Some say that satanists do not literally worship satan and that luciferians literally worship lucifer but, in the end, they are both devil worshippers (by any other name) and we will see how and why.
Author, philosopher and futurist, Max T. O'Connor has taken on the pseudonym Max More which he seems to have taken Homer Simpson who once used the pseudonym Max Power (which, he noted, he got from a hair dryer). So Max[imum] was not enough, no, O'Connor needed more! Well, Max More wrote the article “In Praise Of The Devil” (Libertarian, Atheist Notes No. 3, 1991 AD). Sometimes they only thing more shocking than an illogical, unfounded and error filled article is the fact that someone read it and concluded, “Yup, we should publish this!”
Certainly, he is attempting to raise ire by promulgating the praise of the devil but his article reads like something that belongs in a teenager’s diary as he writes with utter conviction about how mean mommy and daddy are; it really is petulant. But let us not simply shrug it off as the bombastic emotive rant that it is but actually discern whether there is any actual merit to it at all because he is writing it in order to besmirch the Judeo-Christian faith, certainly (and not any others, of course), and in order to appeal to Atheists and Transhumanists (and Atheist Transhumanists).
He begins the article with quotes from Martin Luther and Tertullian for the apparent reason of showing that they are, literally, unreasonable. For example, Luther notes that the most “dangerous thing” on Earth is “a richly endowed and adroit reason, especially” pertaining to “spiritual matters which concern the soul and God” and concludes that “reason must be deluded, blinded and destroyed” because “Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense and understanding.” Well, whatever Luther may have been dealing with at the time (his grammatical, cultural and historical context) the fact is that Isaiah 1:18 states, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD” and the Bible, as a whole, is saturated with encouragement to gain wisdom, knowledge, etc. (for examples see Dan Barker and Bertrand Russell: The Dynamic Duo of Demonstrably Deleterious Delusion).
THE BASELESS PREMISE
The article is parsed between Max More’s condemnation of the Judeo-Christian faith (adherents to which he refers to as “moronic minions”) and praise of lucifer, satan, the devil and his Atheist and/or Transhumanist adherents. Thus, we must begin with asking upon what premise he writes, upon what premise he dichotomizes them in twain, upon what ethical premise is he making such determinations. This will be key, as we shall see. Fortunately, we need not speculate as he tell us quite clearly:
“I define ‘good’ simply as that which I value, not wanting to imply any universal validity or necessity to the orientation.” [emphasis added]
Thus, this is the key to the article; he is premising his condemnations and praises upon tentative-subjective-personal-preferences which themselves are premised upon tentative-subjective-personal-preferences which form a bottomless pit of tentative-subjective-personal-preferences and nothing more. Hereinafter we will refer to his tentative-subjective-personal-preferences as TSPP.
He plays off of TSPP and notes that fallen angles (of which satan is not, he is a fallen Cherub) are:
“the angels who had had enough courage to question God’s authority and his value-perspective.”
This is also key as he is pitting his own TSPP versus God’s, presumed, TSPP in a styled survival of the fittest TSPP.
However, he urges us to accept lucifer’s TSPP:
“our praise of Lucifer must not be worship of an idol, but rather an expression of our agreement with his value-orientation and his perspective…he values selfresponsibility and independence even if that means that some
people will not choose to value the things that he values. The extropians among us who share his perspectives and valueorientation should help him in his work.”
LUCIFER, SATAN, DEVIL
But now, we must back up and consider his definition of the one whom he praises in print and via the WORLD WIDE web, mind you:
“This article is written in praise of Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, or whatever you want to call him. I must first make it clear that I am not here claiming ontological status for the Devil; that is, I am not claiming that he exists in the sense that you and I exist.
I am quite serious on a symbolic level in what I write but my statements praising the Devil and attacking Christianity, God, and Jesus are not to be taken as implying the real existence of any of these supposed beings. The only one of these that I think one could reasonably believe actually existed is Jesus. It seems probable that there was a human being who was a political and religious leader at the time though it seems to me absurd to believe claims about his origin or divine nature.
My praise of the Devil is not entirely (though it is mostly) serious, and it is to be taken on a purely symbolic level…
to distinguish us from the official Satanists with whom I have fundamental differences.”
Let us begin at the end; it took nearly two millennia before someone got the brilliant idea that Jesus never existed. Jesus’ early retractors never claimed that He did not exist but admitted that He did so and admitted to His ability to perform miracles even whilst questioning the source of His abilities. It took nearly two millennia, and the utter destruction of the city in which He did much ministering (Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD), before someone thought enough time had passed, enough memories lost, enough manuscripts succumbed to the ravages of time, before His non-existence could even be considered (incidentally see Historical Jesus - Two Centuries Worth of Citations).
So, Jesus could have existed but was a mere mortal and “it seems to me absurd to believe…” but why accept Max More’s TSPP argument from credulity? Since when is reality premised upon More’s personal ability to believe or how he defines absurd? In any case, what is interesting is that he denies Jesus’ “claims about his origin or divine nature” but he accepts the claims about his own, More’s, divine nature as we shall see.
Overall, the message is to fear not as “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” does not “exists in the sense that you and I exist” aka physically. However and for example, God the Father also does not exist as we do but exists nevertheless. Yet, Max More claims to be employing “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” symbolically only.
Well, this is bad enough and yet, what is worse is that “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” is not impressed and is not about to accept praise directed at him only to say, “Oh boy, you are not really praising me as a really existing being but only symbolically! Well, okay then. Just cut that out already!” Nay, he is fully accepting it and acting upon it in the lives of Max More and his adherents. As we shall see, More not only praises “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” but worships him.
He never gets around to describing what fundamental differences he has with “official Satanists” (many of whom agree with him that there is no actual “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” being but only employ the concept to besmirch Judeo-Christianity, just as does Max More).
He continues elucidating his view of “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” thusly:
“My goal is to bring out the values and perspectives of the Christian tradition and to demonstrate how it is fundamentally at odds with the values held by myself and all extropians and with the perspective we share.
A FORCE FOR GOOD
The Devil - Lucifer - is a force for good (where I define ‘good’ simply as that which I value, not wanting to imply any universal validity or necessity to the orientation). ‘Lucifer’ means ‘light-bringer’ and this should begin to clue us in to his symbolic importance. The story is that God threw Lucifer out of heaven because Lucifer had started to question God and was spreading dissension among the angels.”
See what I meant? It is Max More’s TSPP versus God’s which means that he has bought the satanic doctrine hook, line and stinker. He is merely preaching Gnosticism (by any other name) as this, in true satanic fashion, turns the biblical story upside down, inside out and backwards: God is the evil dictator and lucifer brought us enlightenment. With the quote above we see the first of many indications that Max More is twisting the biblical tale towards his ends. He is correct that “God threw Lucifer out of heaven” but invents that it was “because Lucifer had started to question God” although he is right that lucifer “was spreading dissension among the angels.”
The original rebellion was not, “I will question God” but rather what is known as the five I wills:
I will ascend into heaven.
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.
I will be like the Most High.
The original temptation was when satan told Eve, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Thus, lucifer (the light bearer) became satan (the adversary) by attempting to be raised above God Himself, to become God’s god and thus, to become God. This is the very same basic concept which he introduced to Eve. He continued introducing it via the ancient mystery religions, through the secret societies and today via the transhuman movement.
Note that Max More references the Bible quite a bit but, for some odd reason (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) he never actually quotes and only offers one citation (for that matter, he does not cite Luther or Tertullian either). Quotations and citations would make it too easy for people to see just how wrong he is and so he opts for assertions, very lose paraphrases and straight up inventions.
He continues weaving tall tales by stating:
“The truth may just as easily be that Lucifer resigned from heaven…
Lucifer realised that he could never fully think for himself and could certainly not act on his independent thinking so long as he was under God’s control…
Lucifer is the embodiment of reason, of intelligence, of critical thought. He stands against the dogma of God and all other dogmas. He stands for the exploration of new ideas and new perspectives in the pursuit of truth.”
Do you see how deceptive satan is? He gets Max More to think that God is tyranny and satan is freedom. After all, the issue with Eve was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and satan said, “God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” and Eve “saw that the tree…was desirable to make one wise” (see Genesis 3:1-6). But this is not generic knowledge but appears to be the knowledge of the dichotomy between good and evil; that they could choose between good and evil and so they chose evil.
Max More notes that “Adam and Eve…acquired reason and intelligence, and an ability to decide for themselves the values that they would pursue.” Well, they already possessed intelligence (vastly superior to More’s as they had 100% perfect genetics) and thus, the ability to reason; they simply reasoned to a faulty conclusion. Also, they already possessed the free will ability to decide—how else could they have chosen to eat? Although, this is just a retelling, as the Bible notes that Eve was beguiled (2 Corinthians 11:3) and Adam, apparently, followed her lead.
The fact is that lucifer only had one “think for himself” thought upon which he “act on his independent thinking” and that was to supplant God. He has not had an original idea since and the sad part is that he has not had to as we keep falling for the same ol' original rebellion and original temptation.
The question “Do you see how deceptive satan is?” hits home when we note that Max More besmirches dogma even while promulgating a dogma of his own (of his own TSPP); if satan “He stands against the dogma of God and all other dogmas” but also “He stands for the exploration of new ideas and new perspectives in the pursuit of truth” then “the exploration of new ideas and new perspectives in the pursuit of truth” is satan’s (and Max More’s) dogma.
To the point about being like God and how More and his adherents seek just that, self-deification, note that he writes:
“You are all your own highest authority…You choose your values…No one has authority over you - you are your own authority, your own value-chooser…
Join me, join Lucifer, and join Extropy in fighting God and his entropic forces with out minds, our wills and our courage. God’s army is strong, but they are backed by ignorance, fear and cowardice. Reality is fundamentally on our side. Forward into the light!” [sic]
Oopsy, did you note the Freudian slip? He meant to write “with our minds” but misspelled it and ends upon, more accurately, stating “with out minds.”
Do you see how he sets himself up, above and beyond God? He is his own highest authority. Thereby, he set the battle array; it is the extropist Atheist transhumanists versus the moronic minions who are backed by ignorance, fear and cowardice. Of course, if you want to be moronic, ignorant, fearful and a coward then that is your TSPP and since you are your own authority Max More’s dogma has no hold on you; embrace your moronic, ignorant, fearful cowardice.
Let us now come to Max More’s view of God (YHVH) as he states that God displays a “demand for slavish conformity and obedience” along with a “psychotic rage at any display of independent thinking and behaviour.” Well, this is simply emotive. God sets up parameters and tells us to enjoy ourselves therein. Any loving parent can tell you that when they let their children out to play they say, “Don’t go farther than that street, look both ways when crossing the street, don’t go with strangers…now go and have a fun time.” Absolute freedom corrupts absolutely and true freedom only exists within parameters.
To show just how baseless and erroneous Max More’s view of God is, note this statement, “God demands that we believe everything that he tells us, and that we do everything that he says without questioning.”
Really? As merely two examples, consider that God told Moses the following from the burning bush, “I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10) and Moses does not say “Sir, yes sir!” but says, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?...What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say?...But if they will not believe...I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue...” (Genesis 3:11, 4:1, 9-10) in other words, Moses haggles with God.
Also, God told Gibeon that he would deliver Israel though him:
“Then Gideon said to God, ‘If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.’ And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Then Gideon said to God, ‘Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.’ God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.” (Judges 6:36-40)
Gideon was told God’s will but asks for confirmation, gets it and asks for more (and gets it).
For more about God’s character, Max More writes that God commands His people to “Destroy a tribe including the women, children and animals down to the last one? (Joshua 6.21)” and the reply is “Why of course” but “Wait a minute, this doesn’t seem very nice.” See how easy it is for More? He merely has to mention Joshua 6:21 and leaves it at that with no interaction with the grammatical, historical or cultural context. Well, we will not get sidetracked within this article by biting his hook. What we will do is to note that if it doesn’t seem very nice to More well, who cares? In other words, he personally, based upon his TSPP, thinks that it is not nice to do that but he cannot condemn their actions via any absolute ethic but only via his TSPP. He could just as easily say that their destruction of a tribe was an expression of the survival of the fittest in the struggle for life; the Israelite bio-organisms lived and the other bio-organisms did not—all the better for humanity’s gene pool that the weak died!
Max More then mockingly plays the part of one of the moronic minions and writes:
“Yes sir, God Sir, whatever you say. See, here I am burning their books, pulling out their nails, torturing them for questioning Church dogma, banning the use of anaesthetic in child-bearing (since the pain is their just punishment for the acts of Adam and Eve). Help! I thought an improper thought! Help me to blind my mind God, help me not to see what my reason tells me. Let me repress thoughts of sexual desire, doubts about you and your orders, feelings of tolerance.”
1) Some early church Christians “who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them” (Act 19:19). Note that this was not commanded and was certainly not commanded for everyone at all times and all places.
Take away point: if your TSPP is to burn your own books, feel free to do so and do not let Max More’s TSPP based dogma tell you that you are doing anything wrong.
2) Some people who called themselves “Christians” (breaking the third commandment) pulled out peoples’ nails and tortured them for questioning the Roman Catholic Church’s dogma. For some reason, he neglects to note that these very same things have been done to Christians for millennia. In fact, some of those tortured by the Roman Catholic Church were non-Catholic Christians.
Take away point: if your TSPP is to torture people, then you can feel free to do so and Max More’s TSPP based dogma cannot tell you that you are doing anything wrong (or, he can tell you meaning that he can voice an opinion but he is impotent and cannot condemn you in any absolute or transcendent way).
However, beyond all of this; note that much of that torture, if the Inquisition if being referenced, was based on political intrigues and not on Roman Catholic Church dogma. As The Jewish Encyclopedia notes (1906 ed. Vol. XI, p. 485), “It remains a fact that the Jews, either directly or through their correligionists in Africa, encouraged the Mohammedans to conquer Spain” (for more details see Find it Fast - Fast Facts: on the Inquisition).
Also, the Encyclopedia of Wars (New York: Facts on File, 2005) was compiled by nine history professors who specifically conducted research for the text for a decade in order to chronicle 1,763 wars. The survey of wars covers a time span from 8000 BC to 2003 AD. From over 10,000 years of war 123 wars, which is 6.98 percent, are considered to have been religious wars (and half of those involved Islam, about whom More has nothing to say. For more info see Find it Fast - Fast Facts: on religious wars).
3) Some may have banned the use of anaesthetic in child-bearing because of the punishment for the acts of Adam and Eve. However, there is no commandment anywhere in the Bible that no comfort can be offered to a woman in labor. In fact, if she is on a bed that is a comfort, if her forehead is dabbed with a cool towel that is a comfort, etc.
Take away point: if your TSPP is make women feel the full force of the pain of labor, then you can feel free to do so and Max More’s TSPP based dogma cannot tell you that you are doing anything wrong.
That which people took upon themselves to do in the name of God does not reflect upon God’s character but reflects upon their own.
4) He again references reason while never getting around to defining just what reason is. Apparently, it is whatever he thinks it is. And yet, if we reason our way to reason via reason we are engaged in circular reasoning which is unreasonable. Even within God’s will More is free to express thoughts of sexual desire but they must be kept within parameters (for example, I have thoughts of sexual desire towards my wife) and everyone knows that some thoughts of sexual desire should and must be repressed. We already dealt with “doubts about you and your orders” and as for “feelings of tolerance”; Max More is the poster boy for intolerance.
Take away point: if your TSPP is to not reason, repress improper thoughts and sexual desire, etc., then you can feel free to do so and Max More’s TSPP based dogma cannot tell you that you are doing anything wrong.
Max More also asserts:
“God also hates us to enjoy ourselves. If we let ourselves experience too much pleasure then we might lose interest in obeying him.”
By now we know that this is poppycock as God created pleasure to be pleasurable and to be experienced—within parameters. Consider, for example, the Song of Songs which Jewish children were not allowed to read at an early age as it is so, shall we say, hot!
To delve into the depths of Max More’s utter misunderstanding of Christian theology, note that he wrote:
“Notice what happens when Christ supposedly died for our sins. His act brought about our possibility of salvation. What I want to know is: how can someone else’s act excuse me from anything? I am responsible for my own actions. Nothing that I do can take away the fact that someone else is acting in a certain way, and nothing that they can do can absolve me of my own responsibility. Original Sin and salvation by Christ are both deeply offensive ideas to me and to all extropians who value individual responsibility.”
What I want to know is that this must be a joke.
1) How can someone else’s act excuse me from anything? If I pay your bill at a restaurant, my act excuses you from having to pay it.
I have children and inevitably when someone bumps into them they look at me, the father, and tell me “Sorry” and I excuse them. Yes, I excuse them for something that was not done to me because as the father I have the authority. At trial a judge can find you not guilty after having heard the evidence; the judge can excuse you for something not done to her. This is simply basic common sense.
Or think of it this way; when I debated an Atheist I asked him whether, according to his worldview, forgiveness was important. He noted that of course, and that even within canine morality there was forgiveness (for details, see Atheist vs. Christian debate - Morality: Natural or Supernatural?). Assuming that forgiveness has some part to play, note that you and I have wronged people who have not forgiven us and who have already passed away, some we could never hope to reach (having lost touch with them long ago), some would simply refuse to forgive us, etc., etc., etc. Where does that leave us, eternally un-forgiven? No, rather there is an authority over us all who has the ability to forgive us even for that which we have done to others and that person is Jesus.
2) That “I am responsible for my own actions” is accurate, and that but “Nothing that I do can take away the fact that someone else is acting in a certain way”? Really?
Of course he can do something to take away the fact that someone else is acting in a certain way; he can become a police officer of the law, he can become a parent, he can become a transhuman-cybernetic false god, etc. We certainly have the ability to, to whatever extent, stop people from acting in certain ways. Wait a minute; I thought that More’s whole problem with Judeo-Christianity is that it takes away the fact that people are acting in a certain way.
3) Also commonsensical is that of course other people can do thing that absolve him of his own responsibility. For example, they can choose to do something for you. If you are responsible for feeding your family I can drop by with food and give you the gift of a meal.
4) Well, Max More and “all extropians” (who granted upon him the authority to speak for them “all”?) are deeply offended by “Original Sin and salvation by Christ” but their offense is premised upon their TSPP and thus, can be relegated as that which is it; baseless expressions of emotions (the mere firing of bio-chemical neural reactions within the gray matter of temporarily existing organisism sitting atop a rock spinning around the backwaters of the universe).
The fact is that “Original Sin and salvation by Christ” are the ultimate in “individual responsibility” as those doctrines bring us to full force confronting of ourselves, that which we have done, that which we are and the fact that we take upon ourselves the responsibility to ask for help. Individual responsibility does not mean I can do all things but admitting I cannot do all things and need help.
Along these lines, Max More writes that “A lie is defined by the Christian as anything which contradicts the Word of God” and that these lies are therefore:
“temptations to think for ourselves, a call for independent thought, a plea for taking responsibility for our own thinking and our own lives. Praise Lucifer! Praise the pursuit of truth through rationality.”
Consider one simple example which does away with this assertion. To this very day, two millennia after the fact, the Bereans are well known and respected because when Paul preached to them, “they received the word with great eagerness” sure, but they examined “the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). For this, they are referred to within that very verse as being “more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica.” Noble-minded being eugenes in the Greek (Strong's G2104) which refers to well born, of a noble family and by extension noble minded.
I THINK, NOT, THEREFORE, I AM
Not satisfied, More wants more and so writes:
“It’s so much easier to just not try to think, to sit back and let other people tell you what you should do, what to believe…Why, if I had to think for myself I would have to face the fact that I might be wrong. Horrors! I would have to think carefully about my life and the reality that I live in carefully and that would take a lot of work.”
This, of course, is simply bankrupt as one could make the very same statement to More and claim that he is afraid of being wrong.
He also fails to note that just because someone is a Christian it does not necessitate that they do not think (what a preposterous assertion) and simply let other people tell you what do and believe. In fact, he does not consider that many of us were not raised as Christians but did tremendous amounts of thinking, questioning, doubting and rejecting of public school’s Atheistic Darwinism catechism and came to Christianity via a very long road of thinking and studying.
An interesting point made my Max More is:
“God was right to tell us not to worship false idols, but he refrained from telling us that all idols are false, and that all worship is dangerous.”
Indeed, “God was right to tell us not to worship false idols” but whence gets More the idea that “he refrained from telling us that all idols are false” and especially that “all worship is dangerous”?
How about this, “all the gods of the nations are idols” (Psalm 96:5) and “we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world” literally “nothing is an idol in the world” or “an idol has no real existence” because “there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).
The fact is that personages such as Max More do worship and they worship themselves; recall that he wrote that “You are all your own highest authority…You choose your values…No one has authority over you - you are your own authority, your own value-chooser.” Thereby, he sets himself up in the place of God as his father “Satan, Lucifer, the Devil” attempted to do and tempted him to do, “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Max More, essentially, states, “I will be my own highest authority. I will choose my values.”
In a strange dichotomy, More notes:
“God likes altruism, altruism understood as true self-sacrifice and not as giving up a minor value to achieve a more important one (which is just one aspect of rationality)… Lucifer perseveres in trying to point out to us that we have no reason to accept altruism. We can choose our values for ourselves.”
Do you discern a pattern yet? Indeed, God calls us to altruism but More’s definition is obscure. By “not as giving up a minor value to achieve a more important one” does he mean something to the likes of refusing to give up on “thou shalt not murder” so as to slaughter masses of worthless eaters; less evolved human organisms (as some transhumanists are itching to do)? Right he is, in accordance to his acceptance of the satanic doctrine More accepts that “we have no reason to accept altruism.” If you are less fit that they, then your genetic line will come to an end; either by simply being less fit to the point of literally coming to a genetic dead end or else with a little help from your transhuman friends.
Overall, Max More’s article is weighed and found wanting; it lacks clear thinking, it lacks citations, it lacks accurate depictions of that which he seeks to critique and it misunderstands misinterprets and misapplies the Bible’s concepts, contexts and contents.
Lastly, note that More wrote “Forward into the light!” since lucifer was the light bearer. However, More has been blinded by that light. In fact, note very carefully that John wrote the following of Jesus:
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (1 John 1:10-13)
 Libertarian, Atheist Notes No. 3’s version of More’s article notes that it was “first published in issue number 4 (summer 1989) of Extropy, which is edited by Max More and Tom W. Bell. In their editorial introduction to issue 1 they write: “Entropy is the supreme enemy of human hope ... Extropy’s general theme allows for a wide and diverse range of topics. Among other things, we’ll cover artificial intelligence, cognitive science and neuro-science ... space colonization, economics and politics (especially libertarian), science fiction ...” [ellipses in original]