Many survivors of ritual abuse grow up with a faith that they still firmly believe in even after they have finally escaped from the group. Though this faith may be at odds and in many cases completely opposite to the prevailing faith of the culture they are living in, it is no less powerful to the survivor. In this country, although Christianity is currently the majority faith, it is by no means the only religion being believed in and practised by people. Generally speaking, Britain is tolerant of other faiths and the freedom to worship and belong to any faith or religion is part and parcel of the rights of any member of this society. The European Convention on Human Rights provides for the freedom to follow the religion of your choice.
Just as there can exist a deeply held belief in the existence of God and/or Christ, despite the absence of any concrete evidence as to their existence, so too there can be a deeply held belief in the existence of Satan and a variety of demons from Hell. Indeed some Christians and some other faiths do believe in the existence of an opposing deity. For many who experience and survive ritual abuse, the existence of Satan will have been ‘proven’ to them on many occasions. If someone is repeatedly hurting you and telling you that they are doing this in the name of Satan or some other deity, then this is your experience and there is little choice but to believe it.
Most survivors will have seen and heard evidence of his existence. That this experience is presented through the constant use of hypnosis, use of mind-altering drugs and extremes of torture and mind control, does not in any way alter the experiences of the survivor. They, like everyone else, believe that what they have experienced at first hand is real. It certainly is real to them. Even when they can later work out some of the tricks used to make them see and hear things that were not there, they cannot deny the reality of their own senses. In the same way that some people can believe that they have seen or communicated directly with God, so too can survivors believe they have seen or communicated with Satan. This type of experience is subjective to the individual concerned and no one has the right to say that it cannot have happened.
Survivors escaping from the group often carry their beliefs in the faith of the group with them. This does not mean that they necessarily agree with what the abusers do, most do not. Many do however, believe that the abuse inflicted on them was right and proper and was part of their destiny but can see that the abuse inflicted by the group on others, particularly the children was wrong. Many believe that if they talk, the group will know about it and punish them for it. Other beliefs may include such things as; they have no rights, their soul is owned by or ‘tied’ to the devil, they cannot enter a Christian church, they are evil or they will make the people around them turn bad. While many of these beliefs can be damaging to survivors, sometimes all they have left is their beliefs and it may be more damaging to try and deny the beliefs of survivors. In time, people can challenge their own beliefs and come to reject some of the more damaging beliefs for themselves.
While there is no problem in accepting that people have the right to follow any faith they choose, Satanism is not commonly regarded as a popular or acceptable faith to follow in this country. The very word causes people to automatically think of abuse, abnormal practises and evil. For this reason, few would admit openly to practising it. Those few, who would admit it, will always claim that no children are involved in it and that no abuse ever takes place in the name of their faith. This may well be the case for some.
Adult survivors of satanic abuse however talk of murder, torture, mutilation, sacrifice of animals and people, rape and a multitude of abuses carried out in the name of the group worshipping Satan. Many survivors grow up in the religious faith of their abusers and though they may escape from the abuse, may still hold onto the belief system. This makes it very difficult for them to come to terms with their abuse and extremely difficult for supporters who hold a different belief system to the survivor to understand.
Satanism teaches that people should follow their own will rather than the will of a weak god or society in general. It teaches that personal gain, indulgence and personal gratification is right and that to be powerful is everything. Survival of the fittest and the right of the strongest to rule over those who are weaker is a key element. Satanists generally view mankind as just another animal but the most vicious animal of all. Though mankind can think and reason, this to some only means that we are clever animals. Written in the Satanic Bible amongst the nine satanic statements are: 1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence! 2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams! The first of the nine satanic sins is stated as ‘stupidity- the cardinal sin of Satanism’.
Many Satanists would claim that mankind has been duped and controlled by a weak god designed by man, which prohibits everything that people are naturally designed to enjoy. They would claim that belief in a god is simply a way of controlling the masses and only stupid people would follow this path. They might also declare that as people have free will, they should naturally follow their own paths in life and think for themselves. The natural path of mankind, they would argue, is towards survival of the fittest and doing anything that is enjoyable and natural. With abusive groups they would argue that their power is part of the natural order and they have the right to do with others, who are less fit and powerful than them, as they please. Obviously, there are many who would disagree with them.
Although people do have the right to follow and practise the religion of their choice, with rights should always come the responsibility to consider the rights of others. Followers of abusive satanic groups do have the right to believe in what they want to but they do not have the right to force their beliefs on other people or the right to deny rights to others. Survivors of ritual abuse do have the right to believe in whatever they wish as do their abusers, but no one ever has the right to abuse another person or living creature or deny any of the rights of others.