I’ll be honest, this was a difficult post for me to write at first. I had started this entry two weeks ago, and found myself stuck about a few paragraphs in. I felt like I was repeating myself, like the information just didn’t flow as clearly as I had hoped, and like I was losing the entire point of the entry in trying to force myself to write something, anything.
And then today I attended a fundraising dinner for the Muslim Student Association at my school, where one of the speakers they had invited pretty much blew me away. So much of what she said resonated with my own faith, and gave me the inspiration I needed to continue writing. So just as a note beforehand—this entry contains a lot of interfaith dialogue, more so than the previous ALP entries I’ve posted, because of the effect the speaker had on me and the fact that activism, and initiative as tied into activism, is such an important factor in many of the world’s religions and belief systems.
Jumping right in, the MSA speaker’s main point was about spiritual activism—a term I had never heard before, but one which I understand to encompass all of what I believe Luciferianism to stand for. The integration of one’s own faith and spirituality into matters concerning activism is something that is pretty much ingrained into Luciferianism, through the fact that this is not a belief system that urges its followers to implicitly trust that their god will sort things out, or that ‘everything happens for a reason’. Luciferianism is a system that is never satisfied with ‘that’s just the way things are’ for an end-all answer. Instead, it calls for the recognition of one’s own ability to initiate change, to revolutionize from within as well as outside ourselves.
She spoke of what Islam describes as the ‘levels’ of spiritual activism and initiating change. The first, she said, is to bring about change within your own heart. A phrase that speaks dearly to me concerning this is one that I’ve come to incorporate into my own faith through my past in Christianity—“break my heart for what breaks yours”. In molding my own values so closely with that of Lucifer’s own, Luciferianism speaks to me not only as a set of ideals that I respect, but ones that have direct emotional impact on me. I don’t uphold resistance, or sacrifice, or change because my faith tells me to, but rather because my heart does, and my heart is so deeply intertwined with that of my god’s, and the values embedded in zir mythos that I cannot help but be moved by these things.
The second level is that of bringing change with one’s own tongue—of speaking out against injustices, taking a stand for that which causes one’s heart to stir, and raising awareness in others. As a whole, Luciferianism is perhaps less so focused on this particular aspect of activism than the others. There is an emphasis on actions speaking louder than words, and thus we seek to incorporate our faith directly into our deeds, although I would also argue that sometimes, even subconsciously, our faith also shines through our words. There is also the issue of our faith being so stigmatized that being vocally ‘out’ about it is not only potentially ostracizing, but a safety hazard as well. For me, I would hope that my blog serves as a testament to my own efforts in contributing my voice to my faith, and educating others.
The third level is initiating change with one’s own hands. To me, this goes beyond the obvious of being a driving force behind change, into making the effort to live by our faith, and using that faith directly to inspire our actions. “They will know and recognize us by our love”—this is a paraphrased from John 13:35, and it’s a phrase that I heard during my days within Christianity that I believe lies in tandem with Luciferianism’s value embodiment. It refers to living one’s faith as a means of identity, and of actively practicing what one preaches—of having the initiative to carry out the beliefs we have such respect for. The point of these ideals is not to tell others that “this is how you should live”, or “these are the things you should be doing” while not making the effort to do so yourself. Rather, it’s about showing that “this is how I live, and these are the things I am doing through my faith”. These values aren’t embodied in the hopes that they will bring us fame or the approval of our peers, but as mentioned earlier, because they resound within our hearts and minds. This lies in another point that the MSA speaker made concerning her own spiritual activism, in that one should look inward for reasons to pursue activism rather than outward at the external, physical rewards that may be granted.
So…why does any of this matter? Isn’t Luciferianism focused on self-growth and development? Why should a belief system that emphasizes the individual be preoccupied with activism?
Luciferianism seeks to break and rebuild in the attempt to reconfigure the self into something stronger, something better than before. The speaker today said something along the lines of, ‘one has to search within one’s self, be comfortable in who they are and in their faith, before they can even think about reaching out to others’. On the one hand, I would agree with this statement—I think this is part of what makes Luciferianism a path about the individual: it is the starting point that many of us take to remaking ourselves into something we can be proud of. Through that, we can potentially connect to others who see the result of this path and wish to embark on it for their own benefit. But on the other hand, activism and spiritual activism can also serve as a way to understand and learn more about the self, or about the person they want to become. Activism, spiritual or not, requires self-reflection and questions one’s own intentions or motivations. The interactions with others can reinforce or break down previously held beliefs and convictions. In this way, Luciferianism both shapes and is shaped by the individual, while being connected to that which lies outside the self but just as equally moves and inspires us.