"Herein you will find truth and fantasy. Each is necessary for the other to exist, but each must be recognized for what it is."
Note: This is the second of five of my recent book reviews of books I read earlier this year, and never got around to writing up my reviews. So I may have missed some details that at the time of reading these books I may have had.
The Satanic Bible - By Anton Szandor LaVey. It took me a long time before I had the nerve to read this book. When I first heard about it I was scared to read it. I'm not sure why, maybe because I had that paranoid Christian viewpoint that it was somehow cursed and would warp your mind, or some other such nonsense. I think there are some Christians who do believe that the book is evil and should be destroyed. It may also have been from all those stories you hear about teenagers committing suicide because they read this book, or got into Satan worship.
Well this book is basically just one mans philosophy that has been shaped by childhood clashes with organized religion. He grew up a "circus kid" and at 18 left the circus to join a carnival. His early introductions to Religion were from watching so called Christians who would spend Saturday night watching half-naked girls dancing at the carnival and then the Next Sunday morning those same men would be in the church pew with their wives and children. Needless to say this, and the pomp and circumstance of Religious ceremonies turned LaVey off of religion particularly Christianity.
In a nutshell LaVey's Satanism is part anti-Christianity and part self preservation. Throughout the book the theme is do whatever you want, try not to harm others, but if they harm you or prevent you from doing what you want then harm them.
The first half of the book is this basic philosophy and the description of what LaVey's Satanism is. I think most of his Hail Satan! stuff is just to annoy Christians. I think that the attitude that many atheists have of Christians being intellectually inferior to free-thinking atheists comes partly from them reading this book.
Often he mentions that Christianity doesn't let you have any fun, particularly when it comes to sex, but his Satanism says Go FOR IT! So long as you don't abuse or harm the other person (unless they want you to). He claims that Christianity keeps people from being themselves and enjoying the material world.
The second part of this book I think is total nonsense, and is extremely difficult to comprehend. Maybe it is because it has some of the "Satanic Rituals" which LaVey calls "Enochain Keys" (whatever they are, that part went right over my head and I forget how they were explained). This final part is difficult to read partly because the "Keys" are first written in Latin and then the following page written with the English translation. Many of them are lyrical but are very cryptic. They are supposed to be read by a Satanic priest during their Black Mass. Some of them are to be done to curse people, but it seems that most of them are just to satisfy the Satanists need to Sieg Heil er HAIL SATAN!
I don't think Christians, or people of non-Satanist religions should fear reading this book. Mr. LaVey's Satanism is not the Evil Human sacrifice Satanism that is depicted in Hollywood movies, and condemned by Christianity and particularly the Catholic Church. His Satanism to me is a slightly twisted "everyone fend for themselves and forget everyone else" philosophy. Don't hurt people unless they hurt you first. I don't even think his concept of Satan is the same as that of Christianity, although he does seem to exploit that way of thinking. Except for the final sections about the Ceremonies this book as I said is basically about a "look out for number one" way of life.
The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey 1969 Avon Books (Harper Collins Publishers) 272 pages - **.5