Two Varieties Of
Religious Dishonesty
Andre H. Artus

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "dev1"
Subject: Re: Let's go to the atheist page just for laughs
Date: Saturday, January 13, 2001 4:56 AM

No. Satanists are atheists in disguise! Some also disguise themselves as demon worshippers, just to give the chills to certain Christians who take their religion way too seriously. (Demon worshippers, unlike Satanists, tend to believe in the existence of malevolent entities such as devils, demons, and a literal biblical Satan.)

The notion that Satanists believe in the existence of a literal or personal "Lucifer" is as mistaken as the notion that such an entity exists. I grew up with several kids who eventually because Satanists; all were flat-out atheists (strong atheists, asserting the nonexistence of both God and Satan). Today, I know several people who are Satanists, and these friends are likewise atheists.

Occasionally one will encounter someone who calls himself "a Satanist" and who talks as if a literal, personal "Satan" character actually exists. This person is either lying to you (bluff is not uncommon among Satanists, particularly when they're dealing with Christians) or that person is an oddball. To almost all the Satanists I've known (except one -- a severe nut case who was institutionalized shortly after I met him), no gods or devils exist: Satan is a metaphor for the self-ruling, self-indulgent Self. Most Satanists I've known would fit right in at any of the organized atheist or Humanist meetings or conventions that I've attended.

But go ahead and let the theists be wrong on this matter: I don't care! The Satanists have a point: Being a Christian of the busybody variety is, I think, a more fitting "punishment" than I could ever conjure!
 

Now, you raise a legitimate concern over the reputation of so-called regular atheists, and I have not adequately addressed this concern publicly (only privately, in response to private criticism of my "Ethics & the Æsthetic of Satan" column). Basically, I think that if atheists are going to demand that theists stop misunderstanding and misrepresenting atheism, we ought not repeat that very error by perpetrating myths about Satanism. If Satanists wish to bluff Christians about the true nature of Satanism, fine: that is their prerogative as Satanists. I'm not going to do this, though; I will be entirely up front with what I know about Satanism: Satanism is an entirely atheistic outlook, and Satanists (the Anton LaVey variety) are atheists in the same sense that you and I are atheists, and they are as materialistic as you or I.
 

I rest my case that acting this way is a fitting "reward" for people who hold truthfulness in disregard, and who do this for the purpose of trying to convince others that their position is one of truthfulness. It is neither my desire nor my responsibility to "set them straight" on anything.
 

Biblical Christianity encourages such black-and-white thinking. I do not encourage lying about Satanists in order to try to reduce this phenomenon, because nothing we do will change what the Bible teaches in this respect. So, we might as well be truthful, and let Bertrand Russell's aphorism do its job:

Satanism is more art and social commentary than anything else. It is not any more or less abhorrent than a Grandmaster Flash record is, when compared to a nightly newscast: both are styles of delivering information, making statements, and waxing artistic. Satanism is a social statement which happens to place a high value on artistic expression -- as well as on personal autonomy.

But to call Satanism a superstition is unfair, because Satanism contains none of the elements we commonly associate with superstitions. Superstition tends to submit to unseen "powers" whereas Satanism is about being in control of one's own life.
 

Be careful, lest their loyalty to the Christian faith override any sense of right and wrong.
 

This Christian lied to you (lied to your face) and then betrayed you -- and you expect this person to give accurate reports on weightier matters?
 

Can you raise concerns about the fact that these people are proselytizing on the job? that you feel the need to study the works of atheistic activists in order to deal with this very tricky situation? Dig this: They are placing you on the spot when they proselytize on the job, because they (Christians) are in the majority and you are a despised minority. Any mistake on your part could cost you your job -- any mistake -- and there would be nothing you could do to defend yourself. Studying atheistic activism, particularly as we present it on Positive Atheism, might help you develop the insights necessary to deal with these people tactfully, so as to avoid the problems that always happen when Christians inflict their religion upon their co-workers.

Religious proselytization, when the proselytizer knows it's unwanted, and particularly when the proselytizer already knows that the victim holds specific views about religion, is humiliating, to say the least, and can be seen as a form of bigotry if the proselytizer persists in inflicting religion upon others. I covered this in the exchange with Cameron Pearl and in my most recent column, "When They Just Won't Quit."
 

Christians who act this way tend to know little if anything about being human. When you get this deep into the Christian faith, you tend to loathe your very humanity and "wait it out" until it's time to be "called home." Unfortunately, while they're still here, they tend to make things as rough as possible for the local citizens, those of us who call Earth our home and who treat our fellow inhabitants as if this life is our only crack at living.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
    people with no reason to believe

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