America and the Satanist Next Door
If you live in America, you probably live within a few blocks of at least one Satanist. In fact, they’re around you all day, every day. Many of them probably go to church on Sunday, and some even have those cute little Jesus bumper stickers. But don’t be fooled — most of them are not really Christians.
See, most people are confused about what modern Satanism (and original Christianity) actually is. Their knowledge of the two essentially boil down to two main things — Satanists are evil devil worshipers, and Christians are kind, loving followers of God. But it’s not anywhere near that simple. In fact, many (if not most) Satanists follow what’s called LaVeyan Satanism — a relatively “normal” belief system that focuses on some very familiar ideas, such as: loving your family and friends above all else, enjoying life to its fullest. They don’t believe in human or animal sacrifice, and very few even believe in the devil. Those sorts of things are cultish behaviors that only extremely fringe groups get into – and usually grow out of when they grow up. One interesting philosophy that Satanists do belive in, however, is getting ahead by rising above the “regular people”. From Wikipedia:
Hmm…striving to stand above the majority…not hesitating to exploit those who are naive or overly kind. Does that sound familiar? This is virtual blueprint for modern, cuthroat business practice. This is part of our culture of “being motivated”, being a “go-getter”, and “being willing to be successful”. You get what you can, and if your customer base is too stupid to realize that they don’t need you, then so be it. This is the foundation for a large percentage of businesses today.
Above and beyond the basic capitalistic philosophy, however, a few types of people come to mind. Television evangelists for one. These people are masters of becoming rich and powerful by preying on the weak. Their entire model for success is getting their message to as many misguided sheeple as possible, and then using their superior charisma and powers of persuasion to illicit money from them. It’s hugely successful.
Then you have the lottery. This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. I often end up in parts of various towns that are pretty bad off, and one thing that’s constant is a steady stream of poor people showing up to purchase three things — tobacco products, alchohol, and lottery tickets. Many only come only for the latter. I sometimes lose track of time as I watch victim after victim walk through the door every minute or so and hand their money to the system. They say things like, “No, not those kind — they’re not hot right now…give me those other ones…”
Here’s the thing — the people running the lottery know what it really is. It’s a way to get money from the ignorant, and the ignorant tend to be poor. Look where the money ends up going from the lottery. When it goes to education that means it goes to those who are getting an education, i.e. not the ones who are dumping money into the lottery. The policy makers know this; it’s all part of the same underlying theme: exploit the stupid and weak in order to benefit those at the top. You’ll notice that this is the primary tenet of LaVeyan Satanism.
In other words, if you ask a Satanist what they think about the fact that person x is getting rich off of person y — who happens to be misguided, uneducated, or otherwise unable to keep from being taken advantage of — you’ll find that the answer is something along the lines of, “That’s how it works.”, “That’s the natural order of things.”, or even, “So what?”.
The disturbing thing is that this is the exact same way many powerful Christian businessmen would answer. (in private, of course)
I can’t tell you how many Christians I know who essentially have the exact same philosophy on life as these so-called “Satanists”. As mentioned, modern Satanists don’t believe in killing people, they don’t believe in killing animals, and most of them don’t even believe in a “devil” — let alone worship one.
What they believe in is themselves. They believe that they and their families are the most important people in the world, and that everything else is peripheral to that little universe. Furthermore, they (the Satanists) think that if some family on the south side of town is too stupid to see to it that their kids do well in school, then they deserve to live in poverty and hardship. If they don’t do what it takes to get ahead, then that’s their fault — not anybody elses.
Is this not a central theme for the American religious right — and perhaps even capitalism itself?
I know many people who think exactly like this. They are regular church-goers, they focus on education and other forms of betterment, save (hoard) money in the bank in order to ensure the success of their family, and have a general contempt for those who don’t do the same. Otherwise, they’re pretty nice people.
Look, I’m not arguing whether it’s right or wrong. I have my own views on things but I’m not going to share them here. My point is that this philosophy of “get ahead and screw those who don’t do the same” is a wholly Satanic view. It’s actually the foundation of one of the main divisions of Satanism itself.
So let’s contrast this with what it is to be a Christian. The issue I have with most Christians is that I don’t think they really know what Jesus taught. Their understanding of what it is to be a Christian comes mostly from what they feel is right, and what they were taught was right by their parents — not what Jesus actually says in the Bible.
Interestingly enough, and in support of the main thesis of this writing, the modern “Christian” beliefs are quite contrary to many of Jesus’s clearest teachings. In fact, many of the modern Christian philosophies are far more in line with a LaVeyan Satanism than with Jesus’s original ideas.
Take for example the family values taught today by virtually every Christian organization in the world. You can’t go anywhere in the U.S. without being inundated by the relationship between Christianity and family values. In the U.S. this roughly equates to putting the family before just about everything. Again, is this a bad thing?
Well, Jesus had some rather radical views about the family — views that most Christians have never been exposed to in all their years of church. Specifically, Jesus taught that the family and following Christ are mutually exclusive — meaning, if you do one you can’t do the other.
Let’s be clear here — this is not some preature wearing a Rolex and speaking with a microphone. These are the words of Jesus Christ himself.
So what does this passage mean? I’m no Biblical scholar, but I think I have a pretty good idea. It essentially means that family is to mean nothing compared to the following of Jesus. Only the most jaded of Atheists or anti-religion proponents would claim it means you should actually hate your family in order to follow God. It doesn’t mean that. What it does mean is that you should leave them behind in order to pursue Him. It means that if you have loyalty anywhere else (including to yourself), you cannot follow Christ.
That’s pretty major, friends and neighbors. That’s very major. Why is it such a big deal? Well, because no modern Christians believe or follow this. They believe, in fact, pretty much the exact opposite. And interestingly enough, their beliefs coincide almost perfectly with those of modern Satanists: protect and love your family above all else.
But that’s not all. Think about possessions. Satanists believe in indulgence and partaking of pleasure. They think life is for having a good time and enjoying friends and family. Sound familiar? Yeah, it should — that’s what most Americans think — including Christians. Christ, on the other hand, had a different view; here he responds to a young man asking what else he must do in order to follow him:
So I think that’s pretty clear, but the question remains. Does that just apply to aspiring disciples, or does he mean for all Christians to do that? Here he speaks more to the issue of wealth:
Not to point fingers or anything, but how many Christians do you know who absolutely “love” money? I know many. Today, among the upper-middle class and definitely the upper classes, investment portfolios and church clothes go together like bread and butter. Owning two nice cars, a generous sized house, having a loving, tight-knit family — these are all core aspirations for modern Christians.
And most of these people cannot simply cop out with the “providing for my family” defense. First off, many of the people that you and I know enjoy amassing wealth far above and beyond what they need. Secondly, the whole family thing has been covered. When Jesus essentially says abandon your family and possessions in order to follow me, a so-called Christian cannot very well say he’s using all that money in the bank to provide for his family.
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Again, is it a bad thing to want to provide for your family? To keep something in the bank in preparation for bad times? Perhaps not. The trick is that you won’t find a Satanist who will disagree with this way of life. Afterall, the Satanist believes in taking care of his own first and foremost.
Revenge and Punishment
Then there’s the issue of punishment and revenge. We’ve all heard the whole “turn the other cheek” thing tossed around, but how many Christians do you know that actually practice or believe this in real life? Think about your prominent, Christian friends. The ones that go to church regularly, have the nice house, the nice family, etc. What would happen if someone assaulted one of them in the street? Would they fight back? What if someone came into their home? Do they keep a gun in the house? What is that gun for, if not to shoot an intruder?
Well, Jesus has some very specific teachings on the matter:
Here he specifically brings up the whole “eye for an eye” thing — and proceeds to say that it’s wrong. “Do not resist one who is evil.”, he says. Interesting. How many proud, strong, Christian men follow this? How many times have you seen and read about good Christian families sitting in court praying for the death pentalty after a loved one was killed? Or hoping that a criminal would resist so that they could be shot by the authorities.
Yet again, these are all fundamental beliefs of the Satanist. Satanists believe in caring for and protecting their loved ones above all else. This equates to it being “right” to kill any stupid idiot who comes into their home with the intention of harming one of their family. It also equates to wishing for (and/or taking part in) the punishment of someone who brings harm to someone they care for.
Does that sound familiar? It should. That’s how most Christians today feel about punishment of violent crime.
American Christians today, for the most part, do not follow Christ by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, most barely know what Christ actually taught at all.
Instead, modern Christians follow a philosophy that I would describe as “self-centered iso-protectionism”, i.e. gather together those of like appearance, class, and religion — and then let the rest fend for themselves. There are exceptions, of course, but this is the general theme.
I’ve said all along that I’m not judging this approach; it might actually be a good way to do things. Take care of your own. If someone is too stupid to take advantage of what’s available, then that’s their fault, and if someone comes after what’s yours, they deserve punishment. It’s just interesting to realize that this is precisely what modern Satanism teaches — not what Jesus taught.
I think that it would do the Christian community a lot of good to come to grips with where their current teachings diverge from the source. They need to decide which set of beliefs is right, which is wrong, and why. I’m not saying this would necessarily solve any particular problem, but at least there would be a consistent message within the movement. And that message could then be discussed civily among fellow citizens of the country, and of the world. Few things are more disruptive than cognitive dissonance — especially within a belief system that’s used to sculpt the conscience of millions worldwide.
In case anyone’s curious, I am most definitely not a Satanist. I find the “religion”, like most others, to be completely illogical and full of contradictions. Thumbing through this short primer on their beliefs will show you what I mean. Rule 7 of their code, for example, says:
“Acknowledge the power of magic if you have used it successfully to obtain your desires.”
No thanks. I’ll stick with science. I just wanted to to clear this up in the event that this pieces sees some measure of circulation and invokes the wrath of Christians thinking I’m promoting this stuff. I’m not.