On Satanism

I heard on Glen Beck a while ago that a Florida court decided in favor of the Satanic church allowing them to put up a public display near a Nativity scene. The display is pretty much what you would expect from the Satanic church: an angel falling into hell. Because of this, I wish to make a few comments on Satanism.

First, let me be clear, I am not an expert on Satanism (What serious person would want to be?). What little I know comes from having read the first few chapters of the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey (If I recall the name correctly), a book I purchased in the spirit of being “objective” and “non-judgmental” just for kicks back in my philosophy days. From what I recall, the official Church of Satan doesn’t endorse human sacrifice (well, gee! Thanks for that!). It embraces what is basically a hedonistic philosophy: follow your urges, sleep with whoever, whenever you can, etc… They don’t necessarily believe in Satan so much as they don’t believe in a God that cares. As they say, there is a Force in charge of the universe, but it cares not one whit for humans (Oddly enough, I agree with that and call that Force Satan—actually, I guess, that’s not quite true: Satan has malevolent intentions toward humans which is not quite the same as not caring—but I also allow that there is a transcendent God that does care).

My perception of Satanism is that it’s kind of a childish temper tantrum in the arena of religion. We’re sick of listening to the Christians, so we’ll go out and worship their Devil (Knock yourself out. I’ll just cross you off my Christmas list and find someone else to have a meaningful conversation with).

Satanists should be neither feared nor tolerated. They should just be ruthlessly mocked (and pitied). Okay, perhaps, to be charitable you should try to reason with them and persuade them away from their views, but I just doubt you will have much success. As for the court that let them put up their display, I suppose that’s what you get when you try to separate God and morality from your legal code (Not that I’m in favor of institutionalizing a religion for the U.S.A. but more like just giving God a hat tip. “One Nation Under God” and all that).

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How to Read the Bible

As followers of this blog may know, I have been diagnosed schizoaffective because I believe, among other things, that I am the antiChrist and that the Bible was written by Satan (Old Testament, anyway). It’s that last conclusion of my “illness” that I wish to comment on here. Basically, it’s a kind of bombshell if it’s taken seriously. If. The problem is that I haven’t studied the Bible much. I went to Catholic schools growing up, so I got some basic Bible knowledge from that, but it is hardly what I would call extensive. After 12th grade, I pretty much had no further reason to read it. I once made the effort to read the New Testament once on my own, but that was about it. That all changed when I turned 25 and fell “ill.” I came to the conclusion that Satan had written the Old Testament and that God, as depicted there, was really Satan pretending to be God. I based my reasoning on a few selected parts of the Bible that I interpreted in my own fashion. As someone once said, “The Bible is like a person; if you torture it long enough, you can make it say anything.”

Although I still believe what I do about Satan and the Bible, I am no longer quite as certain. I came to the decision that I should make the effort to study the Bible a little bit before I draw such a radical conclusion. I mean, I do not have a degree in religious studies or anything of the sort. My conclusion, therefore, may be precipitous.

So, one of the first questions I must answer is: How to read the Bible. For a long time, I have not known the answer to this question. I thought of the Bible as simply a book, a text of recorded events. A history book, perhaps? A collection of life parables, maybe? Although I am still unsure how to read the Bible, I think I have a better understanding of how NOT to read the Bible. I don’t think it should be read literally, for one. Well, when I consider it as a serious religious text (and not the work of Satan), I don’t think it should be read literally. Were the Jews surrounded on both sides by towering walls of water with the Egyptians in hot pursuit? Maybe, but I don’t know. Or is it all meant as instructive allegory?

There is one point in particular, though, that I know I was in error in. I use to think that because the behavior of many of the people in the Bible was deplorable, I shouldn’t seek to find any commonality with them.

But we are all sinners.

I, and you, and everyone, have that in common with all the characters in the Bible. I always looked at the Bible as a handbook for behavior. But David and all the others did some atrocious things. Now, I think I should look at it from the point of view that David was a sinner—and his story is meant to tell how he, a mortal sinner, related to God. The focus is on that relationship, not David’s failings.

One thing is certain: the Bible is not a science manual and cannot be read as such. I used to play a lot of AD&D. In AD&D there are classes for both wizards and priests. Wizards rely on high intelligence. Priests rely on high wisdom. The Bible is more fitting for priests than it is wizards (or our modern day scientists). It uses a different muscle than strictly analytical thought.

Anyway, I’m currently on my first read through of the Bible. I’m almost done; I’ve got about ten pages left to the OT. As of yet, I still don’t know what to conclude.

Rules. Rules. And More Rules.

Ignorance of the Law is no excuse. Or so they say. But shouldn’t there be a caveat that the number of laws should be kept at a manageable level? The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, was over 2000 pages long. And yet, we are to be held accountable to every letter of it. How about the Tax Code? I seem to recollect that it is over 50,000 pages long. Seriously? How can anyone comply? And there are other laws of equal immensity, I’m sure. No mortal can truly comprehend the entire legal code. And yet we are accountable to it. There’s got to be a better way.

I heard an old saying once. “In Heaven, there are no rules. In Hell, there is nothing but rules.” That seems profoundly appropriate. Any guess in which direction our country (the U.S.A.) is going in?

I have to wonder how many laws I unwittingly break every day. It could be none. It could be dozens. Or it could even be hundreds, or even more. The problem, as I see it, is that we try to micromanage human behavior. We come up with rules for everything, because we don’t know how to trust people to see to their own affairs. It’s in our nature to propose a new rule every time we solve a problem. By this time in our history, we have solved an innumerable number of problems. Hence, our excessive number of laws. We should be willing to say, okay, we’ve solved the problem for now, let’s move on. And we’ll leave future problems to the human judgment of those the problem affects. Rules can sometimes be a crutch; and sometimes they should be ignored for the greater good.

I had a thought once that legal precedence was part of this problem. I seem to recall that legal precedence (recording the decisions of courts and relying on those decisions to help make future decisions) started around the 1920’s or so (not really sure of the date), right when Darwinism came into the picture. Evolution was the hot new thing; so, everything had to be treated as an evolving thingamajig. This included, naturally, the law. Anyway, relying on precedence as we have for the last hundred years or so, has suited us well. But now we are running into a new problem: the number of legal decisions we have made has reached an overwhelming number (actually, I’m just saying that. I really don’t know if it’s true, although it probably is, and most assuredly will be eventually). Anyway, to continue, I had the thought that maybe we should do away with legal precedence. Let every legal decision be erased after it is made and enforced. A jury of twelve adults should be able to make a sufficiently wise decision to resolve legal battles.

Or, maybe, there is some other solution, but I don’t see it.