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Friday, August 27, 2010

Religion Response To Rev Rebeccangelican Church

Religion Response To Rev Rebeccangelican Church
This is a reply and discussion to the internet essay "Why I am not a Satanist". I am posting the essay here, in response. The author's words are in italics and my reply is in regular type. I was searching online when i found this essay, and I had never read it before until today.

Please read this URL first -> Why I am not a Satanist [writ in 2001] A Satanist.htm

I have read the essay "why I am not a satanist".

These criticisms of Satanism, found in this essay are typical, and riddled with misconceptions, fallacies of logic, and reasoning. The author's idea is to to help satanists and would-be satanists with this transparent critique it is quite ineffective. Ive been a Satanist for many a year and I found this essay to be quite unconvincing, barely moving my spirit to respond, if it weren't for my opportunity to address these things here and now, at my blog for many Satanists to see..

Then again, I am speaking from experience, unlike this writer who is speaking mostly from from some kind of idealized opinion. Regardless of my feelings towards these common arguments against satanism, I would like to critique this essay with a needed response.

To begin, I would like to say that it's alright with me if someone doesn't like Satanism. Not everyone was meant to walk the left hand path. I expect others who are unaware of what Satanism is, or who do not understand our methods and meanings, to criticize us in the way that they do. Its a specialized area of occultism that only a few are attracted to, and even less are able to make it work for them in a productive way.

Yes, Satanism has its 'faults', like any other religion/belief/philosophy, but many times these faults are not from the ideas of Satanism, but from the ones who put them into practice, without evaluating their meaning and the consequences of their actions. Always, a few will give the whole a bad name. People tend to judge the whole as bad if one part is not right. We seek perfection where it will never be found and will always be disappointed because of this.

This is a good opportunity to face these ideas and make an essay from this subject. There is nothing perfect in this world, and there is no 'true way of salvation', no holy grail of religion or magic.

Let us begin...

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

Without exception, the people I ve met who consider themselves Satanists in the tradition of Anton LaVey are some of the most interesting people I ve met. They tend to be ethical, intelligent, confident, honest, and nice ooops I mean evil! And a read through the Satanic Bible is enough to convince critics and skeptics alike that Anton LaVey was brilliant (besides being funny and brazen) in his own right. Yet, I still find much to be desired in modern Satanism and offer the following essay to Satanists and would-be Satanists alike as an honest critique.

An A+ for honesty. But, really, are all satanists laVeyan? Wouldn't this article have been better titled, Why I am not a LaVeyan Satanist? Why do most critiques on Satanism focus on LaVey? Was he the only Satanist in existence? Was his church the only Satanist organization? Hardly. There are numerous orgs. and a growing number of independent Theistic and Spiritual Satanists. For a more accurate view on the beliefs of Satanists, please read my essay, "Theistic Satanism" at my website

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

For those unfamiliar with LaVeyan Satanism, please note that Satanists are atheists and do not believe in a real Satan/Devil.

Many Satanists know that LaVeyan is not the only method of Satanism. Also, many assume that all LaVeyans are atheistic. In fact, LaVey has never admitted either in the Satanic bible, or in any film that I've seen from him that he is an avowed atheist. The non-belief of Atheism is not the same as Satanism, although some Satanists can have atheist practices.

LaVey was a Satanist, and according to him, "Satanism is a religion of the flesh". Anton also included gods and devils in his Bible, along with instructions on how to invoke Satan, and he included the names of the Four Crown Princes of Hell. Some say that these are only symbolic things, but some Satanists recognize these things for more than just ritual imagery.

Anton also claimed in the Satanic Rituals that the Yazidi were the original devil worshipers and that Satanists should take a cue from them. In other words, actual worship of an actual 'Satan'. This is not an atheist philosophy.

Granted, the Yazidi text has already been exposed as a worthless creation of Joseph Isya, but LaVey does suggest that Satanists should call upon Satan, Worship him, and invoke him before doing spell work. Some Satanists also claim that the Self is god, a practice and philosophy called 'self-deism' or autodeism. I believe that LaVey was a deist, and in later years of the church, the focus shifted to atheism, so that their org. could oppose theist groups that had fractioned from the Church of Satan.

"belief in the devil" takes on a varied meaning in Satanism. The author's focus is too generalized, once again with the opinion that 'all Satanists are atheist because LaVey was an atheist.' For a better and more concise definition of Satanism, please visit my page "Thesitic Satanism".

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

But first, what I like about Satanism:

1. The Honesty

Satanism strives to be purely honest. It tells it like it is! A true Satanist does not stand for hypocrisy in others or in oneself. Satanism is a breath of fresh air in a society so tainted with blatant hypocrisy, the discrepancy between teaching and action.

"Satanism strives.." Well, satanism does not strive for anything. Satanism can not tell anyone 'like it is', but a Satanist might do that. And one Satanist does not speak for all of Satanism.

And is there really a 'true satanist'? What i see so far in this writing, are the assumptions that 1. the LaVeyans the 'true satanists' 2. who are honest with themselves that there is no god.

I did not realize that non-belief was a quality. Should there be a category or even a name for those who don't like or believe in something? Therefore, is belief in a god, according to this writer, a kind of hypocrisy? Once again i see that this person expects things to be 'black and white' good or bad, dark and light. A dualistic view of absolute extremes.

Sure, lying to one's self is a useless and sometimes hurtful activity. But, I think that this is part of human nature. Perhaps, its not some kind of quality, but a component of our survival, something we need to be human. Also, the writers statement begs the question *from me*, in all seriousness; are other religions not honest with their believers? I begin to laugh, as i read more typical statements from a 'non believer'..

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

2. The Independent Thought

Satanism requires one to think for oneself and this has a way of separating the intelligent from the stupid. Satanists understand the value of independent thought and are allowed to analyze and choose what to believe and do according to their own values and interests, not merely those instilled in them by social norms and culture.

Again is independent thinking this some kind of Satanic value?

Or is intelligence, creativity and common sense human attributes?

Do all other religions not offer these kinds of things for their followers? As the author says, "separating the intelligent from the stupid", which I find to be an insulting comment. Insulting to my intelligence, in fact. Ive met with plenty of other non-satanists who were intelligent free thinkers, who created their own ways and who did what they wanted and were quite happy with it. I think that willful intent, self determination, creativity and commitment are better qualities than have been suggested here.

The statement, "social norms and culture", is a varied thing, and all we are offered in this essay is a generalization that 'satanists defy social norms'... I disagree. Some satanist don't even care about social norms, let alone wasting time and energy to purposely defy them. This is a typical statement that suggests that 'all satanists' 1) have a dislike for society due to ignorance, and 2) only care about rebellion. I do not see this in Satanism in general, but this is a typical and common statement from those who are only able to assume what Satanism is about from what others have told them or from what they have read on internet forums.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

3. The In-Your-Face Non-conformity

Satanists have practically invented new rules when it comes to nonconformity. I enjoy the fact that the average unthinking person is either offended or afraid of Satanists and their symbols. Satanists, like many alternative cultures and philosophies, unabashedly stands over and against the conforming masses of society while simultaneously challenging them, it just does so more extravagantly.

You dont have to be in someones face to not conform. Non conformity is the ability to decide what is right based on personal merits and ethics.

And, Satanists invented non-conformity? Interesting. As i recall it was the early Christians who refused to conform to Judaism and the Roman State. They were very non-conforming because of their religious beliefs. In fact, in the Jesus mythos, Jesus was a non-conformist, for which he was crucified upon a Roman cross.

Looking back into history there have been many non-conformists. Isaac Newton, for instance.. Satanists did not invent non-conformity. They only expressed it in many different and unique ways.

I do not think that non-conformity is a quality of Satanism. Satanists tend not to set their values according to others beliefs so what is there to be non conformist about? There are no 'conforming masses of society' either. These generalizations in this essay are making it difficult to analyze, but here is an excellent opportunity to expose typical beliefs of uninformed writers on the subject of Satanism.

So far, I have seen that the author thinks that free thought, plus hatred, along with rebellion, make up the beliefs of 'all satanists'. :-) This essay's argument is very unconvincing.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

4. Self-Empowerment

In a world where people are often driven to feel ashamed, guilty, or just plain negative about themselves, Satanism offers a key to uplift the individual to new heights of self-confidence, value, and consequently, empowerment. Satanists value themselves and embrace their own power and talents; they not only acknowledge them, they flaunt them. Most people long for the ability to embrace themselves in such overwhelmingly positive terms but cannot and will not. The Satanist can and does and doesn t hide it!

Again. while this author tries to speak for all of Satanism, I would not make the same mistake. Its my idea that the author briefly skimmed through the Satanic bible, and assumed that all satanists share the same ideology and philosophies. This is not so.

I also left the author's typos as they are.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

5. Ethical but not Dogmatic

Satanism offers a minimum ethical structure and trusts individuals enough to figure the rest out for themselves. This means that the average Satanist must, once again, think for themselves. This generally results in a more well reasoned, sensible, and sophisticated ethical way of life than the average person. Most Satanists are ethical and moral, but not out of guilt or conformity, they are so out of common sense.

On the contrary, the foundation of LaVeyan Satanism is dogma, as illustrated by the words in the Satanic bible which express that LaVey intends to offer Satanic philosophy along with dogma, into his method of Satanism. I think that the author is referring to being free of 'christian dogma' which would again be a generalization..there's lots of religious dogma, not including Christianity.

The idea that one should think for themselves should be a natural human attribute. If we could not think for ourselves then what good would our lives be, regardless of religious affiliation? We would all be mindless drones, but we are not. All of us who are conscious human beings each make our own decisions. I would like to see the authors definition of what is ethical for Satanists, if it is going to be discussed in any real way.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

6. It s Just so much more Interesting

Yeah, this is one of my shallow reasons. But one has to admit, it s much more intriguing and it raises all kinds of brows (and questions) to say, I m a Satanist rather than some other anticipated response. It s unusual and unexpected. I gather most Satanists dig this too.

The first impression that i got from this statement was that Satanists are into Satanism for the shock value. You've heard of it, they are the 'poseurs' and pretenders. They lurk in every group, because they are the ones that want to belong, even though they are shallow and disingenuous. They add nothing to Satanism in general besides providing fodder for authors like this, who assume that all Satanists do what they do out of a need to impress people or look cool.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

7. A Sense of Purpose

This isn t really unique to Satanism, but I do appreciate the fact that Satanism gives people a sense of meaning and provides something worthwhile to rally behind and support. All humans need something to believe in or we become apathetic and lethargic. Satanism lights a fire of passion and offers a sense of purpose.

Any spiritual practice could provide a sense of meaing in someone's life, if it is used in that way. Most satanists are more concerned with their own affairs than to rally and support each other. To assume that people choose satanism just to have something to believe in, points to the fact that this believer is probably not sincere and is possibly not focused or dedicated enough to really claim to be a satanist. There are also plenty of people who have no spiritual practices or beliefs, who are not lethargic and apathetic.

If there is any purpose or end in satanism it is the Self. In my view, most who are sincere about Satanism are focused enough on the self to not even need all of Satanism. It is not some singular practice or belief, it is varied and so are the beliefs and practices of Satanists. Theres no central doctrine or ideals outside of group satanism, and even groups are individual in their chosen beliefs. And they also may not need to believe in Satan, or anything at all, to have a purpose or meaning in life.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

My Criticism of Satanism:

1. Satanism is Reactionary

The fact is, the best philosophies are developed out of the embrace of something positive, not out of reaction to something negative. But Satanism is overwhelmingly reactionary. The reactionary factor is evident even in the name of Satanism.

The best philosophies came from the positive? Many philosophies developed from conflict. Without conflict there would be no mystery to solve, and nothing to question, and no philosophy could come from this.

I seriously doubt this general claim, made by an author who refuses to so far give examples for what Satanic philosophy or belief might be. The statement that Satanism is 'overwhelmingly reactionary' asks us to assume that this is the way that things are without questioning why or how, or what drives satanists to be reactionary.

In my view, Satanism is less reactionary today than thirty years ago, if only because it has had a chance to expand beyond what the original 'Church Father' LaVey intended - a blaspheme of the church and a devaluing of the morals of christian society. We do not have the same standards today so what satanists are rebelling against, I do not know.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

Satanism is a reaction to the hypocritical, stupid, tired, weak, boring, failings of mainstream philosophies and religions.

This statement falls in line with the shallow, anti-Satanic concepts, propagated by hatemongers of a christian society who want to blame all the ills of evil thought on one group - satanists. be they real or imaginary.

[From The Essay "Why I am not a Satanist"]

Rather than developing concepts intrinsic to itself, Satanism gathers its strength and power by feeding off of the weaknesses and failings of other systems of thought. The great pitfall with this is that Satanism can only be as strong as that which it reacts to.

This is hardly the case. There is no feeding from the weakness of religious thought. I do not know what the author even intended with a statement like this. Satanism is independent from christian practice. To illustrate this idea, consider the fact that the god that is worshiped by islamic cultures, and judaic cultures, is not the same god as the one that is worshiped in a christian culture. So, is a Satanic god the same as a christian god?

Not really. It is ony partly inspired by judeo-christian beliefs, and may represent more than the old tired representation of the christian devil to some satanists. In fact, some laveyans may have other symbolic Satanic gods, like Shub-niggurath, a symbolic deity representing Satanic forces. I dont see the point in feeding off something that is powerless and weak anyway, that wouldn't make much sense.

The author thereby suggests that Satanists seek out the weak to destroy. Its a ridiculous assumption. Most of us have better things to do than to taunt Christians and be rebellious poseurs, with hateful attitudes, as is portrayed by this author's (unfounded) beliefs.

READ PART 2 -> A Response to Rev. Rebecca "Angelican Church" Part 2