Satan in the Public Square: Keeping Things in Perspective

If you haven’t already heard

Members of the Satanic Temple have unveiled their design for a 7-foot-tall statue of the devil they want to locate at the Capitol building in Oklahoma, right next to a monument of the Ten Commandments that has stood since 2012.

“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the group…“The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”

How concerned should Christians be about this display? The fact is, we should have seen this coming. Arguing for Christian symbols in the public square on the basis of historical tradition merely opens us up to the furtherance of new traditions—many traditions we won’t like. This is an example of an opening to views of a subculture of American society that despises Christianity and wishes for it to have zero influence in the wider culture. The appeal to fairness, equal access, and freedom to practice religion is protection for all worldviews in a pluralistic society like ours. We need to come to grips with that.

But in my opinion, here’s the real story. Christians are eager to respond to these types of material depictions of Satan, often more eager to do that than respond to the godless ideas that are at the foundation of these depictions. This is an indictment of the Christian mind. Christians are naturally repulsed by an image that appears to have demonic horns and loving on children. Yet how much do we understand the impact of such demonic beliefs on the lives and souls of those who follow pagan religions? This symbol in and of itself has only symbolic power, but unless Christians are capable of refuting the ideas behind this and similar imagery, what benefit is it to concern ourselves with this monument at all?

Rather than being offended by what seems to be an invasion of our space, we need to commit ourselves to a godly response to the underlying ideas that are finding a platform. The proliferation of this kind of imagery should be a warning to the Church that we’re not effectively communicating the message of sin and redemption or the intellectual superiority of Christianity over other worldviews as well as we might think.

The media isn’t fully to blame for what they report, for we need to give them a reason to say something else. What would be an exciting turn of events would be if instead of the media reporting on the offense taken by Christians over the erection of satanic monument, they could report on our purposeful, meaningful response to the ideas being furthered by groups like the Satanic Temple.

 Satan in the Public Square: Keeping Things in Perspective

Sarah Flashing is a freelance writer and speaker in the areas of theology, apologetics and Christian ethics. She is the author of “Preparing Women to Walk Worthy of the Call” and writes at SarahFlashing.com. She has written for The Gospel Coalition, Solid Reasons, Servants of Grace, Christianity Today, and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Sarah is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with an M.A. in Christian Thought (2005). …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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