The Church of Satan hardly issues books. Some of you might have read A.S. LaVey’s « The Satanic Bible ». But, it seems to me this is the first book written by P.H. Gilmore who’s currently the High Priest at the very top of the Church of Satan (CoS).
The goal of this review is to provide, as far as possible, the most objective yet uncompromising anaylisis of this book and of the ideology it spreads.
This book could be grosserly split it in 3 parts : 1/ reaffirmation of CoS’s basic ideology, LaVey’s fundamentals (summarized by Gilmore) ; 2/ P.H. Gilmore’s personal stances about several current topics in the form of a collection of heterogeneous articles ; 3/ some rituals written by the author and his wife, Peggy Nadramia.
The first part consists of articles collected during past years, written by P.H. Gilmore. THey reassert CoS ideology and stands as quite conservative relatively to the founder’s ideas. There aren’t many new ideas or topics.
On the second part, P.H. Gilmore actualize the Satanic view, applies it to current topics, social problems etc.
On the third, he and his wife, Peggy Nadramia, developps and disclose some rituals of CoS.
Part I: Generalities
1. The name of the movement
Satanism’s rather a provocative label stuck on rationalism, skepticism and individualism, « utilitarian pseudo-ritualization », boundless humour and ‘serious derision’ ?!
But, is the label using Satan as a symbol deserved ? This symbols doesn’t refer ideologically to medieval satanism, as far as I know. Maybe just aesthetically. In a way, isn’t Satan a very convenient/adaptated symbol of freedom of thought ?
In the chapter « Satanism : The feared Religion », laveyan Satanism is said to be « a religion of Social Darwinism » (p.26) featuring a « rejection of egalitarianism », underlining a political aspect we’ll discuss further after.
The « Nine Satanic Statements » are reproduced here, as well as « The Eleven Satanic Rules of Earth » which stands as the laveyan fundamentals, the base of satanic philosophy that this chapter was ment to reassert.
I’ll discuss both poles I see in Satanist ideology : an individual pole and a social (political) pole of values, opinions, ideas.
Part II: Individual Pole: The Satanic Ethos/Habitus
The few core beliefs of Satanism are these.
Gilmore defines Satanism as a « secular lifestyle » (p.56), in which Satanists « don’t believe in supernatural » (p.31). Gilmore also talks about Satanism as a « rational philosophy » (p.187) and as a « skeptical Epicurean atheism » (p.186).
About children and youth education, a statement clearly sweeps away any accusation of proselytism in schoolyards : « The only youths that interest us are our own children » (p.95). Also : « Theses young individuals are not forced into Satanism, but reared to employ an open and questioning approach to all things, particularly religions and philosophies » (p.95). Children are taught « to study all things not to worship anything above themselves and those whom they value » (p.96).
Here we can notice that no belief is encouraged, but rather the use of intellectual tools, thought process that include questioning, that’s to say, doubt and critical thinking.
About moral, values : « Satanists understand that ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are purely subjective values » (.p.192) and therefore embrace a moral relativism, as expressed here : « Each individual thus generates his own hierarchy of values and judges everything based on his own standards. » (p.209).
2. Religion, Rituals and conception of Satan
Satanism sometimes is defined as a philosophy, sometimes as a religion. Let’s explore this religious side to note the differences with other religions.
First of all, « the practice of sacrifice is rejected by Satanists as a Christian aberration » (p.31 ou 32), which goes against some grotesque accusations.
The ritual of « Greater Magic [is seen] as a « self- transformational psychodrama » part of a « self-therapy » (p.32). Here we see this isn’t about an external divine energy or any other supernatural entities. Anyway, to destroy a cliché Gilmore adds : « we [Satanists] don’t believe in supernatural » (p.31). This may reminds a psychological approach of religious phenomena such as the Jungian preoccupation with the psychological effects of religion in people’s minds. Also, « the ritual process is often viewed as cathartic » (p.38) : the theme of catharsis is really old… but, still in psychotherapeutical context, it rather makes me think to psychoanalysis’ early experiments : Freud and Breuer’s « cathartic therapy ». Indeed, according to Gilmore, « ritual has a psychological purpose » (p.213), as a « controlled self-delusion » (p.214).
Conceiving religion in a psychological perspective and rites as psychodramas is really interesting. Note the psychodrama is also a psychotherapeutic technique different from both aformentionned ones.
Secondly, about the way Satanists conceive Satan : « Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates » (p.31). Some Satanists embrace a more energetic conception : they « extend this symbol to encompass the evoltuionnary ‘‘force’’ of entropy ». But, there’s a refusal of any anthropomorphic, personal god : « Satan is not a conscious entity to worship ». Gilmore gives a clearlier atheistic, rationalist direction to CoS (see : « Satanists are de facto atheists » p.208). Some claimed that LaVey has been perplex and changing about this issue of the status of Satan, as an entity or as a concept. Gilmore denies it. He talks about the role of fantasy and points the importance of symbolism and metaphor (p.207). Here, for sure, the official conception of CoS is clear : no supernatural entities, « Satan is a symbol and nothing more » (p.208), for « Man has always created his gods, rather than his gods creating him. » (p.207), says Gilmore quoting LaVey’s The Satanic Bible.
Satan may also be seen as a « reservoir of power inside each human » (p.31) : such an energetic conception (of human being) may remind vitalist philosophies, Freudian libido, or lorenzian ethology… This energetic view of life isn’t new, but scientifically a bit dated and disputable. Maybe it’s a spiritualist remnant, presented as an alternative to materialism…
Endly, last but not least, one of the most interesting statement might be this one : « Evil [stands] as a figure of pride and rebellion » (p.25). This clearly show the aesthetic and symbolic value of Satan : only a symbol but a powerful one !
A bit further, we may wonder about Satanism similarities with a pantheistic approach. Just look at the words « Universe » (p.197) or « Nature’s order »: it’s written with a capital.
But, let’s not forget that Satanists are slightly different from atheists for they claim to be « ‘I-theists’, with [their] own healthy ego as the center of [their] perspective » (p.209). This represents the fall of god and evil inside man. The de-projection of god and satan in a supernatural world to place ‘em inside human psyché, on a psychological plane. Again it seems as a psychological view of religion. Further, more psychoanalytically, we could wonder whether god is for super-ego, what devil is for id, in this system. Id would then correspond with animal instincts, nature, still in man (although this vision is scientifically disputable), while super-ego would correspond with rather cultural elements, such as norms, values, laws etc.
Ego might simply be the dominant resulting of super-ego and id’s fight : a conscious, self-aware space, the third way between the 2 extremes, the balance sought by Satanists... Simple metaphorical supposition.
Lucifer has fallen again on earth, both bringer of light, and good and evil ; supernatural conceptions have fallen down back on earth, in man’s psyché.
Subsequently, « there are no elements of devil worship in the Church of Satan » (p.31), which constrasts in a striking way to the folkloric representations of Witches Sabbaths, medieval satanic cults and current false conceptions people might associate to laveyan Satanism.
What about magic ? It seems there aren’t mystic, supernatural elements in this : just self confidence and especially « Will » used to improve skills in material world (p.195-196 ; p.197-198). Again a psychological conception of magic, as well for ritual and religion. There would be nothing else but matter, thus the Satanic position is « achievement in the mundane world » (p.196).
Anyway, we could wonder whether Satanism doesn’t encounter the danger to reproduce unwittingly more than the aesthetics of a religion and, at least, to be considered exactly as any other religion (see the words : « Magus », « rites », « Age of Fire », Satanic Age »).
Of course, as well members as non members are warned and have to adopt a critical distance ‘emselves according to the CoS symbolic and metaphorical approach. But misunderstandings are always here and sometimes aren’t useful, as teach the accusations of ritual sacrifices… If people would have known the CoS to be so secular, such accusations mightn’t need to be denied on an FBI investigation report (note 1, p.26 ; p.53). But, we must admit such an organization as CoS cannot only benefit from the shocking image of Satan : it has to pay for it and assume its timeless role of scapegoat… which, however, also might be turned upside down as an advantage !
Inside the Church there might be people who embrace far more supernatural and spiritualist views, anyway : they’re free but non representative of CoS official ideas.
3. Satanic Worldview : human conception
About the way human being is conceived, Gilmore says that « to the satanist, he is his own god » (p.31).
He adds « misanthropy is the basis of satanic lifestyle » (p.46) : isn’t it contradictory to seeking pleasure etc. ? Isn’t it contradictory to the reasonable hedonism praised by CoS ? What kind, what degree of misanthropy is it ? Is it a real disgust or just part of the ambivalent (rather realistic) view of human being between disgust and fascination ?
The value of « progress » seems to be one aim of satanists (p.46). It is valued as well as the creativity in individuals. Interesting in a society which doubts about such values. But it should be precised what kind of progress it is about : individual, social (as a consequence) etc. ?
An interesting point is the « Might is right » (p.49) moto. Might : this term may have many meanings, but what Gilmore here points is that being strong doesn’t refer exclusively to physical strength but also to intelligence. Might is conceived in all its forms. What is considered « right » is determined by the desires of each human participants : it is their ideal, their « is-to-be », as opposed to « ought-to-be ». The recognition of « is » (reality) should lead to fulfil one’s « is-to-be » (various desires of modification, improvement of the « is »). « Ought-to-be » frozes things : it’s the tacit recognition of the lack of power to turn « is » to « is-to-be ».
Satanism praises hedonism, but one has to note « Satanist always remain in control of their exploration of pleasure. « Indulgence-NOT compulsion » is our founder’s dictum that moves us out of hedonism, which by definition is unbridled and thus compelled », says Gilmore (p.191-192).
Part III: Social Pole: Satanic Political Project
a) Social stratification
An important and polemical statement about Satanism is Social stratification (p.34), herited from Ayn Rand’s objectivism : « natural talents are the factor of one’s reached level » ( ?). It supposes that society is fair (consciously or not), which is disputable. What about nepotism and plutocracy ? Is being a relative of a wealthy and powerful man a talent ? Does it require any effort ?
It also notices and / or prones the « survival of the strong » : does it rather refers to Malthus or to Darwin ? It seems satanism loves to justify its ideology with nature, natural order etc. which we’ll discuss later.
The first may ask a moral problem : is it moral for a Satanist to let the weak being crushed ? (Passive ; malthusianism) to crush him/her wittingly ? (active) ? It seems the passive (true) version of malthusianism provides a naturalistic justification to a disputable social order (cf. Lerner). The active version sinks in contradiction : if nature does things well with her laws, why the need to help her, to imitate imperfectly her laws ?
The second asks this question : is man influenced only by nature ? and culture ? which one is dominant in which domains ?
« re-establishment of meritocracy » (p.59): can we say « re- » ? Has it actually ever been deleted ? If not, we just can say Satanism won’t bring any revolution over there buit rather justify an establishment, a political system.
But, maybe during the welfare state period… Welfare state is the satan of CoS ?!
About stratification, Gilmore states « it is not something that need to be advocated-it’s happenning on its own » (p.86) : we’re here in a ‘passive malthusianism’. No need to eliminate welfares, no need to change anything in this society, in a way : it happens according to some natural laws stratifying society. Thus, the Satanic political project seems to be denied here, at least for stratification. I mean : no political Satanism creating extra-rules/laws or strengthening those existing of Nature is praised. But, is a passive social darwinism still a social darwinism ?!
The society is described and wished as being meritocratic : but this might be misused as to justify a statu quo and an establishement (cf. Lerner) !
b) Rejection of egalitarianism
About the critic against egalitarianism : why not making a distinction between egality and equity ? Egality might be making everyone equal, same ; equity : allowing all people equal chances in society, in life, (as much as possible), equal rights, equal duties for all.
Society is seen in a naturalist fashion as a « jungle of social interaction » (p.31) : the society is evil, brutal and unfair etc. Is man indeed evil ? It’s based on a biological view of human and culture ? Isn’t it a bit simplistic ?
In a way, this ideology implies a social statu quo : no need for a satanic ideology but for Christians and egalitarians. Although both pullulate, the society is actually not ruled by their prinicples… Society rather seems already non egalitarian. If not, why would egalitarists try to make it egalitarian then ?
c) Criminal policy
Gilmore praises a « securitarian » policy : an « elite police force », « forced labours » for criminals : briefly, a rightist criminal policy. Will it solve crime ? Would such a policy be a solution to US criminality ?
Of course, it’s against egalitarianism and the kind of humanism we currently have.
d) Fascistic and Nazi Accointances ?
Gilmore offers an interesting disambiguation about Satanism sometimes considered as a fascism: as Satanism stands for individualism and fascism stands for the abstract notion of state put above individuals (p.85). It’s a strong counter argument to those who mix Satanism and fascism.
Gilmore also refutes any complicity between Satanism and neo-Nazism : Satanism gives « no value to bloodlines » (p.33), is therefore not racist and can’t embrace neo-Nazi ideology.
In brief, my essential question here, is this weird duality between Satanism as a political project (thus intrinsically social) and Satanism as a way of life/philosophy/religion clearly individualistic.
Maybe we could say marxian analysis grid is for marxist political project what Satanic (individual) worldview is for Satanic political (social) project.
Thus, you may embrace the first one, without including the second one, which might be seen as just an utopian metastasis…
2. Satanists as a social group of individualists :
a) De facto hedonistic ?
In a way, self indulgence and other hedonistic paths, aren’t they really widely trodden paths among our modern occidental world ? Think to the success of entertainment, consumation, numberless forms of pleasure, from raw sexual ones to specific artistic ones… Satanic philosophy just justifies it, praises for it : it’s aware of it, unlike most people in the herd, alright. Anyway, is it that revolutionary but in Christian dogmatic circles ?
Why the need to praise such values that seem to be obvious in a capitalist mass consumption society ?
Indeed, most people actually don’t seem to be aware of having some values and behaving a certain way according to ‘em : they simply live. Satanic philosophy rather provide either a justification or a way to escape narrow-minded morals and sterile dogmas.
Although LaVey’s work might have had an affect on masses (rather indirectly, through artistic influences maybe), it however might just testimony some deeper change in our society. In a way, such a book as many spiritual books, religious, ideological writings or even movements mightn’t precede but just follow the birth of the very social changes. Maybe is Satanism just the testimony, the verbalization of a socially constructed ideology, a modern « way of life » deeply marked and aware of the necessary emancipation, « individuation », of women and men, from herd’s beliefs and gregarious movements etc. ? Isn’t it corresponding with modernity’s social changes (f.i. in social link, values etc.) ?
Maybe religions and ideologies rather express, justify, rationalize a preexisting order than create a new one…
Isn’t it a breathe of fresh air in an era that stinks obscurantism ?
« Satanists view themselves as being different from the general run of humanity » (p.42)
Many people are unawarely carnal implicitely carnal consumers (as P.H. Gilmore compares consumerism’s enslavement to Christianity’s (p.47)). Could we say they’re, at least partly, de facto Satanists, after the expression of Gilmore ?
CoS is directly against the « etheral-type » and in a way, wants to help ‘em : such words aren’t really helpful for the masses who already are fleshly consumeristic hedonists…. Isn’t it altruism by the way ?
Can’t we wonder if there aren’t a huge mass of de facto satanists (p.89) ? Many hedonistic, fleshly, individualistic, materialistic people ? But who aren’t that aware of it ? Further : isn’t it the very reason for the re-awakening of religious dogmatisms, intergrisms, extremisms such as Baptists and extreme Muslims ? Isn’t modernism bearing many common points with Satanism and the necessary cause of post-modernist neo-obscurantism ? (I don’t say that post-modernism is utterly bad : I just point the return to dogmatisms in it, really helped by relativism and materialism).
A tiny link is made with heavy metal world : « indeed, satanism has penetrated the culture in many ways and obvious imagery has particularly conquered the heavy metal world. Yet our religion is not taken seriously. » (p.56). Is it really never taken seriously ? I guess there are exceptions. After all, Satanism is not for everybody, as says Gilmore. Thus, isn’t it normal to have only a minority of people, even inside heavy metal world, to truely know what Satanism is ?
A typical endogroupal bias is thinking you and people in your group are really different from others (exogroup). But, is it real or rather a groupal effect, a collective fantasm too sweet and convenient for ego ? I guess it’s a dangerous gregarious mechanism and I don’t see how could Satanism avoid it, for it is a group, only a group among others. Hopefully, the idea of an individual organization which is actually an organization without members, as says Gilmore, might prevent from such idealization of endogroup.
Part IV: Nature ? …and Culture ?
1. The question of naturalist worldview
This issue seems to me of importance for it then is an important piece to justify the behaviour and politics encouraged by Satanism.
« Nature », « Universe’s order » (p.57), « Natural law » (p.57) : Isn’t it rather a culturally, socially constructed law system inspired by our own view, own interpretation of how nature functionates ? The idea of « order » is interesting : we can either see it as a « nature-based » justification of a social order (marxian analysis grid), or an a posteriori social justification of a preexisting natural order (maybe religion functionnates in this way…).
« The Church of Satan demonstrates a rational philosophy consistent with Man’s nature » (p.59) : what is « Man’s nature » ? Does the satanic conception of human matches nature or rather culture ?
There isn’t any in-depth analysis of CoS ideology political consequences on philosophy, no criticism no precision of some presupposes / key premices such as « Nature’s order ».
We can notice a strange reflexion expressed on page 199 : Gilmore « the oldest « reptile » part of the brain that can only be accessed via very strong emotion ». It’s necessary to emphasize such partition of human encephalia in neomammalian, mammalian and reptilian brain is dated, no more seen as correct, for the simple reasons as well neocortex as limbic brain endorse both recent and ancient evolutionnary functions. This conception of the brain as evolutionnally built up in strates, as in geology seems to have been denied empirically.
If Satanism wants to get inspired of biology and neuropsychology, it should keep up to date.
And it should remember, science, if carefully understood, has not to provide us with the most convenient answers and approvals to any of our philosophies, but rather with questions and doubts, closer to truth.
Nature remains mysterious and any attempt to understand it is also a projection of our inner self ideas interferring with truths. Maybe it would be better to adapt one’s ideas to science than adapting, distorting science itself to justify one’s ideologies, in picking up things here and there, conveniently, disregarding facts.
But, it would be scientism…
Therefore, a philosophical foundation might be more appropriate.
Satanism doesn’t seem to like altruism. Regardless the different meanings that it may have (in religions, philosophies and sociobiology) and to the fact it might be necessary for any human society (as it is for many social species), can we really say that it isn’t Satanic to be altruist ? In a way yes, you haven’t to help others. It goes against individualism. But on the other hand, it might be a personal need for the altruist to be generous, or it might be a challenge, or (more) a handicap (it requires efforts and « strength » from the givers) (cf. Handicap principle). Could we see some self-indulgence in being altruist ?
Or maybe is it disrespectful, in a satanic perspective, to help someone who needs it ? This may depends on the fact the person can or cannot cope with the problem without help.
Of course, my point rather sees altruism has originating in a fundamentally egoistic pulsion, yet being able to benefit another person. Some will deny it. It’s a matter of human being conception…
It would be necessary to have a good definition fo what altruism is ! In an aristotelician perspective, does altruism exists ? We may say no actually : only egoism would be there and an altruist deed would be an egoist deed disguised in an so-called altruist one. After all, if we are generous to some poor homeless in the street, it might be because of our need to extinct any guilt, to make our loathsome feeling of being rich and egoistic to cease, but not the poverty of this person !… which is egoistic !
In a sociobiological perspective (quite polemical), it’s a way to improve survival of those with the same genes or to improve the survival of your genes.
In a cultural one, I guess altruism is important for social link, and thus for the functionning of society…
Anyway. Such denial of altruism might be contradictory to a naturalist perspective and to the way humain being functionnates socially. It would truely require a deeper analysis.
Part V: LaVey’s weird Carnival
Typical laveyan themes are here called back such as « artificial human companions ».
Other current themes are also discussed in small articles : the internet, terrorism, school shootings, eugenics, sexual, jealousy, aesthetics etc.
About the chapter of musical recommendations "Diabolus In Musica": this chapter deals with the Satanic aesthetics in the musical field. P.H. Gilmore presents his recommandations, what he likes. These tastes are justified by music itself and a bit by the lives of the musicians 'emselves, as embodiment of the Satanic èthos.
Maybe, Heathen Harvest being a music focused webzine, we should point P.H. Gilmore emphasis on classical music. It isn’t a denial of the value of popular music. I didn’t understood it so, at least.
But, I wonder whether this focus on classical music is a personal choice of Gilmore or a choice of CoS. In the first case, the activities and education of the authors explain and justify it. In the second, it sounds to be some kind of conformism and is dissonant with the individualistic, pluralist orientation of CoS (f.i. in other tastes, such as sexual ones). How would it be possible to be morally relativist and not aesthetically ?
This special place given to classical music and classical forms of art, aesthetics should be better argumented, in my opinion.
Part VI: Rituals
About rituals: difficult to have a good represnetations of rituals one hasn't assisted to. Anyway... I won't comment 'em much due to my lack of experience and knowledge in this domain.
Let’s note « the use of ritual [is] an optional tool ».
The « Satanic Bible » is throning in ceremonies, as is the Christian bible in a church. We may wonder why this similarity. Simply for mocking Christian ceremonies ? Is there some risk to fall in the same sort of dogmatic belief as monotheisms ?
We may think there isn’t any problem as far as this book is truely one praised by and for Satanists being « skeptical atheists » (p.222). It isn’t a problem as far as this book is well understood and is understood as encouraging reading other books.
Ceremonies, for some, look a bit similar to Christian ones. It might disturb some people. It has nothing sacred, yet. So, the participants to rituals participate to psychodramas, symbolic rituals, no to sacred rituals. So, simply, the symbol has not to be mistaken with some real belief.
Part VII: CONCLUSION
The biggest risk you might encounter while reading this book is noting you actually behave as a Satanist, at least in some domains, without being aware of it : you’d be what Gilmore calls a « de facto Satanist » !
While some might have expected a rather more audacious work, with Satanism truely expanding exploring new territories, this book’s rather a confirmation, slightly a clarification and an application/actualization of the original doctrine to few current topics.
Globally, this book remains at a popular level : don’t expect academic philosophy. But, is there really the need to ? From the Satanists’ point of view, there isn’t (« Pragmatism is axiomatic to our system ; we are realists. » p.192) ; from their intellectually elitist point of view, we may however discuss this ! A rather academic perspective, raw philosophy might be really interesting. CoS should face the criticism of philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology etc. for some of its assumptions ! May it die, or survive strengthened !
Presented so, without any great intellectual debate, Satanism simply stands for awareness of this world, critical distanciation.
What can Satanism offer, then ? A popular and symbolical devilish mask for an atheistic, rationalist, individualistic and skeptical worldview, and especially for Ayn Rand’s objectivism. But, why not directly studying these philosophies, then ?
This would omit Satanism offers in addition rites, aesthetics, Are these really important ? A matter of personal choices and criterias.
This book is clearly not a revolution in the small dark world of Satanism. Gilmore confirms its orthodoxy to LaVey’s ideas : necessity of personal allegiance to the « Dr. LaVey » ? A matter of internal struggles ? Anyway. But, we must admit Gilmore clarify CoS ideas – look at page 214 for an excellent summary of Satanic assumptions – and brings out the Satanic view on current topics.
Satanism rather appears as an èthos (ἦθος), an habitus than a complex philosophical system (such as Plato’s) or even a critical philosophy (such as Nietzsche’s). Of course, it would be a bit pointless to repeat Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy. Anyway, we could have hoped for some precision, expansion, improvement of LaVey’s original doctrine. The care for orthodoxy to his words, the quasi-cult of the personality of the founder, may hinder the achievement, the progress of Satanic ideas. With any thought, ideology, philosophy or science, the danger is always dogmatism. And dogmatism would be especially contradictory to the Satanic skepticism.
Although a worldview, a life-style and a pragmatic philosophy/religion – that Satanism claims to be – mightn’t need all these precisions, the main weaknesses I see lay in the lack of two elements. Firstly, there’s a lack of deepening the ideas that are philosophically or scientifically based. Secondly, there’s also a lack of reflection about the implications and bases of such a philosophy on several domains : ethics, politics, science and philophy. It may not dig deep enough to fully satisfy a scientist or a philopher, or simply a skeptical mind, although it might be seen as a good base to build up on it…
Thus, this book will remind good moments to those who loved LaVey’s books, but might disappoint those who expected really more : their achievement, their progress.
For sure, I think it raises many questions and I hope there will be attempts to answer ‘em.
Anyway, the core ideas’ combination that made Satanism interesting are still here : Satanism’s individual pole is about individualism, rationalism, atheism, skepticism, a secular-lifestyle, rites as psychodramas and self-therapies, the individual being his own god etc.
But let’s not forget that in addition to this pole, there’s a social perspective, a social, political pole featuring these ideas : Social Darwinism, anti-egalitarianism, anti-altruism (no welfare state), allegiance to a « Natural order », that allows an undisputable justification of the whole system.
Of course, these ideas are highly polemical, they strangely let open opportunities of a justification of the establishement, conformism, statu quo, are not well defined and care more for society than individual – which is a problem for a self-proclaimed « individual » philosophy/religion ! Even worse : the political Satanism might be a barreer for individual freedom and achievement !
The best strategy for submission, in a way, is making people believe they are free, as they aren’t and have to win their freedom. Then, is an ideology of freedom and individualism really ensuring freedom although being an ideology (a tool to influence masses) ?
The best thing you can do to honour this book is cautiously criticizing it, not because it’s bad (it isn’t), but because it’s what Satanism wants you to do towards everything, for it praises freedom of thought, criticism and questioning !
Here, the word criticism stands for examination, analysis of ideas and not for a pure negative judgement…
Despite the disadvantages we may find in The Satanic Scriptures, I must admit these couple of individual values mentionned above(especially : skepticism, critical thinking), however, are incredibly precious and might be able to eradicate all the abovementionned disandvantages.
Thus, I conclude that what was relevant in LaVey’s book still is currently, certainly even more considering our post-modern times’ flaws…
Church of Satan