Damn near every religion familiar to most people seems insistent in the belief that salvation and/or enlightenment is impossible for the sensual human being to attain. Even the Tao Te Ching, a fundamental text of the Taoist tradition, seems to insist that human desire is to be let go of rather than be seen as natural. Well, what can I expect from the majority of religions? It seems fairly well-established, at least from the modern point of view, that the vast majority of religions are enable to profit off the human spirit without convincing mankind that he is doomed by mote of his basic drives and existence, and that he cannot attain any kind of salvation without the rejection of desire, that he cannot be spiritual without reducing himself to nothing. And always, the animal part of Man is rejected as lower, a thing to be shunned, rather than as a source of life, or even as a source of transformation.
I, the Satanist, say what is wrong with being human?
If we are to assume that the gods are but the projections of the self, created by Man, and if the afterlife is a creation of Man, then surely is it not within the human being to save him/herself on his/her own terms? Even if not, surely Man is not beholden to any external spiritual forces anymore. For thousands of years, Man has sought salvation from annihilation in the grip of death, and has only seen a way to do so in organized religion and in the gods of old (up to and including the so-called “One True God”). Thus in the process of “saving” himself, he has had to bargain his pride, his desires,often in his sense of the self, in obeisance in these bodies of organized religion and to these externalized deities, that he may secure a place in paradise – but in a paradise that is not his own. It is a paradise conjured in the terms of the men (and it usually was men) who designed it, and it can’t be guaranteed to suit every man and woman’s idea of spiritual paradise. Man has bartered that which his true being holds dear for salvation, but was Man really being saved, or were people simply sacrificing themselves to the predatory narcissism of those who wanted control over others? Either way, even there was salvation, it could only be at the whim of another man or a “God”, not on your own terms. It’s also worth mentioning that in much of the ancient world, the power of religion and the power of the state were either interrelated or much the same as one another – . Who could forget the examples of the “god-kings” of Egypt and the Aztecs (who were also linked with specific deities), or the “god-emperors” of Rome, China, and Japan? But in more recent ages, human beings have discovered, and are still in the process of discovering, that this does not have to be – another way can be created. There is now the prospect that the individual can enthrone him/herself as the only master of his/her spiritual life, dethroning the Gods that came before. Or rather, there is the discovery that Man has had the ability to choose this entire time – only that our kind has been unaware, or conditioned by countless generations of obedience to tradition. Can Man not dictate his/her own salvation, create his/her own paradise? If Man has had the choice this entire time, it must stand to reason that the individual human is capable dictating his/her own path, without needing to sacrifice one bit of his/her genuine nature out of the mistaken notion that you cannot be saved or enlightened simply because your sensual nature contradicts the teachings of those who may simply have wanted control over a flock of people.
In the world in which we live today, many of the mainstream religious traditions are losing power and losing influence. In particular in the Western world, Christianity is losing the influence it once had as the power of tradition and religion give way to a largely secular liberal climate, with some roadblocks ahead. Even in Japan where modern ideas have managed to harmoniously co-exist with old religious traditions, Buddhism is losing the influence it once had, as demonstrated by the lack of interest in the Buddhist monastery and the prospect of many Buddhist temples in Japan closing their doors within the next 25 years. There will doubtless be those who mourn for the decline of tradition, or rather the influence it once held over the minds of the masses, but on the other hand, the people are set to be freer than ever before to carve their own path. Even so, it is obvious that humans will still long for meaning, a sense that there must be more to this life than simply the mundane experience of this world. This is something that the materialistic/atheistic group-think of the modern world ignores frequently, its participants thinking that those who seek more than this life are enslaved by the delusion of religion. Surely in this age, we have the freedom to rule our own personal spiritual kingdom – a human kingdom, not one ruled by an external “God” – and direct our own lives rather than be ruled by others, or needing to rule others. We shall see paradise on our own terms, of our own creation, and as humans with desires and pride of worldly, and spiritual, accomplishments, rather than as followers of dying traditions, dethroned “Gods”, and psychic vampires.