Hardcore Christians have spread lots of sensationalistic tales about “Satanic cults” who allegedly perform human sacrifices and ritual sexual abuse of children. But how would such behavior by Satanists serve Satan’s goals, even from a purely Christian point of view? Satan’s number one aim, according to traditional Christian belief, is to get as many people as possible to reject the Christian God. Satan’s goal, according to most of those Christians who actually believe in Satan, is not to get people to behave as nastily as possible, but rather to get as many people to leave Christianity as possible. A bunch of Satanists going around torturing and murdering people would not serve that goal. On the contrary, it would only frighten people into clinging all the more tightly. And that, of course, is probably one of the reasons why some Christian evangelists love to spread tales of “Satanic crime.” But, to be consistent with the traditional Christian idea of Satan, the main goals of Satan’s human followers would be (1) to lure people away from Christianity; (2) to get ourselves into positions of power and influence, the better to lure even more people away from Christianity; and (3) simply to live our lives as we please, looking out for our own interests.

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