As a teenager it was hard to not be attracted to Satanism. With its concentration on self-improvement, autonomy, and harvesting the God within oneself, many teenagers are attracted to it. Admittedly my first conception of Satanism was immature, based on selfishness and a lack of empathy. I have never been an agreeable person by nature. I prefer to be contrary to see what I can learn, and to test how people react to someone disagreeing.
This of course led to a skewed view of Satanism and society. Judging things by reason alone fails to take into account the nuance and reasons people do things and why. This works all the way to government, society, and the hierarchy systems.
My first experience of Satanism was that of LaVeyan Satanism formed by Anton LaVey while using the philosophy of Ayn Rand, Nietzsche and Jung. From LaVeyan Satanism one can begin to live a practical and living religion/philosophy which seeks self-improvement, autonomy and self-respect. Through this form of Satanism many people who lack the vital lessons from their peers can get through reality as if the lessons were naturally given. They begin to gain confidence in themselves and work to harvest their own talents, turning all weaknesses into strengths, and all strengths into talents.
This is quite the beautiful thing. Personally I did use Satanism as a vessel for self-improvement. I began to notice how LaVeyan Satanism actually uses many ethics and philosophical outlooks which are overtly Protestant in background: hard work ethic, family values, a love and embracing of life, loving both the happiness and suffering of life itself, self-improvement, and the cultivation of the inner-goodness in order to enrich your life and the life of those around you.
My upbringing and philosophy has always been deeply Protestant, but without the God outside of me. Instead I viewed my religion as LaVeyan Satanism does: the God within me is the one which demands worship and cultivation.
As this developed me into a fully-functioning individual I began to notice my empathy had not been cultivated. I had stayed somewhat the same in the sense of selfishness and lacking care for those outside of my own experience or concerns. My view was of people as tools and uses, rather than ends in themselves. My experience of LaVeyan Satanism is that the selfish aspect can take over and thus become a damaging trait, the same goes for the lack of empathy.
If you have ever met a Satanist you will be struck by one of two things, either they are:
1. Life loving and seem like the exact kind of person you could have in your life and love being around.
2. They are deeply Nihilistic, moody, and seem to have a deep-seated misanthropy.
If you are 1, then Satanism may be the beautiful, life-enriching philosophy for you. If you are 2, then Satanism may be one of the worst things that can happen to you, as you will use it to legitimise your own selfish and abusive behaviours. This of course is no fault of Satanism, but my own fault which led me out of it.
Well into my Satanic years I began reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost which is the epic poem about the fall of man: Adam and Eve. Satan is painted like a romantic rebel who gives huge, but passionate speeches about how he will fight against the evil tyrant God even though he knows he will lose. He fights for principles and because God is so evil.
I was enraptured by the writing style of Milton, the coldness of his God and the passion of Satan. This led me to Luciferianism: the cultivation of the light of reason within yourself, and identifying yourself as the God of yourself and only yourself, which everyone is of themselves – the king and ruler of their own kingdom: the body and mind of themselves. This view avoids tyranny by limiting it to themselves. You’re not the ruler of others.
However, as I reread Milton over and over again out of a love of his poetry I began to hit upon a problem. Milton had purposely written Satan to be glamorous and charismatic, but deeply flawed. As you read his speeches over and over you will begin to see inherent contradictions where he makes no sense, apart from trying to wiggle his way out of the reality of the situation: he did this to himself, while blaming God.
Satan falls into a state of self-falleness. His actions lead him to a diminished free-will where his free-choice to do good, becomes a compulsion to do evil. He performs evil merely because he doesn’t want to perform good, to such a degree that he no longer can make the choice to do good. He has destroyed himself and yet blames everyone else but himself. This is deeply childish.
As the poem moves on Satan becomes aware of this and breaks down. He admits and confesses that he no longer feels he can do otherwise, but still won’t allow himself to simply admit he is wrong. He has a pride in not admitting defeat and surrounding himself in an echo-chamber of Angels (now Demons) who he caused to fall. Yet in his mind he feels guilt and knows he cannot turn back because he would be admitting their suffering is pointless, and his fault. His pride prevents him from admitting his pride is getting in the way of his reason.
Satan could so easily become good again merely by admitting his mistake. He could also save the suffering of those loyal to him by doing so. He fails to do this, and carries on as if he has no choice in the matter. As if God is dragging him into Hell when he has literally just left it with God’s permission. This suggests that Satan is evil by his own choice, and thus becomes compulsively trapped in his own Hell: his mind – ‘A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’ – Luke 6:45
After realising this I fell out of Luciferianism because in society and around those who we love we simply aren’t the ruler of ourselves, nor is reason the only virtue of man for us to live with. I had already been living a religious life through LaVeyan Satanism and Luciferianism – I had already been living Protestant ethics and philosophy through them without ever realising. I had a terrible self-absorbedness when it came to Religion which meant it was the evil of the world – ignoring how Religion fed the roots of philosophy and science for thousands of years, and gave us the free-society that we now live in. So much of our culture, ethics, family, tradition, philosophy and science is thanks to Christianity and its massive embracing of man, and his reasoning abilities. A small study of Christianity within the realm of society shows it is for the best that it is kept close to our hearts and identity.
I had spent years strawmanning religion while living a religious life, but for myself LaVeyan Satanism and Luciferianism only ever offered me one side of the coin of the religious life. The hard-work ethic, the self-improvement, and love of life are brilliant philosophies, but without the embracing of society, history, culture, identity, coupled with an awareness of your limits and humbling yourself with that, I never felt complete, and was living an unhealthy life.
To live a life of religion is living a practical philosophy, if you cannot live your philosophy and put it into practice then it is somewhat useless. Satanism can be a brilliant vessel for people to become well-rounded, but we should be aware that its beauty is a Protestant philosophy and a Catholic ritual system, while trying to place the God within yourself – which is deeply Christian in meaning, symbolism and philosophy, especially in the ethical sense.
The God within all of us is our universal identity of being made in the image of God. We can identify the spark of God within ourselves and others, and I do believe that is what Satanism made me aware of – thus it is a valuable vessel towards a more profound life and religion, and even philosophy. If you want to understand religion you need to live it – as religion is the living philosophy, the living God.
For myself, Christianity is not the strawman of arrogance which I was always presented with by non-Christians, but the humble awareness that there is always more to learn – and that learning is an act of worship to God, using our God-given talents such as reason and emotion, and the most sacred of all: experience. God is the living-religion, and it is hard to understand that until you live it.
Not only is Christianity and Religion in general strawmanned in order to push us away from it, so are the concepts of family, humbleness, scepticism of all systems, not taking anything at face value (Science is now heretical to doubt) and the individual over the state. Seeing human beings as a universal image of God is what unites us under the same banner of respect and self-respect – removing that with no system in place which can replace such an idea results in the Nihilism which allowed millions to genocide millions of their own and other country’s people without remorse. In this sense National Socialism and Communism are identical. They remove the universal human value.
The most common strawman about Christianity which pervades our culture and Western society is the same one which pervades Satanism’s view of Christians, and one which certainly pushed me away – that of the martyr. Not many people, especially young men, boys and adult men, can get behind the idea of allowing themselves to die for an idea. The paintings and depictions of Jesus as a slaughtered lamb is off putting for many males. The worst thing about this is the strawman behind it which is put forward by Non-Christians and Christians alike: that you should allow yourself to be a pacifist no matter the situation.
This view is morally disgusting and fails to make the distinction between human beings of virtue and Jesus Christ. Christ was a martyr because he knew exactly what he was doing and thus was playing out God’s plan. He did not randomly throw away his life, nor just give up and let himself be slain – he knew it was what he had to do.
However, for a man to throw himself upon the sword of the enemy is not to become Christ, but to overtly disrespect him. Christ was a spiritual-warrior, not a whipped boy. He fought a battle and war which we can take part in – that taking part is standing up for virtue and not allowing vice to propagate itself. Letting the enemy slay you is propagating evil and allowing it to breed. This is fundamentally against what Christ stands for and a strawman against Christianity and Christ itself.
These kind of strawman arguments against Christianity paint the picture of a weak religion, for a weak person in a weak society. This contradicts Christian history, ethics and theology. Getting over this one core strawman was what allowed me to move from a Satanic vessel of self-improvement to a Christian life.
We are all on our own Crusade and carry our own crosses. Our life is a carrying of a cross, which is what is meant by the term Crusade: the state of being marked with the cross. Only when we die can we be forgiven properly, only when we perish are we done carrying the cross and trying to propagate virtue, only when we fight through life can we gain our rest. God willing.
Christianity is not a religion of weakness or pseudo-femininity as it is often portrayed to be. It is an awareness of the struggle of life and carrying our own personal cross all the way through it, until the very end. Throwing yourself on the cross as a ‘martyr’ is cutting down the tree of life given to you, while within that life you’re meant to breed goodness and spread it. The martyr eager to die is no Christian at all. It is a shallow and arrogant virtue-signalling representative of a child’s conception of Christ. (1)
The philosophy which I was living through Satanism and Luciferianism was a shallow one-sided coin which didn’t serve me fully. I have found that a Christianity which is not strawmanned is exactly what I had already been living except for my lack of empathetic thinking and my moral arrogance. By finding Christianity I have gained what I never had, and managed to fully-incorporate the practical and well-rounded life that I have always been trying to get to.
The Church is community, and we should worship in it and build our lives around it at all times. We should be humble in our opinions and have respect for all humans so long as they show it to us – an assumption that your fellow man is being honest and good-willed is essential for figuring out if they are: ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.’ – Matthew 7:15-20
Christ is the warrior of spirit which wages war on vice and exalts the virtue of man’s capacity towards God within himself, the Church of community and mankind itself. Exalt and propagate those virtues by living them.
Or as Saint Paul says: ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ – 1 Corinthians 13:11
(1) – An article on the difference between a witness and a masochist by my friend – ‘Martyrs’: https://scaevolanazareni.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/martyrs/
(2) – An article by myself on the meaning of 1 Corinthian 13:11 – ‘Concerning 1 Corinthians 13:11’: https://solilska.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/concerning-1-corinthians-1311/