A Wretched Defense of Wretched Writ

Critical outsiders often find themselves criticizing religious groups' scriptures on grounds of both style and substance. When religious groups respond to such criticisms, they often attempt to dodge the heart of the objections by drawing attention to extremities of emotion, evoking pity by spinning tales of founders' and authors' disadvantaged backgrounds, against which the mere [...]

Wretched Writ: The Dirty Apologetics of Bad Religious Writing

There’s good reason why polite company is expected to exercise studious avoidance of the topics of religion and politics. No other areas of human concern turn so quickly and viciously polemical. Whole books have been devoted to explaining and understanding our extraordinarily ugly groupishness when it comes to these domains. I’ve recently been reading two [...]

Mansplaining Satanism: The Church of Rational Satanism offers its thoughts on why The Satanic Temple are “no true Satanists”

The name of the Church of Rational Satanism (CoRS) would seem to imply, via the linguistic principle of markedness, the existence of irrational or at least non-rational Satanism. Personally, I’ve always taken the phenomenon of so-called theistic Satanism—you know, the folks who believe in and worship an existent being named Satan—as exemplary of a non-rational, [...]

When Art Isn’t Just for Art’s Sake: The Uses of an Ugly Aesthetic in Satanism

Confession Satanists tend to be proud sinners, so they probably shouldn’t have much in the way of confessions to make. For the most part, that’s true of me as well, but I do have one small one to get off my chest. I really don’t care for death metal or extreme metal or black metal [...]

Tanis, Egypt: Satan’s Citadel or Unholy Translational Error?

Ira Levin’s 1967 novel Rosemary’s Baby and the eponymous 1968 Roman Polanski film based on it both make frequent reference to a mysterious substance called “Tannis Root.” In both book and movie, the substance serves as a convenient plot device and, in film parlance, MacGuffin, simultaneously both marking those who have been compromised in the [...]