When it comes to criticisms about The Satanic Temple there are many, from several sides. On one side there are a bunch of Church of Satan adherents who feel that members of TST calling themselves Satanists is an affront to the Church of Satan and Anton LaVey; you can find some of them in my posts’ comment sections. On another side are some non-religious atheists that truly respect what TST does and wants to consider them kindred spirits but can’t get over their anti-religion biases and are very insistent that TST is nothing more than “tongue in cheek atheists pointing out hypocricy [sic]”. On yet a third side there is, of course, abrahamic religious zealots that think Satanists are devil-worshiping maniacs.
There isn’t much to be done for that last one except keep trucking along, but I do hope this episode of my podcast helps with the other two.
My guest for this episode is Jill Rycerz from TST-Boston, who will be giving a talk this weekend at The Satanic Temple Headquarters called “Prayers to the Devil: The Value of Ritual“. One of the criticisms that people make about The Satanic Temple is that it isn’t an authentic religion. If you’ve been following this blog you will have seen a post about all the different ritual events various Satanists are doing this October. These rituals (in my opinion anyway) go a long way toward demonstrating the group’s sincerity. So for this show I sit down with Jill to talk about how TST views ritual, including a few examples from rituals we’ve been at, and their upcoming Black Mass on Halloween night.
I’m going to level with you, many of you non-religious atheists who think that religion is inherently bad … might not get it. Don’t panic, we’ll get back to talking about court cases, legal precedents, and church/state separation issues soon enough. I really want hope listening to this will start to help you see where Satanists are coming from and why it’s important that you recognize it for what it is instead of lumping it in with things like FSM. Meanwhile, I expect that folk from CoS might be a little upset about the changes TST has made to the ‘traditional’ Black Mass, sorry.
That said Jill was a great guest and we had a good conversation about things like ‘how big is too big for a ritual?’, balancing personalization and acknowledgement of historical precedent, and how placebo effect studies suggest that maybe ritual, at least in a non-theistic context, can be a real benefit to quality of life.
For you TST folk, if you’re not a subscriber to the Naked Diner Podcast you might want to do that; we’ve got some fun in store for our Oct. 30th episode. Please consider visiting my erstwhile co-host’s blog as he does not appear in this episode.