The Church of Satan is a modern religious variation that has little to due with traditional Satanism except for the title, as there is not actually a belief in Satan himself. The founder is Anton Szandor LaVey, as outlined in The Satanic Bible and other works. "Satan" is taken as a positive symbol of this world view, an archetype or the ultimate symbol of the self and egotism. LaVey explains in an interview with The Washington Post magazine: "Satan is just a symbol, nothing more.... Satan signifies our love of the worldly and our rejection of the pallid, ineffectual image of Christ on the cross."
God in Satanism
Satanists do not believe that he is a god; rather the function of God is performed and satisfied by the Satanist him/herself. That is, the needs of worship, ritual, and religious/spiritual focus are directed, effectively, inwards towards the Satanist, as opposed to outwards, towards God.
LaVey proposes instead that as all gods are creations of man, worship of an external deity is worship of its creator by proxy. He suggests, then, that the rational Satanist should instead internalize his god, and therefore worship himself; hence the Satanic maxim, "I am my own god."
It follows that Satanism shuns the idea of belief in all other deities as well, including, to the surprise of many, Satan. Satan is viewed as a literary archetype, along the lines of John Milton's epic hero. This archetype is viewed not as a negative figure, but as a positive image of pride and mastery in opposition to servitude, faith, and humility.
Belief in any such externalized deities is generally considered grounds for excluding someone as a Satanist, and devil worship in particular is considered nothing more than a misguided inversion of Christianity.
The Nine Satanic Sins in the Church of Satan
- Stupidity—The top of the list for Satanic Sins. The Cardinal Sin of Satanism. It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid.
- Pretentiousness—Empty posturing can be most irritating and isn’t applying the cardinal rules of Lesser Magic. On equal footing with stupidity for what keeps the money in circulation these days. Everyone’s made to feel like a big shot, whether they can come up with the goods or not.
- Solipsism—Can be very dangerous for Satanists. Projecting your reactions, responses and sensibilities onto someone who is probably far less attuned than you are. It is the mistake of expecting people to give you the same consideration, courtesy and respect that you naturally give them. They won’t. Instead, Satanists must strive to apply the dictum of “Do unto others as they do unto you.” It’s work for most of us and requires constant vigilance lest you slip into a comfortable illusion of everyone being like you. As has been said, certain utopias would be ideal in a nation of philosophers, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, from a Machiavellian standpoint) we are far from that point.
- Self-deceit—It’s in the “Nine Satanic Statements” but deserves to be repeated here. Another cardinal sin. We must not pay homage to any of the sacred cows presented to us, including the roles we are expected to play ourselves. The only time self-deceit should be entered into is when it’s fun, and with awareness. But then, it’s not self-deceit!
- Herd Conformity—That’s obvious from a Satanic stance. It’s all right to conform to a person’s wishes, if it ultimately benefits you. But only fools follow along with the herd, letting an impersonal entity dictate to you. The key is to choose a master wisely instead of being enslaved by the whims of the many.
- Lack of Perspective—Again, this one can lead to a lot of pain for a Satanist. You must never lose sight of who and what you are, and what a threat you can be, by your very existence. We are making history right now, every day. Always keep the wider historical and social picture in mind. That is an important key to both Lesser and Greater Magic. See the patterns and fit things together as you want the pieces to fall into place. Do not be swayed by herd constraints—know that you are working on another level entirely from the rest of the world.
- Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies—Be aware that this is one of the keys to brainwashing people into accepting something new and different, when in reality it’s something that was once widely accepted but is now presented in a new package. We are expected to rave about the genius of the creator and forget the original. This makes for a disposable society.
- Counterproductive Pride—That first word is important. Pride is great up to the point you begin to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The rule of Satanism is: if it works for you, great. When it stops working for you, when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and the only way out is to say, I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wish we could compromise somehow, then do it.
- Lack of Aesthetics—This is the physical application of the Balance Factor. Aesthetics is important in Lesser Magic and should be cultivated. It is obvious that no one can collect any money off classical standards of beauty and form most of the time so they are discouraged in a consumer society, but an eye for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool and must be applied for greatest magical effectiveness. It’s not what’s supposed to be pleasing—it’s what is. Aesthetics is a personal thing, reflective of one’s own nature, but there are universally pleasing and harmonious configurations that should not be denied.
According to the European-American Evangelistic Crusades, the Church of Satan believes in nine Satanic principles, among these:
- Indulgence, not abstinence.
- Vital existence, not spiritual pipe dreams.
- Undefiled wisdom, not hypocritical self-deceit.
- Kindness to those deserving of it, not love wasted on ingrates.
- Vengeance, not turning the other cheek.
- Responsibility only to the responsible instead of for psychic vampires.
- Man as just another animal - the most vicious of all.
- Gratification of all ones desires.
- Satan as the church's best friend for keeping them in business all through history.
- ↑ http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/Sins.html
- ↑ http://www.eaec.org/cults/satan.htm
- Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, W.A. Neilson, T.A. Knott, P.W. Carhart (eds.), G. & C. Merriam Company, Springfield, MA, 1950.