I often get the question if I’m a Satanist, a worshiper of the devil. The reason for this is of course my background in Mayhem and our choice of symbolism and evil style. Tired of the questions I’ve decided to post an answer in my blog – an answer that is a bit more thorough than a simple yes or no. Now, that might be an answer in itself for many readers, but read me out.
To start with Mayhem. I can’t answer for us all, of course not. I can only give an answer from my point of view. Øystein is no longer with us, and I do not wish to put any opinion in his mouth post mortem. Necro is still with us, so if you’re interested in his story – ask him.
Now, am I evil? Or, do I worship Satan? The simple answer goes like this; No I am not evil, and I do not believe anyone should be evil either. But if the christian bible is true, I guess I am on Lucifer's side, but I do not think that is the evil side. Confusing? Well, I guess it might be without any further explanation. To further add to the confusion, I want to underline the fact that I personally do not believe that the christian bible represent any form of truth, neither did I back in the eighties.
How come I then started this Mayhem, black metal, Satanist, occult thing then? First of all I did not start that – I started a band together with two very good friends. The band took the form of Satanism and black metal, true, but it wasn’t that who triggered the birth of the band. It was not even given a name when we started – Mayhem as the name of the band came long after we started to form ourselves. Why then, you may ask, did we dress it up with Satanism and evil? That my friends, do have an explanation. First we all disliked authorities, furthermore we really disliked the christian church, and last we liked heavy metal and the style of the occult. Bands like Celtic frost, Venom, Black Sabbath and their like was what we listened to and we liked their form of expression and style.
Satanism was for me the natural image of choice. I was very interested in the occult, I liked heavy metal, I did enjoy the darker side of things and was fascinated with Goth images and dark tales. I was very interested in religion and philosophy and was interested in politics. That I also hated the church institution made it all given. It just had to be Satanism. I did not believe in Christ at that time, but I don’t think I was an atheist. Agnostic might be a description of the state I was in regarding any belief or faith. No, I just hated how the state church and other religious groups violated the individual rights to freedom. The church and the Christians in Norway still have some influence on how our society is built. They are responsible for many cruelties up to the eighties – and are still fighting for rules that are, in my opinion, inhumane and full of disrespect for the individual human being.
There are three ways to attack the church – you can challenge them on ethics and moral issues, you can challenge their theology, or you can make them really angry, engaged and upset by addressing their major fear or common mantra on what they fight – Satan. We did the latter. Actually we did them all, but with Mayhem we just made the ultimate effort to appear evil and satanic. And it worked. It worked for me because I was able to contribute to a musical genre I really liked. And our protest on the evil church (hehe yes, evil) was a huge success. We got the reaction we wanted, they hated us.
But why do I say that I’m on Lucifer's side if the bible is the truth? Which I do not believe it is. Well, it doesn’t take too much effort to read the bible. It is big, but hell, they (the Christians and the church) want us to accept that their religion is to be followed whether you believe it or not, one might as well try to find out what they believe in. So I did. And what a story (or should I say stories). The first thing I learned by really reading the bible with interest, was that the bible was something completely different from what the church and the teachers had told me. I later understood that theology is the reason for that – in Norway you can call yourself a Christian without even believing in the resurrection of Christ himself – go figure. I’ve now read the bible many times, and I must say – it is some cruel and evil bastard on top of that food chain. What was Lucifer's sin? He opposed God. Never forgiven. What was Adam and Eves sin? They didn’t obey God. Never forgotten, but later forgiven. Ahh.. says the church, but you read the old testament, you shouldn’t do that. It is the new testament that is the foundation of Christianity. Well, ok. That makes the story a little better, but why do you keep on printing the biggest part of the bible – the old testament – if there isn’t any point in it? Isn’t that a huge waste of good wood? I just don’t believe it, and neither do they. If challenged, they want to keep the old stories, which brings it all back to sense again. But they don’t believe huge parts of it – or as they say, it’s not meant to be taken literately. Ok, so who decides what to choose? Given that question, they all start to become difficult again.
The old testament is full of evil and sadism. It presents a patriarchic philosophy and a cruel and psychopathic God. It is also full of rules. Not only the ten commandments, if someone should believe that. And what rules! Anyone even wanting to try to follow them would fail. First they are very well adapted to a life in tents in the middle of a desert 4000 years ago, but not as well for a modern lifestyle and enlightenment. Second they often contradict each other, which makes it even tougher to succeed. To really bring on confusion, the Christians obey other laws from the old testament than the Muslims do. The pig thing is an excellent example. The Muslims follow the rule, the Christians don’t. But regardless of that and many other things, the bottom line is that we are to obey a church who wants us to adjust our society and private lives based on a story of God and his rules which by large is not to be taken seriously, or at least literately. At least not if what is written talks about a cruel and merciless God. Interesting isn’t it. Interesting, and not very trustworthy. I for myself do not want to obey the old testaments God – even if he did exist. I oppose God from the old testament, and would gladly join Lucifer in his struggle to fight him. You could argue that Lucifer is not a very nice angel either, and I agree that the angel is portrayed as very bad news. The thing is that it is the God-side that describes him, the side that worship the psychopathic dictator, God.
There’s still the new testament. Is it helping God to look better? Yes, it does. The God of the new testament is much better than the one in the old. But the problem is that it is the same God. The church wants us to believe that there is a new ruling, but it’s not easy to argue like that when they still want to keep the old testament and different rules from it. And besides, the new testament is full of rules, new and old. Rules that they impose laws for us all to follow, believers or not. Rules that disrespect the individual rights to live as one want. And if not that is enough, the church and Christians also have a big problem with which parts of the new testament we shall believe and which we are not to take literately. Here goes again. Are women allowed to speak in public? Is it ok to be gay? Is there a place like Hell, and will non-believers, good or bad end up there? Was Mary a virgin? Should we beat our children? Will there be a judgment day as the apostle John describes it? The list can be very long. But let’s not go there. The point is, that there is many good reasons to object to this God the Christians wants us to believe in. If the testament is of good and love, how come a good and loving person who dies goes to hell to be tormented for a thousand years just because that good person decided not to believe in Jesus? No, this God has the same entities as he had in the old testament – he just added some loving and broadened the recruitment by telling the people of the world that from now on also non-Jews can become one of his people. Sorry mate, I’m not going to live with that. This is bullshit. It is so full of contradictions and cruelty that I am ready to fight it. But then again I don’t have to – I don’t believe any of it to be true.
So what did I fight? I fought against the church. They struggle to impose and maintain laws that restrict our freedom. I’m not talking about not killing or things down that line. I’m talking about the choice of sexual partner, the choice of opinion and expression, the choice of doing my shopping on a Sunday and to have a drink if I want to. In Norway we still have laws that are directly connected to the church’ dogma. I’m lucky to be a hetero sexual, because by living like one I have the opportunity to gain all citizen rights. The homosexuals in Norway doesn’t have the same rights. Is that because a homosexual is a bad person? Or is it because he or she is a threat to our society? Is it because homosexuals are lesser beings? No, not according to the state. It is only because the church won’t allow the society to accept homosexuality as a ok choice of living. And why does the church mean that? Well, in the old testament you can read that it is a sin, and it is repeated in the new testament by Paul. To the church it doesn’t matter whether or not the homosexual believes in their God or not, they just don’t want him to live as he wants because they, and their God, don’t like it. Actually we don’t have to go to many years back to see how christian politicians and the church fought hard to keep homosexuality a crime here in Norway.
If we look at the history of the church and their influence on our society and laws, it is a very sad read. The church will of course say that that was not the right church, burning witches or supporting tyrants, setting fire to Rome (it has been put forward by historians that Nero might have been right on that issue) or setting off the horrible crusades. The church was against common democracy because kings ruled by the authority of God, they fought against women’s right to vote with their bible as argument, they supported slavery, they supported imperialism. They still fight against women rights and they do not want us to live with free choice. Now what kind of institution is this? Someone we should fight for, or against? I say against, and that makes me a bad person in a lot of christian views. Do I feel bad? Not at all, on the contrary I feel that I fight on the good side here. I fight for every mans right to live his life as he may choose himself. I fight against anyone, including the church, that wants to limit this freedom. I do agree that we need some order in a society, and that laws and police are the way to ensure that they are understood and followed. But the laws should be based on universal humanitarian reasoning, not on some made up religion in which some or most people believe in.
I am a secularist, I believe that it is crucial for a democracy to separate religion and the state. Does that make me an atheist? Not at all. It should be possible for a deeply religious person to respect that his fellow citizen has a different belief, and thereby accept that the rules that follow his religion doesn’t necessary have any meaning for the other. If the church would accept this, I would rest my case and wish them good luck with their struggle to please their God. To be a secularist does not mean that you are against religious beliefs or faith. It just mean that you respect that other people have taken a different choice, and that you want to build a society that has room for you both. I know Christians who are secularist, and they don’t seem to have difficulties with their God because of it.
As a matter of fact I’m not an atheist, because I do believe that there might be something bigger than what I can see or understand. You might call me agnostic, but I don’t call myself anything. I do have moral and ethics, but they are not based on any religion. I do follow the principles of Thelema, but that is to me a philosophy and a way of understanding the basics of our living. I do believe in science, and are a strong defender of the evolution theory in opposition to the so-called theory of intelligent design. But I’m not convinced, as many atheists are, that it is proven that there is no higher purpose or meaning to our existence.
Do I think science is bluffing? No, I don’t. I believe everything they have been able to explain so far. But they still struggle to explain everything. The day they do, I’ll accept it. But at this moment they seem to argue a bit, as they always are. I’ve heard that they are talking about a theory of everything, evolved from some quantum physics of some kind. But that part of science is completely impossible for my level of insight to understand, so I remain uncertain.
Religious people often grasp these kinds of statements and say that by this position I have accepted that the theory of intelligent design is an alternative to the evolution theory. But it is not, it’s not even a theory it is a hypothesis based on religious faith. The mere fact that we would not have existed if the tiniest adjustment where done just microseconds after the big bang, does not mean that there has to be a designer. How stupid of an argument is that? Take how our lives depend on all kinds of coincident. What if my ancestor 2000 years ago took a different decision which changed who he married – I guess I wouldn’t have been sitting here today. Does that mean that since he did as he did and I am here, there is a God that designed it? No, you have to come up with some better arguments. The fact that it is a fantastic almost unbelievable coincident that made it possible for the human race and life to exist, does not mean that there’s a God. It might strengthen a religious person’s faith, but it is hardly any scientific proof.
So, am I a Satanist? No I am not. I do not believe Satan exist. Am I evil? No I am not. I do believe in good, and try to act as good as I can. Am I against religious people? No I am not, on the contrary I do believe in the freedom of thought and expression, and that includes faith and religion. Am against religion or organized religious societies? No, I’m not – let them worship their God as they want. Am I against religious laws and power? Yes I am, because that often includes putting up restrictions on other people’s lives based on dogmas rather than humanitarian reasons and thereby restrict my freedoms.