Don’t Let Christians Define UsPosted: November 19, 2014
If a Christian were to define a Satanist they would probably say. All or some of the following things;-
We are evil. We have lost or sold our souls to the devil. We are depraved. We take pleasure in every kind of wicked thing, every kind of evil deed, every kind of perversion. They may say we hurt or corrupt children and the innocent. They may accuse us of unspeakable cruelty to animals. They may think we wish to bring the world to some kind of brutal and cataclysmic end in which all goodness is lost and there is only pain, suffering and despair. In addition we may be accused of being delusional and deranged, sadistic and selfish, nasty and narcissistic. And of course the devil we associate ourselves with is all of these things and more to the nth degree. We are acolytes of the epitome of all that is evil.
The Christians who say and believe these things about us are wrong of course, but to some extent it is at least understandable if not forgiveable because this is what they are taught and brainwashed with from a very early age. We may not wish to forgive because as Satanists we are by nature independent thinkers and we may be critical of the lazy way of thinking that allows these ideas to be swallowed without question; but still we can and should at least understand why we are perceived in such a negative way by some people. To the fundamentalists in particular who believe in a black and white world, Satanists have to be the absolute bad guys to oppose a God whose arbitrary actions are deemed to be always good.
What is less easy to understand and what is perhaps the biggest problem in modern Satanism is the degree to which we as Satanists not only allow ourselves to be defined by Christians and Christian standards; but actually internalise some of those ideas. To put it in a nut-shell, many of us come to a point in our spiritual lives where we go through the stage of thinking, “Well, if everybody thinks I’m evil or that my views and morals are evil because I’m a Satanist, perhaps I am, or perhaps I should be.”
As a result of asking this question some people embark on a darker more twisted path of Satanism which is ultimately unnecessary and which can lead to harm. The mistake is in internalising the Christian concept of Satanism in the first place.
It is Christians who say we are evil, AND THEY ARE WRONG.
As Satanists we come to our own conclusions about what things are good and evil. We don’t have to believe in such concepts at all and we certainly don’t have to use the road map leant to us by Christians to see where the boarders are.
The problem is that while our religion is relatively new it has a long and complex relationship with Christianity and the other Abrahamic religions. Satan and Satanism have been defined by Christians for hundreds of years. That gives them a power we should be aware of and counteract. We should not submit to it.
There may be people reading this who are thinking, as I once did, that it would be much easier if Non Evil Satanists just called themselves something else. Actually that is not possible. We are what we are and we associate ourselves with Satan for many good reasons. But I think that makes it even more important that if and when we must stand up and be counted; if and when we must be open about our beliefs, we convey something that defies the stereotypes and propaganda that surround us.
It is getting easier. The world is less dominated by Christian thinking. Many of us live in multi cultural, multi ethnic societies where the reach of Christian propaganda is not as strong as it was. We don’t have to allow ourselves and our ideas to be defined by Christian prejudices. And I think it is important that we don’t.
One of the things which impressed me most about the first Satanists I met in person, long before I became one myself, was his kindness and generosity . This really jarred with me and forced me to think. I was not a Christian at the time I was very much a Pagan, however I had been brought up in a loosely Christian/Catholic household and I still found the idea that a Satanist could be kind to be quite mind-blowing. It went against all the conventions I knew. He explained that he was not kind because of any particular rule in his religion, he was kind simply because he chose to be. Since that time I have always found that to be the most honourable and authentic reason to be kind. Over the years I have also found that simple kindness is one of the most powerful weapons to make people question their assumptions…
Put it another way… If the first Satanist I had met just sat in a corner being dark and broody, if I had found out he was indeed a cruel, sadistic individual who only cared about himself; I’m not sure if I would ever have taken the time and trouble to find out more about Satanism, let alone become a Satanist myself.
But I will also confess that since becoming a Satanist I have from time to time asked myself the same question. If everybody already thinks I am evil, perhaps I should be… Perhaps I am…
I think it’s a stage many of us go through. In fact it is a stage I suspect we come back to more than once. For me the answer is, “No, I am not evil, and I refuse to let my beliefs and my lifestyle be defined by a religion I don’t believe in and which I think is wrong.”
So let’s insist on defining ourselves in a positive way as free, independent thinkers who make up their own minds about what is right and wrong, as people who believe in their own divinity and their own potential, as people who are genuinely trying to better themselves, as people who celebrate life and living, as realists who embrace science and value critical intelligence.
There is no need to boast or brag about our beliefs but on those occasions where our beliefs do come into the public domain, let’s be good examples that challenge preconceptions and prejudice.