The Role of Religious Community, a.k.a. “Church” Family, in TST

A local chapter member and friend who I frequently run into at neighborhood metal bars, burlesque shows, and—really, everywhere, it seems, except TST events and meetings—recently explained he’d been absent because he felt he wasn’t “doing” anything at the meetings themselves or contributing substantively to the organization. My first impulse was to suggest outcome-oriented, irrefutably productive acts of devotion like volunteering at a reproductive rights fundraiser or writing a blog post for our website.  Since there are a fair number of TST members—many of whom lack prior affiliation with any religious group–were drawn in by its political activism and engagement in public affairs, there can be a perceived urgency to have a measurable impact socially, legally, environmentally, and so on, or else languish in futility, orbiting unnoticed.

Because my scruples were tequila’d into submission, I suggested the obvious before recognizing (to myself or to him) that a wonderfully salubrious social impact of TST occurs within the chapter itself, not just in the ethical deeds we extend to the vestiges of civilization. I’m referring to what other religions term “church family,” and it’s a major reason why non-believers and skeptics can be found in traditional houses of worship on Sunday mornings or whenever it is they congregate.

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The Barcode of the Beast

For millenialist Christians, symbols and code have supreme power.  Ministers and preachers for centuries have tried to determine the return of Jesus Christ by interpreting the writings of the Bible, in particular the book of Revelation.  Amongst whores riding beasts, rampaging supernatural horsemen, and evil inversions of Christ, one symbol stands out.  666, the number of the beast.  666 serves as a simple proxy, the mark that Satan, grand adversary to Christ, places on those who forsake His teachings.  Featured in the Left Behind novels by Jerry B. Jenkins, the 1972 film “A Thief in the Night,” and the eponymous song by Iron Maiden.  It plays on fears of a fascist state marking its citizens to control every aspect of their personal lives.  On a symbolic level it is powerful, a way to remark on a corrupt godless world, and obviously the perversion of retail inventory systems.  Yes, to some end times believers, 666 has infiltrated the very systems we use to buy groceries.

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Satanic Panic and Dish Soap Distribution

It’s a remarkable story, straining reasonable credulity. The head of a major international corporation goes on the air and on the record with a major broadcaster and reveals their contributions to a national organization of Satanists. What’s more, when asked how he could admit such an incendiary move, he declares “well, there are so few Christians left in America it’s not worth the trouble hiding it any longer.”

This outlandish story could easily have been an expose on Breitbart, or an unhinged screed on a distant relative’s Facebook. Except this story begins in the 80s, as the nation came to grips with a changing social and political world which many conservative communities blamed, perversely, on Satanists. Continue reading “Satanic Panic and Dish Soap Distribution”

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Compassion is not what you think it is – Part 2

Compassion is not what you think it is – Part 2
Hofman A Turing

This is the second part of an essay exploring compassion from the perspective of a member of The Satanic Temple (TST).

You can find Part 1 here, and for a primer on Buddhism, modern Satanism, and the LHP/RHP check out Part 1.5 here.

Part II

“Compassion has nothing to do with achievement at all. It is spacious and very generous. When a person develops real compassion, he is uncertain whether he is being generous to others or to himself because compassion is environmental generosity, without direction, without ‘for me’ and without ‘for them.’” – Chögyam Trungpa *

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” – Elie Wiesel *

In the second part of this series we briefly explore Buddhist compassion, wisdom, will, and death.

In Part 1 I mentioned 20th century Tibetan master Chögyam Trungpa’s understanding that “true compassion has the potential to appear cruel or ruthless.*” To be clear, I am not suggesting that compassion cannot include acts of kindness. Nor am I promoting the idea that we should set out to be ruthless or cruel. Actual compassion requires a lot of maturity, skill, knowledge, and experience to know when it’s appropriate to go one way or the other.

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Compassion is not what you think it is – Part 1

This essay is the first in a series exploring compassion from the perspective of a member of The Satanic Temple (TST).

Compassion is not what you think it is – Part 1
Hofman A Turing

This essay is the first in a series exploring compassion from the perspective of a member of The Satanic Temple (TST). For those unfamiliar with TST it is highly recommended that you first read this brief FAQ.

PART I

“It is compassion rather than the principle of justice which can guard us against being unjust to our fellow men.” – Bruce Lee

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. – Carl Jung

Compassion is a ubiquitous word. As with many words it is like a subjectively interpreted ink blotter test. It is commonly assumed that we all know what it means, and that this meaning is shared with whomever we are communicating. Yet, we talk past each other all the time without realizing it, and more acutely when certain words are in the mix, such as compassion. It would be standard practice for me to offer a definition at this point, but for now I’m allowing the Rorschach dynamic to remain in play. I will offer a definition shortly.

Continue reading “Compassion is not what you think it is – Part 1”

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