Yesterday I was talking with a friend and explaining to him the differences between Christianity and Satanism. He immigrated from a primarily Islamic country to the US so although he has basic knowledge of Christianity, he’s not as familiar with it as people raised in the States tend to be. To start with, we went over the Ten Commandments and compared them to the Satanic Commandments (or the Seven Fundamental Tenets of Satanism). He was surprised to find out, as I think many people are, that the Satanic commandments made more sense to him and he resonated with them more than any other religion he’s learned about. After our discussion he even said to me, “I think I’m a Satanist”. I believe that many people come to Satanism with misconceptions about what it actually is–even people who watch my videos and are trying to separate themselves from Christianity.
I thought today I might write about the differences between these belief systems for all who are interested in knowing more. Just to go over the basics, here are the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament in the Bible:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
- Honour thy father and thy mother
- Thou shalt not murder
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not steal
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
- Thou shalt not covet
These may vary in interpretation or order based on what Bible you’re reading and what religion or denomination you’re coming from.
Here are the Seven Fundamental Tenets of Satanism:
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.
- Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
- People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
- Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
Just like in religions that worship the Judeo-Christian God, however, not all Satanists believe the same things. Some people worship Satan in similar ways as Christians worship their God. If you’ve read the book I talk about in my Required Reading for Blasphemers video, With Lucifer on My Side by Henry Panic, you’ll know there’s a difference between Satanism and Luciferianism (along with a lot of other valuable information about Luciferianism). In this article I’m focusing on the tenets of Satanism as believed by followers of the Satanic Temple.
I think it’s pretty easy to see just by reading through the Commandments of each belief system that Satanism is much more focused on bettering the self. The Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments are focused on pleasing an outer being–God. Why should it matter if you decide to make a statue of your God? Isn’t fighting for justice and developing autonomy a much better use of time than making sure you remember to “honor the Sabbath”? If you’re acting with compassion and empathy toward all creatures within reason, then the last six of the Ten Commandments that are listed would just be a given…unless there is good reason to not. If your parents have been nothing but awful to you your entire life should you really be expected to treat them with honor without question? Or, if for example, you live in impoverished conditions within a system with great wealth inequality and no chance of upward mobility, is it fair to ask you to not steal to feed yourself or your family?
These are just a few questions to ask yourself as you consider the differences. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I think I finally got the website fixed so that anyone can leave comments without being told they’re a bot.