Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of references to this shirt online…
I think it’s quite funny, so I share it myself when I see it, but maybe it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t supposed to be taken literally, just like Satanism itself. It’s a message about nihilism.
But it did get me thinking about Satanism, especially after a friend shared an image with me about coexistence. This one (cropped because it was mostly black):
Well, how would you feel about coexisting with Satanists?
It’s an important question, because it raises the issue of what Satanism actually is – something that religious people often don’t realize. Satanism is not the belief in or the worship of a literal Satan. It’s not about devil-worship. Satanists are atheists, like me, and Satanism itself is a parody of religion. Their version of the Ten Commandments contains all the important moral lessons left out of the Christian one, such as rules about consent (don’t rape), not having slaves, not treating women like property, and so on.
In fact, nobody in history has ever worshipped the devil. If you believe in the Bible, then you believe that backing Satan would be to back the losing team. So if you believe in Satan, there is no way in hell that you would worship Satan. It makes zero fucking sense.
However, if Satanism is recognized as a religion, which it is, and your constitution allows freedom of religion… and a bunch of Christians hand out leaflets to proselytize their religion in a school, then all other religions, including Satanists, have equal rights to hand out their own. And what do you think is going to happen then? Christians don’t really want to coexist – they don’t want to allow Satanists to hand out leaflets. (I shouldn’t generalize. My apologies. But there have been many well publicized cases, especially in the US, where Christians clearly only believe in freedom of religion when it pertains to their religion. So you’re free to practice your religion as long as it is Christianity. Any recognition of other religions or even their religious holidays is perceived by these people as an attack on Christianity. Think of the nonsense around their Starbuck’s cups controversy, or their opposition to the phrase “Happy Holidays”, or the persecution complex behind movies like God’s Not Dead.) In my hypothetical example of leaflets being handed out, to oppose Satanists doing likewise, Christians will simply stop doing so themselves, and introduce rules banning others from doing so (1), and that is the objective of “Satanist” activists – secularism, the separation of church and state.
Which gets me wondering about the underlying sentiment in a message that asks for coexistence… If the message is sincere, then I’m all for it. Of course we all have the right to believe whatever we want, to practice our religions, or not practice any religion, and not be persecuted for whatever our choices may be. However, if the message really means “leave me alone and let me continue imposing my religion on others”, then fuck that. Nobody has the right to impose their religion or the rules of their religion on other people. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.
Personally, I don’t like hiding secularism behind a veneer of Satanism. I think it’s counterproductive. Many religious people tend to see things as this simple binary: “You either worship my god, or you follow my devil.” Every other religion, and anyone who doesn’t see things their way, is automatically a Satanist in their view. So calling yourself a Satanist, in my opinion, serves only to encourage their false dichotomy.
(1) The other issue I have with this, by pushing equality of Satanism to force Christians’ hands, is that it often results in Christians, who are in control, from imposing rules to prevent any religion from doing what they want. So while it stops them from proselytizing at schools or having their invocations in public meetings, it doesn’t really take religion out of the equation – it just forces them to prevent what they see as another “evil” religion from having a fair chance. While it achieves its objective in the short term, it allows them to delude themselves into claiming some sort of moral victory, and also further perpetuates the idea that Satanists are evil, and to those who realize that Satanists are really atheists, that atheism is also an ideology (which it is not).