Satanism and associated phenomena : a study in the philosophy of education
Staples, Herbert Edward
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The research was undertaken against the backdrop of a world-wide occult explosion and a commensurate increase in Satanism. This trend has recently begun manifesting itself in the Republic of South Africa. An increase of Satanism among school-going adolescents has been noted. There is little empirical evidence extant on the causes of Satanism. The research problem was defined in five questions: how can Satanism and its associated phenomena be defined; to what degree is Satanism and occultism present in schools; what are the causal factors of Satanistic or occultic involvement; what fundamental pedagogical insights emanate from both the literature and the empirical study; what criteria can he used profitably in the assessment of Satanistic adolescents? The problem definition listed above logically led to the crystallization of a five-fold aim. The literature study was executed by means of various methods which cohere within the framework of the Christian philosophy of Education. The fundamental-reflective, structure-empirical, transcendental-critical, and the historical phenomenon-analysis methods were used. The rationale of these methods is outlined in the introduction. In the light of the impossibility of total objectivity in research, the philosophical and scientific presuppositions of the researcher were brought to the surface and account was given for such presuppositions. The second leg of the research was that of empirical investigation, which has been executed by means of the verification of hypotheses by use of the inductive method. The research population has been all adolescent pupils of the Transvaal Education Department secondary schools. Scientifically accountable sampling methods were used and the sample-size parameters were set so as to allow for confidence in the results. Two research instruments were used: the first being a composite questionnaire with four specialized sub-sections; the second being a standardized psychometric instrument. Refinement of the first instrument took place in accordance with standard methodological practice. The results were processed and analyzed with the aid of computers. Appropriate inferential and descriptive statistical procedures were used. The literature study led to the perspective that there are two distinct types of Satanic worship,viz. traditional Satanism and modern Satanism. They have distinct identities, considerable philosophical differences, yet many similarities. They are nearly always equated with each other in the perceptions of Iaymen and student alike. Traditional Satanism has its roots in ancient witchcraft, whereas modern Satanism is a recent manifestation of a fertility cult. Belief in and covenant with Satan characterises the former, while the latter focuses on ritualized occultic-orgiastic practice and espouses belief in a non-anthropomorphic Satan. Both practise maleficent occultism. Occuitlsm is a sine qua non of Satanism, but Satanism must not be seen to be a manifestation of occultism. Literature study also showed the New Age Movement to be related to Satanism through occultism, and demon possession to be related to Satanism as a sometimes-encountered result of Satanistic involvement. Occultic mysticism was shown similarly to have ties with Satanism, but the study revealed that not all mysticism is occultic. The common thread through all related phenomena is occultism. Parapsychology was found to be unrelated to Satanism but to be a "high-risk" area which could readily expose the student to the world of the occult. Literature study showed the causes of Satanism to be the educo-psycho-social deficits and needs that direct the person's behaviour towards need-reduction or need-satisfaction. The needs identified were those of self-realization, love, power and esteem. The need for positive faith was also adduced. As a result of these educo-religio-psycho-social needs, the facilitating role of a wide variety of conditioning media was expounded. The most important Satanic belief facilitators with adolescents were identified as sex, drugs, fantasy games, peer-group pressure, nihilistic-themes music and occult involvement. The empirical research was conducted with reference to occult involvement, the sample research population being demarcated to be "high, low" or "non occult-user". Occultic adolescents were demonstrated to be more hedonistic, more anarchistic, more nihilistic, and more alienated from their parents, school, church and peers. Grade-effects were demonstrated throughout, showing that deepening occult faith, as evidenced by a higher degree of occult usage, correlated with a greater degree of hedonism, nihilism, anarchism, and alienation. Predictably, a strong link was shown to exist between the frequency of occultic involvement and broken homes. The most notable findings, however, were those which showed the deficit of positive religion to be a primary cause of Satanism and occultism. The latter finding breaks new ground in empirical research on the subject, and shows that the basic educo-psycho-social needs/deficits should not be seen as the sole corpus of primary causal agencies, but that the need of true religion is perhaps the most fundamental primary need in this instance. It is the religio-educo-psycho-social deficits/needs that promote involvement in diabolical religion. The empirical research also showed that fractionally more than one in ten adolescent pupils in the target population is occultic, of whom nearly three percent is heavily involved in occultism. By deduction it has been possible to show that somewhat more than half of the high occult-user group in the target population is Satanistic. The research has also showed that the great majority of Satanists would be traditional Satanists. The fundamental pedagogical insights that have emerged are: that the educational necessity of a strong parent-child relationship is threatened by the development of Satanism and occultism; that Satanism is a threat to the execution of the educational task of the school and also brings about effects in the individual that counteract sound educational goals; that the social development of the adolescent is negatively affected by these religions; that Satanism and occultism bring about strong anti-societal traits that must render them not only less able to fit into normal society but less willing to fit into such society; that Satanism and occultism have very seriously debilitating effects on the sound religious and moral development of the adolescent. The research has made it possible to educe an educo-psycho-social profile of a typical heavily involved occult-user, and/or Satanist. Principles for the guidance of educators involved with Satanists or deviant occultists have been produced. Finally, the research has resulted in the partial refinement and standardization of diagnostic instruments by which occultic adolescents can be identified, and a modus operandi for the pro-active and retroactive identification of such children for possible intervention.
- Education