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An Interview With the High Priest of the Church of Satan

By Captain_Tenille in MLP
Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 06:29:46 AM EST
Tags: Interviews (all tags)

Satanism is a frequently misunderstood religion. To many, it conjures up images of Black Masses and infant sacrifice, goat horns and magic. Few people have ever bothered to ask the Church of Satan what their views really are.

That is no longer the case.

High Priest Peter H. Gilmore has answered our questions and shed a lot of light into the beliefs and workings of the Church of Satan.

If High Priest Gilmore is any indication, Satanists are actually very intelligent, thoughtful people who understand their carnal desires and see no need to hid behind "sin" and deny themselves pleasure, nor do they have any tolerance or association with "Satanists" as percieved by the media and the world at large.

In any case, the answers to the interview are very polite, cogent, and give insight into a very misunderstood group of people. Plus, there's a surpise about his favorite Beatle!


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An Interview With the High Priest of the Church of Satan | 23 comments (20 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Anyone who sees... (2.30 / 13) (#2)
by jd on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 04:23:54 PM EST

"no need to deny themselves pleasure" is automatically an idiot or a liar.

If you take one pleasure, you are automatically denying yourself any mutually-exclusive pleasure. Thus, the question is not one of whether they are "denying themselves" pleasure, but rather which pleasure they are denying themselves.

Since anybody over the age of 3 has at least some understanding of this concept (usually phrased as "you can't have your cake -and- eat it), there are only two possible conclusions.

First, the "Church" could be perpetrating a deception, in an effort to influence perception. No great surprise, if they are. Satan is, historically, the "Great Deceiver", so you'd probably expect any organization based on such a figure to act likewise.

Second, they could just be a bunch of hopelessly demented cases, with mental ages lower than 3. Not that I see much difference between the two scenarios, myself.

The idea that they are "intelligent" and "thoughtful" comes as no surprise, however. (Gasp! How can that be!) Most "Adult Children", and virtually all great liars, are extremely intelligent, and conciencious. There's abolutely no way they'd be capable of maintaining such mindsets, any other way.

As for them being "misunderstood" - uh, yeah, right. That's why more than a few people live in fear and in hiding, after contact with such groups. (That's true of a LOT of cults, though, so they could legitamately claim that they're being regarded worse than other cults.)

Last, but not least, "carnal desires" are not something any human "understands". It's an emotion, not an intellectual thing. Further, letting oneself go has, historically, been a quick trip to suicide ally, and has triggered one of the deadliest epidemics history has ever known. If that's "understanding", may God grant me the stupidity to live a long and happy life.

Hey (none / 0) (#23)
by Thread Bear on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 05:45:17 PM EST

Didn't you write a couple questions for the guy?


To you, I'm nothing but a number.

1,2,3, Repeater!
[ Parent ]

What a pity. (3.94 / 17) (#4)
by Electric Angst on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 04:41:18 PM EST

Most of the Satanists I know are basically of a libertarian political perspective.

Oh yea, like that's going to improve their image...

In all seriousness, I'm dissapointed in the answers to my questions. In fact, he comes off pretty lame. Take this quote: "Our philosophy is based on reason and logic[...]" Any religious figure who says this obvously doesn't understand the very nature of religion, much less spirituality.

"The figure of the mocking trickster has been a Satanic image in many cultures." -- Uhm, No. There have been trickster gods in many cultures, but calling them "satanic" figures is as misguided as saying that Caeser was a Reform-party politician.

"Satanists don't have this rift, though many people who embrace spiritual doctrines do; the latter feel that they must fight against their own "impulses." We Satanists are integrated with these, and flow with them. "

Spoken like a true sociopath. Anyone who claims that members of their organization are totally free to explore their desires are either trying to sell you something or are the warden of a psych ward.

"Indulgence - NOT compulsion!"

Now that's a bait-and-switch if I've ever heard one. They use the term "indulgence" quite liberally: "indulge your sin", "indulge your desires", etc. Then when faced with the idea of consequences for these "indulgences", they say that it's really "compulsion".

"Our response is to point out that these so-called "ritual abuses" are usually complete hoaxes (as has now been proven by law enforcement agencies the world over), and that such practices - if they ever were to happen - are contrary to Satanic philosophy and practices. "

True, there are many hoaxes in this arena. Still, the Church of Satan's refusal to acknowledge the real -and proven- cases, as well as do some part to curb future instances, is irresponsible and a stain on their image (or perhaps that stain is an insight into their actual view...)

(In responce to a question by DesiredUsername) "If you really believe that Satan is/was only a man, then there is no reason to believe in his ability to make you do things against your will. Since, in our understanding, Satan never existed (and the same is said for God), there are no "teachings" to study, nor is there some kind of demonic force to make you do its bidding. That kind of thinking should be recognized as belief in a fairy tale or perhaps a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia."

(You really have to read DesiredUsername's questions to really get this one.) Wow, watch the joke fly way over Mr. Satanist's head...

(In responce to a question I asked about White Supremicy in Satanism:)"Besides, all I'd need to do is bring such a person into a room filled with the very diverse collection of people from many of the world's nations and ethnicities who belong to us and they'd see what a pointless accusation they are making."

Well, I'd certainly like to see this mythical multicultural Satanist convention. I like how he manages to put this all in a hypothetical, as there is no factual basis to his "we're multicultural" claims.

So, there we are, a represenative view of Satanism. What do you think?

I fly the UN Flag.
I agree, actually... (3.66 / 3) (#5)
by MattOly on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 04:49:36 PM EST

He did come across as reciting rhetoric, didn't he? At any rate, I thought your questions were well asked. Thanks a ton for contributing.

A final note to...the Republican party. You do not want to get into a fight with David Letterman. ...He's simply more believable than you are.
[ Parent ]

Wait a sec... (none / 0) (#15)
by Elendale on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 08:22:02 PM EST

Most of the Satanists I know are basically of a libertarian political perspective.

Oh yea, like that's going to improve their image...

Which ones? The satanists or the libertarians?

-Elendale (ducks flying objects)

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
Oh my dear (3.00 / 5) (#6)
by elektrogott on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 05:58:38 PM EST

Why haven't the questioners first consulted the HomePage of this church?
We ask that you read our basic texts before asking questions ... from their Welcome Page.
So let's start:
1. How does their reason and logic conforms with their magic?
2. How does their believe in the "Dark Force" conforms with the disbelief in anything supernatural?
Well I got bored at reading their Website, so nothing more from me ;)

Actually my English is really bad, so I stop here.

Answers (none / 0) (#11)
by YesNoCancel on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 10:47:59 AM EST

1. How does their reason and logic conforms with their magic?

As I understand it, what they call "Lesser Magic" is actually the art of "manipulating" people to a certain degree (using body language etc.). The term "magic" is not so far-fetched IMO because convincing people to do what you want them to do (without them noticing) isn't exactly a science. :)

2. How does their believe in the "Dark Force" conforms with the disbelief in anything supernatural?

Again, as I understand it, the "Dark Force" is nothing more than a general term to describe the desires/passions etc. of the human animal.

Satanism is really more of a philosophy than a religion. I suggest you read the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey (founder of the CoS) if you're interested in their philosophy. It's quite a good read.

[ Parent ]

Partly Satisfied (none / 0) (#12)
by elektrogott on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 12:13:40 PM EST

I understand what "Lesser Magic" is, but they also speak of "Higher Magic", this is where my problem lies.

On "Dark Force": Well I have read a few texts on their website, but I couldn't find out wether they see "Dark Force" as some kind of higher Power like some Esoterics or as the human Instincts.

But CoS (I don't like this acronym very much, because Church of Scientology has the same) are actually racists. (They acknowledge existence of human races and that they differ significant) Read: "Satanism: The Feared Religion" by Magister Peter H. Gilmore on their website. (http://www.churchofsatan.com./Pages/Feared.html)
What I have read on their website is enough for me not to be highly interested in their religion or philosphy
What I don't like is their affection to "black, bad" n stuff. Looks childish to me.

[ Parent ]
Prince of Lies. (2.00 / 10) (#7)
by Anonymity2 on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 03:52:27 AM EST

Of course, you must not forget that any organization

based on "Satan" (who is viewed to be the

"Prince of Lies", or the "Great Deciever")

will use any means to decieve and trick

people into joining. While you yourself may

not believe in Satan, who's to say that the

leaders of this "Church" do not?

No loose ends? (none / 0) (#19)
by squigly on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 03:46:56 PM EST

We say they lie. They say they do not. Since we have established that they are liars then their argument proves that they are liars.

The view is that there is no "Satan", and if you want to claim that this is a deceit, then I suggest you find contradictions in their side of the story rather than from a christian propoganda organisation.

[ Parent ]

some people take no pride in their religion (2.33 / 6) (#8)
by eLuddite on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 04:21:12 AM EST

Satanism is a frequently misunderstood religion. To many, it conjures up images of Black Masses and infant sacrifice, goat horns and magic.

I should hope so!

Few people have ever bothered to ask the Church of Satan what their views really are. [...] they have any tolerance or association with "Satanists" as percieved by the media and the world at large.

Heh? "If you dont eat your peas mommy is going to ask SATAN to exchange a polite word with you" doesnt cut it, I'm afraid. Turf whoever speaks for the CoS now and find suitably wicked individuals who will put the fear of supper back into 4 year olds.

If High Priest Gilmore is any indication

Oh, no wonder. He's 668. You want his neighbor.

Irrational, I say. An irrational religion.

God hates human rights.

All religions are irrational! (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by Rk on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 03:16:16 PM EST

That's the purpose of religion. If you want rationalism, there's always metaphysics. Not that anyone actually understands that.

[ Parent ]
congratulations (none / 0) (#20)
by eLuddite on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 09:53:31 PM EST

you got the joke.

God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Satanists are sheep (3.33 / 6) (#10)
by Pseudonym on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 07:50:48 AM EST

If High Priest Gilmore is any indication, Satanists are actually very intelligent, thoughtful people [...]

Fact is, 80% of people are mindless sheep. This cuts across all religious and non-religious boundaries. The Church of Satan is no different.

What distinguishes Satanism from most religions is that it doesn't really even try to be a real religion. It's just another excuse for people to be different, just like all their friends are.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
Dare We Compare? (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by Canar on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 03:06:49 PM EST

The link that was given to the Satanosphere site seems to imply that Satanism is merely another mostly humanistic religion (or whatever term you care to use), with very little spiritual aspects.

Then, take a look at The Church of Satan and compare. Do the two world views between authors seem very divergent, or is it just me?

From the interview: We believe in neither God nor Satan, nor any supernatural entities. We Satanists are our own gods. Satan for us is a symbol of human individuality and independence. He also symbolizes the ground of being for all existence, a hidden force permeating and motivating all that exists.

From the Nine Satanic Statements, on the official site: 9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years!

"As He"?! Okay...

And, don't get me started on what the world would be like if everyone was out for themselves, without any altruism involved. I mean, the ex-High Priest couldn't even keep his family together. That's a clue that not all is okay on the ole ranch.

These people doth speaked with fork-ed tongue, methinks. (Weak pun intended)


Names (none / 0) (#22)
by Thread Bear on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 05:30:15 PM EST

I think it's important to realize that (from what I understand) the usage of the word "satan" in the title of "satanosphere" is a joke.


To you, I'm nothing but a number.

1,2,3, Repeater!
[ Parent ]

The name (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by Rainy on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 04:19:37 PM EST

I see only one reason to be associated with the name of Satan while using absolutely different meaning that vast majority of people have for that word: intention to shock.

It's sort of like saying "Hey, I won 5 million dollars in a lottery yesterday." - "Wow, really??!!" - "Yeah, but you see, by "5 million" I mean two and by "won" I mean "lost". - "Oh."

This is dumb and counter-productive.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

Good God! (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by Ender Ryan on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 12:40:11 AM EST

heh, no pun intended... ; )

Church of Satanism. That phrase alone should tell you right off that they are at least slightly "off their rocker". First, they call it a church, an entity that isn't supposed to be religious in nature. Second, they choose the image of Satan as defining their nature, how ironic that they should choose a construct of the Christian religion which they seem to dislike so much to present as an image of themselves.

Ok, so the name is a bit silly, IMO. But there are other aspects that I find absolutely ridiculous as a philosophy.

They claim that Christians and such are all sheep. Yet, the very sheep-like nature of Christians is something WHICH THEY SHARE! The simple fact that IT IS AN _ORGANIZATION_, especially one that calls itself a CHURCH(of all things!), can claim to not be sheep-like is just utterly hilarious!

Elitism. Elitism is so extremely counter-productive in all circumstances that claiming to be some kind of elite is usually a huge signal that said entitiy claiming to be elite is pulling their own chain. Claiming to be elite is like jacking off and bragging that you get so much sex... Need I draw parallels to scr1p7 kidd13s?

Selfishness. Selfishness, while in most cases justifiable, I mean, no one is obligated to do anything for anyone else, however, selfishness is also completely counter-productive. Selfishness is what causes people to draft legislation such as the likes of what's been widely talked about today.

Intolerance for "lessers". We all suffer from the human condition. We all live, and we all die. Along the way, we all have our ups and downs, even members of The Church of Satan, as is made obvious by the fact that that guy couldn't even keep his own family together. There have been times in my life where I was a worthless broken shell of a human, and there have been other times where I have helped dig other people out of the same hole.

So, basically, my point is that The Church of Satan seems to deny the merits of everything that has ever been good in the world, and their philosophy is pretty much the same as that which always leads to the demise of great civilazations.

Selfishness, which they do not deny themselves, is the root of almost all of humanities troubles today.

Evil? No, I don't think so, just as stupid as everyone else.... failing in their elitism.... failing in their desire to "be different".

Sorry, I realize that this will probably be very insulting to a number of people who frequent K5, there are some COS members here right? But realize, if this really does insult you, maybe it's time to ponder your own philosopy a little more and think about what truly brings joy to yourself and the world.

Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!

A few quotes (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by Steeltoe on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 07:24:48 AM EST

One of the things we've always loved about Satanosphere is the fact that we actually have some of the most intelligent users of any site on the Internet. Nothing makes that more clear than the interactivity that goes on with sites like ours.

Rub, rub, rub your ego merry down the stream!

One thing about this interview that stands out is that Gilmore seems like just a really cool guy. Like someone you'd like to hang out with and just talk about life with while drinking a Vodka Tonic. In fact, I may persue that myself.

Most leaders are "cool". Otherwise they wouldn't be leaders..

(3) Is there an apocalyptic scenario the COS teaches?
No, none whatsoever.

That's good. Apocalyptism is usually based on FUD, something that has too often been misused.

"Good" and "Evil" are purely subjective terms. Our beliefs and practices are beneficial to us, otherwise we wouldn't have adopted them, so we consider them to be "Good" for us. Others might be frightened of our championing of individuality and our willingness to judge and be judged, based on self-chosen standards, so they might see us as "Evil." As our founder, Anton LaVey, used to say, "EVIL is LIVE spelled backwards." So it is all a matter of personal perspective. We see ourselves in a Nietzschean sense as being beyond Good and Evil.

They got the "correct" definition alright, but they haven't freed themselves from "good" and "evil", since they still believe in "what's good for me". This has been the status quo for most of humanity for a long time, but atleast they are openly admitting to it. That's a step on the road in my book, an advancement.

Not really, when you consider that both of these, Judaism and Christianity, are spiritual faiths which believe in the supernatural, and Satanism is a carnal religion in which each person is his or her own god. Our philosophy is based on reason and logic, and a particular evaluation of the human animal - not faith.

How can you be your own God, and an animal at the same time? How can you be a God if you limit yourself to reason and logic? How can you progress without faith in something new? I've always seen good parallells between satanism and asian philosophies, ways of living and religion. But comments like these stops it by limitation of the human experience.

The Church of Satan and the Jewish faith do agree on the principle of "An eye for an eye." This is quite opposite the Christian doctrine of mercy and forgiveness.

And we see how far that has gotten Israel right? "An eye for an eye" is the reason for all the war and conflict in this world. Some even really mean "Two eyes for an eye" too, escalating the problem even further. This is a problem of not identifying with other people other than yourself, your family, your community, your nation and THEN humanity. It should be the other way around.

We seek to understand what our ancestors have done, so that we can better comprehend the psychology of the human animal. We learn just as much from historical lies, as we do from hard evidence of what actually occurred.

In other words: When we lack factual evidence, we can fabricate our own. This is no different from normal archeology. It's just a different set of prejudice.

Satanists don't have this rift, though many people who embrace spiritual doctrines do; the latter feel that they must fight against their own "impulses." We Satanists are integrated with these, and flow with them.

Spirituality isn't always about going against your desires, but it's true that one of the goals of spirituality is to free yourself of your desires. Because they limit who you are and what you can do. When you're a football of your emotions and other's opinions, you are not free, you are a slave.

Some people do seem to need to pretend that there is something "greater" than themselves. These are "spiritual" people - not Satanists - and they always look for some authority to give them direction. And whether that authority comes from a Church, or a dictatorship, we think that those kind of people can be dangerous, as they are followers who are often desperate for a leader. If they find a benign leader, then it isn't a problem, but if they find a leader who wants to crush people who do not wish to follow him, then wars, Inquisitions, and centuries of bloodshed will happen. History demonstrates this very clearly.

But there is something greater than me: Me + all the other folks living on this planet. If simple mathematical logic is too hard, maybe it's time to go back to school ;-) It must be very sad and lonely to live in a world where the only human that exists is the "I". You can't have a good time with other people without expanding your identity with the group. Of course, satanism believe in human contact for your own end, which is true. But by belittling others, you belittle yourself. Everytime you enjoy being with fellow members, you really break your own "rule" of being the greatest. The group gets to be greater.

I'd also like to note that letting yourself be guided by an enlightened guru can really make a big difference in your life. Both good and bad, I accept both. Most people following gurus go through stages of doubts, doubt in themselves, the teacher and the way. These people are not really sheep, but those blindly following a religion doctrine can be. However, this problem is not particular to religion, it's particular to all human groupings be it national, cultural, parties, family, etc. By dividing ourselves from others, we create the stage where war and conflict can take place.

Also note Tim Curry as Darkness in "Legend" who speaks the truth that "We are all animals, my dear."

You are what you believe you are. Do you really want to be an animal?

In Satanism, we have a list of sins, but these are simply behaviors we like to avoid (as well as the people who practice these things): stupidity, pretentiousness, solipsism, self-deceit, herd conformity, lack of perspective, forgetfulness of past orthodoxies, counterproductive pride, and lack of aesthetics. These are discussed in detail on our website: www.churchofsatan.com.

Not everyone is alike. Why can't I be a sheep if I want to, and why won't you accept me for who I am? Why do your website seem to break all these "rules" to avoid?

Satanism certainly opposes the idea of slaughtering people without reason. We are firm practitioners of "Lex Talionis" - letting the punishment fit in kind and degree the crime, and so we embrace a law and order society.

And this is somehow different than regular society? What makes you a better judge and executioner?

All in all, I haven't been convinced to become a member of COS. I do have alot of respect for all people. Yes certainly including satanists, a herd of individualists ;). I would very much like to be with satanists to learn more, but I doubt my views would be well received or appreciated. I'm sorry if my tone about this interview is very negative, but I can't help it when it is so contrary to my own world-view and beliefs. Remember that atheism is also a belief. We really don't know, and that I accept. I'm always open to higher truths and then I come back at "I don't know". Whenever you think you know something you limit yourself.

- Steeltoe
Explore the Art of Living

Ego? (none / 0) (#21)
by Thread Bear on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 05:19:12 PM EST

I could be wrong, but as a member of the aforementioned site for a few months, I think that the intro was a nod to the users, a thanks, and not an ego stroke. Most of the users do seem pretty cool, and pretty smart (though they have a boner for karaoke). It's a pretty good site (though I disagree with some things on it), and a good format for the kind of stuff they have. I laugh every time I'm on the site.

Does anyone know just how many Scoop sites there are out there?


To you, I'm nothing but a number.

1,2,3, Repeater!
[ Parent ]

An Interview With the High Priest of the Church of Satan | 23 comments (20 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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