My question is, if Satanism is related to, or involves demonic practices?

To tell you a little about myself, I have only recently begun learning what Satanism (and more specifically the CoS) is all about. I grew up with an inquisitive mother who has never aligned her beliefs with any one religion but sampled many. Because of her influences, I have always been able to keep an open mind when dealing with beliefs that I am ignorant of. My father and his family is another story altogether as they are all heavily protestant Christian. Luckily my dad was never wholly serious about his religion until he started growing older. I was about 14 when he became born-again and he started trying to take the family to church. However by that time, the hypocritical teachings of Christianity were already very apparent to me, and left me with very uneasy feelings. Thus much to the dismay of my father I avoided going whenever possible. This of course didnít stop him from trying to convert me whenever possible and it taught me at that early age that you could argue with a faithful Christian until you were blue in the face, and never change their way of thinking. Eventually that and his controlling nature only served to estrange me from him.

As I grew up, I continued to maintain a generic belief in some kind of God, that derived from Judaism based faith, but I never again tried Christianity, until I was about 24. I was at a cross-road in my life, whereby I had a good career, was beginning a relationship with a nice Christian girl, and thought that maybe a religious faith on par with what my fatherís family believed would be good to draw me closer to her and as a side bonus them (my fatherís family). Well, the whole thing led to disaster. Of course my father was beyond pleased that I had finally saw the light and was believing his way, but as I finally read their holy bible and listened to their preachers, again everything continued to sound totally insane, unrealistic, and hypocritical to me. Not to mention the girl in question took me for the biggest spin of my life, leaving me in large amounts of debt and depression.

The depression grew over the next few years to the point where I was faced with two conclusions; 1) God must hate me, since I was suffering from so much misery and failure. 2) There must be no god. Because of all the Christian doctoring that I had been brought up with, both of these options led me to more anger and self hatred. It eventually got to the point where I was simply ready to die and would have done so if not for my extreme dislike for pain.

It wasnít until an atheist friend of mine introduced me to existentialism that I was finally able to start making progress out of this hole that had become my life. Learning from thinkers like Sartre and Kierkegaard gave me the tools to re-evaluate all my original Christian programming and began to give me the mental tools needed to realize I was not a slave and was in fact in control of my life and only I had the power to shape what the results would be from my time here on earth. I learned Christianity is a prime example of what Existentialists call ďbad-faithĒ, in that it takes all the responsibility away from its followers and puts it all in the duality hands of God and the Devil. If good comes from your life, its Godís fault, if the results are bad, itís the Devils. I realized this thinking was why so much of western civilization is pockmarked with examples of people doing whatever they want, without ever owning-up to their actions. The Christian faith makes it easy to blame someone else (specifically something never seen and out of your control).

So anyway, it was at this point in my life that I happened by http://www.religioustolerance.org and stumbled upon Satanism. When I first saw the name Satanism listed as a religion, my mind instantly conjured images of human sacrifices and dismemberment, as well as all other kinds of heinous acts, which I have since come to learn is really the imaginary Satanic Ritual Abuse inspired by the minds of over-zealous Christian fiction writers in the mid-eighties. That and the extended which-hunts left over from Christian domination of medieval European times. When I began reading the teachings of Anton LaVey, and later the conception of the CoS, I became quite intrigued. I have read most of the articles on the CoS homepage under the Theory and Practice section and am quite curious to read the Satanic Bible now as well.

This leads me to my original question; I understand the relevance of the rebellious Satanist, who uses signs of defiance such as the sigil of Behemoth. However I am considerably wary of religions in general. I believe in humanity, in that this universe, through natural actions such as evolution has created the human species. A uniqueness we possess is our potential to one day master this universe and be wholly like gods ourselves. Through technology and mental development, we could easily one day conceive and control universes that we ourselves have created. In that, I donít believe we alone possess this potential. Other creatures of this planet could easily evolve the same way, not to mention the countless forms of life that must exist elsewhere in this universe.

Satanism has simply presented an interesting philosophy that while intriguing, also presents questions which Iíd like to have answered. It concerns me when I read of religious ceremonies involving chants, and rituals. To me, magic is simply unseen quantum energies that are thought-sensitive, and thus, one day we should be able to control them through technology or heightened intellects. However, again, I am weary of opening myself to outside influences that may not have the best intentions for my person. I do not doubt that ďdemonsĒ and possibly even the Christian god exist. To me, if they are real, they are possibly just beings in this universe that are more advanced than me. In the case of the Christian god, he is simply a very self-centered, insecure deity that has gathered a lot of followers through the use of guilt and shame. :P

I apologize for the longwinded post, but felt it pertinent to let you know where Iím coming from. I have read the words from the official representatives of the CoS and respect their opinions for the most part. Some of you who post here, have also impressed upon me that you uphold the same attitudes, so I would like to know if anyone has any light (or is it darkness?) to shed on these concerns of mine.