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#139996 - 01/11/06 05:59 AM Why Atheism?
Zanarath Offline


Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 6
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
The great thing about having never grown up is that I never lost that tendancy to ask questions. To the members of the Church of Satan, I wish now to put forth the question: Why is Satanism so often labelled atheistic?

"Most Satanists do not accept Satan as an anthropomorphic being with cloven hooves, a barbed tail, and horns. He merely represents a force in nature - the powers of darkness which have been named just that because no religion has taken these forces out of the darkness. Nor has science been able to apply technical terminology to this force. It is an untapped resivoir that few can make use of because they lack the ability use a tool without having to first break down and label all the parts which make it run. It is this incessant need to analyze which prohibits most people from taking advantage of this many faceted key to the unknown - which the Satanist chooses to call "Satan"." -The Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey

OK, I understand full well that we Satanists don't believe in a deity with horns and a pointy-assed trident. Hell, we don't believe in anything, what with us shunning the very notion of "faith" and all. But we do acknowledge the existence of something - a Dark Force in nature which we choose to call Satan (symbolically).

According to dictionary dot com (or more specifically "WordNet"), a deity can be defined as "the personification of a force". I don't see why this "personification" is necessarily required to be anthropomorphic - why can't it be symbolic (like Satan) as well? If so, then wouldn't we Satanists, by defintion - acknowledge the existence of the symbolically named and personified Satan as something of a deity?

So, when a genuine Satanist says "Satan doesn't exist" - is this individual only refering to the non-existence of the Christian devil? If so, doesn't this discount the notion that the Satanist acknowledges the existence of a Dark Natural force? Sure, it does make things easier to explain to sheep, but at what cost?

To me, it seems, we're better off saying "we don't believe in Satan" with a little snicker.

While it is certainly not a conventional theism, we don't bow down to, pray to, or grovel at the feet of Satan. We don't believe in Satan (since this dark force just is). I honestly can't think of any prior cult or religion who sees their deities the way the Satanist sees Satan. I guess if there was a word for "theism" that doesn't hold the mystical/spiritual connotations, this would be a whole lot easier (since we are dealing with a purely carnal religion).

So, why are we describing Satanism as atheistic? Or am I just splitting hairs?

Any responses would be appreciated
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#139997 - 01/11/06 06:14 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Priestess Palmer Offline
CoS Priestess

Registered: 11/01/04
Posts: 625
Loc: Viking Bay
To the average Joe on the street I adopt my language, my personality and my expressions.

When in the wonderful company of Satanists, I can easily uses phrases such as 'Satan' and 'Satanic' knowing they know exactly what I mean.

I gave up trying to speak to layman in this manner.

They believe that 'god' is a big man, with a long silvery beard and robes, who sits on a cloud with Elvis listening to harp music. If that's what god is, then I am an Atheist.

An Atheist means 'One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods'. Whereas any Satanists knows that we are ones own god, therefore not denying the existence of self, ergo, not Atheists - To be nitpicking.


I would never explain, or try to explain this to the street person, as it would waste my time, energy and O2.

We live in a christian society, with christian values, laws and morals. They would never understand the Satanic Bible. They take our expressions too literally. They don't understand the theatricality and 'Suspension of disbelief'.

I think it's best left this way.
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#139998 - 01/11/06 06:36 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Priestess Palmer]
Zanarath Offline


Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 6
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I understand where you are coming from, but nonetheless, why even mention atheism if the question of Satanism comes up? If we are forced to explain it, why not just say "A Satanist doesn't believe in Satan, a Satanist believes in himself" rather then give the wrong impression of our religion and claim it as atheism - then we may well be lying, and why lie when the truth is so much more fun?

Stating a disbelief in Satan will probably give the layman that impression anyway - but at least he's responsible for coming to that conclusion. If he ever does get around to picking up the Satanic Bible, at least (if he's smart), he'll see we were telling the truth.

I never really bothered with explaining Satanism to the layman, I prefer to keep them guessing.
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#139999 - 01/11/06 06:55 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Caesar Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 06/01/03
Posts: 2381
Quote:

Or am I just splitting hairs?




This is hair splitting, if not trying to get people to say they are something they are not to other people. There is enough confusion already surrounding Satanic semantics.
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#140000 - 01/11/06 07:00 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Priestess Palmer Offline
CoS Priestess

Registered: 11/01/04
Posts: 625
Loc: Viking Bay
Quote:

nonetheless, why even mention atheism if the question of Satanism comes up? If we are forced to explain it, why not just say "A Satanist doesn't believe in Satan, a Satanist believes in himself" rather then give the wrong impression of our religion and claim it as atheism - then we may well be lying, and why lie when the truth is so much more fun?






Then that is what you should say.

There is not a Satanic script that we all adhere to. I personally would not mention Atheism or Satanism unless asked.

My responses to either would depend on the person I am talking to.

If your question is about how the Church of Satan eminates itself, not individual Satanists, then you are asking the wrong questions in the wrong place.
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#140001 - 01/11/06 10:54 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
the_poison_elf Offline


Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Auburn, Maine, USA
From the very aforementioned Dictionary.com:

Quote:

god (n.)
1. God
1a. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.
1b. The force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being.
2. A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.
3. An image of a supernatural being; an idol.
4. One that is worshiped, idealized, or followed: Money was their god.
5. A very handsome man.
6. A powerful ruler or despot.




Now as has allready beed said, you are splitting hairs here, and I would tend to add "needlessly so" to that as well.

Now, as you can see there are even different definitons of "god" that are pretty damned varied. Definition two in particular seems a bit wonkey to me. However this is just to define that even the interpertations of the word "god" will have an effect on your athiesm question.

In concerns to Satanism and Athiesm, I would say that when pertaining to 1 or 2 then yes, Satanism is athiestic. A symbol (in this case Satan) is not a manifestation or an avatar in the sense of the words. 3 could be partially correct; you yourself are an idol unto yourself. The others grade down into more mundane definitions where the question should be a moot point.
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#140002 - 01/11/06 11:10 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Svengali Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 03/06/03
Posts: 12460
Loc: Florida, U.S.A.
When a Satanist says "the dark force" in nature, it is metaphorically, refering to physical, biological, evolutionary, and psychological forces not yet understood.

The Satanic Bible is clear on this. The "gods" of history are human psychological factors projected onto the forces of nature.

Don't try to create a loophole for mysticism and "spirituality" to seep in and stink up the place.
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#140003 - 01/11/06 11:11 AM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
x9x Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 12/10/04
Posts: 958
Loc: Flanders - Europe
Quote:

If we are forced to explain it,






Forced??? By torture???
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#140004 - 01/11/06 12:02 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 6999
Loc: Pre-Apocalypolis
I am an atheist. I am a Satanist.
When I say I am my own god, I mean I take responsibility for meeting my needs, as a believer looks to a god to meet their needs.
I do not believe in myself. I know myself.
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#140005 - 01/11/06 01:28 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
TrojZyr Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 07/25/01
Posts: 12990
Loc: The Solid State
I think it goes back to Widow's response again. Laypeople need to be issued the "Satanists are atheists" ultimatum, because otherwise, they'll feel inspired to make all kinds of asinine assumptions. Introducing too much complexity or too many vague or abstract concepts opens up the door for serious misinterpretation.

I think most people place "force/chi/energy" and "sentient, anthropomorphic supernatural being" into different categories anyway, so calling oneself an atheist does not automatically eliminate the former. Besides, I'm not sure all Satanists will automatically agree on what the "dark force of nature" exactly is (although I'm quite sure Satanists can generally agree on what it *isn't*).
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#140006 - 01/11/06 01:34 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10123
I've always thought of Satanism as occupying a twilight zone between pure materialism and mysticism; we obviously don't go for the new-age mystic garbage, but at the same time many atheist/materialist types would find issue with our conception of Greater Magic. Satanists of course see it as natural law, and not in violation of our little brand of atheism.

Some atheists have their logic down pat, but sacrifice their sense of wonder for it. Satanists pull the balancing act of having it both ways. We can choose to believe something, if just for a while, because its either useful or fun.
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#140007 - 01/11/06 02:17 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
crackergirl Offline


Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 323
Loc: Kansas
Quote:


While it is certainly not a conventional theism, we don't bow down to, pray to, or grovel at the feet of Satan. We don't believe in Satan (since this dark force just is). I honestly can't think of any prior cult or religion who sees their deities the way the Satanist sees Satan. I guess if there was a word for "theism" that doesn't hold the mystical/spiritual connotations, this would be a whole lot easier (since we are dealing with a purely carnal religion).





I got this explanation of what you might be referring to. Maybe I've misinterpreted what you've written, but if I have, this may be an interesting point none the less:

"Deism is defined in Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1941, as: "[From Latin Deus, God.Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist." And Deist is defined in the same dictionary as: "One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason."

This common sense approach to God and a spiritual philosophy can not only bring a lasting profound sense of peace and happiness to the individual, but it also has the potential to go light years in eradicating religious fear, superstition and violence."

Obviously this was taken from a source devoted to Deism, or it wouldn't be touting the praises of this philosophy so lavishly. If it wasn't apparent to you that this statement is at least slightly biased, well...I'm sorry about your head injury and/or brain dysfunction.

Benjamin Franklin was a self-proclaimed Deist. He was also a member of the legendary Hellfire Club which performed what they called a "Black Mass." I suppose if you prefer to look at Satan as this sort of "mystical force," then maybe Deism defines what you believe. I believe (from the things I've read or seen in various sources) the word Satan was chosen only because of the literal meaning of the word Satan, and not the religious meaning of the word, though religion does have a clear connection to this term.

We all know what the Christians think of Satan, and I honestly couldn't care less how they take my personal definition of such. The name Satanism was chosen because Satan means "the accuser or adversary." I take this to mean that Satanism is an opposition to all other religions (among other things, of course). The Christians chose "him" as their adversary, and since I'm adamently against what they believe, I suppose being the adversary (my own personal Satan) is befitting. There is a part of me that believes the term was chosen also to induce a feeling of shock, which, of course, will make people look at it. It gets attention, good or bad, and you know what they say, "No publicity is bad publicity." Nothing wrong with being noticed. If you have the ability to make people look at you, you have power over them. The commanding of attention is a valuable tool for a Satanist, but the need for privacy is also essential (to me, at least).

The anthropological concept of "nature vs. nurture" will further clarify my personal position on this. Satan=nature. How I exploit my personal hold on Satanism=nurture. It's not just about what "Mother Earth" gives you. It's what you do with what she gives you.

How do you define Satan? (This is the real question here, I believe). As per the guidlines of The Satanic Bible, it is whatever the hell you want it to be. It's clearly stated in this book. The Satanist simply chooses whichever definition of god suits him best. So, if it's in your best interest to see Satan as some kind of half-human, half-goat beast, I wouldn't have any objections to such a thing. It's not my way, but I'm not the authority on what's best for you. The only thing you really have to remember is that when you're speaking of your personal take on this subject, make sure you make it very clear that this is the opinion of yourself, not of every Satanist in the world. I don't believe there are many sentences that can truthfully start out with "All Satanists believe..." I know what my personal thoughts are on what a Satanist should believe, but I'm not a representative of all Satanists, so I can't speak for everyone.

You might be going about this the wrong way in a sense because you're asking what Satan is to people who have never traveled inside your head. Only you can determine what it means for you. That, to me, is the utilization of the Satanist's most prized attribute--the ability to choose. However, you might be going about this in the right way as well, in the sense that you're asking questions. Gathering information is the purpose for all scientific experimentation. When you asked this question, did you know you were conducting an experiment? I just thought that might be an interesting view to present. The Satanist as a natural scientist. You're taking in all possible concepts of this subject from the source--the Satanists themselves. I have to tip my hat to you for that. It's been eight years since I first read The Satanic Bible, and I've still not joined The Church of Satan. The reason is, I believe, the same reason you asked this question. You're testing the waters. That's a sign you're on the right track. I'm ready to join now, and I'm going to for my birthday this year. I consider that a very nice present.

When you've gathered all the information you think you need to make an educated decision on what the definition of Satan really is, I hope you'll take all outside sources (outside yourself) with a grain of salt. Like I said, only you can decide what it all means to you.

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#140008 - 01/11/06 03:20 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
dragondancer Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 1546
Loc: Virginia
Quote:

If he ever does get around to picking up the Satanic Bible, at least (if he's smart), he'll see we were telling the truth.

I never really bothered with explaining Satanism to the layman, I prefer to keep them guessing.




Actually, unless the person is a Satanist, I have found that they will believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of whether you explain truth to them or not. I have encountered people who have read The Satanic Bible and still do not see the truth. They see what they want to see. I very soon realized it was solipsism, the third Satanic Sin, and quit beating my head against brick walls.

If you never bother to explain Satanism to the sheeple, then what difference does it make whether you refer to it as atheistic or not? I do use the term atheist but only as a way of letting people know not to bother with all the god, bible, and religion shit. I just don't bother to "try to teach pigs to sing", as Magistra Blanche Barton so aptly put it.


Hail Satan!
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#140009 - 01/11/06 03:45 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Witch_Scarlet Offline

CoS Witch

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 787
Loc: Texas
My Companion, who is a former Catholic Priest, explained the Orthodox Churches stance on Christian belief in God, Satanist and Atheism. “God is defined as an all powerful force who guides us into his world with love and salvation, and punishes those who reject his love.” “Satanist believe in a force that invokes all that is natural to man and relies on his own strengths and talents.” “An Atheist believes in nothing, not even in himself.” “In the Churches opinion, an Atheist is worse then a Satanist. "Satanist, even if they are being mislead, at least believe in something.” My companion, the poor man, is sill a Priest at heart.

We of course disagree on some of the finer points of the Christian churches description but basically it is not incorrect. A Satanist is not an Atheist and never could be. We have too much belief in our own supremacy and self-importance. When I am asked to define a Satanist, I never use the words, disbelief or atheist as it would be untrue and would verify the idea that most people have of what a Satanist is. I use the phrase “ a believer in the true origins and power of mankind.”

Of course I am sure there are those who would disagree even with this but that is the way of it.


Edited by Scarlet (01/11/06 03:54 PM)

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#140010 - 01/11/06 10:20 PM Re: Why Atheism? [Re: Zanarath]
Zanarath Offline


Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 6
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
OK, perhaps I was splitting hairs.

Whilst reading through each reply I had originally intended on replying to each one of you individually - but the more I read, the more irrelevent it became. So I'll just give a nice, sweeping reply to save everyone's time.

In accordance with Magistra Barton's comment, I can agree with the notion that perhaps the "pigs" need the "Satanism is Atheism" concept to keep them happy - although personally, I could care less about what they think. So long as they know real Satanists aren't criminals, what else do they need to know?

I'm not a spiritualist or mystic, I totally agree with the two points made by Magister Svengali. However, I'm not trying to create a loophole - although I do acknowledge that perhaps some ill-informed individual may see this as such if we went around using terms such as "pseudo-theism" or the like.

Of course, taking The Satanic Bible into account, LaVey does clearly state that a Satanist chooses exactly what Satan is to them (in a purely metaphorical sense). And I do agree that by the convential definitions of what a "god" is - I too can be considered an atheist (and also not a deist - for whoever brought that one up).

So to myself, I am a Satanist - but compared to the sheep of the Right Hand Path, I'd be an atheist. So fair enough, I guess the tag sticks (except at the height of a ritual - OK, that one is irrelevent hair-splitting ).

I think it still must be acknowledged that this post did effectively manage to reveal various ideas and viewpoints in regards to how each participating individual views Satanic semantics. Pretty interesting stuff.

P.S I did create this mess and I will clean it up - so any questions of things I haven't addressed or just attacking my credibility as a Satanist in general, I'll answer.


Edited by Zanarath (01/11/06 10:24 PM)
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