Christian-based duotheism vs. evilism vs. “Devil worship”

June 8, 2011

Thanks to James Nicholson for referring to my article on Christian-based duotheism in his recent post on sectarian Satanism. However, he seems to have misunderstood what I mean by the term “Christian-based duotheism.”

By “Christian-based duotheism,” I mean a form of theistic Satanism which accepts the basic theological/metaphysical framework of traditional Christianity. The Christian God is believed to be the ultimate God and creator of the universe, and Satan is believed to be a “fallen angel” — albeit (and here’s the only major difference from Christian theology/metaphysics) a “fallen angel” with the ability to raise Himself to the level of God and everntually overpower God.

James Nicholson uses the term “Christian-based duotheist” to refer to something else: those who, without irony, “feel Satanism is to be the ultimate Evil, in congruence with the Christian philosophy of the Devil.”

These are distinct concepts. Note that I defined “Christian-based duotheism” in terms of metaphysics, not in terms of morality.

For those who see themselves and/or Satan as “ultimate Evil,” and who advocate what they themselves regard as “Evil,” without irony, a better label might be “evilist.”

Many of the Christian-based duotheists I’ve run into are not evilists. On the contrary, many of them see Satan as a heroic rebel against the Christian God, whom they see as an evil tyrant.

On the other hand, evilists do not necessarily believe in a Christian-based metaphysical/theological framework. Some do, others don’t. For example, some evilists are inspired by the “Order of the Nine Angles” writings, which taught a metaphysics very different from Christian beliefs. Other evilists believe in an “anti-cosmic” Gnostic-based paradigm, in which the Christian God is only one manifestation of the “Demiurge” — NOT the ultimate God. (But I should also point out here that not everyone with an “anti-cosmic” Gnostic-based paradigm is an evilist.)

Many Satanists have referred to evilists as “Devil worshipers.” But that’s neither accurate nor a good idea, for the following reasons:

1) Evilists are not necessarily even theistic, let alone “worshipers” of any deity. The “Order of the Nine Angles” writings, though theistic, were as scornful of the idea of “worship” as any LaVeyan.

2) More importantly, no matter what we say, the term “Devil worshiper” will always be a synonym for “Satanist” (and especially a synonym for “theistic Satanist”) in the eyes of the general public. Hence it is not in our best interests to collaborate in besmirching the term “Devil worshiper.”

It is as if a gay rights activist were to respond to slanders against gays by making a distinction between “gays” and “faggots,” saying things like, “gays don’t molest kids, only faggots do.” I hope it’s obvious why that would not be a smart strategy. For the exact same reason, it’s not a good idea for Satanists — especially theistic Satanists — to vilify “Devil worshipers.” For more about this issue, see my page titled Devil worshipers: Satanism’s scapegoats?.

Although a few evilists are articulate adults (albeit with an inherently paradoxical worldview — see Elliot Rose on the absurdity of “Evil” as a principle), most evilists are probably what I call “black circle boys” in my article on Satan and “Evil” in Christianity (and Satanism). It is hard to know what “black circle boys” believe, if anything, because they tend to be uninterested in discussing philosophy. Mostly, they are just troubled teenagers acting out.

I think it’s significant that almost all the few articulate adult evilists I’ve heard of, starting with the “Order of the Nine Angles” writings, are/were in Europe — as also were the two best-known instances of actual crime on the part of teenage Satanic-themed metalheads (the Norwegian “Black Metal Circle” and the Italian “Beasts of Satan”).

Here in the U.S.A., especially in those parts of the U.S.A. that are dominated by fundamentalist/evangelical Christians, the moral obtuseness of many of those Christians who promote belief in a Devil is immediately apparent. It is therefore immediately obvious that a lot of the things Christians traditionally associate with Satan aren’t really evil — a fact popularly satirized, a generation ago, by the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live. Hence it seems to me that religious Satanism — which, for the most part, is not evilist — has more of a social and cultural basis here in the U.S.A. than it has in Europe.

In most European countries, Christianity — though still supported by governments to some extent — has been very much on the decline over the past few generations. Even in Europe, the more fanatical forms of Christianity are nevertheless on the rise, but they are still small compared to their counterparts here in the U.S.A. Hence, most Europeans simply never encounter the true practical significance of Christian Devil-beliefs. And I would guess that, for that reason, it might be at least a little bit harder for Europeans to relate to the idea of theistic Satanism apart from evilism.

(However, there are non-evilist theistic Satanists in Europe too; my point here certainly isn’t to stigmatize all European theistic Satanists as evilist.)

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