Satanism Is What Atheism Is Not

members of the satanic temple los angeles hit the streets to spread the good news

I am an atheist because of what I don’t believe. I am a Satanist because of what I do believe. To be clear, when I say I am an atheist, it means that I do not believe in any gods. My skepticism goes further than mere atheism, though, because I do not believe in any supernatural phenomena at all. If any proof of supernatural phenomena ever comes to light, I will happily reconsider my position.

None of this says anything about what I do believe. Atheism does not compel any particular moral structure. Atheism does not compel reason, rationality, or an evidence-based epistemology; it simply rejects belief in gods. Atheists can be entirely irrational and superstitious, yet still rightly call themselves atheists simply by way of rejecting belief in gods. Atheism makes no other assertions about the nature of reality or what constitutes a life well spent.

I am a Satanist because I believe in reason. I am a Satanist because I believe in justice. I am a Satanist because I view science as humanity’s best tool for uncovering truth and understanding reality, from the smallest particle to the cosmic filaments that criss-cross the universe. I am a Satanist because I recognize the value and utility of a religious framework that can serve humanity commendably in the absence of supernaturalism and fear getting in the way.

I am a member of the Satanic Temple because its mission is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. I am a member of the Satanic Temple because I believe in bodily autonomy for all and, as such, reproductive rights for women, I believe in the freedom of and freedom from religion, I believe in gay rights, I believe in feminism, I believe Black Lives Matter, I believe in the power of science to bring the truth to light, and I believe a thriving community of Satanists is essential to adding to the diversity of voices that discusses and directs the events of the world.

I don’t just believe in these things; I also believe in working to achieve them, and The Satanic Temple is a pragmatic, action-oriented religion that operates in the real world. I do not consider a life of thinking and never doing acceptable for me, so I choose to join in and make a positive difference.

I recognize the controversial perception the world has of Satan, but I am not in this to be edgy or upset Christians. I am not an aggrieved ex-Christian with an ax to grind; my own exposure to Christianity in my youth was relatively mild. All religions have the right to adopt the iconography, practies, and aesthetics they wish, be it a horned devil, a man nailed to a Roman torture device, or whatever else. I view Satan as a much-needed icon of rebellion and freethought in a world awash in arbitrary interpretations of authoritarian doctrine. I think it is important to do good works under the banner of Satan, to upset the narrative that only those who hold to superstitious dogma may claim the moral high ground, and to acknowledge that standing up to unjust, repressive theocracy means being branded a villain by theocrats. If that is villainy, then I embrace it.

There is no choice between atheism and Satanism. You can choose both. To all the atheists out there, I say, “I know what you don’t believe, now tell me what you do you believe.”