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A Response to Rev. Rebecca “Angelican Church” Part 2

You can read the first of this two part series on my comments to Rev. Rebecca here [ Part One..]

This is part 2 about the internet essay “Why I am not a Satanist”. I am posting the essay here, in response. The author’s words are in italics and my reply is in regular type. I was searching online when i found this essay, and I had never read it before until today.

Please read this URL first -> Why I am not a Satanist [writ in 2001]
http://franciscan-anglican.com/Not_A_Satanist.htm

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
Like the Radical Protestants whose power and persuasion relied solely on the evils of Roman Catholicism and later died when the Roman Catholics got their act together, Satanism depends on the ignorance and stupidity of modern Christianity and other white light religions.

Satanism depends on the stupidity of Christianity? Seriously, how independent and rebellious is that, to depend on something stupid? I doubt that the beliefs of Satanist are based on the’idiocy’ of christianity.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
If you don t think Satanism is reactionary, just read a few Satanists websites. Many of the authors sound like enraged frustrated teenagers who need a target to pin their angst on and need one now. Satanism provides them an outlet. There are exceptions to this rule, but this is the general attitude I ve observed.

I seriously doubt that a few satanists websites would be enough to gauge how ‘reactionary’ satanists could be. And, to be polite but completely *honest*, i have seen many hateful christian websites who target any type of non Christians as worthless heathens, foul creations, damned to hell. I find it to be quite rude, and insulting and I ignore fools who are concerned with religious zealotry and hatred for all but their own.

If ther are exceptions to this supposed ‘rule’, it would be great if the author took the time to mention that, as well. But already Ive seen how one-sided this thesis really is.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
2. Satanism is Mainly Rhetoric

Related to Satanism being reactionary, Satanism is philosophy light and rhetoric heavy. Anton LaVey s greatest skill was that of a rhetorician. Satanism, if one scratches much beyond the surface, proves to be intellectually shallow. There s just not a lot to it. My gut reaction to the SB was, It s Dale Carnegie s How to Win Friends and Influence People with an evil twist and a large dose of Friederich Nietzsche thrown in. Satanism gets people motivated, excited, and impassioned like all good rhetoric. But in the end, it s not intellectually satisfying as a philosophy in its own right.

What is humorous to me is that earlier in the essay, the author says that one of the good points about Satanism was that it is ‘Ethical but not Dogmatic‘. Here we have a contradiction.

The author’s idea that Satanism is mostly rhetoric comes from the authors inexperience with the Satanic lifestyle. Most satanist writings that were written intelligently were not intended to persuade. It is said, especially in LaVeyan Satanism that they do not need to proselytize to gain members. In fact, if as the author has suggested that (laveyan) satanism is about free thought and non conformity, then why is the author suggesting the opposite in a negative way – by saying that the philosophies of satanism are shallow and intended to persuade others into a specific way of thinking?

If this is confusing then consider that LaVey does not provide the philosophy for all Satanists, and as such we have the free will to consider his words for whatever we feel they are worth to us. The inclusion of Nietzsche and other philosophers into the satanic bible is typical of the type of books that deal with philosophy, so why does the author consider this to be a criticism? They have not read many philosophy books, which tend to cite other authors for example or reference. This is a shallow interpretation of the philosophy of LaVey.

What is ‘intellectually satisfying’ is up to the reader to decide.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
3. Satanism is too Dependent on Emotion and Human Ego

Just like Satanism s forerunners, existentialism and gnosticism, Satanism s main target is the human ego. Most people are drawn and remain committed to Satanism because it feeds their ego.

LaVeyan Satanism is not based on Existentialism or gnosticism. It is more closely related to humanism. The author never took the time to research why it is often labeled as a ‘humanist’ philosophy.

Humans are dependent on emotion and ego. again, this is not some frailty, its a fact of life. to paint it in a negative light such as this underscores the fact that humans are human and we will always be so.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
If you re told that you re special or elite or some other warm fuzzy idea when you embrace a philosophy, then you re more apt to buy into it and be blind to its shortcomings.

Is satanism only something to ‘buy into’ for the self satisfaction of being called a Satanist? This again is a shallow interpretation that does not illustrate anything but the authors dislike of LaVeyan Satanism.

To truly embrace a personal philosophy is to reason with it, to study it, to learn it in a personal way. This requires thought and study. Understanding isn’t something that is handed to you, it has to be experienced.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
Satanists thrive on the idea that they re somehow the few, the brave, and the proud. In fact, Satanism uses the same rhetoric that the US Military and religious cults use to win and keep the loyalty of their followers.

“The Few, the Proud” is from the US Marines, not from the military.

I have never heard of Satanists calling themselves ‘the few the brave and the proud’. I have, however, seen Christians who call themselves Christian Soldiers who wear the Armor of God and use the Word of God as their Sword, and the Bible as their shield. How’s that for military heroes!

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
If your ego needs to be flattered and this need is met in Satanism, then your ability to be rational and have intellectual clarity has been short circuited on some level.

It takes a mighty shallow person to enjoy ego flattery and to consider that the height of Satanism. They couldn’t be honest with themselves that they are enduring ego flattery. They would have no independent thought, relying on others to make them feel whole, they would conform to others needs and desires, and they would not be self-empowered in any way.

Oh, wait, those were the aspects that this author said were *good*, not bad. 🙂

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
This is the problem with all feel-good philosophies and religions. Like a habit one can t give up, people become dependent on the stroking of their ego and critical thought is sacrificed.

Again, shallow people are the ones that enjoy this type of behaviour. I do not know if the majority of Satanists would endure something like that without having ulterior motives. Shallow, indeed.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
4. Satanism Misunderstands Independence

People need people. Many of us wish it weren t so because people have let us down, but the fact is, no man is an island. Satanists claim of godhood denies this fact which is fundamental and necessary to humanity.

Many satanists are social people. we have personal lives, family and friends..loved ones.. LaVeyan Satanists, as the author is targeting are a group of like-minded individuals who purposely seek out each other’s companionship. They like to socialise with each other. The author has no experience in ‘satanic community’, as fractioned as it may be.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
This is one area where Satanists seem unable to face reality effectively.

Is there some kind of reality that everyone else has missed?? Do tell…

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
While individuals do in fact have much more power and potential than most ever acknowledge or realize, no one is independently god or independently powerful. In fact, you can only attain power if people give it to you.

People do not give you power. What gives you power is the will and desire to succeed. other people may play a role in fulfilling this, but the purpose remains the same – self interest.

The idea that one is a god, is an idea that is often misinterpreted. It is misinterpreted because people take it literally – as if one would not be human and have supernatural abilities to be omniscient, omnipresent – the idea is quite silly. To ‘be a god’ is to live through the will. there is nothing more or less that is needed for this. And i think this is quite possible. It is a contrast to typical religious thought that god is separate from the self, and the will belongs to some other deity instead of the self.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
And when I say people need people, I don t just mean in terms of their usefulness, I mean people need the support and care of others. Babies will die if they receive no loving affection, and adults are no different. We all depend on others if we are going to be healthy and productive. Making independent claims of divinity, while it feels good, feeds one s ego, and has some self-empowering results, leads to a denial of that reality. And denying reality is always a pitfall; those that consistently deny reality will eventually find themselves powerless.

More of the same anti-satanist rhetoric with no basis in reality or fact.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
5. Satan is an Unworthy Symbol

When Satanism was developed in the 1950 s and 1960 s in Christian America, calling it Satanism had more power and punch because people s image of Satan was more heterogeneous, ridiculous, and stereotypical.

How does the author arrive at this conclusion? Certainly not from careful research. Not all of America is, or was christian (consider American Indian culture, and so on) Not only that, the beliefs about satan within the religion of Christianity are as varied as the types of Christianity that exist.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
Post the 1960 s hippie movement however, people are more clued in to what Satanists are saying and the title no longer carries the same impact on people (with the possible exception of Christian fundamentalists). That which is based on shock eventually becomes mundane.

I would like to point out the fact that earlier in the essay the author claims that the best philosophies never came from conflict.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
The Black Mass, for example, has become expected and uninteresting no longer the subject of newspaper articles or scandal. Once again we see that Satanism, by being a purely reactionary philosophy, is dependent on the weaknesses of other systems of thought, or, in the case of the name, on the ridiculous stereotypes people hold of Satan.

The ridiculous stereotypes that people hold of Satan and Satanists are quite far removed from the actual culture of Satanism. The author never took the time or effort to observe this. For instance, descriptions of the black mass originated with the propaganda of the church, not from Satanism.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
And here is where I hold sympathies for Satanists. When Satan no longer shocks, one of the most interesting aspects of Satanism is lost. Satanism actually needs to grow into larger boots. I think if Anton LaVey were alive today he d realize his short sightedness. Satanism needs to have the flexibility to change with the times. As our world grows more and more secular, Satanists will be left holding yet one more tired, reactionary philosophy.

Anton LaVey was only the first publically accepted Satanist. He and his church helped to establish Satanism as a religion, which gave Satanism a foundation in society. However, many years have passed since then, and Satanism has become a very diverse practice and philosophy. Satanism has grown, but many who have not studied it have no idea and remain clueless and lost in the past with LaVey and his ideas.

Satanism has changed a lot over the years in good ways and in negative ways, but i doubt that this author has any real insight into how that process came about or what the results may be in the coming years.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
I would add that Satan has already been given a thorough definition by the world which is not entirely in accord with the Satanist s definition of Satan.

I would like to add, then, that their opinion is not from a Satanic point of view, and hardly matters in this discussion of Satanic philosophy and beliefs.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
Rather than merely redefining and recreating a Satan to one s own liking as La Vey did, a more appropriate symbol should by chosen. Simple! Obvious!

Any suggestions, since the answer is so simple and obvious? Maybe defining Satanism from a Christian perspective is not as realistic as what this author thinks.

[From The Essay “Why I am not a Satanist”]
Sorry Anton, but I’m not buying what you’re selling.

Laveyan Satanists tend not to proselytize.

I really hope, with all sincerity, that my readers are able to learn about the typical fallacies of anti-satanic rhetoric, through this writing. What is really hypocritical of this author’s ideas is the way they presented the ‘qualities’ as shortcomings. its really quite underhanded and its a persuasive technique that holds no merit in analytical writing.

In the end, Im somewhat disappointed. When i first found this essay I expected it to be written by an ex-satanist, or someone who was disillusioned. Instead, the author mostly worked with opinion, because that’s all they had to work with – and by doing this they left out a lot of facutal information, making it impossible to get a realistic view about satanism from this essay. However, as I said my readers would most likely enjoy this discussion on the common fallacies of anti-Satanism.

The author used deceptive language to say that what they thought were the positive qualities of Satanism were also the negative qualities. These ideas, such as free thought, autonomy, and living according to one’s own ethics are cast into a negative light by someone who has no idea what these things really mean.

The rest of the essay is a longish rant on the ‘ridiculousness’ of the nine satanic Statements. While this author tried to make a case against satanism from the start, i got nothing but negativity from this writing, and that is why i was compelled to reply.. after analyzing it all, i do not think that this author is in any way qualified to instruct would-be satanists on the pitfalls and failures of Satanism.

To really analyze Satanism in its many diverse forms, it helps if one is actually a Satanist, to begin with. It is such an underground culture in general, that its ideal to be able to actually live it and be a part of it, to be able to give any real insight into what it is. Outside of this, there is always the opportunity for the author here to actually study what Satanism is, what other Satanists besides LaVey have accomplished, and what Satanists are really like through serious observation.

If we are free thinking, independent, autonomous, creative and self-assured, then that’s not a shortcoming, in fact, its a great thing. Far greater than what ‘most’ people would want to achieve for themselves, it seems. but for humans who want to explore the possibility of living up to their potential, Satanism might be the path for them.

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