Can One Unknowingly Worship Satan?
BESIDES those few “Satanists,” who openly worship Satan the Devil, are there others who give him worship without acknowledging or even knowing it?
If we turn to the Bible we can readily see the danger of doing so. The Bible says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” and, “The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” (1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4) It also tells us that one of Satan’s chief weapons is deception.—1 Tim. 2:14; Rev. 12:9.
Since Satan is described in the Bible as “the god of this system of things,” it logically follows that he exercises an overriding power in the political, commercial and social affairs of this world. In attempting to fight against God, then, his control must take in some men of influence, otherwise he could never maintain an organized opposition to the truth and the enlightenment of people to God’s purpose.
Would it then be in Satan’s interests to have everyone he controls wholly degraded to the animal level by debauchery, or insane with demon possession? Obviously not. After all, many persons are not inclined to such extremes. Neither would it fit Satan’s purpose for all such to admit, or even to know, that they worship the Devil. Being deceptive, he would certainly prefer to have many intelligent and capable men who, while having his selfish spirit, appear, at least, to be respectable, principled persons. Why so? Because such persons may more readily influence and sway others associated with them.
How does a person, although thinking he may be serving God, come under Satan’s control and actually render worship to Satan?
The Spirit of Independence
A person may be religious. At the same time that person may consider the Bible to be “out of date” or even ignore it. He may reject the Bible’s standards and set up his own standards as to what is good and what is bad.
An illustration of this attitude is found in the argument by a “homosexual militant,” writing in the New York Times. He said: “‘Moral’ and ‘immoral’ are judgmental terms relative to time, place, and the needs of the majority. For example, various societies and eras have defined anti-semitism and anti-black programs as moral while others have not.”
Granted, even a murderer might call himself moral. But this “homosexual militant’s” argument simply expresses the spirit of self-determination described earlier. He rejects God’s law against homosexuality. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Lev. 18:22) Instead of proving that such course of self-determination is right, this argument actually illustrates why individuals or even entire societies really are not qualified to determine the standards by which men shall live.
Who, then, can determine this? Only God, who fully knows man’s makeup and needs. He alone is qualified to tell his creatures how they must comport themselves.
The spirit of self-determination abounds today, with factions and individuals demanding unrestricted independence. They may not know it, but this was the very basis on which Adam and Eve rebelled against God. This spirit caused their rebellion and alienation from God and brought death upon the human race. The sin they committed in eating the fruit forbidden by God may seem like so small an act. Small in itself, yes, but enormous in its significance and consequences.
In this connection, note what The Jerusalem Bible, in its footnote on Genesis 2:17, comments concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil, whose fruit the human pair were not to eat:
“This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, is to lay hands on, 3:5, 22. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognise his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride. . . .”
By the action they took in attacking God’s sovereignty, whom were Adam and Eve following and serving? To whom were they, in fact, looking as wise and more worthy of obeying than God, and, therefore, worshiping? Was it not Satan the Devil, who deceptively seduced Eve into her bad course?—John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3.
In reality, a person who strikes out for complete independence, setting up his own standards, is refusing to recognize that he is a created being, a creature of the Creator. And yet, he can never escape the fact that he is subject to many things, including both physical and moral laws. If he tries to ignore these laws, he soon comes into a clash with natural forces, resulting in sickness or calamity. Or he encroaches upon the rights of others, and meets with trouble.
Man-made Wisdom Exalted
It is a mistake, then, to think that the small groups who carry on wild, licentious rites in the name of Satan are the only ones worshiping Satan. The Satan worshipers say that their religion is a ‘religion of the flesh.’ Others may not engage in such fleshly debauchery. But such persons may be focusing on their own will, exalting their own mentality. Or they may look to the wisdom of other men and follow it without consideration of God’s will and standards as set forth in the Bible. Anyone doing this makes himself, or man’s wisdom, a sort of god. Perhaps without realizing it, he actually denies God’s sovereignty over him and may prove a more useful tool of the Devil than the outright ‘Satan worshiper.’
As Romans 6:16 plainly states: “Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him, either of sin with death in view or of obedience with righteousness in view?” Licentious or not, a person who disregards God’s Word is doing the will of God’s adversary the Devil.
What are some of the snares that can entrap one trusting in human wisdom? Well, a person, ignoring what the Bible says about the kingdom of God as the remedy for injustice, may be induced to become involved in some “equality” group, political conflict, or like product of man-made thinking. Or, rejecting as impractical the Bible counsel to love one’s neighbor, he might adopt the attitude that ‘it’s every man for himself’ and follow a completely selfish, materialistic way of life.
Becoming involved in such things leads a person away from God and from acceptance of the good news of God’s kingdom.—Jas. 4:4.
Then there is the theory of evolution. It is another human philosophy that finds no support in the Bible, A person adopting such philosophy may be sincere. But he should ask himself, To what may it lead me? The theory denies an intelligent Creator and as a consequence denies responsibility to his righteous standards. Such a belief puts one at odds with God.
Where Christendom’s Religions Stand
In view of the above evidence, it can be seen that a person may be a member of one of Christendom’s many religious sects, claiming to be a worshiper of God and a follower of Jesus Christ, and yet unwittingly be giving his actual devotion and worship to the Devil. This fact was noted in an article by the religious editor of the Miami Herald of July 11, 1970, who reported:
“Some readers who responded to the story [published earlier] on the Church of Satan were shocked at the view on sexual activity and the expression of those views. Yet in the last three months such ‘orthodox’ Christian denominations as the United Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the United Church of Christ have published reports giving varying degrees of approval to intercourse outside of marriage and homosexual activity.
“Two of these denominations are joint publishers of a magazine for church youth workers in which in a recent issue a graphic account of a ‘petting party’ is given and the action approved as a healthy attitude toward teen-aged sexual development.”
“. . . Nearly all denominations have begun to put more stress on giving all men enough food, clothing, shelter and health to enjoy life [thereby slighting spirituality and the education of the people in God’s Word].
“Some people view this as the inroads of Satan worship since, according to the Satanic Bible, ‘Man, the animal, is the godhead to the Satanist’ and the aim of religion is to make man happy through gratifying all his physical desires.”
With these facts in view, the writer concludes: “We all may be more pagan than we like to think!”
Real Freedom Found in Service of God
If we truly want to serve God, we must believe what he says about the way that peace, health and enjoyment of life will come about. We need to realize, too, that what the wise writer of Ecclesiastes said is true of this present system of things in which we live, namely, “that which is made crooked cannot be made straight.” (Eccl. 1:15) Yes, this system of things is too shot through with selfishness to be reformed or redeemed. As evidence, consider the ever-increasing problems of crime, poverty, pollution and drugs.
Therefore, those who accept the truth from God’s Word recognize that only the wisdom from God can guide mankind in the right way, not the wisdom that is “earthly, animal,” and guided by the demons, therefore “demonic.” (Jas. 3:15, 16) They look to the Messianic kingdom of God to destroy Satan and those who manifest his spirit. They trust in it to set straight the affairs of mankind.
The apostle Paul pointed forward to the time when “the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21) Independence from God does not bring true freedom or happiness. For is it not true that the things that really make life worth living are “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control”? Against such things, the apostle says, “there is no law.” These things are the fruitage of God’s spirit and can be practiced without restriction. That is real freedom, and it can be enjoyed even now.—Gal. 5:22, 23.
Is that not the freedom that would fulfill your heart’s desire? By learning from God’s Word and practicing these good things now, under the guidance of God’s spirit, we can put ourselves in line for life in God’s new order, when these fine qualities will dominate in the affairs of all mankind. Yes, we can thus come in line to enjoy the “glorious freedom of the children of God.” What greater honor and freedom could there be than that of being the children of the Creator and Owner of the universe!—Ps. 19:7-11.
But, even after having accepted wholeheartedly God’s Word as our guide in life, is there still danger of being used by God’s adversary?