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Satanism and CFI
Posted: 11 August 2007 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Well, to paraphrase what has been pointed out to me in another thread, you can define “satanism” as “seven buckets of fish” if you want to. But Merriam-Webster didn’t just make up a definition. It reflects what words are commonly understood to mean. If you wish to alter that understanding, by all means go for it. But it is disingenuous to act as if the common understanding can be ignored just because it’s not how you see the meaning. If you use the word, people will think what they will, you seem smart enough to realize what that will be, so all I’m saying is your attempt to educate shouldn’t begin with the presumption that the word doesn’t really mean what everyone thinks it does. That’s not how language works. “popular opinion” may be idiotic, but it is defintive with respect to the definitions of words. You claim a work and bnegin to remake it, and you will have to deal with all the baggage that comes along. You can’t just redefine it out of existence.

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Posted: 11 August 2007 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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What is the meaning of the word “is”?

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Posted: 12 August 2007 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I rest my case.

I consider the CFI forum as the only place for serious public discussion of the most profound and basic questions, the essence of Philosophy.

I thought POI is one of the PR arms of CFI, mostly promoting ideas, new books and events related to Humanism. The Humanist Late Night Show if you will!

Mr. Gilmore sticks out as the element that does not belong in the group that has the names of Kurtz, Hoffman, Nickell, Hitchens, Harris, etc… in it.

I am curious as to what were the consequences of staging the “Satanic Mass” at the West Coast CFI center as mentioned in the post cast.

I thought the Dr. DeBunko episode was also a little off-place but the essence of the comic book as described in the podcast is consistent with Rational Thinking and Humanism, I just don’t read comic books (I wait for the movies to come out!)

I still believe that the episode should be discarded, I would not like to see CFI, POI associated with “Satanism” on any Internet or iTunes search.

Mr. Gilmore can exercise his right to free speech with his own resources, there are many free “blogs” for those that are always looking to have their 15 minutes…

We know that there is serious discrimination in the US society against Secularism and Natural Humanism. I don’t know of any scientific opinion polls of Public perception of Humanism, I hope that someday we all can state without fear of consequences that we are Humanists when asked about religion in the Hospital or U.S. Census questions. I doubt that any association with Satanism (even as a spoof) will help the public perception and understanding of Humanism and Reason.

If there are no speakers available for a weekly show, I would rather wait until a respected Scientist or Philosopher can spare the 30-60 minutes the POI interview involves.

Sometimes the bottom of the barrel should not be scraped, in my community the sewage sludge is treated before is sold as fertilizer, untreated fecal material, like some ideas, just stink and I personally avoid them.

I hope that there would be enough Espinoza and Kant scholars to have a weekly podcast of discussions of serious and relevant ideas if there is a need to “fill time”.

[ Edited: 12 August 2007 08:38 AM by OhioDoc ]
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Posted: 12 August 2007 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I loved having Gilmore on POI, as did others at CFI and Free Inquiry magazine. I certainly object to the characterization that such a guest is “bottom of the barrel” or “sewage sludge.” In fact, interesting topics that merit our attention are raised by the Satanists. Over-the-top rhetoric like is above is typical of online forums, but is unfortunate, just as it is unfortunate that a personal opinion about a guest actually leads to calls for boycotting the show, or making it impossible for a listener to ever recommend it to anyone or even to ever listen to it again (as happened on an atheist discussion forum after we featured Peter Irons and also earlier in this thread). 

Satanism (the kind espoused by Gilmore and his church) has similarities with secular humanism and atheism (the naturalistic worldview), just as the Church of the Subgenius and other parody organizations/movements do. Of course, there are many differences, as highlighted during the show. The differences have to do with the ethical foundations for each perspective, which is fruitful to explore. (I’d like to have a show on Objectivism at some point in the coming months, for instance).

I bet some of the hand-wringing about having a Satanist on the show (or at CFI West) has to do with 1) a fear of the negative PR effects, and 2) an actual bristling at the word “Satanism,” showing an ignorance of what it means. So if one result of all this is that you learn something about Satanism, all the better. As for not liking the association with “Satanism,” well, others have such a knee-jerk reaction to the word “atheism.” This highlights that just as some Christians make secular humanists into devils, some rationalists have their own scapegoats. Surely our community can be more tolerant and open minded than the religious conservatives.

To address each of these objections above in turn: 1) to shy away from topics or discussions only for fear of negative PR consequences is anathema to our mission. We might as well pretend to believe in the supernatural and to agree with our cultural competitors if all we care about is not rocking the boat. 2) Diversity of thought and opinion, even within our humanist/atheist/skeptic community is an ideal we prize. That includes making room for diverse people who push the envelope to attend events and be featured in some off-the-wall programming at CFI West or as guests on POI.

I would also add that puncturing the pretentions of the religious in our society through parody and satire has its uses.

Yes, POI is at once an outreach vehicle (our listenership is by and large new people, not historically subscribed to the magazines or part of the humanist or skeptic movements, and this is a success—tens of thousands of people have been introduced to skepticism and humanism who hadnt previously heard of the magazines or the organizations), but it is also a place to explore and debate topics of interest to the humanist/atheist/secularist/skeptic community. Hence, Barry Karr, executive director of CFI and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry suggested Dr. Debunko for an episode (a good choice, since we have had dozens of comic book lovers who didnt know there was a skeptic and humanist movement to get involved, subscribe to SI and FI, etc.), and we have had shows about ghosts, UFOs and other topics surrounding skepticism and the paranormal. Additionally, we have had episodes that deal with the humanist and atheist movements, and shows about secular ethics. We will have shows in the future that focus on religious voices that are culturally opposed to the secular humanist position, just as we will have episodes that explore perspectives on the paranormal that challenge the skeptical worldview.

I am impressed that listeners to a free radio show and podcast are so invested in it that they become very upset when a guest says something they disagree with, or when they disapprove of a certain guest being on the show. But I would also be impressed if members of our movement were more open to dialogue and differing perspectives, allowing that they might learn something from those with whom they disagree.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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DJ,
While I certainly wouldn’t call for a boycott of the show over something as silly as Mr. Gilmore’s (High Priest Gilmore’s?) Satanism, which I think is just a form of objectivism dressed in horns and a forked tail, I disagree with a couple of your comments. I still think you and Mr. Gilmore are being disingenuous in pretending that you can simply choose to redefine a word as culturally loaded as Satanism however you wish and then criticise others for “misunderstanding” it. The Church of Satan is deliberately choosing a word with such negative resonance to fulfill its goal as “adversary” to religious traditions, especially Christianity. If CFI wishes to be associated with such juvenile and gratuitous pinching of believers’ noses, fair enough, but I think it is reasonable for members to be concerned about this being a distraction from, or even contrary to, the larger goals of the organization. It is not intolerant to object to associating CFI with such a word or practice if it seems inconsistent with what we think the mission of the organizatiopn we support should be. If people are speaking passionately, that may reflect how strongly they feel about the subject rather than simple intolerance. And if you consider “bottom of the barrel” over-the-top rhetoric, surely “satanism” is a bit over-the-top as well?

As for the issue of open and free discussion, I think there is a touch of hypocrisy there. CFI has declared some topics off limits before, partly because they fall outside the perceived mission and partly because they might give fodder to our “cultural competitors” to misrepresent us. There was a long and painful thread on that subject some time ago. You don’t feel this particular topic falls into that category, and you certainly could make a strong argument to that effect. Ultimately, I supposed the subject can be made to fit, but that doesn’t make it a smart or productive choice. Though I don’t wish to make and ad hominem I wonder if your particular political or aesthetic sympathies towards Mr. Gilmore’s agenda might be coloring your view, just as mine undoubtedly color mine. I consider myself a secular humanist, and I don’t find the Church of Satan’s message or agenda at all appealing, and in many ways it is in opposition to what I believe. As such, I wince at the notion of CFI and CSH being seen as in sympathy with them. Clearly, at least, many members here are not. Just as Mr. Gilmore does not wish his church’s members to be martyrs for their beliefs, I’m not so sure I want CFI to abandon all sense in terms of what is effective in promoting an image of our community to the larger culture. I’m all for free discussion, but I just hope you don’t dismiss out of hand the reactions to this episode as intolerant or narrow-minded, and appreciate that reflect for some of us an honest concern about the values and agenda CFI is associated with and the effectiveness with which POI promotes those.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Interesting, Brennen; I don’t see at all that interviewing a satanist means anything about CFI intending to associate itself with their views. (DJ explicitly says this after each podcast—and in this case he emphasized it!) Indeed, I think it is important for DJ to be open to interviewing some of our “cultural competitors” from time to time. DJ himself said on the last podcast that he’d attempted to bring onto the show some conservative Christians, but they invariably declined. I see the church of Satanism in a similar light; that is, they aren’t a group CFI is or should be associated with, but are instead something of an odd “competitor”.

I guess what I’m saying is that we should expect DJ to interview people with whom we disagree from time to time, and not assume that simply because a person is on PoI that it’s because we like what they are saying.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Respectfully, Mr. Grothe, you are sounding a little like Bill Clinton splitting hairs and distorting definitions and general perceptions of terms. It is disingenuous to claim that Satanism is a spoof, performance act like “Magic”. When you use the word Satan and Satanism, the majority of the people in our society believe that there is a fallen angel that roams the Earth looking for souls and some people worship this fictional/mythic dark and evil entity.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Doug,
Well, I certainly agree that interviewing people with contrary points of view would be valuable. I didn’t get the impression from this episode, though, that DJ felt, or communicated, that Satanism fell into this category, despite the usual disclaimer. It would be quite easy to get the impression from this episode, whatever DJ intended, that Satanism was, as Mr. Gilmore repeatedly claimed, just another sub-category of atheism, in the same general family as secular humanism. It would be much harder to get that impression from an interview with, say, Phyllis Schafly or Jerry Falwell (antemortem, of course). And as DJ himself pointed out during the controversy I referred to, our cultural competitors will make such an association as it to their advantage and consistent with their biases to do so. In the previous debate, I supported having the discussion despite this risk because I thought concerns about our public image shouldn’t dictate the limits of our public inquiry. This situation, however, has caused me to wonder if I wasn’t being a bit idealistic in that regard. I have enough trouble explaining what secular humanism is and isn’t, and defending the moral position of atheism, without having to contend with explaining what Gilmore’s defintion of Satanism is and why it doesn’t mean what most people think it means and why what I believe and what he believes have not so very much to do with each other.

Anyway, I don’t claim to have any business telling DJ who to interview, but I guess I find it hard to take Satanism seriously as a meaningful philosophical point of view that humanists, atheists, and scientific naturalists need to deal with. So it seems like running the risk of CFI being seen as supportive of an organization that is deliberately and gratuitously trying to stir up antipathy on the part of religious believers by adopting a label that the vast majority of the culture will associate with glorification of evil, with not much payoff in terms of serious exploration of issues of interest or relevance to the organization’s mission. And I was only trying to point out to DJ that the objections to the episode might not siply be prejudice or narrow-mindedness, but something a bit more reasonable and substantive.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I feel compelled to share my story.

Like many others in this community I was raised in the Catholic Religion, it may be impossible to eliminate some of the brain washing, fears and prejudice that was inflicted on me! But I will keep trying to be a good human that believes only in Humanism.

I don’t recall how I came in contact with the CFI and POI, but I have listened to all the podcasts, it has been my extramural education. I don’t know if I would have listened and looked forward to every Friday if I had come across the Satanism issue early on, I probably would have dismissed the whole project of learning through the POI podcasts. It is quite possible that my reaction is more a reflection of my Catholic upbringing.

I am curious what is the background of the other Forum members that share my concern and want to stay as far away from anything that is close to the worship of any supernatural being. I understand that Mr. Gilmore claims to be an atheist, I just find it intellectually offensive to hear that a Satanic “mass” was held at CFI West and that he is featured in the POI podcasts.

I would like to suggest that you conduct some sort of POI author peer review; if the majority of the respected participants find the issue of equating Humanism with this “New Style Satanism” offensive or even mildly objectionable I would like to suggest that POI scrape off Mr. Gilmore’s podcast as just an honest mistake. In the spirit of “Free Speech”, keep the podcast available through CFI but not part of POI, at the very least edit the website introduction to make sure that it is perfectly clear that Satanism is not part of Humanism and Rational Thinking.

Please show some insight and apply the lessons from Ms. Tavris episode!

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Posted: 12 August 2007 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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OhioDoc - 12 August 2007 11:52 AM

I feel compelled to share my story. (snip)
I am curious what is the background of the other Forum members that share my concern and want to stay as far away from anything that is close to the worship of any supernatural being. I understand that Mr. Gilmore claims to be an atheist, I just find it intellectually offensive to hear that a Satanic “mass” was held at CFI West and that he is featured in the POI podcasts.

I too came to discover CFI and PoI before this show aired, and gained a respect for the organization - and that was after attending the Satanic High Mass at CFI West.

I was not raised in a religiously oppressive household, I went to church regularly for the first time when my father remarried and he went to please his new wife (though insisted on the more civilized Moravian instead of what I assume to be her Southern Baptist background. One day when the minister of the Church handed me a Bible with my name on it (in 1986) I thought “Huh, that’s strange, they’re kind of saying that I belong to this boring nonsense, they didn’t ask me or anything!” and I did all that I could to stop attending services. My father is a kind, loving man, and probably didn’t want to really go anyway - so I rarely went.

Sorry, no beatings or horror stories of molestation, but Satanists have a lot of people assume that we’re ex-Catholics with an inverted cross to bear. This may be why saying I’m part of a “religion” doesn’t bother me as much as it would an ex-catholic.

It was after reading the Satanic Bible and having discussions with a close friend that I discovered this incredible philosophy based on nature, the carnal, reason, and it had such style - boy did it! It was a few years before I said “Okay, I’m a Satanist, that’s for sure” and another few years before I said “I’m going to support the one organization that has been the spearhead of this philosophy” - and that was the Church of Satan.

Again, no kid touching, animal sacrifices, blood orgies or even midnight cave initiations. It clicked because it made sense. Satanism encouraged my interest in the WORLD, for I had no need to ponder the heavens - there was plenty of mystery and magic to be found.

Zoom ahead a decade, I find myself entering into a building with a scrolling border with the names of many of my personal heroes and men I admired - Darwin, Galileo, Hume, Spinoza, etc… These names scrolled along the top of the walls and shelves with books from one of my favorite publisher Prometheus (in the interview Peter mentions “Atheism: The Case Against God” - this book was one of the most influential works in my youth).

Some of living people in the room at CFI West on 6-6-06 were folks I’ve come to know and admire over the years, all Satanists - and of the ones I admired the most, I bet every one of them could give a brief biography of most of the folks listed on that banner of “Heroic Freethinkers”.

I consider Peter Gilmore to be a personal friend of mine as well as a mentor. I was skeptical of him at first, just as I was of Satanism, the Center for Inquiry, and chicken fried steak. I love chicken fried steak, respect and love Peter, and I’m starting to like CFI, but just like the Church of Satan, I probably won’t like everyone else who likes it too - and I don’t expect every one of you to like me either.

“Oh and DAMMIT, I’m not going to be in town long enough to see Janet Klein perform on the same stage!” - I own the “Living in Sin” CD and a bunch of Ian Whitcomb albums. I had no idea they performed at CFI!

Just a few months ago I shook Christopher Hitchens hand, I’d just read his “God is not Great”, I’ve watched every lecture by Stephen Pinker and his “Blank Slate” is now in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Recently I picked up “God, the Failed Hypothesis” and even “Nothing” (a book I gave to my mother, who isn’t religious, but does have some kinda wonky ideas - though I love her dearly). I’ve read “The End of Faith” and have a copy of “The Best of the Brain” being delivered to my doorstep pretty soon. I bet that my reading list overlaps other folks here nicely, and diverges greatly (I haven’t read on single Harry Potter book, I like Micky Spillane).

I never thought that CFI or PoI would uphold the Church of Satan as brothers in arms, and I expected that if an interview did come about, it would cause some controversy. I don’t want to convert anyone to Satanism, but if you don’t see that we overlap probably more than we diverge on what I feel are the most important issues, I think you’re being short sighted.

We are everyone’s devils, as DJ Grothe stated in his introduction to the interview, and that I’m comfortable with. I’ve always felt that the word Satanism proved to be a fantastic filter - those who can’t get past it always seem to be uptight folks who are going to have a problem with something else I find an interest in anyway.

I have an eclectic and often taboo collection of interests, from my 2000+ vintage 8mm/Super 8 porno films to my hardline atheism. The books my partner and I publish reflect my unbowed spirit, and our name Scapegoat Publishing and our slogan “Blame Us!” was not invented by a marketing team but by me.
Go ahead, blame me, see if I care or see if it changes my mind. The only thing that will change my mind is proof that I’m wrong, and then I’ll admit it - just like science.

Though I did LOVE the line from Robert M. Sapolsky in the book “What’s Your Dangerous Idea?”:

“...I might continue to believe that there is no god even if it were proved that there is. A religious friend of mine once remarked that the concept of god is useful, because you can berate god during the bad times. But it is clear to me that I don’t need to believe there is a god in order to berate him.”

[ Edited: 12 August 2007 12:51 PM by KevinISlaughter ]
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Posted: 12 August 2007 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I love that you mentioned Sapolsky. He has this brilliant series out on the neurological determinants of personality, and his books are incredibly interesting, funny and he’s a great speaker. He’s on our list to have on the show.

Now, about some rationalists quarreling with satanists’ definition of satanism—ask any professor of comparitive religions, or historian of american religion, and they will say what was said on the show—that satanism is a secular movement that holds the figure or symbol of satan (Miltonic satan who says “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” or like out of Twain’s Letters from the Earth) as rebel and adversary to be their ideal. It is a sub-category or kind of atheism, just as members of the church of the sub-genus are, in my opinion. Religion scholars find the topic of satanism incredibly interesting for such reasons, going back to LeVay’s reasons for founding of the church in the ‘60s. It isnt just (somehow) an atheistic religion, but defiantly so. As such, we found it worth exploring some of the things they say pertaining to atheism, humanism and secularism on the show, and focused on differences between their “epicurean atheism” and secular humanism.

It should be said that there was never really such a thing as actual devil worship in contemporary times, and CSICOP was involved years ago in debunking the widespread hysteria about it, and the supposed network of satanists involved in ritual child sacrifice and abuse, recovery of (false) memories, and the like. Frontline did a great documentary on it too.

Lastly, the argument against having a satanist on the show (that it can be used as ammunition by our cultural competitors) is the same argument that some humanists made to not have the likes of Hitchens, Dawkins and other prominent atheists on the show or in the magazines, simply for fear of tarnishing the humanist good name by association with the dirty little atheists. On the contrary, I think there is room for many voices in the debate on secularism, skepticism and religion and the paranormal, even those we dont agree with. (Thats not to say we should provide a forum for those talking about having sexual activity with their children, in reference to Brennen McKenzie’s comment above about some topics falling outside the scope of these forums, or even POI for that matter).

[ Edited: 12 August 2007 02:34 PM by DJ Grothe ]
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Posted: 12 August 2007 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Please excuse my logic illiteracy as I try to build some logical arguments:

1) Humanism denies the existence of supernatural beings that affect humans

2) Some Satanists actually are secular humanists/atheists. I don’t know if some Satanists actually believe in “Satan”, I have not been in contact with anyone with that belief, and I am not going to investigate that, it does not directly concern me! None of my business, I don’t care.

There may be Humanists that are also “Satanists” but all Humanists are not “Satanists”.

If all Satanists are actually non-believers, I hope they do not try to hijack Humanism and that Humanists in general rise against such an idea.

In the USA we are lucky that there is no State Religion (not yet, I sent my ACLU membership fee to try to make sure that Religion and Government remain separated!), the reality is that the majority of Americans are “Believers” or pretend to be. The General Public perception of “Satanism” is that they worship the “Devil”, just like Hindus worship various different entities, Jews believe in G-d, Christians in Christ, Muslims in Mohamed, on and on ad nauseum….

Doug said:

Satanism is a Christian invention, going back centuries.

A quick Wikipedia (sorry for the reference!) search links Lucifer, Satan beliefs to Judaism, Zoroastrianism, making it even older than Christianity, I am sure there are some correlates in Eastern Theology/Philosophy but I have yet to catch up in my Mythology studies and Joseph Campbell’s writings.

I wish to remain far away from anything even remotely liked to “evil” worshiping, my genes and memes are taking over.

I do not even want to be remotely associated with macabre or “Gothic” practices, costumes or ideas.

I do not believe in “Evil” or the “Dark Side”, I prefer to leave that part to the movies and TV shows as some form of entertainment available to those that want it.

I do not mock or ridicule Catholics, Jews, Bahai’s, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans, Buddhists…... In the most benign assessment of this “New Satanism” it would be a shocking grotesque farce against all religious belief (theatrical nonreligion?). I do not want to be part of it.

I recently paid my membership fee to join CFINO after attending Dr. Krauss superb lecture in Cleveland, that is the kind of activity I want to support, participate and enjoy. Lauren Becker I believe organized it.  If it is not perfectly clear to me that CFI is not associated with Satanism I will just walk away, disappointed in the fragility of Human logic. I will have to quench my intellectual thirst elsewhere.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Peter Gilmore explores the similarities of atheism and Satanism, how science and Darwin’s theory of evolution may undergird its worldview and ethics, and how Satanism is a theatrical “nonreligion.” He also shares his opinions about recent strategies to popularize atheism, and contrasts Satanic ethics with other nonreligious ethical perspectives such as secular humanism and Objectivism.

I object to use of the word similarities, the similarity is only in Mr. Gilmore’s mind. BTW, I listened to the podcast twice to make sure that my initial fury was not clouding my assessment

If Satanists are closet Humanists, then I will say come out of the closet!

If somebody needs help discarding Satanism, let this community know, in the same way that CFI has a program to help alcoholics with a secular program I am sure that there are plenty of resources among this community of intelligent people that can help.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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LOL I think satanists would certainly say they are not closet humanists, just as objectivists would deny such a comparison. (There are stark disagreements over ethics between these various positions). But they are atheists. This little forum dust-up, and the plethora of emails we’ve gotten in the last day (both positive and negative), shed some light on the party-line versus individualist approach to organizing atheists and humanists.

Years ago, we had a Marxist-humanist dialogue and similar emotions percolated among some of our readers and supporters—how dare we let ourselves be compared to or associated with communists! But the similarities and differences were thought to be useful to explore at the time, and I’m glad Paul Kurtz put on that event. (We also did a Vatican-humanist dialogue at one point, I believe. Vatican II was in a sense humanist, afterall).

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Posted: 12 August 2007 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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DJ,
Well, I still disagree that the fact that satanists and specialists in religious history define satanism in a certain way has anything to do with how it is understood in the wider culture. I cannot imagine that you or Mr. Gilmore seriously expect the average American to interpret the meaning of the word the way you do. And as someone interested in language, I believe the “true” meaning of a word, insofar as such a thing exists, is what the majority of speakers of that language think it means. Whether there never actually was any meaningful worship of the devil isn’t really the point, but rather what impact the word has on the people who hear it. Still, I only raise the issue because you seem to think that only the narrow-minded and ignorant would find the word troublesome, and I just think that judgement is a bit unfair. I accept that Mr. Gilmore means to use the word as he has defined it, so my objections to his point of view have nothing to do with fear of devil worship. I just think it’s naive to assume people discovering CFI through POI are going to hear what you hear in the word.

As for the PR issue, it was you who suggested it as one of many reasons for not permitting the masturbation discussion (though you attributed the concern to “some colleagues”), which is why I suggested there might be some hypocrisy in dismissing it now. At the time I thought it was a bit inconsistent with the notion of free inquiry to worry about misperception, so I am a bit chagrined to find myself today wondering if would be smarter for PR reasons to avoid associating CFI with the Church of Satan. I guess if you truly feel the group has somehting meaningful to offer for discussion, than integrity demands you give them the forum to do so. I’m not convinced they have anything valuable to contribute just because they happen to be atheists, but that’s just my opinion and colored by my own personal biases (I would be just as happy not to have to explain that not all atheists are objectivists as to not have to explain that we are not devil worshippers, but again just my political slant).

I’m not suggesting that you discard the interview or that you shouldn’t have aired it or anything like that. In fact, I found nothing either objectionable or enlightening in Mr. Gilmore’s comments. But your defense of the interview still seems dismissive of any legitimacy to concerns about it (“hand-wringing,” “ignorance” of what the word Satanism means, “fear” of negative PR). I won’t push the point since I don’t think there is really any major controversy here worth debating at length, I guess I just found your response itself a little less than open to different points of view.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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mckenzievmd - 12 August 2007 03:54 PM

And as someone interested in language, I believe the “true” meaning of a word, insofar as such a thing exists, is what the majority of speakers of that language think it means.

Does this also apply to words like:

scientific
proof
evidence

wink

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