Satanists get a bad rap, but they’re not what you think they are. Modern Satanists don’t worship Satan; they’re atheists that view Satan as a symbol of rebellion against unjust authority. They don’t celebrate evil; they fight tyranny. And they don’t believe in superstition or the supernatural; they believe in science. I should know: I’m a Satanist myself.
The Church of Satan is the most well-known Satanic group, but they’re pretty much non-existent these days. There are scores of other organized Satanists, but The Satanic Temple, founded in 2012, is quickly gaining prominence.
The subject of a recently-released film called Hail Satan?, The Satanic Temple (TST) is an organization with deeply-held beliefs that align closely with humanism. By asserting ourselves as a religion devoid of superstition (we recently were recognized as a religion by the IRS), we have successfully leveled the playing field: religions featuring beliefs for which there is no evidence are no longer privileged relative to rationalist religions like TST. TST has successfully awarded religious privilege to reason.
The first tenet is overtly sympathetic to a vegan lifestyle:
One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
The use of the term ‘all creatures’ is clearly meant to encapsulate the expansion of the moral circle to include animals, and not just humans.
The second tenet enshrines the pursuit of justice, certainly an endeavor close to the hearts of all vegans:
The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
This tenet is particularly important to veganism in that it recognizes that laws and institutions do not dictate what is just or moral. Grotesque abuse and torture of animals is entirely legal as long as they are cows, pigs, chickens, or fish. This is a purely arbitrary distinction, but it’s one that tricks people into believing that we should treat these species as ‘food animals,’ worthy of less moral consideration than a dog or cat.
Vegans recognize that the way things are is not necessarily the way they should be. We ought to continue to create a better world.
The third tenet is also quite relevant:
One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
Animals that don’t wish to die should not be killed against their will.
The fifth tenet, too, falls in line with veganism (and the mission of The Reasoned Vegan!):
Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
We have reiterated time and again that a vegan lifestyle is one that accepts the science of animal suffering. Different species have different capabilities with regard to experience — in accordance with their neuroanatomy — and we ought to lend moral consideration to species depending on these capabilities.
At the same time that we should be confident, strident, and give no ground on this matter, we should be humble when it comes to facts that we do not know, and take care not to fall victim to confirmation bias when new information approaches.
The sixth tenet is as follows:
People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
This is important, particularly for new vegans. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to accidentally eat something you didn’t know wasn’t vegan. You don’t have to beat yourself up over it; just learn and move on. If you insist on attempting to rectify any harm that may have been caused — though doing so directly would be impossible in this scenario — consider making a donation to effective animal organizations, like Mercy for Animals (or us!).
The seventh tenet is my favorite one. It’s what helps to prevent an overzealous follower of the other tenets from causing harm as a result of their dedication:
Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
Indeed. Reasonable vegans understand this well. When it comes to non-vegan foods like clean meat, should a vegan partake? Reasoned Veganism is motivated by the spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice, not an inflexible, strict ban on all animal products.
So it’s clear that the Satanism espoused by TST is one that is very much in line with veganism. If you’re looking for a religion full of incredible people (many of whom are vegan, unsurprisingly), these are your people.
You might have noticed that the second tenet was left out. That’s because it doesn’t directly relate to veganism, from what I can surmise. But if you agree with all of the tenets presented herein, see TST’s list of Seven Tenets to read the second one.
If you find that you agree with the second tenet in addition to all of the above, welcome to Satanism (no, seriously, you don’t have to do anything else to be considered a member)!
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