Why Satan Conference Fails Even On Its Own Terms

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/04/29/why-satan-conference-fails-even-on-its-own-terms/

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves (the devils) are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

—  C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (1942)


Do you worship Satan?

No, nor do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural.

—  Frequently Asked Questions, The Satanic Temple’s web site


Somehow the organizers of SatanCon 2023 in Boston manage to fall into both of the errors C.S. Lewis describes.

On the one hand, they claim they don’t believe Satan exists.  On the other, they embrace Satan.

They play the roles of materialist and magician.

“We do not believe in symbolic ‘evil’,” the organization says on its web site.

But what is symbolic about evil?

In philosophy, the problem of evil is often presented as some version of why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people. It’s not a matter of whether evil exists. Everyone knows it exists. We see it every day in others. We see it in ourselves. We do things we know are bad. We fail to do things we know are good.

Most Christians attribute evil to Original Sin. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and the effects of their disobedience mark the souls of all of their descendants. Our nature is good, but damaged.  We rebel against God the way our first parents did.

Who tempted Adam?  Eve.  Who tempted Eve?  The serpent, who in Genesis 3:5 says God lied to them and that eating the forbidden fruit in the garden will open their eyes and make them “like gods, who know good and evil.”

That sounds attractive. The reality? Adam and Eve lose their home and their peace of mind.  Toil, pain, and death follow.

Genesis doesn’t mention the name “Satan.”  But it’s clear from context that the serpent is Satan. Isaiah 14:12 describes how Lucifer (the original name for Satan) is “fallen from heaven … cut down to the ground …” Revelations 12:7-10 describes the war in heaven before the world began between St. Michael the Archangel and “the dragon,” who is also identified as “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.”

The question for onlookers is why anyone finds Satan attractive. For Christians, the aversion is obvious:  According to Christianity, Satan loses in the end, and so does anyone who follows him.

But let’s say you don’t accept Christianity, or even God. If that’s the case, then in theory you have no religious objection to satanism or a conference celebrating satanism. That might lead you to evaluate these things on their own terms.

How?  You could start with logic.

SatanCon 2023 is organized by The Satanic Temple, of Salem, which in its Frequently Asked Questions landing page on its web site tries to explain why its members embrace Satan while (purportedly) not believing that Satan exists:.

Here’s the explanation:

“To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”

It is?

Let’s focus on the first half of that sentence. Here’s the equation it sets up:

“embrace the name Satan” = “embrace rational inquiry”

That makes no sense. There is no logical connection between the two. There isn’t even a literary connection between the two. In literature – say, Genesis 3, quoted above – Satan is portrayed as a liar. He promotes not “rational inquiry,” but falsehoods and misunderstanding.

It isn’t that Satan can’t think properly. He thinks more skillfully than any mere human being. It’s that he chooses not to think correctly, and tries to get human beings to not think correctly. Satan tricks Eve. He gets her to believe something that isn’t true, and then to act on that false belief.

This has nothing to do with “rational inquiry.”  You might even say it’s the opposite of rational inquiry — using false reasons to foil inquiring, the point of which, after all, is to find out the truth.

If Satan is your hero – even a mythological version of Satan that you say doesn’t actually exist – then what are your ideals?

Here’s what The Satanic Temple says on its web site:  “The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits for the individual will.”

Five goals.  All of them sound worthy.

Let’s see how the titles of the scheduled talks at the organization’s conference, SatanCon 2023, fulfill The Satanic Temple’s mission.


1.  Satanic Temple Stated Goal:  … to encourage benevolence and empathy …”

SatanCon 2023 Talk Title:  “Deconstructing Your Religious Upbringing”

You know those teachings you learned in church about love-thy-neighbor, do-good-to-those-who-hate-you?

Yeah, get rid of those.

You’ll have more benevolence and empathy if you don’t love or forgive.


2.  Satanic Temple Stated Goal:  “… reject tyrannical authority …”

SatanCon 2023 Talk Title:  “Hellbillies:  Visible Satanism in Rural America”

Ever see demonic possession depicted on television or in movies?  Is there any “authority” that seems more “tyrannical”?

Let’s see … rural Americans … what problems do they encounter?

Poverty …  unemployment … alcoholism … drug addiction … credit card debt … disintegration of families …

On top of all that, let’s free them of “tyrannical authority” by giving them a spiritual strongman to rule their body, mind, and spirit.


3.  Satanic Temple Stated Goal:  “… advocate practical common sense …”

SatanCon 2023 Talk Title:  “Reclaiming the Trans Body:  A/theistic Strategies for Self-Determination and Empowerment”

Yes, “practical” common sense says that if you suffer from anxiety or depression, the best thing to do is to pay pharmaceutical companies to drug you to prevent your body’s natural development and then pay anatomical experts to use sharp instruments to cut something off or carve something out.

Self-determine by mutilating the self. Empower by disemboweling.


4.  Satanic Temple Stated Goal:  “… oppose injustice …”

SatanCon 2023 Talk Title:  “Re-Imagining Lilith as an Archetype for Reproductive Justice”

“Reproductive justice,” of course, is a 19-letter, six-syllable term that means abortion.

Is there anything more unjust than a human embryo or fetus being torn apart or poisoned to death?  What did this very-young human being do to anybody to deserve that?

Oppose injustice by imposing injustice.


5.  Satanic Temple Stated Goal:  “… undertake noble pursuits for the individual will …”

SatanCon 2023 Talk Title:  “Sins of the Flesh:  Satanism and Self-Pleasure”

Of all the sad human pursuits, “self-pleasure” must be among the saddest.  Even many hedonists look down on it.





Political freedom requires freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, which the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees. So the government has no ordinary authority to prevent a gathering of satanists.

But it’s sad, nonetheless. The Father of Lies is being celebrated in Boston this weekend by people who claim they aren’t celebrating him, on the grounds that he doesn’t exist — yet another lie.

True freedom starts with truth. People who buy into this stuff are not trafficking in truth, and they are anything but free.


Matt McDonald is the editor of New Boston Post.


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