By Vexen Crabtree 2002
The Book Of Satan - The first book in the Satanic Bible
Book Of Satan 1:1-4 - The first 4 verses of chapter 1
Book of Satan 1:5-7 - Verses 4 to 7 of chapter 1
In this arid wilderness of steel and stone I raise up my
Besides the foreword and introduction, this is the opening statement of the Satanic Bible. My interpretation is as follows:
The arid wilderness is of course real life, and Ragnar Redbeard uses the words "steel" and "stone" which are both hard words: harsh, materialistic and cold. This is how Satanists view nature: as uncaring. Satan represents the dark force in nature. The I throughout the Book Of Satan refers to Satan.
It is occult and religious tradition to assign gods or forces to the four cardinal directions of the compass1. The Christian Bible contains four gospels for the same reason, "for there are four directions the wind blows". The Four Crown Princes Of Hell are the four allegorical personalities of Satan, each embodying a cardinal point.
The proclamation at the end of the first verse of the first book in The Satanic Bible is controversial: "Death to the weakling, wealth to the strong". This statement is another reflection of real life which is represented by Satan. This philosophy is not about right or wrong, moral or immoral; it is about reality. And in reality, the weak die and the strong gain. Many people are too weak or unfortunate to survive birth, some never achieve anything, some commit suicide, etc; these are the "weak". The "strong" are those who take control of their own lives. Satan proclaims "death to the weakling" not because it is right but because that's the way reality and nature works. Some people do choose to infer that this means "might is right" is right.
The social psychologist David Myers makes an important contribution in pointing out the difference between the Satanic description of what is from the moral assertions of what is right. He says:
“A seductive error [is the] sliding from a description of what is into a prescription of what ought to be. Philosophers call this the naturalistic fallacy. The gulf between 'is' and 'ought', between scientific description and ethical prescription, remains as wide today as when philosopher David Hume pointed it out 200 years ago.”
Open your eyes that you may see, Oh men of mildewed
It isn't unique that Satanism considers itself closer to the truth than any religion. All religions claim that. Satanism is no different from other religions in that claims that it itself represents greater truth. Satanism doesn't teach that all non-Satanists are deluded: there are many enlightened and able minded people in the world. Also there are many deluded Satanists. But there are many, the bewildered millions, who could do very much to consider more carefully the type of materialism that Satanism offers.
Satan embodies principles of doubt and curiosity, and the root of the word Satan is "accuser" and "opponent". Satanists use Satan as an archetype that stands for challenging religious texts and dogma. The wisdom of the world whether it is science or dogma, is harmful if it breeds closed-mindedness or falsehoods, therefore everything must be continually questioned. This is the scientific method, not the religious one, one of the reasons why Satanism is sometimes referred to as a philosophy rather than a religion. Some call it the "unreligion".
The Golden Rule comment is a reference to an ancient Jewish proverb which also appears in nearly all religions, although in the West it is now most famous as a saying of Jesus. The (flawed) Golden Rule is typical of all white-light moralities. Although the golden rule is one of the most feel good and natural morals it doesn't actually work, and, morality should not become a matter of legalism or dogma; therefore it should be constantly pondered over and never assumed.
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(1999) Social Psychology. Paperback book. 6th ('international') edition. Originally published 1983. Current version published by McGraw Hill.