Coltrain: Satanism and paganism are not the same thing – The Daily Iowan

Posted: July 20, 2017 at 3:00 am

Religious freedom is a a fundamental characteristic of America; this includes respecting other religions and not spreading false representations of them.

ByTravis Coltrain

travis-coltrain@uiowa.edu

Religious freedom is one of the founding ideals of this country. In the United States, an individual has the freedom to identify with any religion, whether that be as a member of the First Church of Cannabis or a member of the Church of Satan. America was formed with religious freedom very much in mind, and that battle continues to this day.

A lot has changed since the witch hunts of the Early Modern Period, when an estimated 35,000 to 100,000 people were executed under the pretense of being witches. Now, more than 400 years later, we have pop-culture icons using once-taboo religions as a way to gain popularity.

Recently, from Buddhism to Satanism, select religious have become trendy. This is where an issue that comes with religious freedom comes into play, the power to participate in a religion because it is viewed as cool or trendy. This can lead to unrealistic portrayals of a religion because those who simply jumped on the bandwagon are doing it for popularity reasons, not necessarily because they have a true understanding of the religion.

A prime example of this is Matt Skiba, the lead singer of the rock band Blink-182. Recently, Skiba told NME Magazine in an interview, I had a bad feeling about that event [Fyre Festival]. I consider myself a pagan and a witch. With every inch of my energy, I wanted Fyre not to happen I used my witchy ways, and it seemed to work. Ill take responsibility, and everyone can blame me.

However, this is untrue for two reasons. The organizers of Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, who cofounded the event with rapper Ja Rule, have since been charged with fraud, in which they admitted the festival was a disaster because they spent all the money on promotions and advertisements, meaning it was doomed to fail before Skiba and his magic had anything to do with it.

The second reason is the more important one: Skiba is known as practicing LaVeyan Satanism and has been open about that since 2005. While to many people Wicca and Satanism seem to be pretty much the same thing, that couldnt be further from the truth.

The one key difference between the two religions is belief.

LaVeyan Satanists are actually atheist and do not believe in God or Satan, they simply view the idea of Satan as a symbol for individualism. However, Wiccans do believe in a god and goddess, and some variations of Wicca actually worship numerous gods.

Ironically enough, on the Church of Satans website under the Frequently Asked Questions section, it clearly states when asked if they are allied with Wicca, Satanism is an atheist philosophy, hence it is not congruent with any other philosophy or religion which endorses the belief in supernatural entities.

This showcases Skiba and his witchy powers had nothing to do with the outcome of Fyre Festival, and he was just using Wicca as a steppingstone to put himself in the spotlight. Furthermore, his statement conflated paganism with Satanism, which can lead to more confusion and stigma about two belief systems that are already usually misunderstood.

America gives us the opportunity to learn and experience a vast number of religions, and while it is great to explore and learn about as many religions as possible, we also have to respect their ideals and not simply view them as a trendy statement.

A religion isnt a trend, it is an ideology that needs to be treated with respect, even if it promotes ideas that you do not agree with.

Continued here:

Coltrain: Satanism and paganism are not the same thing - The Daily Iowan

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