"When the Devil Dares your Kids"
Of the many books have been written by Fundamentalist and other Evangelical
Christian authors about the Occult, this one is by far the most accurate.
It appears to be a "transition book" - one that offers some accurate data but
which still contains a great deal of misleading information. The book is
written by Bob and Gretchen Passantino of Answers in Action of Costa
The title does not sound too encouraging, because it incorrectly implies that
and the rest of the occult are somehow linked to the Christian devil.
Satan (in his present form) is an uniquely Christian and Islamic concept
which is recognized neither by Witches, Satanists nor by any other component
of the occult:
No other occultic activity even recognizes the existence of the devil.
|Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans do not recognize the existence of
Satan or of any other all-evil deity. Satan is completely missing from their
pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. |
|The Church of Satan recognizes a pre-Christian concept of Satan
who bears little or no resemblance to the Christian or Islamic Satan |
|The Temple of Set worships an Egyptian God who is regarded as a
precursor to the Satan of the Bible |
|The Tarot Card deck has a devil card. But is it linked to the
Greek Pagan God Pan, and relates to a personal legacy or temptations or
The back cover does not sound too encouraging either. It states that
"Satanism, witchcraft, and other occult practices lure even 'good' kids
into a dark world of destruction and pain."
But the book has many accurate passages. They devote an entire chapter to
an accurate discussion of Neo-Paganism, including contemporary Witchcraft
and Wicca. The authors emphasize in Chapter 6 that Witches do not engage in
criminal or destructive behaviours, and that they are honorable and
trustworthy. The Passantinos simply regard Wiccans as mistaken and
"following an attractive but unfulfilling" religion. Their grammar
appears to be also in transition; they spell Witch and Witchcraft in small
letters, but do capitalize the word Wicca. Unfortunately, they leave out the core
rule of Wiccan behaviour, the Wiccan Rede: "Do what thou wilt [wish] as long as it harms nobody,
This book is believed to be the first which contains relatively accurate
coverage of Wicca by an Evangelical Christian author. Most previous conservative
defined Wicca is simply a variation of Satanism and accuse them of horrendous
The Passantinos' perform a needed public service by exposing as frauds a
number of Christian books about Satanism, including Mike Warnke's The
Satan Seller, Lauren Stratford's Satan's Underground and Michelle
Smith's Michelle Remembers. To their credit, they mention that the
rumors of widespread Satanic Ritual Abuse are grossly exaggerated.
But even this book has some serious errors:
|They create the image that the Occult is a single monolithic, destructive
organization. (e.g. P. 12 heading "The Occult Wants Your Child") |
|They interleave unrelated non-occultic horror items in their discussion
of the occult (e.g. P. 13 horror movies) |
|They imply (P. 14) that all occult activities promote a "do what thou
wilt" philosophy. They have apparently taken part of the
Wiccan Rede and
infer that all activities within the Occult follow that rule of
behavior. That is definitely not true. By leaving off the second half of
the Wiccan Rede, the authors have inverted its meaning. |
|They imply (P. 14) that involvement in any form of the occult leads to
alcohol abuse, drug usage, running away from home, failing at school,
violent behaviour, mass murder and other criminal activity. |
|They imply that some teenagers involved in the occult engage in animal
torture, mutilation or killing (P. 20). There is an element of truth in this.
Santerians do kill animals ritually and humanely with as little pain as
possible. A very few teenage self-styled Satanists do ritually kill
animals; but this is not true of Satanism generally. It is certainly not
true of any other occultic group. |
|They state that Witches "take increasingly large doses of drugs to
sustain them through increasingly complex and bizarre rituals" (P. 30).
This is not true; it is simply a bit of propaganda left over from the
Witch burning times during 15th to 18th century Europe. |
|They say that teenagers become involved in the occult because of easy
sex, drugs, freedom and thrills. (P. 65). Again, some rebellious teenagers
do dabble in a form of Satanism that they create and which engages in
sexual activity and drugs. But this is rare and is unrelated to "mainstream"
Satanism and to other occultic activities. |
An overwhelming deficiency permeates the book: they:
|combine the serial murders of a few psychotic youth who have used
Satanism as a convenient cover story, with |
|the animal killing, graffiti drawing and tombstone desecration of a
small percentage of teens who dabble in Satanism, and |
|generalize these activities as being typical of all Satanists, and
|generalize Satanic activity to being typical of the entire Occult.
In doing so, they do a major disservice to all of the faith groups, games
and other unrelated activities which form the Occult.
Return to the OCRT home page, or to the
"Hot" religious topics menu, or to the
B & G Passantino, When The Devil Dares Your Kids, Servant,
Ann Arbor (1991)