Is Satanism a Philosophy or Religion, or Both?
I Identify as a Spiritual Satanist. However, Satanism is not considered to be a religion for me. For many other Satanists, it is a method of life philosophy.
Theism in its broadest sense, is simply the belief in deity. This belief may or may not include the belief in the existence of other deities and it may include spirituality, worship, or religion. Theism may also include the belief that there is a singular god, or gods that are the creators of our world.
In my view, all gods that have ever existed, were created by humans. This means that no, I do not believe that Satan or any other god created this universe. Nor do I believe that Satan is the only god in existence, there are many others as well, perhaps thousands can be found throughout history.
Of course some would ask, how can a person believe in the existence of gods, while admitting that they were all created by humans? The answer is really quite simple: I am not invested in their religious beliefs of gods. I have no need to belong to a religion to work with them. Similarly, the Satanic Bible also teaches that ‘all gods were created by man’. This is a more rational ontological explanation, and one that is much more convenient and realistic than simple religious belief.
Instead, I am a Spiritual Satanist, and through representations like Satan, and other deities, I am able to come to a [Satanic] understanding of the natural world, and also reach an understanding from within. This is not a religion, it is a philosophy. The word, ‘philosophy’ essentially means, “a love of knowledge”, and I have a love of knowledge of the gods of Satanism, and an appreciation of Satanism as a life philosophy. whereas my spirituality has been a practice in my life it has been for my own purposes of self development, unrelated to my association with Satan.
I do not need gods as an object of faith, or religion, because I worship no gods. The only god that I am allied with is Satan, but I may choose to interact with other gods whenever I have a desire to, usually for the purpose of magic. My alliance with Satan is for our mutual benefit. Our alliance does not include worship, simply because there is no need to worship an ally.
LaVey had similar beliefs and experiences when he allied with the Prince of Darkness on a symbolic level in the Satanic Bible. However, some have said that LaVey was a Deist. Deism, which is a form of Theism, is described as :”.. a philosophical belief in the existence of a God on the basis of reason, and observation of the natural world alone.” 1 LaVey proclaimed that Satan represented our natural desires, and the natural world.
However, what would appear to be worship and ritual for the LaVeyan Satanist is generally symbolic and psychological, and is also not considered to be esoteric or based on the concepts of metaphysics or spirituality. It is instead based on materialism, and philosophy. I diverge from this philosophy as a theist who recognizes Satan as an entity, and who also uses metaphysical and spiritual practices.
So while LaVey at some points proclaimed that Satan [is] god of this earth as represented by our natural desires, he denied the formality of worship and religion and in its place he offered philosophy, ethics and a method of rationality, over the uncertainty of religious faith. Satanism is a philosophy that can be used as a religion, and it has been done by many groups. I simply choose not to participate in that way.
© Venus Satanas
- Gilles Nullens, 8.8. “Deism” [https://nullens.org/charles-darwin/part-2-religious-theories, accessed 4/1/17]
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