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Authority, Satanism and Setian Philosophy

To: alt.satanism,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.satanism,alt.politics.satanism
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: Authority, Satanism and Setian Philosophy (was alt.satanism FAQ Standards)
Date: 23 Jan 1999 06:29:16 -0800

49990123 IIIom Kaos Day! (Xeper/Michael Aquino Ph. D.):
#># "Satanism" is a hot potato topic, referring to persons and
#># activities over a wide range, from the ethical & legitimate
#># to the potentially harmful & psychotic. It is also a topic which
#># is very much "forbidden fruit" attractive to young people.
#># So yes, I think any FAQ on the subject, appearing in a
#># forum like Usenet where persons of any age may read it,
#># should be extremely carefully worded and cautionary. (nocTifer):
#> do you think that the various FAQs that I posted recently
#> (inclusive of your own) qualify?  if some don't, which? (Xeper/Michael Aquino):
# I haven't seen them, so can't offer an opinion.

I plan to post them regularly, add to them as I can find other
'FAQs' on Satanism, and register all of them with new.answers.
reviews of the perspectives involved by other Satanists would 
be wonderful (the "mgp" version is probably comparable to the
"cos", since Matt Paradise is a CoSatanist).

# ..."Satanism" is such a complex concept, beginning
# with differences over its very name & definition, that
# it is difficult to reduce it to FAQ proportions [assuming
# that the FAQ doesn't become huge].

this seems to be the case with most religious and philosophic
subjects, however: they require dense expressions to really
do their topic justice.

# There is further the issue of the competence and
# objectivity of the author/editor(s) of any FAQ....

as well as the changing social milieu which one is ostensibly
attempting to describe. trying to adequately provide a reflection
of this without making the information disposable can be tricky.

# When I was involved with the Church of Satan, I
# considered it *the* exclusive agency of Satanism.
# Hence others' definitions were inherently "unauthorized". 
# As there was no significant competition to the Church 66-75, 
# this monolithic attitude went essentially unchallenged 
# within the occult subculture.

yes, and this subculture was arising against a backdrop of 
decades (centuries?) in which 'satanism' had been described 
by a variety of Western religious (usually fundamentalists).

that is, the CoS was forging a *self-oriented* description
of Satanism which directly confronted the propaganda that
had been used in religious rivalry and oppression.  it is
not too surprising that, engaging this activity, it had
few or no compatriots. I think that those of you involved 
with the church's origins and on the front lines of media
attention should be commended for your courage and what
you have achieved. thank you for doing that.

# [Things like the Process Church were more Jesus
# Freak than avowedly "Satanic".]

yes my understanding is that they did not self-identify
as 'Satanists' (which I think is an important element of
Satanism, as compared to de facto Satanism).

# ...the Temple's attitude that it is the exclusive agency of
# the Prince of Darkness [under a pre-J/C identification].

following the roots of 'Satan' back, the ToS sought to
expand its association beyond mere Judeochristian terms.
in this way I think that Setians have also transcended
Satanism (entering into Ombraism or Setian Philosophy).
I have often wondered why Setians bother with the Satanist
community at all, given the predominant focusses (usually
Judeochristian or folkloric) which would seem a waste of 
your time.  perhaps you can address this from your 

# Where something like the FAQ is concerned, that
# puts the Temple of Set in the position of saying:
# "We are the one true religion. Others are at best
# well-intentioned human clubs, at worst deceptive/
# exploitive/destructive."

yes, exclusive, rivalrous, what some would describe as
'proud uniqueness' and others as 'unfortunate arrogance'.

# This attitude by the Temple is not intended to be
# rude, but rather reflects the sincerity with which we
# regard who and what we are. If we did not truly
# feel that way, then at root the Temple would be
# a hypocritical exercise: just one more "well-
# intentioned human club", as it were.

I don't follow the logic here. why couldn't you consider
the Temple of Set to be rooted in the authority of the
Prince of Darkness with the admission that other organizations
MIGHT be so ordained by this same deity?  what gives you the
impression that the priesthood surrounding this god ought to be
managed by a central authority, should be, in this day and age,
subjected to rivalrous disputes, and can only be mediated by 
your organization?

as I know Hir, Satan foments anarchistic over oligarchic
ideals, prefers a variegated dispersal rather than a central
concentration of authority, and enjoys competition amongst a 
stratified field based on expertise and elegance rather than
licensing some human social body to represent Hir.  I'm
open to hearing what you think Set likes. :>  I'm curious
what differences there may be between the two.

# Obviously there are nonSetians on alt.satanism with other 
# opinions. 

do you think that Setians all agree with your assertion about
the unchallenged authority of the Temple?  aren't there
Setians who are not part of the ToS?  or do you refuse to
acknowledge that they have any kind of similar relationship
with the Prince of Darkness?

# What this presages, I think, is that any attempt at
# "one authorized" FAQ in a topic/environment as
# disparate as this is doomed to failure. 

this is what I was saying as regards 'religious authority' 
of Satanism generally (which I contend is based in individual 
perspective and taste, rather than on contracts with gods, 
though I am happy to carefully consider alternatives).

in fact, I would go so far as to say that religion and
Satanism are truly incompatible in the sense of religion as
organized spirituality. the Satanist is self-derived, 
individualistic, and will tend to be abrasive of the 
organizations of which she is part (as well as potentially 
make the best member, since the org which can encompass hir 
will have demonstrated its merit and warrant hir fierce 

# More practical are various "point of view" FAQs, such
# as the ones issued by the Temple of Set, the LaVeyans, 
# and yourself. The announced authorship establishes the 
# authority/bias up front, and readers can then review 
# the FAQ contents with that in mind.

that is what I assumed also and enjoy the atmosphere of
confusion which results from having multiple 'FAQs' that
are all 'authorized' (posted by "alt.satanism ADMIN") 
and self-contradictory.  it is, to me, reminiscent of great 
volumes of mysticism or the text of Aleister Crowley in 
that they contain valuable data but are not in all points

blessed beast!
-- (emailed replies may be posted); cc me replies;;

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