To conclude series one of the Street Evangelism blog, we're featuring a special edition testimony of a former Satanist! Some critics in the church argue that there is no fruit that comes from street evangelism. I beg to differ, which is why I'm very privileged to present the story of Danny Mcilhiney in his own words. Danny first came to us on the high street 4 years ago. A committed atheist, he was already very heavily involved with with the occult, satanism and communism. Most remarkable of all perhaps was his age. He was only 15! This is his story...
AN 'UNORTHODOX' UPBRINGING
I was brought up in a family that was very firmly atheist. My family made it clear from a young age that belief in a supreme being was the folly of the idiot or those on the lower echelons of society. We were intellectual and therefore did not hold to any belief other than those based in 'science'. My family were however, Jewish by race and so we did partake in some Jewish holidays and festivals, yet it was enforced that these were nearly cultural exercises and nothing more. My grandmother was a Jewish communist and so I was also instilled with socialist principles from a very young age. In fact at a young age I can remember going on Anti-War marches and even telling teachers that I was communist, laughing at those who subscribed to the Christian faith.
Despite this, since I can remember, I had a keen interest in politics, philosophy and religion. I can remember forcing my parents to take me to synagogue at around age nine, not for religious purposes, but again for a sense of heritage. On my tenth birthday I asked for a Kippah (a Jewish head covering), so as to have my own.
I explored and researched many religions (joining debate and philosophical societies at just age 11, even winning an award in philosophy from a local college), until finally at age 14 I finally decided to follow The Church Of Satan*, which I perceived to be a haven for the intellectual outcast. At this point I was seen as a kind of figure head of atheists in the school I went to (The BRIT School) and had regular arguments with Christian students, getting backing from a large group of militant atheists. I used to regularly read my Satanic bible and rub it in the faces of the Christians around me, to provoke arguments with those who seemed to me to be rationally weak.
One day whilst coming back from school in the afternoon on a Friday I saw a group of Christians on my local Highstreet at a stall. I had on my person the Satanic Bible and decided it would be great to start an argument with these 'nut jobs'. I approached them and started propagating those beliefs taught in The Satanic Bible and supporting those with arguments I had learnt from various sources. After quite a long conversation, the main man whom I was speaking with invited me to meet him for a coffee the following week. I agreed and we went our separate ways.
I did some research before the next meeting and had a lot of rebuttals and points ready for this conversation. I met the man I had spoken to (I'll call him B) and another man (I'll call him E). They presented me the gospel and answered a few of the questions I had. I discovered that B had brought E along because he had a background in black magic, something at the time I thought was nonsense, however something in his story I found rather intriguing and also hard to escape. I removed any doubt from my mind about Satanism and left the conversation feeling intellectually superior. I agreed to attend B's church on the Sunday.
I used to regularly read my Satanic Bible and rub it in the faces of the Christians around me
On the Sunday I attended the church, sitting at the back looking as cold as possible until the end fellowship time they had. I then spent about three hours at the church debating various members and hearing some, quite frankly, amazing testimonies. Again I left with out a thing being changed.
THE TURNING POINT
In the coming days I decided to research the historicity of Jesus and the disciples, the science and astronomy in the Bible and other historical claims the Bible made. I was wrestling in my mind for the coming week about all that I believed and the apparent accuracy I perceived in the Bible.
On the Thursday a group of atheists and I were having an argument with a group of Christians. I was being a lot quieter than usual and somebody asked me why. I can just remember turning to my atheist friends and saying 'I think they are right...', followed by a look of shock and silence from all around. I then prayed in my head and accepted Christ as my personal saviour.
I thank God for his patience with me and willingness to accept me after all the terrible things I had done
After that day I lost a lot of friends. The atheists thought I had betrayed them and the Christians didn't trust me, but eventually after quite sometime I became the voice of Christians in a largely secular institute. I helped found a CU there (that is still going on today) and preached to students and teachers alike as much as possible, leading a few students there to Christ and, I hope, strengthening others faith. I myself am now in my fourth year as an evangelist on my local Highstreet and I have recently been called to go into the ministry full time. I thank God for his patience with me and willingness to accept me after all the terrible things I had done beforehand, and I am now convinced that it is every Christians job to go out into the world and to be fruitful and multiply themselves spiritually to continue making disciples until the LORD's return.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Church Of Satan is a pseudo-religious organisation started in California on April 30th (Walpurgisnacht) 1966; founded by high priest Anton Szandor LaVey, who codified the constitution of the church in a book called The Satanic Bible published in 1969. These beliefs were then greater explained in his following books, culminating in The Satanic Scriptures written by high priest Peter H. Gilmore.
The CoS subscribe to a set of beliefs commonly know as LaVeyan Satanism, meaning they do not believe in any extra-natural being be it God or Satan. Satan literally translates as the adversary and so the CoS see themselves as the embodiment of Satan (the adversary of the church). LaVeyan Satanists do not (openly) worship Satan, although there are magic rituals that the church claims to be merely allegorical and some have claimed that LaVey himself did worship Satan. Children are also encouraged to kiss the high priests ring for good fortune.
The CoS is a recognised religious church and therefore have charitable status. They perform weddings, satanic baptism and funeral services. Notable friends of the CoS include Marilyn Manson, Jayne Mansfeild, Sammy Davis Junior and (allegedly) Marilyn Monroe.