I just ran across the following post in the #satanism tag and feel the need to address it:
“Why are you not a fan of gilmore? He is after all the high priest of Cos, I’m curious.”
Don’t get me wrong; I think he’s a cool dude and everything, I just don’t care for the current state of the Church of Satan. He wasn’t even appointed by LaVey and the only reason he came to be high priest in the first place was because Boyd Rice didn’t want the position, so Blanche Barton gave it to him as a sign of respect for his support and dedication.
When he took over, the price of membership doubled and the CoS pretty much turned into a shitty money-making scheme as far as I’m concerned. There’s no reason whatsoever to be a card-carrying member of the Church of Satan other than having a $200 plastic card that looks cool in your wallet. Sure, it’s good that they’re still publishing the Satanic Bible and LaVey’s other writings, but the CoS really died with LaVey (I wish I could coin that quote, but I stole it from this guy). Satanism isn’t about belonging to an exclusive club, it’s about the philosophy.”
Right now the Church of Satan is more vibrant than it’s ever been, and continues to be so thanks to Magus Gilmore. Magistra Barton (and certainly Doctor LaVey himself) would know better than to pass the CoS over to Boyd Rice—a person who would be spending more time touring and such than actually running the church. To think otherwise would simply be ridiculous. This started thanks to the intro of a song on an album called SWAT, which featured a staged conversation between LaVey and Rice in which both are playing cops—nothing to do with passing on the Church of Satan. When LaVey died, Gilmore had already been a CoS Administrator for many years and had been publicly representing the church in the media since at least the 1980s. There was simply no other person better suited for the role—including Boyd Rice.
As far as the accusation of the Church of Satan turning into a money-making scheme: complete hogwash. The membership fee up until that point had not been raised since the early 1970s, when it was raised to $100—that’s an incredibly long time to not raise a membership fee in light of inflation. Members of the Church of Satan were asking for it to be raised—myself included—not because anyone gets money out of it, but because it serves as a very effective filter that keeps so many losers out. The fact that this pisses off so many non-members only further illustrates this point. This isn’t a fan club where you’d expect to get all kinds of cool little badges and decoder rings, so when people complain that all they would get in return is a little red card, it shows they completely missed the point of joining in the first place! These are the people we want to filter out. Personally, I’m in favor of raising the membership fee even more at some point—after all, this is an elitist religion and if you can’t walk the walk, get on the sidelines. Satanism was never intended to be soft and comforting.
Aside from the above, our members have been forwarding their achievements via their employment of Satanism in various arenas including art, music, literature, business, science, and just about every other. We’ve had members translating our core texts by LaVey and Gilmore (as well as other members’ writings) into numerous languages, so that they become available worldwide.
The amount of exciting projects and creations by our members is mind-blowing! Those on the inside see this. Those on the outside perhaps weren’t meant to. Membership does have its privileges, and not everyone who can afford it is accepted. If someone does gain membership and shows no worthwhile contribution or successful application of Satanism in the outside world, they can expect nothing in return and have no right to complain that “all I got was a little red card.” Well, that’s because all you did was sit on your ass and talk an empty talk on the internet.
So many pretentious would-be Satanists have attempted throughout the years to accuse Anton LaVey of plagiarism. I’ve seen two such Tumblr posts saying as much in the past five minutes; one with the usual Might is Right accusation and another saying LaVey plagiarized Nietszche, Rand, and Crowley. As I’ve dealt with the Might is Right accusation previously, let’s look at the other three names mentioned.
Firstly, Anton LaVey always cited his sources and influences. As a young teen in the 1980s, I would not had heard of Friedrich Nietszche or Ayn Rand were it not for the writings of Anton LaVey, and at that point I was already long tired of Crowley’s mystical mumbo-jumbo. The mere fact that I learned of Nietszche and Rand through LaVey’s writings should already show he was not a plagiarist, as plagiarism means claiming another’s work to pass off as your own.
LaVey was intelligent enough to know that, though Nietzche was mostly a fanatical idealist nutjob, there was a lot of what he had to say that merited not throwing it all out completely. He was astute enough to be able to sift through the ranting and salvage ideas that were very congruent with Satanic values. He never plagiarized these ideas, as he presented them as actually being from Nietszche and referring to them as Nietszchean in many of his essays, much as one would call ideas congruent to the writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, Machiavellian. This was a pragmatic weeding and filtering process that left the bulk of Nietszche’s ideas with yesterday’s trash—hardly plagiarism.
The story regarding Ayn Rand is very similar, and the differences between Satanism and Rand’s Objectivism have been previously discussed in this essay by Magister Nemo:
LaVey made it abundantly clear on more than one occasion that Satanism was a synthesis of the best of previous ideas that can best be termed Satanic, revolutionary, adversarial, etc. This was not limited to bit-parts by Rand and Nietszche, but moreso inspired by the romantic writers’ descriptions of Satan (Shaw, Twain, Milton, etc.), as well as study of the human animal itself.
As far as people claiming LaVey plagiarized Crowley, this is the most ridiculous of the accusations. LaVey published his own translation of the Enochian Calls, which Crowley did not write. John Dee authored the original Enochian Calls/Keys and LaVey felt Crowley’s interpretation was far too watered down (and LaVey made it known that he didn’t think very highly of Crowley, who died a lonely drug-addict, to begin with), so he stripped the whitewashing off and presented a stronger, much more Satanic translation.
Satanism does not include standing in “protective” circles, calling spirits or ritual drug use. Satanism does not advocate mysticism. Satanism has nothing to do with Crowleyanity or any of that Golden Dawn/A.*.A.*./etc., garbage. Yet, they accuse LaVey of plagiarism?
Finally, on the topic of Ragnar Redbeard’s Might is Right, my previous post on it is here:
Needless to say, the very ones making the loudest accusations claiming plagiarism are the very ones who can’t even tell you what the Hell was supposed to be plagiarized, blindly believing wholeheartedly what they were told by some other moron and parroting to sound like they know what they’re talking about. This is why you’ll often hear the accusation of LaVey using most of Might is Right in his Book of Satan, when the Book of Satan is five pages and Might is Right is over 200 pages (see the my previous post linked above).
People will make any and all sorts of baseless claims because they assume no one will check up on, or already have studied, the facts.
If you know what you’re defending, you cannot be made an ass of. Do your homework, kids!
I ran into another blog in the Satanism tag and just had to address it:
I feel that this is an ongoing problem that seriously needs to be addressed. If anyone ever goes on the satanism tag, you’ll find everything on Satanism that you could ever want, LaVeyan, Theistic Satanism, or just Satanist photography, but mostly LaVeyan, and this is where the problem begins. So many LaVeyans are so ignorant that they flaunt their Satanic beliefs as if they were the only Satanists on the earth. I saw a post with someone saying:
“A satanist doesn’t believe in god or satan. A satanist is an atheist that believes people should be responsible for their actions.”
Exact quote. It is completely fine if you are LaVeyan or any other form of Atheist Satanism, but what isn’t fine is that so many LaVeyans do not take in account of the existence of other Satanism groups. This person is not helping the Satanism community, but insulting it by once again breaking the very first sin in their own form of Satanism.
I am sorry about this rant, I would just like to ask any of you that do this to open your minds and see that your form of Satanism is not the only one that exists on the face of the earth.”
The above post shows the author’s lack of historical understanding of Satanism and the fact that so-called “Theistic Satanism” is not Satanism at all. As I’ve discussed several times in previous posts, Satanism was never a religion until it was codified in 1966. Before that, there was no such thing as a Satanic religion in any form whatsoever. Even the founders of the Temple of Set seemed to understand this, as they don’t pretend to be “Theistic Satanists,” but rather call themselves Setians.
Again, people, it is imperative that anyone calling his/herself a Satanist read H.T.F. Rhodes’ The Satanic Mass and A.E. Waite’s Devil Worship in France (both written before the founding of the Church of Satan, so you know they aren’t biased toward the CoS) in order to understand the historical facts of what was and was not in existence—and “Theistic Satanism” most certainly was not!
There are no branches of Satanism. There is no legitimate thing one can call “Theistic Satanism.” There is only Satanism, as defined in The Satanic Bible, by Anton Szandor LaVey. The rest is a hodge-podge of garbage believed by people who feel a need to believe in deity (which is no different than Christianity) oftentimes emotionally influenced by the media in various forms, such as the myths and lies spread in the 1980s-’90s during the Satanic Panic.
Satanism is a rejection of all things theistic. Satanism is not ecumenical nor egalitarian. Satanism does not need to be accepting of anyone else’s beliefs, and for one to think the Church of Satan would benefit by being a part of any type of broader “Satanic Community” is the height of stupidity. Satanism is the earthly individual over the spiritually-minded collective—it is inherently diametrically opposed to theism at its very core, otherwise it would not be any different than any other deity-adoring religion.
A black sheep is still a sheep.
That said, there is also no such thing as “LaVeyan Satanism.” When Anton LaVey founded Satanism, he did not name it “LaVeyan,” but simply “Satanism.” There is only one thing: Satanism vs. Theism—in all its forms.
I leave you with this: