Who defines Satanism?Posted: January 7, 2014
Is this what you think of as Satanism?
I doubt if I am far wrong to imagine that still for a lot of people (maybe the majority) the word Satanism conjurers up images of morally and sexually depraved people who torture and sacrifice animals and even humans, who take pleasure in doing every form of evil just for the sake of it, and that such people are virtually mindless sub-humans who have given over their free will to an entity that is the most extreme caricature of everything that is vile, ugly, depraved, disgusting and evil. And if they ever come across a person who doesn’t seem to fit neatly into that description (like me possibly) that will be because Satan and Satanists are also masters of deceit and deception.
Which is a convenient way to hush up dissenting voices. Most dictatorships use that strategy at certain times.
Anton LaVey defined Satanism as something essentially self empowering, something post-Christian and in that context used the figure of Satan to challenge conventions and make people question the perceived norms of morality. You don’t need to study LaVey’s version of Satanism for long to realise it is an entirely atheist and humanist philosophy that doesn’t believe in Satan or any other deity in the conventional sense.
Likewise Theistic Satanism (Satanism which does acknowledge Satan as a deity of some kind) is not defined by those of us who practice it by the Christian terms. To us Satan and Lucifer are manifestations of an empowering and enlightening force/energy/god/deity which precedes Christianity and whose nature and character were misrepresented by Christianity. In simple terms we respect and honour Satan because he is NOT what Christianity teaches.
But our definitions are the minority definitions. Most people probably still find Satanism to be bad and shocking. Whose interests does that perception serve?
In the middle ages many wise men and women, village healers and general non conformists were condemned as witches, imprisoned, tortured and sometimes killed. Very often they were described as followers of Satan although very few of them (if any) actually were. Whose interests did that serve?
Galileo Galilei who is now known variously as the father of observational astronomy, physics and modern science was tried by the Vatican authorities, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Whose interests did that serve?
For many years in Europe and the Americas good, right thinking, people; the majority of them Christians, defined natives of the African continent purely by their skin colour and their ability to serve and do hard labour. They were seen as sub-humans. Whose interests did that serve? More recently in South Africa Nelson Mandela who is now regarded as one of the greatest statesmen of our age was locked away in prison for a quarter of a century and defined as a terrorist; whose interests did that serve?
In the 1930s and 40s, Hitler defined Jews as lazy, manipulative money grabbing cheats who could be rounded up, enslaved, experimented on and killed because they were less than human. Whose interests did that serve?
In Britain today East European immigrants (especially Romanians and Bulgarians) are being described as thieves and vagabonds who are only here to steal our jobs and our benefits… Whose interests does that serve?
For hundreds and maybe thousands of years many actual or potential great artists, scientists, philosophers, workers and healers have been imprisoned, tortured or killed because they were homosexual and homosexuality was (and sometimes still is) regarded as a perversion, the work of the devil. Whose interests did that serve?
The answer to the question “whose interests did that serve?” is clear and obvious to me, but I will let my readers come to their own conclusions. What all these different groups and individuals have in common though is that they gained more power (albeit slowly and often painfully) when they began to define themselves for themselves. Eventually they became or are becoming the authors of their own identity and others are obliged to use (and perhaps begin to understand or accept) those definitions.
Therefore I urge people to look beyond the definitions of Satanism that still prevail and ask themselves which interests are being served by defining Satanists and Satanism in a totally negative and polarised way.
I’ll be he first to admit we are not perfect, not by a long way; but neither are we uniformly bad, depraved or evil. And I am certainly a Satanist.