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Temple of Set alt.satanism FAQ

To: alt.satanism
Subject: Re: Temple of Set alt.satanism FAQ
Date: Sun, 08 Jan 95 23:23:19 EST  wrote
Re: Temple of Set alt.satanism FAQ

 > A3: Not if words are to have their generally-accepted meanings. 
 > A Satanist is one who believes in Satan, just as a Christian is
 > one who believes in Jesus Christ, a Buddhist one who believes in
 > the Buddha, and a Muslim one who believes in Mohammed. A person
 > who professes to be a "Satanist" but who denies the existence of
 > Satan is simply using the title for ulterior motives such as
 > personal glamorization or commercial exploitation. If that person
 > denies the existence of all metaphysical beings, he is by
 > definition an atheist, not a Satanist.  If he professes to
 > believe sometimes and not others, when it may suit his
 > convenience, he is a hypocrite.
I agree that "the worship of Satan" is and should be the _primary_
meaning of the word "Satanism".  But "Satanism" has always had other
"generally-accepted meanings" even before today's LaVeyan
"hypocrites" came along.  See the _Oxford_English_Dictionary_.
(I have my own reasons for disliking CoS, but I think it's
inaccurate to call them "hypocrites" because of their temporary-
suspension-of-disbelief approach to Satan.  After all, they don't
seem to be _lying_ about their beliefs.)
Anyhow, thank you for your continued challenges to the LaVey-
groupies' attempts to monopolize "Satanism".  As a theistic
Satanist, I really do appreciate this, despite my quibbles with the
 > In addition to the Church of Satan and Temple of Set, various
 > other individuals and organizations have from time to time
 > proclaimed themselves to be Satanic and to represent Satanism.
 > If sincere, they would have to believe in Judaic, Christian, or
 > Islamic mythology and to worship its antithesis-Devil. If
 > insincere, they merely use "Satanic" terminology for glamor
 > and/or shock value.
Wait a minute.  Believing that "Satan" is in some sense a real
entity doesn't necessarily mean believing the entire body of Judaic,
Christian, or Islamic mythology _ABOUT_ that entity.  The 1966-1975
Church of Satan, which you accept as having represented genuine
Satanism, did not believe in J/C/I mythology, according to your own
account in the Temple of Set "General Information and Admissions
Policies" document and elsewhere.  You have said that the pre-1975
CoS believed in the literal existence of Satan, but had a non-
Christian interpretation of who/what "Satan" is.  According to the
GIAP as posted in the August 21, 1994 TOS FAQ:
    Publicly its [CoS's] "Satan" was not the evil scarecrow of
    Christian myth, but rather a champion of anti-hypocrisy - a
    crusader against the corruption and moral bankruptcy of
    society, which LaVey blamed largely upon Christianity. In
    another, more private context, the Satan of the Church of Satan
    was understood to be an authentic metaphysical presence: a
    being not evil, but rather independent, assertive, and creative
    - a true Prince of Darkness after the imagery of Milton, Blake,
    Baudelaire, and Twain.
I too have a non-Christian interpretation of who/what "Satan" is,
albeit an interpretation different from the one you apparently held
in your pre-1975 CoS days.  My interpretation does have some key
elements in common with yours, such as (1) the idea of Satan as
(among other things) a Muse connected with human intelligence and
creativity, and (2) rejection of the Christian concept of "Evil". 
But I seem to understand these ideas in a very different context
than you did.
Back to your Satanism FAQ:
 > A1: In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mythology, Satan is an
 > angel who, after initially [in the _Old Testament_] being a
 > questioner or challenger of God's goals and decisions, led a
 > revolt against God and the loyal angels, was defeated, and was
 > cast down into an underworld called Hell, to which the same
 > mythology also dooms inadequate or disobedient Christians and
 > Muslims.
Your interpretation of "Satan" focusses on Satan as rebel, whereas
my own interpretation has more to do with Satan as "Lord of this
World" and a "Dark Force in Nature".  Your interpretation revolves
around what Satan is believed to have done in the prehistoric past
(i.e. leading the angelic rebellion), whereas my own interpretation
is based more on what Satan is perceived as being _NOW_.  For more
about this, see my forthcoming message to Tim Maroney re: "Satanic
vs. Promethean".
 > A5: For the last two thousand years most of the social cultures
 > in which the Temple currently exists have been dominated by one
 > or more branches of Judaeo/Christianity. This influence is far
 > more pervasive than most people consciously realize, extending
 > into these societies' most basic assumptions about group &
 > individual relationships, law, justice, ethics, social mores,
 > family units, cosmology, and metaphysics. It is easy to not be a
 > member of a Christian church, or to call oneself a non-Christian;
 > it is far more difficult to escape from J/C social conditioning.
I agree so far.
 > Within this climate many of the aspects of Set are symbolized in
 > religious imagery by the *positive* attributes of the J/C Satan.
 > While Judaism, Christianity, and Islam created their "Satan"
 > distortion of the Set _neter_ of ancient Egypt in order to
 > fashion an "evil scarecrow" to intimidate and control their
 > societies, they could not help endowing "Satan" with such Setian
 > attributes as independence, creativity, honesty, artistry, and
 > intellectual genius - as these *same* attributes, except in
 > severely controlled and approved forms, are "sins against God" in
 > J/C/I culture.
I agree with you about the positive attributes of Satan, but am
skeptical of your identification of Satan with Set.  Regardless of
whether you are correctly interpreting the ancient Egyptian Set (a
question I don't know enough about ancient Egypt to answer), it
seems to me that the _present-day_ entity you call "Set" is probably
_NOT_ the same entity I call "Satan".  (Perhaps you and I connected
with two distinct entities under the name "Satan"?)
One reason is that your writings (e.g. the TOS GIAP) are pervaded by
a sense of separation between "psyche" and "nature", and between
human intellect and our animal qualities.  Your emphasis on how our
psyche sets us apart from other animals is so strong that you
inaccurately perceive this idea as _THE_ defining factor which sets
Setians and Satanists apart from other religious categories; you

inaccurately perceive all other religions as having, as their goal,
"union with the unconscious Universe".  (As far as I'm aware, you
have fairly accurately described the goal of some New Age religions,
and of what little I know of Hinduism and Buddhism, but certainly
not Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, which -- like you -- emphasize
human difference from the rest of Nature.  In the Book of Genesis,
"God" tells humans to "subdue" the Earth.)
Satan has always been associated with our animal nature, not just
the uniquely human qualities that you prefer to focus on.  I wonder
whether this is one of the factors that made you and some other
early CoS members conclude that Satanic imagery was too "limited".
My idea of "Satan" is associated with a _fusion_ of intellectual and
animal qualities.  Yes, human intellect _IS_ unique and has given us
a unique advantage over other animals, but I see no reason to
amphasize this _at_the_expense_of_ the qualities we share in common
with other animals.  My idea of Satanism celebrates _BOTH_.  I don't
understand your one-sided emphasis on separation between humans and
"Nature".  I don't desire a sentimental "union" with the rest of
Nature either.  There _IS_ opposition between humans and other
things in Nature, but this fact is hardly unique to humans; all
animals have natural enemies, and humans are no exception.
 > Therefore many persons of Setian disposition and potential first
 > became aware of their true nature through an unusual interest in
 > and attraction to "Satan" and Satanic imagery. [This was the case
 > of the Temple of Set as a whole, which from 1966 to 1975 - as the
 > Church of Satan - was exploring the Left-Hand Path from within
 > J/C terminology.] Hence it is sometimes necessary to use the
 > "Satanic" metaphor to initially communicate with J/C-socialized
 > individuals concerning the Setian interests and capabilities they
 > are otherwise incapable of expressing. Once such persons
 > understand a little more what they are actually awakening in
 > themselves, they are more easily able to recognize and jettison
 > the entire cage of J/C reference-points, then enter a much larger
 > universe of thought and being as Setians.
It doesn't seem to me that you have, in fact, succeeded in
"jettisoning the entire cage of J/C reference-points", and I
strongly doubt that _ANYONE_ brought up in Western culture is
capable of doing so.  (More about this if you or anyone else asks.)
 [One-sided THEY-started-it account of flame war deleted]
 > Our solution has been to create this FAQ and to post it regularly
 > on the newsgroup, and otherwise to reject provocation. All
 > responses of a discourteous/slanderous nature will be
 > ignored/killfiled, whether posted here or sent separately to the
 > Temple. Courteous, sincere inquiries will be answered
 > *privately*, if a postal or Internet address is provided.
 > Questions of general interest may be incorporated into future
 > editions of this FAQ.
Sounds to me like a wise move, except that I would call your FAQ
"The Temple of Set's Satanism FAQ" rather than an "alt.satanism
FAQ", since it isn't a compilation of information and ideas from
various participants in alt.satanism.
I'll be E-mailing you a copy of this posting for your convenience in
replying to it, if you choose to do so.
Diane Vera

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