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Neopaganism and Satanism

To: alt.satanism,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc
Subject: Re: Neopaganism and Satanism (Was Re: Wiccans...alt.mgk (...Sweetness...)
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 04:41:20 GMT

Lee Ann Rabe  wrote:
>The fact that Satanism has a number of meanings really doesn't
>surprise me --- what does surprise me is that none of the 
>people/groups calling themselves Satanists seem to believe 
>in Satan! 
>I still don't understand the logic behind the naming.... could
>someone who is a Satanist (of any sort) please explain it
>to me?

First, you're mistaken; there are some Satanists who *do* believe in
Satan.  These individuals are usually either one of two varieties.  They
can be rebellious Christians (usually teenagers) whose idea of Satanism
comes more-or-less from what their pastor or the mass media has told them. 
If not, their concept of Satan is very different from what the Christians
call Satan, as is their concept of Jehovah (if they have one).  (As a side
note, I can conceive of someone accepting the Christian mythology as fact,
reinterpreting the mythology, and still end up siding with Satan.  I have
not yet encountered anyone who actually does this, however.)  If Diane 
Vera is still reading alt.satanism, she might explain her view of Satan; 
it falls into this category.

If someone asks me if I believe in Satan, I'll usually answer "no."  
Usually.  If they seem genuinely interested, and I have the time to 
explain it, I'll answer differently.  You seem at least mildly interested 
and you've caught me when I can spare the time.  So this may get a little 
long. :)

Do I believe in Satan?  That depends on two things -- what exactly you 
mean by "Satan," and what you mean by "believe in."  Let's talk about 
'Satan' first.

I do not accept the traditional Christian definition of him -- ie, an
anthropomorphic devil who gets off on pain, misery and suffering.  I
similarly reject most of the trappings that go along with that notion. 
However, throughout history, there have been several notions and concepts
associated with the image of Satan with which I can certainly identify. 
Chief among these would be Milton's depiction of him as a tragic hero, or
perhaps Cervantes' icon of Don Quixote de la Mancha, whom I have always
claimed as a "patron saint" -- even before I was a Satanist.  (What's
that?  You never realized Quixote was Satanic?)

So while I accept and even identify with the fictional literary 
depictions of Satan, and I grant that the 'morals' (so to speak) of the 
stories are valid, I do not believe that any of them have much of a basis 
in reality beyond that.

I even have difficulty with accepting Satan as a sentient being of any 
sorts.  My view of Satan is that of a principle of nature, the blind 
power behind man's drive for accomplishment -- indeed, it is a *part* of 
the human nature.  When I 'worship' Satan, I recognize that I am 
worshipping an externalized part of my own being.  The monotheistic gods 
of the JCI paradigm are a result of the basic self-loathing of some 
humans; they take the shape of the idealized man, the being who is beyond 
all human desires and weaknesses and who is able to do everything that 
man wishes he could do.  (The sexual manifestations of this are either 
repression -- sexual desire as a weakness, as in Catholicism or Puritanism 
-- or channeled into 'acceptable' expressions and almost glorified -- eg, 
Islam, Mormonism.)

The Satanist (eg, me) accepts hirself the way she is; there is no desire 
to deny the self in any way.  I accept my weaknesses, and also admit my 
strengths.  I recognize my limitations, but strive to work as best I can 
to expand those limits and achieve my desires.

Now, as to the second term, 'believe in'...I don't believe in Satan (as
defined above) as something superior to and separate from myself that
deserves worship and obedience.  Satan is a part of me; I'm not sure if
it's appropriate in this context to say that I "believe" in myself!  He is
not an object of faith; he is a symbol, a part of the way that I describe
what I know to be true. 

So yes, given that explanation and disclaimer, I *do* believe in 
Satan...but in the same sense that I believe in gravity.  I do *not* 
believe in Satan in the same way that the JCI faiths believe in their 
god.  Unfortunately, if I just openly state that "I believe in Satan" 
people are going to assume the latter context.  So I usually don't.

I hope that explains my view a little.  Note that it is *my* view, which 
may or may not be shared by other Satanists.

>"I want to be the victim! I want to be the victim!"
>"All your life."
>--- random preppie girl and Wednesday in "Addams Family Values"

Love the .sig! :)

%make fire
Make: Don't know how to make fire.  Stop.
%why not?
No match.

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