March 29, 2018

The weakness of humanity

Cheesus Chrust did not die for your sins.
Since this past October, I've been reconsidering the foundations of how I understand Satanism. One of those foundations is the assertion that "might makes right," and while I'm not saying that there isn't some truth to that, I am saying that it's something I've come to feel is unworthy of a foundational pillar of my understanding of Satanism. I mean to say, if might makes right, then I why don't I just throw in with the Christians? They've got that shit locked down.

But that's not really what I'm trying to talk about in this essay. Instead, I want to talk about how -- after questioning the maxim that might makes right -- I've come to feel that Satan and Satanism are less closely aligned with the supreme, perfect, and strong, and more closely aligned with the marginalized, imperfect, and weak. You might think this is a strange perspective to take, but for me this is a natural extension of the commonly held beliefs among Satanists that Satan represents man as just another animal, and also non-denial of the self. If you deny the premise that Satanists are a special breed of people who are Satanists at birth (versus people who aren't Satanists at birth and thus can also never truly become a Satanist), then that means Satan represents the full state and spectrum of humanity.

So yes, I accept that Satan and Satanism can be equated with strength, power, and privilege, but only because the myth, principle, or -- if you're so inclined -- the spirit of Satan is present in all people regardless. You might even go so far as to call this the original sin, or even take up with the Christians who argue that each and every one of us are born into sin. In this sense, Satan (however you choose to define him, her, or it) and the expression of Satanism is present also in the impoverished, disadvantaged, broken, weak, and all other ill dignified superlatives you could imagine.

This shift in perspective has surprised me not because it's an inversion of my previously held perspective, but because it superficially aligns with a commonly held Christian sentiment that each and every one of us are weak, broken, and insufficient. However, that's as far as it goes, because it's how Christians and at least this Satanist respond to that premise that makes the difference.

For so many Christians who live according to this paradigm, humanity is born into sin and from even before the word "go" is imperfect in the most profound way imaginable. In this spiritual paradigm, man and woman are -- among other things -- incomplete, and the missing puzzle piece to solve all puzzles is the acceptance of Christ. Only by accepting a personal relationship with Christ can the Christian be made figuratively and (according to the faith healers) even physically whole. For the Christians, mortal life on Earth is a period of temptation and torment designed to play upon their weaknesses and for this reason they require the strength of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. When a Christian says, "You complete me," he or she is talking about his or her relationship with Christ and the gift of salvation.

But for at least this Satanist, that paradigm doesn't work out. I mean to say, why should I gratefully submit to an all-powerful, all-knowing God whose divine plan was to make me imperfect and then threaten me with eternal torture if I didn't beg Him to make me a member of his flock? I just don't understand how it is that God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to appease Himself in order to stop Himself from throwing every last man, woman, and child into a lake of burning fire for all eternity. There are Christians who say that this is to do with God creating eternal and immutable laws, and since He created them, only He can work around them, but to my ears it's just Bart Simpson asking the Sunday-school teacher if God can make a rock so big that He can't lift it. Think about that and let me know when you've got an answer.

Anyway, where was I? So yes, I accept weakness and imperfection as fundamental attributes present in all humans everywhere at all time, but among Satanists at least I take the position that this inborn lack is not a reason to seek out a cosmic Mafia boss offering spiritual "protection" from his appointed enforcers, but is instead great motivation to acknowledge weakness and imperfection in others, and learn to work together against those who fetishize strength and desire to punish the weak for what sometimes seems like no reason except their weakness. 

Because at least this Satanist sees Satanism through this paradigm, I have no desire for a personal relationship with Satan (who in all likelihood is no better than an imaginary friend, and I'm way too old to suffer belief in things unseen.) For me, when I say, "You complete me," I'm not talking about ghosts and demons, but about the real, actual people who live alongside me. I'm not talking about spiritual promises that priests assure me God will keep if I just give up 10% of my income as well as my self-respect, but about the incomplete puzzle pieces shaped like my allies, friends, and family who fit with the incomplete puzzle piece shaped like me. I'm not on my knees praying to the gods of either Heaven or Hell to heal my weaknesses or overcome my imperfections. Instead, I'm reaching out to the dirty, broken world to find other sinners who'll stand with me.

We are imperfect, and together we are legion.

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