No one was more surprised about this than me, but I recently found a religion that I actually decided to join. There were two things that convinced me to sign up. One, I was really impressed with the work they were doing, and two, their tenets really resonated with me. The seven tenets are as follows:
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
- Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
- People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
- Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word
Yes, that’s right, I actually managed to find a religion that is not only atheistic, but also rejects supernaturalism in favor of using science as the best tool we have to understand the world. I’d never thought something like this existed before, but I found the idea of a religion that does not require believing in supernatural nonsense to be rather fascinating.
You might ask, what makes it a religion, if it has no supernatural beliefs? A lot of the same things that are common to other relgions: community, shared values, symbolism, mythology (though we acknowledge that our mythology is myth, unlike most religions), rituals (not all members engage in ritual, and there’s no standard set of rituals–the understanding is that rituals are for the sake of those performing them, so whatever has value or meaning to the individual member makes a good ritual), and donation opportunities (which fund current projects, such as efforts to defend the separation of church and state–you could say it’s political activism as religious devotion).
Of course, the idea of religion without superstition isn’t the only thing that caught my interest. I really like the seven tenets, because they are all values I already hold. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the idea that one’s body is subject to one’s own will alone. As a trans person, I have really had quite enough of other people thinking it’s any of their business what I do with my own body.
As I already mentioned, I also really like some of the things they are doing. For instance, when a Christian group was distributing religious materials to school children in some public schools in Florida, they applied to distribute some of their own religious materials. And when the school couldn’t find any reason to reject these non-Christian religious materials based on content, they suddenly decided that maybe it isn’t okay to let outside groups hand out religious materials to school children after all.
So yea, that’s why I decided to join the Satanic temple. As a bonus, I now have more excuses to wear my black cloak, outside of just Halloween and ren faires. Also, inverted pentagram pendants are cool.