Theistic Satanism: Home > Ex-hard-Xians > How do we differ from other Satanists?
For Theistic Satanists from hardcore Christian backgrounds:
How do we differ from other Satanists?
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2003 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
As noted on the index page of this section, it seems to me so far that the majority of Satanists, including the majority of theistic Satanists, are not from hardcore Christian backgrounds. Most are from only moderately Christian backgrounds, and some are from non-Christian backgrounds.
I suspect that Satanists from hardcore Christian backgrounds would likely have a somewhat different-from-the-usual perspective on Satanism. After all, we were exposed, much more intensively than most people are, to the Christian idea of Satan.
But HOW does this affect our perspective on Satanism? I hesitate to generalize at this point, because I don't yet know a lot of theistic Satanists from hardcore Christian backgrounds.
Nevertheless, I will go ahead and make some educated guesses. Bear in mind that the following are only guesses, not based yet on anything resembling a statistical sample.
First, here are some points on which I do not expect us to differ from the mainstream of Satanism (or, at least, American Satanism), but rather to be even more solidly in the mainstream:
- I expect us to be even less likely than most Satanists to feel that Satanism requires us to be "evil" in the sense of criminal or antisocial. See my article on Satan and "Evil" in Christianity.
- More generally, I think we would be even less likely than other Satanists to be members of what I call the Brat Brigade, about whom see my satirical article Advice for Christian Evangelists.
- I think we would be even less likely than most Satanists to feel that being a Satanist requires any sort of outlandish behavior on our part. After all, Satan is the "God of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- At the same time, I think we would be likely to feel that Satanism should be accepting of various kinds of nonconformity -- especially the kinds of nonconformity that are opposed by the Christian religious right wing, e.g. sexual and gender nonconformity.
Now for some points on which I do expect us to differ from many of the more vocal public Satanists (of both the theistic and symbolic kinds):
- I expect that we would be friendlier towards people of other non-Christian religions, e.g. Wiccans. As former hardcore Christians, I expect us to be keenly aware of the common enemy that we and other non-Christians face, especially here in the United States.
- I expect us to be less likely to equate Satanism with our political views, whatever they may be, and I expect us to be more likely to be politically moderate or liberal, given the association between hardcore Christianity and right-wing politics. (In contrast, many of today's more vocal public Satanists equate their Satanism with one or more of the following: libertarianism, "social Darwinism," anti-"egalitarianism," anti-democratism, racial or ethnic nationalism, anarchism, or political extremism of one kind or another, usually right-wing, though in a few cases left-wing. Before LaVey, it was more common to equate Satanism with left-wing politics.)
- I expect us to be less likely than other theistic Satanists to conceive of Satan as an especially wrathful, jealous, or attention-hungry deity. In hardcore Christianity, "God" is the wrathful, jealous, attention-hungry one, whereas Satan is more interested in leading people away from "God" than in getting lots of people to bow down to Satan Himself. Even atheists -- and other people who don't believe in Satan at all, let alone worship Him -- are seen by hardcore Christians as being in Satan's camp. Thus, in refreshing contrast to the Christian "God," Satan does not appear to be hungry for human flattery.
- I expect us to be more likely than other theistic Satanists to keep in mind Satan's trickster aspects, and thus less likely to lose sight of our responsibility to think for ourselves. Thus, for example, I expect us to be less likely than other theistic Satanists to venerate certain "inspired" writings as infallible Satanic scripture, or to believe that our own personal "revelations from Satan" should be taken as infallible literal truths.
- More generally, I expect us to be less susceptible to dogmatism than most Satanists, both theistic and symbolic. Remember that hardcore Christians regard Satan as the author of all religions and worldviews other than their own. Well, if Satan has inspired so many different worldviews, then, clearly, Satan is not a dogmatist! It is up to each of us, as individuals, to explore a variety of alternatives and to think for ourselves. And Satan is, among other things, a god who favors human thought in general, rather than blind obedience to dogma.
Are my guesses correct? If you're a theistic Satanist from a hardcore Christian background, I'd be very interested to hear what you think, either way, about the above issues. Please join the email group Theistic-Satanists-ex-hard-Xian and let me know what you think. Or you may email me privately, if you prefer.