Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A Misunderstood Philosophy?

by Henry Ling

Satan is seen by many, especially Christians, as a symbol for evil, corruption and temptation. Satan represents the "sins" which humans commit. Satanism is then seen as a corrupt, immoral and evil cult which focuses its attention on human sacrifices and committing sins. However the Satanic Bible as written by Anton Szandor LaVey offers an alternative and fascinating interpretation of Satanism, where Satan, the Devil, Lucifer, Baphomet, or any of the 68 other names for him, act as a symbol for the cardinal desires of man, and instead of suppressing them as "sins" we should embrace them as the natural order of life. Now I would like to mention that this article is not attenuating to the satanic arts, but it is merely trying to distinguish the reality of modern day Satanism from its primal images. As a heavy metal enthusiast and intellect, I decided to read the book purely for intellectual curiosity. Having been taught about the Bible, the Koran and Torah I decided to look further into religious teaching. I have never been a very religious person, however I understand and respect those who have found faith and when I started reading the Satanic Bible I expected it to be as unruly as one would expect, however, I was actually pleasantly surprised to find it interesting and, mostly, reasonable.

The main reason why Satanism has gotten a bad reputation is actually due to Christian intervention. For example, the pentagram is one of the most widely used symbols for Satanism, although it was originally a pagan symbol for the goddess of nature, it is only when Christianity decided to destroy the old pagan religions that the pentagram or pentacle become a symbol of the Devil. And in fact the pentagram, be it a goddess of nature or the symbol for the ruler of hell, has some very interesting properties which only a mathematician like myself would truly enjoy. The ratio of the lengths of the segments of the pentagram form the famous and most beautiful number Phi (1.618...), also known as the golden ratio.

So what is it that modern day Satanism actually talks about? The Satanic Bible in many regards is a compass for one to follow. It suggests using Satan as a symbol not even necessarily as a deity, although some fanatics may view him as a God. The beginning of the book sums up a typical atheistic view of standard religions, condemning the nature of mainstream religions. It then talks about how you can use Satan as a symbol for following ones natural human desires rather than bowing before another saying, if one wishes to make a deity in man’s image, why not make yourself the deity. It even mentions one’s own birthday as the only religious holiday. The argument being, follow your own desires in life and indulge in all of life’s delicacies as we only have one opportunity to do it.

I will now go through the "nine satanic statements" which sum up the religion's main points point.

1 Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence: so this means follow you desires and indulge in all which satisfies your needs and requirements, suggesting that you only live once so don't waste it. 2 Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams: this means don't bow down before someone you do not know and live for personal intellectual fulfillment. 3 Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit: suggesting to find truth through logical reasoning, not accepting something which we do not know to be true. 4 Satanism represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates: this suggests only help and respect those who in your eyes are worthy, in contrast to a lot of Christian literature which suggests showing kindness to everyone. 5 Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek: Although this may appear at first immoral, the reality is that we are only human and sometimes allowing yourself to be constantly abused is not the best form of action. 6 Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern to psychic vampires: a psychic vampire is characterised as someone who drains the vital energy of others, and acts neither as a true friend or lover, and so this statement suggests not to help certain people purely through guilt or through sense of responsibility if they do not deserve ones attention. 7 Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those who walk on all fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual development", has become the most vicious animal of them all: in many senses this is actually rather true, although it is always nice to think we were chosen as special, Darwin's evolutionary theory suggest we are just animals and as we are the top of the food chain, we are the most vicious. 8 Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification: here it suggests that all the sins of old are actually our repressed desires and in order to become satisfied with ourselves and lives, we must fulfill these desires. 9 Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years: unlike the others this seems to be more trying to clarify the importance of Satan for other religions and hints at the way most religions are based around cardinal “sins” and “evil acts”

None of these nine statements are really so evil and horrible and in actually fact a lot seems to be merely talking on atheistic levels. Although they contradict a lot of other religious teachings, which is why it is more generally seen as a bad religion, it gives a passage of life which suggests a sense of freedom. I would say it is actually a perfectly reasonable set of morals and "rules" to live by. I say rules, yet the satanic bible seems to suggest life ought to have no "rules", although it reminds its readers that they must stay in the realms of the law because even the "most evil" religion out there realises true morality.                                                                

Now I leave you to pass your own judgements on Satanism, although through my reading I was actually fascinated to discover the reality of the religion and the almost plausible ideological set. I would certainly argue that I think more highly of it, than some of the cults which I studied in Cogito, including the Westboro Baptist Church, People’s Temple and the Manson Family. Having said all this the Satanic Bible does still contain a chapter, more like traditional thinking, on sacrifice and rituals, although these are acts which do not have to be carried out, but act as a gateway to Satan. Although the way it is carried out is just like mainstreams religions, with an overall structure similar to that of other religions. However all people have the right and choice to come to their own spiritual fulfillment and I am not in any way suggesting that this type of religion is indeed correct or moral, for morality and correctness are all based around personal preferences and the paradigms by which you live by. I am however trying to open up a more accepting society whereby people are shown more spiritual pathways, as when growing up I was taught purely about Christianity for such a long time, and smaller and less well known religions such as Satanism never got a mention. Satanism: is it really the devil's work?

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