It occurred to me recently that, because of my more critical stance on The Satanic Temple, I should do a critique on their seven main tenets. I’ll do this the same way I did my critique of the 11 Luciferian Points of Power.
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
- Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
- 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.
- 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.
Now here’s my take on each of them.
- It’s very telling that this is the first tenet because this is one of the main points of divergence from other variants of Satanism, particularly the original Satanism espoused by Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan that founded. Compassion and empathy for all creatures sounds like something a Christian, a Hindu or a Buddhist might espouse, even if placed within the confines of reason. I would think that, for a Satanist, it is best to show compassion and empathy only to those that deserve it. I do not think you can show compassion and empathy to all things without being a bodhisattva.
- What is being stated here? Is justice being defined as something that takes primacy over the law, rather than something that is propagated through the rule of law? If that’s the case, I don’t think I like where this is heading. The only way to achieve “justice” outside the rule of law is through vigilantism. Or, alternatively, trial by public opinion as is fashionable in the modern age. Do you know what that means? It means that someone can be accused of rape, he would be found not guilty in a court of law, but he would be still be hounded by people who misguidedly believe that the voices of the “victims” have been silenced or that they matter more than an impartial ruling. Such a culture would end in the presumption of guilt, rather than the presumption of innocence. Is that justice? I would usually emphatically say no.
- Fair enough. I suppose this is the main justification for your abortion-related activism and your support of Planned Parenthood, but it is a fine tenet. But if we are going to talk about abortion, what about the body of the fetus? Is it your body to do with as you wish? And we’re not talking about a body part that you modify in accordance with your desires, but rather a growing life-form that depends on the body of the mother and will eventually become conscious and alive.
- Does that include bakeries? Don’t get me wrong I agree with the principle, but I’m curious if they’re willing to include freedom of conscience for private business owners on that list as well. I won’t be surprised if they aren’t, by the way.
- I may hold you to that. But seriously, this is essentially a statement that objective reality, determined by the best scientific understanding currently available, is the ideal basis for forming your worldview. No real issues here. In fact, you could argue that the same, or similar, rationalist approach is found within the Church of Satan and The Sect of the Horned God.
- The point here is pretty straightforward: nobody’s perfect, so don’t try and act you are and make up for what what mistakes you make instead of justifying them. That’s completely fine in my books.
- Except for #2, clearly. But anyways, we get the clear sense that the aim is to propagate the values of compassion, justice and benevolence, whatever those things entail in their minds. This, again, establishes divergence from pretty much most other forms of Satanism – which makes it interesting how both the first and last tenets serve this function.