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#469220 - 02/04/12 01:15 PM Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R)
Samyaza Offline


Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 4
First off, the introduction.

I am a new poster to LttD, though, I've been a long time non-registered lurker.

In college I studied just about every major world religion, trying to find out what was right. I never really thought about religions growing up. I studied Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Christianity, Islam, and about 12 other 'isms' that I don't need to go into here. Long story short, none made sense to me. Well, I take that back, one did. Atheism.

The only thing that made sense is that we are creatures, just like everything else on the planet, no different (well, maybe a few more brain cells, but that's about it) than any of the other beasts on the Earth.

I have known about the Church of Satan since my days in college, but I never gave it much thought, as the ritualistic trappings seemed to me to be absolutely ridiculous. There's having disdain for organised religion, and then there's carrying it to an extreme, and I felt the CoS was carrying it to an extreme. Then, I started reading these boards, seeing what people were actually like. These all were highly intelligent people, people who were, for the lack of a better word, atheists.

This is my question. To you, is Satanism a Philosophy, or is it a Religion? There is a significant difference. The way that I see it is that it HAS to be a philosophy, that is a way of looking at the world, and humanity as a whole. And, if it is truly a philosphy, then why the 'magic'?

Magic can't exist in a truly rational world. There may be some things we have yet to understand, but nothing that can not currently be explained by science (with the few exceptions of what lies in the singularity of a black hole, and how the quantum forces align with gravity, among others).

I guess I'm just wondering why the religious trappings. Is it just to make it more comfortable for people who are used to going to church every Sunday? These are things that concern me with the Church of Satan. If you took the time to read this far, I thank you, and I am awaiting your replies.

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#469223 - 02/04/12 01:38 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
LKRice Offline

CoS Priestess

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 6357
You mention reading the board, but you don't mention having read The Satanic Bible. I'll assume you have, but we know where assuming can lead...

To answer your question, though, Satanism is both.
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#469225 - 02/04/12 01:43 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10568
Loc: England
>> This is my question. To you, is Satanism a Philosophy, or is it a Religion? There is a significant difference. The way that I see it is that it HAS to be a philosophy, that is a way of looking at the world, and humanity as a whole. And, if it is truly a philosphy, then why the 'magic'? <<

Because it is a religion. And religions incorporate philosophy.

If you have made your mind up that "Magic can't exist in a truly rational world" - despite the fact we can't explain "what lies in the singularity of a black hole, and how the quantum forces align with gravity, among others" - then there is no need for you to go any further in your attempts to understand Satanism.

Having said that, there is no requirement for anyone to practice magic.

>> Is it just to make it more comfortable for people who are used to going to church every Sunday? <<

I'll give you a hint: when a Christian drinks red wine from a chalice, he believes it to transform into the blood of Christ in his stomach.

When a Satanist drinks red wine he believes it to be... red wine.
_________________________
"u.v.ray is truly an outsider, yet he's also a member of a club that includes greats such as Bukowski, Fante, and Salinger"

www.uvray.moonfruit.com





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#469226 - 02/04/12 01:50 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
reprobate Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
Satanism has a practical component. It has ritual and dogma.

Satanists don't agree that magic can't exist in a truly rational world. Do not mistake magic (in Satanic practice) from superstition. Do not mistake wonder or mystery for ignorance. Science can explain many things, and allows us to accomplish many things, that are also wondrous and mysterious. Satanists celebrate magic and mystery, not superstition or ignorance.

If the distinction is lost on you, then perhaps Satanism is not for you.
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reprobate

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#469227 - 02/04/12 02:04 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Samyaza Offline


Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 4
In reading your response, and re-reading what I wrote, it was clear to me that what I meant did not come across in what I wrote. When I was talking about Satanism as a "Religion" I meant that as a belief in a supernatural power, likewise with magic, magic caused through some supernatural means, and by supernatural, I don't just mean something we can't explain, I mean from some "higher power". I was under the impression that the CoS believed in no higher power other than themselves.

I am an atheist, and in looking for others to identify with, I have found that I more closely identify with adherents to the CoS than to any atheist group. I am greatly interested in becoming a member of the CoS, and obviously before I do, I will be re-reading The Satanic Bible to ensure that the CoS fits in well with my personal philosophy.

Oh, and to answer your question, Priestess, yes, I have read The Satanic Bible, however, it's been ... close to 20 years now since I've read it. I do definitely plan on reading it again.

And Reverend: "When a Satanist drinks red wine he believes it to be... red wine." <---- Best. Line. Ever.

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#469229 - 02/04/12 02:08 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
Janina Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 1458
Loc: Center of my own Universe
Originally Posted By: Samyaza

This is my question. To you, is Satanism a Philosophy, or is it a Religion?


To me Satanism is Religion with Ritual and Dogma. if I would think satanism just as an philosophy I probably would not join to Church of Satan member like I did. I think that satanism is very rational with itīs philosophy but still it is more than just a philosophy.

I do not see Satanism as lifestyle or identity, but more like tool for personal use.

I was bit concerned to comment this issue though you already got some great answers from the priests of Church of Satan but I still took that I might as well tell the way I see it myself..


Edited by Janina (02/04/12 02:18 PM)
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#469230 - 02/04/12 02:09 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: LKRice]
Phineas Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 8265
To expand on this, all of what you are asking is explained in The Satanic Bible, and further discussed and supplemented in the essays at the Church of Satan Website.
_________________________
"Consensus is the absence of leadership." Margaret Thatcher

"I'm fascinated with how primitive the human mind still is. It can be misdirected so easily." John Gaughan


"Success is uncommon. Therefore, not to be enjoyed by the common man." Cal Stoll

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#469232 - 02/04/12 02:20 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10568
Loc: England
Yes. Satanism is atheistic.

We do not believe that magic is reliant on supernatural powers. We do suggest that psychology, and in particular the human will, can be empowered through symbolism and suspension of disbelief.

A few years ago I wrote 4 articles on Satanism for The New Statesman. It includes this one on Satanic ritual magic. You might find it helpful:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-faith-column/2007/08/satanic-ritual-satanist-fudd
_________________________
"u.v.ray is truly an outsider, yet he's also a member of a club that includes greats such as Bukowski, Fante, and Salinger"

www.uvray.moonfruit.com





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#469234 - 02/04/12 02:22 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
Zaftig Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 09/23/06
Posts: 3406
If philosophy can be defined as a way of seeing the world then religion can be defined as way of acting in the world; philosophy in action. Satanism is a religion of action, after all. If someone claims to be Satanic but never leaves their mother's basement to actually achieve something, it's just words. And words are weak.

It seems that the majority of people who reject or are uneasy with Satanism as a religion is exactly because people associate the word with organized institutions that exploit the gullible, abuse children, and cause wars. But why reject the word religion simply because of a discomfort with other religions?

The word itself has a long history in the study and categorization of religions, which I won't go into except to state that since Satanism defines itself as a religion - containing many of the elements of "traditional" types of religion sans the spiritual part - then to limit it solely to philosophy omits an important part what it means to be a Satanist.

I would add that wonder and amazement and mystery are part of it - we are not blind automatons who reject spiritual trappings without finding other sources that inspire awe. Instead, finding things to marvel at could be understood as the most Satanic thing one can do.


Edited by Zaftig (02/04/12 02:24 PM)

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#469237 - 02/04/12 02:29 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
Originally Posted By: Anton LaVey, Satanic Bible, (1969 edition, p.53)
Modern man has come a long way; he has become disenchanted with the nonsensical dogmas of past religions. We are living in an enlightened age. Psychiatry has made great strides in enlightening man about his true personality. We are living in an era of intellectual awareness unlike any the world has ever seen.

This is all very well and good, BUT -- there is one flaw in this new state of awareness. It is one thing to accept something intellectually, but to accept the same thing emotionally is an entirely different matter. The one need that psychiatry cannot fill is man's inherent need for emotionalizing through dogma. Man needs ceremony and ritual, fantasy and enchantment. Psychiatry, despite all the good it has done, has robbed man of wonder and fantasy which religion, in the past, has provided.

Satanism, realizing the current needs of man, fills the large grey void between religion and psychiatry. The Satanic philosophy combines the fundamentals of psychology and good, honest emotionalizing, or dogma. It provides man with his much needed fantasy. There is nothing wrong with dogma, providing it is not based on ideas and actions which go completely against human nature.


My apologies if newer editions word that differently. I just Googled for what I could remember and copied it. I still have all my books in boxes. Mr. LaVey addressed dogma in my copy, anyway, in much the same fashion.

I'd say Satanism is pretty close to Philosophy and Religion, or maybe somewhere in the murky middle between each.

I read a reply by Magistra Ygraine a few days ago in another thread that has kinda stuck with me. Perhaps taken slightly out of context, but I think useful to your question:

Originally Posted By: Magistra Ygraine
...[T]oday's CoS is involved in illustrating the Satanic lifestyle and philosophy through the current actions and achievements of our members and Satanists around the world.


Here, she calls it a philosophy, but more importantly, she highlights the why of the magic, even if that was not the question she was directly addressing.

Because it works! It works toward tangible achievements in the real world. At least for some.

Originally Posted By: Samyaza
Magic can't exist in a truly rational world. There may be some things we have yet to understand, but nothing that can not currently be explained by science (with the few exceptions of what lies in the singularity of a black hole, and how the quantum forces align with gravity, among others).


It is possible in those (you say) few exceptions presently unexplained by science where the magic can happen. Without getting too wishy washy about it, I'll stick with what is familiar to me: computing terminology.

Think of magic as a black box. You don't really understand quite how it works on the inside, except for a given input, you get a (or more than one) output:

Input --> Black Box --> Output

So, given this map:

1 --> Black Box --> 2

You might postulate that the Black Box adds 1 to the input and produces that sum as an output.

And, that would be true until you encountered:

1 --> Black Box --> 1

Now, you can throw the original idea, that the Black Box simply added 1 to its input, out the window, because it doesn't hold.

But, what if the Black Box seemed to add 1 most of the time... Say, a 90% chance that it would add one. Could it be useful? Probably not in terms of precision computing, though this is kinda where quantum computing looks headed, in my simpleton understanding of it.

Well, now consider this:

Perform Magical Ritual --> ??? --> Desire Becomes Manifest

Let us assume that this particular observation only appears to work 10% of the time. Is it useful?

Perhaps so, perhaps not, and that's why you'll find replies all across the rainbow from people who engage or do not engage in ritual. It just comes down to what you find useful.

I think that magic can exist in a truly rational world. Just because a phenomena cannot yet be explained in basic, understandable, scientific terms, does not mean that it is irrational to acknowledge that the observed phenomena exists, however much it evades our understanding. The rational person, I think, would instead acknowledge magic as a viable tool if and when he or she proved its worth, and one that never observed it would simply acknowledge his ignorance of it.

The only way to bridge that gap of ignorance is to try ritual for yourself. Simply calling it silliness won't do. You might very well be among the majority, but that doesn't mean you're correct or that you don't look silly to those who have found utility in magic.
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#469238 - 02/04/12 02:31 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Zaftig]
Samyaza Offline


Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 4
You both have excellent points. I think the one thing this thread has really done has let me know that I have some reading I need to do. You are all absolutely correct. I think I just misunderstood the semantics. I do have a lot that I would like to learn about all this, and I do know where to go to learn it. You all have been more than patient, and I appreciate that.

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#469240 - 02/04/12 02:39 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: TheAbysmal]
Samyaza Offline


Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 4
Well, it may very well be that the "magic" only focuses our goal just that much more, and we are even more driven and focused than before to attain that goal. I could imagine that one would conduct a ritual for a certain outcome like getting a new job, or something along those lines, that individual performs some ritual to attain it, well, in performing said ritual, the individual then focuses on that goal, and in focusing is more likely to attain that goal. In that respect, I can believe that 'magic' can exist. However, there are other ways of focusing on a goal that may not entail that "fantasy and enchantment", that "ceremony and ritual". I will grant to Mr. LaVey that dogma may be necessary for some, and I would never begrudge that of anyone. I just wanted to ensure that my lack of desire for any of the 'trappings' was not going to be a preclusion to my joining the Church.

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#469242 - 02/04/12 02:53 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
de_Lioncourt Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 545
You have received some very good responses.

My answer to your question is also that Satanism is both a philosophy and a religion.

Satanism is a religion dedicated to mans carnal nature and a denial of any mysticism or spiritual parental figures.

If anything, it is a religion of the flesh, materialistic, carnal nature of man. It is a religion that celebrates life right here and now.

That being said, naturally the philosophy that surrounds it is applicable in the real world.

When it comes to Magic, and it's role in Satanism, I would encourage you to read the Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Satanic Witch, The Satanic Scriptures and study the Church of Satan Website. In fact, in the news section there was a very recent link to an interview with High Priest Gilmore, where he discusses Magic's role in Satanism that you should find very informative.

I can't help but notice your reference to atheism in both your original and subsequent posts.

As you can imagine, this is a topic that gets brought up whenever discussing what real Satanism is. Detractors will instantly say, "Well, why call yourself a Satanist if you don't believe in a spiritual side? Why not just call yourself an atheist?"

To this question, I would note that Bishop John Aylmer (under Queen Elizabeth I) used the term Satanist in a pamphlet entitled "An Harbour for Faithful and Truth Subjects" to describe people who believed in nothing (the atheists of his day) in 1559.

So far, this is one of the earliest references to the term Satanist that I can find. So as far as My research indicates, when Dr. Lavey founded the Church of Satan nearly four hundred years later, he used the correct term to describe both his philosophy and the religion that he based it around.

On the other hand, I do not think that many of the popular atheists today (or those that are quick to jump on the band wagon for atheism) could quite bring themselves to that dreaded S word wink.

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#469245 - 02/04/12 04:23 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
Quote:
Well, it may very well be that the "magic" only focuses our goal just that much more, and we are even more driven and focused than before to attain that goal. I could imagine that one would conduct a ritual for a certain outcome like getting a new job, or something along those lines, that individual performs some ritual to attain it, well, in performing said ritual, the individual then focuses on that goal, and in focusing is more likely to attain that goal. In that respect, I can believe that 'magic' can exist.


And, if that is all that you yet find valid in magical ritual, can you still see how that could give you an edge over so many other people whose "goals" are nothing more than daydreams that flit through their minds? If magical ritual were nothing more than an outlet to take a first physical step toward a goal, can you still see how that sets you up for further steps?

I'll bluntly offer that there is more to magical ritual than that. Still, if that is as far as you ever to take magical ritual, I'd say you'd still be better off than the many who'd chalk magical ritual to balogna, just as quickly as they'd also choose to plop on their couch in front of the television instead of taking meaningful action toward their desires. wink In that vein, you might benefit from giving it a try. And, that isn't to suggest that you're content rotting in front of a television, mind you!

From one of your other replies in this thread:

Quote:
In reading your response, and re-reading what I wrote, it was clear to me that what I meant did not come across in what I wrote. When I was talking about Satanism as a "Religion" I meant that as a belief in a supernatural power, likewise with magic, magic caused through some supernatural means, and by supernatural, I don't just mean something we can't explain, I mean from some "higher power". I was under the impression that the CoS believed in no higher power other than themselves.


First, I suggest you consider that there are a handful here who possibly did understand exactly what you meant to convey. Some, still, close if not quite. There are those here whom have more experience in applying Satanism to their benefit than you or even I. I actually noticed it today: I registered here back in 2006. I've already forgotten the month and day, but that's still in the ballpark of six years since I stumbled upon LttD and Satanism in more than a passing interest. At that, I can finally say that I understand there is truth to this statement: Satanism is a religion of study, not worship.

It's such a loaded statement!

For starters, it's an indication that we can look to those with more experience with Satanism to see how it applies to and enriches our lives. It is, after all, a religion claimed to embrace life enriched an enjoyed!

Well, life enriched and enjoyed might just be a matter of fact for some lucky few. For the rest of us, it takes that study, and to extend that thought, application and practice.

Like life, you're probably not going to understand all there is to Satanism in a single sitting. Even if you did understand it all, right now, there is still that leap from understanding it all to applying it and experiencing it.

As I have been told many times, understanding is the booby prize. I find this lesson to be true. While it is fun to understand--for me, at least--I find it far more enjoyable to experience things first hand, at least as far as they seem to benefit me.

Quote:
I just wanted to ensure that my lack of desire for any of the 'trappings' was not going to be a preclusion to my joining the Church.


Speaking from experience, it is easy to "join" than to remain. That's pretty much the advice I got when I got promoted to Sergeant in the Army, it being easier to get demoted than promoted in my unit at the time. It's easy to fill out an application, say what you expect to be received favorably, and send it in with $200. Far harder is it, in my opinion, to live up to ideal.

But, there is reward to be had in it. Please don't take my words as a discouragement, but as a matter of fact: Unless you're just interested in parading a membership and title, there is hard work to be done before you realize any benefit.

Give joining careful consideration.
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Refuse to die.

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#469260 - 02/04/12 09:25 PM Re: Satanism as a Philosophy vs. Satanism as a Religion (capital R) [Re: Samyaza]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10122
The answer is right in The Satanic Bible. Religions have ritual and dogma, philosophies do not. Satanism has both. Satanism obviously has an underlying philosophy, but it is clearly a religion.
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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