Two today; I'm in a writing mood.
One of the common misconceptions most people have when they first hear about Satanism, even if they understand the core values presented in The Satanic Bible, is that Satanism is a reaction to Christianity. This is something I also assumed, though the connection never implied to me that this was the sole reason The Church of Satan was established in the first place. This is something people spend a lot of time harping on about, especially Christians, who try to defend their viewpoints from Satanists on occasion, as if the Church of Satan was specifically on the attack for them.
For any Christians who stumble upon this blog accidentally someday; Satanists appreciate your symbology in spite of you, not because of you.
For someone like Doctor LaVey, who had a very tongue in cheek sense of humor and a far reaching knowledge of the human condition, Satan was the absolute perfect symbol for his religion due to the connotations behind the figure, and what Satan means to people living in the Western world. I can't profess to knowing much about Doctor LaVey apart from his writings, but I am convinced personally that if he had sprung up in any other culture, he would have chosen the symbol of rebellion most suitable for the condition of that culture. Satan happens to be the most feared, diabolical character in Western folklore, and is presented, at best as an antihero in even the most subversive of classical literature.
There are so many more obvious points about why Satan was chosen as the basis for Doctor LaVey's rationalist, Darwinian philosophy, but this is one that sums up the whole "but I thought you believed in the devil" argument which happens to come up from time to time. The Christians who say that "Satanists couldn't exist without Christians" are laughable, ill informed idiots; Satanists, at least the personality type so many prominent figures can easily be categorized into which Satanism embodied, has existed throughout history. It was a coming together of ideas which occurred when Satanism was finally codified, but the core principles have always been there.
There are obviously some Satanists who are more ill-willed towards Christians than others, usually because they have a background of religious indoctrination in their life that was painful and difficult for them. But for myself personally, Christians have always been completely irrelevant in my life. I didn't come to learn about Satanism through some deep seated hatred of Christianity; I came to learn about it through a general disgust for the human population, their moralistic ideals, their unrealistic and superstitious viewpoints, and their rejection of the carnal nature of the human animal.
I have had almost zero contact with Christians throughout my life time, and a part from the occasional irritating or idiotic conversation with someone who is a "true believer", most of my own experiences with them were actually fairly positive - or at least, completely inconsequential.
The REAL problem I have with Christians isn't that they are Christian; it's that most of them adopted their worldview on a whim, in a moment of weakness, or through indoctrination. I have never met a single Christian who has even read the fucking Bible, which considering it is the core text from which all of their ideas and faith is derived, is pretty fucking important. I have read the Old Testament, and I have to say; I can understand why most of them don't bother. God as he is presented in there is a mean motherfucking twisted SOB, and only the clinically insane would ever profess to worship someone so consistently bi-polar, murderous, and psychotic.
Satanism has always existed in some form. The world needed to change substantially before someone could be brave enough to define and codify what had already been going on in secret for centuries. Satan just happened to be the best man for the job so to speak, but realistically, just about any figure of rebellion could have been chosen in his place. He just happened to be the most well known, the most feared, and the most dread inspiring among all of our cultural figures.
These are just my opinions, they will likely change over time as I become more educated on the subject. And for the record, I refer to Satan as a person in the article for effect; not because I believe in scary voodoo bullshit and actually think he is a real dude.