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#1574 - 11/08/07 01:13 AM Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thoughts
Glanecia Offline
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Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
Here's a question: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists?

I've found that even LaVeyan Satanists don't agree with each other on this matter.

I've always liked to back up my answers with quotes from the Satanic Bible -- because I'm geeky like that.

I should mention, though, that just because I'm quoting material from the book, that doesn't mean that I believe that's the only possible answer. The Satanic Bible is pretty straight forward, but there are some grey areas. Though, I would say, that if we want to define what LaVeyan Satanism is and is not, then using the book to back up an argument is the way to go.

Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? Obviously, without referring to the book, the answer is "yes and no". Some are, some aren't. Anyone would know that from chatting with those who call themselves "LaVeyan Satanists".

Though, a person could call themselves a loaf of bread -but that doesn't mean they're correct.

Moving on: Before answering this question, it'd be a good idea to define some terms.

Atheism, being defined as: the doctrine or belief that there is no God
God, being defined as: a supreme being, powerful force

Anton LaVey states, "it is a popular conception that the Satanist does not believe in God. The concept of 'god' as interpreted by man, has been so varied throughout the ages, that the Satanist simply accepts the definition which suits him best" (Satanic Bible, pg 40).

With that in mind, one could argue that a Satanist may define "God" as something other than a "supreme being" or a "powerful force". A Satanist might say, "I don't believe in a supreme being or a powerful force" but I believe in myself -and that makes me god". -- but does that make him an Atheist? Some people think so.

I've never come across a Satanist who didn't consider himself to be "god" (by the way, that would make him the "supreme being" of his life.) It is my argument that since he believes in a god (of sorts), he cannot call himself an Atheist.

I suppose a Satanist could argue that "god" means "no god" -hence making them an Atheist. That's a bit of a stretch, I think.

Though, if you are of the opinion that "god" as defined by atheists means ONLY the "creator and ruler of the universe, etc etc", then I can understand how one would argue that a Satanist is an Atheist. Though, as far as I know, Atheism doesn't hold to only one concept of god.

Anton LaVey continues saying, "to the Satanist, 'god' -by whatever name he is called, or by no name at all - is seen as the balancing factor in nature, and not as being concerned with suffering. This powerful force which permeates and balances the universe is far too impersonal to care about the happiness or misery of flesh-and-blood creatures on this ball of dirt upon which we live"(Satanic Bible, pg 40).

According to the Satanic Bible, "god" can be summed up as:

- balancing factor in nature
- powerful force
- whichever definition suits you best (most Satanists call themselves 'god')

Satanists believe in "god" therefore they cannot be "atheists".

I'm willing to bet that the majority of Satanists who DO consider themselves to be atheists are under the impression that the term "god" only has one definition.

My opinion? They've not paid close enough attention to the Satanic Bible (or the dictionary) and do not truly understand their religion.

They don't have to 'go by the book', of course -- in which case, I believe they should not call themselves "LaVeyan Satanists" -but, perhaps, some other variety.

{I posted this on a 'pagan' forum, but don't expect a lot of replies --so I wanted to post this here too.)

So, c'mon -- rip me apart. ;\)
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#1576 - 11/08/07 01:31 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thoughts [Re: Glanecia]
Cody Offline
pledge


Registered: 09/16/07
Posts: 72
When you put things into boxes they come out of them in one way or another.
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#1577 - 11/08/07 01:38 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: Cody]
Glanecia Offline
stranger


Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
I suppose they do....

Offhand, why is my post centered? I'm guessing it has something to do with the format of the site and nothing that I did within my post.... :|
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#1579 - 11/08/07 02:13 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: Glanecia]
xear Administrator Offline
Admin
member


Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 417
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
yeah, things may seem weird for a bit while I'm updating the site. It wasn't your post.

- R

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#1582 - 11/08/07 03:36 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thoughts [Re: Glanecia]
daevid777 Offline
active member


Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
Dear Glanecia,

Try the term "Suitheism" on for size, and see if it fits. Of course it blows "Atheism" out of the water, but no "hardcore Atheist" wants to actually claim "Godhead" - I think it would be too much for them. So we have a - what? Paradox? You are the teacher, and I'm not sure my word is correct, but I think you get my meaning, nonetheless. It's really good to have you back, and I hope this isn't aligned to center, like the rest of the posts.......

Oh yeah, Hi, nice of you to drop in.

p.s. - it's centered.... damn.


Edited by daevid777 (11/08/07 03:37 AM)
Edit Reason: I have no idea... Xear??
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#1586 - 11/08/07 05:02 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: daevid777]
Glanecia Offline
stranger


Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
Suitheism -- Ooo, a new word! I had to google that one... a term coined by American occultists David Michael Cunningham and Traeonna A. R. Wagener, is the belief that oneself is a deity.

I think I'll start calling myself a "Suitheist". That way, I won't scare anyone and I'll come off looking really smart or something. :P

"Paradox" -- yeah, I can see how it could be a paradox if a thing both is and isn't something all at the same time -- but I hold to the argument that a LaVeyan Satanist is not a Atheist -- so, for me, there's no paradox. Everyone else is wrong. Ha! I wish it were that easy. Okay, okay. I can say with reasonable assurance that everyone else is wrong. Right. Why do I keep on smiling? \:D
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#1590 - 11/08/07 09:23 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: Glanecia]
Octavius Offline
member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 557
Loc: Left the party
Not to sound like an ass, but I feel compelled to respond here...

Suitheism is not a title or philosophy that one comes to lightly. It's very definition, even by those who use the title, is skewed from person to person. The "google" definition only scratches the surface of the possibilities within Suitheism. I've met a fair amount of people who strongly identify with Suitheism and its philosophies as they apply to them. It sounds like the same old tired argument over the "Satanist" title doesn't it? In all honesty, it is. There is no "unified" banner in any satanic expression, and that's why we love to call ourselves Satanists, right? However, I think you'll find that the deeper you pursue the varying definitions and interpretations of Suitheism, the more you'll realize that there is the possibility of a singularity existing within the Suitheistic experience.

Esoterically yours,
Octavius
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#1605 - 11/08/07 08:16 PM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: Octavius]
daevid777 Offline
active member


Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
I meant that in a "cracker-jack", run o' the mill, standard generic "definition" of the word - as the concept is abused by "Moderns"... nothing so dignified as what you suggest.
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#1619 - 11/09/07 03:13 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: daevid777]
Glanecia Offline
stranger


Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
I suppose it would be better to sound like an ass, than to look like one.

I have no plans to pursue the title "Suitheist". Did my sarcasm not shine through? Ah, rats.

It does sound interesting enough to at least inform myself, so thanks for the introduction. Have a nice day.



Edited by Glanecia (11/09/07 03:30 AM)
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#1622 - 11/09/07 03:32 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: Glanecia]
daevid777 Offline
active member


Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
Actually, I meant that response for dear Mr. Octavius. But, it is just as well. Perhaps Suiapotheosis would work? Not so catchy, and I think a horrible mingling of ancient languages. Sounds cool though, sort of. Maybe not. \:\(
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#1654 - 11/10/07 01:35 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: daevid777]
Glanecia Offline
stranger


Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
My response was to Octavious too -- though, I was wondering who he was responding to ... lmao .. what fun. Perhaps we should address the person to whom we're speaking :P

Woops.

(To daevid777)


Edited by Glanecia (11/10/07 01:35 AM)
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#1668 - 11/10/07 12:42 PM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thoughts [Re: Glanecia]
Meq Offline
Banned
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
Are LaVeyan Satanists atheists?
The quick answer is 'Yes and no'!

It all comes down to semantics and how the conception of God is defined.
If one's only acceptable definition of God is something like the Judeo-Christian God, then LaVeyan Satanists are atheists by your definition.

However, if the definition of God is widened to include something like the Chinese Tao, or The Force from Star Wars, then it is not only correct to say that LaVeyan Satanists do believe in such a 'God' (only 'God' without any Judeo-Christian connotations) - they believe that they have the power to manipulate this cosmic force through the practice of magic.

This latter belief is, however, open to dispute.
Some modern Satanists reject the belief in literal magic, retaining the notion of 'God' as a belief in a kind of supernatural force which many atheists would nevertheless still reject.

Some modern Satanists go further, however, and take this in a purely symbolic or metaphorical sense - seeing the Force or Tao-like 'God' as simply a metaphor for the natural balance and forces of the universe, or even the natural universe itself (which is close to my personal view).

This leads to an acceptance of human nature as it is, unburdened by unreasonable moral demands which see human nature as 'sinful' and as something to be mortified.
So the pursuit of pleasure, a controlled selfishness and an acceptance of one's desire for power and personal fulfilment as well as well-being are embraced in a rational acceptance of life, human nature and reality.


It must be noted, though, that orthodox LaVeyans (note the irony here - LaVeyanism has become an orthodoxy, a Christian thing!) stick to the word of The Satanic Bible, which leads to a literal belief in a supernatural Force (kind of like a deity) as well as a belief in magic and occultism.
Something many atheists would find unacceptable.

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#1671 - 11/10/07 02:07 PM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thought [Re: Meq]
Glanecia Offline
stranger


Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
Paula, I liked your explanation. Yay for people who can express their thoughts coherently! *claps hands*

Funnily enough, I was explaining the same theory about magic, on another forum. Though, I have met some CoS members who don't believe that magic/ritual actually works & have no literal belief in a supernatural force.

Here's what I said, elsewhere. I'm going to copy and paste, cause I'm lazy. :P I look forward to reading any thoughts on what's written below...

A term that will pop up all the time in regards to Satanic ritual is "psychodrama". That's how Anton LaVey explained ritual - that it's all for show, a way to build up emotion, or to psych you out, so that your desire -or whatever the purpose of the ritual is- can be attained.

The candles, the bell, the altar, the hailing of Satan, Leviathan, Lucifer and Belial -or whichever names are most appropriate create the drama. Without the drama, the idea is that you wouldn't have strong enough emotion to focus your will on what you want.

To answer your question, yes, when Satan is called upon, a Satanist knows he's not a literal being -that Satan represents ideals (or if you want to get specific, the Nine Satanic Statements explain exactly what Satan represents). Though, the reason to call upon any name at all, during ritual, is a bit more complex....

The purpose of calling upon Satan is to create that psychodrama. He doesn't literally appear in any way, shape or form. Anything that does appear comes from the caller - the creator of the myth - the Satanist. It's an "it's all in your mind" type of thing; except that real results can come from "what's only in your mind."

That's the answer you'll find in the Satanic Rituals, by Anton LaVey, starting on page 31, where he writes about psychodramas.

How matters stand, outside of the book, are a bit different. Many LaVeyan Satanists don't utilize ritual anymore -or never at all. Peter Gilmore -the current High Priest of the Church of Satan has said that they've outgrown the need for ritual, almost as if it were beneath them. I'm quoting from memory, so it's a bit unfair to say all this without quoting from a source; and I can't find a source at the moment. Though, that's what I remember hearing/reading....

Anyways, I do know that many LaVeyan Satanists do not believe that magic (it's spelled without a "k" in this religion) actually works. They believe that ritual only exists for those with a psychological need to express their emotions in a manner that only a ritual could provide.

Others (myself included) disagree. We acknowledge that real results can can from exercising your will through ritual. It's a tool - one that works.

My guess is that maybe 1/3 or maybe 1/2 of LaVeyan Satanists actually utilize ritual.



Edited by Glanecia (11/10/07 02:09 PM)
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#2879 - 12/23/07 07:29 PM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thoughts [Re: Glanecia]
Soluna666 Offline
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Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Canada
Funny, this has been on my mind for a couple of days now. In Peter Gilmore's new intro to The Satanic Bible, he states that a Satanist is essenially atheistic. However, I think one needs to determine what atheistic means. To me, it means not "believing" in some pie in the sky Father figure that sits up there keeping score of everything I do, under threat of damnation if I get out of line.

I don't "believe" anything. It has been said that belief is the barrier to knowledge. I come to my own conclusions through investigation and personal experience. Then it is not belief...it is knowledge gained through scientific method.

According to one source, the "inner circle" of Lavey's church perceived Satan as an actual entity. This was not made general knowledge to the entire membership. So maybe an Atheist stance is a starting point for the Satanist in order for them to arrive at their own viewpoint resultant of their efforts in magical practice and study i.e. true metaphysical experience. Still, an acknowlegement of "the balancing force in nature", what I call a creative/destructive force does not constitute a god I grovel to. It is a force at my disposal that I can manipulate to my benefit.

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#2887 - 12/24/07 03:08 AM Re: Are "LaVeyan" Satanists atheists? - My Thoughts [Re: Soluna666]
hellbent666
Unregistered



People that say Anton LaVey was this or that or that he actually believed in a devil is just people trying to slander his name even further. Michael Aquinos actually believed that he was in direct contact with Set and thus created The Temple of Set in a pseudo Satanic fashion. A lot of the principals are the same but the core belief structure is different.

So I guess you could say that some of the members of LaVey's inner circle were not atheists at all. Once the whole concept of deities come up in religion you cease to be an Atheist. Michael Aquinos took with him quite a few members of the original Church of Satan. From what I read about the ToS it's not much different except it is easier to advance in rank through their heirarchy and their founder claims to have divine interactions. But maybe this is the CoS trying to slander Aquinos? I have no idea what's really going on.

LaVeyan Satanist are basically Epicurean Atheists at core. We believe that Satan is just a representation for mans carnal side and a mysterious dark force in nature amongst many other things. We claim no interactions with unseen entities or deities as those are tools of christianity to scare followers. We are our own Gods!

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