A Schism in ‘Satanism’

Oh boy. As if the whole controversy over a satanic monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol wasn’t already ridiculous enough, now we have a schism between the Satanic Temple, which proposed the monument, and the Church of Satan, which really doesn’t like the one they came up with.

When shown an image of a proposed monument intended to represent Satanism for a public space in Oklahoma, this is what Magus Gilmore had to say:

“The statue is crudely designed and ugly to me and seems pedophilic, since the caduceus between the goat’s legs is a phallic symbol. Having children reaching towards a being with an exposed symbolic penis seems to imply that Satanism represents the same situation which has plagued the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches for some time: child abuse. The image appears to show the goat’s left hand possibly caressing the male child. Revolting.

“The Church of Satan requires members to be legally adult and Satanist parents teach their children comparative religion and philosophy so that our children may decide which religion or philosophy would suit their own natures. We do not indoctrinate our offspring, or anyone else’s, and that statue could be seen as symbolic of indoctrination, which is manifestly counter to our philosophy.

“It occurs to me that the efforts by the perpetrators of this proposal may be intended as a means for making Satanism appear foolish and just as dysfunctional and irrational as we secularists view most other religions to be.”

Speaking for myself, I already thought you were dysfunctional and irrational. The Baphomet statue is stupid and ridiculous and so is your critique of it. And frankly, I wish you’d all just STFU. For the record, here’s the proposed statue:

sataniststatue

This is why we need a monument that celebrates humanist principles, so we don’t have to have overly dramatic halfwits like this as the alternative to Ten Commandments monuments.

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  • Michael Heath

    I find satanists to be every bit as delusionally idiotic as conservative Christians given the conclusions satanists arrive at. However I agree with these criticisms:

    [The statue] . . . seems pedophilic, since the caduceus between the goat’s legs is a phallic symbol. Having children reaching towards a being* with an exposed symbolic penis seems to imply that Satanism represents the same situation which has plagued the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches for some time: child abuse. […] Revolting.

    Anybody up on their gang-banger signs? What’s the goat signaling with each hand?

    * I don’t see any reaching by the children, but I do find having children in an image with this phallic symbol “revolting”.

  • marcus

    Is it just me or does the male child look a lot like a young Barack Obama? Is it possible that our president is a Satanist– Nazi,-socialist,-homosexual- atheist -communist- Muslim?

  • dingojack

    Ed, Michael – *ahem*.

    Any other comments?

    :) Dingo

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Satanist: ” we secularists”

    Wait a minute. Did he just admit that he’s only pretending to believe?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Anybody up on their gang-banger signs? What’s the goat signaling with each hand?

    Boy Scouts gang signs!

  • vorjack

    Marcus Ranum: “Wait a minute. Did he just admit that he’s only pretending to believe?”

    Yep. About half of satanists are non-theistic. It’s sometimes called “symbolic satanism,” because the various representations of the devil symbolize non-conformity, independence, etc. The largest group of such folks is LaVey’s “Church of Satan,” which is what Gilmore is a part of.

    That said, you could be theistic and still be a secularist in terms of the government.

  • cry4turtles

    I’m not up on gang banger signs, but I know a smattering of ASL. Satan’s right hand is a “u”, and his left is a…er…”u” turned sideways with a trigger added.

  • John Pieret

    so we don’t have to have overly dramatic halfwits like this

    And that is different than a Baptist and a Roman Catholic arguing that the 10 Commandment monument favors Protestantism because of the way they are numbered, how?

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    This proposed monument is a brilliant attack against the 10-commands-we-own-the-public-square assholes. I believe the implied pedophilia is a purposeful takeoff on the abusive nature of monotheism.

    Baphomet is, after all, a huge improvement over that repugnant bully YHVH.

  • Trebuchet

    Everyone, please be sure to click Dingo’s link at number three. I actually did laugh out loud.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    This hardly meets the definition of a ‘schism’ given that the Satanic Temple and the Church of Satan are already separate institutions. And The Church of Satan have always been assholes. Of course they are going to find a reason to complain about this statue and about anyone who isn’t one of them. They should just propose their own statue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.pilger Robin Pilger

    Secular infighting! What more proof does the state of Oklahoma need that these are *real* religions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523300770 stuartsmith

    The Church of Satan has never, as far as I know, proposed an actual Satan. They are organized around a philosophy, and Satan is entirely metaphorical. Really, I think they follow a second year philosophy student’s version of Nietzsche. That said, I find them far more sympathetic than fundamentalist Christians.

    I know nothing about the Satanic Temple, but judging by their taste in statuary, they’re creepy and awful.

  • raven

    now we have a schism between the Satanic Temple, which proposed the monument, and the Church of Satan, …

    Why don’t they just let satan decide the contest? What’s the point of being a god if you can’t and don’t do anything.

    (We already know the answer. Satan is as real and powerful as his buddy, Yahweh. Both of which are less powerful than my cat.)

  • David Marjanović

    Satanist: ” we secularists”

    Wait a minute. Did he just admit that he’s only pretending to believe?

    What, no. Secularism = wanting to separate religion and state/wanting to keep them separated. Secularist Christians are not at all uncommon (over here anyway, which is not the US).

  • raven

    It’s OK with me if the satanists put up a statue at the capital of Oklahoma. But I’m not too impressed with their aesthetics.

    1. The statue is too detailed, too busy, and too cluttered. It’s going to be difficult to even make it. Monumental art is simple and stylized for a reason. Think Mount Rushmore, the Sphinx, the Acropolis, the Vietnam War memorial and so on.

    I suspect they came up with that drawing because they don’t believe for a minute that they are going to have it displayed in Oklahoma.

    2. It’s also too fragile. Too many protrusions and elements sticking out. You know it is going to be vandalized by xians in a heartbeat. They need to have something rugged, easily repaired, and have a dozen or so backup copies. OTOH, with video monitoring, it will make a great Youtube video.

  • raven

    Under US law, it is every religion or no religion as far as putting statues on public land.

    So far in Oklahoma it is the Hindus with their Monkey god, the satanists with satan. The other religions haven’t been heard from yet, all hundreds or so.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the Norse Pagan entry. I’ve even designed a prototype. Thor battling a Frost Giant. The Aesir promised to banish the Frost Giants. And they did since no one has seen one in centuries. And Thor is wildly popular. He has his own Marvel comic book series and several movies. Take that jesus.

  • ChasCPeterson

    idiots; Baphomet isn’t about “Satan” (which is a Christian concept anyway).

    Anybody up on their gang-banger signs? What’s the goat signaling with each hand?

    The pointing up & down thing is explicitly an expression of the Hermetic maxim “As Above So Below”.

    As to the actual hand sign, not so clear. Could be:

    the Prana Mudra

    the Mano Pantea

    the Pope’s Blessing

    a Hand of Benediction

    or an Ulnar Claw (i.e. Jesus’s Last Gesture)

  • garnetstar

    Actually, I’m loving the way in which these performance artists are so dramatically (although perhaps unwittlingly) demonstrating that total separation of church and state is the only workable stance for a democratic government.

    As raven @17 says, the reductio ad absurdum can only get better.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    The Aesir promised to banish the Frost Giants. And they did since no one has seen one in centuries.

    This isn’t even post hoc ergo propter hoc. It’s more like hoc ergo ceteris.* The best example of this I’ve ever come across though, is entirely non-religious.

    For those who see sin in the world and conclude therefore it’s because of YHVH, I give you Ernie.

    *I’m not criticizing you, I know you’re satirizing common religious “reasoning,” not employing it.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @garnetstar, #18:

    The obvious answer is that the separate Satanist sects each commission and place a monument.

  • Félix Desrochers-Guérin

    By the way, isn’t Baphomet supposed to have breasts?

  • David Marjanović

    Somebody should put up a monument with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on it. Remember, the US has ratified it, so – unlike the Ten Commandments – it is law in the US.

  • leonardschneider

    Shee-it, that’s not Baphomet, that’s Krampus. So are Germans gonna be swarming to Oklahoma every Christmas?

  • Marie the Bookwyrm

    I want an update on the Hanuman statue.

    Monkey King FTW!!!

  • madgastronomer

    In much the same way that Church of Satan is Objectivism in Black Robes, the Satanic Temple is Humanism in Black Robes. Luciferian Humanism, a belief founded on the ability and agency of humanity to do what there is to be done in the world, that takes as inspiration the story of Lucifer as bringer of Light and Knowledge. They’re anti-supernatural and anti-superstition.

    From their site:

    There are seven fundamental tenets.

    1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.

    2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.

    3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.

    4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forego your own.

    5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.

    6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.

    7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

     

    So yes, of course they’re making the big dramatic gesture, and of course the point is to make it look as extreme as possible. They’re never going to get that monument up, and frankly they don’t want to. But to the people both you and they are fighting, they look as awful — or as ridiculous — as you do.

  • aluchko

    I’m not sure I understand Ed’s issue with the Satanists, some of them might be legitimate followers of an esoteric religion but that doesn’t make them any worse than other religions. But for the most part they sound like border-line agnostics who have an older version and somewhat more pointed version of FSMism.

    I also agree with their criticisms about the statue, it has an unfortunate creepy aspect, particularly with the symbol above the waist.

  • stripeycat

    I thought that statue was creepy for the reasons listed in the OP, but I also thought that was the point: a splendid piece of trolling. And CoS are joining in too, now.

  • jonathangray

    David Marjanović:

    Somebody should put up a monument with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on it.

    Why not something of practical benefit to mankind?

  • https://www.facebook.com/therealsatanbear SatanBear D’mischief

    Ed Brayton should try to do some actual research before making irrational remarks, like calling this a “schism”. Also, it seems that Brayton is just too dogmatic in his ways to accept the fact that not all atheists take the same exact philosophical views on everything that he does. The Church of Satan has been in existence for about 50 years, and have made it quite clear during that time that they’re atheists who are in favor of a secular society, not a theocracy. I’ve seen no evidence of an actual group calling themselves “Satanists” that existed before them. The “Satanic Temple” on the other hand is just one of dozens of shit-disturbers with a web site that caught the attention of sensationalist journalists, not some “schism” group that broke away like Martin Luther did with the Catholic church.

  • lofgren

    For the Humanist monument, I propose a Foucault pendulum.

  • birgerjohansson

    Why not just the Black Monolith Kubrick used? No gods in that film, just very advanced technology.

  • freehand

    jonathongray continues a 20,000,000 year-old tradition. He refutes civil behavior, human rights, rule of law, science, and reasoned discourse by flinging poo.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    @Marcus Ranum #4

    Satanist: ” we secularists”

    Wait a minute. Did he just admit that he’s only pretending to believe?

    Satanism comes in two flavours; theistic and philosophical (often called Atheistic, but I believe that to be a misnomer; it’s a religion in the same way Buddhism is a religion).

    The former believes in a literal Satan but often praises him as a bringer of light and knowledge and certainly don’t believe him to be evil, the latter sees Satan as a symbol of the same but not a literal being. The majority of Satanists, including the Church of Satan, fall into the latter category.

  • https://medium.com/@ZJSimon ZJSimon

    If you have to explain that your joke is a joke, much less that it’s funny, the joke isn’t worth much, certainly not 20,000 dollars, certainly not reflexive atheisttrollface smugness.

    This is no kind of Schism, just bad behavior from people who wanted into the Anton LaVey fan club without having to pay their dues or promise not to behave badly in his name. The former is a non issue, but the latter has been uphill for decades. Put ‘Living well is the best revenge’ on a wall and you’ll attract a lot of people who want to pee ‘yolo’ on it. The difference between bold and sensationalist, like the difference between freethinker and cynical troll/fairy, is what adolescence is for, thus why the Church of Satan is for grownups.

    Yes, there are plenty of snobs and bullies among Satanists (a few goofy Humanists, too) but there has never, EVER, been a ‘schism,’ only people wanting a deity, not a symbol, too badly . Only people reading that *Satanists WILL have different political views* but wanting too badly to read that REAL Satanists vote this way or that. Only people reading ‘credibility is the best policy’ and running out of credibility.