Devil Worshipers and The Church of Satan

November 30, 2014 1:00 pm

What is the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the word Satanist? Do your thoughts become flooded with images of devil worshipping cults gathering in the middle of pentagrams drawn on the floor of some godforsaken lair? Are the cult members all robed in black, chanting in some unholy language while about to perform a child sacrifice to the devil himself?

If so you may be relieved to discover that this is actually an extremely inaccurate description of a real life Satanist. In reality the Christian church, the media and other sources of information have a tendency to misrepresent actual Satanists as being a bunch of blood drinking, heavy metal listening, Dracula-esque devil people responsible for many a child sacrifice. True Satanists are none of these things and are in fact opposed to many of the viewpoints they are accused of having. There are two main types of Satanism practiced today these are;

Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanists believe that Satan is an actual supernatural entity to be worshipped or revered. This is sometimes called spiritual Satanism and can also be characterized by a belief in magic, however, this is not a concrete requirement. The history of theistic Satanism possibly stretches back to the witch-hunts that took place in early modern Europe. Back then worship of Satan was a common accusation towards persons or groups of whom people were suspicious, such as The Knights Templar. Today theistic Satanism is often tied to serial killers who had committed gruesome murders in what is perceived as a Satanic way, However, no common link has been established to confirm this.

Atheistic Satanism
Atheistic Satanists merely use Satan symbolically in order to represent man’s inherent nature, carnality and earthly values. Atheistic Satanists do not worship any being other than the self and do not look forward to an afterlife believing instead that the universe is indifferent to human beings and so promotes individualism and Epicureanism. Generally most atheistic Satanists practice LaVeyan Satanism and adhere to the teachings in the Satanic Bible, written in 1969 by Anton LaVey who had also founded the Church Of Satan in 1966. LaVey had previously become somewhat of a local celebrity through his paranormal research and live performances on the organ at a San Francisco cocktail bar known as The Lost Weekend.

AntonLaVey

Anton LaVey

It’s unlikely many people know much about these two very different approaches to Satanism as the majority of media reports that actually feature Satanists tend to lean towards the more distorted, Christian view of the religion. This view has so far allowed the media to latch on and enabled them to misrepresent Satanists, possibly in order to sensationalize and even fabricate the features in which they are included. But what do real, practicing Satanists actually do? Well for a start there is still much debate between the Satanists themselves on what actually qualifies as a “true Satanist”.

Practitioners of LaVeyan Satanism state that they are the only true Satanists and even that the majority of theistic Satanists are actually backwards Christians looking to rebel against a church that has repressed them for most of their practicing years. The Church of Satan differs from most servile religions in that it mainly focuses on the concept of being ones own God. Individualism, Epicureanism and an eye for an eye mentality characterise LaVeyan Satanism with members taught that man is just another animal and they should be free to go and satisfy their inherent nature and subsequent desires responsibly. There are several rules, statements and sins laid out by the Satanic Bible that atheistic Satanists must adhere to;

The Nine Satanic Statements

1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.
2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams.
3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit.
4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on those who do not.
5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.
6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires.
7. Satan represents man as just another animal, who, because of his divine spiritual and intellectual development, has become the most vicious animal of all.
8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.
9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.

The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth

1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
3. When in another’s lair, show them respect or else do not go there.
4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.
5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
6. Do not take that which does not belong to you, unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out to be relieved of it.
7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
9. Do not harm young children.
10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.

The Nine Satanic Sins

1. Stupidity
2. Pretentiousness
3. Solipsism
4. Self Deceit
5. Herd Conformity
6. Lack of Perspective
7. Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies
8. Counter Productive Pride
9. Lack of Aesthetics

To some people these will seem the complete polar opposite of what they may have first assumed to be “Satanic”, however, with the knowledge that these are the philosophies of people who openly admit to being atheists it becomes less of a surprise. While Theistic Satanists don’t have a set of guidelines and commandments like those written by Anton LaVey, they are not without their own values. The gaining of knowledge is one such value as in the Christian bible the snake that tricked Eve into sampling the fruit of the tree of knowledge is sometimes acknowledged as Satan. Self development is also seen by theistic Satanists to be an important practice as Satan is seen to encourage individuality and freedom of thought as well as the quest to raise oneself up through the means of magic and initiative.

This is partly because Satan is believed to want a more equal relationship with his followers than the Christian god does with his. Being somewhat more fundamental in it’s beliefs, Theistic Satanism is rarer nowadays than Atheistic Satanism. This could be done to several factors including the rise of technology and accessible science leading people towards a more “rational” belief system or the public exposure gained by Anton LaVey after he published the Satanic Bible and founded the Church of Satan. Since LaVey’s death in 1997, the Satanic Church has placed a man by the name of Peter H. Gilmore at it’s head. This occurred after a feud between another two members, co-founder Blanche Barton and LaVey’s own daughter Karla LaVey, ended in LaVey founding her own organisation The First Satanic Church and running it from San Francisco as her father had done.

The Church of Satan was moved to New York and is currently resided over by Gilmore. Since becoming the High Priest of the Church of Satan Gilmore has given many TV and Radio interviews about Satanism and has also written many essays expressing his opinions on such subjects as terrorism in the United States as well as gay rights and more. In several of these interviews, when asked about the topic of Satanic Ritual Abuse Gilmore states that there are absolutely no organised groups of true Satanists committing these atrocities and that the culprits are often what he describes as “reverse Christians” who look feign belief in the Satanic system in order to justify or gratify their own misdeeds and that often is the case that these people had predisposed mental health conditions. These claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse are thought to have spurred on the “Satanic Panic” that occurred throughout the 1980’s and ‘90s in the United States.

childsacrificeTales of gruesome human sacrifices plagued the news and Christian Evangelists as well as ill-informed newscasters were quick to saddle the blame on Satanists. However, investigators at the time found no evidence whatsoever that the culprits were acting under the influence of Satanist instruction. The majority of the actual culprits were quick to hide behind the “The devil made me do it” guise and would often go on to enter a plea of insanity when stood in front of a court. Evangelists were also out to demonize the new religion as they considered it a threat to the number of people wanting to join their own faith and so began a huge propaganda effort in order to avert people from taking interest in what at the time seemed like a more liberating type of religion.

This ultimately failed as the crimes being committed at the time were in direct violation of many of the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth and thus Satanists were quick to point out that, had these people been true Satanists, the chances of them sacrificing adults and children to a being they didn’t even believe to exist where practically nil. However, certain aspects of Atheistic Satanism are not without their own shady underbelly.

Does being part of an organised religion/cult count as herd conformity? The definition of a herd in this context implies a large group of people with one or more shared characteristics/beliefs. Now if that definition is applied to a group of Satanists it fits. Conformity is defined as compliance with standards, rules or laws. This is also something a Satanist must do in order to even been classed as a practicing member.

This oversight leaves Atheistic Satanism open to criticism about whether or not the religion has been very well thought through. It also inspires the question of what could these people do in order to counterattack such accusations should they ever arise? Would it be necessary to rewrite certain satanic sins so as to protect themselves from the backlash of these contradictions and if so how would they Church of Satan go about doing this? Would it be smooth sailing or would there be friction and resistance from it’s members? With recent surveys showing Satanism becoming more tolerated and accepted as a whole could all of the hard work put in by Anton LaVey and other members to get to this point be paying off? Time will tell.

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