friends, don't trust your neighbor, don't even trust your pastor... they're all out to get you.

  • Kirk: "The most effective way for Satan to penetrate the church is at the point of entry; to poison the evangelistic message... and that's exactly what's happened: Satan has contaminated the biblical method of bringing people to Christ... (Popular preachers/pastors) refuse to use the moral law, the Ten Commandments, to bring the knowledge of sin, like Jesus did."

Comment: Ray and Kirk are cherry picking the old testament; in the verses immediately after the Ten Commandments the reader will find commands to stone gay people, unruly children, and promiscuous daughters, as well as instructions for how to properly conduct slavery and genocide. You can't have it both ways: either we accept that the entire Bible is moral and relevant for today, or else Ray and Kirk are suffering from moral relativism, a claim they repeatedly throw at nontheists.

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