Using Society’s Fear to Your Advantage

So, I’m not naïve enough to think that a little blog like mine is going to make a big difference in changing the general consensus out there regarding how my faith is perceived. No matter how much time or effort I put into correcting the tons of misinformation out there, the fact remains that most people aren’t interested in listening to what the more boring, normal members of a faith have to say—they’re too busy watching the few idiots who go around murdering people and spewing hatred and violence in the name of a faith they clearly have no understanding of, much less hold a claim to. But I keep it up because it’s part of my Work, and because the optimistic side of me wants to think that it does make a difference, no matter how small.

But as much as I would love to be able to be more open about my faith without fear of backlash and bigotry, I have to admit that there are some upsides to being misrepresented too. Just as doubt and skepticism have their uses, so too does popular opinion. Playing the victim all the time isn’t going to get you very far, and if people aren’t going to listen to you anyways, might as well use it to one’s own advantage.

You know all those pagans bitching about how the pentagram was originally a sign of protection when shown ‘right-side up’?

Oh hon, it still is.

I recently read a thread on a Luciferian forum about a young woman who wears an inverted pentagram necklace when commuting by herself because, get this, the local gang members are terrified of it and what they think it represents. Forget the pepper spray and taser gun, this tiny little necklace sends muggers and rapists running the other way, in the fear that the ‘evil devil-worshipper’ will sacrifice them. It doesn’t matter that this woman probably has never killed a person, nor sacrificed anything to any spirit or god, nor has demon minions at her beck and call—her attackers see that symbol and imagine the worst, with themselves as the potential victims. They are forced to think twice about even looking at her the wrong way.

I’ve got major respect for this woman for willing to put up with the crap she undoubtedly receives from those that vilify anything remotely ‘dark’, and using that societal fear and misrepresentation to her advantage.

 You know what? I’d take that kind of protection over proper media representation any day.

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Satanism vs. Devil Worship vs. Luciferianism

After responding to a question on my last post, I realize that I’ve yet to formally make a post talking about the differences between Satanism, devil-worship, and Luciferianism. Its an issue that pops up a lot, I’m surprised it took me this long to mention it.

[Keep in mind that this is not by any means a definitive separation of the three faiths, but merely one take on the nuances between them]

The differences between those three terms (luciferianism, devil worship, and satanism) are complicated. Some will use all three synonymously, others like me do not consider them to be the same thing. Lets start with the broadest of the three–Satanism.

Satanists are mostly atheistic. They see Satan as a symbol, and their faith is heavily focused on the here and now–the materialistic, the pleasurable, the self-serving. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–its really just self worship. Then there are the theistic Satanists who see Satan as a real being.

This is where it starts to get fuzzy. Theistic Satanists may or may not differentiate between Lucifer and Satan, but I and many Luciferians do. We see Satan as the figurehead of carnality and of the more…worldly issues, so to speak. He represents embracing what life has to offer, and living for the self. The more fervent theistic satanists may call themselves devil worshippers. Just as with any faith, there are extremists and radicals who will present their faith in a less-than-pleasant way, which has been the case for ‘devil-worshippers’. Just because the ones you hear about on the news are insane and psychopathic doesn’t mean they all are.

Luciferians can also be either theistic or atheistic. Whether we consider him a symbol or an actual god, he represents knowledge in all it’s forms. The majority of us strive for apotheosis–to become like gods, knowing good and evil. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions, and even theistic luciferians like myself rely largely on our own potential and effort. Lucifer is a guide and mentor, but ultimately my faith is what I make of it.

While I have seen a few theistic Luciferians claim to worship Lu, I myself do not use the term ‘worship’ to describe my devotion to him. Worship has connotations of submission and hierarchy and Lu has beaten it into my head enough times that we are equals in potential. There’s also the issue of blind faith in regards to worship. You have to earn praise and respect through your actions—being a god doesn’t automatically make you worthy of admiration.

While I may differentiate between all these terms, I am aware that the majority see them as interchangeable. When they speak of satan or the devil I can usually safely assume that they are also referring to Lucifer. When they refer to my practices as worship, however, I do make the effort to try to inform them on why that is not an acceptable term for my devotion.

Just read a post in which someone wrote a letter to the devil…

…complaining about how he makes them doubt and question all the gifts/blessings given to them by their god.

I fail to see how this is a problem.

That’s what Lucifer does—he drives personal growth by making you question everything. It’s your choice whether you use that doubt as hindrance or inspiration. So what if he brings up those uncomfortable questions regarding your loyalty or devotion to your god? He does it to his own devotees, too. And more often than not, those questions either lead to a renewed, more stable faith or one more suitable to your beliefs. Although he may not agree with the actions or mindset of your god, that doesn’t mean the doubts he plants are there to sever that connection—whether you want to be a devotee of that god is your choice and yours alone, which is ultimately the point he’s usually trying to get across in these situations. Unfortunately, a lot of times it seems that many are unable to see it as an independent choice, whether due to how they were brought up or taught to believe, or because of the concepts of sin and salvation that bind through guilt.

In short, healthy doses of skepticism, doubt, and uncertainty aren’t bad things—stop seeing them as personal attacks against yourself and your faith and use them instead to your advantage.

/end rant

Organized religion

I will openly admit that I dislike organized religion. A person’s spirituality and connection to the divine should be personal, with no need of middlemen or interpreters such as prophets and clergy. Not only does this practice make a person’s connection with their god impersonal, but it also requires people to form their beliefs according to their religion’s views. There are so many belief systems around the world, why should you have to conform to fit the one you were ‘born’ into when you can instead choose another that fits what you already believe?

“Because my god tells me this is what I should believe/do” is likely to be one of the main arguments.

This baffles me. I cannot, for the life of me, understand this response. If my gods were to tell me that it is perfectly acceptable to be intolerant to a specific group of people because they are ‘inferior’, or harass/convert them because they were different from me, I would pretty much tell those gods to go screw themselves and cut all ties with them. Having a complete stranger tell me that my gods say this would be adding insult to injury. I chose to accept my patron because I wholeheartedly believe in what he believes, or at least believe that he will guide me to becoming a better person—not a prophet or a priest, nor a book of edicts and commandments, but that he himself would act as my mentor.

“Because my god tells me this is what I should believe/do” is usually accompanied by the unspoken statement, “…or else.”

I understand that monotheists are placed in a difficult situation by this phrase—they want to be safe from the wrath of their god, and have literally only two options—obey and hope for the rewards promised to them, or rebel and suffer eternally. All this really dwindles down to is rule by fear and force, and in my opinion, any entity (be it human or divine) who uses this method of control is not worthy of my time or respect.