IF SATAN WERE EVIL, HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? (THE SATANIC BIBLE QUANDARY)
As atheistic Satanists, we don’t believe that the devil exists.
We certainly believe in Satan (via a different (better) definition of what that word means). But there’s no real fallen angel or evil spirit lurking out there.
But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend for a second that the devil is real. What do we know about him?
Well, he’s the root of all evil, father of lies, prince of darkness, etc. And everything he says and does is just awful.
But do we really know that? What’s our source? Just the testimony of certain holy books and holy people who are openly prejudiced against him. Now how is that fair?
If this was a trial, we wouldn’t listen only to the prosecution. If this was an election, we wouldn’t let only one candidate speak.
But if the devil were a real person, the entire world would have condemned him based only on the word of his worst enemy.
The anti-Satan crowd has the Bible, but Satan has no Satanic bible of his own.
Well, there’s the Satanic Bible, of course. But that’s not really about the devil, since it supposes (correctly) that there’s no such person.
The Satanic Bible is many things, but it’s not an actual bible for Satan. Counterintuitive though that may be.
People usually nod at John Milton’s Paradise Lost as the best case for the devil’s point of view.
And yes, if you read the poem, you can’t help but side with Satan. William Blake said that Milton “Was of the devil’s party without knowing it.” (As most people are.)
The Satanic Temple recommends The Revolt of the Angels. In this Anatole France novel, an angel realizes that material life is better than heavenly “bliss.” He gives up heaven and becomes an atheist. Hilarious.
Still, neither of these are a real Satanic bible, ie a testimonial from the devil. They can’t be, since the devil isn’t real. So why bring it up then?
Well, I can’t help but take pause over the fact that our two biggest religions (together comprising over 50 percent of the world) hinge on the notion of a one-sided prosecution with no opportunity for defense.
If the devil were real, we’d have to let him speak up. We all demand that for ourselves. It’s a civil liberty. I’m uncomfortable that so many people are fine laying it aside in the spiritual realm.
That seems like a recipe for trouble.
Originally published September 2016.