I wrote an essay in the past about the very few characteristics, which define Satanism in all its variations. It is on facebook in various places. This will go into the way some falsely attribute certain ideas as being definitively Satanic, as well as attacking the fallacious logic used in parts of LaVeyan philosophy.
People will commonly say that everything Anton LaVey wrote in The Satanic Bible is definitive of Satanism. Other than false claims that he invented Satanism, this idea essentially boils down to “because LaVey said so in his book”. That is not even an argument so much as a lame excuse, and LaVey did not invent Satanism. He just invented modern Satanism, and made it popular.
When I say LaVey invented modern Satanism and popularized it, I mean modern in a colloquial sense, and not in a historical sense. The word modern has a very different meaning in a historical context.
The gods of various defeated tribes were equated with Satan, and many adherents of minority religions were considered Satanists. It was a way to dehumanize and demonize the out-group. To this day, there are still people who worship some variation of these gods.
Theistic Satanists of today are the modern manifestations of traditional Satanism. For theists, what defines Satanism is a simple matter of their belief in some deity or spiritual entity that is equated to Satan. They follow a traditional sort of theology, with the exception of having predominantly Left-Hand Path philosophies.
Things get more complicated with atheistic Satanism as there is no deity of any sort involved. We have to consider what we mean by Satanism in this atheistic sense, to understand what makes something definitively Satanic.
It is universally accepted that Satan means “adversary”, or the one who opposes. In the atheistic sense, Satan is a metaphorical construct. It is an archetype defined by this adversarial, oppositional quality. The definitive traits of Satanism are therefore primarily based on these qualities of the archetype. In this way, Satan becomes symbolism for the philosophy consistent with its metaphorical meaning. It provides iconography as well, which also symbolize these philosophical concepts.
Taking the traits of different characters from mythology that have been equated with Satan, is the most legitimate way to construct a Satanic philosophy and religion. That is because it follows the same idea that defined Satanism to begin with. That original idea is of course the adversarial quality of the Satan archetype, which defines Satanism. Therefore, you build on it in exactly the same way. These characteristics from mythology become part of the symbolism, and in the same way as the adversarial quality, they form the basis of a corresponding piece of philosophy. These philosophical concepts can be combined in ways that form a coherent whole.
Regardless the basis in characters from mythology, all parts of the philosophy are subject to reason and empirical evidence. Dogma, tradition, and personal feelings are not an argument. I intend to apply this sort of scrutiny.
Due to the nature of Satanism, one can incorporate any number of things into their personal philosophy. A basis in mythology is the most legitimate way, but there are many ways to craft a variation of Satanism. However, if something has no basis in mythology, considering it definitive of Satanism as a whole, seems quite laughably arbitrary.
We must examine certain “sacred” ideas and see if they have any basis in mythology, and if they can withstand the scrutiny of reason and empirical evidence. Many people go about claiming what is and is not Satanism with annoying pomposity. Ironically, these claims are not based on mythological characteristics, but rather seem to be arbitrary add-ons, and the arguments are full of logical fallacies.
The ideas people falsely equate to being definitive of Satanism have a couple of things in common. The first is that LaVey wrote them in The Satanic Bible. The second is that he got the ideas from sources, which have absolutely nothing to do with Satanism. They all came either from the book, “Might is Right”, by Ragnar Redbeard, or from Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.
If one cannot come up with further justification beyond a particular idea being in The Satanic Bible, then they have no proper argument. This is an argument from authority, and it is dogmatic. Not only is the logic here fallacious, but it is inconsistent with the individualism that is central to Satanism.
There is no greater irony than calling people sheep while going around dogmatically quoting a book. The irony goes off the charts when the statements being made are also logically fallacious.
Consider for a moment how it would be if LaVey was more into reading John Locke. Would different attributes of empiricism then be equated to Satanism instead of Objectivism? What if he was inspired by Rene Descartes? Would Cartesianism be equated with Satanism? What if he was into David Hume, or Bertrand Russell? There is no particular reason why these philosophies have anything to do with Satanism. It is much the same with Objectivism.
The section of The Satanic Bible titled “Love and Hate” is quoted constantly. It is the one that starts off with the following sentence: “Satanism represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!” People use that entire section to justify things they already think. It is an example of confirmation bias. Some people think that justifies being a total ass to others and precludes helping their fellow humans.
In “Love and Hate” LaVey is quite correct that you cannot love everyone. He logically proves his point. While there are different kinds of love, and you can love everyone in those ways, LaVey meant love in the more conventional sense. You can tell from the context what he meant by the word “love”. What he meant by love is something you definitely cannot apply to everyone due to the reasoning he provided.
LaVey also conflates love with kindness in that same section. He proves his point on love and then fallaciously applies that to kindness. He provides no reason why you cannot be kind to everyone though. He just slips it in via the logical fallacy of conflation.
LaVey then proceeds to set up a false dichotomy between his philosophy of selfishness and vengeance, and ideas of loving one’s enemies and turning the other cheek. As there are numerous other possibilities without accepting either option, that is a logical fallacy. This false dichotomy is used to equate everyone who opposes his ideas of vengeance and selfishness with advocates of turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, and that sort of thing. This sets up another logical fallacy called a strawman argument. This false argument is then attacked rather than the actual argument.
When the Randian Objectivists in ritual robes go about preaching what true Satanism is and what it is not, they rely on this fallacious logic. Being selfish and being a jerk to people is held up as a virtue, and Satanists who are being kind and helping others are told they are not real Satanists. They quote Love and Hate (argument from authority), which conflates love with kindness (conflation), and establishes the proposition that anyone in disagreement must be adherents of turning the other cheek, loving one’s enemies, and that sort of thing (false dichotomy). They then argue against those aforementioned ideas (strawman).
So in order to make the case that going around being a dick is awesome and makes you a super Satany Satanist, and that those being kind to others are just posers and fake Satanists, one must ignore the basis of the ideas, the confirmation bias involved, and employ no less than four logical fallacies. The technical term for that is: Bullshit!
That is not to say that all such folks are advocating being a dick. That is just one example. They can be advocating any sort of selfishness, social Darwinism, vengeance, retribution, or whatever.
If one wants any intelligent, educated person to take them seriously, they must come up with much better than that. Things that are “Satanic” for no other reason than LaVey said so, and amount to nothing more than a contrived attempt at shoehorning the ideas of Rand into “Satanism”, will elicit nothing but contempt and derision from any proper intellectual.
If it is to be called Satanism, and arguments are made that it should be applied to every Satanist, it could at least have a basis in mythology, as the name is in regard to this archetype out of mythology. In my variation, I make no claim that it should apply to Satanism in total, but rather only to my specific variation. I still base all the characteristics on the traits of these Satan-like characters from mythology. Every bit of my philosophy corresponds to that in some way. That is the proper basis for a religion and philosophy you name after such a metaphorical construct.
Regardless where you get the philosophy, it must survive the scrutiny of reason and empirical evidence. I wrote mine with that idea in mind. However, the most quoted bits of LaVeyan philosophy do not survive such scrutiny as I have shown. Arguments made from that contain at least four logical fallacies. That is utterly laughable. I cannot take such an argument seriously at all.
I am not even going to get into the Social Darwinism. That has been replaced by new scientific research, which LaVeyans are apparently not aware of. Internet access and five minutes should be all you need to debunk social Darwinism. There is plenty of research about group selection, and the evolution of various social species.
With all this in mind, I hope to hear less arrogant declarations about who is and is not a real Satanist—or which things are Satanic and which things are not. It is utter nonsense, and it comes from people who demonstrably have no proper argument at all.