I am choosing to post this both here and on my older "stomping ground" since it will be mostly relevant to whatever remaining fragment of an audience I have that still visits my blogs (which I am assuming is somewhere in the arena of "none", but you can never be too sure.) Since people who read me are generally funneled in from Satannet, which is the only place I "advertise" with a small signature below my rarely used profile, I figured it pertinent to clear up my views - for no other reason than to make it clear for anyone who has visited before solely on the basis that I am a member of the Church of Satan that they no longer have a reason to "check in" if they aren't interested in what little content I produce here.
That being said...
Just recently, after about six years of affiliation, I decided that I no longer fit with the ranks of the Church of Satan. It was a decision not made hastily - unlike my decision to join originally which was fueled by my "angry young man" syndrome and angst - and it is one I have put a lot of thought into.
I have had a few meaningful collaberations, and many a great online conversation with other Satanists during that time, but my involvement was very limited otherwise. I had no desire to apply for active membership, feeling I had nothing to contribute at the time, and I still feel that way. And although I don't disagree with too many key points that the philosophy of Satanism expounds, there is enough of a shift in my viewpoint that I no longer feel totally in line with the philosophy. And for me, honesty is the best policy; I refuse to adopt an identity moniker that I am not 100 percent in cohesion with.
Some of the common misunderstandings with new members arise from this desire to "fit in" to the program despite key differences of opinion, and the end result is usually them finding their way out the door through their own action or the action of the hierarchy when it becomes pretty clear that they don't fit the bill. I completely agree with this meritocratic approach, and I think this must be one of the frustrating jobs of the hierarchy; to constantly push against the onslaught of hipster followers who are so excited by the initial idea of adopting such a forbidden title for themselves that they actually forget to read any of the core material or canon involved before signing their papers and sending in their membership fees.
If you can't agree totally with something, you cannot consider it a part of your identity. If labels are what you seek, you had better be sure they describe you completely. But that is neither here nor there. I have made my decision, and it is an honest one because of this belief.
So where do I disagree? Where is it that I find Satanism to be completely irreconcilable with my own personal worldview, and what prompted me to decide that it wasn't, ultimately, for me?
It boils down to one simple thing; atheism. Whatever atheistic tendencies I have had in the past have been swept under the rug recently for various reasons. This is not an admission of new found faith, either; more a realization that I find the "self worship" of the CoS to be repugnant, and one of the greatest contributing factors to the first phase ego inflation so many new members go into; one that they find liberating, for reasons I fully understand, but which never really applied to me.
Satanism is interesting precisely because it is not a simple inversion of Christian beliefs, not devil worship of any kind. Despite it's fairly clear seperation from this, many seem to be attracted to the CoS due to some kind of religious persecution in their lives, which is something I have never really experienced. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have never once felt myself criticized for my distinctly anti-religious (more specifically, anti-religious establishment) qualities, so I have no real reason to feel any sort of disdain or rebellion against religiosity. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, I find super liberal atheism and related anti-religious bullying to be a lot more irritating for whatever reason, probably due to my belief that humanity is largely in decline, and this kind of humanist "liberation" is at least partly to blame.
I am anti-religious establishment. The Church of Satan excluded, but my growing distaste for materialism and self-centric egotism that has been growing over the past few months has all but excluded me from eligibility in that establishment, in my personal opinion.
Politically or otherwise, it's important to remember that the Church of Satan has no bearing or requirement for political affiliation. I definitely hold some more radical right wing viewpoints than I did even a year ago, but this is irrelevant to my shift in philosophical perspective as far as the Church of Satan is concerned. The differences in my opinion are very small; but they are still differences. And I think it would be dishonest to ignore them and try to continue fitting into a mold that is no longer comfortable. I no longer feel comfortable or proud calling myself a Satanist, and as such, the label is now of no use to me, and has to be shed. The initial thrill of the forbidden has all but completely dissipated, and since my own personal views are kept fiercely well guarded, including my affiliation, being a card holding member no longer has any personal benefit for me; and it certainly doesn't benefit the CoS to have me as a member in any way, either.
It's pretty simple. I just felt like writing about it because despite my difference in opinion, I actually find the CoS, and Satanism, to be a pretty interesting cabal of people, not to mention a fascinating and incredibly bold philosophy. While it may not be one that is for me any longer, I would definitely not be adversed to talking about it in the future; albeit from an outsiders perspective, one that I think would actually be rare in comparison to a lot of the all-for/all-against viewpoints out there concerning Satanism. Very few people on the outside really "get it", and I'm sure a lot of folks who were on the inside who have since changed their minds were never really in it to begin with, and are now lashing out with tongue and keyboard against the organization that "wronged" them so, a result entirely of their own idiocy and lack of understanding.
I no longer consider myself a Satanist; but I definitely consider myself a "fan", as it were, of Satanism. It is one organization I will certainly continue to follow from a purely observational perspective, even though I no longer personally identify with its values.