NO, SATANISTS AREN’T “JUST ATHEISTS TROLLING CHRISTIANS”
Let’s settle this: No, the Satanic Temple and other Satanists are not “just atheists trolling Christians.”
…I was really hoping just saying that would clear the whole matter up but I get a feeling this requires some follow-up.
A lot of people these days seem to assume that atheistic Satanism is just a pose to antagonize people. As more Satanists finds a toehold (hoofhold?) in the news, it’ll keep coming up more often.
Take the case of Belle Plane, MN. Over in that community of 7,000 or so, the Satanic Temple (which Satanic San Francisco is not an official chapter of, for the record) is erecting a monument in the veteran’s park.
(Crowdfund here, hint hint.)
This has some people pissed off, of course. Because semi-informed outrage verges on being a bodily function for some.
But religious freedom counts even for those who make you constipated with rage (that’s the “freedom” part), so they may have to just suck it up on this one.
Maybe a bigger problem than the outrage is those who get the wrong idea.
“The core tenet of the Church of Satan is to troll the Christians,” according to one comment on the Fark.com thread about the Belle Plaine story.
The same thread yields gems like:
“It’s basically LaVey Satanism, but they don’t worship Satan and it comes down to trolling.”
“Likely being done by atheists instead of true followers of Satan.”
“They aren’t actually Satanists. If they truly believed in Satan, then they would not be following him.”
Some critics will use this same approach to attack the whole enterprise. “This ISN’T a religious organization, then why are they given space?” a commenter on a MN paper complained.
And that’s just one site. Now multiply that across the entire Internet. Now breathe into this bag.
If hell does exist, an entire circle of it is just these comments for eternity.
Some corrections, for the record: One, The Satanic Temple is not the Church of Satan or “LaVey Satanism.” Two, “LaVey Satanism” is not devil worship. Three, only a tiny number of Satanists of any stripe DO believe in a devil.
Four, we’re not “trolling Christians” (although it can be a pleasant bonus). Five, we are atheists but not “just atheists,” any more Christians or Sikhs etc are “just theists.” And six…I padded the list to get to six.
The phrase “trolling Christians” suggests a lack of sincerity. Trolls don’t believe in anything, they just want to get a reaction.
But Satanists believe in a lot of things: Seven Tenets, in the case of TST, as well as the power of the Satan myth to challenge arbitrary authority.
The idea of a religion without gods confuses many people. But “religion” and “god” are not synonyms.
As an atheist, I don’t believe that Jesus, Shiva, or Odin exist. But I’d never argue that this means Christianity, Hinduism, and paganism aren’t “real religions.”
By a similar turn, Satan doesn’t exist. But Satanism does. That’s all we need.
A related issue: Over on Reddit this week, a “Today I Learned” thread about TST (again invoking the T-word) exploded with comments.
Most were positive. But one reply called atheistic Satanism “Just atheism with extra steps.” (Via a Rick & Morty meme, because fucking Reddit.)
It’s a fair question: Why bother with religion at all if you’re an atheist? Simply, because it works. As a tool for forging communities and reinforcing ideals, nothing’s more effective.
I used to believe that ceremony, ritual, and religion without supernatural beliefs was pointless. But then I tried it. Turns out you can learn a lot that way.
Sometimes Internet Atheists want to take up the banner of Satanism as a weapon against “religion,” full stop. Forgetting that Satanism is a religion itself.
In 1945, CS Lewis published The Great Divorce. The title referenced his desire to split up the household from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. (No one like a homewrecker, Clive.)
I think a greater divorce would be to separate gods from religion. So that no one may doubt the sincerity of our lack of faith.
Buddhism, Scientology, and Confucianism are all non-theistic religions, and not the only ones. Those pushing to tie the definition of religion to belief in a deity or deities are not only wrong, but usually done in an extremely self-serving by those wishing to push their religious agenda and be granted special privileges not otherwise granted to the population at large. By defining it as such, religious exemptions to law granted through judicial decisions such as Hobby Lobby would only be available to those who profess a belief in some sort of deity. Those that do not follow that belief system would be denied the same privileges under the law, though their beliefs are just as legitimate and just as valid.
Satan as a figurative, symbolic being instead of a literal one is not a difficult concept to understand. Those that claim not to understand it seem, IMO, to choose ignorance because the false narrative best promotes their selfish agenda. A fish symbol is not representative of an actual fish, but of a religion and set of beliefs. Pretty sure no one believes humanists worship humans, either. So by discrediting Satanism as not being a “real religion”, it justifies to them when they take actions that do not allow equal representation of Satanic views.
Can’t we be both?
I mean, I kinda enjoy trolling Christians dumb enough to try to share their “good news” with me.
My silver pentagram necklace keeps most of them away irl, but it does attract the fringe element.
Great and needed blog
Thank you for this clarification article. This is something a lot of people still don’t get, but I think more and more are figuring it out thanks to articles like yours.