The starting point for understanding Satanic philosophy towards mankind and our place in the universe, and Satanic morality, is to examine Humanism. But Satanism is more than Humanism. Satanism is religious and anti-religious, and has religious symbolism, ceremony, ritualistic and dogmatic aspects whereas Humanism is largely devoid of these.
What is Humanism? According to the Council for Secular Humanism, a well known and respected Humanist organisation, Humanism is:
“Secular humanists accept a world view or philosophy called naturalism, in which the physical laws of the universe are not superseded by non-material or supernatural entities such as demons, gods, or other "spiritual" beings outside the realm of the natural universe. Supernatural events such as miracles (in which physical laws are defied) and psi phenomena, such as ESP, telekinesis, etc., are not dismissed out of hand, but are viewed with a high degree of skepticism.”
The social scientist Asbjørn Dyrendal humorously refers to Satanism as2:
There is nothing here that contradicts the Satanic view of the world. Humanism is thoroughly productive and down to Earth, an all-round force for goodness, intelligence, intelligent and non-mystical morality that is based on reason. Many Humanists dismiss Satanism if they come across it. Some find it disturbing, some find it stupid, but most find it pointless. Which is fine, Humanists are in general skeptical and intelligent to an admirable degree. There's no improvement to be had in their outlook. However Humanism does not fulfill all the needs of all people, religious imagery and ritual satisfy our psyche in obscure ways that Humanism lacks and Satanism offers. In the modern secular world, such things are not acknowledged as useful to all people. And indeed they're not.
“Humanism is not a religion. It is simply a way of life with no ceremony or dogma. Satanism has both ceremony and dogma.”
Satanism cannot be arrived at through pure logic, unlike Humanism, as Satanism requires religious imagery and therefore requires the knowledge of previous religions.
“Some people have an inherent need for ceremony, ritual and dogma in their lives. As the modern world disposes of organized religion, the historical provider of these elements of life, people are taking up alternative religions. The instinct towards symbolism is a result of our evolution through a pre-literate phase of development both in history and as an infant. Satanism provides ritualistic and dogmatic trappings without the waffle of many other religions.”
Some Satanists are sure that Satanism is a religion. Some are sure it isn't. What do professional religious academics think? Social scientists who have studied Satanism have often commented on the humanistic slant, to the extent that they are sure that Satanism has distinct non-religious components. Asbjørn Dyrendal says "There are many definitions of "religion" by which at least rationalist Satanism ought to be excluded"4. Others say Satanism is still an equivalent to a religion:
“Satanism is a substantial and functional equivalent to religion. [...] Some groups within the sub-stream are easily identifiable as religions, with doctrine, practice, community and organization; others are more on the mystical, spiritual or philosophical side.”
Humanism shares materialistic views and ethical methodology with Satanism and we have the same opinions on the emptiness of religion. Satanism is religious whereas Humanism is not due to the religious symbolism, ceremony, ritualistic and dogmatic aspects of Satanism. Satanism is also Left Hand Path, Humanism is not. For these reasons, although Satanists themselves are not strictly "religious" in most senses of the word, Satanism is clearly a religion although the differences in metaphysics are so extremely opposed to what is classically considered 'religious' that some take to calling Satanism the unreligion, which is a term I find appealing!
By Vexen Crabtree 2002 Nov 17
(Last Modified: 2010 Oct 22)
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism
LaVey, Anton. (1930-1997) Founder of the Church of Satan.
(1969) The Satanic Bible. Published by Avon Books Inc, New York, USA. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966.
(1992) The Devil's Notebook. Published by Feral House, CA, USA.
Petersen, Jesper Aagaard
(2009) Contemporary Religious Satanism. Hardback. An anthology. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited, Surrey, UK.