The “No True Satanist” Fallacy

AS-logo-bw-black_smallThe “not a real Satanist” thing… That schtick has been rehashed for more than forty years now. It’s the Church of Satan’s variation on the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy. They would have you believe that LaVey invented Satanism and therefore anything he puts in it is Satanic and there can be no other variations.

That seems silly in a religion supposedly based on individualism. They want to protect their monopoly against new startups.

They want to set quite a high bar on challenging their claim to Satanism being their proprietary monolith. They want a religious group that self identified as religious Satanists. There is one actually. The Ophite Cultus Satanas was founded in 1948. They were like a coven of witches, but worshiped Satan and called themselves Satanists. Given that such things were usually secret, most such groups would not have been documented. That probably wasn’t the only one.

Even if that was not the case, the etymology of “Satanist” and “Satanism” goes back hundreds of years. Even if it was only the church using it as a label for enemies, it still shows the CoS does not own those words. They had meaning long before LaVey. The use of those words to demonize is one of the main reasons to use them, and that was very much what LaVey was going for too.

Various gods who have been worshiped for many thousands of years were demonized as Satan, and all contributed characteristics to our modern concept of Satan. That concept predated LaVey by centuries.

It is true that LaVey invented MODERN Satanism and popularized it. It is also true that he came up with the idea of Satanism being atheistic and using the Satan character as an archetype. It is even true that all modern Satanist organizations, both theistic and atheistic, are offshoots or at least influenced by him to some extent.

That still doesn’t grant the CoS sole rights over a mythological character that has been around for thousands of years. Setting ridiculous goal posts amounts to nothing but special pleading. Furthermore, those goals posts don’t hold up anyway. After decades of that “not a real Satanist” nonsense, it’s about time they learned another tune.

The CoS is by far the largest and most well known Satanic organization. They have no reason to feel threatened by other organizations. They aren’t going anywhere. They have a distinct philosophy that has endured. Their constant song and dance about fake Satanists, and continuous whining about it every chance they get damages their organization tenfold more than the existence of all other organizations put together. It does nothing but annoy people. It doesn’t stop anyone. They just make themselves look bad. It’s been more than forty years and has achieved nothing.