A lot of Satanists put out media on various platforms, and many of those Satanists have decided to pay no attention to or at least make no mention of pseudo groups, particularly The Satanic Temple. I absolutely understand that desire, but I want to deal with a few things head on. This post is partially motivated my a recent social media post on the subject.
The Satanic Temple is not Satanic, and that is not a “no true Scotsman” fallacy. On the surface it definitely looks like one, as the basic structure of the argument when trying to establish it as a fallacious one is:
A: “Satanists are those who find themselves reflected in the Satanic cannon, primarily The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey”
B: “The Satanic Temple does not adhere to The Satanic Bible, they are still Satanists.”
A: “They aren’t real Satanists.”
The counter argument is generally something relating them to protestants and The Church of Satan to Catholics. Therein lies the flaw in the claim that calling the Satanic Temple un-Satanic is a fallacy. While it is true that Catholics and protestants have significant theological differences, they still fit under the umbrella of Christian because that word is outlined best in the theological (read not organizational) aspects of the Nicene Creed. That creed was created by an examination of Christian literature as a summation of that literature and thus a good definition of what it means to be Christian. That literature, though, was all created in line with the first texts and schools of thought that self defined as Christian. Whether they were originally labeled as such by others or not is irrelevant, as they were the group of people that adopted the label on themselves.
While there is no “Satanic Nicene Creed” that paints a simple picture of this complex religion, we are the first to codify Satanism and self identify as Satanists. Just as the literature that was condensed into the Nicene Creed collectively defines Christianity, so too does the literature that codified and later expanded Satanism define Satanism collectively. Just as one would not be a Christian if they did not match with the Nicene Creed and thus the cannon it sprung from, one is not a Satanist if they do not match the literature that it defines Satanism. The Satanic Temple does not fit that definition. This can be illustrated with a variety of stances, and I will list but a two.
The first and most prevalent example for me is the differences in moral ideals. Where Satanism as defined states “Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!” in The Nine Satanic Statements, The Satanic Temple states in their “Seven Tenets” that “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.” While the case could be made that within reason establishes that kindness should not be wasted on ingrates, it can also be pointed out that the words within reason can mean anything at all, and the effort to be compassionate toward everyone rather than everyone that deserves it is un-Satanic enough. Indeed, compassion is an underlying theme in their website and is the only real philosophy they seem to have. This stems more from a Christian understanding than a Satanic one.
Another, more commonly cited example is their political involvement. While individual Satanists are often political (I myself sent my senator an email just yesterday), the Satanic philosophy is not about exacting political or any other change in the world at large. Satanism does condone changing your individual world so as to create your total environment. If the act of being politically involved is not in itself un-Satanic, but the act of doing so because “that is what Satanism is” is false. The closest I feel Satanism comes to being political is in Pentagonal Revisionism. A glance at The Satanic Temple’s “campaigns” page shows few if any of their efforts fall within Pentagonal Revisionism, and some can even be considered in direct contrast to it. Therefore doing those things because “Satanism advocates for it” doesn’t follow. Some efforts TST makes are actually toward causes I agree with and would be willing to support, but that is a personal preference and it would be solipsistic of me to think all Satanists would do the same. That of course, is another issue with advocating for or making judgements on various political issues in the name of Satanism. Doing so ventures into dangerously solipsistic territory.
Now I am sure I am missing a lot, and I hope to get lots of good discussion from this particular piece. Whether I agree with their politics or not, I am glad I am a Church of Satan Snob rather than a TST member. I have found in personal experience that it is a bit more fun in the cabal than the crowd.