“Iahveh, on his mountain, was jealous of Lucifer [...] angels like unto men feel love and hatred quicken within them. Capable, at times, of generous resolves, they too often follow their own interests and yield to fear. Then, as now, they showed themselves, for the most part, incapable of lofty thoughts, and in the fear of the Lord lay their sole virtue. Lucifer, who held vile things in proud disdain, despised this rabble of commonplace spirits for ever wallowing in a life of feasts and pleasure. But to those who were possessed of a daring spirit, a restless soul, to those fired with a wild love of liberty, he proffered friendship, which we return with adoration. These latter deserted in a mass the mountain of God and yielded to the Seraph the homage which That Other would fain have kept for himself alone.”
– Revolt of The Angels, Anatole France
A History of The Satanic Temple
The truth regarding Satanism has been unfortunately obscured by a history of delirious, paranoid conspiracy theories, blood libel, and imaginative inaccuracies. Just as ancient Pagans demonized early Christians, and Christians in turn demonized Pagans and Jews, so too are Satanists popularly demonized as a result of misunderstandings, intolerance, and fear-mongering opportunism.
While underlying causes of witch-hunts — ancient and modern — are generally recognized to have their sociological origins in factors independent of the actual existence of witches or Satanists, evidence nonetheless suggests the regular appearance of Satanic devotees extending far back into Western civilized history. Historical reports of early Satanism are often colored by fears of an anti-human “other”, however, the literary history of Satan — from Milton to Anatole France — suggests that biblical interpretations of a humanistic, benevolent Satan, driving our highest aspirations and encouraging human compassion have resonated for centuries. Though not professed Satanists themselves, we nonetheless consider Milton and France’s works inspired texts that best capture the Satanic archetype as a symbol of revolt against the tyranny of autocracy as well as the tyranny of archaic dogmas… a literary Satan that holds primacy in the corporeal world from which God is permanently detached.
The Satanic cults of conspiracy theory folklore have no basis in historical fact, nor is there any evidence of a single line of Satanic tradition that has persisted, unbroken, parallel, and in opposition to, the openly practiced religions of our Civilization’s history.
Modern Satanisms, defined in the 20th century, have suffered from stagnation, inactivity, and nonexistent political relevance. The Satanic Temple defines Satanism on its own terms, drawing from the powerful aesthetic and metaphor of tyranny’s ultimate adversary, deriving a composite Rebel Angel from the Literary Lucifer, influenced in part by reconstructed rites and the libertine philosophical underpinnings of the 18th century Medmenham Monks.
To embrace the name “Satan” is to avow skepticism in the face of all things, even — especially — that which is held sacred. To stand forth as a “Satanist” is to rend from the persecutory, affrighted mob a convenient out-group label, demanding that individuals be judged for their concrete actions, not their fealty to arbitrary social norms and illusory categorizations.
Satanism is not mindless abandon and depravity, but a philosophy that drives us to lead fruitful and dignified, epicurean lives. Satan, the symbolic force of design that would urge humanity toward refined pleasures of the Arts and Sciences. Satan, who first brought the fruit of knowledge to Humankind that thereafter we might live not as naked brutes in the wild, but develop our cultural splendor into ever more aesthetically and technologically advanced heights. Ours is the Humanistic Satan who would sacrifice His own Heavenly residence so that Humanity might learn to understand and enjoy the physical world they inhabit.
Satanists are often natural aestheticians who revel in the grandeur of human artistic, architectural achievements while also often drawn to the idiosyncratic and bizarre that are all too typically misunderstood, feared, and discarded.
With compassion, the Satanic Temple accepts all who are just and compassionate.
Though we have far to go before public education leads to a mainstream embrace of our Satanic religion, we feel that our own public “coming out” will go a long way toward raising the consciousness of the populace… and the social environment has never yet been better prepared for the welcoming of a new Satanic era.
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice. As Satanists we all should be guided by our conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by our individual wills. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity.
As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, to lead by example, and to participate public affairs wheresoever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights.
The Satanic Temple seeks to separate Religion from Superstition by acknowledging religious belief as a metaphorical framework with which we construct a narrative context for our goals and works. Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness.
In theological terms, the mythology translates thus:
God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.
The Satanist harbors reasonable agnosticism in all things, holding fast only to that which is demonstrably true. The cultural narratives through which we contextualize our lives must be malleable to conformity with our best scientific understandings of the material world… Those understandings, in turn, must never be so rigidly codified as to themselves be inflexible to advancements yet unknown. Thus, Satanism is an evolving religion, unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Belief must reconstruct itself to fact, never the other way round. This is the Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, even (and especially) when to do so irretrievably dissipates blissful and comforting delusions of old.
That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise.
This is an ultimatum.
There are nine fundamental tenets — with nine being a significant Satanic number. Each tenet is represented by one of the choir of nine Angels sent from Heaven to oversee Earth.
- People should be guided by compassion and wisdom and follow the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- The Circle of Compassion should extend to all species, not just humans.
- People are fallible, and although we should all try to do our best, poor judgment is inevitable. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it, and resolve any harm that may have been caused by our misdeeds.
- The Satanist should ever be self-reflective.
- Our beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, even the freedom to offend, but great care should be exercised to avoid wrongly encroaching on the freedoms of others.
- There are things we don’t understand, and it is appropriate to acknowledge that. It is not appropriate, however, to be proud of ignorance.
- While proselytizing might have noble intent, it is not acceptable to coerce or push your beliefs on others. It is always best to lead by example.
- Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion and wisdom should always prevail over the written or spoken word.