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#503014 - 06/19/16 12:51 PM Is My Understanding Correct?
TheologyStudent Offline

Registered: 06/19/16
Posts: 3
Greetings all:

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.

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, page 41, lines 4-6

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.

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, page 44 lines 22-24

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.

The Church of Satan does not promote violence for violence sake, only measured and appropriate recourse for abuses/ offenses.

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."

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, The Book of Satan 3:7

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!

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, The Nine Satanic Statements 4-5

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!

Satanism has a very progressive view of sexuality.

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.

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, page 67, lines 29-30

Satanism condones any type of sexuality activity which properly satisfies your individual desires...

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.

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!

Originally Posted By: The Nine Satanic Statements, #6

Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires.

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, page 77 lines 3-4, 6-8

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 Mystical / Religous elements of Satanism are meant to connect one's intellectual understanding with his/her emotional needs.

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.

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, page 53, lines 1-3

It is one thing to accept something intellectually, but to accept the same thing emotionally is an entirely different matter.

#503015 - 06/19/16 03:30 PM Re: Is My Understanding Correct? [Re: TheologyStudent]
Quaark Offline

CoS Reverend

Registered: 08/22/03
Posts: 8930
Hi there TheologyStudent, and welcome.

I'm glad you've gone to the trouble to pose these excellently phrased questions so carefully with the appropriate accompanying texts from TSB to support your interpretation of the fundamental Satanic canon, and even actually grateful that you took the care and time to format the text so well.

This could have been a tedious wall of text to read, but it wasn't.

All in all, one of the most truly impressive first posts I've seen here in a very long time indeed, especially from someone not immediately self identifying in that post as a Satanist.

Thus, my welcome is sincere and not merely pro forma.

To get to the meat of your questions, you've nailed everything quite well. In fact, I have not a single substantive quibble with any of it.

You "get it", as far as these basics go, and even if you don't agree with some aspects of it, your manners and tact, not to mention your obvious intellectual competence juggling such abstractions, are such that it is impossible to take any offense.

I will let others tackle, if they wish, the final part you're having some slight trouble with.

Again, I welcome you to LttD.

#503022 - 06/20/16 03:17 PM Re: Is My Understanding Correct? [Re: Quaark]
TheologyStudent Offline

Registered: 06/19/16
Posts: 3
Normally I wait so I can reply to as many as possible (as to be space-efficient) but I also don't know how active this board is / how many will view my post and I didn't want to "leave you hanging".

Thank you, Quaark for your kind welcome and confirmation of my questions. I'm glad to know I haven't made any grievous logical error. I know you must get dozens of less polite and far less intelligent posts given your faith. I strive to be generally a polite person. And besides one of the Satanic Commandments is to "When in another's lair, show him respect or else do not go there.", after all!

While I'm at it (and not to impose too much) but there was one particular passage that I just remembered, that if any others visit this thread I would like some clarification on, from the Book of Belial.

Originally Posted By: The Satanic Bible, page 115, starting at line 10

Odor is another important manipulative factor in lesser magic. Remember, animals fear and distrust anyone or anything that doesn't smell!... allow the natural secretions of your body to pervade the atmosphere immediately around you, and work in animalistic contrast to the vestments of social politeness that you wear upon your back...

It seems a bit as though the passage encourages lax hygiene from what I am reading here, though I am almost positive I have the wrong interpretation. Though it's interesting to note that many scientific studies now find that showering every day is actually bad for you (especially your hair) so there may be something to that. I know it seems an odd bit to bring up, but it was one of the more unusual things I read within The Satanic Bible and I did want it clarified as well.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to make me feel welcome and answering my questions on your ideology.

Edited by TheologyStudent (06/20/16 03:18 PM)

#503023 - 06/20/16 06:32 PM Re: Is My Understanding Correct? [Re: TheologyStudent]
Quaark Offline

CoS Reverend

Registered: 08/22/03
Posts: 8930
Personally, I just ignore what anyone says about this, including Doktor LaVey, and listen to my own sense of what works for me. I shower daily, have all my life, and feel like absolute crap without my morning shower.

And if I had an extra vigorous day, I shower again before bed.

In very unusual circumstances, THREE times in one day.

Satanism is a religion of individuality above all.

Use your own intelligence and common sense to determine which parts of the Satanic literature are central and indispensable (atheism and individualism) and which parts, maybe not so much (how often one showers).

One cannot be a Satanist without being atheistic, but one can sure as hell manage one's own personal hygiene as one sees fit and still be one.

Oh, one correction, we do not have a "faith", or belong to a "faith".

Faith, as meant in the common religious sense of the word, is antithetical to the Satanic worldview, utter anathema, what we do is doubt and question and apply rational skepticism, to both commonly accepted "truths", AND to contrarian positions as well.

The only place faith has a role in Satanism is faith in one's self, but that is a different sense of that word, yes?

#503024 - 06/20/16 09:33 PM Re: Is My Understanding Correct? [Re: Quaark]
TheologyStudent Offline

Registered: 06/19/16
Posts: 3
I see, and I am 100% on board with that ideal considering I don't feel human without a shower.

As I said, I knew the passage was at best minor but I just wanted clarification out of sheer curiosity (it comes with dissecting ideology from an outside perspective, and I had gathered that the ideas proposed in my first post were the core beliefs).

And point taken about the use of the word "faith". Call it a slip of the tongue if you will. Given that the atheism is at the core of Satanism "theology" is doubtless an incorrect word, but would perhaps "ideology" be a suitable general term?


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