Why Satanism Does Not Teach "Anything Goes"

baphomet pentagram
Church of Satan, used with permission

Satanic philosophy has a strong focus on the glorification and gratification of the self. It also rejects a variety of common social taboos as well as taboos in general that lack practical justification. They emphasize that each person is a master of their own fate, and that actions are not subjected to any sort of spiritual judgment.

This should not, however, be interpreted to mean that Satanists have no ethics, appreciate all behavior equally, or encourage people to simply do whatever they want.

Hedonism vs. Success

Satanism certainly encourages one to indulge in things that please him. However, they also encourage people to be successful, and they celebrate the potential and the success of the human race. A Satanist should be interested in both. As such, spending one's entire day, day after day, indulging sensual desires without striving for accomplishment is counter to the philosophy.

Individual Discipline

Satanism stresses the power and importance of the individual and his right to make choices for himself. Outsiders often see that merely as a statement of right, that Satanists think they have the right to do whatever they want. It is not. To be truly individualistic requires a great amount of responsibility.

The more you make your own rules, the more self-sufficient you must be. Self-sufficiency takes time, knowledge, energy and resources. If you spend all of your time indulging in pleasure, how are you supporting yourself?

Satanists despise parasites so much so they are addressed in the Nine Satanic Statements, as is the importance of responsibility.

There's also a variety of indulgences that go against Satanic thought. Satanism condemns addiction, for example, because a Satanist should be a master of himself, and addiction hands control over to the source of the addiction.

There's a variety of thoughts on intoxication. Some reject it outright as a loss of self control and a psychological crutch. Others see no objection as long as the circumstances are controlled, such as making sure you don't get behind the wheel of a car in such a state. Regardless, it always comes back to responsibility: if you do something stupid while drunk, it is your fault, not the fault of the drinks, not the fault of friends who convinced you to drink. The right to choose brings responsibility for those choices.

Value of Civilization

Civilization is a magnificent thing. It is through civilization that most of humanity's inventions, discoveries and advancements have been made. Civilization offers protection through the presence of police and military. It grants availability of resources. But in order for civilization to work, there needs to be organization. There needs to be laws. There needs to be leaders and followers.

If you choose to live within civilized society, you have chosen to live within certain boundaries. Satanists do not encourage people to break the law, and they call for swift and severe punishments for those who break it. While they are strongly individualistic, they are absolutely not anarchists.

You don't get to benefit from society while giving nothing back. The objection is not, however, a moral one so much as a practical one: this is the only way civilization works.

Freedom of Self vs. Freedom of Others

Satanic individualism is not just for Satanists. They respect every human beings right to make their own choices and master their own lives. They see many people as never particularly bothering to rise to such expectations, but they absolutely respect each person's right to do so.

Therefore, no indulgence should infringe upon the rights and freedom of others. Rape, murder, theft, and child molestation among others all clearly infringe upon the freedoms of others. These are inherently bad things to Satanists.

Read more: What is Satanic Ritual Abuse?(Short answer: it's a fiction)

Practicality

Satanism is a very practical philosophy. It is rooted in how the world is seen to work in the eyes of believers, and many of those observations are shared with non-Satanists as well. For example, it is generally accepted that people who are constantly rude, insulting and obnoxious are going to have fewer friends and likely are going to encourage others to even work against them in retaliation. As such, a Satanist is careful how he directs his ire. Again, however, the reason is not a ethical one by a practical one. You absolutely have the right to be a jerk, but everyone else has a right to respond poorly in return. It's not in a person's best interest to arbitrarily alienate others.

So What CAN a Satanist Do?

This list can be endless, but here are some good starting places:
  • A Satanist should feel free to indulge in anything that involves only consenting parties. He should not feel limited, for example, by the fact that society might consider a certain sexual practice to be “deviant.”
  • A Satanist should feel free to use his property and spend his money as he sees fit. He should not be embarrassed by these marks of success. He should not be shamed into giving to charity (although he's certainly welcome to do so as his own choice) or putting on an air of moderation, restraint and prudence. There is nothing wrong in enjoying the fruits of one's labors.
  • A Satanist is encouraged to actively seek out things that please him and help him succeed in life. Satanists hold to a “survival of the fittest” mentality: if you're going to succeed, you're going to have compete for it. Those that play nice will be walked over by those who do not. Behaving overly brutal, however, will probably bring more consequences than benefits.
  • A Satanist is encouraged to work against those who have wronged him.
  • A Satanist is welcome to form his own personal code of ethics. Indeed, one should. Otherwise, the individual is simply parroting the outlooks of someone else, even if that someone else is, say, Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey. However, every Satanist should also accept that such codes are subjective, not objective. People read the same scenario in different ways. People can read the exact same text and interpret it in radically different ways.