The Church of Satan

I've looked at some stuff recently on Satanism (just out of curiosity - I'm not a Satanist). They don't believe in a being called Satan, but they do believe that there's a dark side of nature that maybe comes through in stories of Satan and demons. They also don't sacrifice children or animals.

Reading about Satanism made me wonder what kind of religion our descendants might end up with. In a declining civilization when it seems like the world is upside down, maybe religious ideas and symbols get turned upside down too. In the future, could Satan be seen as good? Could the Sigil of Baphomet replace the Cross?

I once read an article that claimed that before Judaism, Satan wasn't The Bad Guy. The author, whose name I totally forget, said that the Jew's ancestors worshiped the devil before they gave him an evil makeover. I don't know if that's true, but it was a fascinating article.

In a declining civilization when it seems like the world is upside down, maybe religious ideas and symbols get turned upside down too. In the future, could Satan be seen as good?

Are Ayn Rand's protagonists good or bad? What about Gordon Gekko ("Greed, for lack of a better word, is good"). What about Jay-Z? Kim Kardashian? ("And they say I didn't have a talent...try balancing a champagne glass on your ass.") The Koch Brothers?

Anton LaVey published The Satanic Bible in 1969. According to Wikipedia:

The prologue to The Satanic Bible begins by discussing the concept of gods, good and evil, and human nature. It includes the Nine Satanic Statements:

1. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!
2. Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!
5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!
6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires!
7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual development," has become the most vicious animal of all!
8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
9. Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!

This is old-school Satanism, and like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and heavy metal music, it thrills callow young men.

Lately, however, Satanists seem to have developed a sense of humor. When Satanism has made the headlines lately, Satanists have have been poking at the extreme Religious Right, challenging the monolithic notion that America is and has always been a "Christian Nation" and only "Christian" values count in public life. The Satanic Temple, which is raisiing money for the statue of Baphomet, which is to go in Okalahoma City (oh, my stars and bars!), is not--to the best of my knowledge--affiliated with The Church of Satan. Their website says, "The Satanic Temple (TST) facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty."

Their mission statement says:

"The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice.

"As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, to lead by example, and to participate in public affairs wheresoever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights. As Satanists, we all should be guided by our consciences to undertake noble pursuits guided by our individual wills. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity."

The world is already upside down.

Since you mentioned heavy metal within the context of religion, here's Five Finger Death Punch with "Wrong Side of Heaven". It's a very pretty song that seems to express that feeling of confusion, the sense that everything's upside down.

I saw that in the news with The Temple of Satan and the State of Oklahoma. You have to wonder if that was more a publicity stunt than anything - who'd ever heard of them before that?

It was always my impression that the Church of Satan and similar groups tended to attract mentally unstable Goths and the perpetual-rebellious-teenager type, or as you put it, "callow young men". (I would include young women in that category too). Recent interviews and writings from Satanists are starting to look like they've grown up a little. Or maybe I was wrong about the kind of person who tended to gravitate towards that.

I've also heard that Satanist ceremonies are a lot of fun. Never having been to one, I couldn't say!