Satanism Is Not PerfectPosted: October 23, 2012
Satanism is not perfect, but then no religion or philosophy is. Satanism has it’s faults and failures but since no two Satanists are exactly the same we may disagree where those faults and failures are. Personally I have several main criticisms of Satanism.
I think Satanism always has been and is still too reactionary. Modern Satanism as originated by Anton LaVey very much began and continues to be a reaction to Christianity. The references to it are everywhere. Moreover it is a reaction to a certain type of Christianity which does not reflect the views, beliefs or lifestyle of many who call themselves Christian. This may seem sacrilegious in a Satanic context; but there are in fact good, thoughtful Christians whose views are not so dissimilar to our own! I also think Christianity is a religion which is in natural decline, so to hitch ourselves to that label is something that will become increasingly wasteful.Modern Satanism in particular often seems to depend on portraying all other religions, and especially beliefs about God, in their most grotesque, fundamentalist forms without acknowledging that many religious beliefs are subtle, sophisticated and complicated. The idea that all Christians or Muslims envisage their God as a judgmental sky-daddy simply does not resonate with many people who might otherwise look into what Satanism actually is. I’d like to see Satanism develop in a more positive and universal way as a religion and philosophy that can appeal to anyone in any culture who is interested in spiritual and personal development.
Satanism does tend to attract weirdos and idiots! That could be said of all religions but Satanism because it rejects conventions and is associated in some people’s minds with evil does tend to attract a few particularly unpleasant characters. And let’s face it we also have amongst our number some who have taken conceit and arrogance to a new level!
My final criticism is that with it’s emphasis on “The Self” Satanism and Satanists can seem very selfish (in a negative sense) and uncaring. Some really are that way. The rest of us perhaps do not do enough to unpick and explain those elements of our belief which can seem uncaring but actually aren’t.
But these things are really my only concerns or criticisms of the path I have chosen to follow. Overall, of all the religions and philosophies I have explored in my life (and there have been quite a few) Satanism is the one which fits and describes me best. At first I was a bit shy of using the word but now I am fairly open (where possible) and proud about being a Satanist. It is a path which I think many people will find empowering in the new age we are living in.
Satanism is in fact very ethical, it is just not dogmatic. It challenges people to make their own decisions and justify themselves to themselves. It starts from the self and works outwards. It encourages people to come to moral conclusions not out of fear or guilt but out of genuine thought and reflection. It is a morality based on reason.
Satanism values honesty and independent thought. This can be both challenging and rewarding. A true Satanist is against 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. 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. Satanists are non conformists and hopefully untainted by the values and prejudices of those around them. Sexism, racism homophobia and other unreasoned attitudes to other people have no place in Satanism.
Leaving my former criticisms of it’s sometimes reactionary nature aside, Satanism does challenge the beliefs, assumptions and traditions of other religions where they are false, stupid or blatantly based on power politics.
Most importantly Satanism is about strengthening the will and empowering the self. In a society where people are often made to feel ashamed, guilty, or just plain negative about themselves, Satanism, in contrast, enables the individual to reach new heights of self-confidence, value, and empowerment. Satanists value themselves and embrace their own power and talents. Many people long for the ability to embrace themselves in such a positive way but can’t because they are conditioned to denigrate themselves. Satanists are free to be fully themselves.
So no, Satanism is not perfect, but it may be one of the most useful and appropriate philosophies to empower people in the times we live in. Anyhow, who wants or needs perfection? Perfection can be oppressive and ugly. Perfection can mean there is nothing more to do, no more to achieve. In nature it is very often the imperfections which make things beautiful.