William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Having Trouble Deciding Between Brands Of Satanism? Breitbart & Salon Can Help!

Satanism: not a religion for intellectuals.

Satanism: not a religion for intellectuals.

It was Halloween, which was probably the excuse for the Breitbart article contrasting good, pure, “safe word” Satanism with bad, politically correct, social-justice-warrior-drenched Satanism.

Boo.

(Now I’ve had a few articles on Breitbart, and, this being the Internet where everybody is guilty by association, the cerebrally challenged should know I think Breitbart lost its editorial mind.)

Breitbart is doing for Satanism what Salon is doing for pedophilia (and Satanism; see below), and that merits a discussion. What’s fascinating here are the attempts at mainstreaming preposterous views.

Fellow named Greg Stevens wrote “When Satanism Met The Internet” on Breitbart’s new Tech vertical. He cheerfully tells us “I, dear reader, consider myself a Satanist”. But he’s anxious to convey he means this in a good way. His is a modern, healthy, freedom-loving Satanism, a sort of science-soaked Randian libertarianism with hedonism sauce (“Satanists appreciate sexual deviancy. Of course they do!”), a cult for rough-hewn, alt-right individualists where man can unshackle himself from big-G Government and become a small-g god.

Stevens admires Anton LaVey, speaking of him in almost loving terms, carefully highlighting his bullet-pointed rules for living. Such as? How about this: “When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.” Hope you don’t think I’m bothering you, Stevens, old boy.

Satanism was a party where all were welcome, Stevens says, until the Internet came along and allowed space for The Satanic Temple, the splitters. These are the poorly dressed folks who “built a gigantic statue of Baphomet” which it placed in Detroit, and which poured milk on halfwits to protest “forced motherhood”, among other hilarities.

Religious freedom makes Stevens nervous: “From the Temple’s perspective, the internet is playing the same role for the Satanic Reformation that the printing press played for the Protestant Reformation: allowing anyone at all to read a multiplicity of views and decide for themselves what makes the most sense.”

Not coincidentally, the very day after Breitbart’s battiness, Salon itself kicked in with a fawning piece supporting the Temple: “All hail the Satanic Temple: Up close with the brilliant ‘Satanists’ who drive the faith-deranged nuts“, an article which begins with the words, “All hail Satan and the Satanic Temple!” These words are almost immediately followed by spitting and sputtering about “the faith-deranged.”

Satan “is a democrat”, Salon’s Jeffrey Tayler (a contributing editor to The Atlantic) tells us. Satan rules “the nether realms by ‘the popular vote’ — in other words, he has to persuade his subjects to support him, and doesn’t just bully them around, as does God.” Too, Satan was able to lead away a third of the angels under God’s command. “How would we regard General Petraeus if a third of his troops had mutinied in Iraq?”

Hoorah to the Satanic Temple, says the faithful faith-disparaging Tayler, which embodies “secularism, critical thinking, belief in the here and now, gender equality and a woman’s right to do as she sees fit with her body.” So popular is the Temple becoming that even Megyn Kelly of Fox News interviewed its founder Doug Mesner (40), where he said the Temple “answers the need for a counterbalance against the dominant religious privilege in America today.”

What we have here, logic lovers, is the false dichotomy, twice over. Breitbart disparages the low-IQ brigade at the Temple of Satan, rightly saying they are the result of “identity politics gone haywire”, from which we are to infer that the Church of Satan isn’t such a bad alternative. Meanwhile, Salon ravages the worldly weakness of a supposedly non-existent God, believed in by a figures as low as George Bush and Pat Robertson, from which we are to infer that it’s “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven”.

The false dichotomy is a lovely rhetorical trick. It works not so much because the alternative the author wants you to embrace is supported, but because an obvious falsehood is exposed in funny or clever ways. The author wants you to believe the enemy of my enemy is my friend, which is the same fallacy. You and the author are confreres, a band of brothers, dispatching a common foe, and thus it would be ungracious of you not to at least discover some good points in your new friend’s favored view.

But, come on. Satanists? I think the evil Clown (a denizen of hell) in the movie Spawn said it best with this rhetorical question: “How come God hogs up all the good followers, and we get all the retards?”

23 Comments

  1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
    The Pope to the rescue.

    http://www.gocomics.com/wizardofid/2015/11/02

  2. Pouring milk on halfwits to protest “forced motherhood” is really not a selling point for Satanism. They know what makes babies and it’s 99.99999% avoidable. A public display of stupidity at its finest. (A good example of the “Spawn” question, I think.)

    I tried reading the Salon article on Satanism–apparently said individuals are language challenged. It is unreadable. (At lest the pedophile made sense in one out of two articles and knew how to speak English.)

    Being able to lie, hand out goodies with strings attached, etc certainly does make for easy gathering of followers. Never having to deliver on anything helps. I certainly would agree that Satan is a democrat–they all use these techniques. (I’m unclear on how God “forces” people to follow–no one’s been struck dead for not believing. Plus, there would not be any Satanists around if God forced people to follow him.)

    It seems this whole Satanism thing is an affirmation of the existence of God. Clearly these people believe in “magical, mystical creatures” and are contrasting Satan to God. I fail to see how this is an improvement as far as beliefs go. The only advantage here is similar to the child of divorce who lives with the parent that lets them run wild because “that’s more fun”. The writers are not removing religion from life, just substituting a religion they view as “more fun” for one they think is oppressive.

  3. Sheri,

    “It seems this whole Satanism thing is an affirmation of the existence of God. Clearly these people believe in “magical, mystical creatures” and are contrasting Satan to God.”

    No, they are really anti-theists, the whole “Satanism” thing is just a deliberate mocking of religion.

  4. MattS: I can believe that. It just seems they should have tried a different way, such as just outright mocking of religion rather than introducing their own “imaginary being”. (Sometimes their subtleness is just too subtle.)

  5. Matt,

    You’ve stumbled (apparently unwittingly?) upon something that is of utmost importance to Normal-Americans.

    The “conservative” media is mostly NOT conservative.

    Nearly 100% of the prominent “conservative” media outlets are actually “Neo-Conservative.”

    It is vitally important for Normal-Americans to understand the values of neo-cons.

    Their belief system derives from their founders’ roots in internecine communist struggles. The neo-con founders were all ex-communist veterans of the Trotsky rebellion from the Communist International. Their belief system is a rejection of Normal-American social norms, and fiscal conservatism; with a muscular embrace of American military might overseas. With a massive caveat–American military might is intended to support the foreign sponsors of AIPAC.

    Neo-cons control Breitbart, Fox, National Review, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, and every other prominent “conservative” media outlet.

    The neo-con domination of “conservative” politics is why there is complete capitulation to the PC-Prog agenda–Obamacare, stimulus, Gmarriage, military gays, guns, etc, etc.

    They only care about continued war in the Middle East–now and forever. They are prepared to defend Israel down to the last American life and dollar.

    In the meantime, what’s a little Satanism among fun loving Trotsyites?

    http://www.ipsnews.net/2003/08/politics-what-is-a-neo-conservative-anyway/

  6. I have to believe most of these “Satanists” are just doing it to get a rise out everyone else. Like the Spaghetti Monster people. It’s cute, I guess.

    I had a close friend who was a New Ager, the only term for all these sorts together. He was a Presbyterian minister, and an accountant, before he dropped out of modernity to become a Druid (disclaimer: I love Spaceballs!). He took me around to various events, rituals, etc, as sort of his personal musician. I enjoy Celtic music, and I find it natural to play, and the different instruments made it interesting, though my main interest was in just people-watching these folks. You be amazed just how many there are! He used to take me to this thing called “Starfest” (or something like that) up in Jamestown, NY. There were thousands of people. Voodoo people, Wiccans, Santa Ria, Neo-Celtic Pagans, and whenever I drove to town for more scotch (you really need a lot of scotch for this sort of thing), Amish-looking people with horses and carriages like it was still the 17th century.

    Of course, these are people who feel a deep need for spirituality in their lives and are looking for an alternative to Abrahamic faith. As a rather dry and crusty atheist, I was just as much an outsider as I would be among Seventh Day Adventists (19th century New Agers, really), but when among these folks they didn’t care at all. I’m easy company, and so were they. They weren’t there to force their beliefs, but to enjoy them, and they were utterly harmless to anyone including themselves.

    We have long history in this country of people getting upset over sectarian nonsense and pushing each others buttons over it. Catholics used to put on the most ridiculous parades and feasts and festivals all the more just to piss off the boring Protestants. The JW’s fixed it so kids didn’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance because in the 1950’s the Congress decided to put “under God” in there to piss off the Ruskies! There’s searching for spirituality and then there’s getting a kick out of pissing people off. They’re two different things, but they overlap quite a bit.

    And really, when you think about it, how much difference is there between New Agres and the multitudes of Christian sects spreading like bunnies out there? The “personal relationship with God?” “Prosperity theology?” It’s buffet faith, that’s all. It’s all customized and fitted, dyed and tried on for size, hyper-individualistic American silliness. What can I say? Drink scotch. (Disclaimer: I quit drinking… so… take my word and hang out with these people in moderation! 😉

    JMJ

  7. You should check some of the stuff from Rev. William “Bill” Schnoebelen on YouTube. Not gonna link anything, because I just don’t know how much credence to give him …
    he grew up Catholic (attended a minor seminary)
    he was a wiccan
    got into light satanism
    got into heavy satanism
    was an American and European Freemason
    was a member of “the Illuminati”
    …he was even supposedly a Vampire
    and then became a Mormon…
    before becoming a Christian

    JMJ :

  8. I recall that this is one of the behaviors predicted by Robert Hugh Benson (1903??) in his “Lord of the World” and other novels. Perhaps we are approaching the Apocalypse.

  9. The Big Problem with Christianity is the Commandment (not merely a suggestion) uttered by Jesus Himself:

    ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

    Generally speaking, that means Christians are commanded to be nice to other people, to not murder, enslave, or even talk smack about others, to value each and every human life as if it was created and consecrated by God.

    This Problem makes Christianity a big burden to your average dysanthropic atheist or heretic, who desires to wreak pain and suffering (and murder) on his/her fellow humans (some of them anyway).

    Hence any non-Christian philosophy suffices, and the dysanthropes line up to sign up for Satanism, atheism, Islamism, or whathaveyouism, as long as being nice to (all) others is not required.

  10. We are back to the beginning. Eve was tempted and then told Adam that they could chose to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and know Good and Evil and be like God.
    Yes I know it is a story but it has a point.
    We can chose evil so these people do so.
    and the Principal of Evil will reward them as it always does with Despair because it is an absence of Good

  11. Briggs

    November 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    JMJ,

    Here’s something you said with which I am in complete agreement: “Seventh Day Adventists (19th century New Agers, really)”.

    About the prosperity gospel heresy, Ross Douthat’s book is good.

    Kent,

    I’m right there with you.

  12. Sheri,

    “such as just outright mocking of religion rather than introducing their own “imaginary being”. ”

    What you miss is that the goal is not to mock any particular religion, but the very idea of religion in general to the point that real believers will force the repeal of religious freedom.

    They believe that if they can trick governments in to recognizing these patently phony made up religions they can get real religions with large numbers of followers to do the work of repealing religious freedom for them.

  13. JMJ: The major difference is what I said in my previous comment–children of divorce often choose to live with the parent that has no rules because “it’s so much fun”. Later, these same kids end up spoiled and entitled, believing they can do anything they want. The removal of rules is called “anarchy” and I am amazed at how many liberals love the idea–until the anarchists start killing people and destroying property in their personal lives (others lives do not matter). Lack of rules has its downside. And yes, too many rules that are forced on people has the same effect. However, as I noted, no one has to be Christian. No one has to a Satanist. It’s up to each person. No one forces you or anyone else to be something they do not want to be. That being said, no one is obligated to allow you to be whatever you want to demand the approval of others. Generally, it’s weakness on the part os a person that they cannot stand up for themselves so they blame religion or whatever for their own failings. Also, the lack of rules and objective standards allows failures to avoid being identified. Translation: This is a “religion” of the weak and powerless.
    (Interesting that you never see yourself pushing your beliefs on people while condemning everyone who dares follow religion. How is damning religion any different than damning atheism or Satanism? It’s not–yet you do it anyway.)

    Bob: I think historically there was a lot more evil and bad behaviour in the past and no apocalypse occurred.

  14. I vaguely recall glancing at an article headline that was popular on Zite a few days, complaining how Christians don’t really believe in religious liberty if they object to the establishment of the Church of Lucifer or some such. I think it wasn’t meant to be parody, but I can’t be sure. I have my doubts that a religion founded on the principle of trolling Christian believers is actually a legitimate religion.

    Saloon articles are frequently popular among the Zite readership. Other popular articles include the different types of penises one will encounter in one’s life, why NASA is covering up their alien contact, why you should stop listening to the negative voices in your head, and why Hillary Clinton is absolutely fabulous.

  15. Actually, Sheri, I’d say New Agers crave rules and objective standards, just not all the particular rules and standards you crave. Beyond spirituality, religion is a tribal, structural thing. It is an identifier. People are social creatures and our place in the social order is important to us.

    JMJ

  16. This has to be the best part of the whole article:

    “This symbolism is meant to scare people who scare easily…. It’s a sort of induction test. Satanists are, in their own way, supreme elitists: if you can’t get past the pentagrams and silly robes to see that they are an atheistic religion rooted in science and rational self-interest, then they consider that to be your failing, not theirs. The symbols keep away those whom the Satanists would consider too weak-willed or superstitious to embrace a religion that has no god.”

    If they don’t realize that all the “scary” symbolism attracts far more idiots than it scares off, then they are even bigger idiots than the ones they want to scare off.

  17. @Iacobus:

    Idiots also make good minions on the hands of “supreme elitists” that foster an “atheistic religion rooted in science and rational self-interest”. “Rational self-interest” of this specific variety leaves ample room for the propagation of all sorts of lies and fibs as long as they are conducive to the liar’s “rational self-interest”.

  18. JMJ: I mostly agree with you. New Agers do crave rules, though I am not sure about objective standards. Many replace religion with their own set of rules and condemn any who do not follow those rules. Some actually want no rules because that way they cannot be said to fail at anything–I run into that one a lot. Yes, humans are a tribal bunch and that is both our strength and our weakness.

    Iacobus: Agreed. You don’t get the cream of the crop with pentagrams and robes.

  19. I much prefer rational self interest to people who profess to be deeply concerned about my interests and are prepared to sacrifice themselves, and everyone with them, for other people’s interests. These people are to mind the very definition of creepy. Or in other words, I much prefer people who mind their own business and you will always achieve the best social outcomes when people behave in enlightened self interested ways. This is because one best understands one’s own needs, and at the end of the day, a society is just a collection of individuals. Progressives and, of course, people like Rodrigues, consider themselves of superior virtue, hence they imagine they know best.

  20. @Will Nitschke:

    “Progressives and, of course, people like Rodrigues, consider themselves of superior virtue, hence they imagine they know best.”

    “Of course”? “People like” me? And what is the occasion of such (ineffectual, target-missing) sniping?

  21. Rodrigues, your attack on the principle of rational self interest as above, and your never ending personal attacks on those who are rationally critical of your beliefs. Not everyone is bright enough to fight rational arguments with rational arguments. It’s more about feelings, I get it.

  22. Man those Satanists in that picture are evil.

    I mean absolutely, positively, un-deniably evil.

    Why?

    Because they’re torturing those poor satan lovers with a more extreme and unusual form of waterboarding TORTURE.

    And as we all know, ANY form of torture, even variations of waterboarding, is the most despicable and debasing form of evil known to man.

    (Obvious sarcasm is obvious)

  23. @Will Nitschke:

    “Rodrigues, your attack on the principle of rational self interest as above, and your never ending personal attacks on those who are rationally critical of your beliefs.”

    In that passage, nowhere did I attack the “principle of rational self interest”; if I invoked it, it was because a Satanist did it first. The point was how Satanists, the non-retarded ones, are bound to understand such a principle and apply it to further their own interests. And while I do think that the principle is wrong (with some important qualifications), from this belief it does not follow that I consider myself “of superior virtue”, or imagine I “know best”, just like from the fact that you (apparently) think it a correct principle it does not follow that you consider yourself of “superior virtue” or imagine you “know best”. But given the conjunction of your ignorance, miserable reading comprehension, and the by now obvious chip on your shoulder, it is not surprising that, once you thought you saw an opening, you went in for the sniping.

    As far as personal attacks, my attacks are on *you*, on *your* intellectual behavior, and they are anything but personal, but rather a correct description of your intellectual scumbaggery. There certainly are rational arguments against my beliefs (references given on demand), but you have never made one — or at least none that I have read. At the same time that you grace this blog with your ignorance untainted by learning, and in fact, seemingly impervious to it, there is not a single thread in which you do not unleash a torrent of witless abuse (you really are extremely dull; but then again, I am not exactly Nabokov) on those whom you disagree with: Feser, Aquinas, YOS, me and countless others, including “mental cripple”, “pseudo intellectual imbecile”, dim-witted”, “fool”, “BS’er”, “crank”, etc. along with more or less direct impeachments of their intellectual honesty and probity — this is all a matter of public record, I can provide links if anyone asks. So you can take your hypocritical whining, wrap it in cement and shove it where the sun does not shine.

    Finally, am I misremembering or did you not promise to not read my comments any further? Because that comment was not addressed at you but to Iacobus. [rummages through the archives]. Oh yes, here it is. In this thread you promised that “I will no longer be reading your posts. You and Sylvain now enjoy that honour.” Promises, promises. And how should I take this? That I will now suffer the dishonor of having you misreading my comments?

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