Satanism and Ignorant Familiarity

I’m currently working my way through Joseph Laycock’s new book Speak of the Devil. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read on Satanism, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Satanic religious movement and The Satanic Temple. Joseph Laycock is a scholar of new religious movements, and (full disclosure) he is the most-interviewed guest on my podcast Sacred Tension.

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On Creating a Personal Satanic Root Document

I’m frequently asked how I, as a Satanist, practice my Satanism. Whenever I get this question I struggle to answer it, because my Satanism is so all-encompassing for me I don’t know how not to practice it. It isn’t as if I’m just a Satanist when I’m writing about Satanism, doing Satanic ritual, or talking to other Satanists. I’m also a Satanist when I’m doing my finances or watching Netflix. Religion is not just something I do, but something I am, and as in most religion the boundary between doing and being is blurred.

But a central aspect of my Satanic practice comes down to something very private: what Cal Newport calls a Root Document. For years now I’ve kept what I can only call my own personal Sacred Text. It is a holistic document, containing the very mundane (checklists for work) and the very sacred (my guiding principles, meditations, and rituals.) It is also a living document, shifting according to what I learn and need.

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Sacred Tension: The Satanic Temple vs. Church of Satan, feat. Priest Penemue

In this episode of Sacred Tension I’m joined by Priest Penemue — a Satanic content creator and director of ministry at The Satanic Temple. We discuss the differences between Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple, and why those differences matter.

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On Satanic Practice

I recently received this question from a listener and reader in response to my post On Satanism and Atheism:

For your average follower, Satanism is the epitome of being a troll religion, almost as bad, if not perhaps worse than Pastafarianism. What practices define you as a Satanist? Not beliefs. Practices.”

As always, I’m grateful for these questions from bemused readers.

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On Satanism and Atheism

I recently wrote an article titled On Forfeiting the Word Atheist in which I explored how using the word “atheist” predisposes people to having the least charitable view of me. I’ve gotten so exasperated explaining again and again what the word “atheist” means that I’ve opted for the word “nontheist,” just because it has a different connotation and isn’t as poisoned by anti-atheist propaganda.

To be clear, I like the word atheist, and I see it as identical to the word nontheist. I don’t care if other people use the word atheist, I just find the word a stumbling block when I try to have productive conversations with theists. I have limited patience, and I personally find it more expedient to not use the word.

Along these lines, a reader sent me this question:

“Why then would you self-identify as a satanist when it seems (from your writings at least) that THAT label is also widely misunderstood?”

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Satanism as a Counter-Myth: a Correspondence With Priest Penemue

Several weeks ago, a fellow named Elijah left a comment on my post Why Satan? The comment addresses concerns about Satanism which I think many people share. I was planning to write a full response, but I find that I just don’t have enough energy for that right now. I ended up corresponding with Satanic Temple Director of Ministry Priest Penemue on the subject. We had a lively discussion. Instead of writing a full response to the article, I will simply post the comment (it’s tedious, I’m sorry) followed by my correspondence with Penemue.

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