Satanism generally has a bad reputation, the cultivation of which can mostly be attributed to TV, movies, and print media that portray the religion as a dark cult. When most people think of the Church of Satan, they're likely to picture sacrificial offerings, devil worshiping, or magical dark rituals - but these ideas are, at best, exaggerated, and at worst, completely inaccurate. Satanism has always mainly pursued enlightenment and individualism, emphasizing the preservation of life and making the most of each day.
While this ideology may strike some as a somewhat anarchistic system, Satanists - like members of any other organized school of thought - do have specific rules and regulations by which they have to abide. While they're generally common sense, these requirements are designed to ensure Satanists continue to adhere to the central ideas of Satanism.
The most valuable thing for most Satanist groups, including the Church of Satan, is an individual’s own life. To that end, members should do everything they reasonably can to preserve their own lives. This not only means staying alive, but also living one's life to its fullest potential, and staying grounded in the present rather than wallowing in regrets of the past.
The Satanic Bible states, “Life is the great indulgence - death the great abstinence! Therefore make the most of the HERE AND NOW!... Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth!”
The Church of Satan is explicitly clear regarding their disdain for the overuse of substances. In fact, the church is vehemently opposed to recklessly consuming anything that could potentially endanger the body, including alcohol. Any such action poses a threat to what should be a Satanist’s most important possession: their own life.
While recreational drinking and substance use are accepted, users are prohibited from partaking in any rituals while inebriated. Such behavior could pose a risk to all those present.
Much like other religions that abide by sets of rules - such as the Ten Commandments - the Church of Satan employs their regulations that members must follow. The first half of The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth dictates how members should treat others and how they should behave in public.
These include not giving opinions unless specifically asked and not complaining to anyone unless they are prepared and willing to listen. This set of rules also tells Satanists they should respect individuals when inside their homes and should not make intimate advances "unless given the mating signal."
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth also prohibit members from harming other living creatures, except in specific circumstances. Aggression towards innocent people and children is strictly forbidden. The only instance in which the harm of others is permitted is if a Satanist is acting in self-defense.
Similar rules are in place to protect the lives of animals - they must not be slain unless they are being prepared for food.