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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Satanism and Melton & Moore's 8-family religious categorisations

"How Does Satanism Fit Into Melton & Moore's 8 Religious Categories?" by Vexen Crabtree (2007)

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But... that's only five. o.o

I open the page by stating (and listing) three categories that are so unsuitable as to not even warrant saying why. For example, the Latter-Day Saint family.

So you do! I'm afraid I was distracted by the big shiny heading immediately below and missed that line.

Vexen, I think you misunderstand the Metaphysical family. Consider the chief examples of it: Christian Science, New Thought, Jewish Science, Religious Science, Unity School of Christianity. What do they all have in common? Reality is all good; evil is just an illusion; if we stop believing in evil it will go away; prayer is the means by which we stop believing in evil. Many of these groups oppose the use of medicine - disease only happens because we believe in disease, so instead of using medicine to cure disease, we can use prayer to stop believing in disease - if we stop believing in it, it will go away.

Very few Satanists would agree with the above. I think Satanists prefer a realist approach to reality - things are real, whether we like them to be that way or not, they really happen, they are not just illusions. The world, in all its good and its bad, is out there, and it is as it is, whether you want it to be that way or not. If you don't like the way the world is, and you want to change it, then you need to do things (with your hands), speak/write to influence the behaviour of others, etc. You can't make the world the way you want it to be just by thinking it to be that way.

I think you are latching on to the words "denying evil", but I think you are interpreting them in a very different way from the Metaphysical family. If I understand you right, for you denying "evil" means to deny the ultimate validity of our concept of evil - "good" and "evil" are constructs of the human mind, and not ultimate properties of the universe - "evil" only exists because we have chosen to label things which exist as "evil" - they are not good or evil in themselves, only in our own judgements. But, the Metaphysical family interprets "deny evil" in a very different sense - unlike you, it doesn't deny the existence of an objective standard of evil - it denies evil in the sense that nothing which appears to meet that standard actually exists the way we think it does. If someone says "cancer is evil", then you deny evil in the sense that cancer is not in any ultimate sense good or evil, you see "evil" as just an expression of our dislike for cancer. The Metaphysical family, they believe that cancer is in an ultimate sense evil, but since evil according to them does not really exist, it follows that the cancer isn't really there, it's just a delusion. As soon as you stop believing in cancer, it will go away.

You are viewing the part about "health" and "wealth" as peripheral, but it is core to the Metaphysical family - if you stop believing you are sick, you will be healthy; if you stop believing you are poor, you will be rich. This is how the family sells itself, it is how it has always attracted people. You say their description is "USA-centric", but actually the family is - this family was founded in 19th century US. Making it one of the "major families" may well be US-centric - although it has spread now to many other nations - but given it originated in the US I don't see how we can call its definition US-centric.

"Metaphysical" is a very broad term, with a wide range of meanings. But Melton & Moore's "Metaphysical family" does not refer to everything which has ever been called, or which might reasonably be called, "Metaphysical". It refers to one specific movement, one specific grouping of sects. Probably, it was a bad choice of name, since people who follow other, largely unrelated, "metaphysical" things, will look for themselves in it, and get mislead.

I don't think Melton & Moore are proposing that every religion in history fits into their 8 families. Some religions are not going to fit very well, or fit at all. But, they think it fits well for the religions they focused on in developing it, and they may well be right. But other religions, which they saw as less important - which maybe has a factual basis, or maybe is just their biases - they didn't care so much about how well their model fitted them, so those will not fit so well their model. A truly accurate model would have far more than 8 families - and, as new religions are constantly being founded, the number of families would keep on growing.

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