The title of this article was meant to be provocative and the subject matter is meant to challenge views. Don’t get all uppity. I’m just playing the ‘devil’s advocate’, so to speak.
Satan is a Judeo-Christian concept. Get over it.
Honestly, I don’t understand the problem that most Satanists, both Atheistic and Theistic, have with admitting this.
When the Tanakh was written, ‘Satan’ was just a word used in the book of Job as an antagonist who tested him when Job himself challenged God. When the New Testament was written, the writers were likely influenced by the current political atmosphere and needed a boogeyman for them to use as a tool to subjugate the people into obedience. Most Satanists of both parties willingly admit this much. Satanism was always antagonistic up until Anton LaVey. So what of LaVey then?
LaVey was obsessed with war and power struggles, which is evident in his personal philosophies. (Refer to my post before this one.) So is it a surprise that he used these in his books? Not at all. He wanted publicity. So naturally he chose to use Christianity’s own boogeyman to mock and balspheme their principles by advocating one of “no love wasted on ingrates” and personal empowerment through material, “fleshly” life.
The origins are Christian, and the point was to blaspheme and proverbially say “Fuck you!” to the Christian Church – Church referring not explicitly to the Catholic Church but the body of the entire Christian fellowship.
As soon as Anton LaVey shied away from publicly admitting that he did believe in Satan in some form, the Temple Of Set enabled Theistic Satanism to exist.
The perception of a literal ‘Satan’ being older than Christianity is a new concept and has little to back it up. Granted, the concept behind ‘Satan’ is much older, but that is not exclusive to Abrahamic religions. The only reason Satanism exists is that Christianity and Judaism enabled it. Otherwise we wouldn’t be calling it Satanism and would not have the same imagery and associations. Demons, Hell, darkness, et al. All from Christian symbolism.
It’s perfectly fine to use Christianity’s own theology against it. It is perfectly fine if Satanism is used to blaspheme the ruling Christian paradigm. Isn’t that the point? If not, then can you truly call it ‘Satanism’? Would it not be better to identify it with something else?
It is a relevant point to ask me, the writer, if I then think that Theistic Satanism is illegitimate. Only in certain cases where the claim is that Satanism is somehow separate from Christianity. Some, including Diane Vera, would go on to say that they just use the word Satan to describe their philosophy and deity because that is the most popular term for the archetype revered. People in that line of thought go on to say that if it were any other religion in power, we’d be calling it some thing else. That makes sense and is the same point I have made. You can’t just take a word like that out of it’s historical and cultural context.
Let’s stop labeling everything pre-christian “Satanic”.
I can, for sure, understand labeling something anti-christian as ‘Satanic’. That’s what ‘adversary’ means. Although the original meaning in the book of Job isn’t anti-christian, I can still give the concept credit. But other characters in the Bible being used as ‘Satanic’ doesn’t make sense from a deconstructive standpoint. Belial wasn’t an actual character, it was a verb. Leviathan was an adopted metaphor for Hellmouth, an early Saxon depiction of the proverbial mouth of Hell – it had nothing to do with Satan as a being. In the Bible, it’s even said that Leviathan is God’s creation and was not oppositional to Jehova in anyway. If you’re going along with medieval superstitions and common understandings, sure, as long as you expect people to bring up the real meaning of it.
But Sumeria? Really? Not Satanic. It has nothing to do with Satan other than the fact that early semitic tribes interacted with it.
Of course, there are other characters who are said to be ‘Satan/-ic’. Anthropologically speaking, two entities are only one in the same through stricter standards than two mythologies sounding the same, or if they sound relevant to your version of Satanism. If it doesn’t relate to Satan in Christian or Jewish mythology, or if it is not opposing the authoritarian tendencies of the people and dogma in those religions, then it is probably not Satanism.
My suggested alternative would be to say ‘adversarial’ or ‘dark’ when referring to something outside of a Judeo-Christian context. Through this filter, it would be more appropriate to connect things as friendly to Satanism rather than explicitly satanic within itself.
Satanism demands study, not worship.
What I’ve found is that Satanists (mostly theistic) use concepts like the Goetia, and the “four crowned princes of hell”, etc, believing them to be Satanic. Claims like this are most often untrue.
Nowhere in the Lemegeton does it mention that Satan has dominion over these spirits. In fact, it is Jehova himself that has that privilege. If Satan had dominion them the magus would have to subdue Satan in order to use the spirits, which would then be classified as his familiars.
The whole thing about the “four crowned princes of hell” from ASL’s Satanic Bible? That is straight out of the Abramelin working, and if you read that text you will see that Jehova is also given dominion over these. Jehova, according to that theology, is the sole creator and master of those entities.
With all of that having been said, you could even go on to say that subduing these entities had more to do with purifying one’s soul in an alchemical sense rather than just siding with Jehova for the sake of authority. That’s the point of the Abramelin working. When grimoires like this were written, they had to do so through a blind so they would not be labeled as heretics and killed. Anyone who has done this operation will tell you much of the same.
These are just a couple of examples. If you find yourself comfortable in an ideology, blindly accepting anything that sounds appealing to you at the time, are you really living up to the adversarial archetype? It’s one thing to use a belief to achieve a certain end, but to irrationally cling to it is unhealthy.
Accept that the vast majority of occult material is more complex than what you first see.
This is what I was beginning to touch on in the above point. Most medieval grimoires were, of course, written in the predominant political perspective of their times. This will always be true with literature. You can’t ignore historical context in which something existed and then speak as an authority figure on it. If you want to truly understand something, you have to pay attention and be willing to really learn.
My whole desire in regard to Satanism is to move it away from the thought process that it is okay to blindly accept facts which might be dubious and then tout it as fact. If you want to believe, say, that Superman is secretly Satan and make a group for his worship, cool. I’m not going to stop you. But once you start using faulty evidence to evangelize others, while saying that everyone else is wrong… that is where I take issue.
As a character, Satan was always the challenger, a tempter to rebel against the status quo, not a pacifist. Hence ‘adversary’. Satan, according to most that I’ve talked to, is supposed to promote critical thinking. In science, things are true only until they can be proven otherwise. Then, it repeats itself endlessly. All for the sake of it’s own advancement. So it makes no sense to me why some one would be comfortable with not knowing and admitting the origins behind our modern practices.