RALEIGH, N.C. — A “Satanic Students” group has been formed on the campus of North Carolina State University, with a handful of students joining the group this past semester.
The student newspaper Technician reports that the group was founded by chemical engineering student Peter Aker, and currently has about eight members.
“The mission of Satanic Students at NC State University is to 1) encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, 2) reject tyrannical authority, 3) advocate scientific examination of the universe and our place in it, 4) promote morality and justice based on rational, humanistic values, and 5) be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will,” the group page at the university’s “get involved” section outlines.
Satanic Students is similar to the non-theistic Satanic Temple, headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, and likewise states that it doesn’t believe that Satan exists, but views the fallen angel as a metaphor and a symbol for its shared system of thought.
However, unlike The Satanic Temple’s numerous battles for equal representation as a religion whenever the government seemingly endorses Christianity—such as with the display of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of state capitol buildings or the presentation of Christian prayers at city hall meetings—Aker said that he views Satanism as being philosophical rather than religious.
“Satanism is more of a philosophy and ideology, and not so much a religion,” he told Technician. “We don’t believe in a literal Satan. Instead, we use its philosophy and the symbology behind it to form our opinions on the way the world should go.”
Aker also outlined to The College Fix that its “[m]embers come [from] a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds,” and while there is “a substantial Christian presence … projected around campus, most students have a ‘live and let live’ attitude that we respect and gladly reciprocate. We have yet to encounter any significant backlash.”
“We have the same amount of validity as them, but we think this message is better,” he told Technician. “It’s more modern. It’s less restrictive and puritan. We don’t preach that you’re going to go to Hell if you do bad things. … What matters is what you do here, while you’re alive.”
In the documentary “Hell’s Bells: The Power and Spirit of Popular Music,” Christian filmmaker Eric Holmberg discussed the practice of Satanism and its central theme of “Do what thou wilt.” He asserted that many people follow the principles of Satanism without realizing it.
“Call yourself a humanist, a white witch, a liberal Christian if you must, but ultimately, as [Anton] LaVey was fond of saying, you’re just a Satanist in evening clothes dressed up to hide your true nature,” Holmberg explained. “Contrary to popular opinion, the essence of being Satanic is simply being interested in what you or other people believe about something, rather than what God knows and has commanded.”
1 John 3:8 reads, “He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”