Church of Azazel > Beliefs & principles > Needed: new kinds of Satanism
A brief introduction to the Church of Azazel paradigm
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2007, 2011 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
The Church of Azazel embodies a unique form of polytheistic Satanism/Luciferianism. Its paradigm is rooted in both a reverence for Satan/Azazel and a strong appreciation for those aspects of the modern world that are under attack by the Abrahamic religious right wing. Its theology is based primarily on present-day realities and on the relatively recent history of religion, and is not concerned with prehistoric eras or with such questions as the origin of the cosmos.
Our view of the Abrahamic "God" and "Devil" concepts
Worldwide, the more fanatical forms of both Christianity and Islam have been growing like wildfire these past several decades - especially in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. Even here in the U.S.A., the more fundamentalist-leaning forms of Christianity have been growing while the more liberal forms have been shrinking. The growth of fundamentalist-leaning churches has, in turn, fed the growth of the religious right wing, which we see as a serious threat to personal freedom, both here in the U.S.A. and around the world. Here in New York City, with all its nice liberal churches, it's easy to overlook the religious right wing. But we live in a bubble. NYC is not the world, nor is NYC the entire U.S.A. (See the page about The growing number of Christians of kinds which inherently fear demons, Satanists, witches, occultists, Pagans, and atheists, especially the collections of links to pages about Christian religious trends in the U.S.A. and Worldwide Christian trends and their impact on the West, on Against Satanic Panics.) The religious right wing is growing even in seemingly de-Christianized Western countries such as Canada and the U.K., though not as dramatically as in much of the Third World or in the U.S.A.
At the same time, various alternatives to the Abrahamic religions have grown dramatically too, such as modern Paganism.
What does the growth of the more fanatical and fundamentalist forms of the Abrahamic religions mean, spiritually? To us, it does not make sense to dismiss the pantheon of the world's most popular religion (Christianity) as totally unreal, while accepting almost all the world's other pantheons as real, as many modern Pagans do (or at least say they do, especially when saying that they are not Satanists).
Yet we do not regard the Abrahamic "God" as the true ultimate or cosmic God. Rather, we see the Abrahamic "God" as just one of the many gods. He seems to be a spirit (or cluster of spirits) that started out as a local tribal deity and got greedy for more and more human attention. Also, there seems to be more than one entity or spiritual force out there that answers to the name of Abrahamic "God." Surely the "God" revered by religious right wingers, or by Sarah Palin's witch-hunting pastor, is not the same entity as the "God" revered by the nice liberal churches whose congregations march in New York's annual Gay Pride parade?
Furthermore, the Biblical god is hardly "all-Good" by modern Western standards. (See Cruelty and Violence in the Bible and Injustice in the Bible on the Skeptic's Annotated Bible site.) We don't see the Biblical god as all-evil either. Christianity and Islam couldn't spread if no one benefitted. But the spread of both Christian and Islamic fundamentalism is a major threat to personal freedom worldwide.
As a general rule, the more retrograde and repressive branches of the Abrahamic religions tend to be the ones that promote belief in a Devil, whom they equate with everything that challenges their belief system. With some exceptions, the more liberal branches tend not to believe in a Devil - and thus are not among Satan/Azazel's avowed enemies.
The Church of Azazel's primary deity is Satan/Azazel: God of this world, God of our innermost will, and God of heresy: bringer of new ideas, and challenger of all dogma and stasis. Like many theistic Satanists and Luciferians, we see Satan/Azazel as a being who encourages independent throught, rather than as "Evil" per se. This makes sense because (1) those forms of Christianity which most strongly believe in the Devil are, as a general rule, also those forms of Christianity which demonize "heresy," and (2) the Biblical god is not "all-Good" by modern standards; hence there is no logical reason to see his opponent as necessarily "all-Evil" by modern standards either.For more about theistic Satanism in general, see the following introductory articles:
The rising Gods of the modern West
The Church of Azazel's theology is far from purely "reverse Christian." It is polytheistic and Earth-based (albeit "Earth-based" in a sense somewhat different from the way many Wicca-based Pagans use that term).
In addition to Satan/Azazel, we also revere the "rising Gods of the modern West" -- five deities associated with those aspects of modern Western culture that are most strongly opposed by the Christian (and Islamic) religious right wing. These deities are Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar, Pan, and Lucifer-of-Sophia.
To fight for freedom from religious tyranny, we must defend the values of the modern West against those who would drag us back into the dark ages. But, at the same time, we should also avoid freezing the values of the modern West into yet another narrow-minded dogmatic straitjacket. Thus, the Church of Azazel reveres both the rising Gods of the modern West, who are associated with the values of the modern West which we defend, and Satan/Azazel, who transcends all social ideologies, always reminding us of overlooked realities.
More about the paradigm of the Church of Azazel
The gods are not mere personifications of the values we associate with them. They are multi-faceted beings in their own right. We approach the gods with a sense of awe, wonder, and mystery.
Yet we tend to see the gods as Earth-based, not cosmic (nor "anti-cosmic"). See the following articles:
We also encourage philosophical thought. Too many forms of Satanism give lip service to the idea of thinking for oneself, but in fact are heavy on rhetoric and do not encourage deep and careful thought. We aim to raise the intellectual level of the Satanist scene.
For more about the Church of Azazel, see the remainder of this website. For a more in-depth explanation of our paradigm, see especially the following:
Note that the Church of Azazel is a law-abiding group. We do not condone violent crime, vandalism, etc. in the name of Satan, nor do our rituals involve any other illegal activities such as illegal drug use.
The Church of Azazel has many disagreements with LaVeyan Satanism. For some of these, see Needed: new kinds of Satanism.