The God of Satanism
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31-08-2015, 03:13 PM
The God of Satanism
This may come as a surprise to some people in the community here, but I am deeply interested in Satanism. I have a very specific aspect of Satanism I wanted to post about, but I think some background would help to give context to my points, as well as help contextualize such a stigma ridden religion.

My interest in Satanism was originally sparked by a chance sighting of the Satanic Bible on the "Atheism and Philosophy" shelf of a Barnes and Noble bookstore. At that time I had only just begun to call myself an Atheist in public, so I was in a line crossing, chance taking, individualistic frame of mind.

When I informed my Mormon friends that I had left the church there was an excruciating, yet expected, wave of lost friendships. Since I was smack in the middle of all that fallout, I didn't think there was much left that I could do to be shunned by anyone I really cared about. None of my non-Mormon friends would care if they saw the book on my shelf at home and no one in my family was speaking to me about religion, so who's opinion was left to consider?

Truth be told, I still had to calm myself down enough to pick up the book. Even then my heart was beating like crazy. Like anybody else who called themselves a Christian at one point, I had a lifetime of fear to overcome when it comes to Satan. As a believing Mormon, I had really bought into the "devil is out to get you" narrative that was so popular in church and at General Conferences. The red symbol of Baphomet suspended against an upside down pentagram wasn't helping either. It seemed spooky and dangerous.

My actual experience reading the book was positive, fascinating, even inspiring. The actual contents of the book were neither spooky nor immoral. Instead, I examined a book of wisdom and philosophy that I feel comfortable describing as a work of unique perspective and insight. The book effortlessly articulated so many of the ideas that resonate deeply with my journey out of Theism. I was riveted to its pages all that day and some of the next.

Since then I have spent long hours thinking about Satanism and weighing the similarities and differences between its principles and the generally held values of Atheist or unbelieving circles. One particular part of Satanism that I think harmonizes so well with Atheist thinking and values is the way it views the concept of god.

Now, we Atheists really have the god concept down to a science. More often then not we know more about what "god" can mean to individuals than believers do themselves. Many of us have come out of various cults or types of god worship and none of them view god in exactly the same way. It was a really faith eroding experience for me when I first began to grasp how subjectively people experience or understand their "god". Even two members of the same congregation, who are obligated to believe certain official dogmas, do not believe in the exact same god or hold the exact same values.

That information gave me a whole new field of study when it came to observing the people around me in church. I payed close attention to what they said about god and how they professed to have experienced the divine. The more I looked, the more once invisible contradictions and changes to official dogma became jarring and obvious. I began to wonder how I could have ever been blind to them before.

Like many other Atheists, after I threw off my faith and took on new values I became deeply interested in how religions have come to be. Not believing in god anymore doesn't resolve the question of how and why religion exists and where its ideas and value originate.

My current view is based in some of the very famous Atheist writings that have come before me. For example Christopher Hitchens frequently put it like this.

"Which is it, that god made man in his image, or that man made many gods in his own rival images? Religion is man made, and it shows."

That is more or less how I would explain religion's origins. It has marvelous explanatory power when I re-contextualize some of what used to disturb or confuse me as a believer. There is no longer any need to speculate as to why god allows unnecessary evil that is not man made to exist in the world. There is no longer any need to compare different faith claims and judge who god is revealing his word to, and who is getting a divine prank call. Now I can understand why prayers for god to intervene in war are in vain, and why the only claims otherwise never come from the losers in those conflicts. Once I stopped looking for god's hand in everything my world view clicked into a much more harmonious place given the world I observe every day. The world is more consistent and inspires less resentment and fear when considered Atheistically. It is the only perspective which doesn't give me cognitive dissonance.

Satanism is not only in perfect harmony with these "religion as natural phenomena" explanations, it actually builds upon them in a personal context. In the chapter "The God You Save May be Yourself" of the Satanic Bible, Lavey begins by reminding people of our relationship as human beings with god concepts. He states that because human beings have manufactured gods and religions with nothing more than our carnal selves, or our physical brains, to then worship such a god is no different than worshiping its inventor by proxy. It would also mean that despite constant railings and condemnation against selfishness and worshiping the self, theism has been doing exactly that all this time. The only difference is that they externalize their ego into a "god" who they then worship. Man always has been his own god.

I find this narrative to be very compelling. It gives me a whole new context in which to understand things like killing in god's name. The believer who externalizes his desire to hate and kill his enemy receives all the benefits of claiming a higher authority supports his hate and murder, while conveniently and comfortably exporting away the selfishness and ego it takes to hate and kill. Through this re-contextualization of theism, I can get some real explanations that make sense given the many ways in which theism is used and abused around the world to avoid responsibility for human actions.

Lavey goes on to say that given our history and inclination to create gods and religions, we should not shy away from the fact that we do these things naturally. They are a part of our instinctual nature. This is where Satanism starts to really take a turn away from traditional Atheist conclusions. Therefore, we ought to embrace our nature with eyes wide open. Instead of worshiping man made gods as though they existed, we could venerate the aspects of our nature that we normally externalize into gods. We could gratify our needs and fulfill our egos, taking full responsibility for our actions because we perform them in our own names.

He goes as far as to say that nothing is preventing us from engaging in ritual ceremony in the name of "god", which is us. As long as we are stuck with a natural need for ritual, why not re-capture those concepts from modern religions and re-purpose them in ways that benefit us directly. Satanism takes this narrative very seriously by creating a series of psychodramatic rituals people can use to positively re-purpose their less logical human instincts. The Satanic Bible and a few other written works by Lavey contain rituals of blessing, cursing, loving and lusting, among other things, all of which can be used to give people a psychological edge.

One very important theme in Satanic psychodrama is having one's eyes wide open. In other words, a balance needs to be struck between logical thinking and our more basic primate instincts. Satanism strives to be a religion in the sense of ritual and ceremony, but much more philosophical when it comes to things like epistemology and skepticism. Satanists may perform a curse on someone they hate, but they understand the curse intellectually. They don't believe in its supernatural power, they believe in its psychological power on the person performing the curse, to prime the pump of his primate desire for magical vengeance and create a satisfying feeling.

They also believe in its psychological power on the person who knows he has been cursed. This is in harmony with one of the central themes of Satanic religion, the use of monotheistic mythological symbology, such as Satan, to represent ideals of individualism, personal freedom from psycological manipulation, and ultimately the "demon" or "essence" of one's will. Just as the cover of the Satanic Bible was designed to chill my blood when I was a believing Christian, the ritual curse is designed to frighten and disturb the victim stupid and naive enough to believe in its supernatural power. The more suggestible the victim is, the more likely they are to believe that their next misfortune was the result of a supernatural curse, rather than chance or some action on their part. These effects can be multiplied many times over if other stupid and naive people are also aware of the curse and take that next misfortune as evidence of its magical reality.

To summarize, I find Satanism's view of the god concept to be very enlightening. It explains the origins of god worship in a unique way that is consistent with what I already believed, while explaining things I didn't understand before, such as why and how people use god concepts to not be held accountable for their actions. Although I am hesitant and skeptical, I am also somewhat attracted to their Halloween style psychodrama rituals. I am very interested in the idea of channeling my more superstitious instincts into something beneficial, while still maintaining the reasoned argumentation that led me to abandon them in the first place. It seems like the best of two worlds.

What do you guys think? Is anybody out there a Satanist? Has anybody done a lot of research on it and wants to chime in?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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31-08-2015, 05:10 PM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 03:13 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  To summarize, I find Satanism's view of the god concept to be very enlightening. It explains the origins of god worship in a unique way that is consistent with what I already believed, while explaining things I didn't understand before, such as why and how people use god concepts to not be held accountable for their actions. Although I am hesitant and skeptical, I am also somewhat attracted to their Halloween style psychodrama rituals. I am very interested in the idea of channeling my more superstitious instincts into something beneficial, while still maintaining the reasoned argumentation that led me to abandon them in the first place. It seems like the best of two worlds.

What do you guys think? Is anybody out there a Satanist? Has anybody done a lot of research on it and wants to chime in?
I'm not a Satanist, I have not studied their ideas or culture.
I think it is an unfortunately named religion because it is not about worshiping Satan.

I'm not really into religions, traditions, rituals myself so its not for me.
But I see that for some people it can have value. In the least it isn't as dangerous as the other religions out there.
I guess it looks to build up your own self worth, put you in control rather than other religions that strip you down and create a dependant relationship.
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31-08-2015, 05:20 PM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 03:13 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  ... We could gratify our needs and fulfill our egos, taking full responsibility for our actions because we perform them in our own names ...

Then why not just do this directly, instead of invoking a "satan" framework, however benign?

I'm hesitant to see any wisdom in embracing a flaw in our cognitive apparatus. I'd prefer we recognize this flaw in all its particulars and thereby nullify its erroneous influences.

That said, I think we might find applications of our cognitive flaws that DO have beneficial purpose, but those applications would not be grouped into a "Satan Credo" but regarded individually pertinent to their effects.

I am personally repelled by ritual because to me ritual is arbitray, based on "that's how it's always been done" rather than "this is the most efficient way we know of so far". Rituals become meaningless if they are sustained against increasing knowledge.

Hence I don't see building a "satan" framework as constructive - it seems to me to perpetuate cognitive flaw rather than reshape it, and appears to me to be arbitrary, a "false idol", even, as opposed to just reckoning with our cognitive apparatus straight up.
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31-08-2015, 05:30 PM
RE: The God of Satanism
Cannot free itself from the stigma of being associated with "God's rival."

living word
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31-08-2015, 05:36 PM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 03:13 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  To summarize, I find Satanism's view of the god concept to be very enlightening. It explains the origins of god worship in a unique way that is consistent with what I already believed, while explaining things I didn't understand before, such as why and how people use god concepts to not be held accountable for their actions. Although I am hesitant and skeptical, I am also somewhat attracted to their Halloween style psychodrama rituals. I am very interested in the idea of channeling my more superstitious instincts into something beneficial, while still maintaining the reasoned argumentation that led me to abandon them in the first place. It seems like the best of two worlds.

What do you guys think? Is anybody out there a Satanist? Has anybody done a lot of research on it and wants to chime in?

It is very silly.

It is not as silly as many of the other options available. But it is still very silly, as well as unnecessary.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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31-08-2015, 05:37 PM (This post was last modified: 31-08-2015 05:55 PM by Cosmic Discourse.)
RE: The God of Satanism
I can't say that I'm well versed in Satanism by any means, but I did dabble in a bit of background research during my uncoupling from Mormonism.

I found it to be an interesting philosophy, and I definitely find their public representatives to be well versed in theological debates. The fox news segments involving the current head of the church make for some priceless YouTube footage.

With that said, I don't find exploring other philosophical leanings to be a bad thing whatsoever. In the end, we're all a hodge podge of collected lifetime philosophies (religious, nonreligious, etc).
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01-09-2015, 12:40 AM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 05:10 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm not a Satanist, I have not studied their ideas or culture.
I think it is an unfortunately named religion because it is not about worshiping Satan.

Although I know what you mean, I find myself rather liking the way they use Satan as a symbol. In my time as an Atheist, I have experienced some moments of dissatisfaction with the label, especially because it does not convey the full extent of how opposed I am to Christianity in particular, but also Judaism and Islam. Taking on the guise of those religion's mythology is a powerful statement. It would be very difficult to trap a Satanist into that annoying "because you're an Atheist you have no values at all" nonsense. That narrative wouldn't be effective because the Satanist is affirming positive beliefs and values with his label, such as individualism and human freedom.

From my perspective, that would be a very satisfying and powerful way to express myself. I wish Atheism had the same, or similar, kick to it.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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01-09-2015, 01:04 AM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 05:20 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Then why not just do this directly, instead of invoking a "satan" framework, however benign?

I'm hesitant to see any wisdom in embracing a flaw in our cognitive apparatus. I'd prefer we recognize this flaw in all its particulars and thereby nullify its erroneous influences.

That said, I think we might find applications of our cognitive flaws that DO have beneficial purpose, but those applications would not be grouped into a "Satan Credo" but regarded individually pertinent to their effects.

I am personally repelled by ritual because to me ritual is arbitray, based on "that's how it's always been done" rather than "this is the most efficient way we know of so far". Rituals become meaningless if they are sustained against increasing knowledge.

Hence I don't see building a "satan" framework as constructive - it seems to me to perpetuate cognitive flaw rather than reshape it, and appears to me to be arbitrary, a "false idol", even, as opposed to just reckoning with our cognitive apparatus straight up.

Excellent points all. I just want to push back on a few of them a little.

From what I have read so far from the official Satanic works, the symbol of Satan used by the church implies a much broader malleable meaning than simply referring to the devil of say, Christianity, as a mythological character. In the context of Satanism, "Satan" seems subject to infinite and various re-definitions based on the whims of the individual Satanist. In other words, Satan is shorthand for the individual and represents the entire complex network of values and actions that make up their identity. Given the complexity and amount of information involved in just one person's entire worldview, I can see how a common symbol can be used as a sort of shorthand, affirming a short set of common group values.

This incredibly loose language has some implications when it comes to your points. For one thing, rituals are not mandatory or even really suggested as a prerequisite to be a Satanist. Even if they are engaged in, they are meaningless in a scripted dogmatic context unless they have been re-purposed and adapted for the specific Satanist performing the rituals. They are after all, rituals unto himself, so they would need to be completely his own to have any real meaning for him. This strikes me as perhaps the only case of a ritual not being performed merely for the sake of tradition. If anything, it is done as a statement against it.

I am likewise in no hurry to embrace cognitive flaws, but I can see the wisdom in doing so if those flaws are irreparable and permanent. If it's true that we are born this way, inclined to these superstitious thought patterns, I am interested in alternatives to simply giving in. Plus, I am not convinced that most Satanists even take the process all that seriously. Many of them report engaging in showy dark rituals mainly for the entertainment value. They treat the events like parties, enjoying the dramatic theater for fun with like minded individuals. I get the impression from Satanists that a lot of being one is just being the kind of person whose favorite holiday is Halloween.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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01-09-2015, 01:07 AM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 05:30 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Cannot free itself from the stigma of being associated with "God's rival."

I don't think they view that stigma in a negative light. They seem to practically revel in the negative effect it has on Theists. They also don't seem to mind the negative PR because they consider anyone who can't get past the stigma as not being worth the time anyway. They are the only religion I know of that is completely uninterested in obtaining new members. They assume if it's for you, you'll just join, and they won't have to worry about you.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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01-09-2015, 01:11 AM
RE: The God of Satanism
(31-08-2015 05:37 PM)Cosmic Discourse Wrote:  I can't say that I'm well versed in Satanism by any means, but I did dabble in a bit of background research during my uncoupling from Mormonism.

I found it to be an interesting philosophy, and I definitely find their public representatives to be well versed in theological debates. The fox news segments involving the current head of the church make for some priceless YouTube footage.

With that said, I don't find exploring other philosophical leanings to be a bad thing whatsoever. In the end, we're all a hodge podge of collected lifetime philosophies (religious, nonreligious, etc).

I am gonna have to check out those interviews on youtube. Sounds like a riot.

Good to hear from another former Mormon. Glad you made it out. No offense to the great guys and gals who post here, but most people just don't get it when it comes to the experience of Mormonism. I just can't make it sound freaky enough to do it justice. Nice to know that somebody else gets it.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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