Concerned Christians have reached out to us about the Satanic Black Mass being held in Noosa, Queensland, to coincide with Halloween on the 30th October this year. Noosa Today, a local Sunshine Coast newspaper, reports that it is likely the first public black mass in the state’s history.
The exact nature and purpose of the event is somewhat unclear. On the one hand, the group behind it has stated that they don’t “worship or believe in a literal deity” but instead view Satan as “a powerful metaphor for rebellion against arbitrary authority, as well as a champion of enlightenment, advocating for critical thought and reason”. In particular, the group promotes:
reproductive health and euthanasia, the decriminalisation of illegal drug use as well as causes that would restrict the influence of religious institutions over public schools and other public spaces.
On the other hand, the event’s promotional material reads, “Join us in fellowship as we perform this ancient ritual where the Dark Lord is summoned through Satanic invocations.” And the group’s leader has declared that “Satan has great plans for the Principality of Noosa and Australia.”
It appears that the purpose of the event, at least in part, is to goad Christians who have been calling for greater protections for religious freedom. The group’s leader claims that “thanks to the concerted efforts of our PM, there has been a phenomenal growth of satanism in Australia.”
In particular we would like to thank Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells for her speech to parliament stating she would like Australians “to have freedom of religion, either individually or in community with others, in public or private to manifest one’s religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
Apparently, then, the group behind the satanic mass has a point to prove.
And on this at least, we must concede that they are right. One of the compromises of living in a democratic society is that if we insist on freedom of speech, conscience and religion for ourselves, then to be fair and maintain our integrity, we must insist on it for everyone — so long as no laws are being broken.
Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, framed this dilemma well when he said,
“It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others.”
It would be hypocritical of us to seek protections for our own beliefs and practices but then oppose the same for “rival” groups — even if they happen to be Satanists.
Moreover, if Christians were to wage some kind of political campaign to ensure this event doesn’t go ahead, where does that kind of effort stop? Do we then oppose the construction of every mosque, temple and synagogue in Australia? Do we demand the closure of every New Age store and yoga studio?
Speaking for the Canberra Declaration at least, this is not the kind of “battle for Christian values” that we have been involved in for the last decade, nor is it a front on which we wish to fight. Our advocacy has not been against the freedom of other groups to assemble or unseemly businesses to open their doors. Only when such moves have been taxpayer-sponsored or in public settings that affect the broader community have we opposed them.
As it stands, the black mass in question is a ticketed event inside a privately-owned venue. The group has advertised the event to public, but it is anyone’s choice whether they attend or not.
As the people of God, we are obliged to follow His example. In the garden of Eden, He let Adam and Eve make their choice, despite the consequences. We see the same dynamic in Jesus’ parable, when a heartbroken father allowed his prodigal son to run wild, even though it hurt both of them immensely.
Indeed, Western democracies enjoy freedom of conscience because of such Christian teachings. Freedom is a gift from the Christian worldview that even Satanists benefit from — and that even Christians must extend to others when it doesn’t suit us.
This is not to say that we are silent on beliefs and practices that we disagree with: we will address this shortly. But it does mean that we grant to others the freedoms that we ourselves enjoy — freedoms that flowed into our democracies from Christian theology.
There is another reason that Christians shouldn’t take a combative approach to this. At the end of the day, a satanic black mass is a symptom of our culture’s trouble, not the cause of it. Using our clout to shut down this event would be like trying to combat atheism by silencing Richard Dawkins. Not only is Dawkins not to blame for atheism: if Christians could successfully gag him, ten more atheists may just rise up to take his noisy place.
In other words, our culture’s current crisis goes much deeper than momentary manifestations of unbelief. If a tree is dying, tending to its leaves will achieve little. What Australia needs is renewal at a deeper level. So let us now turn to this.
The campaign for Christian values is always a campaign for the Gospel. At the heart of the Gospel is the revelation that obeying the law cannot save us — and that it is impossible for unredeemed humans to obey it anyway. If we want to see our own lives and our culture aligned with God’s will, we need personal and corporate revival. Only when we have repented of our sin and believed in Jesus’ saving work can we live in a way that pleases God.
The shortcut to cultural renewal is a mass movement of hearts returning to God. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:20,
“We are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’”
The good news of Jesus is the message that Australians most need to hear. Our main response to this black mass is to pray for the salvation of those involved.
On the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus is our example, and His life is witness to the truth that love is the greatest force in the world. As St. Francis of Assisi prayed,
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
So Lord, we pray for these dear people’s salvation — that they would see Jesus and His glorious love on the cross. We pray they would understand that the blood of Jesus Christ declares that they are forgiven in Jesus’ name. Father, draw them to Yourself and reveal your great love for them in Jesus’ name. Amen!
When actual laws are being broken or other image-bearers are being injured, our appeal is to earthly courts. Measurable pain and damage is why the Canberra Declaration is so active on issues like abortion, euthanasia, biblical marriage and religious freedom. But when the problem is simply one of unbelief, our appeal is before the courts of Heaven.
This is where the true nature of the battle lies. As we read in Ephesians 6:12,
“We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Left to our own devices, ours would be a lost cause, given that the devil and his army are a lot older and more experienced than we. But Jesus Christ is victorious, and we are hidden in Him.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
~ Hebrews 4:16
This is a battle we fight best on our knees. And as God’s people, it is one that we can fight on behalf of our nation. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God has promised that
“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
If God is moving you to join with other believers in this prayer battle for our nation, we encourage you to seek them out and pray together. Joining with each other in prayer and humility, we can make a difference. This is a battle we must win on our knees.