The sensual person’s heaven against the monopoly of religion and tradition

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.

A climate of religious/ontological hostility

This might be just me, but I feel in the modern age there is a climate on the Internet of hostility regarding religious and ontological ideas and the expression thereof. I feel that there is hostility being expressed by both followers of traditional religious ideas (such as those espoused by Christianity) and followers of naturalistic atheism (such as the kind espoused by the likes of Richard Dawkins), and if there are forums for discussion of religious belief then chances are there is hostile debate with both sides mouthing off at each other and fueling their own misplaced sense of intellectual and moral superiority.

I feel it’s gotten so bad that in an age where scientific reason is on the rise, hard-edged naturalistic atheists give themselves the moral right to act like complete assholes towards anyone with beliefs that are even remotely unscientific or non-logical. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a Christian (let alone fundamentalist Christian), because the naturalists treat all spiritual and religious ideas the same way because they do not hinge of the objective and observable natural universe. I remember being on Yahoo Answers and the Religion and Spirituality section was nothing more than a battleground between idiotic Christians and self-righteous naturalistic atheists, with both sides either venting their own trollish nature or simply peddling familiar easy answers for the sake of earning points or because they don’t know better. Anyone who was not a Christian or an atheist and is simply looking to entertain ideas that are outside both currents would commonly be met with simplistic idiocy and intolerance. This even afflicts the world of Satanism in the form of the divide between atheistic Satanists, whether those of the Church of Satan or simply riding their coattails (and the coattails of Anton LaVey), and Satanists both theistic and non-theistic who just want to practice forms of Satanism that are not entirely materialistic without being labelled as mere devil worshipers or cultists.

We live in a world where there is an abundant diversity of belief systems across all continents (except Antarctica), but all most people perceive is this idealized or mythical war between monotheistic religious forms of spirituality and naturalistic atheism, humanism, and physical science, and most people either pick on or the other or just sit on the fence, with few of us bothering to look outside the box searching for something different, perhaps something more in line with their own instincts. It should make sense to you, it doesn’t have to make sense because someone else believes it does. I feel the problem is that (a) nothing has changed and people are still as ignorant as they’ve always been despite what those of a secular position may want you to think, and (b) atheists and secular humanists are the only voices outside the religious current who are lionized in today’s media and on the Internet. I guess another part of the problem is that there are otherwise tolerant atheists who always have to argue with less tolerant religious people and just stop seeing the difference between religious fanatics and everyone else who has a spiritual belief.

Religion as magic and gods within the mind

I have been reading about the nature of magic on a blog post via my friend and fellow blogger Sean, and I feel as though an interesting perspective of magic is developing. For starters, the idea that magic is about affecting the internal world to produce changes in the external on, rather than casting effects on the physical world in order to directly effect physical entities and environments like in so many fantasy novels, movies, games, and other media. And, the idea that magic need not be strictly limited to grand rituals, ritualistic texts, and established esoteric symbols. or defined solely by them.

I feel this means that lots of things can be magical, or spells onto themselves, as they influence the internal world, and practically anything can be a ritual if it is designed as such to inspire power and affect the will and the internal world. That said, I feel as though religion or faith can be its own kind of magic. Think about it: faith and religion affect the internal world of the individual. Religion in particular is designed to alter the will of the individual and alter the reality of the individual. If you believe in an afterlife designed for you by another religion with such certainty, you’re probably going to get that afterlife, so be careful what you wish for. I feel I lean closer to the idea that Hinduism and Buddhism have a magical affect aimed at altering the self because they want to change your perception of your self based on their teachings.

Churches themselves can be places of magic contained for religious purposes, or to be house a kind of magic powered by faith to affect the individual will. Has any secular person been to a church to attend Christian ceremonies with family and felt a tension during the ceremonies? I swear that might be a struggle between your will and rites of everyone else, a kind of religious magic trying to take its effect on the non-believing individual. Or how about any temple for that matter? They could house a source (or sources) of power and inspiration for the individual (be that in the form of any gods worshiped in them, the architecture, or the kind of force you feel that draws you in some you).

And what if ideals are a form of magic too? Not only do they have a power for the individual who truly believes in them as they are true to him/her, human history has shown many times how ideals can affect the world in both positive and negative ways and that continues to this day. Through ideals, and the power of ideals, humans have a way to create a world, or shape this world, and perhaps influence people. This might offer an interesting explanation or angle to why I tend to be so interested in ideals and beliefs and their affect on the world of Man.

Another idea that caught on is how what you experience in the mind is real even if it’s not, how every experience that happens to you happens in your mind, and how the experiences still affect the real world. What does this mean for the gods in your mind? Perhaps the archetypes in your mind have a way of influencing you and the external world without being physical gods. Or the gods are a source of power and inspiration for the self.

These are all my guesses and they may not apply in the way that they seem to, but I want to entertain these ideas in the hopes that they stimulate in some way.

The self

The thing about all religions regarding the self is that they want you to surrender to them. They don’t want you to be yourself. They want you to either bow down to their deity and make your self subject to it, or to surrender yourself entirely. In the latter case it is either in pursuit of being one and indistinct with everything thinking that the self and the cosmos are the same, or in pursuit of the idea that there is no self. Even in contemporary or new age form, mainstream religion and spirituality divides the self into an “inner voice” and an “ego”. They speak of being yourself, but that’s not what they want you to be. When they speak of the “true self”, they speak of a consciousness that supposedly pervades the universe but is not your own, so you are not being yourself, you are just exchanging your self for something else, rendering your will as that of the universe. Even in Thelema, you give your self to be a conduit for someone else’s will (in this case Babalon).

If there is God, and God is involved in the formation of the self, the will, and our desires, then it makes no sense that God would allow us to have selfhood, individuality, and our own desires simply so we could give it up in God’s name, rather God would want us to express ourselves as wholesomely and truthfully as we were meant to as human beings. But sadly, this concept of God is not found in any kind of religious thought, and so we have either a tyrant in heaven or a consciousness that wants others to fuse with it.

No religion gives a damn about the concept of the I. It doesn’t give a damn about individuality and individual thought or will unless it can be made to serve their idea of God or some higher consciousness. No religion wants you to have your own self, not even the Asian faiths. It’s foolish to think they will free you, when they in fact want to alter your state of being outside of your own. You can only do this outside of religion, or in attachment to certain philosophical frameworks (like Satanism, or possibly Luciferianism), though it is often best to go your own way even if that means going without them. And as for this idea of ego versus the inner voice, isn’t ego the Latin pronoun for self? When did it become a byword for an invalid, false, or immoral state of being? (To be honest though, I might like a better word for what people refer to as “ego”, in case ego as a word becomes inconvenient)

I believe in the I, the self, and its spiritual merit. If anything, the true falsehood is the confusion of self and body (which I have to admit, some of the belief systems I’ve criticized at least addressed) and the true foolishness is people going with the flow of society and religion instead of following themselves, their own path, their own self. Not just carnal desires either. That is only one part of our self. Follow the spirit in ourselves, our reason, our ethics, our morals and ideals which we will decide upon ourselves instead of blindly obeying anyone else’s. Be true to yourself, be who are you are and not what religions and herds want you to be, and be truthful, strong, and brave in your path. Do this, and your life, your will, your creation, you yourself will be your own, and heaven will be all yours, your heaven and your creation.

An ambition I might see through some day

Yesterday afternoon I have thought of something that I might like to do at some point in my life, something that involves my beliefs, the occult, and the Left Hand Path.

You see, I live in a part of the world where I know I’m an outcast, and where there isn’t a sizeable voice for things of occult nature that I am interested in. Usually the only thing non-Christian things I see are those stores that sell nothing more than household witchcraft, nothing truly occult. I am the only Satanist I know in the region of the UK in which I live (well except perhaps for one person who went to school with someone I know in university), and I have never met anyone seriously keen on talking about the occult and sharing knowledge and ideas outside of the Internet. Left Hand Path is outside the knowledge of many people of where I live, and if they ever hear of Satanism, the occult, or of paganism, it is through their Christian-influenced media which has no idea what it is talking about.

That’s why I have an idea. One day, I want to start an organization dedicated to not just expressing the Left Hand Path, but providing an platform for those interested in anything relating to the occult to exchange knowledge and wisdom, particularly regarding ritual, mythology and the mysteries of the gods (if you believe in any deities), the spiritual/physical reality of the universe, and other subjects that might enter into it. It could be even be a pseudo-temple, acting as a place of religious activity when in fact its participants need not be particularly religious at all. All that would matter to me is that it would be an organization dedicated to being a voice for the occult outside the internet (because let’s face it, anyone can probably talk about the occult on the internet, but how many active voices are there in the real world?).

As a by and large Left Hand Path organization, it would also be an organization that provides a voice for an alternative to herd mentality, along with what I see as the two main ideals that otherwise characterize human society, which are as follows:

  1. Mainstream religion and self-abnegation: I don’t need to mention the names of those religions, and the religions of Abraham are not the only ones I mean. Mainstream religions teach love and forgiveness for everyone, even those who do not deserve it, and some religions even teach that God is love. You find this in many religions from Christianity to Hinduism to New Age. Love is a powerful force in this world, but we have misuse love the same way we misuse respect, giving it to those who do not deserve it. I would much rather give what love I have to the people I care about (and if we’re very enough that’s always going to be a small percentage of the world) than lavish all of mankind with a love I do not have, and I would rather that man not try to love everyone on earth even if it means the existence of discord in our society. Mainstream religion also has a poisonous habit of denying the carnal self, and for that matter the self itself. In addition to artificial love, many religions tell us to cast aside the ego and live in service of either God or your fellow man, thus denying individuality and self-investment (rather like communism I might add). Just as mainstream religion has a faulty understanding of love, it has a faulty understanding of the self. What exactly do you think ego is? The self. That is what the word ego originally meant, that is what ego is, and it comprises of so much more than the childish or hubristic attitudes we so pitifully associate it with. But in the eyes of most religions, ego is worthless and only God, love, or peace is truly worthy. Of course they would see ego as a threat, if we know religion all too well.
  2. Materialism and consumerism: After the age of what was called the Enlightenment and the ascension of physical sciences, materialism was on the rise and it would have appeared that religion was waning in influence. But in reality, all the masses did was create a new religion: the religion of materialism. Because there are many who will not forge an identity of their own, they instead find it in products, wealth, or material status, to the point where I wonder if they forget that it is not to last in this world. There’s nothing wrong with relating to objects (in fact, the pagans of old had ways of spirituality relating to objects), but in this world there is no real spiritual relation to the object. People lead vacuous lives for social status, and education is geared towards getting a job. People these days equate the body with the self, denying the spiritual self, and equate complete and total loss of control with valid pleasure. While there is nothing inherently wrong with desire or indulgence, that doesn’t mean it is right to deny the spiritual side of the universe and pursue only the body, and there is certainly everything wrong with placing material life and material prosperity above ethics and the personal soul. Then, you also have the problem of the rule of human greed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with money, but humans have been constraining each other money and  greed, and social structures that have been designed to protect the greedy, thus making a mockery of capitalism. Mankind has always advanced with ambition, desire, want, but to rule the people with greed is tantamount to tyranny.

The teachings I hope to spread are teachings that smack of Chaos in some way, and yet more. The ultimate goal is not to create another religious or group identity to wear as a badge, but a venue for those interested in the occult and in an alternative to the ways of human society to come and share ideas and knowledge, even hold group rituals. It would be an organization that does not shun those who do not know or are unsure and simply have a question or two to ask, or those are shy or withdrawn. I think of it as extending an arm of welcome and compassion to those who would like to know more, and an arm of rebuke to the values of modern society and their respective ills. We would embrace darkness, and also light. The light we would seek is the light of knowledge, the self, spirituality, freedom, and spiritual immortality,  and the darkness we embrace is the darkness of the carnal self and the mysterious realm of the occult. We could marvel at the timeless Chaos of existence, but also create our own order (after all, despite my valuing of Chaos, I would say that what we call order or structure is a valued part of the human psyche and sphere of human affairs, just that I reject our social order and the idea that we should have to follow someone else’s order). And it wouldn’t even mattered what religion you were from or what deity you worship, if either apply.

This grand vision is not without possible flaws, however. For starters, how on earth would I start? The thought of starting it out as a website seems like a fine idea at first, but then there is always the risk that it would suffer the same decline of some “satanic” forums (which my good friend and fellow LHP thinker Satanicviews can tell you about better than I could). Then there’s the issue of how to create an organization, inevitable one with rules, without it becoming dogmatic. Obviously no centralized hierarchy would fit, but there would still need to be an administration with the wisdom and integrity to preserve the organization’s ethic and integrity while at the same time keep constantly aware of changes. Not to mention, I feel there are many goals I must fulfil before beginning such an ambition. But the idea will always be there…

Why does the West still support Isreal?

As many people likely already know, Gaza has been the subject of a deadly military attack on the part of Israel for over 2 weeks. In fact for many it’s more like a slaughter on their part, as it seems the state of Israel is proving responsible for a lot of barbaric violence against even children (though they deny many of the more horrific charges against them). But to me surprise, much of Western media seems to be ignoring the slaughter.

The media in the West seems to be more interested in the life one or two Israeli children than the lost lives of hundreds of Palestinian children, and I’m sure many in the West care more about Israel just out of religious belief than the deaths of many innocent Palestinians. It’s as though no one has the guts to see the conflict for what it is, and keep in mind, this is the conflict in which Palestinian children get blown up while playing on a beach. If you can’t tell who the wrong side is here, you’re hopeless.

The worst thing about it is that it seems like a simple matter of morality to stop the state of Israel from continuing to slaughter innocents, but pretty much all of our leaders do nothing with their so-called power to do the right thing. In the West, we don’t have the guts to accuse the state of Israel so long as people still believe what the Bible tells them about “God’s chosen people”, especially in America where a powerful voting block consists of evangelical Christians who want Israel to fulfill their prophecies (at which point I can safely say those Christians don’t actually care about Israel or the Jewish people, they just care about their stupid Biblical prophecies).

Even if they weren’t bombing and shooting the hell out of innocent Palestinians, there’s still no reason to care about Israel at all besides religious crap. I don’t believe anyone in the West would care about Israel if we weren’t still being told what to do by Christianity.

The Pledge of Allegiance

If there’s one aspect of American society that seems very culturally pervasive is The Pledge of Allegiance. On the one hand it provides a sense of taking an oath, which is rather powerful and usually meaningful. On the other hand, the Pledge has proven to be a rather authoritarian feature. Why would a free country have children in schools recite the Pledge all in unison and conformity? Unless it’s a matter of private schools having children do this as part of their own rules.

Nonetheless, I think children should not be made to recite the Pledge in schools like they’re living in North Korea. If a Pledge we must have, then I think it should be treated the way a sacred oath should be, and reserved as a rite of passage into adulthood or citizenhood, or just citizenship at the least. Or, you could have it as an oath to be taken by congressmen/women or politicians as part of their entry into public service in the government, and also to be recited by newly inaugurated presidents (even if it’s their second term). Obviously, however, private clubs would still be free to mandate it for their members in any way they choose.

While we’re there, let’s take “Under God” out of the Pledge. It’s a direct contradiction of the separation of church and state America was founded on, and only serves to enforce childhood religious indoctrination. Shown below is the pledge as it was before the 1950’s, when “Under God” was first added to the pledge as part of the whole Red Scare.

If we’re going to have a common Pledge, we should at least restore the secular Pledge so as to reinforce the separation of church and state and save future generations of children from being forced to take a Christian oath.