I have set out on a personal journey to study as many of the world's theologies and ideologies as I can. I grew up Mormon and found recently that a lot of the political/moral ideals don't mesh with who I am (the straw that broke the camel's back for me was their recent update to their stance on the LGBT community which was when I parted ways with them.)
My wife was for a time a Satanist in belief though she never actually joined the Church of Satan
(mainly because this belief began when she was a teenager, though even though she no longer identifies as Satanist she still values many of the teachings of Satanism). As such she has a copy of The Satanic Bible
and The Satanic Ritual
The long and short of my personal study is to peruse through as many theologies as are out there to gain at the very least a scholarly understanding of their nature, as well as an attempt to sort of find where my personal ethical code lies - something that probably sounds like tripe and I apologize if it seems that way.
I am grateful that the CoS has a wealth of resources readily available and as well as pouring over those I have also read through The Satanic Bible
. There were a few aspects of Satanism that appealed to me, and a few that weren't really for me. One major plus I have is that they straight up tell you "hey, this isn't for everybody and if it's not, don't worry about it." I don't think any other faith (certainly not any Abrahamic faith) has that point of view.
I apologize for rambling, but I want you to know where I am coming from. I do not come asking for information but rather asking if my interpretation of what I have read and researched for myself is accurate. The Church of Satan is not about "devil worship" but rather uses Satan as a representation of the self.
My understanding, as it's pretty clearly spelled out in the first few pages of The Satanic Bible
is that Satan is used as a metaphor for the individual (the Nine Satanic Statements
spell out how Satan is used as a metaphor to be the "adversary" to the once commonly held moral standpoints). As the pages go on to detail that we as people should view ourselves as our own deities, capable of both setting our own moral codes, indulging our own interests and even performing feats of magic, I gathered that this is in essence self-idolatry.
The Satanist realizes that man, and the action and reaction of the universe, is responsible for everything, and doesn't mislead himself into thinking that someone cares.
The Church of Satan does not promote violence for violence sake, only measured and appropriate recourse for abuses/ offenses
Man needs ritual and dogma, but no law states that an externalized god is necessary in order to engage in ritual and ceremony performed in a god's name.
I would be remiss if I didn't admit to myself that this ideal (the first one my wife told me about) appealed to me, since I find often that the "Golden Rule" to be unrealistic to the point of absurdity. My motto has been the perversion therein "Do unto others as they do unto you." (as spelled out on Page 51 in The Satanic Bible
) In none of my studies have I ever found any argument for proactive violence or instigation, but all the teachings seem to be along the lines of "don't start a fight, simply finish them."
Hate your enemies with a whole heart , and if a man smite you on one cheek, SMASH him on the other!; smite him hip and thigh, for self-preservation is the highest law!
Satanism has a very progressive view of sexuality.
4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!
5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!
This was actually quite a shock for me, I will admit, because who hasn't heard the tales of lurid "satanic orgies". But the teachings actually seemed to make a lot of sense and again promoted you being your own navigator. If you wish to be monogamous, that's fine. If you prefer "free love" that's okay too. Asexuality, LGBT, etc is all okay. Essentially it seemed that as long as you were aware of your sexuality and the control that sexual urges can have over you (and never use said urges to commit an atrocity like rape or bestiality) then however you choose to live your sex life is up to you.
Satanism holds you accountable for your own well-being, physical and mental, and doesn't excuse you for being any less fulfilled than you can be.
Satanism condones any type of sexuality activity which properly satisfies your individual desires...
Paired with the ideal of self-idolatry seems to be a great focus on self-responsibility. It takes a rather scathing view on you wasting any time on people who do not contribute anything to you, participating in any lifestyle that does not fully satisfy you, self-sacrifice as a general rule (with a noted exception for those for whom self-sacrifice brings pleasure), and herd conformity - even to the CoS itself!
Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires.
The Mystical / Religous elements of Satanism are meant to connect one's intellectual understanding with his/her emotional needs.
There are, of course, people who are not happy unless they are giving, but many of us do not fit into this category...
A conscientious person finds it very difficult to decide between a voluntary and imposed charity.
The sticking point for me in terms of grasping it, mainly because my intellect and emotions are very distinctly separate and, often, at war with each other. Perhaps this is what LaVey was trying to convey here and rather than appearing as saying "this is all bogus, but there's a reason for it", he was trying to say "this is as real as you make it because you need this part of you to be satisfied." Clarification on this point in particular is one that I would be fascinated with.
It is one thing to accept something intellectually, but to accept the same thing emotionally is an entirely different matter.