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By Their Sins You Shall Know Them

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If you want to know what kind of people follow a particular religion, don't study its tenets, its beliefs, its values, or its ethics. Look instead for its sins.

Christian sins include gluttony, sexual misconduct, wrath, envy, etc., and you will find no people as fat, perverse, angry, and resentful as Christians. In the Church of Satan, you find the sins of stupidity, counter-productive pride, lack of perspective, etc., and its members invariably behave as if these sins were virtues. Within Islam, you find sins such as associating anything with Allah, theft, gambling, and backbiting, and I hardly need to mention which behavior comes to mind when you observe muslims.

And so it is: religious sins describe the people that the religion fosters or attracts. If you find cowardice among the list of sins, don't expect a follower of that religion to stand up for you when the going gets tough; if stupidity is a sin, you can safely bet your money that the religion attracts mostly uneducated people; and if lust is a sin, keep a watchful eye on your children if you leave them among followers.

The Destruction of Truth

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Eliphas Levi's Goat of MendesTruth is re­ser­ved for mis­guided humans who believe that truth is a goal.

Truth is sought by humans who are cul­tur­ally trained to believe that some­where, someone knows what is “true.” They believe it is the duty of each human being to either be this person or to work hard to com­pre­hend through this person what is “true.” Even if they may not form­ally or lit­er­ally believe in gods, it is implied by their culture that it is “God” who holds the final and eternal truth.

The Devil has no in­ter­est in as­pir­ing for his op­pon­ent. Satan turns his back at God. He knows that there is no such thing as “true.” Satan does not want truth. Satan is the per­petu­al liar, and it is his cor­rupt­ive nature to destroy truth.

Yet a truth that has been forced to adapt to the Devil's eternal ques­tion mark and de­struc­tion through the ages has not become a lie; it has only been pro­gress­ively less wrong. Satan's ob­st­in­ate desire to destroy truth as we know it has re­placed the term “true” with the term “pro­gess­ively less wrong.”

It may sound as if Satan inadvertently attains the very goal that he wishes to avoid, but there is a monumental difference between the two concepts.

“True” is something that is measured as the distance from an absolute, constant merit, which is an ultimate goal. The closer something is to this goal, the more true it is.

“Progessively less wrong” is measured according to a point of departure. It is a measure of how far you have reached and how far you have progressed.

“True” is an angst of not being close enough to God—a fear that cannot be eased, because there are no gods. The wish to reach the goal is a death wish, because once the wish has been granted, there is nothing more to strive for.

To be “progressively less wrong” is to revel in your own progess, and it is a perennial desire to always go further.

The desire for “truth” creates rigid societies. People think in terms of “right” when they maintain their own, “true” course while they actively combat any other course and are hostile towards discussion and perspective.

The desire to be “progressively less wrong” leads society in new directions. It encourages respect for past knowledge and enthusiasm for constributing with new knowledge, to lifelong learning, and to an appreciation of the fact that there is great value to be found in the interaction between humans with unique views.

But it is not easy to be “progressively less wrong” instead of being “more right.” Many people have a feeling of what is “right” and do not have the slightest idea of how to be “less wrong.” They belive you are opting for the second-best solution when you wish to be “less wrong” rather than “more right.” This, in spite of life itself being a monument to the fact that there is nothing second-best to beling “progressively less wrong.”

To learn what is wrong in a popular “truth,” we must follow the Devil's example.

Satan does not belive in false authorities who know in advance what is “right.” Satan has much more respect for those people who seek to demolish truths—assuming these people are not merely motivated by another “truth.” Satan believes in chaos, because he trusts people to be creative, and he trusts that a large number of people that do not share an opinion are capable of functioning together.

To be “progessively less wrong” demands the Devil's tools: the ability to be critical and to learn from your own and others experiments, but also to keep an open mind that allows controversional thoughts and acts. The key talent is creativity, but unfortunately our god-fearing culture is suspicious of this chaotic skill, or may have lost its belief in it or forgotten it in its quest for maximum profit or “financial responsibility.”

A truth that cannot be destroyed is promoted to divinity and will enthrall independent thought. In his destruction of truth, Satan therefore demands bickering and dispute, obstacles and destruction, frustration and error. Only thus can truth be destroyed and mankind be liberated from God.

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Beyond Atheism

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I know that I can't prove a negative, and atheists in general feel caught by a "democratic" need to acknowledge that since you can't fully disprove the chance, however small, that there might be some god somewhere, you must acknowledge that the delusional claims about such entities may at least in principle have some merit.

I do not acknowledge that merit, except as a mental exercise that one can do for fun if one feels so inclined, however, because in spite of my disbelief in metaphysical beings, I'm not an atheist.

The non-belief of atheism is easy, and you can get a long way with that. I know that all things in this vast universe are ultimately connected, but as little as I consider how it affects the red spot on Jupiter that I mow my lawn, consistently with the aforementioned atheists I don't consider the remote chance of something even less observable influencing my thoughts either.

It is easy to not believe, yet atheists seem stuck at searching for the turning point, where God has diminished enough in life's equation, to feel comfortable stating why they move on without him. I have never had anything to discuss with superstitious people, and have never wanted to debate with them.

I am beyond that point. I am beyond atheism: not only do I not believe there is a God, I believe there is no God.

Taking this step beyond atheism has important ramifications. Believing there is no Heaven or Hell, I have no doubt, not even at the level of academic agnosticism, that I cannot be forgiven or damned. This belief requires me to be thoughtful of my actions instead. It requires me to understand that how I treat people will reflect back on me within this lifetime. Believing there is no God means believing there is no supernatural purpose of my life, and that this is the only life I have; it is up to me to make the most of it, and now is the only chance I have.

Believing that there is no God means that I cannot assume that others will view the world the way I do. I have no god to instruct me how reality is, and I must reach a consensus with human beings instead. I must learn, and I must teach.

I believe that no suffering or joy is caused by an omnipresent force that bothers to test or help me. It is caused by chance and our own actions, and the belief implies that misfortune is something that I and my fellow specimens must deal with on our own rather than relying on that force to correct. We are responsible for our own actions; no God will reward us, and no Devil will punish us. We cannot expect God to fix our mistakes, and we cannot blame the Devil for them, believing that the former will forgive us for doing it, and that the latter made us do it.

Believing there's no god places a huge set of demands on me that a mere atheist wouldn't consider. Atheists act as if they still believe in that God, stuck with the same morals and ethics, believing in the same values, acting according to the same rules as those they think they've disaffiliated themselves from, and following the same religiously motivated traditions, ceremonies, and rituals as most other Christians.

I believe that we are not creatures bound by fate or supernatural decision, but I also believe that we do not roam free. I believe there is a trinity (if one dares to use such a term) of diamond hard necessity, fleeting hazard or chance, and freedom, and each individual's life is a trajectory throughout existence bouncing off these opposing and yet balancing elements of this trinity on every move.

Diamond necessity are the unescapable laws of nature and environment that limit our movement; death is an ultimate limit, but the less obvious limits imposed upon us by our biology and psychology are also only too real to us. It is within this imprisonment of being that we may wish to become distinguishable, which is a way to seem to avoid hard necessity.

But within these limitations set in stone, fleeting hazard occurs, much like a lottery or a fatal car crash coming out of nowhere. We may hope for or dread the results, but we can never plan or prevent them, and where diamond necessity destroys all hope of change, fleeting hazard is the chaos in the ordered necessity, the nonsense in the sense, that no-one would wish to be without.

And finally, there is freedom: as lightnings of hazard tear through the shadows of solid necessity, we observe that we are not automatons of an imagined fate. We revolt against diamond necessity wishing to control the chaotic chance, wondering if we are challenging the impossible. We instinctively wish to break free from stasis, to progress, and the more content one is with stasis, the more one is inclined to view this rebellion as evil. Yet while freedom is felt instantly, the freedom that bends diamond necessity takes an eternity to unfold compared with the lifespan of a single human being.

I turn the theist safety around. Much better than thinking it safest to believe in God "just in case," I find it safer to believe there is no God. There is so much self-denial, so much atonement, so much guilt, and so much rejection of life's joys at risk that the slim chance of avoiding the right Hell among so many variants cannot possibly warrant the effort. But I also prefer the safety of treating people according to my needs, to gain for my purposes, to trust skilled authorities, to get sound advice, and I wish to live in a society where my personal safety is based on responsibilities laid in the hands of the responsible.

It is not enough to renounce the gods, the heavens, and the hells. You must face the consequences: if there are no heavens, gods, hells, and devils, what have you? It is easy to sell your soul to the Devil, because souls are cheap. There's a much higher price to pay than your soul: it is that you recognize your own values, and that there's only here and now. Take this step if you claim to be an atheist, or you might as well pay homage to the God in which you claim disbelief.

A Tribute to the Devil

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Science has a reasonable understanding of matter and how the strong, the weak, and the electromagnetic forces and (at least for practical purposes) gravity affect it. We also have a firm grasp on an large array of other natural laws and principles.

But none of the forces or laws indicate that, from a human point of view, there is a constant evolution and change in our universe. They only describe change within so limited scopes that one cannot express connections between cause on the microscopic level and effect on the macroscopic level, or vice versa.

The laws of nature do not state anything about the development of life; although we do understand how DNA replicates, how organisms reproduce and mutate, how organisms adapt and survive according to changing environments, and how they in turn change their environments, we cannot explain which direction life will take. Neither do the laws of nature explain our emotions or reactions in spite of a good understanding of biochemistry, some neurological insight, etc.

Eliphas Levi's Goat of MendesPerhaps if in theory one could take a sn­ap­shot of the current state of my body and all things in its en­vir­on­ment that have a non-neg­li­gible effect and, this sn­ap­shot now frozen in time and space, de­scribe me as a defined system using math­em­at­ic­al equa­tions and models of chem­is­try and physics. If our world could be modeled this way, and no random effects can occur, perhaps one could predict the dir­ec­tion of life.

But no man can handle this re­duc­tion­ist view, and must instead resort to mys­t­ic­al sym­bol­ism both to un­der­stand and to com­mu­n­ic­ate any state of ex­ist­ence.

We possess an immense un­der­stand­ing of the world around and within us, yet our sense of de­vel­op­ment and life—our desire to act and live, to be and to become—is not covered by this un­der­stand­ing. We can still de­scribe such feel­ings only in sym­bol­ic terms.

Natural forces and laws com­bined have an immense effect that seems much larger than their sum total, and there is no well-de­scribed natural law that can express this com­bined effect. We can only state that the natural laws explain that things happen, and how phys­ic­al and chem­ic­al pro­cesses are fol­lowed, but they cannot de­scribe how life or our per­cep­tion of life unfolds. It is this "su­per­set of natural laws" that has no sci­en­ti­f­ic law or de­scrip­tion.

In principle, I could do with the above explanation, but few people can relate well enough to the knowledge that science has gathered today to understand the combined force of the laws of the universe. A symbol is required instead that effectively communicates this greater whole, enabling people to intuitively grasp the immensity and general mechanisms.

I prefer to use Satan as this symbol. It describes change with no guidance, a perpetual motivation that follows its own, inner dark light. It communicates both unordered dissolution and solidification into a balance that is found as chaos and order throughout Nature. It communicates a power of divine nature, but unlike that attributed to the usual gods it is a power that requires "evil" and destruction, and a power that is unconcerned with the well-being or the state of Cosmos.

Perhaps there might be a better word, but I cannot think of one that adequately communicates the gestalt of all natural laws acting simultaneously—the only way they can function—powerfully enough to do it justice. We owe it to life to use the most powerful and inclusive expression we can find.

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