Why is Pop Culture so Obsessed with Satan?

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I am fascinated by the obsession of pop culture with Satan . Not ideas about Satan nor ideas about evil but with the person of Satan himself. Several articles in prominent news publications have noted this phenomenon. The New York Post for example recently published an article with the heading, “Hail Satan is Trending.” The Post article notes, “From the Dark Lord on Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” to the network’s series “Lucifer,” to the upcoming Amazon series “Good Omens,” which features an 11-year-old Antichrist, the devil seems to have carved out a place in the cultural spotlight unrivaled since the 1980s.” For pop culture industries that seem largely skeptical of the very existence of Satan or who deny his existence entirely there does seem to be a great deal of attention being paid to the persona of the Prince of Darkness. Why is that do you think? 

  1. Many trace the current obsession to a trend which began with the release of Rosemary’s Baby back in 1968. Since then the productions have become increasingly focused on Satan himself. One of the more easily recognizable examples of this development is in the superhero blockbusters of which a slew have recently been released. It does not require much imagination to recognize the goat headed Doomsday, leader of the so-called Parademons in the Justice League movie where Superman is resurrected from death to save the world. We see him again as the Dark Lord, God of the Church of the Night in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He shows up as Hellboy, Loki the quintessentially evil brother of Thor, Satana daughter of Satan, and Ex Nihilo (who by the way has a sister named Abyss). Don’t forget Blue Devil and Kid Devil among a host of others.

This goat headed representation of Satan is one of the most prominent ways of depicting him in ancient Greece. Today a goat headed statue of Satan, known as Baphomet, stands as one the favorite monuments of the Satanic temple. In another post, I will trace the origin and development of this Satanic Symbol

  • It seems Satan has now come to take on the persona of savior, a voice for the rejected. Many see Satan as the one to whom they can turn when rejected or marginalized. Satan therefore has become a symbol of resistance and the embodiment of the darker side of human nature. Those who feel left out or who do not fit in may find a home in this dark world.
  • It is a sobering fact that at a time when the Christian Church is declining in western culture the church of Satan is experiencing exploding growth. The idea that we are children of God is losing its appeal for many and that spiritual vacuum is being filled for some at least by turning to Satan.  

There are those who dismiss such concerns. They argue this is all innocent fun, art doing what it has always done, exploring hitherto sacred taboos, upending irrational and unfounded limitations. Really? Consider, there is also evidence that this explicit embrace of Satan as a symbol of resistance is linked to the rise in hate and hate crimes, Neo-Nazism and other extreme ideas once rejected by the majority and kept on the margins of society. It is well known that Nazism is deeply rooted in the occult. Individuals who have left such groups have described an increasing trend to embrace the occult philosophy of the Nazis. This is no laughing matter.

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