Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Church of Satan

Not to be confused with the devil worshipping beliefs and practices of Satanism, The Church of Satan is a religion generally followed by Agnostics and Atheists. Founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, the CoS derives from Pagan principles including the earthly aspects of life. Due to the CoS' Satan being pre-Christian, the practices and rituals of the religion have few similarities with the Christian or Muslim concept of Satan as it is viewed as a force of nature rather than a living deity associated with Hell, demons and profound evil.

Some of the Satanic Rules of the Earth outlined by LaVey include acknowledging the power of magic, avoiding harm to children and refraining from killing animals. It is clear that CoS followers hold life in sacred regard as Satan represents love, kindness and respect to those who deserve it. Satanic Sins on the other hand include stupidity, pretensiousness and self-deceit. The focus on the individual is apparent in the CoS and the belief that "no redeemer liveth" highlights how each person is their own redeemer, fully responsible for the direction of their own life. LaVey once stated "Satanists are strange creatures. We know the idea of an omniscient, all-powerful God who watches over each of us and listens to each of our prayers is an irrationality and a deep offense to any advanced mind. We see no evidence of justice or answered prayers in the world around us. If the Judeo-Christian "God" is all-powerful, all-knowing, he's damned churlish and incompetent." His attack on Christianity makes a valid point, however it is notable that Christianity remains to be the dominant faith in America. This shows that the majority of Americans hold traditional religious beliefs which have ultimately assisted in shaping American identity, despite the emergence of other religions.

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