Well, if we're going to look at any philosophy in any sort of depth and detail, we have to look at things from both sides, pros and cons, good and bad. I've been asked on many occasions to explain why I'm a Satanist and it's not something that is easy to explain. Far easier for me, is to explain what the philosophy entails and even to admit the shortcomings of some of the ideas contained within it.
Having a good look, there are not so many shortcomings in the theory, more in the practice and interpretations.....or dare I say it, misinterpretation.
Critics and opponents of Satanism very rarely know exactly what they're objecting to, hiding behind a barrage of sanctimonious and hypocritical piety. They claim to be servants of god, concerned parents, guardians of public morality etc. but I've never once received criticism from anyone who actually knew what modern Satanism is all about. This is hardly surprising I suppose, as most Satanists haven't the first clue either.
I say this, not from the usual 'bitchy' point of view, but from observation and interaction with people claiming to be Satanists. As a result, I'm of the opinion that 90% of people claiming the satanic mantle are nothing of the sort. They do not have the integrity, honesty or even the true will to be Satanists.
Satanism is, for these people, a convenient cloak or a hat to wear to say 'look at me, see how I stand out from the herd'. It's a romantic dream, a way of claiming allegiance to a way of life more risqué and bohemian than their own, grasping with both hands a fine thread, a tenuous link to libertines and dark philosophers and magicians of the past.
They try so hard and yet I see through them, surely we all do.
They are brightly coloured but empty shells, loudly echoing, voluminous vessels……tricksters and con artists perpetrating the ultimate fraud, not on others but on themselves.
If this is not so, why the constant need for justification when you engage one in conversation? Justification up to the point where someone puts up a convincing argument and then they are at loss for words and intelligent discourse. All they can do is throw a temper tantrum, stamp their feet and claim some sort of intellectual 'immunity from prosecution' by those with inquiring minds and a grasp on reality.
I say all this because another observation I have made is that we Satanists advocate confronting and questioning 'perceived wisdom', but we do not seem to take kindly to intense debate, scrutiny and questioning ourselves. I've seen it so many times that it's just not funny any more.
Hard to say what Satanism and Satanists appear to be from the outside looking inward, but the reality is far more mundane than the image of debauched perverts and devil worshippers that we seem to portray. Just as well that Anton LaVey made the killing of non-human animals a big no-no. Very few would have the testicular fortitude to flush a gold-fish down a toilet, let alone take a dagger to a cat's throat.
In general, those claiming to be Satanists are:
I could go on, but the list is depressingly long as it is and I'm quite possibly going to be seen by many to be as an even bigger self-righteous prick than I already am for so astutely pointing out their short comings to them. No doubt I'll be told to 'look to the note in thine own eye' by one or two people but the truth is the truth. If you dress it up and try to make it nice then you're being less than honest with everybody, including yourself. In any case, I'm claiming my own immunity from prosecution as an abstract version of the council for the prosecution here...
One of the biggest problems that most Satanists seem to have, is drawing a line between image and reality, distance and self-interest. We just don't open up to each other and if we do, it's painful and we end up apologising every five minutes for being so 'weak', for being so open and allowing ourselves to depend or lean upon others when we need it. Perhaps this is the missing link between Satanists and depressives?
If it's in your interest and you feel the need to seek out friends for solace and comfort, have the strength to do so. It does take a kind of strength and self-assurance to be totally open and honest with someone. It's also much less of a strain and effort than keeping up a front and trying to remember which lie you've told to which people!
After all this, I suppose that it could be argued that Satanism is a philosophy for the weak rather than the strong. It can provide a crutch, an image makeover to rival any of the other world religions or creeds. Just reading through the previous list of points I made will show you where Satanism would be attractive to these people. They figure that they can just slot right in and not be noticed by the rest of us.
Why should I notice what others are doing? Why aren't I so focused on my own goals that I'm too busy to notice the others around me treading water in a sea of their own effluence?
Satanists are the most judgemental people on the planet that's why!
We despise and ridicule Christianity for its constant judgemental morality and yet we do the same thing all the time. Life is a constant stream of judgement calls and weighing up decisions….how else do you get by
At the end of the day, I've just scratched the surface. There are plenty of accusations that I could level at 'Satanists' on many levels and issues. What I kind of wanted to prove here is that some of us aren't afraid to say it as it is and to turn the bright light of scrutiny upon ourselves. Every accusation and observation levelled here isn't directed at Satanism or at Satanists. They're levelled those who are commonly perceived to be that which they patently are not.
I'm assuming that some will be offended here by what I have written and to them I'd like to launch a pre-emptive strike of my own by simply saying that if you are offended, you've obviously made the above list in some way and need to make one or two lifestyle adjustments to get off it. Either that or call yourself something other than 'Satanist'.
I also assume that some of those critical of our philosophy will also read this and see that someone is prepared to acknowledge and address the shortcomings, real and perceived, of the state of modern Satanist attitudes. We are all to ready to cast a critical eye over others and should be quite prepared to do the same thing to ourselves to get our own house in order.
Reading Lavey's Satanic bible filled me with hope, confidence and affirmation that others see things as I do. That others have the confidence and self-assurance to make themselves unpopular for speaking the truth, for being the accuser as I do.
Of course, I can always just claim to be playing devils advocate.
Current edition: 2002 Mar
Parent page: Criticism and Attacks on Satanism by Various Authors