The Satanic Temple | Forum

RileyHeadwind May 3 '17
I was wondering what everyone here thought about The Satanic Temple. 

I'm a member myself but I don't really think they should call themselves Satanic. Their tenets really have nothing to do with Satanism. 

orange_juice May 4 '17
The first of their tenets isn't very satanic if you ask me. "One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason." I think it's safe to say most forms of satanism wouldn't agree with this. Their other tenets are pretty sane actually. Just my thoughts.
Zach Black Owner
Zach Black May 4 '17
As a former member and original chapter head of Portland Oregon I can say the majority are attention seeking left-wing liberals using the tag ' Satanism ' to push a political agenda and grab headlines. 
Cyrus May 12 '17
I'm a member of TST, but I have issues with them as well; so while I am about to post here defending and supporting their better aspects, please understand that I know they have faults too. One of the fundamental aspects of Satanism is individual self determination, so it would REALLY be anti-Satanic to just toe the party line.

The first thing to get out of the way is that of course any dogmatic follower of LaVey will deny the legitimacy of any other faction claiming to be Satanic. That accounts for a large percentage (maybe half) of posts I've seen claiming TST is bogus. See again about toeing the party line.

TST was started first as a humorous fiction, for a student film. When the pranksters realized their idea of Satanist political action toward church-state separation had merit as something to do "for real", they did it. They realized that their position in court would be bolstered by legitimizing their identity as a faction of an already-established religion, so they did everything necessary to assert themselves as "real religious Satanists", just as other Satanic groups have done before.

In the process they gained a lot of new members, especially people attracted to the progressive social justice aspect, and lost the ones who were more interested in the 1960s/70s vision of what Satanism should be. I don't have any data on actual membership or growth/decline in any of these groups, but the public outreach events and campaigns of TST are obviously more likely to draw followers than the more passive and exclusive approach of older groups. It is "trendy" because it appeals to the current zeitgeist.

The world is changing rapidly. Early Satanism reacted to the stifling oppression and squareness of the 1950s and early 60s by advocating hedonism and specifically anti-Christian ritual, and it reacted to the brainless abandon of the hippies by rejecting "trendy" socialism, turning toward isolationism. TST, representing modern urges, reacts to oppression with legal challenges and a broad rejection of dogmatic thinking and selfishness. In the earlier days it was rebellious to say "I don't care about any of you, I'll do what I wilt"; today it is rebellious to say "I care about all of you, and I will defend your freedom in court".

Personally I define Satanism as conscious rebellion against oppression, especially from theocracy. I align with TST because they are doing much, much more to actively push back against the oppressors than any other Satanic group.  The others may be more deeply devotional, they may be more arcane, they may be more "evil" or more Randian in their individualism, but they make no effort to do anything to overturn the oppressive system. Hedonistic rituals do exactly as much good as prayer--that is, none whatesoever, unless the ritual is a means for engaging people in efforts that might actually achieve a victory.

Some old-style Satanists will assert that individual victories, by imposing their will on others, is proof of the effectiveness or validity of their version of the faith. But you can only have such a victory by being stronger, while the other party is weaker. How is that a rebellion against oppression? Frankly it IS oppression. At a minimum, it does absolutely nothing in the war against theocracy (or against God, for the theistic).

Remember that LaVey was always quite open about his view that religion is a scam, and that religionists are carnival hucksters. It's not hard to imagine that he wrote the "rules" of Satanism much the way Hubbard wrote Scientology: to prove a point, and to establish himself as the source and the head of the faith, for a life-long career. Those with open eyes can see that the books and teachings were an overt act of hucksterism, with a knowing wink to those who got the irony. So how could it be wrong for a different group to write their own version, serving a new purpose, especially when that new purpose is explicitly for the greater benefit of all people through the separation of church and state?

Critics say TST is mainly a progressive humanist group, so they shouldn't use Satanism as their assumed identity. But if you look at the initial aim of the group, to block Christian symbols from being erected on public/government property, what else could they have done? They had to use existing laws preventing religious discrimination, and in order to effectively do that they had to represent a religion that would be discriminated against. In order to get the desired result, they had to be a religion that the Christians could not tolerate. They could have assumed an Islamic identity toward that end, but state Islam is fraught with problems of interference in private life, in its state-sponsored form making an equally bad (if not worse) example of the issue they wanted to address. Really, it had to be Satan. Now that they have had regular successes in this field, it only makes sense to build on this identity even further. In this way, they are exactly following the established tactic of LaVey.

My goal is to use TST as a tool for leveraging progressive social values and fighting back against theocracy, and I'll exert my voice and actions to shape that tool. Already members have shown broad support for TST's work in court, and have pushed back critically against some of Blackmore's words and actions that don't help the cause, and membership seems to be growing. This actually demonstrates the validity of TST as a creature with its own life, "real" as a sort of religion, and "real" as a form of Satanism, simply by virtue of its healthy growth, regardless of whether it suits people who have their own ideas about what it should look like.

The door is always open for members of other Satanic philosophies to work together with TST, or change it from within, if you want to use your faith for the public good.  If you just want it to be about self empowerment and dominance, you don't need the term "Satanism" either; you could follow Tony Robbins for the same result. If you theistically believe in a real Satan or Lucifer or other demon beings, that's your right of course, and I believe TST's public actions do not detract from, or defame, any Satan you hold holy, so there should be no problem coexisting. Their secular work might even be a great benefit to your religious faith and life.
Cyrus May 12 '17
The accuser of whom? The adversary of whom? The challenger of whom? The beast in regards to what?  Answer: God, or more accurately the theocracy that claims to represent God.  This is in complete concordance with everything I said.

TST does not reject ritual, I don't know where you heard that.  The larger urban groups hold public invocations, including blood letting, ritual dance, and other ceremonies, several times a year.  Yes the group is atheistic, but they recognize -just as LaVey, Aquino, and others did- that humans thrive on ritual to give themselves a greater sense of meaning and purpose.
Cyrus May 13 '17
Yes, there is a distinction between supernaturalism and psychology.  It would be correct to say that TST rejects superstition or anything else that is not supported by science.  And in this way they differ from many other Satanic groups.  But rituals for personal engagement, clarity of thought, catharsis, and social bonding are all fully supported by scientific evidence.

Regarding this distinction between the supernatural and the scientific, I really think all Left Hand Path people would benefit from seeing each other as strong allies, or as different branches of the same force.  The more spiritual ones carry the culture and the history, while the more secular ones make legal and social gains out in the Right Hand world.
Cyrus May 13 '17
I forgot to add that you're right that I was leaving out the Islamic tradition of Satan, and TST does too.  You're right that that's a historical weakness; it is also inconvenient to (incompatible with) their narrative, regardless of whether they were educated or ignorant about that tradition.

Speaking for myself, I have read the Koran in English translation, because many years ago I was drawn to Sufi teachings.  As you know, the Islamic story is that Satan considered mankind inferior, and would not bow down to them. Mainstream interpretation is that Satan loved himself and hated man. The Sufi interpretation is that Satan loved only God, and refused to bow out of devotion, not hatred.

So a narcissist and misanthrope could justify or elevate those qualities by claiming to be a Satanist, but that really only makes sense if they also claim to be inspired by the Koran, and in particular the orthodox mainstream interpretation of it.  It seems strange and tortuous to me to justify feelings of anger, estrangement, or self-love by choosing to identify with only a particular version of a particular story from a particular culture--especially if they then turn around and say some other interpretation, some other story, some other culture, is not really true Satanism.

The Sufi version dictates that a Satanist is someone purely devoted to the worship of God. That realization is what actually turned me away from continuing my studies on that path years ago.  I don't think many self-professed Satanists in the English-speaking world would say they are only in it out of devotion to God.

The Yazidis are a whole other situation--their deity is identified with the character of Satan, but it is not opposed to God, not opposed to man, and their faith actually has no place for that kind of duality or opposition.  So "Satanism" in any of the terms we think of it doesn't make any sense to them.

In Islam, Satan's only power is to put "bad" ideas in man's head, to steer him away from God. On the one hand, that would provide a justification for those of us who enjoy blaspheming for its own sake, or to stick a finger in the eye of the church. On the other hand, if laws against blasphemy are prevalent and enforced, we will not have much enjoyment, and we will not achieve anything. So it makes sense to have a legal team chipping away at the validity and enforcement of religion-based laws, and using the laws against the people who would shut us down.

In short, I agree that if TST wants to represent Satanism as a larger body with a widely-encompassing philosophical umbrella, they would need to include the Islamic tradition and others.  But I don't see any constructive place for either the mainstream or esoteric interpretations of the Koran in the functional framework that TST needs to achieve its goals.  To include them solely due to pressure to be inclusive would be... political correctness run amok, perhaps.

Or it could be a way for people to justify their own hatred of mankind by making a religion of it. But even if we agree that is as valid as any other religion, we must therefore agree that other interpretations are also valid.
Siatris Aug 18 '17
I don't like the Satanic Temple because they claim that Anton LaVey believed in magic and mystic woo....which is one step off from thinking he believed in a literal Satan.

I also think the statue idea was terrible. They wanted to erect a Satanic statue in Arkansas so that people would think, "Ok, it's ridiculous that we've got this 10 commandments statue on this court house, I guess we'll take it down." But of course that's not what happened, because that sort of logic isn't going to appeal to the type of fundamentalist Christian you can expect from someone born and raised in Arkansas. If they ever do get that statue put up it's only going to re-affirm the xians beliefs in a Satanic conspiracy, the end times, hell-fire and all that.

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