This person also mentioned that the deaths of two of his friends had been covered up. He underlined the fact that they were living in a world of emptiness, away from Europe and isolated within Turkey in the following words:
'Our high school was like an island. Children who had everything lacked sincerity and real friendship on this island. We lived a certain jargon, a subculture in this frame of odd estrangement. We weren't yet interested in politics. On the other hand, our school taught us how to think. In English and German classes we discussed the meaning of life after reading Kafka, Camus; but the world our foreign teachers took us to was far away. We weren't living in Europe. We also were completely isolated from Turkish society. If we had been living in Germany, we would have learned individualism, egoism, how to protect our interests from nursery school on. However, everything we wanted was procured immediately, even our breakfast. Our Turkish teachers would enter our classes, however, they were not of the same status as us, and they felt inferior. Foreign teachers would come for a period of 4-5 years and were familiar with neither Turkey nor the Turkish mentality.'
As is evident in these words, some young people read books by writers like Kafka and Albert Camus, books based on existential philosophy. These books tell of how human beings fall in this world and criticizes the meaninglessness of life, encouraging young people to think about the values of the community in which they live. This can be a dangerous thing if a young person does not come from a family with deeply rooted values, or lives in a society where there are no healthy alternatives offered to the traditional values of that society.
These young people are brought up in isolation from the history, culture, national and spiritual values of their society, causing them to rebel against their own identity and personality. Such circumstances push young people, if they lack spiritual support, into a spiritual emptiness and finally into a dead end, where the only way out may be suicide. One of the fundamental reasons for such suicides is that these children are being taught nihilist ideals and are being brought up in an artificial environment, an environment which has been transplanted from the West, but one in which only the outward trappings have been taken, and the roots, i.e. the values, have been left behind. This can in no way be a healthy situation, the environment that these children find themselves in is foreign to the environment of their families and neigborhoods, and is lacking everything. Is it any wonder then that these children end up as suicides?
8. Who is Merely Called a Satanist and Who is Really a Satanist?
We should be very careful when we talk about Satanism and we should avoid explicitly calling anyone a Satanist. We should follow the precept 'innocent until proven guilty.' Unless a person says that he is Satanist or decisive proof is brought forward, sorting people into various categories and regarding some young people as Satanists may lead to uneasiness and reaction in society. To put it more simply, any wrong move or action made by officials may cause those who are not Satanists to join them. As mentioned before, Satanism is a reactionary movement. One needs to be very careful.
These issues were discussed in September-October of 1999, when Satanism was high on the agenda and some reactions were voiced, such as, 'People should not be categorized according to the music they listen to, the color of their clothes, the style of their hair, or the earrings they wear, and they should not be regarded as Satanist according to such.' Indeed, not everyone who listens to rock, metal, or heavy metal music is a Satanist. Similarly, not everyone who wears black T-shirts and jeans is a Satanist. People should be able to decide what clothes they wear for themselves. On the other hand, it should be kept in mind that young people who claim to be Satanists listen to rock and metal music, and prefer black because it represents the 'dark powers.
9. What Should be Done to Prevent Young People from Falling into the Trap of Satanism?
There is no doubt that the main responsibility for preventing young people from drifting toward Satanism lies with the family. Families play a crucial role in the shaping of a young person; a dysfunctional family may well help in determining whether a young person is inclined toward Satanism or not. We know that young people from broken or dysfunctional families cannot find the essential love, care and support from their families, and thus are in danger of becoming interested in Satanism. Parents should take care of their children as a trust from God and be careful about whom they make friends with, where they go, whether they acquire undesirable habits, what time they get home in the evenings, and whether they attend school regularly. It should be remembered that Satanism spreads in Muslim countries through young people and cliques. A good friend is also a good example and a bad friend a bad example. Moreover, parents should neither oppress their children, yet nor should they be too permissive. They should try to be their friends at times, while trying to understand them. They should try to fulfill the wishes of their children, if it is for something legitimate or they should dissuade the child when such a desire is wrong. They should remember that their children need both financial and spiritual support and they should look for ways to spiritually satisfy their children.
Many children today complain that they look for happiness outside their families, mostly in their groups of friends, because they cannot find love, support, and happiness. Finding the love and support that one desires from one's own parents outside the family is impossible, if the parents fail to provide it. It is not enough to provide young people with money. They need love, care, and compassion as much as they need material things. Parents do not do their children any favor if they grant all their wishes, provide them with endless financial means, and leave them free to make their own choices. Parents should know when to say no, restrict certain behavior, and even make children earn their own pocket money. It seems that some young people have tried everything and have everything they want in life, leaving only Satanism; therefore, they want to try this too. What all this goes to show is that youngsters should be brought up in accordance with the realities of life and should learn how to shoulder certain responsibilities. Some families whose children have been trapped by Satanism say that they fulfilled every financial need, but these families never mention what they failed to provide. To put it more clearly, they, for example, begrudge their child, from whom they withhold no material desire, a religious or moral education. The real reason behind the growth of Satanism is a lack of religious education. In addition, certain precautions should be taken, considering the fact that young people who enter such groups are mostly high school students; motives of sex and freedom play an important role in young people joining such groups, and the tendency to prove themselves is especially powerful at these ages.
School principals and teachers can also play an important role in protecting young people from harmful movements like Satanism. They should regard every student as being entrusted to their safekeeping and should struggle to train them first as a good person and then a good citizen. They should inform the children of harmful movements like Satanism, warn them to stay away from such groups, and help those who have entered them. Educators must have sound information about such subjects in order to teach the students properly. However, they should be very careful when teaching such subjects and avoid making them attractive. Furthermore, the parent-school relationship should be strengthened and students should be prepared for life and future with reciprocal communication.
Officials also play an important role in the proper education of the young people to whom we will entrust our future. Governments should not neglect these movements, they should not make the mistake of considering them as marginal. Something should be done even if one individual is lost to Satanism. Moreover, we observe that Satanism spreads rapidly among youngsters and that no serious precautions have been taken. However, Satanism is not the only harmful movement that sweeps up young people. The sinister country of alternative, harmful movements includes those entrapped by Satanism, but at the same time there are the glue-sniffers in dark corners or in subways. We should look after all the young people who have fallen into this dark country and protect them from all harmful movements; nobody can guarantee that today's glue-sniffer will not become tomorrow's Satanist.
Members of the mass media should also take this matter seriously. They should inform people responsibly and with accurate information, sticking to the objective and un-biased principles of journalism. They should not simply regard movements like Satanism as a piece of sensational news, but try to bring forth the real causes that foster the tendency of young people toward such movements. Moreover, they should not ascribe every incident of suicide to Satanism, publicizing the issue by exaggerating it or by putting it on the agenda frequently, making it a matter of curiosity.
On the other hand, parents and all institutions should also attend to the youngsters who have been entrapped by Satanism. They should not cast them out or regard them as dangerous people that belong to an eccentric movement, but rather they should try to help them back to the mainstream. They should also look after those who have been prosecuted and those have served a sentence; most youngsters do not know what Satanism is or how dangerous a path it is. If they had known, they probably would not have tended toward such a movement. If parents sense that their children are interested in such a movement, they should not try to cover it up in shame, but rather they should bring it out into the open, asking for help from those are familiar with the subject or from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Those who see such a tendency in their friends should also look after them and inform the parents and teachers of their friends immediately. If school principals or teachers feel that their students have such a tendency, they should attend to these children, in cooperation with the family. They should not try to cover up the issue, in the fear that it might harm the school's reputation; nothing is more important than human life.
Research has shown that young people who tend toward Satanism or commit suicide for its sake have little religious faith, having had little or no religious education. This is a reminder of the fact that man is not simply a physical being, but also a spiritual one, a bipolar being. If a person is not spiritually satisfied, they will search for satisfaction in another place, sooner or later, no matter their financial status. This search can sometimes lead down the wrong path; Satanism is the most obvious example.
Unfortunately, the education given in our schools today does not fill this spiritual void. In fact, it is not aimed at doing so. The rapid growth in the number of youngsters who resort to Satanism, drugs, etc. is the most distressing result of this. Similarly, recent research shows that the age for drinking alcohol has dropped to 13, a fact that jeopardizes the future of these young people and consequently of our society. Parents, educators, religious officials, theologians, society, and government officials should fulfill a role in order to fill the spiritual void suffered by young people. Whether one has religious beliefs or not, we should provide our people with religious information; the majority of the population in Turkey are Muslim. The support our young people need is only available through proper religious education. If we neglect this issue, a spiritual void will emerge. Certain people will exploit this emptiness and the result will be, as in Satanism, that some youngsters will worship inappropriate objects, and even take on the risk of death for their cause.
In fact, Satanism is a phenomenon contrary to human nature, as all monotheistic religions regard Satan as man's greatest enemy, the representative and promoter of all evil. Satan is neither an object of worship nor does he have a claim for divinity. Moreover, he did not in fact reject God (Abraham, 14/22). This is the very reality that lies under the contradiction and inconsistency of Satanism. There is a creature called Satan and some youngsters worship him and accept the risk of death for his sake. This is an anomaly that should be dealt with seriously. If we had informed our young people about God, the Prophet and Satan, nobody would now be worshipping Satan; Satan is a being that should be avoided and stayed away from. However, it is a sad fact that some of our young people worship Satan, man's greatest enemy, and in this way they help him to ask for help from his enemy.
To sum up, let's not categorize our young people ac- cording to the music they listen to, the color of their clothes, the length of their hair, or the earrings they wear. At the same time, it is important not to reduce Satanism to certain types of music or certain clothes, hair styles or accessories. If this were the case, then why and for what cause did these young people die or take their own lives? What is to be done now is not to categorize young people into certain groups with certain names, but rather to look for and produce sound and permanent answers to these two questions: What should we do to prevent young people from being entrapped by Satanism? What should we do for those who are already entrapped? Satanism is not a problem that can be solved by security precautions; it is a matter of acceptance or denial.
Several social, psychological, familial, and societal reasons might lie behind young people's drifting toward Satanism, however the real reason for such a tendency toward harmful movements is a lack of religious education and a spiritual void. If a young person regards Satan as a being to be worshipped and dares to commit suicide for his sake, then it is impossible to explain the situation in another way; Satan has become a matter of faith. Immoral behavior that is under the scope of faith can only be corrected by proper religious instruction. We are sorry to say that some families today are paying the price. If we do not want to pay greater penalties, we must attend to our young people; it is to they that we will entrust our future.
' Barton, Blanche, The Church of Satan, USA, 1990, 152-158
' Guc, Ahmet, Satanizm: Seytana Tapnmann Yeni Ad (Satanism: The New Style of Worshipping Satan), Istanbul 1999
' Gunay, Nasuh, Seytana Tapinmada Modern Yol Satanizm (Satanism, The Modern Way of Worshipping Satan), Arayislar (Quests), Isparta 1999
' Russell, Jeffrey Burton, Seytan: Antikiteden Ilkel Hristiyanliga Kotuluk (Translation of The Devil: Perceptions of Evil From Antiquity to Primitive Christianity Ithaca: Cornell, 1977 by Nuri Plumer), Istanbul 1999