An Atheist Ritual

A couple of years ago, I wrote:

What we’re probably witnessing is a transition stage.  The hardcore naturalistic atheism that blurs into scientism is largely favored by the old atheists who are soon to pass away.  Think of it as dinosaur atheism.  In contrast, more and more of this new and upcoming generation of atheists embrace The Satanic Temple and its rituals (which clearly blurs the distinction between secular and religious), is more likely to incorporate some elements of astrology into their life, and more likely to speak favorably of witchcraft and other forms of the occult.

Well, a few days ago, the popular Friendly Atheist site posted a blog entry entitled, “A Satanic Yule Goat Has Been Put Up Outside the Michigan State Capitol.”  The blog gleefully reports on a ritual of The Satanic Temple in Michigan.  They even post a video of parts of the ritual, warning people it is NSFW.  That’s because the video is mostly naked women smearing fake blood all over themselves (for some reason, it’s all naked women).  And remember, The Satanic Temple is supposed to be made up of atheists.

 

This entry was posted in atheism, atheist activism, satanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to An Atheist Ritual

  1. Stardusty Psyche says:

    It’s a joke, a parody, OK? There are lots of Yule Goat vids on YouTube, they have them in other countries too. No, this is not old atheists being replaced by young debauched satanist atheists, this is young people doing what young people do,making prank videos and poking fun and laughing at everybody who actually took them seriously.

  2. Kevin says:

    Can you imagine going to such extreme effort just to mock the target of your bigotry while also violating your own stated principles, including objectifying women?

    These atheists lack all self-awareness.

  3. TFBW says:

    Oh dear. Stardusty is back. Folks, please bear in mind that Stardusty Psyche is a joke, a parody, a prank for the purposes of poking fun and laughing at everybody who takes him seriously.

  4. Michael says:

    It’s a joke, a parody, OK?

    How do you know? Do you have evidence? Or are we supposed to accept this on faith?

    Besides…..
    VICE: Is the Satanic Temple a satanic, or a satirical group?
    Lucien Greaves: That is a common question.
    I say why can’t it be both?

    No, this is not old atheists being replaced by young debauched satanist atheists, this is young people doing what young people do,making prank videos and poking fun and laughing at everybody who actually took them seriously.

    Like when the Satanic Temple does its Satanic Masses?

  5. Stardusty Psyche says:

    TFBW
    “Stardusty Psyche is a joke…”
    ROTFLMAO!!!
    Good one 🙂

    But seriously folks, how could an atheist be an actual satanist? Satan is a supernatural figure, a sort of demigod in the pantheon of demons, angels, spirits, saints and all the rest of the god-like figures in the polytheistic system that calls itself monotheistic, Christianity.

    Atheists don’t believe in any such thing. No spirits, ghosts, demons, angels or any such thing. Atheists do not perform rituals to summon spirits or supernatural forces of any kind.

    I suppose there are a few crackpots out there that actually do worship the devil, so by definition, they cannot be atheists.

    Why a human rights organization would call themselves “The Satanic Temple” I don’t know exactly, probably as some sort of way of saying that the opposite of Christianity is what is actually good. They seem to be all worked up about the Westboro Baptist Church.

    https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/about-us
    “…The Satanic Temple have publicly opposed The Westboro Baptist Church, advocated on behalf of children in public school to abolish corporal punishment, applied for equal representation where religious monuments are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed fraudulent harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners and claims in mental health care, and applied to hold clubs along side other religious after school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations.”

    They have a Tenets and FAQ section you can read, hardly a bunch of devil worshipers.

    Maybe this is a mechanism to claim rights as a religious organization to gain equal access to public facilities and then oppose religious groups. That way they can put up the Yule Goat next to the Nativity Scene and the Menorah, the message being that it’s all a lot of superstitious nonsense.

  6. grodrigues says:

    Having not seen the video (and not going to) and going by the description alone, why, it is almost as if the Satanic Temple members are possessed by Satan…

    One ends up believing like one acts.

  7. Michael says:

    But seriously folks, how could an atheist be an actual satanist? Satan is a supernatural figure, a sort of demigod in the pantheon of demons, angels, spirits, saints and all the rest of the god-like figures in the polytheistic system that calls itself monotheistic, Christianity.

    Atheists don’t believe in any such thing. No spirits, ghosts, demons, angels or any such thing. Atheists do not perform rituals to summon spirits or supernatural forces of any kind.

    You seem to think all atheists embrace dinosaur atheism. Not true. There are plenty of atheists who believes in ghosts and other aspects of the paranormal: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/atheists-and-ghosts/

    Remember, an atheist is supposed to be someone who merely lacks god belief. That doen’t entail a lack of beleif in some entitity called satan.

  8. Dhay says:

    > NFSW

    “NFSW is an acronym used in texting, email, and elsewhere online, meaning ‘not for showing wife’. It’s used to imply something sexual or offensive in some way to women, or something that would be offensive to the recipient’s wife.”

    https://www.dictionary.com/e/acronyms/nfsw/

    *

    It’s questionable whether or not the The Satanic Temple should be considered atheist; looks like it’s predominantly LGBTQ:

    David McGillivray speaks to [Lucien] Greaves about the LGBTQ representation in the Temple. Greaves – who identifies as straight – says: “It would be a conservative estimate to say that more than 50 per cent of our membership is LGBTQ.

    https://www.attitude.co.uk/article/the-satanic-temple-in-the-us-vows-to-fight-for-equal-rights-for-the-gay-community/21661/

    Hemant Mehta’s linked media article includes, “”We don’t practice in and idolize the Satan that is presented in the Bible. We go by a literary version,” said Seir.”

    Which “literary version” of Satan is that? Let’s consult Lucien Greaves, the The Satanic Temple’s founder and the authoritative national mouthpiece being parroted by the local:

    I identify nontheistically with a Miltonic Satan that defies all subjugation, exalts scientific inquiry and promotes Humanistic, pluralistic values. The Satan of Modern Satanism is a metaphorical icon for Enlightenment values. Satanism adopts a mythological backdrop that we feel is more befitting to modern culture than the monarchical, feudalistic, theocratic superstitions of old. The Satanic Temple, far from endorsing crass nationalistic tribalism, actively fights for individual sovereignty and secular values.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/23/im-a-founder-of-the-satanic-temple-dont-blame-satan-for-white-supremacy/

    So says Greaves (in an irrational tone-poem, one which I see gives no indication of the predominantly LGBTQ membership and which also inexplicably omits pyramid-building from that “of old” list — he’s thrown much else in): in contrast to Greaves’ so-called “Miltonic Satan”, a New Yorker article provides a window on what Milton’s Satan actually was:

    One of my nightmares is to end up like Milton’s Satan … In “Paradise Lost,” Satan shows up in Eden, in search of Adam and Eve, certain that by force of will he can ease the pain of his damnation, making of Hell a suitable home. But, surrounded by the loveliness of the new creation, he feels his internal awfulness all the more:

    “Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
    And in the lowest deep a lower deep
    Still threat’ning to devour me opens wide,
    To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav’n.”

    He and Hell belong to each other; where Milton’s Satan goes, torture [pain and internal awfulness — Dhay] goes, too.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/21/how-the-idea-of-hell-has-shaped-the-way-we-think

    Taking a peep at Milton’s poem itself, I judge it’s so very long and so very archaic in its language that probably not so many as one Satanist in a thousand has read it. Which makes most TST claimants that “we follow the literary Satan of Milton” rather pretentious.

  9. Dhay says:

    The Yule Goat is traditional in Scandinavia; destroying it (usually by burning) has become a tradition, too:

    https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/the-strange-legend-of-the-swedish-yule-goat

  10. poor michael, so afraid of atheists that he ignores his bible as is convenient for him.

  11. Kevin says:

    Maybe this is a mechanism to claim rights as a religious organization to gain equal access to public facilities and then oppose religious groups. That way they can put up the Yule Goat next to the Nativity Scene and the Menorah, the message being that it’s all a lot of superstitious nonsense.

    So they go to great lengths to make themselves appear psychotic, objectifying naked women by smearing blood all over them, just to mock people they disagree with? The Stephen Colbert of religion?

    I mean I guess that’s possible, but the more likely explanation is that they never developed mentally or emotionally past their teenage years.

  12. It’s not as if atheist activists are known for making logical, rational decisions.

    I imagine it’s little more than bored, narcissistic teens desperate for attention from their disappointed parents.

  13. Kevin says:

    poor michael, so afraid of atheists that he ignores his bible as is convenient for him.

    If you honestly think Michael or any other Christian on here is afraid of any atheist, you’re even more deluded than your conduct on this blog would previously suggest.

  14. Stardusty Psyche says:

    Michael
    “Remember, an atheist is supposed to be someone who merely lacks god belief. That doen’t entail a lack of beleif in some entitity called satan.”

    Satan is an imagined god. There are lots of kinds of imagined gods, big, small, good, evil, all powerful, limited in powers and on and on. No, one cannot really be an atheist and really believe in a literal satan..

  15. TFBW says:

    Ah, so no true atheist believes in Satan.

    Yet more evidence that Stardusty is a parody, as far as I’m concerned.

  16. Dhay says:

    Stardusty Psyche > Satan is an imagined god. There are lots of kinds of imagined gods, big, small, good, evil, all powerful, limited in powers and on and on. No, one cannot really be an atheist and really believe in a literal satan.

    Let’s have a look at the 2014 Pew Poll’s report, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape”:

    3% of atheists believe in hell (add 1% don’t know); 5% believe in heaven (add 1% don’t know); 2% of atheists say holy scripture is the word of God (add 1% don’t know).

    Then there’s the Poll’s findings on belief in God: 2% of atheists “Believe in God; absolutely certain”; 3% “Believe in God; fairly certain”; 2% “Believe in God; not too/not at all certain”; that adds up to 7% of atheists with some level of belief in God; only 92% of atheists fit your Procrustean Bed definition of what an atheist has to be to be a ‘true atheist’.

    http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-family/atheist/

    Looks like there’s quite a few self-declared atheists who do believe in hell, heaven, Satan (because they affirm “holy scripture is the word of God”) and God. Add in those who answered “don’t know”, those who in other words don’t reject hell, heaven, Satan and God.

  17. pennywit says:

    The notion of Satanic Temple adherents not truly believing in Satan is not without precedent. A fairly large chunk of satanists (some offshoot of Laveyan, I think), look to Satan not as a literal being, but as a literary or mythological construct that reflects their belief that one should not be bound by laws handed down by a deity on high.

    Personally, I despise the Satanic Temple for taking on the trappings of a religious faith just so they can protest religion. Matters of faith are too important to be treated so lightly.

  18. Stardusty Psyche says:

    Dhay
    “3% of atheists believe in hell (add 1% don’t know); 5% believe in heaven (add 1% don’t know); 2% of atheists say holy scripture is the word of God (add 1% don’t know).

    Then there’s the Poll’s findings on belief in God: 2% of atheists “Believe in God; absolutely certain”; 3% “Believe in God; fairly certain”; 2% “Believe in God; not too/not at all certain”; that adds up to 7% of atheists with some level of belief in God; only 92% of atheists fit your Procrustean Bed definition of what an atheist has to be to be a ‘true atheist’.”

    A ‘true atheist” is just that, an a-theist, not a theist, lacks a belief in any sort of god, such as the devil, ghosts, demons, angels, or spirits of any kind.

    You can find people who self identify as Napoléon Bonaparte, but that does not make them a French emperor just because they go walking around with their hands in their shirts.

    Lot’s of people self identify as all kind of things they in fact are not.

    There is a simple explanation for why 2% of self identifying atheists also say they are certain they believe in god, those people are idiots who are blathering nonsense, or maybe they are pranksters who like to give pollsters contradictory answers.

    Do you really need to have this explained to you?

  19. Michael says:

    Satan is an imagined god. There are lots of kinds of imagined gods, big, small, good, evil, all powerful, limited in powers and on and on. No, one cannot really be an atheist and really believe in a literal satan..

    For many atheists, satan can be a force or spirit. By having a satanic ritual, one connects with this force or spirit. Yes, one can really be an atheist and really believe in a literal satan. Just as they can also really believe in ghosts.

  20. Stardusty Psyche says:

    Michael,
    People who call themselves atheists and also say they believe in a literal spirit, the literal satan with actual supernatural powers, or literal ghosts who can flit about supernaturally are like those who say they are the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Spirit, satan, and ghosts are gods by other names.

    The no true Scotsman fallacy is an issue of physical classification that cannot be rightly denied or changed, For example one cannot choose nor can one ever change the location in which one was born. Irrespective of anything else that fact will remain unchangeable such that a man born in Scotland is by definition and always must be a true Scotsman.

    Beliefs are not like that. People can and often do misidentify beliefs both of others and of themselves. If you say you are a Christian but you deny all of the New Testament then you are not a true Christian.

    If you say you are an atheist but you believe in god, satan, spirit, or ghosts you are not a true atheist, rather, you are either ignorant, confused, dishonest, or some combination of untruthful categories.

    I think the eagerness displayed on this thread to classify satanists as atheists is a transparent attempt to use fallacious assertions to vilify atheists.

  21. Kevin says:

    Spirit, satan, and ghosts are gods by other names.

    I’ve never heard anyone equate a ghost with a god.

    Anyway, atheism does not entail that there cannot be something that the average person would describe as a spiritual realm or dimension. You can absolutely believe in ghosts or spirits without believing in a god. You can believe in them while also believing theists are irrational for believing in a god.

    To also discount the existence of a “spiritual” dimension or reality would require a particular atheistic philosophy. Denying the existence of spirits demands atheism, but atheism does not demand the denial of spirits.

  22. TFBW says:

    The no true Scotsman fallacy is an issue of physical classification that cannot be rightly denied or changed …

    Says who? You, I suppose. It’s not like you’ll find that in any of the more-cited descriptions online.

    Oh, wait. This isn’t the “No True Scotsman” fallacy: it’s a simple case of tendentious definitions. Stardusty only accepts definitions of terms that he himself sets and which make his case the true one by definition. This happens to include his definition of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy, since he has rejected my accusation on the basis of his own personal definition of what the “No True Scotsman” fallacy is.

    Stardusty is Humpty Dumpty. When he uses a word it means just what he chooses it to mean—neither more nor less. Hat tip to commenter FZM who figured this out back in 2016. I called it “epistemic solipsism”. Nobody can refute Stardusty, because Stardusty is the ultimate arbiter of what words mean and whether arguments are rational. It makes for an extraordinarily tedious nonversation.

  23. pennywit says:

    atheism does not demand the denial of spirits.

    So if I refuse a double scotch on the rocks, that makes me an atheist?

  24. TFBW says:

    No, no: you can refuse a double scotch on the rocks if you want to. You just aren’t obliged to do so.

  25. TFBW says:

    Ditching the attempt at funny for a moment, it’s philosophical materialism, not atheism, which denies the existence of immaterial spirits (and other immaterial entities). Most atheists are philosophical materialists and vice versa, but the one does not logically require the other. The idea of materialism without atheism (i.e. a materialist theist) is a bit odd, but Dawkins’ “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument against the existence of God (from The God Delusion) is only valid when applied to a material God, since it assumes God to be the most physically complex possible entity. The argument does not make the “physical” part explicit, but it seems to make less sense if God is immaterial and yet somehow considered “more complex” (immaterial complexity?) than a complex physical thing, so I consider this the charitable interpretation of the argument. More simply, if one happens to consider a stone statue to be a literal god, as opposed to being a stone carved in the image of a god, then one believes in a material god. Maybe Dawkins’ highly-improbable god is best understood as a computer of some sort, like the one from Asimov’s story The Last Question.

    Caveat: the above claims about philosophical materialism and atheism only apply in the mundane universe, not in the Stardusty alt-universe. Entirely different definitions may apply there.

  26. pennywit says:

    Ditching the attempt at funny for a moment

    Everyone’s a critic.

    To the point on materialism: I did attend church a bit when I was young.
    God was always presented to me as a nonmaterial being. I really have no faith in anything (my Washington Redskins fandom notwithstanding), and the evidence offered for immaterial things, whether gods, spirits, ghosts, or thetans (don’t ask) never seemed sufficient to me.

  27. TFBW says:

    The best evidence for the existence of non-material beings is your own consciousness. There is absolutely nothing in the laws of physics which seems even tangentially related to consciousness. Matter cannot have experiences: it can form a sensor network which conveys the data of experience, but there has to be something at the end of the line which can actually receive that data and experience it. That end point must be non-material precisely because matter lacks the capacity for experience.

    It is this logical necessity which drives some materialists to bite the bullet and adopt the theory of Panpsychism, which is basically the idea that consciousness is somehow a fundamental property of matter/energy, despite not having any physical effect. To be clear, there is no evidence to suggest that Panpsychism is true: it is a theory driven entirely by a prior commitment to philosophical materialism and a desire to account for the phenomena of experience within that framework. Others prefer to play dumb and deny that there is such a thing as experience. Some point to brain activity and say, “there is experience”, conflating the sensor network which conveys the data with the experience itself. The problem can be illustrated in this way: matter cannot feel pleasure or pain (or anything else). You can observe matter in the process of conveying sense data that will ultimately be one or the other, but this does nothing to address the need for a final recipient of that data which is capable of actually experiencing it as pleasure or pain.

    As such, your every waking moment (and many of your sleeping ones) are evidence that you, personally, are partly non-material.

  28. Pingback: 25 Barriers to Belief in God, Part 2 - Derek L. Ramsey

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