Whether you label yourself antitheistic or not, the question of how to create change remains. We at the Satanic Temple are not explicitly antitheistic. It is not our place to judge the evils of any given person’s beliefs; it is our place to oppose religious incursion into the daily lives of people.
How do you do this? Ideally, logic and dialogue. In practice, does that ever work? Can you use logic to appeal to a person who adheres to an inherently illogical system of beliefs? In my experience, rarely, and this method does not represent an optimal expenditure of time and resources.
We are active in our fight, not against religion, but against religious injustice. When faith-based groups overstep their bounds and threaten to visit wrongs on people, we are there to oppose. We, too, are a religion and are defined by our actions and beliefs. These arise through normative and empirical analysis, however, and are not the product of superstition or fear. They are:
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
- Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
- People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
- 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.
These are not a weapon with which to beat others over the head, even though we’re quite confident in their moral and logical rectitude. They exist to guide us, to remind us that these simple beliefs, which seem self-evident to us, are not self-evident to huge numbers of people and powerful institutions that incessantly attempt to force their backward nonsense on everyone else.
We fight these institutions at a systemic level. When one religion opens the door for encroachment, we are there to fight back. Distribute a Bible in school? Get ready for a Satanic Activity Book for the kids to enjoy. Put a Ten Commandments monument on public property? Get ready for a statue of Baphomet in all its glory. Try to indoctrinate the nation’s children with Good News Clubs? Get ready for an After School Satan program.
This, then, is the long game. It is the effort to fight for the oppressed and prevent oppression from continuing into the future. It is the effort to see that the minds of entire generations of children are not poisoned. People are entitled to believe what they will; we just want to see that people are empowered to forge their beliefs free from systemic pressure to conform. We believe this will ultimately lead to a more just, less intolerant world, because, even while we believe people are entitled to be wrong, they generally don’t choose to be if given half a chance to make an informed decision. Is this antitheist? Does it matter?
Anyway, keep fighting the good fight. If people get offended at your beliefs, that’s their fucking problem.