The Devil is misunderstood

Ted Hamilton

Hail Satan!

Now that I have your attention, I assure everyone there were no humans or animals sacrificed in the writing of this column. I have never worshipped the Devil and do not plan on being involved in any occult practices this Halloween. This may be surprising, but none of my friends who actually are part of the Church of Satan worship the deity nor believe him to be a physical being. Many people are misguided about what Satanism really is as a religion and philosophy.

Anton LaVey created the Church of Satan in 1966. According to his book, The Satanic Bible, LaVey and his followers refer to Satan only as representing “a force of nature.” Satanism really is a religion that is the worship of one’s self and when a follower says “Hail Satan” what they mean is simply “Hail me.”

LaVey’s followers have a list of nine things Satan represents (“The Nine Satanic Statements”) such as “Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it” and “vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.” The religion also follows LaVey’s idea of the “Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth,” ideas such as “when walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.”

Not too illogical or scary is it?

Perhaps one of the more interesting things The Satanic Bible discusses (Satanists do not believe in preaching) is “The Nine Satanic Sins.” The sins are not ‘thou shall nots’ but rather rail against flaws such as Stupidity, Pretentiousness and Herd Conformity.

Again, the ideas and philosophy are really not anything overwhelming or frightening – so why do people still fear and misjudge Satanists?

LaVey could easily have called his religion something far less sinister like Rainbows-and-puppyism or maybe Selfishism. Who would have paid attention to him though? Using such a confrontational name for his system of beliefs created more publicity for him and, thus, allowed him to gain more members at a faster rate. Sadly, naming his religion after the Fallen Angel from the Christian Bible might have gained the public’s attention, but it also vilified it. Many people still associate his church with the Devil, child molestation and human or animal sacrifice.

According to the church’s Web site, members of the church can be thrown out for malicious or seriously violent behavior toward another person.

The funny thing is that Satanists associated with the Church of Satan condemn actual Devil worshipping because it goes against the beliefs of their church – the worshipping of the individual instead of a supernatural deity.

There is no need to think a Satanist is a sinister person involved with blood orgies like the Satanic animals in the “South Park” episode “The Woodland Critter Christmas.” While I follow a mainstream religion myself, Satanism is simply an alternative “left-hand path” religion that has been vilified by its name and by major religions of the world that misunderstand what the Church of Satan stands for.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].