CrueltyPosted: December 5, 2012
I fear my last post on The Left Hand Path was not as clear as I had intended. Perhaps it was too simple. Perhaps it went off in too many directions. Perhaps the theme is too much for one post. Clearly it left some questions open and possibly created more confusion than clarity. I apologize. I have off days!
One theme that caused some questions was the subject of cruelty. For the sake of clarification I would like to address that topic as succinctly as possible. In my opinion, neither Satanism nor any other Left Hand Path condone cruelty. To me cruelty is self evidently bad and wrong in all it’s forms.
Satanism has no universal creed or dogma. Satanism requires us each to be responsible for our selves and our own moral judgments. However many Satanists are at least informed by the Statements, Sins and Rules written down by Anton LaVey; details of which can be found at the top of this page. Within those statements there are two which could be said to refer directly to cruelty. The 7th Satanic Statement states;- Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development” has become the most vicious animal of all! I take this to mean that human beings have within them an ability to be cruel, more so than any other animal, and that this is a tendency to be aware of and guard against. It is telling us to be aware of what we are capable of ( a glance at the news headlines any day of the week will confirm the cruelty we regularly inflict on each other) in order to avoid such behaviors.
But then number 4 of the Eleven Satanic Rules states;- If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy. I think this one has to be seen in context, but even then I personally have difficulty with it. I would take this to mean that if somebody in my circle takes advantage of me they are no longer subject to the same respect or consideration I would give others. If they hurt me, I can hurt them. Perhaps without mercy; but that would be my choice, not my obligation.
Other rules in LaVeyan Satanism specifically set out to protect children and animals. So no Satanist should ever be cruel to children or animals in any way at all. The occasional stories of so called Satanic abuse that surface in the news are committed by ignorant thugs whose connection to Satanism is as tenuous as so called Muslims who advocate flying planes into buildings or so called Christians who bomb family planning clinics.
I’d like to say I never could or never would be cruel; but that would be a lie. Sometimes I have heard of cases of child abuse and have found myself dreaming up all kinds of horrific tortures for the perpetrators of such acts. If somebody hurt or killed somebody I loved I know I could be very cruel indeed to them if I caught them. And there are less extreme cases where I could imagine being cruel in revenge. Yet I also recognize that in all of these cases while being cruel to the perpetrator of a crime might be emotionally satisfying in revenge, it might not be the most effective way to deal with the situation and move on with my life.
Thus I accept that I can or could be cruel in some circumstances but I have no desire or inclination to be so.
Satanism doe s not advocate or condone cruelty except in extreme circumstances, and even then the responsibility lies with the individual to judge what is appropriate. (The implication being that if the individual makes the wrong choice they must accept the consequences of their actions).
However Satanism does require us to be very honest about our own nature and capabilities in order that we can progress and become better people (perhaps by balancing our base emotions with logical reason).
Personally I detest all forms of cruelty, especially those directed against children and animals. I find such things vile and dehumanizing. And I think the perpetrators of such crimes should never be released from jail. But… Is that cruel?