Is Satanism Misunderstood?
That was a rhetorical question. Of course Satanism is misunderstood, the vast majority of what most people know about Satanism comes from movies or sensationalized crimes by self- styled Satanists. I don’t even need to mention how ridiculous the former is as a source of knowledge about anything, and judging any faith by the actions of a few crazed individuals, is, well, ridiculous. I mean, John List was a devout Methodist, in fact many family annihilators profess deep faith. Yet the media rarely mentions that, why? Basically only when atrocities are committed by people who have “unpopular” religions/lifestyles are the crime and the religion/lifestyle connected. Hmm.
Moving right along, this post was inspired by this unpleasant story, where a self-styled Satanist murdered his father, tried to murder his mother, and planned other murders before he was caught. No, this disturbed teenager was not a Satanist, or more accurately, his actions were most definitely not sanctioned by the rules of Satanism. Satanism has rules? Who knew? Yes, and very curious rules they are indeed. They aren’t what I was expecting, and they had a satisfying internal consistency. So, with no further ado, the Eleven Commandments of Satanism with my comments in italics:
1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked. Stated succinctly, MYOB. I can’t fault this rule, in fact the world would be a better place if this was a commandment in all religions.
2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them. No bitching. Again, the world would be a more pleasant place if everyone followed this commandment.
3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there. At this point, Satanism is sounding pretty good. And it sounds like you are safe in your home from a true Satanist. Wow, is there any other religion that has such a rule?
4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy. Well, OK, don’t mess with a Satanist in their home. Again, one shouldn’t mess with anyone in their home. This one is a little scary though, how much annoyance would it take? “Oops, I spilt my coffee … no, stop, I’m sorry, aaaaahhhhhhh!”
5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal. Looking good again, not only would rape be prohibited, even hitting on someone unless they were sending clear encouraging signals is prohibited.
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. OK, thou shalt not steal. The codicil is a little odd, but if applied fairly, I don’t have a problem with it.
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. Well, this is the mumbo-jumbo part. Still, it’s certainly harmless, and can even be interpreted as the basic “you must be true to your God” clause as is in just about all faiths.
8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself. No whining, I can get aboard with that. Interesting in combination with no. 2, basically keep your troubles to yourself unless they are legitimate … and someone wants to hear about them.
9. Do not harm little children. What, no babies to be sacrificed? Hollywood had this wrong? Yerp, Satanists not only can’t kill children, they are not even allowed to harm them.
10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food. Oh no, the animal sacrifices are out too! Well, unless you eat them afterwards.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him. OK, the destroy him is a bit harsh, but it’s never a good idea to bother people in public, especially after they ask you to stop.
Well, that’s Satanism in a nutshell. Or at least the tenets of the Official Church of Satan. Basically sounds like Satanists are like bikers or gang bangers, don’t mess with them and you will likely be just fine. Since I’m an advocate of not messing with people under most circumstances, no problem. I have no desire to convert though. Of course, I never have a desire to convert. In any event, there’s no particular point to this post beyond the obvious, any faith or belief system can be used to rationalize atrocities, as the twisted teenager in the earlier link demonstrated. As his actions were more than likely very annoying to the average Satanist, like they need bad press, I wonder how he will fare if he ever meets any?
(The above image of Lucifer’s fall is public domain under US copyright law, as it expires 70 years after the creator’s death. Gustav Doré died in 1883, so the copyright is long expired. It was one of a number of illustrations Doré made for Milton’s Paradise Lost. It’s actually one of his more well known image, for good reason, click on it to see the full size version.)