film, history, religion

How many demons can dance on the head of a pin?

I came across this article from The Western Journal, a conservative website founded by conservative opinion commentator Floyd Brown, which critiques a HuffPost Q&A session with Penny Lane, director of the documentary Hail Satan?

The critiquing article primarily lamented HuffPost’s failure to correct Lane’s inaccurate depiction of theistic Satanism (as opposed to atheistic Satanism) and its history.

The critique has a modicum of weight to it. There are indeed practitioners of theistic Satanism, in far-right Nazi groups for example. Additionally, The Western Journal article cites Santa Barbara Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Russell’s work on the history of theistic Satanism. I have not read any of Russell’s books, but a review of an Amazon product description to his tome A History of Witchcraft reveals, “Whether the diabolical witchcraft for which men and women went to the stake ever existed is open to question. What matters more is that it was believed by intellectuals and peasants alike.”

Here is a short history of the many incarnations of the the devil as depicted in the Bible from The Biblical Archaeology Society.

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