According to the book jacket, at the time of writing, Dr. Ted Peters was a Professor at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Northern California. 18 years have gone by since publication.
The complete title of his book is Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society.
This book on radical evil started as an afterthought while promoting his earlier book on New Age Movements, entitled The Cosmic Self (1989).
Peters noticed that people kept asking him about Satanism.
New Age Movements became popular from the 1970s on – especially in California – because the charisma of Christianity appeared to be inadequate. From the point of view of Reason, Jesus and Moses were pure myth. From the point of view of Resistance, Catholics and Baptists were full of hang-ups.
The experts had appointed themselves to solve all these problems. And from any point of view from the Inside, no Christian leader wanted to risk addressing the symbolic and conceptual void that seemed to be filling the Churches. Reason and Resistance were so captivating.
Little did anyone imagine that, by 1994, a new religion – really, a “cryptoreligion” – Progressivism – had already constituted itself by regulatory capture (infiltration and take-over) of all types of secular institutions, especially those of the sovereign (central state), but including the broadcast media and local education.
Both the New Age Movements (clarifying magic) and Satanic cults (occluding magic) shared this in common: They were intensely personal. They were cultic. They were private religions. They were not “public” religions in the same way that Judaism and the Christianities were.
In short, New Age Movements were the private complement to the Public cryptoReligion of Progressivism. “Progressivism” denied that it was a religion, even as it re-defined the meanings of “life”, “liberty”, “happiness”, “fairness”, “sacrifice”, “revenues”, “budgets”, “liberal” and “conservative”. What word has been untouched by the cryptoReligion and its minions?
Peters did not hear the question that people were undoubtedly asking: Was there not a dark, occluding monolithic side to the proliferating private clubs of “clarifying magic” that marked the New Age Movement? Yes, it was the Leviathan. But, that answer was ruled out by definition. The Central State, the new American Sovereign, “Progressivism” was precisely not religious.
Thankfully, this good Lutheran did hear “something”. He heard that people were concerned about Satan in an age when the word “sin” was no longer spoken in polite – I mean, politic – discourse.
He wrote a grant. He got a research assistant. And she wrote this book. Thank you, Lisa Stenmark.