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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Satanism This belief is a directly opposing power structure to Christianity. The Devil replaces Jesus Christ, demons replace angels. The kingdom of Satan is below the Earth, that of Christ above it.
      Satanism was so strongly accepted as real by ecclesiastics in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries that they declared some fifty specific prohibitions against the belief. Though simple banishment was sometimes the penalty for convicted Satanists, burning alive was the more frequent punishment. For the church, that has always been an effective deterrent to opposition and/or rivalry.
      Today, the new agers and other such dilettantes toy with the naughty notion. Trashy magazines and tabloids feature advertisements and lurid articles dealing with the Dark Powers, confident that there are enough silly people around to support a limited industry devoted to Satanism. Their confidence has not been poorly placed.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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