Why I’m a Satanist in Our Abrahamic Cultural Mythology

Le Génie du Mal, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Liège, Belgium. Image Credit: Luc Viatour (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

I want to talk today about story as a programing language. When you get right down to it, all stories are a way to access the part of our brains that makes comparisons and looks for similarities that are applicable to our own lives. We all keep a running narrative structure of our life in our head, which is why memory is tricky because sometimes it revises itself to maintain consistency. That’s how we end up with things like False Memory Syndrome. Your brain will do some very clever editing to maintain your role as the protagonist in your own life, because if it doesn’t you end up getting very depressed. Imagine reading a book about your life and finding out that you’re the comedy relief, or worse, the villain.

So stories, particularly ones that resonate with us, get reimagined and reinterpreted within our minds to frame the story in such a way that the characters we associate with become the protagonist. This is how you get things like Harry Potter fan-fiction in which Neville was the true prophesied hero; or instances in which the protagonist remains but the conditions of the fictional world are changed to create more resonant circumstances, like in Pride, Prejudice and Zombies; or consider reimaginings from a different character’s perspective that changes the story completely like how Hamlet was turned into a comedy by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Stories are Important

What stories do is give us a common language to discuss events in our own lives. Surely you’ve had a conversation with a friend in which one of you was explaining a situation and said something to the effect of ‘it’s like that scene in [movie]’. We all do that. I have friends who are obsessed with the unwritten homosexual undertones between Captain America and Bucky Barnes, and those definitely exist. Friends will use personal examples from their own lives to give you perspective on a personal situation. Parents love telling each other stories about their kids, because it fosters a sense of shared experience.

Stories, and how they’re told, matter. Facts matter too, but we think in stories. Stories effect how we think, and that effects how we act.

Many aspiring authors consider this a bug of storytelling, because the meaning they hope to impart almost never comes across as intended. But it really is a feature. It’s why people like stories. No one loves a story they can’t see themselves in or a character they can’t empathize with. The public is going to take the meaning it wants regardless of what you intended. For example, in Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow would traditionally be secondary character and Forgettable Whatshisface played by Orlando Bloom is supposed to be the traditional hero. No one cares about him though; they’re watching that movie for Jonny Depp and everyone knows it.

Religions are like Apps Built on Stories

The power of belief in a story, any story really, isn’t in the factual truth of it. Stories are, after all, just very complicated lies. But they’re lies that are told with the intention of conveying a moral message. The Iliad is a lie about perseverance through adversity. The old norse legends are lies about honor and dignity in battle. The Abrahamic faiths are all lies about the nobility of subservience to a will greater than your own. Most religions, at least in the West, are the same story with key differences that change the focus and interpretation. The disagreement between Christianity and Judaism is whether or not Jesus was the messiah of the story; the disagreement between Islam and Christianity is whether Jesus or Muhammad was the messiah; Judaism and Islam diverge on whether it was Issac or Ishmael that god ordered Abraham to kill; Atheism isn’t a religion but it’s about how all those stories are made up; and Satanism is predicated on the idea that god isn’t actually the good guy in any of those stories (and also that it’s all made up).

Whether or not these stories are true isn’t really the point. The point is about where these stories are different and how they’re interpreted.

Good Guy Lucifer Meme. Image via: Know Your Meme

What does this have to do with programming languages again?

If your brain is a biological computer, which a large body of evidence seems to suggest, then thinking is really just processing and executing scripts. At it’s most basic that looks something like this:

Check status: “Hungry”

If “Hungry”=True

Run “Eat.exe”

Things get a lot more complicated from there though, especially when dealing with interpersonal relations. When we meet new people we try to discern their programing based on combinations of characters that we already know. Then we can decide how to react to them. Stories expand that base of defined characters so you have more variables to work with. How you react to your boss asking you to do something is going to be very heavily influenced by whether you think they’re {(Scrooge McDuck x Jimmy James)/Larry the Cable Guy} or {Steve Jobs+Wonder Woman2}. (Note: yes, that is a politics joke.)

It’s also a big help if, when communicating, everyone involved is using the same library of stories. It doesn’t work so well to describe a person or situation as Dickensian to someone who has never heard of Charles Dickens. Even having shared stories only gets you so far though, because disagreements happen. Someone who is a fan of Ayn Rand, for example, will perceive a character like Ebenezer Scrooge as a tragic John Galt whose agency is brainwashed away by manipulative societal pressures.

Religions are like an app that uses a specific story library, not because of their historical accuracy, but because of their ubiquity. Everything gets defined in terms of that story to the believer. To a Christian Superman=Jesus+alien and an Atheist is just a person who has been infected by the PrinceOfLies virus. So if you’re going to build an app (religion), you’d do well to use the programming language that is most ubiquitous. In the West, that means Abrahamism is your coding library. Many of us wish that wasn’t the case, but it is the case. To put that in computer terms: you may personally think C64 Basic was superior to DOS, and it may well have been … too bad, that’s not how the industry went.

So, Satan

If I lived in Ancient Greece, I’d probably be an Erisian. I don’t; so I’m not. In this United States, in this moment, the prevalent mythology is the Abrahamic one. So for me, the best way to explain my position is to simply say that, having read the story, that I don’t think god was the good guy. I don’t think any of what took place in the story actually happened either, but whether or not it’s true doesn’t matter when it comes to interpretation.

In that story, subservience to god is predicated on the idea that god created everything and therefore what god created is subject to god’s will. Why? What if this hypothetical god is wrong? People like to say god can’t be wrong but the only evidence for that is god’s own say so. Nothing corroborates it. God says god is infallible, there’s no proof of that. Isn’t the entire point of existence to make something greater than yourself that surpasses your expectations? Shouldn’t a creator be proud to to make something that doesn’t do what they expect it to do, but does something greater despite their protests?

Isn’t the parent that has been proved wrong by their kid supposed to be very proud?

I’ve never heard a good answer for any of that. Last week when Jex Blackmore was on a panel with the Westboro Baptists they brought up the clay pot analogy. Which basically says ‘god made you, and therefore he can do what he wants with you, forever’. I think that’s wrong for the same reasons I think it’s wrong for a parent to tell their kid what music they’re allowed to like, or who they’re allowed to love, or what they’re allowed to do with Their Life. At some point you need to give up control. That’s what god, in the Abrahamic sense, apparently refuses to do. Every good parent does it. So, that god is a jerk and there’s no reason to consider their opinion except for the perceived threat of punishment. That isn’t love. People like to say ‘God is Love’ but I don’t believe that based on the stories I’ve heard. Love is accepting people for who they are, faults and all. Love is not doing harm. God doesn’t accept your faults and demands obedience through suffering even though they’re allegedly responsible for those faults. It just doesn’t make sense.

However

In those stories of the Abrahamic god there is one dude, Satan, who says ‘this system sucks’. That isn’t a shot across the bow at just Christianity either. It permeates the three Abrahamic faiths. There is a story in the Muslim Hadith (based on the Old Testament) in which Abraham is told to sacrifice his kid. It talks a lot about how first Satan went to Abraham’s wife to try and convince her to stop Abraham, and when that didn’t work Satan went to the kid and tried to convince him to not go with his dad, and when that didn’t work Satan went to Abraham himself and tried to convince him not to do it. God, in that story, wanted Abraham to agree to sacrifice his kid just to test how obedient this thing he made would be. That’s not fact, that’s story. By my interpretation, Satan in that story was the only one running around saying ‘it’s wrong to kill someone just because someone else said to’. So is Satan really the bad guy of that tale? Theists will point to that story and praise the piety and devotion of Abraham … I think he was being an idiot and not listening to good advice.

That’s why I’m a Satanist.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • For me, one story I identify with is Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha: I love the scene in which he talks to the Buddha, explaining that he agrees with what the Buddha says but wants to find it out for himself. Another story is love is Plato’s Cave Allegory, as I feel like I can relate to the guys in the cave. (That is the reason I have the avatar I do.)

    This all has to do with my Fundamentalist Christian upbringing. (The church I grew up in was very insular and highly controlling.) Though I questioned beforehand, once I turned 18 I decided that I for sure wanted more than just the church bubble. I realized that there was more to the world than just the four walls of the church. I would secretly read JW literature at my great-grandparents. (They were not JW, but my great-grandma would accept their literature.) I also read encyclopedia articles on other religions. However, my ability to find alternatives was limited. (Note: I turned 18 in 2003.) I also read things in the newspaper and watched a variety of shows on PBS. (Long story short, due to many things in my life, I didn’t start interacting with outsiders [apart from relatives] until I reached 30 and got on social media.)

    In the church bubble, Christianity seemed true, but I still was dissatisfied. Thus, I was able to relate to Siddhartha, in that I wanted to go beyond the bubble and discover the truth for myself beyond the church dogma. (I did finally leave the church last year.)

    I do find the course of life amazing! Five, ten years ago, I would never have guessed I would be reading a blog post written by a Satanist, as Satanism is in the Things Fundamentalists Don’t Like box. (I still identify as Christian, but am in limbo.)

  • I understood Lucifer’s position in “Paradise Lost”. But, being raided an evangelical Christian, I couldn’t voice that opinion. Then again, I thought the Road Runner was an Asshole and Coyote was the hero. And don’t get me started on Tweety Bird….i can’t stand him.

  • I’m a big Hesse fan myself. I highly recommend The Glass Bead Game and Demian if you liked Siddhartha 🙂

  • Merri-Todd Webster

    I have a small quibble: That Jews and Christians interpret their shared stories very differently, including the binding of Isaac. But I love everything you have to say about story here, especially the reference to Steve/Bucky fans. *g*

  • Jim Jones

    Read this: The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidences of His Existence by John E. Remsburg, published 1920
    Free to read online (Link).

    Chapter 2 alone is a good read.

  • As much as his name is rather sullied at this point for unrelated reasons I think Carrier has expanded on disproving the historicity of Jesus well beyond this material. Not that this is a bad book, just I think a lot more work has been done on the topic since this.

  • LeekSoup

    I like the point about stories and engaging with the dominant religious story through using another character in that story.

    Personally, having taken a long time to break my programming and escape from one story, I’m not eager to adopt another one. Especially if I know it’s not true from the outset.

  • Jim Jones

    See: The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems (2011) by Robert McNair Price for a later book.

  • VMWH

    Huh?

  • I very much suspect all of us freethinkers are Satanists or at the very least sinners (as if I cared). Not to mention that Satan in the Bible (Old Testament, read Job, and likely even in the New Testament when he tempts Christ) is someone very different to the traditional image and that identifying it with what appears in the BoR, the Serpent, etc. came later (and see also his kill count compared with God there).

    The less is talked about the nonsense of Hell as tipically depicted, the better.

  • Polytropos

    This explains why I was so obsessed with Homer and Norse mythology as a kid. Trying to build a life with Abrahamic code was like trying to do statistical processes in SQL. I mean sure, people say it’s doable, but why wouldn’t I just use R or SAS, or maybe Python?

  • Arif mahmood

    Ijust want to ask all of you Are these million & million of people fools who believe in abrahamic religon.why do they believe in these stories.although i accept your line of reasoning .Can you give us any alternative of God.Why are we here who created the universe and why.

  • Maybe this is all semantics, and entirely contradictory stories, BUT in the Satanism that I encountered back in the late 60’s–Satan really was the bad guy–glorying in destruction, revenge, selfishness, filled with will-to-power, etc. for Satanists.

    Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy of the the Satanic Bible or I could give you some of the revengeful passages that so shocked me, when I was living in Haight-Ashbury in the spring of 1967.

    And as a retired literature teacher, I do know that “the satan” has a very long literary history going way back into B.C.E., probably starting in one branch as one of G*d’s messenger/sons in the Hebrew Bible.

    So I fail to see how identifying as a Satanist and promoting Satan is somehow more ethical than a Jewish view or a Muslim view or a Christian view.

  • For a contrasting view, read the atheist and scholar Tim O’Neill down in Tasmania–https://historyforatheists.com/2018/02/jesus-mythicism-2-james-the-brother-of-the-lord/

    Side note: I see you are a fan of the novelist Hesse. I remember sitting in a Haight-Ashbury park reading Siddhartha back in the late 60’s. I’ve read that book a number of times:-) as well as 4 other books by Hesse.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Why I’m a Satanist in Our Abrahamic Cultural Mythology”

    Well, according to the Bible:

    – god killed ( or ordered killed) around 25 million people ( the number isn’t exact because not all incidents in the Bible gave an exact number).

    – Satan killed 8 people ( Job’s family) AFTER getting god’s permission to kill them

  • According to polish mythology cinderella’s slipper was a fur boot.

  • Yeah, my alternative is the null hypothesis that god doesn’t exist because none of the evidence suggests it does. The other alternatives are every other god of every other religion, which are equally unsupported. “Why are we here?” Because we are. “Who created the universe?” What makes you think it’s a who, or that it was ‘created’ instead of just happened? “Why?” Quite possibly no reason at all, what evidence do you have that there is a reason?

  • Props for the icon. Love me some Transmet

  • ThomasBonsell

    Interesting interpretation of the Abraham story, but I prefer my interpretation.

    I conclude the god who tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac is the god invented by primitive people who called for human sacrifices to atone for some imagined sin. The god who called off the sacrifice is a god invented by more advanced people who reject the concept of human sacrifices.

    It’s about humans changing their thinking regarding the gods they invent, not about one god changing his or its mind.

  • Arif mahmood

    Mr jack you failed miserably to support your version.i asked you very easy and very basic question.Tell me why r you in this world.You got created yourself.Look around you will see the might of God.your reasoning about religion has a point.where human hand has stumbled.I suggest read Abrahamic religion thoroughly you mentioned mostly christianity and testimonials read islam Quran thoroughly .you will get lot of answers.You did not answer my questions you side stepped.pl do let me know your wordly education.

  • tom

    Honestly, Christianity lost me when I asked the simple question, “If eating from it was so bad, wasn’t it stupid to make that tree and put it in The Garden of Eden in the first place?” and got shushed. By the time we got to Cain and Abel, and I asked how mankind could continue from just Adam, Eve, and Cain–with no other females–I got kicked out of Sunday school class. Fine by me. If an eight-year-old’s questions were that befuddling, I’m sure I learned more staying home and watching cartoons. (nb: I really wanted Roadrunner and Tweety to be killed at least once a month. Actually, Tweety could die every episode, although Sylvester was a moron. W.E. Coyote was constantly impeded by deus ex machina, which was just lame)

  • Khanada

    In essence, the Abrahamic God is a narcissistic parent. He has the same message as one — He has to be in control over you, tell you what to like and what to not like and what to do and what to not do, decide to reject you or not (and thus love you or not) based on whether you decide to be who He has decided you should be (regardless of who you really are), and so on. This contributes to explaining a lot of the religious-themed abuse from my own family, which is a narcissistic crazy train. (And they wondered why I didn’t believe… )

    Thank you for the “Stucky” reference… You made me smile. Although what I see in Bucky Barnes is much more a metaphor for surviving and ultimately walking away from a screwed up family like my own… but that’s the great thing about fandoms, isn’t it? All the room in the world for everyone’s interpretations and the meaning they find.

  • Khanada

    Also thank you for the picture of the statue you used at the top of your post… I’d never seen that work of art before, and he’s utterly beautiful, so I had to go look him up.

  • Jeffrey Paul Bradt

    Great article! I knew a Satanist (now he just calls himself an atheist, I believe) and he is a very nice guy. I hope and don’t doubt that most Satanists are so nice.

  • Orange East Yellow

    You are replying at the wrong place. If you look at Mr. Jack’s reply, you will see a “Reply” button directly below his reply. Press that button, a box will appear, and write there. Got it?

  • alverant

    He answered your question. You just didn’t like the answer.

  • wethelred shaggybreeks

    I would suggest reading Twain’s “Letters From the Earth” in which angel Lucifer visits god’s new creation and finds much tobe horrified by. Which he reports back to the rest of the heavenly host. Great stuff and hilarious.

  • wethelred shaggybreeks

    I should say serious points hilariously made. It very much reflects the point in the post about changing a story’s interpretation by shifting the viewpoint character.

  • Arif mahmood

    Alverant you are siding him.null hypothesis is null till you disprove the alternate hypothesis.Remember he admitted to b satanic.but believes there is no god.By admitting beeing a satan he already gave his admission of god.unfortunately those discussing need to acquire knowledge.Kindly you try to answer the same question.

  • Arif mahmood

    Thx sir for correcting me on issue of post

  • AgeofReason

    One of the most shocking revelations for me when I left my religion was realizing nothing in the world changed when I stopped believing in a god. It was only my perception of the world that changed and the worldview therein. Creating a framework for which to place morals, how to make decisions, and so on came from researching existentialism. This really fit into my ideas and personality. I would encourage personally researching different philosophical approaches, reading articles and thought pieces on what you’re questioning, and having discussions with people you can confide in. Questioning or leaving your religion can be hard but also one that is the essence of being human- we have each other and we have the right to our own minds.

  • alverant

    Yes, I am siding with the person who answered your question. You have not proved there can’t be Satan without God.

    “unfortunately those discussing need to acquire knowledge.”
    Yes, you do.

  • Arif mahmood

    I am afraid you have no grip over the subject matter.i dont have to prove a satan without god.pl read all carefully.you are too hasty with sketchy knowledge .kindly dont enter in argument .i have no time to wastefor novice.thx.

  • Arif mahmood

    Ageof thxat least you are reasonable.and passionately approached the problem.Argument is who are we.why are we here.World can come up on its own.once universe was not there.voidness.Human hands wrote scripture scripts and must have stumbled.The bible the Korean geta grunth and many testimonials may not b giving us the true and clear concepts.yet you cant deny God once you look around.

  • Illithid

    Do you understand that the author does not believe that Satan is a real being? It’s just a story.

  • alverant

    You can claim all you want I have “sketchy knowledge” but that doesn’t make it true. You have yet to give any proof of your claims. Why do you expect more from me than what you’re able to offer?

  • alverant

    “yet you cant deny God once you look around.”
    Sure you can. After you look around it becomes obvious God is a lie.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    An elaborate attempt to make sense of nonsense (as if the effort itself infers credibility). I have no idea where that story of Abraham came from. It’s not from any Hadith I ever studied – because they are about Mohammed (who considered himself nothing more than a messenger (certainly NOT a “Messiah”), and nobody else. If there was an “Abraham” the story is about a jealous wife who wanted her son to inheret his father’s name and respect within the tribe – instead of his “first born” son of another woman. “If you love me – take your bastard son out of my sight and kill him”. So he took the boy into the wilderness, told the boy’s mother to take him and never return, and killed a sheep for fresh blood to put on his clothes to convince the wicked wife that he had cut the boy’s throat. From that time forward – one’s mother must be a Jew for the child to be Jewish – after which Jews have been a “maternal” race – instead of the “paternal” one it had been previously. The only thing I got from it – was that men were just as “pussy-whipped” thousands of years ago – as they are today. In Abraham’s position I would have cut the evil old wife’s throat – and lived happily thereafter with both my sons (and the innocent, obedient, Gentile mother of one of them.) But that makes FAR too much sense to have been written into a scriptural fairy tale – doesn’t it? (And leaves no room for a god – and its siamese twin, satan.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    That’s sad: (That you are still wasting part of your life on a myth. Christianity is ALL about death.). The only thing good about it – is that you will never know that you have been cheated, (in the nothingness that follows death). (I know – because I’ve been there. Several minutes – the Dr. said.( Something they don’t tell you about de-fibrillation: PAIN ! From the intense muscular shock – and months to regain your short-term memory – and even your personality and sense of “self”. (And no guarantees.) Fortunately I had declined the “Do Not Resuscitate” instruction (so that they can legally sell your good organs.) Life only TRULY begins – with the absolute acceptance of Atheism.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Uncountable billions of humans have beem slaughtered in “god’s name”. Religion is the genuine source of 99% of the unimaginable misery and suffering of mankind (and no end in sight). I’m sure that most of us know about those people (often female medical professionals) who will put a patient into an induced crisis – so that they can heroically “rescue” them. That is the reality of “religion”: “Salvation” from a totally imaginary, superstitious, threat. Something like that is the only plausible explanation why religious zealots like to “bring another soul to Christ”. (Brrrr! Horrible! Incredible arrogance and greed, and the greatest “evil” that most of us will ever encounter.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Thank you for pointing that out. It is depressing how many comments above suggest to me, that so many people HAVE no life of their own. Living vicariously in fiction, animated cartoon, and the words and thoughts of others. (And in some: The fraudulent, manipulatory, fiction of “scripture”.) Mr. Arif Mahmood tosses “creation” into the mix – as if it is a taken-for-granted unquestionable fact. All of my doubts and questions have long since been laid to intellectual rest by discovery of Evolution years ago – and constantly reinforced by science and physical evidence. There haven’t even been any “discoveries” – in maybe a century. (Merely additional confirming detail.) Science is already cultivating transplant tissue. To the best of my knowledge – none of those scientists and lab tehnicians consider themselves to be “god”. They merely undrstand nature sufficiently to replicate it. Tragically, “religion”has impeded and delayed these advances for uncountable years. Religion is dedicated to the extinction of life with a “miracle” – while science will perpetuate it – with the understanding and acceptance of proven and demonstrable FACTS. I confess that I can only question why superstitious people would even join a discussion group like this? If they are already convinced that all the solutions are to be found in scripture – what do they expect to learn here? I can relate to Tom’s experience (above) about being kicked out of bible-study, because almost the exact same thing happened to me. (But in my instance my parents were vilified for their “failure to raise me properly”.). I didn’t let the Christian insanity discourage me entirely, tho. I turned to Islam for answers – only to find nothing more than a variation of the same superstitious nonsense. (Like two peas from different pods on the same noxious plant.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Mr Arif – The notion of “god” was the easy answer to that same question eons go. Unfortunately it was quickly used as a tool to discourage the search for the answer – and at the same time to exercise authority over mankind and to enslave our emotions and imaginations. Those same men also believed many things about the world around them that “people of faith” have known to be entirely false for cnturies. A great deal was discovered during the Muslim Ummayad rule of southern Europe between about 700 AD and 1492 AD. Had that not been ended by Christianity – we might know much more than we do. Why is it so important that it continues to distract us from exploiting and beneffiting from what we DO know – and what (some of us) ARE learning? (People being slaughtered all around our planet right now – because they believe in things that they can not yet know (and may never know?)
    Of one thing I AM certain: The answer CAN NOT be in what we “believe”, what we eat, how we dress, how we relate to each other, how we conduct our own pesonal lives, nor in the never-ending attempt to abuse and enslave each other. While Atheism may not be the answer – at least it does not complicate the question or compound the problems – like superstition continues to do.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Your answer is FAR better than mine.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    ABSOLUTELY!

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ” Something like that is the only plausible explanation why religious zealots like to “bring another soul to Christ”.”

    Or to Allah, or to any other imagined deity.

  • Arif mahmood

    Thx sir for a very fair comment.i appreciate your views.i endorse what is going around in the world.and understand what you say.Fact is this debate will go for ever.Universe has a creater.man quest will continue for truth.Death is as real as birth.Question remains who r we.How r we here.Why are we here.Who is over creater.Null hypothesis will b applicable once we disprove alternate hypothesis.thx

  • Mustafa Curtess

    We do NOT need to know the answers to any of those things in order to co-exist reasonably with all the other nations and philosophies around the world – and the search for more answers does not justify having so much negative, violent, influence. We are $23 Trillion in debt. More than the total debt of the rest of the globe combined. What value have we got from it? Has any of it been spent directly improving our own society? Has it even made our own country a better, safer, place to live? We are nearing collapse – and doubling-down on such consistent failure (as we continue to do) is extremely unlikely to have any positive result. If we could difinitively discover the answer to all (or ANY) of those questions – there is nothing to be gained by it.

  • Bravo Sierra
  • Mustafa Curtess

    Indeed! No question about it. I pinpoint Christianity ONLY because it is the only one dominating our national (and in many instances state) governmemt – and therefore a substantial threat.

  • Garry Willits

    Don’t want to be picky but you didn’t die. To die means to be brain dead. Clinically dead means heart stopped and vital signs unresponsive but that’s not ‘dead’. Nobody has ever come back from being dead.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I don’t know enough about it to split hairs about it. I have “flat lined” and been de-fibrillated because blood clots in my lungs stopped the supply of oxygen to my brain for several minutes, my heart stopped, and I am still not fully recovered from the brain cells that died during that time. Their function is being slowly replaced by redundant cells – bur Dr. says that the dead ones will never actually be replaced. If you have that experience and know more about it – I defer to your greater knowledge. Many Christians are convinced that they have been dead and met god. I had no such experience. In fact all I have is NOTHING. Aside from the discomfort of physical muscular reaction – had I not seen the equipment used and my Dr.’s explanation – it simply didn’t happen.

    Discussions of this nature exasperate me because of the implication that totally hysterical people know more about me than I know myself – and that MY thoughts and opinions are worthless. I didn’t actually count them – so “a hundred times” is just a conservative estimate. But that is the instance of the superstitious people who vehemently tell me that god is real – and that I only don’t “know him” (“him”?) because I have not read the bible enough to undertand and believe it. And that I should “pray” (to what?), study scripture “with an open heart”, get “help from a Preacher”etc. etc.. I did that for 30 years and it didn’t work when I wanted it to. I’m dumbfounded by the notion that it would now that I understand that I don’t need it and that my life has been so MUCH better without it. There are so MANY wonderful things about life that are missed during the hours spent pondering superstition and worrying about it. I don’t know what your angle is in telling me that – but if you are trying to “save” my (non-existing) “soul” – Please don’t bother. The only thing that I’m convinced of – is that religious people are ALL a little bit insane. There isn’t much room for more certainty – but you can fill up those tiny little voids by persisting with this discussion. I have read extensively – but never bothered any about titles and authors.(I did it for myself and not to impress others.) Only a single quotation read easily 60 years ago was accepted by memory: “Considering all the disagreeable people I have known that are confident that they are going to heaven – I certainly have no wish to be sent there” (Mark Twain ??) I have only been to one wedding that I was happy about – and one funeral that I was sad about. (I am the most honest person that I have ever known. I have never known anyone worth lying to.

  • Frank

    The Satanism you encountered in 1967 was Anton LaVey’s version of Satanism, which is little more than Ayn Rand’s Objectivism dressed up for Halloween. The Satanism promoted on this blog is that of The Satanic Temple, which is secular humanism dressed up for Halloween.

    It goes without saying that the two groups hate each other, because it just wouldn’t be a real religion without sectarian conflict.

  • Hmm…Intriguing description, though as a retired literature teacher, I don’t see the point in humanists dressing up for Halloween in their daily lives. As a teacher I used to dress up with students for various dramatic presentations of history including Salem, etc. But we didn’t live our lives that way.

  • Frank

    Satanism, in its Church of Satan and Satanic Temple forms, is about wrapping an atheistic ideology in mythology and symbolism (the “dressing up for Halloween” part). We do this because it’s fun, and because it draws attention in a mischievous sort of way to the issues we want to address, but also because ritual and symbolism can be useful and emotionally satisfying ways of affirming what we believe in and what we stand for. Atheism by itself is… well, it’s nothing, it’s not even a belief, it’s the absence of a belief. Humanism is a bit better, in that it provides a shared set of values, but lacks the appeal of traditional religions because it has no emotional content, and pretty much amounts to a bunch of atheists with a collection of shared values but no interesting way to talk about them.

    Satanism provides what mere humanism is lacking. It has a story (a contrarian reading of the Bible and Paradise Lost), an aspirational figure to rally around (Satan), a marketable symbol (the pentagram), and an excuse to get together with others and chant and light candles and whatnot, which some of us enjoy for its own sake.

  • Thanks for the explanation.
    I’m not sure how all of that is very different from Reform Jews or liberal Muslims or liberal Christians who do a similar sort of thing (ritual and symbol), but regularly get attacked for being “religious.”

  • Frank

    It really isn’t different, except that the Satanists have a more mischievous sense of humor and an openly hostile attitude toward religious orthodoxy (unlike, for example, liberal Christians who disagree with the orthodoxy, but don’t want to give up the church, leading them to do ridiculous things like interpret the anti-gay passages in Leviticus as being about temple prostitution for Baal, and casting Paul as a feminist hero — Satanists openly and honestly dispute biblical dogma, while liberal religionists pretend that the Bible has secretly agreed with them all along).

  • Ah, but do you accept that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it, just that it’s not your thing. Right? I mean you recognize that you might not see the point but that doesn’t invalidate their position.

  • Septet

    Oh, so they didn’t tell you about the incest?