I never saw any of that while I was a Satanist. I never fully understood Anton LaVey’s philosophy until I was in my 20's. Anton’s error was to see religion as God. He saw the lie of religion and the unfairness of life and decided there was no God. I saw the misused authority of my parents and decided THAT was how God was. So often that’s our first grave error in our search for truth. We perceive life through the narrow experiences of our tiny portion of the world and draw our conclusions about the whole universe from that. It’s normal, but it’s also disastrous.
The fact is nearly everyone forces God to fit into his own perception. Even Christians serve a God they perceive rather than the GOD who truly is. They limit Him according to those special needs of their own psyche. It’s actually hard not to do that, but every time we do, it has consequences. Seeing God for who He truly is takes effort, and always has one inevitable result that MANY people cannot accept: Our understanding will always fall short. We will always look toward God and eventually say "why" or "I don’t understand this," about SOMETHING. That often drives people to come up with their own conclusions, their own philosophies, religions, etc. We demand the right to know God with assurance, in every area, but the very fact that He is God precludes that it simply CANNOT be. A glass of water is not capable of holding the ocean. That limitation is hard on our egos.
It’s so much easier to create our own gods; gods that are fully knowable. Those are the gods of atheism, occultism, religion and sometimes even Christianity. Then of course there are those prejudices that we demand of our gods. Women who take offense at a "male" God and so create for themselves a female or neuter god. There we have all the racial gods, the black gods, white gods, and cultural gods, the Spanish gods, African gods, Indian gods, etc. All of them called GOD. And yet none of them are truly Him. Some may be tiny glimpses of Him. Maybe His big toe or little finger, but nothing more. Others are not even that. They’re only delusions from our prejudices.
Getting past all that to see the true GOD, the real creator of the universe took me years. Understanding why the Bible refers to Him as it does is a good place to start. We can’t relate to the Creator as He is. He’s too big. How can an ant relate to a person? How can a grain of sand relate to a desktop computer? The Bible calls God "Father" not because He’s male, but because of the relationship of a father to a child. God is as much female as He is male, and neither. (The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, appearing in the very first chapter of Genesis is female.) To get even close to defining God as He fully is we have to take every role a person plays in our society and add that to God’s title: Father, Mother, friend, king, lord, boss, brother, sister, judge, lawyer, jury, teacher, executioner, savior, etc-etc.
No single image can contain Him. He will fill it up and overflow it until it bursts apart. But realizing THAT very thing about Him is the first step toward seeing Him for who He really is. That one thing alone cuts through much of the prejudiced images. Unfortunately today society seems to have gone the other direction. Any image of God is accepted as God. However you choose to worship God is okay.
No. It’s not.
Because those images are NOT God. They’re empty cups. And this is the basis of everything the Bible calls sin. My gosh this took me years to understand, wading through all the nonsense that so much of "Christianity" is today. There is a reason for all of God’s commands. ONE reason for them all. A very simple one. They are all a matter of LIFE and DEATH.
We’ve all seen how a cotton candy machine can take sugar and food coloring and spin it into a big fluffy mound. We stick our tongues to it and it dissolves back into sugar. Imagine a machine that could do that with air. It could take air and spin it into a big fluffy mound, all colored and textured. We pick up that textured air, touch it, taste it, eat it, and it seems filling, but in our stomachs it just dissolves right back into air. If that was all we ate, we’d starve to death. We could go on eating and eating, seemingly filling ourselves up, but be starving day by day until eventually we wither up and die.
In life there are things that are the spiritual equivalent of textured air. No matter how much we consume them, they leave us spiritually starving because they’re emptiness disguised as substance. Those things lead slowly to death. Spiritually, mentally AND physically. Anything that leads to death, that is emptiness disguised as substance, God calls SIN. Those are the things He forbids. Not because He’s a tyrant as I thought He was, but because He wants us to LIVE.
Worshiping an idol is sinful because it’s NOT God. It’s an empty cup. It may feel like something to us, but it’s not. It will leave us destitute inside.
Of course religions have their own lists of "SIN". Religions take personal prejudices and label them as sins. Things like dancing, playing cards, certain kinds of music, oral sex, have all been labeled SINFUL by some Christian religions. They’re not. God never declared them so. People did. Mistaking the two, either way, and it ends up badly. Religion stifles, oppresses, and leads to death. Sin empties, poisons and leads to death. God is NOT against us. His commands are to guide us toward the things that produce life, health, happiness, joy, growth, because God loves us. That’s the TRUTH of who He is. I’ve watched closely and I believe most people who turn from God do so for one of two basic reasons. #1 They mistake some aspect of religion as God- like Anton LaVey did. Or #2 They are unable to overcome their need to understand what can not BE understood. I honestly don’t think it’s easy to turn from God if we see Him as He really is. Every Satanist I’ve ever encountered has fallen into one of those 2 categories. They either have a warped, distorted perception of God, based on what they were taught by some idiot, or they don’t believe in the goodness or even the existence of God because of the injustice of the world. The first is a problem of perception. The second is a problem of pride. Both are hard to get past.
The only way to get past those false perceptions is to have a heart that sincerely wants TRUTH. God has to be sought after. Anyone who will settle for, and hang on to their empty idol of perception will never find the truth of God as GOD. Doesn’t it make SENSE however that the true creator of the Universe is far beyond that simple, contrived IMAGE of Him? I mean, if someone told you a monkey painted the Sistine Chapel wouldn’t you look at those paintings and realize that’s a lie? The so called "God" that Satanism describes, that so many religions describe, is very shallow, simplistic, and downright convenient to their own set of beliefs. Doesn’t it make sense that God has to be more than that? Only an honest desire to challenge those beliefs and perceptions and seek out that MORE will result in finding the true GOD.
The problem of pride is often even harder. When we look at the world and say "God can’t exist because this thing right here isn’t right." Or we say, "God isn’t just or good because this part of life is totally unfair." What we’re actually doing is declaring ourselves equal to God. We declare that the world, and God Himself, MUST fall into the parameters of our own understanding or it simply is not so. We declare, "God can’t be good unless I can understand that goodness. It has to fit MY definitions." That’s pride. To a wino a "good" God is one who provides him with a free bottle of booze everyday and grants him no hangovers. No matter who we are, our own ideas of good and evil, right and wrong, are skewed to our own personal tastes and perceptions. To demand those of God is megalomaniacal. Imagine a 4 year old child declaring you are BAD because you make her eat food instead of candy, and you won’t let her watch Friday the 13th. That’s the same thing we do when we judge God because we don’t understand the world. Only letting go of that PRIDE and acknowledging our tiny size compared to God’s will overcome that, and too often that’s the one thing prideful people will never do.
If we CAN get past those two things though, we can find the true God. A God of power, but compassion; of justice, but love; of fierceness, but mercy. He’s the Creator of the Universe who’s greatest desire is that His creation, His children, know strength, and goodness, peace, love, warmth, joy, health and growth. That we are not left alone. Not abandoned. Not misunderstood. And because there is nothing bigger than God, the greatest thing God can offer to His creation is Himself. True heaven is the presence of God. True Hell is the absence of God. That may sound superficial, but God is love, light, and warmth. To be without Him is to be in bleakness, darkness, and cold. When we see that truth, when we see who God really is, then we see who Satan really is too.
Satan is NOT the opposite of God. That’s the most fundamental error in theology. Satan is not darkness, while God is light. Darkness is simply the absence of light. Satan is less than that. Satan is the obstacle between humanity and God. Take a flashlight, shine its light on a wall, take your hand and cover the end of the flashlight. The light is God. The darkness is the absence of God. The hand is Satan. The hand does not destroy the light, it simply keeps us from seeing it. The light still shines, it’s just hidden or distorted from our view. Satan is a being that desires to block us from God and everything Godly. He’s the enemy of Humanity. To be cut off from love, light, and warmth results in death. Satan is the bringer of all kinds of death- spiritually, mentally, and physically. He is the deceiver and the tempter, and the accuser.
In the Bible, Satan is simply a created being with no name. He is only called by what he does. He accuses us of our sins before God. He’s called the Accuser or Adversary. In Hebrew ha Shatan- Satan. The Enemy. He whispers in our ear to do that which leads to death, then accuses us before God for what we have done wrong. He tempts us to do everything God forbids in order to destroy us. That’s the true nature of Satan. He’s not an enemy of God. He’s an enemy of life.
The problem is humanity is flawed. We have within us an impulse to do evil, to do the very things we know will destroy us. Like smoking. We know intellectually that smoking leads to lung cancer, and yet it’s a billion dollar industry because we still do it. That is OUR nature. It’s a part of our free will. In order to be able to choose between life and death we have to have an impulse or desire that pulls us toward each one. Set two pies before a child, one apple, one cherry. If the child hates cherries, there’s no choice. He will pick apple every time. If he likes both though, then there’s conflict. Sometimes he will choose apple, sometimes cherry. Now what if he’s allergic to cherries but still loves them? They’ll make him sick. Which should he choose? Apple. But which will he choose? If people will face hangovers again and again for the pleasure of getting drunk, a child will face vomiting for the pleasure of cherries. That’s human nature. We will do that which is evil because there is a pleasure in evil that appeals to us as much as the pleasure of good does. Even though evil kills us.
That’s the only true lure of Satanism. When we get past the lies, the deceptions, the false perceptions of God, all that remains is the pleasure of evil. It’s the high a junkie feels with a needle in his arm. It’s the satisfaction a thief feels from taking what is another’s. It’s the ecstasy of the kill, the fulfillment of greed, the thrill of domination, and it always ends in pain and death, whether ours or another’s.
To be a Satanist is not to be liberated. It is to be bonded to death. The freedom it offers is an illusion. And this is something I know every Satanist knows, because I was there. In the dark and quiet, all alone, without the buzz of alcohol or drugs, or the rhythm of music to drown out the sounds, there is an empty echo inside us. A vacancy. A feeling of loss and cold and turmoil and hunger. That emptiness gnaws and hurts worse than anything else in life; we take up knives to carve our skin just to escape it, or run into the arms of a lover to smother it, but it doesn’t go away. It grows. It is death at work, emptiness causing decay. No matter how much we feed it SIN, it will never fill up. Eventually it will consume us, and destroy us.
The only thing that can fill that emptiness is God. The true God. Finding Him takes effort and courage. It requires that you hate the darkness enough to wrench the hand from the flashlight. That is something only you can do. But you CAN do it.
You really can.
It takes great effort, but the result is life, true life, in all its abundance and diversity. The life that only God can produce, because He is the only source of it.
I speak as one who has traveled the roads, who has seen the land far and wide. My most heartfelt prayer is that you see this signpost, and from it, find your way home. Choose God. Choose life.