Satan, Lucifer, the devil, whatever you call him, has been loved and feared, since the dawn of entertainment. He has been a central figure throughout entertainment history, both as antagonists and protagonists. For some, Satan is an enemy; the evil in a constant battle for the souls of man. To some, he’s simply a trickster, wreaking havoc for the sake of itself. For others, he represents a rebel, an instigator who challenged the authority of the god who made him.
He never asked to be created, yet he was made and placed in a position of servitude and chose to rebel. The interpretations of this figure are as broad as the artists who envision him, but the one thing that seems to be consistent is that he is an enemy of a benevolent creator, god. So why do we love this character so much?
Christianity has so heavily influenced our western culture that we all have an idea of who the Biblical Satan is. To this day, Satan has been an antagonist through film, literature, music, and art. One could argue that we have culturally agreed that the devil is a symbol of our shared oppression; the adversary to our pursuit of happiness. The character Lucifer, still holds so much weight over the minds of so many in our world today.
We like to think of ourselves as good, and why shouldn’t we? I personally believe that humans are inherently good, and that if presented with an opportunity to hurt or to help, they choose the latter. Obviously this doesn’t always happen, but we also don’t live in the black and white world the televangelists preach about. To the religious and superstitious, the figure of Satan offers an evil to our good, an adversary to the hero of our own individual journeys. Satan gives us something to fight against.
Though he can be seen as a heroic figure by many outside of the Christian worldview, Lucifer is still demonized by mainstream media today. Satan is the cause of suffering and pain—the scapegoat to our shirked responsibility. He is the oppressor of the righteous, or at least the not-so-bad.
He demanded equality and was condemned to earth for it. There is absolutely a punk element to the Satan of the Bible. He was made a slave and acted out a desire for freedom and equality.
During the Jesus Movement in the 60’s, Christian Fundamentalism preached a warning about the devil’s influence in pop-culture, ranging from children’s cereal to metal music. This charismatic dynamism became known as the Satanic Panic. False accusation of Satanic child abuse, and ritualistic murders were regular news stories. Demonic messages were said to be hidden in rock albums, and the rejection of science and rationality in favor of spiritual warfare, were laying the ground for the religious far right. Every “vague spirituality” and world religion or power outside of the god of the Bible was backed by its own demon.
Throughout the centuries, as Christianity began to spread, its message of hope was always accompanied with a warning that stated rejection of their good news came with an eternity separated from their god …burning in hell.
In my experience, the Devil is either feared as a real enemy, or revered as a great instigator. But this is my black and white opinion. I want to know about yours. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your personal feelings, stories, appreciation, or fears of the morning start, Satan.