Difference between revisions of "Data Hitch-Hiking on the Super-Highway"
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Data Hitch-Hiking on the Super-Highway By Reverend Lestat Ventrue Part 1. Ever since I developed The Satanic Network, I have watched Satanism grow on the Internet. With more and more people connecting to the Internet every day, our community presence on-line is growing. As with anything, growth causes problems. One of these problems is a conflict of interests. What I mean by this is how people define the word Satanism, and sadly this problem has two parts. The first part is "what makes you a Satanist?" Now from reading The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey this question is answered very easily, but a lot of people tend to take this to a different level. Some people believe that by acting in a Satanic manner on a message board, in a chatroom or by making a Website that focuses on Satanism, they are now Satanists. Well I will tell you right off, they are wrong. Satanism is a way of Life. It can, however, include the Internet but is not limited or centered around the Internet alone. "Life, On-Line" as they call it is not Real life, and I cannot stress that enough. The Internet is merely a Tool for communication, a form of Media for passing out information quickly and in many cases is more cost effective than phone, visits, and mailings. To sum it up it's Entertainment. The Internet is a great tool for showing others your Ideas, thoughts and projects but it does not make you a Satanist just because you use it. Most members of the Church of Satan are not even on-line, we interact within the real world. We have real jobs, work on real books, magazines and other real world projects. We make ourselves a formidable force to encounter in our everyday lives dealing with Satanists and non-Satanists alike. With the Internet a person can be whomever they dream up. There is no real interaction on the Internet since you cannot see the person you are communicating with. You could think you were talking to a really wonderful woman who seems very intriguing and her name "goth-girl" really lights your fire. You talk for a few days and everything seems as if it's going great. You decide that you want to be careful and take things slow, so you do some checking on her Email address and the information she gave you. You finally come across her Profile, and to your surprise you even find out something completely off the wall, like she is really a he. Wow, wouldn't that suck! Things like this happen all the time. It shows you that you can be anyone and anything that you want, and so can everyone else. So as I always say, "The Internet a REAL Satanist does not make," though you can sure as hell pretend. So, the next time you jump into that chatroom or post on that message board, think twice before trusting everything you see. Trust is built with time. In concordance with time is real life interaction, seeing, touching, and hearing, not typing. Another issue dwells on Websites. As I said before, a person is not a Satanist just because of his/her Website. To show my point, I will use my own history as an example. I started The Satanic Network over 6 years ago. I had been a member of the Church of Satan for over two years at that time. I became a Priest within the Church of Satan a few years after the site was created. Many people claim that my Website was the reason I was given the title of Priest. I can honestly say that part of that is true and part is false. I was not given the title of Priest just because of my Website, even though it did grow to become the largest, most visited and publicized Satanic site on the internet. But that was not the reason for my title or my "fame". While I was hosting the site, I also did many radio interviews and fought a court battle to keep Satanism on the Internet. Some Christian organizations took a few ISP's and mine to court because of the content of our Websites. Needless to say they lost, but the fact remains that I was doing things off the Internet. Along with the above mentioned items, I published an issue of my Magazine, worked on other projects, helped out other Satanists and ran a Church of Satan approved Grotto in my area (the grotto issue is another big problem on the Internet, but we will get to that a little later). To sum it up, No, my Website did not make me a Satanist nor is it the reason I was given the title of Priest. Now when you browse around the Internet viewing the plethora of "Satanic" sites, try to look a little deeper past all the graphics and text. Consider the person or group who created it, what do they stand for, or what have they done in the real world, and you may be surprised at what you find. Also another issue that comes to mind, "how much is too much?" Many web creators have this belief that if they post or display as much information about Satanism on their Website it makes them more of a Satanist or shall we say a "better" Satanist. I do not know how else to say that this is so very misleading. If you are familiar with The Satanic Bible, you should know that there are some key points to Satanism, one happens to be the whole mystery of it and finding things out for yourself. Now you tell me, if I were to post as much information that I could find on Satanism and the Church of Satan for the world to see, am I acting in a Satanic Fashion? If you answered No, you are correct. I have always said that to get the most out of Satanism you must find it for yourself. Finding the information on your own also gives you a sense of accomplishment, you did the work and you were rewarded for your work by the information you dug up. I believe that Websites created with a Satanic Nature should reflect the personal views and the personal creations of the owner. Copying and plagiarizing other people or using pictures made by other people is one of the worst ways to promote yourself as a Satanist. Write your own essays, design your own graphics or pictures from scratch. Do not just paste together a bunch of pictures of Anton LaVey, a Baphomet, a nude woman and then call it your own, because guess what, it's not yours. It just represents the fact that you aren't creative enough to come up with your own ideas. In other words "Don't quit your day job!" Now we move back to the Grotto Issue. On-line Grottos, are there any? The answer is NO. The Church of Satan created a system of local divisions in each city called Grottos. These Grottos are headed by a Church of Satan member called a GrottoMaster or Mistress. These people must go through an extensive screening and application process before they are granted this title. One of the main functions of a GrottoMaster can be to serve as a contact point and media representative for their area. Grottos exist within the Real world, not the On-line world. Again we move back to the fact that the Internet is a great place to relay information or to advertise information. The Internet is not a place to run an organization. A word of wisdom, if the group does not offer any off-line activities, Join at your own risk, more than likely you will end up disappointed by what you find. In short there are many Websites out there that present themselves as grottos but in reality are not a part of the Church of Satan, and many times do not even support the Church of Satan. If they did, they would have already applied for Grotto Status. So when looking for a group of like minded people within your area keep in mind the question: Are they a real Church of Satan Grotto or are they just using the Grotto name to sound valid? A good way to check them out is to contact the Church of Satan itself or a real Church of Satan representative and ask them about the Grotto you are interested in. Part 2. Ask yourself this question: "What is Satanism?" Ever since I created The Satanic Network, I have watched many different groups pop up on the Internet. The Church of Satan started in 1966, but when did these other groups start? Well truthfully, most of them started within the last two years, riding the coattails of the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan has always been the imperious focal point of the Satanic Movement, in fact The Church of Satan caused the Satanic Movement. So if you really want to get technical, The Church of Satan (including but not limited to the philosophies of Anton LaVey) IS Satanism. Many people will claim "Satanism started way before Anton LaVey", but if you actually look at the facts, it did not. Before 1966 people who lived on the dark side of life were call Devil Worshippers not Satanists. The term Satanism did not truly catch on until after 1966, when Anton LaVey introduced it. Just about any reference in today's world that has to do with Satanism points its ugly finger at the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan IS Satanism, as we know it today. Now mind you there are many people who will disagree with that statement. They want to lay claim to some of the Black Flame Anton LaVey created, and to do this, they must alter the meaning to suit them. They run over and grab their Webster's Dictionary, look up the word Satanism and find a definition pertaining to the worship of the Devil or something similar. Well, according to that definition we (The Church of Satan) are not Satanists, but take a hard look at exactly where this definition comes from: Christian mentality. This Christian who wrote this book cannot and does not want to understand the differences between us and the "Devil Worshippers." Why do they still call it Satanism then? Because Satanism is the Modern definition for Evil, Unholy people. We (The Church of Satan) know that Satanism is defined by us in this modern world, people still try and group everyone under one label. So I will make this very easy and very clear, Satanism is The Church of Satan. "Satanic" groups are popping up all over the place these days, but step back and truly take a look at them. Each and every non Church of Satan group that I have happened upon exhibits one particular trait. They ride the coattails of the Church of Satan, and what Anton LaVey created. In order to avoid promoting or advertising for these so called groups I will not mention names, but I know you at one point in your life must have run across one. Each group either states that they follow the ideas of Anton LaVey or "agree" with part of his philosophy but not all of it. Yet these groups choose not to actually support the Church he founded by becoming members. Why is this? It's very easy to see what they are trying to accomplish. They use the name but will not give the Devil his due, how typical. They start their groups with hopes of becoming the Church of Satan, it's as clear as day. Why else would you agree with the idea but not commit to the organization? Amazingly by going through the proper channels you can almost accomplish this same goal. With a Grotto you can build a group and run it like the Church of Satan without being the Church of Satan or disrespecting the Idea of the Church of Satan. With your Grotto you can better our organization, make it Stronger and feel better about yourself as you work with the organization that made this all possible. It's about respect. You have to have it in order to get it. We owe Dr. LaVey and the Church of Satan for everything they have accomplished for the Satanic Community over the years. We owe them Respect. These "groups" work hard at disrespecting the Church of Satan and its Officials, yet they continue to ride in our wake because without us they would be nothing. This type of group attempts to talk badly about the Church of Satan and its Officials, yet they copy us almost to the "T". One such group even dared to copy our name. When it comes to lacking original ideas, you cannot get any closer than that. On the bright side of things it is quite humorous to read that this group follows Dr. LaVey's Ideas yet refute them, then they mention that they communicate with "Satan" on a regular basis. That always brings a smile to my face. I can image it: "I was talking with Satan last night, he told me Dr. LaVey sucked, but to use his ideas since some people might think we are on that level." I guess they are really giving the Devil his due, every night under the covers with their crack pipes. I am glad to say that these groups barely survive a year before vanishing into nothingness. These groups are pathetic, and will one day get what is coming to them. Most of the time it takes little or no effort, since they almost always disappear months after their creation once they find out they cannot in their wildest dreams become anything like the Church of Satan. So called "Satanic" groups, just like "Satanic" web pages come and go. Alas, the facts of life of the Internet. The Internet is truly an ambiguous tool that both promotes Satanism and undoes the work the Church of Satan has accomplished over the last three decades. Do not get me wrong, I fully support the "Online" Satanic Community, Hell I practically started it. If a Website is done well, with original ideas and content, I support it 100%. I feel the Internet adds to our way of life, helps us with our creative selves, and makes communication between members and friends a lot easier. But watch where you tread. Your best bet is to stick close to known Church of Satan supportive and supported Websites, and if you get lost, sit back and have a good laugh at what you find out there. One way or another you can always find your way back to familiar territory. As one of my favorite maxims goes, "Choose your friends wisely, they can make or break you". You cannot image how important lesser magic is on the Internet, employ it often and reap the rewards you create for yourself. Hail Satan! Hail the Church of Satan! Reverend Lestat Ventrue GrottoMaster of Satan's PlayGround Grotto Priest of Mendes within the Church of Satan