Subject: the alt.satanism Frequently Asked Questions
Keywords: FAQ Satanism official controversy diversity
Summary: This is the FAQ for the alt.satanism newsgroup (not to be confused
with any others, of which there is no 'official' version, only
those which have more or less support because of their age and
how they speak to the group-mind, often in simplistic and very
dogmatic ways). The Herd will listen and nod knowingly.
From: email@example.com (alt.satanism ADMIN)
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 10:25:52 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 02:25:52 PST
Frequently Asked Questions about Satanism
by Matt G. Paradise [reformatted by nocTifer]
Since I've become a Grotto Master for the Church of Satan,
one of my appointed capacities is that of media representative.
Since then, I've been answering more questions than ever,
as well as doing this publication, a component in my representation
of Satanism. I'd like to approach some of the more popular
(and maybe not as popular) questions that I've run into, put them
on paper, and save myself some repeated breath.
Questions marked with [X] are taken from part one of an interview
I did with a publication called The Black Virgin Mary Coloring
Book and [the rest] are 1996 BVMCB, used with kind permission.
(Some of these questions and responses have been edited for space
conservation and for the sake of not being redundant.)
(X) Question: "What is the difference between Satanism and devil
"Satanism and devil worship are two distinctly different animals.
Devil worship is what it is: the worship of an external deity,
much as it could be labeled inverse Xtianity. The Satan in
Satanism is an archetype, one many know by name and is relative
to the culture. Some Satanists choose different aspects of this
archetype, depending on geography or just plain aesthetics,
but the same characteristics still hold true. It would make
little sense for us to claim to embody the archetypal qualities
of Satan (rebellion, rational self-interest, carnality, etc.)
on one hand, and then attempt to worship an anthropomorphic
Satan on the other. Devil worshipers need to be subjugated,
ask for it by their own actions. The Satanist finds such
unproductive and one-sided activities to be draining and
useless (not to mention hypocritical). Much of this is aptly
mentioned in The Satanic Bible and the other books I've listed
at this publication's end."
(X) Question: "Do you find most of the membership of the CoS to be
'Xtian refugees' or do they come from all sorts of
"Surely, I couldn't speak for all Satanists, but I would assume
that many, particularly older Satanists who grew up in an era
when Xtianity was taken a bit more seriously, had some sort of
Xtian indoctrination in their childhoods.
Oftentimes, teens will approach Satanism as a reaction to their
growing disdain for Xtianity, and I think that's an honest and
healthy step, speaking from experience. However, once a Satanist
(a true Satanist, and not some drugged-out devil-worshiping
metalhead with a penchant for feline slaughter) grows up a bit
and experiences some of the outside world, Satanism becomes a
lot more than a game of shock-the-sheep and the Satanist applies
himself/herself to attain goals and engage in meaningful pursuits.
I wouldn't use the phrase "Xtian refugees" to describe the
situation mentioned above, simply because there is an implied
idea of victimization riding shotgun with it, and victim is a
label no Satanist cares to wear - mainly because it's
unproductive as well as being antithetical to pure Satanic
Statement: "Anton LaVey is merely ripping off Nietzsche."
"When LaVey refers to an idea, concept, or quote derived or
taken from someone else, he often cites the author, either in
the paragraph or in the indexes of his books. If anything LaVey
writes seems similar to past concepts, oftentimes, it is
augmented with modern circumstances, his own thoughts, and is
analogous to our philosophy. Seeing that Satanism is a work
in progress, something like science meets philosophy, we are
fully justified in choosing the concepts of old, working with
them in our context and taking them into the future. (If we
didn't, who else would?) Same thing scientists, doctors,
psychologists, and many other professionals do. Nothing would
get done if individuals merely went along with established
thought and never added to it. It's evolution, pure and simple."
Statement: "The Church of Satan charges application fees for
membership and further involvement and accepts
money from people. Sounds like your garden-variety
tent-show evangelist scam."
"First off, you are probably confusing two different terms.
The Church of Satan is an organization. Satanism is a religion.
Since we are one of the few (if not, one of the ONLY) religions
whose organized body REJECTS the tax exempt status other
religions cling to, the CoS accepts money to keep it moving,
and we pay BACK into the economic system. ("Responsibility to
the responsible.") Also, there seem to be a couple presuppositions
hiding under your statement. The first is that we should feel
"bad" or "humble" about money. Why? We are Satanists. Most of us
appreciate success in one form or another and, in business, we
know that money often enough helps this along. We lay our cards
on the table and have no problem with it. If a credible Satanist
pays into the CoS, he or she does this in support, and does it
knowingly because he or she is wise, like all good Satanists are.
If your average ignoramus throws money at the CoS, the
organization is happy to take that, too. But, it is the idiot,
not the CoS, who should be held responsible because, quite frankly,
we didn't rush up to his house with Uzis, drag him to the ATM,
and make him empty out his account for us. You don't even have
to be a member of the CoS to be a Satanist, so no money is
required, unlike that required by others for tithes, collection
plates, and holy corn meal. (The monetary fee, by extension,
also keeps out most of the trend chasers, the occultniks, and the
terrorists. We don't want them and we won't put up with them.)
The second presupposition lies in your penchant for equating us
with the model of religion which Xtianity ostensibly portrays.
It has been adequately stated and PROVEN that Satanism is not
inverse Xtianity. It's an old point. Tell the Judeo-Xtian
churches to pay THEIR taxes and see what they say. The
differences are enormous."
Question: "Why do many Satanists wear black?"
"I'm glad you said 'many' instead of 'all,' because the latter
simply isn't true. It is true that I prefer the color black in
my wardrobe choice, although other Satanists will have their
own personal reasons for their personal choices. (Sound like
real life to anyone?) It is a choice. I find it pleasing,
uniform, and void of so many of the popular culture icons
the herd adorn themselves with. The only thing that my personal
choice of the color has to do with my Satanic self involves
those three things mentioned in the previous sentence. For me,
it also means that I don't have to waste mental energy and
valuable time striving to match everything, because I'd rather
use that time for more useful and productive activities. It's
a cultivated look with many personal advantages too numerous
to completely name. Does this really bother you so much?"
(X) Question: "There is a mistrust in mankind's ability to govern
himself that a lot of faiths have. There are a lot
of disapproving parental gods. Why should humans
have the choice to do what they want? Can Man be
trusted? Were humans ever meant to be free and
"I don't think it's a question of whether or not humans should
have a choice to do what they want because if a human being
really and truly wishes to commit an action, no matter how
atrocious or morally-incorrect, the deed is done and that's
that. There's a strong reality that every human is a
potential menace; obviously, that's why we have police,
courts, and prisons. Man as a collective unit cannot be
trusted as each person is subject to individual assessment.
In a related sense, Satanists tend to live a very pragmatic
life, leaving moralism to those weak souls who are, quite
honestly, better off being chained down to an oppressive dogma
and not getting in everyone else's hair. (Of course, this
point only accounts for the innocuous follower types and not
the abortion clinic bombers and other members of the lunatic
fringe.) I truly feel that some people really crave slavery,
and they profoundly need it, practically beg for it in the
guise of a god, a drug, a bad relationship, etc; and others
live their lives in search of true personal freedom and
intellectual advancement, many of whom are Satanists."
Statement: "I don't agree with your philosophies, therefore,
I will condemn your religion."
"Go ahead. It's your ignorant prerogative. But, it does seem
to me that, by stating that, you really can't deal with what
other people do unless you can get involved in it. If you are
such a herd-dependent and weak individual, you would
undoubtedly make a ridiculous excuse for a Satanist. I can't
give you anything to fill the void in your life, and neither
can Satanism. If you are sour on life, don't blame it on me
or my religion. Why do you pay so much attention to Satanism
if you don't care? Because, for some unwarranted reason,
you've convinced yourself that you do. What a waste of
(X) Question: "I cannot anticipate what would be clear and unclear
to most regarding the 'Eleven Satanic Rules of the
Earth,' so I will ask you to clarify some things for
me personally. In #5, what is the Mating Signal?
How do you give it and know it was given? Does 'she
said no, but I know what she really meant' ever
arise as a problem in defining it? Does the CoS have
clear-cut stances on casual sex, monogamy,
contraception and abortion?"
"Well, considering that you and I are two distinctly different
human beings, what works for me might not work for you. In
other words, the definition of the mating signal will vary
according to combination of participants, situation, and other
subjective criteria. Depending on these, the mating signal may
be repeated "sexy" looks thrown your way, or it might have to
be the other person literally saying, "Hey, would you like to
fuck?" The proof's in the pudding, to be cliche and, yes, when
someone says "no," they generally mean it. There are no instant
cure-all answers in Satanism, our very philosophy harshly
discourages such non-thought and what I would call "the easy way
out" as an excuse, but with awareness and reason, we fare pretty
damn well for ourselves. As for the CoS having policies on
casual sex, monogamy, etc, those aforementioned are all choices,
open to each individual Satanist. The Eleven Satanic Rules of the
Earth, although aptly beneficial for non-Satanists to heed, were
scripted for a Satanic audience, one that has the whole context
Statement: "I tried Satanism, but it did nothing for me."
"And, I suspect that you believe that a model airplane builds
itself. Satanism didn't disappoint you, you disappointed
yourself and can't face the blame you deserve. You don't
improve your Satanism, you improve yourself. That's the
giant point you missed through all of that hard searching
for easy answers in a book. Why not go back to Xtianity.
They'll tell you what to do with your life and you won't
even have to think."
(X) Question: "Regarding the 10th Satanic Rule of the Earth,
how does the CoS feel about mass market killing
(the meat industry). These people are not
killing for their food, there is always a
wasted surplus. Are they breaking this rule?
Today in this country we will obviously not
starve if we don't "bring down the buffalo,"
so should people continue to kill animals
for this purpose?"
"Satanists feel that the killing of an animal, outside of
self-defense or the need for food, is grossly irresponsible.
Many Satanists I know are avid animal lovers, including
myself and Anton LaVey and, in most cases, we find our pets
to be infinitely more interesting and vital beings than
most of the human mess around us. The reality is that nature
has assigned different animals to serve different purposes:
cats and dogs don't have enough meat, probably taste pretty
bad, and function better alive than dead as companions,
security, hunting partners, etc; as opposed to cows, sheep
and the like, who are generally herd animals, have no natural
defense and little if any independent thinking skills, taste
good, and are considered cattle by their physical and mental
realities. (Otherwise, they wouldn't be the preferred menu
choice for the other beasts of the fields.) Obviously, meat
is a staple food, so the killing of animals for this purpose
is inherently no different than what happens in nature,
although the procedure seems sanitized in people's eyes
because it's done behind closed doors; killing by proxy, if
you will. I do agree that the methods employed are a bit cruel
and unnecessary and, if a more considerate method could take
its place, I'd certainly be in favor of it. As for wasted
surplus, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the meat
industry and, perhaps, calls for some regulatory legislation."
Statement: "I really want to join the Church of Satan...
I mean, A LOT! I want to be a Priest and be one
of you. I want magical powers and a direct
phone-line to Satan."
Question: "To apply the name of Satan to this church, implies
a connection to the Bible. What is the stance of
the CoS on these popular tales and predictions?
Who is Christ to the CoS?"
"We take the name Satan in concept only. Any other connection
is thrust upon us by anxious, ignorant, and/or misinformed
people. The archetype itself, by whatever name is appropriate,
is far older than Xtianity or Judaism, and it was these
religions that, in order to gain a foothold in the world,
decided to destroy and bastardize the "pagan gods." Satan has
generally been the character who has challenged sterile thought,
encouraged indulgence, rebelled against slavery, and truly
represented human nature and all that the mundane world offers.
By extension, instead of worshiping Satan, we emulate him. The
Xtian bible was probably one of the greatest pieces of propaganda
(with Mein Kampf running a close second) in world history but,
quite frankly, a scientifically, philosophically, and
technologically advanced civilization should logically cease to
have a need for such outmoded parables and slave ethics. But,
seeing as insecurity never goes out of style, those in need seek
their babysitters in whatever avenue is acceptable; in LaVey's
words, a "privileged lie." Many Satanists also view the Xtian
bible as examples of mankind's hypocrisy, incompetence, and
spinelessness. Jesus Christ is the paradigm for these qualities.
How can anyone with human insight and reasonable logic skills
accept the phrase "the meek shall inherit the Earth" without
laughing? History certainly doesn't support this assertion.
From my experience, many people who call themselves Xtians are
so merely by convenience and not so much by a rational decision,
if rationale is possible. It's a truly insecure philosophy that
demands its tenets to be installed in humans from early
childhood, because if it was introduced for the first time to
adults, many would raise their eyebrow in suspicion and disgust.
Many Xtians I've met haven't even read their bible (at least, not
critically), but keep the book on their coffee table to appear
"righteous." And, some just skip the sanguine parts. Many of them
really seem to get off on their religion, the self-righteousness
feeds their impoverished egos. As trivial as it seems, it's a
glaring metaphor for Xtianity in general, an amass of
contradictions, and almost Freudian."
Question: "As a representative for Satanism, you do interviews
and lectures. Isn't this preaching? And, doesn't this
violate your rule of not giving your opinions unless
"Of course this isn't preaching and it doesn't go against the
First Satanic Rule of the Earth. If you open a magazine, turn
on your radio, or click on your television and see an interview
with a Satanist, you've reached a point where you will either
not read or look at it, or you will. If you choose the latter,
you have consigned yourself to the information and, by your
own actions, have given your non-verbal consent to receive such
information about our religion. If you attend a lecture, you
have even more so welcomed yourself to our "opinions." No one
coerced you to attend or read or watch or listen. Assuming
that Satanism can be preached is to assume that anyone can be a
Satanist, which is grossly false. We know this and wouldn't
bother proselytizing like other religions. It would waste our
time and we'd have to care, which we don't."
Question: "Regarding the 11th Satanic Rule of the Earth,
please define "destroy." It is a very strong word
to misplace. Does this mean to literally "kill?"
For example if a woman overcomes a man who is
trying to rape her, will she break this rule if
she does not kill him?"
"Killing isn't the only way to destroy an assailant or enemy.
You can humiliate the person, get them fired, etc, ad
infinitum, depending on your capacity for sadism. To say that
Satanism tells a person to kill is ridiculous, and merely
offers a human being yet another scapegoat for his actions,
a very un-Satanic behavior. If a person chooses to murder
another human being, he or she must be prepared to deal with
the consequences, and not complain about them once they come
down (i.e., the 8th Satanic Rule of the Earth). To me, killing
an enemy would be boring and ineffective, unless it was in
self-defense. It is far more satisfying and appropriate to
keep them alive and suffering."