A majority of the South African society has not made an effort to understand and tolerate satanism and the South African Satanic Church that’s now recognised as a religion by the constitution.
Reverend Tristan Kapp of the church’s Gauteng Chapter made the remarks yesterday from his home in Centurion.
He was raised in a Christian family until he found satanism on a quest for a religion that suits him.
He described satanism as a religion of the self, and said satanists are basically atheists who do not believe there is a God nor a Satan, but believe there is a primal existence (the self) and that Satan represents a symbol of pride, individuality, and not this evil concept of Satan taught by society.
The 23-year-old academic who’s currently finishing his masters degree in theology at the University of Pretoria and planning to start his PhD next year, said he was eager to enlighten people about his beliefs despite the death threats from other religious people.
He said most people still did not know that satanism is a religion and theology is the study of religion, enabling him to study the philosophy behind satanism in a certain academic way, with regard to the narratives that it promotes.
“Theology provides an opportunity for all faiths to be studied and to be understood from an academic perspective, and I think that satanism can enrich academic theology. For example, body autonomy and sexuality are a very important thing in satanism, and we don’t do orgies and those kinds of things, that’s just a misconception.
“We think of the body as being free and being separated from external monopolies like the church, whereby they say we own the body and therefore we dictate the ethics. We on the other hand say you own your own body and therefore dictate the ethics and you do what you want to do with it yourself,” he said.
Kapp said he reads the satanic bible which gives members nine satanic statements to follow, which help members to understand the self, unlike other religious books which give members a list of rules that dictate how they should live.
The statements basically teach that satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence, vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams, kindness to those who deserve it instead of wasting love on ingrates, and vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.
He said the satanic bible also teaches that satan has been the best friend the church has ever had as he has kept it in business all these years. He has a problem with mega-churches that “exploit members of their money and teach their own ideologies.”
He said he was well aware that identifying one’s self as a satanist comes with a lot of baggage and misconception about what satanists do. In fact, he said the misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth, because satanists did not condone nor practise violence, witchcraft or sacrifices of cats.
“I teach people that when they say vengeance, it is not as literal as in like an eye for an eye on serious conflict. When you’re upset with someone, instead of physically harming them like they harmed you, you can write their name on a piece of paper and burn that paper along with that energy wearing you down. It is not witchcraft either, we don’t believe in any supernatural powers.”
Some of the myths about his religion that he constantly debunks are that: satanists sacrifice cats, satanists are the illuminati and come to make people rich, satanists believe in violence and evil spirits and that satanists are anti-Christ.
“If anything we just want to coexist,” he added.