Podcasts/Sacred Tension-AMA From Christianity to SatanismMASTERED7o4wu

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AMA_From_Christianity_to_SatanismMASTERED7o4wu SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, question, asks, christianity, christ, satanism, christian, life, satanic temple, satanist, tst, commons, riots, thought, fucking, long, missionary, satan, rock candy, transcendence SPEAKERS Stephen Bradford Long, Matt Langston

Matt Langston 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. Hey guys, my name is Matt Langston. I am a music producer, a mix engineer and an avid unicorn enthusiast and I would like to invite you over to my podcast 11 D live on eleventy life, we get to talk to your favorite artists, producers and creators about what makes them tick. We take deep dives into where they get their juiciest inspirations from and how they keep from being cynical about all of it. We even get to pull back the curtain on my band eleventy seven and share some fun insider tips and tricks for our fellow bandmates and creators out there. So be sure to check out eleventy life right here on the rock candy Podcast Network and wherever you get your favorite shows.

Stephen Bradford Long 00:40 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one go to rock candy recordings.com. All right, well, this episode is a bit of an experiment. This is the first ever solo asked me anything episode. Now, I might do this and decide that it is just a complete disaster, that I was just, you know, sitting in my office babbling incoherently for an hour or two. And that we really don't ever want to do that again. And that my audience doesn't want to hear me babble incoherently into the into the void into into the emptiness for a long period of time. But I thought I would give it a try. Because I do get asked quite a few questions about my personal life, about Christianity, about Satanism, about philosophy about you know, all sorts of stuff, my opinions on all sorts of stuff. And so I thought that I would start a series in which I addressed these questions. Now I want to make it clear from the very beginning. I am not an expert in anything. All right, I am just a dude, with a microphone, I am just sitting here spouting off. I have no special degrees in anything. I have no special expertise in anything. I rather see this as a conversation, you submit your questions, I respond. And maybe that can be the beginning of an interesting conversation between us between equals not between an expert and a peasant, or what have you. This is a conversation. I am not an expert. I'm your equal. I think that long form conversations like this are really important. But please keep in mind, nothing I say here is final. Nothing I say here is nothing I say here cannot be subjected to criticism. But also I might disagree with myself later down the road. You know, I do this a lot. I will say something because I'm thinking out loud. And then I'm like, oh, no, that's stupid. I'm going to backtrack on that I'm not giving these questions very much for thought before I answer them. I want this to be very off the cuff. I want this to be a very honest kind of conversation. And so I'm answering these questions as if you had asked them to me in person, I haven't looked over them very deeply. So these are my raw, honest answers. That means that they might not be the best answers. That means that they might be wrong. But I also think that it's more interesting to hear kind of fresh responses to these questions, some of which are quite difficult. So with all of that said, I think I'm ready. I have my coffee. I have my little candle burning next to me. I'm in my very squeaky chair. Maybe you can hear that in the background. If you can. I'm sorry. You might hear some of it through the show. Oh, and before we get started, I do have to ask all of you if you enjoy my work if you enjoy this show, please go leave a five star review on iTunes. It makes a huge difference. I mean, it tells our digital overlords to take note and to share this show with other people it's how other people find it. If you do leave a written five star review. I will read it on the show as thanks maybe also read a one star review if it's really really good, but Definitely leave five star reviews. Also, if you haven't already, please subscribe. No matter where you are listening, that also helps spread the show. And so those are the easiest way to support my work. But there are other ways to support my work primarily by going to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long. And for $1 a month, $5 a month or $10 a month, you get extra content every week, and you ensure the long life of this show, you know, I'm really relying on my patrons more than ever because the economy is trash. And I am working less to reduce my exposure to the virus. So I do desperately need your support. All right. Well, I think that's everything. Oh, a quick shout out to dark depository and online clothing satanic clothing store. They were very nice. They were nice enough to send me a fantastic shirt that says hail satan or no it says Be Kind Hail Satan, which is great. I do think that the most satanic thing we can do right now is be respectful and kind and especially right now while everyone is so stressed out. And so please go visit dark depository, I will post a link in the show notes and give them some love. This is not a paid promotion. By the way. I just think that they are awesome. And I think you should go check them out. So special thanks to Dark depository. All right. Well, we have a ton of questions. I really need to get to them before I get gold cold feet and decide that this is a terrible idea. So let's move on to the first question. Warden Sif asks, What if any one thing predicated you finally no longer saying you are a Christian? And what if any one thing predicated you finally saying you are a Satanist? Yeah, this is a this is a complicated question. And it's a very complicated answer. And I'm still trying to articulate this journey that I've been on. As many people know, I was a very devout Christian for many years. And then my faith started to slowly fall apart. And looking back, I realized that my faith actually started my my deconversion actually started when I was in my early 20s, if not late teens, and so it started pretty early for me. But I held on until I was about 27, or 28. And that period of time was just quietly anguished. For me, it was a time of just ongoing, excruciating doubt. And I don't mean doubt, as a seasonal thing. You know, I think a lot of Christians talk about doubt as like a seasonal struggle, like, oh, you know, every so often, I will get, you know, these these difficult questions about what it means to be a Christian about what it means to believe in God. And, and it's a challenge. It's a good healthy challenge that deepens my relationship with God, and then eventually it passes and then I'm back to equilibrium. No, my experience with the doubt was terminal, my experience with doubt was deep, and devastating, and terminal, and it never went away. And I think there was always a part of me that understood that my doubt was not going to go away. And so I struggled to become comfortable with it. And after about a decade of that, it just slowly chipped away, you know, I'm a very, I am not going to say I'm a rational thinker, because I don't think anyone is, is by nature, a rational thinker, but I am, but I, I love rationality, and, and I believe in the importance of rationality. And I just continually couldn't square rationality with my faith. And I would try to find ways around that, you know, try to find theological ways of embracing irrationality. And that would work for a time, and then it would just fall apart. So I guess what I'm saying is that my deconversion, it wasn't a single moment. It wasn't a single incident. It wasn't a single abuse. It was a long process that involved me coming out as gay that involved my treatment of being gay in the church. It involved deep rooted questions. It involved all kinds of you know, and it was a slow build over a decade. But I also have to really emphasize that I didn't want to leave Christianity. I loved Christianity. I loved Christ. I loved the image of God that I was given. I Leaving Christianity was the last thing I wanted to do. And I loved the community that I had, despite all the abuse that I had received, oh, people often asked me, Well, did you leave? Did you? Are you not a Christian? Because you're gay and you were treated so poorly? And my answer is no, it's so much more complicated than that. Yes, I was treated poorly. But I was also saved by Christianity. I was all I was also rescued from abuse for being LGBT, by other Christians. I was saved from Christianity by Christianity. And so I, I'm a, I'm a testament to Christian love, you know, I'm alive because progressive Christians took the time to care for me and listen to me and struggle with me and really lean in to the darkness and challenges of my life and my depression. So no, I didn't want to leave Christianity, which is why when I did finally, completely lose faith, when I finally looked at the Creed's of the church and realized, I can't uphold these, I don't believe these. I'm lying. If I say these, that's why it was so devastating for me. So I tried to stay in the church as an by church. I mean, just the general Christian church, I, you know, I was, I was kind of a Episcopalian ish. I was Anglican ish, I was certainly progressive. And I was trying to find a setting within Christianity where I could be a non theist, because I had basically stopped believing in God at that point. And I was trying to find a place within Christianity where I could be a non theistic Christian, where I could continue to hold to the symbolism to the values to the enormous good that Christianity had done. For me personally, I was trying to find a place within the church to do that. But by that point, I was just so tired. I was just so tired of con of constantly fighting for my inclusion in the church. I was exhausted. I had spent years fighting for the inclusion of gay people within the church before I started writing about Satanism and all that I was a religious right, a Christian, a gay Christian writer, and I had a very popular blog back in 2013, called also sacred tension. And it went viral, and I was advocating for gay people within Christianity. But I think that fight just beat me down. And I was at this point, I was so tired of just constantly explaining myself explaining myself for being gay, explaining myself for being a queer person who was also a person of faith. And then when I lost faith, I found myself explaining over and over and over and over again, why I think non theistic religion is valid. Why I think non theistic religion is real, but non theism within Christianity is very embattled right now. And I was just sick of the fucking battles. I was done. I was, you know, I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, and just grew up watching churches split over dogmatic issues over theological issues over LGBT people, and it and it just made me so fatigued. And so by the time I had lost faith, and I was desperately searching for a part of Christianity that I could find a home in where I was non theistic, and fully Christian, which do exist, by the way those places do exist in the world. I was just so tired of explaining myself. And I was so tired of fighting other Christians. I was done. And so I think the defining thing so you ask, What if any one thing predicated you finally no longer saying you're a Christian, that one thing was fatigue? That one thing was just finally being ready to move on, and get on with my life and stop explaining myself to people. And then enter the Satanic Temple, and Satanism, especially the Satanic Temple was a perfect fit for me, because it is non theistic. It is pro gay, pro trans. And these things were never an issue. These things were never disputed. And so I came to the Satanic Temple as like a refugee from a war. I was like a religious refugee coming from war torn Christian. The Entity into a setting where parts of my life weren't caused for war at all. And the relief I felt at that was simply overwhelming. As for what led me to what, what was the moment that allowed me to call myself a Satanist? Well, again, it's long. It's complicated, but I think the primary moment for me was when I read the seven tenets of the Satanic Temple. And that is when I got it, I instantly got it, I got that this was a religion based on the symbol of the heroic Satan. And I got it. That was the moment when it clicked. And I signed up immediately, kind of brashley actually kind of, kind of on a whim, I signed up and now here I am, that was in 2017. And now three years later here, I am still a Satanist, very happy. There's a lot more there. But we have other questions to get to. So I will move on. Hope that answers your question Warden Sif, Sonny asks, What is the biggest tragedy of the commons currently ongoing? Oh, my goodness. So yeah, this is a big philosophy question, tragedy of the commons. Okay, so I am going to just spout this off the top of my head, if I remember correctly, tragedy of the commons is this. The thought experiment, or whatever, where there's like a communal grassland full of sheep, maybe it was sheep, I don't remember. And how because it is everyone's responsibility to care for the commons, it ultimately gets destroyed, it ultimately falls into disrepair and is unsustainable. So the idea being the tragedy of the commons is that when no single person is tasked with, or no single entity is tasked with the care of a particular issue, and instead, everyone collectively is it falls into disrepair. Philosophy people, I probably just massively fucked that up. So please correct me if I'm wrong about that. From my point of view, though, with this very sophomoric understanding of the tragedy of the commons. I personally think the greatest tragedy of the commons is climate change. And I'm very worried about climate change. I am deeply worried about the future of the planet and the human species. I don't think we're going extinct. But I think we are headed for some great hardship as a species. And that frightens me. So I could go deeper. But I think it's obvious why I think this is the greatest tragedy of the commons. Climate change is everyone's responsibility. And as such, no one is taking responsibility. All right, Sonny asks another question, what is the biggest crime against humanity currently ongoing? Jesus Christ? What am I the fucking Pope. So for my limited perspective, I'm really, again, really worried about climate change. And I'm and I really worry that inaction when it comes to climate change will result in some unbelievably horrific crimes against humanity. But I am also really worried about income inequality. I think income inequality could maybe qualify as a crime against humanity. Yeah. Okay. I'm just going to leave it at that and move on, in what areas or topics or outreach would you like to see TST expand, asks, Janie Wiley, well, so I need to clarify, of course, that I am not a leader of tsp. For those who don't know, means the Satanic Temple, I need to clarify, of course, that I am not a leader. Excuse me, I'm not a leader. I'm not a spokesperson. I'm not even a member of a chapter. I'm just part of the general membership. So I can't really speak for TST but I can speak for myself. And I will say one of the aspects of tsp that I enjoy the most is the community building. And I just really hope that TST continues to grow. The amazing community that we have that is the part of tsp that matters the most. To me personally, that's the part that matters the most to me as as an individual satanist is I have found my family I have found my people. All right. So this is a bit of a long question, but I will go ahead and read it. Rico asks a good friend of mine told me recently he was a Christian. This was a surprise since he was and still is an atheist. Okay, great. So discussing non theistic Christianity here. I have known him for over a year and he never mentioned it. You knows I am a Satanist. And we have conversations about and we have had conversations about religion before. I'm not sure why he chose not to say anything. Perhaps though it was because he was afraid of my reaction. It admittedly was not a good one. Oh, dear. I immediately could feel myself pulling away from him, judging him even though I was genuinely trying not to. And yes, I realized the irony of a Satanists having this reaction to a Christian. I kept thinking, is this how they feel? I did my best not to show it too much and I think I failed miserably for the first time since I became a Satanist. I felt I feel shame, I'm embarrassed by my reaction. I do truly believe in reconciliation of opposites and judging him based on his religion is ridiculous and hypocritical of me. I don't understand his atheistic, his atheistic Christianity. And I didn't even know that was a thing. But it doesn't matter. I have a prejudiced towards Christians that I didn't realize I even had until this happened. I never react this way towards other religions, I've come across theistic or not, I still have a lot of resentment and bad feelings surrounding Christianity. I feel like I'm no better than those crazy fundamentalist theists who that think we sacrifice babies, I want to do better. And I don't want to lose my friend. So my question is how you're someone who has suffered in the past because of authoritarian Christian beliefs. And yet you are able to go to church and you have Christian friends and ties to the community, if I'm not mistaken. How do you do it? Can you give me advice? Okay, big question here. Rico. First of all, I think that it's it's a sign of maturity and self awareness that you were able to hear or witness your own response and not like it, you know, I think that that is good, I think that's healthy, to be able to observe yourself, say something or do something and, and reflect on it and then be like, Oh, shit, I really don't like I don't like how that went, I want to change that. And so first of all, I admire you for doing that, because I think a lot of people don't, especially in our current online environment. So kudos, first of all, for that, in regards to a bias against Christianity, I get it, I really, really get it. Because so many of us have been tortured by Christianity. You know, I went, I went through ex gay therapy, I went through a lot of stuff. And then I would say one of my worst experiences with Christianity was when I was on the road to conversion to Catholicism, and just a very, very dark time of my life. And so I personally, have struggled with a bias against Catholics, for example. And so just to be completely honest, I have struggled with feelings of rage and fury and hurt and disgust towards Catholicism. And, you know, what, what really helps me is to just talk to people who aren't like that to intentionally and deliberately surround myself to talk to Christians who are progressive, who are non theistic, who want my best, and who are willing to ally themselves with me, and that kind of rewires those circuits in the brain, you know, and so, but it's hard because I have to lean into it, I have to lean into these friendships with people of different religious backgrounds, assuming that they want the best for me and assuming that they are humane, but it's still hard because I've I do have baggage with Christianity, but the way I overcome that is just by engaging with actual human beings who are part of compassionate and humane Christian traditions. The Quakers are great certain Episcopalians are great certain, you know, mainline Protestant denominations are great, even some evangelicals are great. You know, my friend, John Moorhead. He's an Evangelical, I've done a lot of work with him, but he's, he wants my best, he wants the best for me, and he, and we are united by common goals of compassion and empathy. We can disagree on the details, but we are united on our ultimate goals is to seek out people who are religious, who are Christians, and just get to know people from different religious traditions. And it's really, really helpful to understand that there are parts of Christianity that are very dark and very ugly. And then there are other parts of Christianity that are wonderful, but it's one thing to say that and it's another thing to experience it so we can tell ourselves, you know, not all Catholics are are awful trads who hate gay people, we can tell ourselves not all. You know, not all Christians in general are theocrats that some of them are actually really wonderful and good people. It's one thing to say that it's an entirely different thing to experience it and to experience it to really get it into your heart. The best way to do that is to just get to know people. I would also if you haven't already, I would recommend upholding the sixth tenant, which is people are fallible. Oh, how does it go? People are fallible, we make mistakes. What was it? Hold on? Let me Oh, I'm blanking on the on the sixth tenet. Hold on just a second. Oh, yes. Okay. People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused. So in the spirit of the sixth Tenet, if you haven't already, I would just recommend apologizing if you feel like you hurt your friend, and just acknowledge that this is an opportunity for growth and move on. Okay, how did you and your boyfriend meet? What is one thing that you enjoy doing together? This is a question from Debbie Dev. Well, I met my boyfriend back in 2014 on the dating app, OkCupid. And, you know, I've been searching for a boyfriend for a while, and we seem to click really fast. And we had a phone call, just to we call each other just to get to know one another. And that phone call lasted for like four hours. And I knew in that first conversation, that I was going to be with him for the rest of my life. I just knew it. And I know that I know. That sounds like a fairy tale. I mean, I I know that sounds ridiculous. But it's true. It was It wasn't this big, explosive emotion. It was just this very quiet knowing it was just this knowing like, Okay, I've This is it. This is him, I found the guy who I'm just going to be with for the rest of my life. And it wasn't exhilarating. Instead, it felt like slipping into a wonderful warm bath. It was just a very gentle, quiet, chill experience. And then John had the exact same experience with that conversation. He, he told me later that he after he hung up, he went to work and said, I just met the man I'm going to marry. He knew as well. You know, this isn't a template for relationships, you know, all kinds of different relationships go on different trajectories. And that's normal and good. But this was the trajectory that John and I went on. And we knew from the very beginning that we're just going to be together. And we have been ever since. And we have a great relationship in terms of what we enjoy doing together. Well, we both love horror movies. In fact, we don't watch anything other than horror. So horror is one of the core uniting things for us. We love horror, we enjoy reading together. You know, we're both introverts. We're both readers. We're both writers. And so one of our favorite things in recent years has just been to sit in each other's quiet silence just to be able to sit in each other's presence and, and enjoy each other's presence. I would say that I have a very quiet relationship. You know, I we do talk, we enjoy talking. And sometimes we talk for hours, but I feel like my relationship with John has given way to a largely quiet relationship where we just enjoy each other's presence. And I don't talk about John actually much on this show. Because I my relationship is very sacred to me. So I don't post any pictures of him. I don't picture and post any pictures of us together. I really keep my relationship with him very private, because it's so sacred to me. And, and I want to protect it. So I'll move on from this question. But there you there you have it. Loose. ofour asks, aside from the goat incident, what is the weirdest thing that has happened to you at work? So for those who don't know, I am a manager at a small local grocery store. I will not tell the goat story on this episode. That is for patrons only you have to you have to become a patron to get that information, but I will and it was it was truly a traumatizing and horrific experience for everyone involved. And that's all All I will say about that. But in regards to what is the weirdest thing that has happened oh, god so so many we have had nudists in the parking lot. We have had you know a hooker a, you know Toothless prostitute chasing a man into the store yelling where's my money? I sucked your dick. Great stuff. We we caught a woman masturbating behind the building. You know just all kinds of stuff. The human race is is fucking filthy and hilarious and wonderful. And I love the public. I really do as much as I complain about the public I love the public. I think the public is bizarre and hilarious and, and just utterly weird. People tell me about their past lives people. People will Oh, you know, tell me about their psychic powers that they believe they have people will try to convert me to their weird mountain cold. I mean, just just I mean, so many. One woman came in with a with a black cat and a red sweater and said, Hello, this is Raven. She is a psychic healer. You know, just so much stuff happened every single day that I can't even keep track of it. Yeah, it's It's nuts. But I love it because I think humanity is so incoherent and beautiful. Anonymous asks, now that you are a non theist, do you miss having worship as part of your spiritual practice? I love this question. And the answer is I don't miss worship. Because I feel like I still have it. I don't feel like I have lost the experience of transcendence. The experience of all the experience of overwhelming love all of the best stuff that people get in, in a worship service or in quiet contemplation. I still have all of that it has been reframed, it has been recontextualized into a non theistic worldview. But I don't feel like that makes me any less of a mystic. I think mysticism and transcendence are universal, no matter what someone believes. And I think that mystical experience is generally accessible to almost everyone, maybe not, maybe not everyone, maybe there's some brains that are just not wired for it. And that's okay. But I think that transcendence is a universal human experience. So that feeling that I would get while praying or worshiping, I still have those. Now, I just get them in some different contexts and in a different framework. But there are still times when I have that experience of such transcendence that it feels like it will just absolutely crush me. And there are still times when I feel like there is a cosmic love that is flowing through me. Or times when I feel like I'm so united with other people around me. Those are the best parts, I think of human experience. You know, they're they're just some wonder, I think mystical experience and altered states of consciousness can offer up some of the best parts of what it means to be human. And I don't think that they are the sole domain of religion, or of theism. I think everyone can experience them. That said, I also think that they are one of the greatest tools for destruction in humanity, all of heaven, and hell is contained within these altered states of consciousness. And within this transcendence, it can be a tool for brainwashing and abuse and manipulation. And it can be a source of profound beauty and fulfillment. I experience it currently as the latter. All right, next question. This is from John Morehead. I mentioned him earlier in the show. He is a good friend of mine. And we've done several episodes together, and some writing projects together. He asks, given your negative experiences with evangelical Christianity, why do you find any benefit from relating to some evangelicals and positive rather than either ignoring them or taking a more confrontational perspective? What do you tap into that informs a desire for a positive interaction? That is a great question. And let me think about it for a second. I think the simplest answer is that I was an Evangelical, and because of that, I feel like I know the suffering involved in in certain Evangelical, I know the suffering that is involved in certain evangelical worldviews. I remember thinking back to being an even a, you know, I can think back to being an evangelical and just remember the insecurity, the fear, the horror, at people who are different from me, just all sorts of awful negative stuff, and I don't think it's good for anyone. It is certainly not good for the world. It is certainly not good for minorities, but it's also just not good for the evangelical. I mean, it's a state of suffering for them. It's it's a state it's a state of darkness and I Think that might soften me some hold on the cat wants back into the office just a second. Okay, well, maybe they don't want into the office. Okay. So I think that that, really, I think my own experience of being an evangelical has really softened me to it. And that does not mean that certain theocratic ideas aren't utterly destructive, because they are. But it does mean that I have to exhibit radical compassion and radical empathy. Now, not everyone is capable of doing that right now, not everyone should do it right now, if you have been horribly abused by evangelicals, and you are still healing from that there may be going into a dialogue with an evangelical is not the right thing for you, you need to heal first. So please take all the time in the world, there is no hurry, there's no expectation. But for me, I find it helpful to practice that kind of radical compassion, because it makes my life easier, honestly. So I think there's that. I also, I also think that I have a higher value than that, though, which is that I just think that we need to talk to each other. You know, I think that human beings just need to fucking get to know each other and talk to each other. Because whether we like it or not, we are sharing this planet hurtling through space, whether we like it or not, neither of us are going away. And so the best we can fucking do is to maybe get to know each other some. I don't know, maybe I'm overly idealistic. Maybe Maybe I'm overly idealistic and naive about how far a conversation can go. But in general, I am biased towards having conversations, especially with people I disagree with, because we're all human. We're all human. And we're all individuals, and individuals, and humans deserve respect. And we are all in this together. That doesn't mean their ideas deserve respect. That doesn't mean we can't call people out on horrific things. That doesn't even mean that we can't verbally fight them and oppose them in the public square. I think that we should do all those things. At the same time. I don't think that is all we should do. I also think that we should get to know people. And because guess what, we're on this planet together. And we have a very short amount of time on this planet, as individuals, and the best we can do, probably, is to just fucking talk to each other. Okay, how are you going to celebrate Halloween this year? asks, Bill, well, I really don't know. Every year I'm like, Oh, I'm finally going to celebrate Halloween. And then it just doesn't happen. Because I'm so exhausted from work. I don't have energy for it. So I'll probably celebrate Halloween this year, the same way I've been celebrating Halloween every year, which is quietly reading a book at home with my cats. Ian asks, What are your thoughts on Trump? Like, actually, I know some people who are very well educated and well read who are very pro Trump. So what is your perspective on him? I'm not good at politics. I'm not I'm not a very clear political thinker at all. What I what do I think of Trump? I think he's a narcissist. I think he is incompetent. I think that he is dangerous. I think that he only thinks of himself. I think he is a chronic liar. I think that he is unable to not lie. I think that he is a threat to democracy. Now, people say a lot of other things about him that I'm that might be true, but I'm just less sure of, for example, is he a fascist? I mean, I don't know. He certainly shows some dictatorial tendencies. But is he smart enough to be a fascist? Like, does he have a coherent worldview enough to be a fascist? I don't know. I don't know if he's a he. I don't know if he's a fascist. Is he the worst president in American history? I don't know that either. I mean, I think President Bush was pretty fucking bad. I think President Bush did immeasurable harm. I just there. There are a lot of things that people say where I'm like, okay, maybe that's true. Maybe it's not true. I don't know. But what is true for certain is I think that he is a threat to democracy. I think that he is a threat to the long standing institutions of liberalism. And I think that we need to vote them out. So I will be voting for Biden and granted I am not a Biden fan. This is not the geriatric Thunderdome. I was hoping for. For 2020 I am a Bernie guy. But I think that we can't let perfect be the enemy of the good. And we have to, to vote Trump out. So I'm voting for Biden I also think voting for Biden is might even qualify as elder abuse because that man is geriatric as fuck. He can barely get through a fucking sentence. He should be in a nursing home being visited by his little grandchildren, eating cookies with them, and, you know, staring out out the window and going on nice long walks with his cane. So like this man definitely should not be president. But you know, I'm willing to commit elder abuse to get Trump out of the the office. So Ryan asks, What are your thoughts on members of TST who do things such as Taro, I understand that there may be some kind of aesthetic novelty and personalized ritual going on, but at its roots, Taro is just non scientific and supernatural. It's the same as dowsing as a dowsing pendulum, or an a Ouija board in my view, and I would only ever do those things for the fun of it. But when I see members with Taro, they seem to be much more serious about it than just a party game. This is a great question. I love Taro. Hold on, let me take a sip of my coffee. My coffee is getting cold. That's sad. Okay, so I love Tara. I actually read taro on a near daily basis. So I can't speak for other members. But I will speak for myself. I don't see taro as supernatural, I don't think that it connects to the future or any divine or supernatural powers. Instead, I think it is all purely psychological. Every card is a masterfully drawn story that is very relatable. Every card has a little story that is deliberately meant to plug into your life in some way. It's meant to be evocative in some way, because you know, human nature is universal. And so we all experience heartbreak and doubt and confusion and fear and wealth and poverty. You know, these are these are human, universal human experiences. And I feel like Taro is kind of a universal language that taps in to these human experiences. So I think the reason it works so well, and the reason why Supernaturalists think that it works so well is actually because it works psychologically, you know. So when I, when I line up a set of cards, my brain sees it as like a Rorschach test, and I'm able to impose my own life on to that story. And that, in turn gives me an opportunity to reflect more deeply on my life. It gives me an opportunity to work out in difficult problems that I'm facing in a non judgmental way. Because cards aren't a person cards don't judge you. Cards are purely impersonal. And so it's it's like a, a totally impersonal way where there's no harm where there's no danger of judgment. It's like a purely personal, non judgmental way to work through your own thoughts and reflections. So I use it as a prompt for journaling every night. So every night i draw a card for the evening, and the following day. I do it on my phone. So I have several Tarot apps on my phone. I take a screenshot of the app and I make up my phone wallpaper. So then I kind of have that that image to reflect on through the rest of the day. It is just a prompt for meditation. It is not supernatural. It is not mystical. It is not magical. It is purely psychological. It's also really beautiful and centering. So those are my thoughts on taro Simon asks, What is your favorite interpretation of Satan and popular culture slash media? Well, so I was thinking about this actually and realize I don't really draw much from popular culture for my Satanism, I can think of a few depictions of Satan in pop culture that I thought were really cool. For example, I thought the depiction of Satan in the movie The Devil's candy was really awesome. Horror, of course, has a big influence on me. But I think that the biggest influence from pop culture on my Satanism is actually maybe the band ghost. I love their vision of Satanism. I love the combination of devotion and joy and darkness that the band ghost has in their music and you know, you listen, you listen to their music, especially some of their later albums and it and the music's just Sounds like it's in a cathedral. Like it's so tall and it's so big and it's so worship full almost like ghost is satanic worship music. And I I love that about ghost I love their depiction of Satan is not evil but as dark as beautiful as awe inspiring. So I would have to settle with ghost. I think ghost is the biggest pop culture satanic influence right now on my Satanism. Alright, so we have a little time left. So I'm going to now pivot to Twitter questions from Twitter. So those are all questions that I had collected either on Discord, Patreon, or on the Google Form. So I'm going to pivot to Twitter and take some questions here. Shiva honey, the amazing iconic Shiva, honey, Shiva, honey, author of The Devil's tome, longtime leader in tst. asks, What lessons did you take away from being a Christian missionary? Oh, that's a great question. I think I'll make it short because we're running out of time. I remember another missionary telling me that after all of the places she had been in the world, she is now convinced that the two greatest luxuries on Earth are a hot shower, and a cold glass of water. And I think that is the greatest lesson that I have learned from being a missionary. I am four. By the way, let me give some background. I was born on the mission field. I was born in Taiwan, I didn't spend much time there. But I was raised in a missionary setting here in the States and I was surrounded by missionaries went on lots of trips growing up. And then I was a missionary for a short time in my late teens with Youth With A Mission. So and I was in India and China when I was in Youth With A Mission. Yeah. Lots of lessons to be learned from encountering other cultures. But I think the one that I come home to all the time, is that what my friend said the two greatest luxuries in the world are a cold glass of water and a hot shower. I think that it's really good to reframe life into very simple terms. I think it's really healthy to to bring our expectations down sometimes, and to enjoy simplicity, and to enjoy the most essential and simple pleasures. And I think that might be one of my greatest lessons from being a missionary. Gigi Valentine asks, Do you have a favorite Muppet? No, I don't. I don't think all that much about Muppets. So I'm, I'm at a loss with that one. Who's been your favorite guest so far on sacred tension? Well, I don't know. Because I've had so many. But recently, I really enjoy talking to Katie Herzog. I thought that was a great conversation. I'm really proud of it. Oh, uh, what I do think one of my favorite guests was, um, and I'm forgetting his name, but the expert on Hold on, I'm going to look it up real fast, because I need to know this. Yeah. So I, one of my favorite guests I've ever had on the show was Benjamin ease Zeller, who wrote Heaven's Gate, America's UFO religion, and he is a scholar of the Heaven's Gate cult, and just gave a very humane perspective on them and had a very deep understanding of religion. He was just a delight to talk to I that was maybe one of the least popular episodes that I've done. Like, I don't know if anyone's listened to that episode and months. But in terms of conversations that I personally found very interesting and fulfilling that one is probably at the top of the list for me. Joe asks, If a right wing group had protests across the country, where 7% turned to violent riots and innocent people were killed? Would you defend the movement as mostly peaceful if many major cities looked like war zones? Would you say quote, they're not all bad? All right. It's really fucking simple. It isn't rocket science. I condemn violent riots and protests, no matter who does them. It doesn't matter what political side they're on. It doesn't matter if I agree with them. On the other hand, I can don't peaceful protests. It doesn't matter who it is. Because peaceful protest is a foundation of democracy. It isn't rocket science. I condemn violent riots. I can don't peaceful protest. Now I am on record, actually on the Satanic Temple TV with Jack mochiko. I am on record as saying Then I am pro riot. Well, I've actually walked back on that some I'm not pro riot I think that that is not defensible. I don't think as a as a manager of a store that feeds people and pays people and gives health care to people I cannot Can I cannot condone violence. I just can't and but what I can do is try to listen to the voices of the unheard Martin Luther King Jr. said riots are riots are the VOICE OF THE UNHEARD I can try to listen to the voice of the UNHEARD hear what they're saying under try to understand why these riots are happening. Maybe it's for a good cause. Maybe it's for a bad cause. Maybe it's because they're spoiled teenagers who've been cooped up inside because of COVID. Or maybe it is oppressed minorities who have generations of grievances that are now exploding. I can listen to it, I can try to understand why people are rioting, and try to make the world a better place because of that, but that is different from condoning it. That is different from saying I am pro riot. So I here officially retract my statement that I am pro riot. Instead, I want to understand riots. I want to understand what drives people to it. But I also think that non violence is generally the way to go. I think the historical record is pretty clear that the best change happens as a result of non violence. I think Steven Pinker for all his flaws, I made that case pretty persuasively in the book, enlightenment now, so I stand on my nonviolent Hill, and I'm willing to die on it. I non violence is the way to go. So do I condemn riots? Yes, I do. Doesn't matter who does them? Do? I want to listen to why they are rioting to hopefully make the world a better place. Yes, I do. I also disagree with the premise of this question. Joe asks, if there is a right wing group, if if a right wing group was protesting and it turned violent? Would you say that they would you say it was still peaceful? Okay, this is assuming that there is one single group doing this. This is the assumption that, that all of these protesters are a unified front, but I don't think they are, you know, I'm sure that there are some groups that are pushing towards violence and have violent ideologies. I'm also sure that there are some groups and these protests in the in the Black Lives Matter protests, who have a fundamentally non violent worldview, and who see peaceful demonstration as a cornerstone of democracy and a fundamental right. I think that this is a sloppy question, because I don't think that the premise is true. I don't think that this is one single coalition pushing towards violence. I don't think that at all, I think that there are probably some people with violent ideologies and people with peaceful ideologies, and then people who don't even know what the fuck their ideology is all out in the streets together. All right, moving on. Satanic witch asks. Hi, Steven. My question is, if you discovered that the Christian God and Satan were real, would you still be a Satanist? Oh, my God? That is a huge question. I think the best answer is, I don't know. I really, really, really don't know. Because none of this is saying. Yeah, I don't know. I will have to think about that one more deeply. Richard asks, What do you still appreciate about Christ? And oh, okay. Well, actually, let me go back to satanic which here, if it was the Christian god that was discovered to be true than and that the Christian vision of Satan as ultimate evil actually turned out to be true, then I would want to be a Christian. i My hope is that my commitment to truth is such that I would convert to Christianity, I guess, if there was sufficient evidence. Now it gets more complicated than that. Because is the Christian God, good? Well, it depends on which Christian God that we're talking about. It depends on which Christian God is proven to be true, right? I mean, if it's the Christian god of John Calvin, fuck that, God, I don't want anything to do with that God, I will stay a Satanist. But if, however, it's the God of Julian of Norwich, or the God of the Quakers, or the God of my Episcopalian priest, then who is who is fundamentally love and compassion, then yeah, I would probably want to become a Christian if I know that that God was was true. Because that God to me is ultimately what Satan what the symbol of Satan is. The symbol of Satan for me is is about rejecting tyranny and embracing compassion and empathy and reason. So I guess the question is, if it's a it depends on which Christian God we're talking about and be if that Christian God, if proven to be true aligns with my moral values. In other words, does it align with my Satanism? All right, moving on. Richard asks, What do you still appreciate about Christ? And how has your perception and interpretation of Christ shifted after your deconversion and conversion to Satanism? Okay, well, we're going to make this the very last question because I am running out of steam. My coffee is now officially cold, which is very sad, and we've been going for over an hour now, I still love the symbol of Christ, I love In fact, I love the symbol of Christ so much that I have an icon of Jesus on my satanic altar. It was an icon painted by a monk by a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemane and Kentucky, and the piece is called the icon is called the Cosmic Christ. I love Christ. But again, it depends on which Christ I love the Christ of Martin Luther King, Jr. I love the Christ of Dorothy Day. I love the Christ of freedom fighters and abolitionists, and I love the Christ of the Quakers. I hate and fear and loathe the Christ of theocrats, and the that Christ is worthy of blasphemy, the Christ of pedophiles, the Christ of child molesters, the Christ of abusers, the Christ who provides shelter for the monstrous and the inhumane that Christ is worthy of all blasphemy, and then the Christ of humanitarians, the Christ of compassion, the Christ of forgiveness, the Christ that fought against political authority, that Christ is worthy of reverence, there is no single Christ, because symbol is subjective. In the same way, there is no single Satan. There is no single Christ and I hate and love Christ, depending on which Christ we're talking about. So the aspects of Christ that I still love I love the story. I love the myth of Christ. I love some of his parables. I love how he inverted religion. I love how he how he inverted religious order in his day. I love how he stood against hypocrisy. There's a lot that I love about Christ and there's a lot that I hate about Christ. Okay, well maybe this wasn't a complete disaster please let me know if you enjoyed this episode and I will do more of them maybe this will become a regular thing for Sacred tension. This show is written produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long the music is by eleventy seven and the jelly rocks you can find them on iTunes Spotify or wherever you listen to music there is a link to their music in the show notes. This is a production of rock candy recordings and as always Hail Satan and thanks for listening

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