The Church of Satan does not often comment directly on the environment. The activities of Satanists are their own business and the Church of Satan would have no authority in proclaiming what their actions should be concerning the environment. It is codified in the writings of Anton LaVey, the founder of Satanism, that Satanism is individualistic and not legalistic or conformist1. Nonetheless it is commonly accepted that there is a background level of codification and proscription, and this simply takes the form of the Church of Satan's description of Satanism. This description is not binding, but it is suggestive of what 'Satanic attitudes' are, and these attitudes can be applied to the environment. Given these ground rules, Satanic arguments can be made for environmentalism. These do not need to be made official or coercive as free-thinking Satanists are capable of reaching their own conclusions. As, however, Satanism is not a popular religion, the basic tenets of Satanism are unknown to laypeople. As such, it is worth describing briefly the basic philosophies of Satanism that lend themselves towards the non-abuse of the environment:
1. 'Responsibility to the responsible' requires that Satanists consider Humankind to be the arbiters of all things natural. Also, Satanists wish those in power to be the responsible ones. This results in a general green (responsible) attitude in both politics and personal living.
2. Harming the future health of the planet harms our children. We are the guardians of the planet simply because we are the most intelligent and most powerful species and no-one else is capable of avoiding harm to future generations than those alive today. The responsibility falls to no-one else, and failure results in the harming of children - all children.
3. That stupidity is the cardinal sin requires Satanists to examine their own motives, the facts of the world, and the consequences of their actions. Therefore, Satanism is naturally a fact-driven religion with adherents who tend to think in the long-term. This is evidenced by the astute plans and intelligent character of many Satanists. Any long- term plans, in this and in the next generation of adults, must include methods of avoiding cataclysmic damage to the environment.
In 1967 when Lynn White asserted that the Judeo-Christian tradition has contributed to the environmental crisis by devaluing nature, some were outraged. But by 2011 when Mary Evelyn Tucker writes that religions have "been late in coming to recognize the scale and scope of the global environmental crises"2, there were few amongst the flock of believers who doubted her statement any more. A number of Christians had already been calling for their fellows to take up the cause of the environment, highlighting the fact that their call was not being heeded:
“These included Walter Lowdermilk, who in 1940 called for an Eleventh commandment of land stewardship, and Joseph Sittler, who in 1954 wrote an essay entitled "A Theology for the Earth". Likewise, the Islamic scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr has been calling since the late 1960s for a renewed sense of the sacred in nature. [...] In 1972 the theologian John Cobb published a prescient book entitled Is It Too Late?"”
Since then and given the increasing alarm amonst scientists and the world population in general, more religious leaders have also stood up to join in the tide, although many (incuding Pope John Paul4) have not translated their words into any actual change of policy or behaviour in their churches (i.e., they still campaign against birth control).
Christians think that an imaginary being gave us this planet and also that everyone will die in a cataclysmic series of disasters as predicted in Revelations, when Jesus returns to fulfil prophecies he didn't fulfil first time around. In many Christian sects, the 'end', they have shouted, is very soon. In this generation. It's not surprising that some Christians are very irresponsible towards the environment. Consider:
In 2010 Nov the USA's Republican Illinois politician John Shimkus, who is campaigning to be the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said we can't be in danger from global warming causing sea levels to rise because God said "he" wouldn't flood the Earth again; to back this up he asserts that the Bible is the word of God6. He campaigns to block the Environmental Protection Agency from monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, adding that they shouldn't risk causing energy prices to rise because it might harm the US economy6. This short-term, ignorant and selfish thinking is a hallmark of the Bible-based policies.
In the middle era of Christian history, the Church throughout Europe spent hundreds of years suppressing the celebration of nature. In the sixth century bishop Martin of Braga asked "what is the lighting of wax lights at rocks or trees or wells or crossroads if it is not worship of the devil?". The General Capitularies of Charlemagne in 789 described the celebration of sacred natural spaces as evil, and such places are to be destroyed wherever they are found. Images depicted holy men chopping down sacred trees, sometimes, God would prevent such trees from falling on them in order to show its approval of the action.7
In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:9 states that "the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field" [KJV]. Although a bit ambiguous, this is used by Christians who don't care about the environment to justify their stance. The Young's Literal Translation states "The abundance of a land is for all. A king for a field is served". There is clearly no concern for conservation, here!
Those who wish to preserve the planet, and therefore foil the doomsday plans of Christians and their God, are Satanic and Earthly. Aren't we a bad bunch?!! We are not the only ones, however. Although often irrational in their intellectual justifications, Pagan, Wiccan, New Age and Native American religions all tend to be pro-environmental, and to agree that Western civilisation has damaged nature. As such, those types of religions attracted many converts from amongst environmental activists.8.
Although Satanism has the same stance as some other New Age, Native and Pagan religions, the good-guy-badge seeking happy-go-frilly types are not inclined to accept the name of Satan as their figurehead because they think nature is all flowers and unicorns - or, at least, that's the only part they want to symbolize.
“Satanism describes the world as it is. The cycle of life is violent, unfair, primal and only occasionally noble. The vastness of the universe humbles normal Human religions and endeavours, and Satanism represents the fact that the majority of existence is cold, dead and lifeless, and life on Earth is mostly about predator and prey, sex and determination.”
“Environmentalism is commonly proclaimed by all kinds of pagan, Celt, pseudo-Native and New-Agers, and attracts many people on the basis of their concerns and passions for the world that we live in. A "desperate" reaction to the sad loss of the countryside and rapid urbanisation from 1890 onwards made people turn towards paganism10,11 as a theoretical solution - and soon enough, neo-pagan religions arose to take on the challenge. Predictably, such people are nature-deprived city folk "as is usually true of those who love nature (the farmers are too busy fighting it)"12. Many alternative spiritualities now sell themselves as representing "green religion"13. Conservationism and sustainability are ubiquitous and this is the case both amongst the emoting of individuals and the doctrine and stance of organised groups.14
Pagans are especially into environmentalism, preservation, sustainability and other 'green' endeavours. Prudence Jones writes that "by experience we know that we can be transported into rapture by the beauty of Nature. [...] For Pagans the divine, transcendent powers seem to be present within Nature itself, and by deliberate ritual and contemplation the devout Pagan can make contact with these"(1995)15. A study published in 1986 brokedown the reasons that American Pagans gave for becoming involved, and the positive and green stance on environmentalism was amongst the top 6 most commonly given motivations16. Researchers William Bloom and M. York state that this has also been a strong trend within the New Age; according to York a New Ager "through interdependence and interpenetration, accepts responsibility for the planetary state"17,18. Author Kenneth Rees imagines that we might expect to find that one hundred percent of all Pagans are environmentally-conscious and "professing a green spirituality"19.”
Satanism is of course free from much of the waffle of pagan and New Age style religions: our stance on the environment is that we care for it because in the long run an environmentalist stance benefits us, our children and the children of our friends.
The tenets of Satanism are geared naturally towards environmentalism, although whether or not individual Satanists draw these conclusions or act on them is entirely a personal matter, the religion or philosophy of Satanism has an implicit direction towards environmental protectionism. Short-term energy usage at the expense of long-term planetary health is irresponsible, it harms our children and it is stupid. These run against the 6th Satanic Statement (responsibility to the responsible), the 11th Satanic Rule of the Earth (do not harm children), and the cardinal Satanic Sin (stupidity). It is Satan's personified will that we remain powerful and intelligent (the Prometheus mentality) and we simply can't do that on a crippled planet.