Church of Azazel > Beliefs & principles > Core beliefs & here-and-now basis

Our core beliefs and their here-and-now basis

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2006, 2009 by the Church of Azazel. All rights reserved.

  1. Satan
  2. General theological framework
  3. The Biblical god's would-be monopoly
  4. The human opposition to patriarchal Abrahamic would-be monopoly
  5. The opposition on a divine level?
  6. Satan's role in various Satanisms
  7. Satanism and ethics

  1. Satan
  2. What is the one thing more responsible for human progress than anything else? It is the ability of humans to think new thoughts - building on what we have been taught, but branching out in new directions, sometimes in defiance of what we have been taught. Not all new ideas are good ideas; many aren't. But without new ideas and their interplay with old ideas, there could be no progress.

    We see Satan/Azazel as a champion of independent thought. Among those Christians who most strongly believe in Satan, it is believed that Satan's number one aim is to lead people away from their dogma, inspiring many different kinds of "heresies and errors." We generalize this idea to seeing Satan as an entity who enjoys challenging dogma in general, not just Christian dogma, and who has encouraged a bewildering array of new ideas, of many different kinds - thereby challenging us to think and to acquire real knowledge on our own, rather than just shepherding us and asking for blind faith.

    In most pantheons, many of the gods concerned with human affairs are believed to champion conformity to a specific social, cultural, and/or moral order, whereas most other gods are believed not to concern themselves with such matters at all. Satan is one of the very few gods, in any well-known pantheon, who specifically champion "heresy" (independent thought).

    It is natural for humans to worship gods who champion a specific social, cultural, and moral order. Humans are social animals, and human society needs order and stability, as well as innovation and progress. Both kinds of needs are real needs, although there is an inevitable tension between them.

    We too are rooted in a specific social, cultural, and moral order, albeit a very dynamic and individualistic order - the emerging socially liberal post-Christian culture of the modern West, which we will refer to as the Lilithian order. We revere the rising gods of the modern West (Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar, Pan, and Lucifer-of-Sophia), whom we see as the gods of this emerging order.

    But, above all, we revere Satan/Azazel, who is not the god of any specific cultural order, but is the "God of this world" in a more general sense. He is the God of this world's realities, which, in many cases, are too complex or chaotic to fit neatly into any cultural order's dogmas - or, in other cases, have an underlying order that is not yet known. Satan/Azazel is the One who encourages heresy and puts all orders to the test, sometimes strengthening them and sometimes destroying them, and who thereby brings new orders into being. Satan also reminds us to look at the underlying realities, to which our religious, social, and cultural orders may otherwise blind us.

    For some more aspects of what Satan/Azazel means to us, see the sections on Azazel and Who and What is Satan? in the Theology of the Church of Azazel. (See also Why do you consider Satan and Azazel to be the same entity? in the Frequently Asked Questions.)

  3. General theological framework
  4. We are polytheistic. We do not believe in a personal cosmic God. We see the gods concerned with human affairs as being, more likely, temporal and local to the Earth. (See Post-Copernican natural theology.) The gods concerned with human affairs may nevertheless be manifestations of an ultimate cosmic God, but we do not see the cosmic God per se as having a direct parental-like involvement in human affairs.)

    We are agnostic on the question of hard polytheism vs. monistic soft polytheism, i.e. the question of whether or not the individual deities should be thought of as totally distinct entities or as aspects some ultimate cosmic deity. In practice, our beliefs lean closer to hard polytheism than to monistic soft polytheism, insofar as our focus is not on any ultimate cosmic unity. At the very least, we do not see all the gods as just aspects of the One, or as just archetypes or personifications of abstract universal principles.

    To us it seems likely that many gods have formed symbiotic relationships with specific human societies, not with the human race as a whole. Thus, a god in one pantheon is not necessarily the same entity as a similar god in another pantheon.

    We are skeptical of any and all claims of infallible revelation, and we do not accept the literal truth of any mythological stories about the remote prehistoric past or the remote future. (See The here-and-now principle in theology.)

    But we do believe that some gods manifest themselves in human affairs. We believe that our best sources of clues about the gods concerned with human affairs are (1) human social, cultural, and religious trends, and (2) the many varieties of human spiritual experience.

    When examining human social, cultural, and religious trends, we pay the greatest amount of attention to the trends of our own culture and era. We look at other, older cultures and past eras to gain perspective and to avoid overgeneralizations, but we are rooted in the present era, not any past era. We certainly do not see ourselves as attempting to revive an ancient tradition.

  5. The Biblical god's would-be monopoly
  6. In today's world, the most significant religious trend is an explosive worldwide growth in the most fanatical and fundamentalist/traditionalist forms of Christianity and Islam. (See The Next Christianity by Philip Jenkins and this review of Jenkins's book The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. See also the page about The growing number of Christians of kinds which inherently fear demons, Satanists, witches, occultists, Pagans, and atheists, especially the collections of links to pages about Christian religious trends in the U.S.A. and Worldwide Christian trends and their impact on the West, on Against Satanic Panics.)

    If one believes that there are gods who influence human trends, and if one believes there is at least some reality to at least some of the many spiritual experiences claimed by Christians, then it is likely that at least some Christians are interacting with one or more real spiritual entities whom they think of as "God." Given that Christianity has been such a vibrant religious movement these days, it would not make sense to dismiss the spiritual experiences of Christians as completely unreal, if one accepts the reality of other peoples' spiritual experiences.

    At the same time, there is no good reason to conclude that the spirit(s) with whom Christians interact is/are the true cosmic God. Since we do not believe in a personal cosmic God, we believe that the Abrahamic god is just one of the many gods, albeit one with an unusually strong desire for lots and lots of human attention.

    Interestingly, in the Bible itself, there is evidence that the Biblical god was originally thought to have been non-cosmic. For example, he needs to send angels to gather information.

    The Abrahamic god is portrayed, in the Bible, as a self-described "jealous god." Perhaps he does not literally experience the emotion of jealousy. But it does seem likely, at the very least, that he thrives on one-true-way attitudes on the part of his followers.

    In today's world, there seem to be at least two distinct Abrahamic gods:

    1. The patriarchal Abrhamic god, who is worshiped by fundamentalists and traditionalists, and who promotes a sexual "morality" which is not only oppressive to individuals but also conducive to unrestrained population growth, leading to an endless cycle of overpopulation and war. Most worshipers of the patriarchal Abrahamic god also believe in an all-evil Devil. Thus they are Satan/Azazel's avowed enemies.
    2. The Abrahamic god as interpreted by more enlightened folks, such as the Christian congregations that march in the annual Gay Pride parade here in New York City. In most cases, the more liberal Christians do not believe in a Devil and thus are not Satan/Azazel's avowed enemies. And they tend to accept the validity of a variety of spiritual paths, rather than insisting that their own way is the one true way. Thus, their god seems to have more in common with Lucifer-of-Sophia (one of our five rising Gods of the modern West) than with the god revered by fundamentalists and traditionalists.

    We will refer to these two distinct gods as Yahweh-P (P for patriarchy) and Yahweh-E (E for enlightenment), respectively.

    Fundamentalist/traditionalist Christianity and Islam apparently meet some real human needs in the places where they are growing fastest. However, to many other people, especially in the modern West, the mentality of these religions is unbearably stifling and oppressive, especially to women and to gays. And there will most likely be more and more religious wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, just as there were many religious wars in Europe back in the 1500's and 1600's C.E.

    In most parts of the West since the 1600's, the longterm trend has been away from traditional Christian religiosity. Although most people in the West remained at least nominally Christian, many people turned toward Deism, atheism, and a variety of non-Christian spiritualities, while a lot of other people just stopped taking religion seriously.

    By the 1960's, at least in the more cosmopolitan cities such as San Francisco, it seemed that Christianity was almost dead. As the Temple of Set's General Information and Admissions Policies (GIAP) document puts it, in the section on "The Contemporary Environment":

    In the United States the 1960-70s CE, despite [and in part because of] periodical psychopolitical strains such as the Vietnam War, generally represented a period of flourishing liberalism and freedom in personal affairs. Exploration and innovation were tolerated and encouraged in society. It was a time of breakthroughs in civil rights; of increased respect for racial, ethnic, sexual, and religious groups. There was controversy; but on the whole it was constructive and progressive in tone. By the end of the 1970s, despite continued growing pains, Western culture appeared to have moved decisively into the utopian “Age of Aquarius”.


    During the 60s-70s religion was generally dismissed as something quaint and obsolete: superstition embarrassing to an age of science, computers, and Project Apollo. “God was dead”, and Christianity was invoked merely as an excuse for Christmas revelry and other entertainments (such as Jesus Christ Superstar & the “Jesus Freak revolution” of 1970). Even the formation of the Church of Satan in 1966 was somewhat anticlimactic: It didn’t arise in response to a “threatening” Christianity - for Christianity already appeared to be a dead horse. The carcass was there to be kicked around a bit for the sake of theatre, but there was no expectation that it had any energy left to get up and kick back.

    However, things are very different now, as the ToS GIAP document observes too. By 1980, the most conservative and intolerant forms of Christianity had once again become a political force to be reckoned with. And a major panic about "Satanism" ensued, together with libelous propaganda campaigns against various minority religions. (See Against Satanic Panics.)

    The change was not as sudden or as out-of-the-blue as some people think. The more conservative Christian churches had been growing - steadily but quietly, unnoticed by the mass media - ever since the 1960's. And the 1970 "Jesus freaks" were a more serious religious phenomenon than the ToS GIAP document suggests. What was new in 1980 was not any abrupt jump in the number of conservative Christians. What was new, then, was that they had gotten numerous enough and organized enough to attain bigtime political clout.

    Here in the U.S.A., the religious right wing continues to try to impose a Christian theocracy. Luckily the opposition to the religious right wing has grown stronger too. But the opposition should not be taken for granted.

    For more about the Biblical god, see the section Who and what is the Christian "God"? in the Theology of the Church of Azazel.

  7. The human opposition to patriarchal Abrahamic would-be monopoly
  8. Despite the advent of the Christian religious right wing, the more modern sectors of Western society have also grown stronger over the past several decades, and have even made substantial progress toward their ideals.

    For example, the gay rights movement won a lot of victories in the 1990's. Favorable mass media portrayals of lesbians and gay men became a lot more commonplace than they had ever been before. And the gay movement itself became more accepting of diversity within its own ranks; the acromyms GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) and LGBT became the norm.

    And, while the most conservative and intolerant forms of Christianity grew, so too did the more liberal non-mainstream religions, at the expense of liberal and middle-of-the-road Christianity. The fastest-growing non-Abrahamic new religious movement has been modern Paganism, which has two main branches: (1) Wicca and its derivatives, and (2) the various Pagan/Heathen Reconstructionist religions, which each aim to revive the religion of some specific ancient culture.

    Although some of its adherents fancy it to be "the Old Religion," Wicca-based Paganism is probably the most quintessentially modern Western religion. It is part of an emerging social and cultural order whose other pillars include the organized atheist/humanist community, the feminist movement, and the GLBT community.

    This modern Western social and cultural order, which we call the Lilithian order, is highly individualistic and tends to favor a great deal of personal freedom, especially in matters pertaining to sexuality and gender. The Lilithian order is also marked by people having fewer children than most people had in nearly all past cultures and eras. And, for the most part, it rejects fundamentalist/traditionalist approaches to religion. The Lilithian order is heavily dependent on modern science and technology - a dependence which has, in turn, spawned its counterbalance:  a distinctly modern-style "love of Nature," which also plays a key role within modern Western culture. We associate the Lilithian order with the five rising gods of the modern West.

    Pagan/Heathen Reconstructionism, on the other hand, is part of a very different current of opposition to the Abrahamic would-be monopoly. Many (though by no means all) Recons are sexually conservative and have few or no complaints about Abrahamic sexual mores. Instead, their main gripe is simply against both Christianity's and Islam's attempts to convert the entire world and to create a worldwide montheistic theocratic community, which the Recons, like other modern Pagans, condemn as imperialistic. But the Recons go much further than other modern Pagans in their rejection of monotheism, rejecting all "universalist" religious ideas in favor of hard polytheism and an exclusive focus on some particular ancient culture. Not just Christianity and Islam but Wicca too is frowned upon as "universalist," monotheistic, and imperialistic, because most Wiccans see the goddesses and gods of all non-Abrahamic cultures as aspects of just one Goddess and God, who in turn are seen as a polarity within the One. Another difference between Recons and Wicca-based Pagans is that the Recons tend to be more accepting of the inevitability of conflict, amongst both humans and the gods, and tend to have more of an appreciation for warrior virtues. (For more about Reconstructionism and how it differs from Wicca, see Reconstructed Pagan Religions by A. Ć. Hunt-Anschütz; What is Pagan Reconstructionism? on ecauldron; The Pentagram and the Hammer by Devyn Gillette and Lewis Stead; and The Values of Asatru by Lewis Stead.)

    Some Reconstructionist groups are racialist, favoring the idea that a person should return to the most ancient religious roots of one's own ethnic group and not any other. But racialists are only a minority among Recons; most Recon groups allow people more latitude in deciding which ancient culture one wants to identify with, or which ancient culture's gods one feels personally called by, as long as one doesn't combine gods from different pantheons. Thus, Reconstructionism is not the same thing as nationalism. Still, there are obvious parallels between Reconstructionism and nationalism, one of which is that they both are compatible with a very traditionalist mindset. Thus, for example, it should be no surprise that Reconstructionists tend to favor traditional family structures.

    Reconstructionists are only a small minority among today's Western Pagans, but they are the West's nearest equaivalent of the much larger worldwide phenomenon of still-existing indigenous religions trying to resist incursion by Christian or Muslim missionaries. Reconstructionists, together with the many intact indigenous religions, plus the non-Abrahamic "great religions" such as Hinduism and Buddhism, can be considered the traditionalist opposition to the Abrahamic would-be monopoly. They are the traditionalist opposition as distinct from the modern Lilithian opposition. Most of these religions, like the Abrahamic religions themselves, have both a liberal wing and a much larger conservative/traditionalist/fundamentalist-leaning wing.

    Whatever criticisms many Satanists may have of the Lilithian order - or at least of its present state - it clearly allows us much more freedom than an Abrahamic theocratic order would. And the Lilithian order is, on a human level, the strongest and staunchest viable opposition to Abrahamic theocracy here in the modern West, at least in the U.S.A. In many other parts of the world, the traditionalist opposition may be stronger.

  9. The opposition on a divine level?
  10. Because we reject the idea that the gods concerned with human affairs are cosmic deities, we reject the idea of a Zoroastrian-style cosmic dualistic war between Satan and Yahweh-P. But we do accept, at least as a possibility, the idea of quarrels or at least tensions among the gods, an idea commonplace in many ancient polytheistic religions and mythologies. We see the quarrel between Satan and Yahweh-P as just another quarrel amongst gods, and we see this quarrel as being more active in some places and eras, less active in others. We don't see the current relatively active phase as necessarily signalling Armageddon or whatever, although sometimes it does feel that way.

    For clues about the quarrels among the gods concerned with human affairs, we look first at what is happening now in the human realm. As we have seen, the major spiritual trend, in today's world, is a growing religious polarization between the fast-growing fundamentalist patriarchal extremes of the Abrahamic religions and everyone else. We regard the polarization on a human level as reflecting at least a tension, if not an outright war, between (non-cosmic) deities or spiritual forces that are somehow at odds with each other. And, as we have seen, there are two major categories of human opposition to the Biblical god's would-be monopoly:  (1) the Lilithian modern Western cultural order and (2) the many pre-Abrahamic traditionalist cultural orders.

    Obviously, Yahweh-P is the god of one side of the spirtual war. Is Satan/Azazel the god of the other side? That would be an oversimplification, for the following three reasons: (1) Very few people on the other side revere Satan. Among the people on the leading edge of spiritual change in the modern world, many more revere Lilith, Ishtar (or a similarly multi-facedted Goddess), Pan, or "Lucifer" than revere Satan. (2) Patriarchal Abrahamic believers associate Satan not only with the opponents of Abrahamic patriarchy, but also with rival patriarchal Abrahamic sects. To conservative Christians, Satan is "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), meaning the god of pretty much everything outside their own little box, and always finding ways to invade their own little box too. (3) Most Satanists see ourselves as very different not only from conservative Christianity, but also from the religions and worldviews that are, in fact, the main enemies of the religious right wing. Satanists revel in "dark" energies which even the most dedicated opponents of the religious right wing tend to be very uncomfortable with.

    Hence, we don't see Satan as simply the god of one side of the spiritual war. To us it makes more sense to see Satan as a more transcendant figure, challenging all human social orders, yet at the same time immanent in them all. We see Satan as the god who brought the modern Western world into being, opening the gate for the rising Gods of the modern West, but also as one who challenges all ideologies, even those of the modern West, lest they too lose touch with reality and harden into yet another oppressive dogma.

    Christianity divides the spirit world into exactly two camps: (1) their God and his angels, vs. (2) the Devil and demons. We, in contrast, see the gods concerned with human affairs as being divided into at least four different camps: (1) Satan/Azazel and His "demons," (2) Yahweh-P and his "angels," (3) most of the gods revered by most non-Abrahamic traditional and ancient religions, and (4) the rising gods of the modern West. All except Satan/Azazel have strong ties to particular human social, cultural, and moral orders.

    Even the above four-way categorization is a vast oversimplification. It ignores the many mythological quarrels amongst the gods in category 3, and it ignores some of the gods of non-Abrahamic religions, such as the gods who weren't revered. It also ignores quarrels between the more conservative and more liberal wings of non-Abrahamic traditional religions such as Hinduism. But the point of this categorization is as follows:

    The fastest-growing kinds of Christianity today see all the gods in categories 3 and 4 as demons aligned with Satan. We believe that the gods in categories 3 and 4 are gods in their own right, not mere servants of Satan. Most of the gods in category 3 (gods of traditional non-Abrahamic religions), associated with millenia-old traditional social, cultural, and moral orders, are unlikely to have more than a very temporary and uneasy alliance-of-convenience (if even that much of a connection) with Satan against their displacement by the Abrahamic god. On the other hand, most of the gods in category 4 (the rising gods of the modern West) do have a clear family resemblance to Satan. Yet the new religious movements (such as the modern Wicca-based Pagan community) and worldviews (such as humanism) which honor these gods, too, are part of a specific rising social, cultural, and moral order - an order which has grown popular enough and respectable enough that the most liberal Christians associate it with "God" rather than with "Satan." (As noted earlier, liberal Christians typically don't believe in Satan anyway, and their "God" seems to be a very different entity from the "God" worshiped by the more conservative Christians.)

  11. Satan's role in various Satanisms
  12. Satan has long been seen, by Satanists, as a being who challenges the popular order of the day, whatever it might be, not just Christianity.

    For example, William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, one of the earliest examples of a genre which literary critics have dubbed "Romantic Satanism," portrays the Devil as the champion of desire and "energy" as opposed to reason. But the Devil is seen as opposing "reason" only because the Marriage of Heaven and Hell was written at the tail end of the "Age of Reason" (the 1700's C.E.). Earlier, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther had said that reason was "the Devil's whore." And, because the "Age of Reason" led to a drastic reduction in Christianity's hold over the Western world, surely reason served the Devil more than it served the Christian god. Yet even an order based on "reason" is subject to challenges from the Devil, especially if it excludes or severely restricts desire and "energy." As William Blake wrote, "Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence."

    In Jules Michelet's book La Sorciere (translated into English under the title Satanism and Witchcraft), Satan is associated with, among other things, advances in science, especially medical science.

    In the 1865 poem Hymn to Satan by the Nobel Prize-winning Italian poet Giosuč Carducci, Satan is credited with inspiring many modern ideas, inventions, and political revolutions.

    Satan/Azazel is not just a God of rebellion for its own sake, nor is He just a god of contraries. Nor is He just a God who encourages people to rebel against tyrannical gods and groupthink, though that is one of the things He does do. As the "God of this World," He is also a God of the "rebellion" of reality itself against humanity's inevitably oversimplified attempts to stuff reality into neat little boxes. Satan stands outside all our neat little boxes - including revolutionary boxes as well as traditional boxes - always challenging us to expand our knowledge.

    When Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966 C.E., his main foil was not Christianity but, rather, the hippie movement that had begun to dominate San Francisco at that time. Much of LaVey's teaching was in reaction to the hippie movement, in some ways denouncing it while in other ways carrying its ideals further. In The Satanic Bible's chapter on "The Black Mass," LaVey remarked:

    Any ceremony considered a black mass must effectively shock and outrage, as this seems to be the measure of its success. In the middle ages, blaspheming the holy church was shocking. Now, however, the Church does not present the awesome image it did during the Inquisition. ...

    A black mass, today, would consist of the blaspheming of such 'sacred' topics as Eastern mysticism, psychiatry, the psychedelic movement, ultra-liberalism, etc. Patriotism would be championned, drugs and their gurus would be defiled, acultural militants would be deified, and the decadence of ecclesiastical theologies might even be given a Satanic boost.

    In other ways, LaVey's Satanic Bible was quite progressive, even ahead of its time. For example, it championed acceptance of homosexuality back in the days when most Wiccans still thought that homosexuality was some sort of affront to the Goddess because it lacked the proper "polarity."

    The Temple of Set's General Information and Admissions Policies (GIAP) document defines the ToS in contrast to "conventional religions," which seem to be typified by Wicca, "Right Hand Path" occultism, and modern Western New Age versions of Eastern religions, more so than by Christianity. ("Conventional religions, with their colorful mythologies analyzed in terms of the underlying philosophical principles, represent simply the primitive longing of man to feel 'at one' with the Universal harmony he perceives about him. 'White' magic, as advocated by primitive pagan and modern institutional religions, offers devotees the illusion of 're-inclusion' in the Universal scheme of things through various ritualistic devotions and superstitions.") Only in San Francisco ....  The Temple of Set was founded in 1975.

    Since then, times have changed, as even the ToS GIAP document points out (in the section on "The Contemporary Environment"). In San Francisco in the 1960's, it seemed to many people that the Abrahamic religions were on their deathbeds, giving Satanists the luxury of spending their time reacting against all sorts of foils other than Christianity. Since then, the more fanatical forms of Christianity and Islam have grown like wildfire worldwide. And there are now huge, organized political movements that want the world to go back to a medieval mindset.

    Furthermore, San Francisco isn't the entire Western world and never was. Some of what might have been truly "Satanic" in San Francisco, e.g. some of LaVey's more right wing sociopolitical views, might elsewhere be merely an endorsement of unthinking popular biases.

    It should be evident to any intelligent theistic Satanist that we now have much bigger fish to fry than distancing ourselves from hippies, Wiccans, and "right hand path" occultists, while also squabbling with our fellow Satanists too. More and more theistic Satanists are now focussing on the quarrel between Satan and Yahweh-P - an appropriate response to current larger societal trends. But few have yet given much thought to the question of how to participate in the battle in ways that might actually benefit our own side. To participate effectively in the battle on a human plane, we need to become more aware of our commonalities with people of other modern Western post-Christian religions, such as the various kinds of Pagans and occultists, and we need to learn to use those commonalities to build alliances where we can.

    LaVeyan Satanism was a vibrant and rapidly-growing religious movement for a brief period in the late 1960's and early 1970's. We see its temporary success as a sign from Satan/Azazel that He is not just an opposer of the Abrahamic god; that He enjoys challenging dogmas of all sorts; and that He has acted as a Muse of many different and contrary trends in different times and places - or, as the online Catholic Encyclopedia puts it, "heresies and errors of opposite character." Alas, LaVeyan Satanism itself and most of its offshoots ended up succumbing to dogmatism of a very crude sort. And, in that regard, they set a very bad example for subsequent Satanist groups too.

    Since then, the war of Abrahamic would-be monopoly against the entire rest of the world has heated up, both in worldwide religious and political trends and in the religious beliefs of the newer kinds of theistic Satanists.

    In a war, you need allies - as many allies as possible, both on the material plane and in the spirit realms. Alas, thanks to the residues of LaVey-derived dogmatism which too many Satanists (even theistic Satanists) still cling to, many Satanists still turn up their noses at the most logical potential allies, in many cases failing even to recognize that they have any potential allies at all. Others are too caught up in LaVeyan-style Satanist superman syndrome to recognize even the need for allies. In fact, we do need allies, and we already do have some excellent allies and potential allies.

    On a human level, our allies already include the many people who helped to debunk The "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare of the 1980's and early 1990's. Our potential allies include: (1) adherents of various non-Abrahamic religions, especially those with non-traditional moral values; (2) the organized atheist/humanist community; (3) the GLBT community; and (4) various other subcultures under attack by the religious right wing.

    On a spiritual level, our best allies, besides Satan/Azazel Himself, are the rising gods of the modern West.

  13. Satanism and ethics
  14. We believe that Satan/Azazel does not champion any particular social, cultural, or moral order - or any simple inversion thereof. Therefore, there can be no single system of Satanist ethics. Attempts to define "Satan's laws," or a universally applicable system of "Satanist ethics," have usually led to absurdity.

    However, groups of people, including groups of Satanists, do need codes of ethics, or codes of honor, or codes of virtue, formal or informal, in order to function well.

    Satan/Azazel does not demand that we renounce all morality, nor does He demand that we accept a specific morality or anti-morality. Rather, He challenges us to re-think our ideas on morality from the ground up, evaluating what works best and why, rather than blindly accepting our conditioning. Different codes of conduct may work best for different groups in different circumstances.

    The Church of Azazel has a code of conduct designed to enable cooperation among our members and to resolve the inevitable internal conflicts. Our code of conduct is intended only for our own members; we would not ask Satanists in general to accept it. Any Satanist group's code of conduct is merely the group's code - not Satan's code, or at least not Satan's code for everyone.

    We also believe that it is in our best interests to live in a larger society which respects individual freedom in personal affairs, and in which all people have various legal rights. Our members are encouraged, though not required, to work with others to secure those rights. (Doing so is also a good way to make friends with people who will accept us for who we are.)

    It is not Satanism's proper role to prescribe morality (or anti-morality). Rather, it is Satanism's proper role to encourage people, both individuals and groups, to experiment with new ideas, some of which may later be adopted by the larger social order in which we live.

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