By Vexen Crabtree 2008
Intellectual blasphemy questions things that religionists do not want questioned. This can include historical queries, for example, was there really an exodus of Jews from Egypt, lead by Moses? (The answer is no.) Scientific progress sometimes requires the questioning of societal taboos - which in a religious community, often means it is necessary to explore blasphemous conclusions. The very concept of blasphemy is anti-scientific and harms the search for truth. If dogmatic taboos are stifling free thought, the promotion of intentional blasphemy can be a breath of fresh air through the stale corridors of religious conservatism.
Emotional blasphemy is a personal catharsis for someone who has struggled against their own religious convictions. To purge themselves and revel in the new freedom that comes from abandoning religious beliefs, a person can go through a phase of blasphemous expression. This is healthy and normal, and should even be encouraged, to help lighten the mood of society in general, and allow people to see religious conventions in a more balanced, humorous light.
Blasphemy as warfare: In the battle against overbearing churches, who seek to limit the extent of free thought, the forceful ridiculing and questioning of the religion's tenets serves as an example to society that the church does not deserve special exemptions from freedom of expression.
The point of blaspheming is not to insult, but to show people how absurd superstitious and religious dogma is. The better you can show up and discredit the doctrines, the greater good you do. Blasphemy is required to weed out people who would restrict our speech, not for fear of us insulting people, but for us questioning concepts. The point is to make people realize how absurd the concept of blasphemy is.
Why Question Beliefs?
There is a constant need for us to question our own beliefs, and the beliefs of those around us. It creates a healthy atmosphere of skepticism and intelligence, and prevents people from coming to unreasonable conclusions. The way our brains work mean that we frequently misinterpret events and data, and in particular, we always think there is more rationality and evidence for our beliefs than there is. This all matters because when beliefs become unquestioned, a community can become increasingly divorced from reality. This is especially true when individual leaders or belief-based authorities claim to be acting in accord with a divine principle, such as God's will. When it comes to disputes, religionists can come to deny any chance of compromise. In the adult world of democratic politics, compromise in disputes is what keeps things from breaking down: you give a little in one area, but have to give up in another. However arguments based on differences in religion or belief often contain parties that believe the issue has universal, absolute and cosmic significance. They will not compromise on their position, and many ordinary believers state that they think that religious beliefs should be somehow beyond question1. Malise Ruthven in his book on fundamentalism warns that this is particularly dangerous2. It is how religious cults are formed. In extreme cases this leads to complete social rejection and the possibility of suicide cults, as has been seen many times in history for example with Charles Manson's followers and the 900 who died when the People's Temple suicided. These groups always start out with borderline, but common, beliefs and slowly become more delusional over time. In all cases followers lacked an instinct to ask questions about the beliefs. It is religion that gains most when people cease asking deep questions about beliefs, and it is truth that suffers most. Thomas Paine famously remarked that "it is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry"3. In the name of truth and common sense, do not let even trivial-seeming beliefs take hold without double-checking them, because once beliefs are trivialised, a slippery slope can take you down into madness!”
The Satanic religion is inherently blasphemous in the eyes of most other religions. It is an anti-religion and pro-blasphemy. Its patron saint is Satan, which is (suitably) a symbol of the enemy of God, as well as a symbol of death. Its tenets are atheism, materialism and a world-embracing attitude that flies in the face of spiritual religious sentiments. The art of blasphemy is not as simple as it may first seem. Saying "Jews have big noses" in order to ridicule Judaism is not blasphemy: it is racism. Personal attacks and racists target individuals, whereas blasphemy targets ideas and concepts.
Whereas Anton LaVey articulated the blasphemous nature of his new religion when he codified Satanism, it was not without precedent. The historical strains of thought that led up to the rise of Satanism had seen intentional blasphemy become a viable option for the irreligious. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) indulged in "deliberate and sustained blasphemy" according to the careful historian Prof. R. Hutton4.
For Satanists (and secular Humanists, when they think about it) attributing Human suffering to "sin" and rejection of god is insulting. Disabled people do not like to be told that they are suffering for the sins of Adam and Eve, their parents, or themselves. It is not right, and, damn it, it is downright blasphemous to tell a Satanist that his life belongs to Christ, that God loves him (a dangerous delusion), that we are inherently evil or sinful and so on. These things are seen to be by Satanists and many other freethinkers to be dehumanizing and guilt ridden sources of destitution. God itself is blasphemy in our eyes, blasphemy to Human nature, and an affront to truth.
Here is the menu from my page Blasphemy and Censorship: In Christianity and Islam:
Current edition: 2008 Oct 07
Last Modified: 2016 Feb 16
Originally published 2000 May 11
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism
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Skeptical Inquirer. Magazine. Published by Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, NY, USA. Pro-science magazine published bimonthly.
(2012) "Blasphemy and Censorship: In Christianity and Islam" (2012). Accessed 2017 Apr 12.
(1999) The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Paperback book. 2001 edition. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
(2007) Fundamentalism. Originally published 2005. Current version published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. New edition now published as part of the “Very Short Introduction” series.