© fra Nefastos 2006
Bundling Satanism and devil-worshipping into the same category is still often taken as a “mistake” promoted constantly by the media and simple folk. Every one who “knows something about things” (read: everyone who gets his or her information from the internet) supposedly knows that there is nothing in common with these two. This is supposedly due to the fact that devil-worshipping means the bustling of drug-addicted youth criminals with a twist of religiousness, whereas Satanism is a view of life developed in the 1960’s by Anton Szandor LaVey. According to LaVey, human being is an animal and thus the substantial truth in life is to enjoy it and not to suffocate one’s primal instincts.
So goes the usual explanation on the subject. Yet, I would like to offer a different view to you on this.
First of all, both of the titles – Satanism as well as devil-worship – refer quite undisputably to a creature or an archetype called Satan. Without taking a stand here if an archetype can have a personality or an actual individual existence, it is certain that by taking notice how the aforementioned two titles are formed, it can be understood that the difference is only skin-deep: a worshipper of Satan inarguably responds religiously to the object of his devotion; a Satanist quite often does not. As “religiousness” and “worship” are indeed words with many interpretations, possibly being included also into a more philosophical view of the world, the difference of a Satanist and a devil-worshipper is a thin red line in most of the cases. “What mockery is this?” – cries out our reader, superficially acquainted to the Church of Satan – “Satanism was only a title invented by LaVey”… etc. – Wrong! The concept of “Satanism” had been used for hundreds of years before LaVey’s time. Only thing Mr. Anton succeeded in, was to steal this incisive name “Satanism” to the usage of his own hedonistic world-view. May the members of the Church of Satan use at their will the title “Satanism” only as referring to their own ideology, but outside the society in question there is no sense in adopting this kind of, may I say, an erroneous view. Of all the devoted Satanists I personally happen to know, none of them is the member of the Church of Satan and few share the ideology or the rhetorics of the organization, which may surprise the people who have educated theirselves with their internet explorers.
Good! But how then to define the meanings of these words? – This is an important question if the titles ”Satanist” and ”devil-worshipper” are to be used to genuinely mediate exact information. I suggest the following division, that is realistic in my opinion:
A Satanist is a person who recognizes the essence under the name of Satan – internal or external of psyche, subjective, objective, or both – as a real, powerful, not wholly negative but in a way positive figure or power, dedication to whom is not clinical but something to put one’s soul into. A Satanist thus inevitably comes close to the religious context and Satan for him cannot mean just a pseudonym for bestial urges etc.
A Satan-worshipper is due to necessity also a Satanist but his devotion goes a few steps deeper into the religious experience. He thinks Satan is in a way or another, on this or that level, an actual existing divinity and towards this godhood he feels great and holy sense of unity in the religious sense. He can equip his image of Satan with few or more external, symbolic attributes or see it as a pure force of nature, but either way the name “Satan” conjures feelings of fervour and inspiration in him through which he with prayer, ritual, meditation or some other way approaches this essence he takes to be as his lord and master.
Personally I have a hard time in trying to see what in that which was previously presented could be proven as a faulty way of presenting things, and if these kinds of mistakes cannot truly be found and proven, we must accept following views as just:
1) Not all Satanists support the doctrine of the Church of Satan.
2) Not all devil-worshippers are criminals.
3) Satanism and devil-worship are not two completely different things but instead they are nearly identical.
If we accept the first point, new deductions will follow as is consistent:
1a) A Satanist can value both spirituality and bestiality; this title is not in any way a proof for the person being a hedonist or an egoist in the traditional interpretation of the word.
1b) As Church of Satan represents a very populistic kind of Satanism, the most serious and devoted satanists don’t always or even very often value the view of Anton LaVey about the Satanic ideology.
1c) For any a serious Satanist, the name Satan does almost never stand as a mere symbolic title but a being that is most real (yet quite rarely the deceiver of men with goat’s hooves and horns as presented by the christian church).
Same goes with the second notion:
2a) As criminal Satanism means lots of conflict, intelligent devil-worshippers are most commonly quite law-abiding. This is totally possible because for them Satan isn’t an absolutely evil being as in the christian concept, but represents some kind of unique and rejected evolutive force or something of that nature.
2b) Devil-worshipper is not necessarily fanatic or mentally ill any more so than a representative of any other religion. Religiousness in the widest sense of the word is one of the essential functions of the human psyche, and as can be proven, many if not most of the developed pioneers and geniuses of mankind have been theists, not atheists.
2c) Devil-worshipping is not – as Satanism isn’t – necessarily just youths follies for gaining attention, but instead it can be a completely serious and rational ideology of an adult human being independent of it’s symbolics that are commonly taken as being quite challenging.
I think the third notion is quite clear in the light of what’s been said without any further deductions.