Anton LaVey - Atheist or Thiest? | Forum

Zach Black Owner
Zach Black Aug 4 '14
LaVey is typically considered an atheistic Satanist. But, was he? Can you really say he is an atheistic Satanist if he believes in magick?

It is rumored that LaVey was asked to put magick and ritual in the satanic bible by the original publisher. Rumored that the original satanic bible was only the first half, the philisophical part.

LaVey defined Satan as a dark force in nature. I wish I could find the quote. But, it sounds like LaVey is more of a Deist to me.

Your thoughts?

A R Aug 4 '14
I think his statements regarding a "dark force" in nature reflect something pretty close to a vague panentheism.  The CoS under LaVey, in general, seemed more open to metaphysical speculation of this type.
kittykittygoboom Aug 6 '14
In a couple of interviews with LaVey that I listened to, he did say he was an atheist. Though, people do lie and/or change their minds.

I found the TSB definition of magic. "The change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable." I found this on the second page of Book of Belial.

Oh, and I think I found your quote. Page 7 of TSB (in the downloaded version on my cell phone)

"For one thing," LaVey explained himself, "called it a church enabled me to follow the magic formula of one part outrage to nine parts social respectability that is needed for success. But the main purpose was to gather a group of like-minded individuals together for the use of their combined energies in calling up the dark force in nature that is called Satan."

Then later that same page:

"Of course LaVey pointed out to anyone who would listen that the Devil to him and his followers was not the stereotyped fellow cloaked in red garb, with horns, tail and pitchfork, but rather the dark forces in nature that human beings are just beginning to fathom."

His words could be interpreted in multiple ways, depending on your perspective. Personally, I could believe that he was either atheist or deist, and we can't exactly ask the guy, so I just take his word for it, since there's really no real reason to make a fuss about it because there's not really any way we can find out for sure.
Zach Black Owner
Zach Black Aug 7 '14
Well Aquino would be a somewhat creditable source. I have not heard what he had to say. What I was told from another person around in that time is the last half of TSB was an after thought pushed on him by his original publisher.

But, you are right. It really does not matter for LaVey is long gone. And TSB still remains as the foundations of modern Satanism.
Shawn Aug 7 '14
I think that Lavey was smart enough to realize that theist / atheist were two positions in a game nobody even has to play and that if he identified himself as an atheist it would only be useful because it's the closest term to his actual position that people who are stuck in that particular paradigm can understand.

So I think from LaVey's point of view that whether there's a god or not was a non-issue -- he had bigger fish to fry. LaVey's use of the term 'god' seems to me to be interchangeable with the psychological concept of the locus of control.

If you look to other people to give you definite answers, live by other people's standards, give credit to something outside yourself, you know, just let someone dictate your life for you then you believe in an external god, which is the same as having an external locus of control.

If you believe in yourself, take responsibility for your life, live by your own standards, then you are your own god, or have an internal locus of control.

It's not about whether or not there's a magical being in the sky -- it's about who's running your life.

 To take a position as a theist or atheist completely misses this point -- it only sticks people back in the useless game 'is there or is there not a god', twiddling their thumbs as their life passes  them by.

The Forum post is edited by Shawn Aug 7 '14
Zach Black Owner
Zach Black Aug 7 '14
Well said Shawn. Allow me to add my two cents. If there is a God, it does not give a fuck about us. And if it has a divine plan for us, what is the point in trying to change it. I could elaborate but I think you know where I am going.
Shawn Aug 7 '14
Yup, 'the god who can save you is yerself."
Kenneth Aug 8 '14
Well, he elaborates on the second half in The Satanic Rituals. Assuming that the second half of TSB exists because of publisher pressure, does that entire book exist for the same reason? If it does, then it would contradict the idea that "the Satanist" runs his or her own life. If it does not, then one has to consider in which context(s) there is merit (how much?) in choosing to succumb to external pressures, however briefly.
Zach Black Owner
Zach Black Aug 11 '14

Quote from At this point, Dimitri's comments come into play. Who cares? What can you do with your belief or disbelief? The rubber has to hit the road some time.
True. Who cares? What does it matter? Just trying to start conversation. :)
Epicurus Member
Epicurus Aug 30 '14

Observing laVey's material  I see that laVeyan Satanism comes from many backgrounds  for sure he studied greek philosophy  such as  Atomists , epicurian, rose up in a Christian culture ,studied  Friedrich Nietzsche's work  and  Aristotle, who said that the elements of fire, air, earth, and water were  not made outof atoms.  Basically, the philosophers tried to find the" Urstoff  " the basic element of all things.   

Nothing comes from nothing this means if there IS  somthing it can't become nothing.  It is evident and it is  a sientific fact that energy is present all around us   and this engery can't expire into nothing.

 If it IS there what can happen is that like as said an atom can take different forms but its an ongoing cycle say, water becomes a stream from stream to clouds, from clouds to rain and so on. The cycle then goes on repetitively. 

 Some philosophers concluded that  if there is change around us there  should  be something  causing that change which they call it as " The unmoved mover" or otherwise known as  supreme being  which consits of a perfect being that he/itself does not change because it's perfect and a perfect being  can't be changed but can be the cause for change.

 It can be anything  that causes such a change.  One can call it the balancing factor which is  like a magnet around  the earth, it's also the same concept  used in magic and people who believe in mindpower by faith, wherby that by that faith one chooses from that you can achieve anything   in life, you only need to ask for it and believe it is yours already.  It can also be called superstiton  but for sure people with positive attitude do more great things in life.

 For sure after all this said,  I think that  Lavey studied psychology  too and that he was aware that some people feel the need of perfoming rituals in life to achieve the above so he wrote the Satanic rituals  and the Satanic witch to aid with this fact.  This is also the same thing of when I was christian where as 'Jesus' said that whatever you pray for in his name will be given to you. I imagine that spiritual satanits do the same however the other way around. If one reads the book, 'The Secret' the same is said, where what you really desire via faith, will otherwise be granted to you and likewise, the same concept is presnt in various different religions and sects including 'witchcraft'

 I do see Lavey an Athisest  but he is aware that  a force around us exits and that by the same logic  mentioned above with the aid of  scientific proof , you can call this energy   Satan, God, Balancing factor,supreme being  magnet or what ever....  well all leads us eventually to  the same source - the Urstoff .

This Urstoff  could also be the main element that caused the big bang. Some  Scientists  believe that one day all things will be attracted again to the same source one more time and thus causing another big bang.

I guess Layvey knew this knowlage and more...


The Forum post is edited by Epicurus Aug 30 '14
Berardo Rodriguez Member
Berardo Rodriguez Oct 11 '14
When a very popular person doesn't give his/her position on one side of two different groups of people,  that person : he's a hypocrite playing with the two groups to suck two breaths, or  that person is one of the most intelligent human  beings who is using the power of the double face coin to join both groups for them to succeed in their struggles and to overcome their commune enemy. I think Dr. Lavey  was a Theist to realize he was a god, and he was an Atheist to know there weren't external Gods. I consider him a very smart person to control his words and opinions in public for our benefit and for the benefits of all the satanic groups. 
sheabile Chapter Head
sheabile Nov 5 '14

There is evidence in Lavey's writings, and from multiple sources throughout his life that he identified Satan as a force that could be consciously called upon to cause change in the real world via magick. This would fall under a pantheistic paradigm. A deist one, would mean Satan is an impersonal force - this could also be argued because of the way Lavey views this force. But if you can interact with, and utilize it, it's only impersonal in a certain aspect.

We dig very deep into this very topic on the most recent episode of my podcast - Episode 2: Deconstructing the Devil -

Anna May 6 '15

Quote from MReynolds I myself think he was an agnostic atheist (like myself), but a "play theist" when it came to ritual/psychodrama.

A successful ritual requires suspension of disbelief. We experience the same thing when we are reading books or watching movies.

There are no hints in "The Satanic Bible" or Anton LaVey's other works that  Satan was anything more to him than an archetype. However, it's not that important. Both theists and atheists can find inspiration and some useful tips in LaVey's works. What Anton LaVey really thought doesn't matter. The guy is dead.
Owner/Admin May 6 '15

Quote from AnnaCzereda
Quote from MReynolds I myself think he was an agnostic atheist (like myself), but a "play theist" when it came to ritual/psychodrama.

A successful ritual requires suspension of disbelief. We experience the same thing when we are reading books or watching movies.

There are no hints in "The Satanic Bible" or Anton LaVey's other works that  Satan was anything more to him than an archetype. However, it's not that important. Both theists and atheists can find inspiration and some useful tips in LaVey's works. What Anton LaVey really thought doesn't matter. The guy is dead.
Well said Anna...meow.
... May 6 '15
I think that he was atheist, which is why the last parts of "the Satanic Bible" confused me so much re: is he really an atheist?
Knowing some publishers on a semi-close level, (such as friends on Facebook etc) they can and often do, manipulate the author or the manuscript and if the author doesn't comply, that's it.
The true Satanic bible is probably on a file on the publisher's computer, or once was, or on loose handwritten or (typewrittered? - I don't think that's right) papers in possession of someone he knew who probably took possession of it after his death. (I'm keeping in mind that this is the sixties too and only people like publishers would've had computers, not an ordinary person like LaVey or his family).
From what LaVey has said himself through interviews I personally believe that he was an atheist if he says he was atheist, I mean, who would've known better than he?
I think he meant that the devil lives within all of us, that the devil is human and is inside of us and is human nature, and denying this leads to a toned down spirituality and knowledge of oneself :)
Just my two cents.
The Forum post is edited by ... May 6 '15
Icecold99 Jun 8 '15
I think George Washington and Ben Franklin were both Deists.  They believe in reason and nature. 
Jason King
Jason King Sep 5 '15
The minute I let some dead lightweight determine my worldview is the day I shoot myself in the head. And guess what? I don't even own a fucking gun.

Of all the things I know for certain about Anton, he at least understood the value of taking a good shit.

Theist? Atheist?

No, he was most likely an ICouldGiveAShitLess-ist. Whatever works for you. Whatever rolls your particular set of marbles.

Doubt me? Fuck you.  
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