Christianity And SatanismPosted: July 29, 2012
A while ago I told a pagan friend of mine that I had become a Satanist and she said that she couldn’t understand why I wanted to worship a Christian God. That comment probably gave me more pause for thought than anything else in my decision to fully embrace Satanism. In my own mind it is a very long time since I left Christianity behind and the idea that I was somehow going back to it through a back door was an anathema to me. At the same time I don’t have the antagonism towards Christianity that some Satanists do. But re-examining Christianity was the last thing I wanted to do; it is an element of my past that I have already grown out of and fully rejected. Becoming a Satanist was for me an extension of my Pagan beliefs and values and nothing to do with Christianity at all. And yet, there are links that I cannot hide from, so now it is time to examine them and see where I really stand…
Firstly my attitude to Christianity as a whole. Christianity is a huge global religion and institution that has dominated western thought and culture for two millennia. I was brought up in a Christian culture. I attended a Catholic Church and sometimes even enjoyed it. In my teens I began to question Catholic and Christian values and by the time I went to university I had totally rejected Christianity as a religion I believed in or wanted to participate in. I disagree with much of it’s doctrine, dogma and values. I think it has done as much harm as good and it is certainly not the religion for me. But I am a spiritual person and rejecting Christianity prompted me to look at other religions and philosophies and so Christianity certainly played a part in my spiritual path. Moreover, I have always had some Christian friends whom I am able to respect even though I disagree with them on some fundamental issues. There are good Christian people just as there are bad ones. There are also intelligent, critical Christians just as there are stupid mindless sheep. In short I see Christianity as one of many religions that are not right for me, but there is some wisdom to be found in it (as there is in most religions) and there are some good and intelligent Christians whom I like and respect. I don’t agree with many Christian teachings, but I have no animosity towards Christians as a whole.
Secondly; is Satan a Christian concept? The truth is probably yes and no. Yes Satan is spoken of in the bible where he usually is referred to as the adversary of the Christian God. And since Christianity, Judaism and Islam have similar roots and share some scriptures it would be fair to say that Satan is to a greater or lesser degree portrayed as the bad guy in all three Abrahamic religions and their derivatives. But even within the bible, the picture of Satan is inconsistent, sometimes he is working on their God’s behalf, sometimes he is opposed to all Christian values. Yet the most vile and horrific ideas about Satan do not come in the scriptures themselves but in the later doctrines of the Church institution as it engaged in a centuries long power struggle to centralize power and eradicate all pagan opposition. This was where the Christian idea of an evil devil was associated with the many manifestations of the Horned Gods worshiped in different forms by pagans across Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. These archetypes were actually not related to Christianity at all. While myths and legends vary, the pagan horned God was usually a symbol of nature and embodied a moral ethos based on natural agrarian values. This entity was not particularly opposed to Christianity, he just wasn’t Christian. And that fact alone was enough to earn the scorn of Rome and so the Christian power-base set out to associate the Horned God with the most evil aspects of their own Satan that they had invented.
Also, back when the Jews were desert nomads, their own religion was one of many competing traditions in that region. There is some evidence that they may not always have even been monotheistic as there are various references to other Gods even in their own scriptures. All those religions borrowed and adapted stories and myths from each other over the centuries. Hence there are many creation myths that are similar to the two versions given in the Jewish Scriptures/Christian Old Testament. In my opinion the story of how Satan or Lucifer tempted Adam and Eve was just one version of a pre-existing myth. Clearly the later Gnostic Christians (whom I have a lot of respect for) also understood that. Perhaps if Gnosticism had thrived and the Church of Rome had faded I would never have needed to write this post… But history is written by the winners and we can’t change it.
So no, I don’t think Satan is a purely Christian God or concept. While I agree that a version of Satan pops up in Christian scriptures, I don’t think the Christian concept of Satan is unique, complete or correct. The Satan I believe in is the Pagan Horned God who is completely separate from Christianity, and a much old archetype of the wisdom giving Lucifer, who is glimpsed but misunderstood in early Judao-Christian scriptures.
(Anyone reading this may think I am more Luciferian than Satanist, and there may be some truth in that. However, as I have mentioned elsewhere I have particular reasons for referring to myself as Satanist.)
Finally I would like to look at some Satanic attitudes to Christianity.
In my opinion some Satanists are too caught up in being opposed to Christianity. I can understand why. Christians have portrayed us and our Lord in the worst possible way for centuries. They have accused and condemned us as being evil. Well, Satanic values ARE very different to Christian ones. And Christian values permeate much of western culture. Rejecting the all pervading Christian values and morals can be very hard, can lead to misunderstanding and persecution. In that context, psychologically it can be very empowering to break societal taboos. It is a little bit like coming out from a homosexual point of view. It is all very well to be homosexual in theory, but in actually doing the deed and reclaiming the language associated with it and proudly declaring the beauty of being their true self ,the person is greatly empowered. Likewise in Satanism, words and rituals which proclaim loudly opposition to (and even contempt for) Christian values can be very powerful personal magic and alchemy. I have taken part in such rituals myself and have found them transformative. However, I don’t see or feel the need to keep repeating the same lesson. I would urge some of my fellow Satanists to ask themselves if they could be caught in a bit of a loop and if it might be time to move on… I think Christianity is on the wane anyway. Let it die a natural death in peace. We have better things to do.
Satanism is not Christian and we must not add to the illusion that it is.
However, we should not make the same mistakes that Christianity and some other religions have done. We should not puff ourselves up by putting everybody else down. We should not reject wisdom just because it is found in unexpected places (including in Christianity and other religions). We should not make bigoted sweeping statements about or against any group of people.
Lastly, while I believe it is dying or at least transforming into something else, not everything in Christianity is bad for all people. It (like all religions and philosophies) does have things to offer. There are people who will thrive and prosper or at least find solace in it’s name. How arrogant it would be for us to question or deny that!
Our focus should be on Satan and the future of liberation and enlightenment that he offers. Old battles with Christianity can only detract from that. We represent something older and something quite new.