A Religion For Atheists

Gustave Doré c. 1866, Public Domain

Jack Matirko, in his blog For Infernal Use Only on the Patheos network has penned a piece suggesting that fellow atheists might like to consider Satanism – and specifically The Satanic Temple – as a friendly haven for the more philosophically active amongst them.

Religious But Not Spiritual (Sept 25) – a neat inversion of the common cliche – argues that the metaphorical figure of Satan has a lot to offer:

Satan is nothing if not one to buck the system and challenge the status quo. It’s this ethos of Satan as the adversary of a tyrannical deity that I think is the driving factor of renewed interest in Satanic thought and philosophy. Perhaps more than that though, is what Satanism provides that mere Atheism cannot. Regardless of whether we’re talking about the The Satanic Temple, the Church of Satan, or any of the other numerous Satanic organizations out there Satanists make positive belief claims rooted in a narrative that has largely been thrust upon them.

UPDATE: Jack has written a follow-up piece: More Than Philosophy (Oct 3) in response to some of the responses he’s been getting:

I’m considerably more confused by atheists who claim that Satanism isn’t a religion, while also noting that atheism is just the lack of belief in gods. They seek to relegate Satanism to only being a philosophy. However, that greatly discounts what Satanism provides beyond a mere system of thought. Our sense of community and shared values, our beliefs and practices are enough to qualify Satanism as more than just a way of thinking about things.

Can people also find those things in non-religious contexts? Of course, and no one (at least not Satanists) are trying to compel you to have a religion, or redefine whatever it is you’re into as a religion. But this bias towards relegating religion only to theists and supernaturalists seems to undermine the very idea of freethought, which must accept all viewpoints to the extent there remain unprovable claims in the world and as long as we agree there is no one right way to conduct your life.


Born in the fifties, Londoner, cyclist (exenger), collector of 7" vinyl, DJ (dance-floor & radio), lover of malt whisky, slaphead, mystic, atheist, Dadaoist, thief, liar, cheat.