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TEMPLE OF SET FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS -- Satanism (FAQ)

      by Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D., VI* Initiate

(updated by Magister Roger Whitaker 07/17/98)

[This FAQ is not connected with any other alt.satanism FAQ, and the 
 Temple of Set neither participates in nor endorses any other 
 such FAQ. -- Michael Aquino ]

Q1: WHO OR WHAT IS SATAN?

A1: In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mythology, Satan is an angel who, after
initially [in the _Old Testament_] being a questioner or challenger of God's
goals and decisions, led a revolt against God and the loyal angels, was
defeated, and was banished to an underworld called Hell, to which the same
mythology also dooms inadequate or disobedient Christians and Muslims. [The
Jewish afterlife in _Sheol_ is not Satan-run, and is generally applicable to
obedient & disobedient humans alike.]

Over the Christian centuries, gods from competing religions were incorporated
into Christianity's Satan and Hell, hence the Pan-like renditions of Satan,
the use of the Roman "Lucifer" as an alternate name for him (sometimes used
to identify him "pre-fall"), etc.

Q2: WHAT IS SATANISM?

A2: Satanism is the belief in the existence of Satan as a sentient being or
spirit in the universe, and the worship of Satan and obedience to his
perceived principles, standards, and goals. As Satan is defined as a
metaphysical being - Devil or Archangel, such belief in him constitutes a
religion or superstition rather than a rational philosophy or an
indoctrinated ideology.

Q3: CAN ONE BE A SATANIST WITHOUT BELIEVING IN THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN?

A3: Not if words are to have their generally-accepted meanings. A Satanist is
one who believes in Satan, as a Christian is one who believes in Jesus
Christ, a Buddhist one who believes in the Buddha, and a Muslim one who
believes in Mohammed. A person professing to be a "Satanist" but denying the
existence of Satan is simply using the term for ulterior purposes such as
personal glamorization or commercial exploitation. If that person denies the
existence of all metaphysical beings, he is thereby an atheist, not a
Satanist. If he professes to believe sometimes and not others at his whim, he
is a hypocrite.

Q4: IS SATANISM AN ORGANIZED RELIGION? IF SO, WHAT ORGANIZATION(S) ARE
RESPONSIBLE OR RELIABLE?

A4: Prior to 1966 Satanism existed only in scattered, short-lived instances
as anti-Christian social gestures, but never as formal organizations.
Christianity often represented "heretical" individuals or organizations as
"Satanic", but this was mere propaganda. Thus the Knights Templar, Yezidis,
Freemasons, Illuminati, Thelemites, and a variety of pagan & Rosicrucian
groups were frequently labeled "Satanic" when in fact they were nothing of
the sort.

In 1966 San Francisco occultist Anton Szandor LaVey founded the Church of
Satan, which functioned as an authentic, sincere religion until 1975. In that
year LaVey denied the existence of Satan, and redefined the Church as simply
his personal commercial venture and fan club. Thereby the "Church of Satan"
ceased to be an authentic Satanic religion and became simply a business
front, though LaVey and his representatives continue to sell memberships and
to advertise the "Church" as both "Satanic" and a "religion".

At the time of LaVey's 1975 announcement, a majority of the Satanic
Priesthood and membership rejected what they considered to be his corruption
and prostitution of the Church, and resigned _en masse_. These Initiates
founded the Temple of Set as a replacement for and successor to the Church of
Satan. The name-change also reflected the founders' realization that "Satan"
was inescapably a decadent propaganda caricature of a far more ancient being.
In predynastic Egypt Set was not an "evil" god, but rather the stellar
counterpart to the solar Horus. [Only in later Osirian myth - the basis for
much of Judaeo/Christian mythology - would Set be corrupted into an "evil"
figure.]

Besides the Church of Satan and Temple of Set, other organizations and
persons have from time to time proclaimed themselves to be Satanic and to
represent Satanism. If sincere, they would have to believe in Judaic,
Christian, or Islamic mythology and to worship its antithesis-Devil. If
insincere, they merely use "Satanic" terminology for glamor, shock, or
commercial reasons.

Q5: IF THE TEMPLE OF SET DOES NOT BELIEVE IN JUDAEO/CHRISTIAN/ISLAMIC
MYTHOLOGY, WHY DOES IT CALL ITSELF A "SATANIC" RELIGION? WHAT IS IT DOING
HERE ON ALT.SATANISM?

A5: For the last two thousand years most of the social cultures in which the
Temple currently exists have been dominated by one or more branches of
Judaeo/Christianity. This influence is far more pervasive than most people
consciously realize, extending into these societies' most basic assumptions
about law, justice, ethics, social mores, family units, and metaphysics. It is
easy to not be a member of a Christian church, or to call oneself a non-
Christian; it is far more difficult to escape from J/C social conditioning.

Within this climate many of the aspects of Set are symbolized in religious
imagery by the *positive* attributes of the J/C Satan. While Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam created their "Satan" distortion of the Set _neter_
of ancient Egypt in order to fashion an "evil scarecrow" to intimidate and
control their societies, they could not help endowing "Satan" with such
Setian attributes as independence, creativity, honesty, artistry, and
intellectual genius - as these *same* attributes, except in severely
controlled and approved forms, are "sins against God" in J/C/I culture.

Therefore many persons of Setian disposition and potential first become aware
of their true nature through an unusual interest in and attraction to "Satan"
and Satanic imagery. [This was the case of the Temple of Set as a whole,
which from 1966 to 1975 - as the Church of Satan - was exploring the
Left-Hand Path from within J/C terminology.] Hence it is sometimes necessary
to use the "Satanic" metaphor to initially communicate with J/C-socialized
individuals concerning Setian interests and capabilities they otherwise find
difficult to express. Once such persons understand what they are actually
awakening in themselves, they are more easily able to recognize and jettison
the entire cage of J/C reference-points, then enter a much larger universe as
Setians.

Q6: WHAT IS BLACK MAGIC? HOW DOES THE TEMPLE OF SET TEACH IT?

A6: Black Magic is consciously-directed alteration of one's environment
through obscure natural (Lesser Black Magic) or non-natural (Medial Black
Magic) means, or apprehension of the Forms/Principles of the
natural/non-natural universe (Greater Black Magic). The Temple of Set teaches
both theory and practice of LBM/MBM/GBM, along with individual and social
ethical considerations to which the Initiate must be sensitive in order to
use such magical knowledge creatively, constructively, and responsibly.
[Descriptions of "Black Magic" as involving human or animal sacrifice, rape,
or other illegal or reprehensible practices are merely Judaeo/Christian
propaganda, and have no basis in truth whatever.]

Q7: IS SATANISM CRIMINAL? WHAT ABOUT ALL THE ALLEGATIONS THAT SATANISTS
PRACTICE HUMAN/ANIMAL SACRIFICE, CATTLE MUTILATION, CHILD MOLESTATION,
CANNIBALISM, GRAVE-ROBBING, ETC.?

A7: Authentic Satanism (i.e. the 1966-75 Church of Satan and the 1975-present
Temple of Set) is emphatically non-criminal and, if anything, far more decent
and socially mature than any conventional religion. As it is based on
principles of creativity, beauty, freedom, courtesy, tolerance, and pleasure,
this is inherent in its design.

Since its inception, Christianity has made use of the most horrific
propaganda to attack its competitors. For many centuries it was the Jews who
were accused of human sacrifice, cannibalism, [Christian] child sexual abuse,
etc. - and persecuted accordingly. As the Church of Satan and Temple of Set
were founded in a period of extreme religious tolerance and experimentation
in the United States, such propaganda was initially not a serious problem to
them. In the 1980s, however, a revival of Fundamentalism sponsored a wave of
unprecedented "Satanic crime" hysteria, first in the United States and then
in culturally- close nations such as Britain and Australia. By the mid-1990s,
many studies by responsible law-enforcement and academic institutions have
thoroughly exposed and discredited the "Satanic crime" myth, although some
Fundamentalists still try to promote it. The Temple of Set maintains a
database of the most current and prominent of these law-enforcement and
academic reports.

It is unfortunately the case that the Fundamentalist propaganda campaign has
convinced some sick or maladjusted Christians that the way to practice
"Satanism" is indeed to perform the destructive and perverse outrages
prescribed by the Fundamentalist propaganda. When such Christians go on
emotional rampages, they may follow that model and call themselves
"Satanists". Obviously the Temple of Set denies them this title, just as the
1966-75 Church of Satan denied it to them. However this phenomenon
illustrates the dilemma that the Church of Satan regularly confronted [and
which foreshadowed the Temple of Set's rejection of J/C mythology
altogether]: that the god *it* represented as good and constructive was the
*same* one defined by the world's three largest conventional religions as
evil and destructive.

Q8: HOW CAN ONE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE TEMPLE OF SET?

A8: The current General Information Letter is available upon request. Write
to: Executive Director, Temple of Set, Post Office Box 470307, San Francisco,
CA 94147, USA.

Q9: WHAT ABOUT ANSWERING QUESTIONS ON ALT.SATANISM?

A9: Earlier postings on this newsgroup by Temple of Set representatives were
responded to politely by most other participants, but also resulted in some
rudeness by a few individuals who find the truth about Satanism inconvenient.

Our solution is to simply post this FAQ periodically on the newsgroup
henceforth. All disrespectful responses will be ignored/killfiled, whether
posted here or sent separately to the Temple. Courteous, sincere inquiries may
be answered *privately* if a postal or Internet address is provided.

An Internet mailing list - Xepera-l - (small letter L, not number 1) is
available for the serious and courteous discussion of Setian/Black Magic
topics. Temple of Set affiliation not required.

It is expected that all participants will treat each other with respect, avoid
personal attacks, and refrain from discussions which are irrelevant to the
purpose of this mailing list.

It is also expected that participants will not crosspost messages (other than
their own) in Xepera-l to other mailing lists or newsgroups, or import
newsgroup messages to Xepera-l.

The Temple of Set has been and (and continues to be) a controversial
organization. We are always willing to discuss this aspect of the Temple of
Set, but since many of the issues that come up have been discussed over and
over again, you are encouraged to read Balanone's Temple of Set FAQ before
exploring these topics (it is also an excellent source of information about
the Temple of Set). The URL for Balanone's FAQ is:
http://www.xeper.org/tos/pub/faqs/baltsfaq.html

In sum and whole, any topic relevant to the purpose of this mailing list is
appropriate /as long/ as it is approached with
intelligence and maturity.

The Temple of Set has few official positions on any topic, and no official
positions on most topics -- unless stated otherwise,
the views discussed by Setians on the list represent their own personal
perspectives. [While Priests of Set may speak officially
for the Temple, their discussions on the list are typically not conducted in
that capacity. If in doubt, ask.]

To Xeper is to Become. Regardless of your reason for joining the Xepera-l
mailing list, seek to Become and recognize that most of the active
participants on this mailing list are also seeking to Become.

Posting address: xepera-l@inet.xeper.org

Subscription:

To: listserv@inet.xeper.org
text: subscribe xepera-l

Unsubscription:
To: listserv@inet.xeper.org
text: unsubscribe xepera-l

For questions/problems/comments regarding the mailing list: Send message
to List Admin.

---------
EOF 418

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