Satanism has long been misunderstood. Many Satanists do not actually worship an ontological being called "Satan". Satan is actually a representation, its a symbol of indulgence. Thus, most Satanists do not believe that any gods or deities exist and are actually atheists. That means Satanism is actually more like a philosophy rather than a religion, kind of like Buddhism in that respect. The official Church of Satan is atheistic and does not recognize in their fundamental beliefs the existence of any gods, demons or supernatural spirits.
Philosophically, Satanism is kind of like ethical egoism, perhaps with a touch of libertarian objectivism thrown in. There is an emphasis on the self, and to look out for one's own well being and interests before anyone else. But that doesn't mean Satanists have to be completely selfish.
In the philosophy of Satanism, mutual respect is granted. If someone shows respect, by all means, the Satanist should show the same respect back. But if someone shows disrespects, the Satanist is under no obligation to show any respect back. This is basically what most people do in practice anyway, including many Christians who don't like to admit it. Satanism, in theory, is kind of like how most Christians act, in practice. Satanism just doesn't have any ridiculously absurd standards that are impossible to live up to. So that means Satanists are free to indulge in sexual lust without guilt, and unlike the Christian who indulges in lust anyway, there's no reason to wallow in self-pity afterwards for doing so.
When I was a teenager I starting hanging out with these kids who called themselves Satanists. They would talk about the rituals and the nine statements and I remember hearing rumors about sacrifices. But Satanism was really more like a philosophical novelty than an actual lifestyle to these kids. It was mostly talked about because it was cool and had an element of danger and mystic. I don't think any of them were really doing anything other than superficial expressions.
According to the Church of Satan under its founder Anton LaVey, no Satanist is allowed to kill a non-human animal for ritual. Children are not to be harmed either. Nor are any humans are to be ritually sacrificed because Satanism, much like atheism, does not believe the universe cares one way or the other. During my teen years and into my early twenties, I did go through an embarrassing goth phase and I did become familiar with the main principles of Satanism. And I have to say, once you get past the rumors and the false impressions that exist about Satanism and what it stands for, it's actually not really a bad philosophy. I'm no expert in Satanic philosophy, and I've only read but a few excerpts of the Satanic Bible, and I'm sure there are things I disagree with about it, but it does seem that many of its beliefs and principles are pragmatically driven and designed to be as practical as possible. And being a lover of philosophy, it has intrigued me once again as it did during my awkward formative years.
No, I am not a Satanist, I am an atheist, and a proud one at that. But I do like to entertain the ideas and beliefs of Satanism, just like I enjoy entertaining virtue ethics, Platonism, Buddhism, and various monotheisms.
Welcome to Atheism and the City. This blog is about exploring atheism through contemporary urban living. I live in New York City, the secular metropolis, and I have an avid interest in all things religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economics. I am an atheist, a humanist, a philosopher and a thinker, and the purpose of Atheism and the City is to write about my thoughts and experiences on the subjects and topics that I have a passion for. Feel free to respond to any post whether or not you agree.