Joy Of Satan, I’ll be up front with you: You are a very deeply flawed organization. This is widely known, and I’m sure I’m not the first one to say it. Neither will I be the last. Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that your organization has served as a springboard for new Satanists of all ages to bigger and better things. It’s sort of a rite of passage to say “Well, I started of in J.o.S…”. It’s something we all can relate to.
Needless to say, I think you have a few huge problems and a huge need t fix or at least address them. Now, look, I realize that many of your members dislike criticism. This is a fact that I myself have experienced in trying to have intellectual conversation and debate with many self-identified Joy Of Satan members. We all hate being called out for our shortcomings, but it’s a necessary part of growth and evolution. As Satanists, we are obligated to step outside our comfort zone – hence “darkness”. If you’re not willing to do this, what kind of image are you projecting? Can you properly call yourself a Satanist?
One of the first thing people notice is the large amount of information. You spend quite a few pages arguing a specific point of view. Where is this information coming from? Does it have any credibility, and can it be proved? I’ve already spent time and a half deconstructing the argument of whether or not the Al Jilwah is Satanic. It’s not. Do you want to argue about it? I’d love to because I have proof that it’s not. I’ve also explored whether or not Satanism is supposedly from the far east. By all linguistic, anthropological, and historical standards that I’ve found so far, it’s not. Do you still think that the Goetic spirits are Satan’s demons? Nope and nope.
There’s large amounts of people debating whether or not academia is compatible with the occult, and spirituality in general. I agree with points on both sides of the argument. No matter what my feelings about that are, I think it is very beneficial to be able to be aware of the roots from which we grow our theologies. There are things that can be proven with science.
Joy Of Satan, you have a responsibility to hold yourself to a higher intellectual standard. As a resource of information for Satanists – no matter if it is true or false – you have the responsibility to back up your claims with references to wherever you got your information from. If you don’t, you are abdicating your duty as a Satanist to hold yourself to a higher standard than the “Abrahamic” faiths you so hate.
I’m gonna give it to you straight, J.o.S. If you’re not willing to put a bibliography on your site, then any information you put up should be considered dubious at best. And you should be willing to say so. I find it astounding that, time and time again, young, vulnerable and normally precocious individuals come into your organization only to abandon their critical thinking skills. It might be time consuming to look up facts, but it’s worth it. If you’re not willing to spend time finding out the truth, then an individual shouldn’t be a Satanist. Go somewhere else for indoctrination.
There’s a reason why your organization has a high turnover rate, and it’s not because mainstream religion hard to debunk. Granted, they’ve been doing this for a long time so they’ve had quite a while to develop more effective arguments to win people over. However, Satanism doesn’t and shouldn’t work like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, et al. We should be striving for quality, not quantity. If a person is not able to present a logical, intellectual argument for what they supposedly believe in, then there is something wrong with their belief. Telling a person to look it up themselves should not be your first answer, and telling them to ask the Gods shouldn’t be your second. This shouldn’t even be in your arsenal at all.
Let me ask you some hypothetical questions. How do you define your relationship with your gods? How do you interact with them? Are you aware how the human mind works in these cases? How can you be sure of the information you are receiving from your gods is factually true?
My problem with the approach I’ve seen of many J.o.S members is the way it’s been put. “Go look it up yourself if you don’t believe me. If you do the research then you’ll find out it’s true.” or they’ll say something that is incredibly vague like “The evidence points to…”. What’s even better is that they’ll use “evidence” that is totally irrelevant and non-academic. If you’ve got something to prove, then do so. If you can’t prove it, don’t pretend it’s the absolute truth and don’t evangelize others by saying it is. If you dare promote a culture of willful ignorance then you are no better than your enemies.
I’m going to assume you’re familiar with various arguments that deconstruct various stereotypical Judeo-Christian beliefs. I’m also going to assume that you think they are just as ridiculous as I do and are boggled as to how some one would be so quick to assume anything a deity (or holy book) tells them. Perhaps you just save this for Jehovah or Allah, because all of the J.o.S members I have ever interacted with have suggested that I “ask the gods” whether or not a demonstrable, provable fact is true.
As one of the largest, and well known groups in Theistic Satanism, you have a responsibility to not only hold yourself to a higher spiritual standard, but to enforce it in your membership. This is not to say you should tell people that one way is wrong while yours is right, but you should encourage a more realistic skepticism as to how you interact with your gods. But don’t take it from me, even Diane Vera has written about this several times on her website. She writes:
“I simply mean the art of thinking deeply and clearly. We theistic Satanists do not need to embrace any one particular ideology, but we do need a coherent understanding of whatever we do believe and why we believe it…. I should disclaim that I am no expert on philosophy. However, I’m a philosophically-inclined person. And I’ve run into many Satanists who urgently need to learn how to think more deeply and clearly than they now do, both for their own sake and so that we all will be taken more seriously as a real religion.”
I myself have gotten more than a bit tired of these things, despite my ongoing desire to connect with different types of Satanists. If for nothing else, I do it just to network. I can be tolerant to a fault, but I’m not passive in my convictions. With all of this having been said, I’ve tried to present these arguments to many of your members only to be met with hostility. I’ve also met many people who give up on relations with your organization because of this refusal to have a rational argument. If you want to be taken seriously, if you want anything you have to say to be taken seriously, you have a responsibility to to be realistic and rational in your interactions with everyone else in Satanism. This means, among other things, that you need to stop the ad hominem attacks – as well as attacks of any other kind – against anyone who disagrees with you or whom you see as a threat to your holier-than-thou sense of entitlement.
I’m not expecting you to do anything constructive in response to this. What I am expecting are the usual immature tactics I’ve seen for years now. Will you rise above that finally? I will say this: If you fail to make changes to present yourself as an intelligent, articulate, and mature organization, you will fall into the cesspool as the bar continues to rise. Good luck.