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What Do Satanists Really Believe?

Tommy-Forbes-CC

Susan E. Wills - published on 09/26/14


Other Satanists, seen in the public face of current Church of Satan adherents, view Satan as a force within each of us propelling us toward personal acts of liberation and godlike power.

A third strain are the avowed atheists/humanists who lack a creed and formal religious practices; they mainly wish to mock believers and rebel against established religion, choosing the first rebel (Satan or Lucifer), as their “mascot.” They brand themselves Satanists simply to appear more hip than, say, middle-aged depressives who lost faith in God when He failed to perform as a Divine Vending Machine — put in a prayer and get what you ask for.

Lastly, evangelical pastor Joe Schimmel alleges, in “The Truth About Satanic Cults,” that Oprah Winfrey’s TV interview with former LaVey “second in command” Michael Aquino reveals her astonishment in learning that members of the New Age movement are closely, if unknowingly, aligned to Satanism, due to their belief in godlike self-actualization wherein each individual follows his personal “moral” compass—wherever this leads him. Schimmel recounts this on-air exchange between Aquino and Oprah:

Oprah: “ Well, the way you explain this is the way a lot of people who are into metaphysics now and in the New Age movement and New Age thinking, they say the very same thing. Are you saying that it’s all the same?”

Aquino: “Yes, except that I would say we [Satanists] have a more precise grasp … We would say that we understand what’s actually happening a little better than many New Agers.”

If there is a common thread among these devotees, it would be the belief that it’s important to be “deconditioned” so as to reject all external moral norms (notably those of Christianity and the State). In other words: At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. That belief is not spelled out in exactly those words in "Satan Speaks!". It’s found, of course, in the plurality opinion of Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), a Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade (in principle anyway), and authored by Justices O’Connor, Kennedy and Souter. 

Dogmatic Satanism

Anton LaVey’s 11 Satanic Rules of the Earth are few and fairly open to interpretation:

1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
9. Do not harm little children.
10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him. (Emphasis supplied.)

Christians could perhaps agree with several of these “rules” (1, 2, 8, 9, maybe 10) while others are ambiguous and #5 and #11 are downright terrifying.

LaVey’s 9 Sins with commentary by Catherine Beyer (a Wiccan currently teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay) are as follows:

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