For a while now, I’ve been following with interest Lucien Greaves’ column for the Orlando Weekly, Letters to a Satanist, where Mr. Greaves, spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, answers the OW’s reader questions in an intelligent and enlightened way. I struck me that our readers might be interested in his responses, so I got in contact with Mr. Greaves and he agreed to let me repost his articles on CVLT Nation for your enjoyment. I want to make it clear that CVLT Nation is a secular site – we don’t adhere to any religious dogma, Satanist or otherwise – but I find Mr. Greaves’ worldview and that of the Satanic Temple to be very close to the tenets of our site, therefore appropriate to post on CVLT Nation.
By Lucien Greaves, 2/17/2015
Satanism is inherently oppositional and will always attract the disaffected. Don’t you worry Satanism only fuels criminality and justifies immorality?
No. If one thing should be painfully obvious by now in regard to morality, it’s that ostentatious declarations of fealty to mainstream religious codes don’t in any way ensure actual moral behavior. Nor, in reality, is there anything more than a disappearingly small number of recorded crimes somewhat credibly linked to Satanism (despite delusional conspiracy theories that claim contrary, and despite the outsized attention any such individual cases may receive). In fact, it appears that the large majority of us who openly reject mainstream religious codes don’t do so because we feel they inhibit us from committing immoral and criminal acts, but because we view the religious institutions and their edicts as themselves morally deficient and oppressive.
Clearly, it takes a morally deficient person to insist, to begin with, that but for the threat of God’s punishment we should all be raping and murdering one another with mindless abandon – yet we often hear this very argument from theists … apparently oblivious to what this possibly reveals about their own suppressed inclinations.
We espouse secular values, pledging allegiance to no “God” or gods. A recent Los Angeles Times article* reported on a study that looked at children raised in secular households noting that, “Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children.” Further, the article states:
“Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.”
As for Satanism’s open rejection of comfortable cultural norms and divine decrees acting as a gateway to criminal and/or immoral behavior, indications are that the opposite may in fact be true. A growing body of studies related to “Moral Self-Licensing” provides evidence indicating that those who are assured of their moral superiority and incorruptibility have an increased tendency to act in an outwardly immoral manner. They are blind to their misdeeds and feel a sense of license to act like pricks. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the threats of violence and/or destruction, originating from righteous zealots, that we (The Satanic Temple) receive for some our peaceful campaigns. I feel it self-evident that unthinking conventional reverence and self-righteousness are gateways to immoral behavior in ways that Satanism could not even begin to approach.
* Zuckerman, Phil. “How Secular Values Stack Up,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 14, 2015
Lucien Greaves is the pen name/pseudonym for Doug Mesner, spokesman for The Satanic Temple.
via Orlando Weekly