Podcasts/Sacred Tension-ST Aron Ra FINALa5sst
ST_Aron_Ra_FINALa5sst SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, satanists, religion, satanic temple, zoroastrianism, listening, atheist, world, god, christian, satanic, hear, teach, christians, true, problem, argue, community, devil, critical race theory SPEAKERS Stephen Bradford Long, Aron Ra
Stephen Bradford Long 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast 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, before we get started, as always, I have to thank my patrons. My patrons are my personal Lord and Savior's. And I truly could not do this without them. So for this week, I have to thank ven winter, Kelly, Julia, Megan and, Tim, thank you so much. And for anyone listening who wants to join their number, go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long. And for $1 $3 $5 a month you get extra content every week. All right. Aron Ra, welcome to the show.
Aron Ra 01:06 Thank you very much. I have to apologize. My parent believes himself to be a cat.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:12 So that's the that's the yelling that we hear in the background. This is this is like a plot twist. Because I have six cats. Satanists love our cats. We are crazy cat people. And so in every single episode, cats make an appearance. But in this episode, it's a parrot disguised as a cat. Yeah, that's amazing.
Aron Ra 01:35 Yeah, we have. We have three cats here in the house to one, leopard tabby. And two black ones, of course.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:45 So the parrot is imitating the cats. Yeah, I fucking love that. All right, well, tell us some about who you are and what you do?
Aron Ra 01:53 Well, I have been for, I don't know, probably a quarter century now. I've been an atheist activist advocating for science education. And it's had to bleed over into other things for secular policies, because you know, the religious right, the, you know, the Christian nationalists have taken over most of our government. They had a lot more a few months ago. So we had a, we had a small inkling of success there, but we're not out of the woods, we're still in a moment where they could take over again, and just end the entire American experiment. So I have to I have to caution because you know, there's going to be people in there that get upset about my politics, but he didn't know in the last 25 years, every bill or law that has tried to impose creationism instead of real science that has that has tried to discredit anthropogenic climate change, that has tried to prohibit teaching actual factual American history that has tried to instead teach the lie of American exceptionalism by teaching the lie that the American that the United States was founded on a covenant between God and Moses, which one of our textbooks actually said, you know, we had a textbook that said that Moses was a real person and lived in the 1250 or 1200s BC. And that ended our legislations, just system was based on the 10 commandments doesn't matter, that we had expert historians flown in from all over the country, to testify to the contrary to say that the Founding Fathers explicitly said otherwise. because Texas is holding to this idea that we're going to teach American exceptionalism that we are God ordained, and we can't ever teach anything that might be embarrassing. So years ago, they were saying that we can't, they weren't going to teach civil civil rights history properly. I mean, they, one of our textbooks actually said, that describe the slaves as immigrant workers. Oh, my God. It gets worse. Who came over to find Jesus?
Stephen Bradford Long 04:01 Oh, my God, that's. So this was a history book, and taught in Texas schools. Yeah. So.
Aron Ra 04:11 Okay, everybody, so that what you're hearing now, if you'll people against critical race theory, this, it's the exact same thing. We can't teach anything that was embarrassing about American history. We can't teach that America ever did anything wrong. Because then it will look like we're not God ordained. And one guy said it put it like this when I was in a board meeting, I remember who it was. But I just heard this booming voice over the microphone when it says that America must always be seen as a shining beacon for what it means to be God blessed. That's the motivation for teaching lies in the history textbooks. So it's not just science, it's social studies, and of course, sex to everybody that has promoted abstinence only instead of sex education, everybody that has tried to demonize sex education, everybody that's tried to teach anti So as everybody that's tried to put the lies into the textbooks, every every bill, every bit of legislation in the last 30 years at least, that has undermined our human rights. That has been an attack on the first amendment on any or every provision of the First Amendment. Every restriction on the Second Amendment has always only ever come from Republicans, apps every time. It's like when you hear somebody posting a bill, that will deputize the entire populace to sue a teacher for teaching something that contradicts a student's religious beliefs. When when you want to deputize the entire state of Texas, to to be able to sue anybody who assisted in any way of a woman getting an abortion and any of these draconian authoritarian, bullshit stupid ass laws. You don't even have to guess it was a Republican, absolutely, always only ever Republican for the last 30 years. Now, I say that, acknowledging that had I been an adult in the year that I was born 1962 If I was already grown up, I would be a proud Republican then. And all of the stupid bullshit hurry that we see from the GOP right now. Would those same things were being done by Democrats, then? Because the Democrats were founded basically by by friends of the Ku Klux Klan. That's how that that's how they began while the Republicans were founded by Lincoln. But at some point, due to the Southern strategy in the 1960s, they crossed over, and today's Republicans are the Democrats of 1962. And in some cases, they are exactly the same person. If anybody that was anybody alive, that voted in 1962, as a Democrat, would that still alive now would be voting as a Republican today.
Stephen Bradford Long 06:52 So for anyone listening to this, who is interested in the critical race theory debacle, I really recommend everyone listen to my interview with Adam Goldstein from fire, which is the foundation for individual rights and education and just how unethical and unconstitutional these laws are trying to ban critical race theory. So anyone interested in that I highly recommend everyone go listen to that interview.
Aron Ra 07:17 Yeah, going back to when I was born, by the way. Yeah. It was a quote from Barry Goldwater in 1963. That spelled it out. I mean, he saw it coming. I remember I would have been a Republican in 63. And he said that, that when or if the the, the religious right, get control of the Republican Party, and there's you're trying hard to do so. It's going to be a terrible damn problem. He was right. Yep. The problem is not that Republicans are Republicans. The problem is that the Republicans have been entirely absorbed by the religious right by the Christian nationalists. They become a death problem.
Stephen Bradford Long 07:57 They become a death cult. A Christian dad, exactly.
Aron Ra 07:59 They advocate hate. Look at look at Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example. I mean, they advocate hate and stupidity. That's the Christian nationalism. That's the Religious Right. That's what they've always been about restricting everybody's right. It has become the point that Democrats and allies have Democrats because I don't I myself have to vote Democrat because I live in Texas, you can't vote for an independent. They're in primaries and such there are restrictions so that I just have to, if I strategically want any any say at all, I have to vote as a Democrat. And usually I have to vote for Democrats, because there's not any independents that are capable of winning in the two party system that we have. So we're all kind of stuck doing this. I would rather not identify as a Democrat, but it has become the point that Democrats and allies are trying to protect and preserve human rights while the religious right, the conservative right, are trying to take them away. That's right. That's, that's the summation of our political divide.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:03 And so what I'm hearing you say is that you're basically in the thick of all of this. You've been an atheist activist for years and yours, like I remember the Bible Belt. Yeah, in the Bible Belt. Like I remember when I was in college, late 2000s, early 2000 10s going through my angsty Christian doubt phase and being terrified of it. You are one of the online atheists on YouTube during like the that atheist boom on YouTube. That just absolutely terrified me, like I was watching you 12 1314 years ago, and you just completely freaked me out. Because I was like, Nope, I can't I can't handle this. I can't handle arguments, atheist arguments. I I was too scared. Now. Here we are. 10 years later on, on Zoom together. But so your activism as an E theist has really led into kind of all of these other areas of activism because of theocracy because of religious irrationalism.
Aron Ra 10:12 I started out attacking only creationism for a specific reason. When I got on to Usenet roundabout y2k, I got into it with a bunch of Christian nationalists there that were reconstructionists. And what they they admitted to me that they were following this plan, which was later revealed by the by the leaked memo from the Discovery Institute to be the wedge strategy. For anybody who doesn't know, the Discovery Institute, which is the Intelligent Design think tank, which doesn't think obviously, it's a belief propaganda mill.
Stephen Bradford Long 10:44 They think they do. Yep.
Aron Ra 10:47 Yeah, they, they just want to preserve belief one way or another. And they came up with this plan, it was a five year plan to take over the United States. And part of that plan was to position judges and senators and legislators and dog catchers and school board members at every level of state and federal government. So they wanted everybody every authority in government to be an evangelical Christian. And so then the next phase of that was supposed to be that there would be challenges to evolution because you had to attack evolution first, and make everybody doubt the science. And then when they doubt the science now they're susceptible to believing in magic. Of course, we'll never call it magic but it's supernatural miracles mumbo jumbo mysticism, it's fucking magic. It's got curses and blessings which are an enchantment it's a positive enchantment so that that's what a blessing is, you know, when somebody says have a have a blessed day, they're saying have a magically enchanted day. That's literally what they're saying. So they believe in in waterbending, and necromancy and a golem spell and incantations and that killing of sacrificing a bird over and earth and gold and rubbing water using a wooden one. And sprinkling the birds blood onto another bird and letting that fly into the air. These are the elements right this earth fire wind water, like to put all these together. That's an elemental spell that's in Leviticus 14. I think. They believe in this shit. That's magic. They just won't call it magic. Yep. I believe in dragons and sorcerers and witches and necromancy. And you know, bringing bringing the Evil Dead to life and in Ezekiel, I think so. Yeah, they believe in fucking magic. And it's so frustrating. What? Where did I Where was I going on and started on this rant.
Stephen Bradford Long 12:37 Oh, creationism, you're you were fighting creationism they
Aron Ra 12:41 wanted to they wanted to challenge belief in the science so that they could get people susceptible to believing in magic. And then they would be able to put it push their Intelligent Design supernatural crap in there. The people that I was talking to were bragging, they they had already positioned all of these judges and senators and so forth, got them elected, how did they get them elected? Their minister would be on the phone with other ministers across the state. They had all of their their congregations vote as a bloc. Now this is illegal. This is unconstitutional. This goes against the Johnson Amendment. Yeah. But you know, the the Minister is telling the people how to be a voting bloc vote what I tell you vote for these people. They're evangelicals get them in office. And of course, those people would they be having the theory evangelical initially wouldn't be on their platform, but their ministers now. And so that's how all of these people got into office. And at the time, remember, this is around 2000. A lot of these people were from the Caledon Institute, which was a reconstruct Reconstructionist movement founded by RJ Rushdoony. They wanted not just to not just to tear down our representative democratic republic, they wanted to replace it with a theocracy and the Reconstructionist were pleading to replace it with a theocracy that would enforce Levitical law.
Stephen Bradford Long 14:00 Yeah, for anyone who wonders why we are kind of obsessed with theocrats. It's, it's because of shit like this. I mean it because they really have their mind set on world domination. Like if you look at seventh mountain Dominionism, which is like dominating all of the primary cultural forces from government to you know, Hollywood to academia to they're really bent on world domination because that it's part of their eschatology that they believe that Christ won't return until they have dominion over all of these parts of culture and everyone should be terrified of that, like anyone who values the enlightenment, genuine free speech, genuine religious freedom, genuine bodily autonomy, anyone who values that should Shit should be terrified
Aron Ra 15:02 of the another issue that we have to bring up is the use of the word truth. Because every lie is sold as the truth with a capital T. So all of these people are convinced they have the truth, when really what they have is a pack of lies. What is the truth? Really? The truth isn't whatever conclusion you want to make believe in. The truth is what you can show to be true. Yep, that was implanted with reality, in in my arguments with my ancestors who are all have all gone over to evil. I'm constantly having to argue what the truth is. I'm trying to I'm trying to show them a truth they won't look at. So they tell me some preposterous thing that they're afraid of. I say that's not true. And I can show it. Look, let me show it is honestly that you know, the Bible says X No, the Bible doesn't say that. Well, yes, it does. Here is where it says that it doesn't say that you read it. They read it. They say it doesn't say what it says of you. You just read where it says what it says how can you say that? It doesn't say that. But when you thinking prophetically, then you can change all the meanings of all the words. And so they did ask me. Mom, do you really believe that Tom Hanks drinks raped baby's blood while he's worshipping the devil? Oh, no. And she says you can't prove he doesn't? Like that's
Stephen Bradford Long 16:23 not how that works. Yeah, it's, it's wild. So yeah.
Aron Ra 16:31 When they tell me about their truth, their truth, the only I can show them the facts. They won't look at it. I can show them. Let me show you how Google works. So you think that this is happening? You think that there's there are Satanists who are murdering children and being arrested all over the world? Really? You think that's what's happening? Let's get on Google. Satanists? Right. Just put in the word Satanists hit news. What is the news? Regarding statements from all these different news carriers, including Fox? All these different news, fake news carriers, what are they all say? Oh, look, the satanists won a court case for First Amendment freedoms. Okay, look, the satanists address a dress code that was discriminating against different religions. And the satanists have achieved some other humanitarian goal over here. That's what the news is. The Satanists are the good guys in every instance against who against you, mom? Absolutely. They're against my entire Republican family. You guys are aligned with evil. This and this shows it. So now they're, of course, they're on the side of Putin. And early and they, they believe that the world is behind them. They don't understand that Iran is behind them. And that's that's kind of it really, you want to align with Iran, against the guy who was invading a peaceful nation that didn't do anything, that that's really how you see this. Will not acknowledge if I try to show any news about global support for Ukraine instead, I get that. I get that that's not happening. I'm told that that's not how it doesn't matter what all the news sets from every source, because they have their secret news that they can't show me on their secret news network that they're not allowed to see or know about. They have a secret news network for where there alternative reality is supported by alternative facts.
Stephen Bradford Long 18:22 So you mentioned Satanists, we are in the aftermath here of Satan con, which as of this recording was a few weeks ago, unfortunately, I was not able to attend. But you were a presenter there. And you had you're coming out as a Satanist there. talk some about what led you to Satanism.
Aron Ra 18:45 Okay, well, first of all the Satanism. I mean, I was always told that Satanists worship the damn devil. And I know that there was a guy because I lived in El Paso for a little while in West Texas. And there was there was a guy there in the 80s, who declared himself a satanist and was some kind of a mass murderer. But you know, he was so there's a crazy person says he worships the devil. And there's been a handful of Christians who suddenly declare themselves to be Satanists, and then do something stupid for which they go into jail like with the guy who ran over the 10 commandments in Oklahoma City. You know, his his whole family wasn't aware of that he was saved as I contacted the satanic groups in Oklahoma. They never heard of him. So he wasn't he wasn't a member of their groups either. It was just something he one day had something fry wrong in his brain and decide that he's going to call himself in league with the devil or say do something the devil told him to do because you know what happens when you have a culture that encourages people to follow the voices in their head? So this is what happens. So on the whole, satanist I mean, there are a couple I've met one theistic Satanist. Somebody who believes In an actual literal, supernatural devil, and I interviewed him on my show, and I and I said, when I met him and had dinner with him the night before I did the podcast, and I said, Okay, I'm just gonna warn you. We're going to talk about what your church did on behalf of human rights, because they want a court case also, that they were not the Satanic Temple. They were the document of Angra Manju, something that did some some groups of Satanic Temple that apparently not even heard of at that point. But they were in this little court case. And there are 40 people, they had 40 people in their congregation where they maybe they gathered up from other places, I don't know. But they they accounted for 40 people. And they had the Oklahoma City Civic Center as their venue to do this black mass. And hundreds of Christians from all over the country showed up to protest outside. So you got 40 people inside, hundreds of Christians outside. Now, if if the devil worshipping Satanists were really a 100th as big as what Fox News would have us believe? Why would there only be 40 people attending that black mass? Yep. 40. That's, that's what they could manage from across the country, they could manage 40 people. And that's it, to compare with the hundreds of Christians that traveled from all over the country to protest this thing. And that was a music about that was was the hundreds of Christians Of course, they're all multiple denominations, which inevitably meant that they went to war with each other, outside.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:44 So yeah, so you have the Catholics and you have the Protestants. And then you have all the different millions of Protestant different, you have Mormons showing up, you have the Mormons showing up and they're all heretics to each other. So they're all here to protest the satanists. And then they they're all fighting with each other. So you're witnessing this protest? And then what happens?
Aron Ra 22:07 Yeah, well see, when I went to the satanic temples conference, I was really pleasantly surprised with with how that was pieced together. I mean, I had never been to a satanic conference before. I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't expect everybody to be so nice to be so tough. I would I didn't expect that I would feel the belonging that I did. Yeah, I mean, like my wife, and I, you know, we tend to be we're, we tend to like black metal. I mean, I'm gonna go see, I'm gonna go see Judas Priest on the 18th of this. So we're gonna see, I'm also going to see in this moment and ginger, on the 20th of this month. Amazing. So that gives you an idea where we're coming from, right, yeah. And so I'm in this group. And somebody described the congregation as the world's largest convention of black craft wears black. Black craft is a is a T shirt company that makes the most authentic looking T shirts, not this one, but others like it. And when we got to the satanic ball, on the first evening that we were there, I mean, I got to the hotel room in time to check in, but I stopped at a craft beer store on the way so I missed all of the protesters. So I was told and I saw a news report later that showed that there were hundreds of protesters out front. And Church Militant was claiming that it was all Catholics that every protester out so apparently, there was a Catholic. I don't think so. I think there were other people too. But anyway, one of the people in the hotel said that the satanists were really nice, but that they had to call the police on the Christian protesters outside. Yeah, so there was a lot of one of the ones that thing was the satanists embrace is their counterculture often, but not always, the embrace their outsider status. So yes, I saw and I've been to a lot of atheist conferences, and I'm sorry to say that when I when I started, when I started doing atheist conferences, they looked an awful lot like a Tolkien novel. I mean, they were all bald headed curmudgeons with long white beards. It was like the folks who look like Darwin convention. Honestly, it is what it looked like. So I mean, that how when I'm driving around downtown Houston looking for my conference hotel. I mean, where is it and I see a bunch of these gnome lizard looking Daniel
Stephen Bradford Long 24:38 Dennett, look alikes.
Aron Ra 24:42 zactly Dan Dennett, James Randi. But I didn't see a lot of these people that that that's what the movement looked like, when I got into it, and it has become more diverse, but the satanists are ahead of the game. My wife commented that it seemed to her that there were more women at the satanic conference than men. Yes. And when have you ever gone to a conference where there were more women than men?
Stephen Bradford Long 25:15 Absolutely, no. And that was one of the first things that I noticed. So I joined back in 2017. That was one of the first things that stood out to me is the number of LGBTQ people and the number of women. And just like how revolutionary that was for me, whereas like, I, I didn't have to be in a place where the inclusion of women was ever an issue, or where the the inclusion of gay people was ever an issue. It was there from the beginning. Like, that was huge for me.
Aron Ra 25:48 Yeah, and there was a lot of trans people at this event, and there's just, it just wasn't anything uncomfortable about that. And like, if you if you have, I don't know, trans people in the atheist, irregular atheists sphere, you're gonna still have some kind of, or I've seen in years past where there are where there are people who have issues with gender identity, and oh, no, oh my god, you want me to do to show the common basic courtesy of respecting your pronoun?
Stephen Bradford Long 26:21 Why is that an issue in the eighth? We don't need. We don't need to get like derailed on this. But I've always just been so baffled about how, why is it that certain parts of the atheist world have these conservative leanings? And I feel like it's always that has always been there to a certain degree in certain corners. And it's like, what is it about that world that kind of leans towards conservative libertarian masculinity?
Aron Ra 26:56 I never, I've never, I mean, back in the 80s. I played Frankenberger, when there was when they were doing the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Yeah, I did. I did it for years. I hoped I did. I teased up my hair like poison. I mean, I wonder at one point, I mean, I did all of the the glam rock kind of thing back in my 20s. You know, and because I was getting the benefit of that, if you know what I mean. And that works for me. But I was never, I was always comfortable in my skin as far as my gender identity. I mean, I'm, I'm a cisgendered heterosexual male. And I feel a little bit odd about that, because it seems like everybody on the planet is to some degree bisexual now, and I'm kind of at odds because I'm not
Stephen Bradford Long 27:43 an I am. I am 100%, pure bred gay, like, garden variety at garden variety. 100%. Gay.
Aron Ra 27:56 Okay, so but do you feel strange about that? Because it seems like everybody's more flexible,
Stephen Bradford Long 28:01 um, than we are? Honestly, I haven't really thought about it. I'm definitely not very flexible in my orientation. But I'm, I'm happy that people are able to explore their sexuality in a way that maybe they didn't used to. And so I'm happy that I'm happy about
Aron Ra 28:19 that. Yeah, you look at the look at the porn industry, you know, certainly is happy about that. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. But the point that I'm trying to make is it I'm just very fortunate. Yeah, that I did even with having long hair, like all my life. Yeah. You know, that I have. I've never, I've always been testosterone poisoned I've ever I've always been a cisgender. Man. Right, just with long hair didn't matter. Yeah, you know, and yeah, just but uh, but I've always been very comfortable with how I present matches who I am. You know? I mean, the veneer matches the foundation, if you understand what I'm saying. Absolutely. And I feel sorry for a lot of the people that I know, who have the same way, how they present is not who they are. You know, and so rather than just why can't you be comfortable in yourself, like me, you know, instead of being an agnostic tick about or agnostic, arrogant? Yeah. You know, it's, I can have a bit of compassion to understand that, hey, maybe not everybody is in the same situation as I am. And it's unfortunate that not everybody can be in as comfortable in their own skin as I am. But the thing is, is when you talk about compassion, that's where I see an enormous divide in people and when you talk about, you know, almost the bulk of the political divide in this country seems to be in one respect or another. Do you have compassion for other people or are you only concerned about yourself? So look at a lot of people that will all the Republicans, for example, who are against a boy portions until their mistress is pregnant. Yep. Or now you have you have a GOP senator who's trying to get his mistress and abortion before his wife find out that you knocked up another woman? Or are you going to PA cracy of that?
Stephen Bradford Long 30:15 Or you have the people who are, you know, anti trans until their, their son comes until their son comes out as trans or exactly.
Aron Ra 30:24 So if it doesn't affect you directly, yep. Then you don't give a fuck. Yeah, that's, that's one category of people. And I know, I saw this button back and back in the 80s. I think that I really liked it so straight but not narrow. Yes, and well, that's, I like that. That means that I can advocate for gay rights. I don't have to be gay. And if I advocate for gay rights, gay rights, it doesn't mean that I am gay. I can be, you know, I don't want to use the word proudly. But I've just you know, comfortably, let's say comfortably naturally, full on heterosexual male. But I acknowledged that other people who are not what I am, have rights as well. And it doesn't have to be me. I can respect somebody else's right. And but a lot of other people can't.
Stephen Bradford Long 31:12 That's right. And, you know, there's one of the things that I so appreciate about our particular satanic community. And this isn't true of all satanic communities. But it's true of TST is just, it's a non issue in a way that is so humanizing, like being gay being in a community that's full of LGBTQ people and sex workers and women and just all different types of communities and lifestyles and orientations and genders. And for people to to not care in a really validating way. Does that make sense? There's, there's a, like not having any bid not throwing any fuss over it, not have and feeling like the important thing here is the values. It's the tenets of the temple and upholding the temple will upholding the tenets of the temple.
Aron Ra 32:09 Well, the tenants, the seven tenants of the Satanic Temple are, are admirable, they've certainly they're better than the 10 commandments of the Bible, which by the way, is not 10 commandments. With the Bible finally mentions the word 10 commandments. It's an entirely different set. That's right. Yes. It's a set that tells you to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Observe the Feast of the weeks, sacrifice your firstborn son on my altar. Yes. It says that. And there are other passages in the Bible that refer back to that. That's a Yeah, people were doing that. And then, and the 10th commandment is Thou shalt not boil a baby goat in its own mother's milk. But goat steak in butter is awesome.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:57 I'm a vegetarian, so I wouldn't know but it I'm sure it's wonderful.
Aron Ra 33:00 Yeah, there's my hypocrisy. In perfect society, we would all be vegan. Yeah, I get that.
Stephen Bradford Long 33:07 I'm not I'm not vegan. I've tried I not there yet.
Aron Ra 33:11 I can't even I can't even get to vegetarian yet. But I but I understand my hypocrisy in that. If, if it was that I could not eat meat unless I slaughtered it. Vegetarian overnight. I know that. So please don't condemn me too much. I understand my own hypocrisy, I admit to it. But I've tried to do the vegetarian thing. And you know what? I miss eating as a vegetarian. Food.
Stephen Bradford Long 33:42 I understand. I totally get it. Well, so. You so so TST is a religion. Uh, one of the things that I'm super
Aron Ra 33:52 Yeah. And that's that's both that's both its advantage and my problem,
Stephen Bradford Long 33:56 right so I'm so you are big in the atheist community. You've been around forever in the atheist community. Your work you're here. You're so so you're like one of the atheist grandfather's? Like when I was like I said, when I was a an angsty Christian teenager I was you were one of the atheists that I was terrified on you terrified of on YouTube. So. So you've been doing this for a long time? Have you gotten any pushback from the, from from fellow atheists about the Satanic Temple? Because it
Aron Ra 34:33 was a couple of people there have been a couple of people that said that I was undermining my platform. But and I was concerned about that. You know, that advocating against religion and then attaching myself to a religion was going to be a problem. Now strangely, when I got my ordination from the Universal Life Church, nobody said a thing. When when I became a Buddhist priest, for the you know, the church of Buddhism, I forget what its its actual name is No problem. I could be a pasta firing, you know, in claiming worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster nobody would have a problem with that church of the SubGenius Yeah, I'm a friend of Ivan staying the guy who founded the church of the SubGenius the church of Bob
Stephen Bradford Long 35:17 Well in some of those are legitimate new religious movements. And I know that they're, they're jokey. I know that they're perceived as you know, jokey, but, but there are religious scholars who study those as as new religious movements as legitimate invented religions. Well, the
Aron Ra 35:33 point is, is that nobody nobody had an issue with me belonging to all of those things. But declaring myself a Satanist was an issue because everybody thinks that that means one that I worship a devil that I don't believe in. Or that as Tucker Carlson put it, you know, you're just a made up religion. Well, I'm sorry, Tucker. But Christianity is a made up of all religions are made up. Yeah, and you guys behind Christianity? You guys are it's all make believe you're all faking it. I've had so many ministers don't I realize that there are some people who for whatever reason legitimately believe this shit. They really do. They were raised in it that they were raised in I was not indoctrinated before the age of reason my family had a strange tradition that saved me. In that, they said, You don't indoctrinate a child until they reach the age of reason which they are bound determined to what was the age of reasonably eight years, eight years old is what they determined it to be. Which is interesting, because, you know, the Jesuits famously had that saying, you bring me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man because once you stifle out from from learning how to speak to seven years old when you teach them to be on critical thinkers to believe exactly what the authorities tell them only because the authority tells them you cannot ever believe anybody but the authority, then you've wiped away that child's ability to develop critical thinking is severely hampered. I mean, I know people who have who have gotten out of it, who have developed the ability to think critically later in life. But it's rare. And it's difficult. And their deconversion is is a painful period lasting years. It's brutal.
Stephen Bradford Long 37:18 Yeah, that's the way it was for me. I mean, it's a it's a brutal, brutal experience and and on and I actually converted so I D converted from Christianity and I went straight to Satanism. So I went straight from Christianity to the Satanic Temple. And part of the reason was because it it was TST is a religion and and it's like I, there was part of me that, that needed non theistic and atheistic form of religion. It's like I needed some kind of compromise.
Aron Ra 37:53 To talk about that. Yes, let's talk about it. Because as I define religion, okay, TSG would not be a religion. Okay, let's talk about I've often said, I've often said that every religion that is universally accepted as a religion by both its adherence and its critics, and that's, that's an important caveat, there are preface, every one that is universally accepted by both adherence and critics is a faith based belief system, positing the notion that a supernatural essence of self somehow survives the death of the physical body to continue on in some other form. Now, Satanism is not universally accepted to be a religion, Tucker Carlson said is just you know, so many critics say that it's not a religion. Importantly, the government says that it is yes. And that's what gives Satan his power and and the Christians cannot undermine that, because they are simultaneously trying to contradict themselves by forcing atheism to be a religion by insisting that evolution ism.
Stephen Bradford Long 39:01 Yeah, right. It's some kind of faith based as faith based as their buddy,
Aron Ra 39:06 somebody wrote an obiter dictum in a Supreme Court case, tr caso vs. Watkins. You know, one of the justices mentioned in a in a sub note that had nothing to do with the ruling he said that secular humanism would qualify as a religion by his determination and thus, people assume that secular humanism is a religion even though it is not officially declared as such. So the Christians will argue that secular humanism realism evolution, ism is a religion atheism is a religion but they say that Satanism is not right. Well, I would tell them to pull their head out of their asses but then they would be atheists like myself if they did.
Stephen Bradford Long 39:46 Okay, so so if I can recap what you're saying, in your view, real the religion is a faith based system system belief system. You That involves some essence of the self surviving death in some way. And supernatural
Aron Ra 40:05 supernatural essence itself so the supernatural essence they hold to mind body dualism. Every religion host of Mind Body dualism, which has no support, either in science or philosophy
Stephen Bradford Long 40:19 and religion, a religion must be understood to be a religion by both its adherence and outsiders. Yeah, so,
Aron Ra 40:30 so nobody argues that Sikhism Yes, not a religion. Yeah, right. Buddhists will argue argue that Buddhism is not a religion. Christians will argue that Christianity is not a religion. It's a relationship.
Stephen Bradford Long 40:47 So so but then does that disqualify with so say, like, we all know those evangelicals who are like, you know who, those evangelicals who are like, No, I don't have a religion. It's a relationship. Okay, but then with a magic imaginary friend with a magic imaginary friend, so But does that mean that they're evangelicalism isn't a religion, then? Because while we would say they
Aron Ra 41:12 still they still put the core requirement is there every time religions and not every religion has a god? Right? So there's there's like druidic, and animist, and so forth. But there's a whole lot of religions that don't believe in a God. But that do believe in a supernatural essence itself. No, I was, I was in a Theravada Buddhist temple, where I ultimately got married. But as before that happened, I'm doing comparative religious studies, and I'm listening to the the teacher teaching about Buddhism. Now, this was a Thai Buddhist community. But the guy who was teaching was not Thai, he was an American convert. And I'm sure that was the reason why so Thai people when when they when they want to work, any Eastern or Asian Buddhist community might want to criticize me for this, I'm already aware that being being an American convert, probably tainted his perspective. But he said that Buddhism is not a religion, because they don't believe in a God. And they don't believe in the self. Okay? So you can't, we can't be born again, not born again in Christian terms, but you can't be like, born again, in reincarnation terms. Because you've never been born before. He said, In my first contest was everyone at this table has a birth certificate. And so he just wants to ignore that. Okay, so you were physically born, but that doesn't mean anything according to the religion at all. Just because you came out of a womb somewhere. That's not what birth is, okay, fine. Well, you're just you're gonna change all the meanings of the words continue. We don't believe in a God, we don't believe in self. And then he spoke for another two or three minutes before he said that you might be reincarnated into a new body. And I said, Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You. You as in yourself, right? So you have a new physical form. So you were born, you came out of a different womb, then the first one you came out of? So you were born again? And he didn't like me? Yeah, he didn't. He didn't like how was disrupting his class. And then he comes to the final point where he said that the original Buddhists who talks like Adama could hear prayers, that he prays to Buddha, the first Buddhists, he talked to Qatar, he prays the Buddha, and Buddha can hear his prayers. And Buddha answers his prayers with miracles, right? So I said, Okay, definition of a God that I've always used some magical anthropomorphic immortal. Magic is the definition of miracle. So there's, they're the same thing you look up. And if you even look up in six different dictionaries, look up the definition of miracle lookups in six different dictionaries look up the definition of magic, you're going to realize there's a strong correlation there. Miracles are magic, magical miracles, Miraculous Magic, whatever. It's the same fucking thing. So if he answers with miracles, that's fucking magic. So it's a magical anthropomorphic dude. Siddhartha Gautama. Right. Do we need to argue he's anthropomorphic. He's a fucking human. Okay, immortal. He died in what? 600 BC. And he also you worship a God you believe himself and you believe in reincarnation? You're a fucking religion. So it checks all the boxes. So, so he was really angry with me.
Stephen Bradford Long 44:45 So I have met people who self identify as Christians. Let's let's just use one example a public figure named Mike McHarg. And he is a kind of progressive Christian guy, but he's a non theistic Christian. And so he Yeah, so he's
Aron Ra 45:03 allowed a second. Yeah, I just, I just want to absorb this for a minute. And it's important that other people do too. Yes. The Tucker Carlson's in the world need to realize that there is a non theist Methodist minister, running a church in downtown Austin, Texas.
Stephen Bradford Long 45:20 Oh, that's great. Yes.
Aron Ra 45:22 How the fuck is he Christian? Well, that's where the Christians that's where
Stephen Bradford Long 45:25 the Christians. That's where the Christmas figured out. Right? And so I mean, it's certainly not creedal Christian faith, like the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed like it, it's definitely, which is which?
Aron Ra 45:36 Anybody wants to say that they're not true Christians? Well, let's find out what the fuck a true Christian is as
Stephen Bradford Long 45:42 well, and that, but that's part of the point, right? Because So, but what that Methodist pastor, would he be religious? Like he he's a Methodist
Aron Ra 45:53 definition. Okay. Not not by my definition, because I understand that religion involves a community cultural aspect, in the definition for a non theistic Methodist. Yeah, and for the Satanic Temple, and indeed, for the Church of Satan. For all of them, they would their non their base, they're all atheists, looking for a sense of community. Now, when I took a college course, on the history of comparative world religions, it seems to me I was told that the defining religion would be very difficult. And I took all of the globally accepted, unanimously accepted religions of the world, and came up with a definition that applied to all of them. Now, Taoism still doesn't qualify as a religion. Because even if you even if you if you advance the deistic concept, that nature has a consciousness of some sort. Or even though it doesn't, because my favorite line out of the out of the Delta Ching, it's funny, I'm sorry to sidetrack myself, Oh, no, no, you're good. But one of the issues that I had with Buddhism, is that Buddhism says that, you know, that existence is suffering. And I'm sorry, it's not.
Stephen Bradford Long 47:06 It's just not heresy. No, I
Aron Ra 47:09 can, it can be suffering for some people, but it's not suffering for me. Yeah, I always feel good. I feel good all the time. I don't, I don't know how I would deal with it. But an actual don't like people that have back injuries or whatever that are, that are, that are confined not just to a wheelchair, but you're one of those prone things, because I know people like that that are there. They only have limited movement of their hands at all, you know, and they lived their whole life like that completely dependent on somebody else. I couldn't imagine that because I've always been able bodied, right? And I always feel good, I don't have pain. Life is not suffering, I enjoy the fuck out of life. And given the alternative comparison. It's better to have than to have not, so I'm sorry to sidetrack, too, but a few too many times to remember where I know
Stephen Bradford Long 47:58 you're good. So um, so you were talking about the issue with Buddhism? Suffering? Like the suffering? Yeah,
Aron Ra 48:07 yeah. And I just, I never got that that impression, but but when I read the Delta Ching, I read a verse out of that, that was my favorite verse from any what I would call what I used to think was religious doctrine ever. And that was that nature acts without intent. So it cannot be said to be benevolent, nor malevolent to anything. And that's, I guess, the reason that I that I find that beautiful, is because it's true.
Stephen Bradford Long 48:37 That's just true. That is just true.
Aron Ra 48:40 And so when people say, Well, everything happens for a reason. There are no accident, no. Fuck ton of accident. Everything is an accident. Yeah, that is not true. You know that everything happens for a reason is not true. That when you pray that your child will be found safely when your child is missing, and it turns out that she was raped and destroyed in some horrible, painful way. You know what, it's not that God was listening and decided, no, fuck you. I see everything that's going to happen in the future. I knew you were gonna pray about this. I knew you were gonna pray about her. And I allowed this to happen anyway. No, it's not that your God has an internal dick. That just doesn't care what you think. It's that there is no God.
Stephen Bradford Long 49:15 He doesn't exist. Yeah. Yeah. So what does what has changed for you? Has anything really changed for you since joining the Satanic Temple, or is it more like, this is just here's where you are. Yes. Go on.
Aron Ra 49:30 Here's my problem. People have oh, whoa, always told me that I worship the devil.
Stephen Bradford Long 49:37 Me to just fuck.
Aron Ra 49:39 So I always had long hair. As I said, I was always a strapping young man. I mean, I remember I remember a time in you know, like, when I was 2019 20 years old. I was walking through the mall, wearing my black leather jacket because you almost always had a motorcycle. Right? But But I mean, there was a time When people wouldn't do like the hallways was part because of people are afraid of me. I was always being judged on my appearance. So I had both ears pierced long before a lot of other people did. You know and it just it just, I was listening to you know, one of my favorite bands, your Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, should be Judas Priest. And all of these were like, you know, the devil's music, and so on. So I'm just, and I played Dungeons and Dragons. So fuck, it doesn't matter. Even if you're a nerd, you're still somehow satanic. And people were just always afraid to me. And that, that was to add my advantage in that I was both good looking and a bad boy, I know, it may be hard to look upon this nearly 60 year old visuals now and try
Stephen Bradford Long 50:44 to picture Hey, listen, I go to some I go to some gay bars where they would devour you would be so into you? Well, what
Aron Ra 50:53 I'm trying to say is if this was a lot different when I was 20. I had a very different background in that. And it worked out well for me, if I can just say that. But But people have always thought that I was a devil worshiper in some way. And so I've been trying to argue against No, it's not that I don't, it's not that I believe in the enemy of your imaginary friend. I don't believe in any of it. It's all bullshit, right? There is just, there's just us, there's just the natural world, you're in a hole. So you want to argue that that materialism is true? Why do you have to put it like Why does everything have to be reversed? Why does everything has to be in a in a in shifting the burden of proof? Why can't it be we both know the material world exists, I realize there's some people that don't think the world material world exists, but I'm not even going to acknowledge them. Because I think it's the most pathetic belief system possible. We both accept that the material world exists, mostly, you're trying to posit a magical alternative reality on top of that. So we both accept that materialism is true. In this perspective, we have a material world. Now show me the evidence for your The other thing that you're trying to positively suggest. But they have to take every belief or every non belief, every lack of belief has to be turned into a belief. Because they can't think in terms of non belief. They can't accept that I don't believe you. And therefore you have to convince me, they have to do the logical fallacy thing of reversing the burden of proof on me so that I have to prove that No, God ism is
Stephen Bradford Long 52:32 true. So you're getting at something really important here, which is, which I find so hard to explain to people. There's a and let's see if I can articulate it. I'm not. I'm not good at this stuff. Absorb. But I'll try. There's a difference between not believing in God and believing that God does not exist. Not really not believing in God is simply saying, I see your evidence. I don't buy it, quote unquote, evidence. I see your arguments, say quote unquote, you're right. Because there's there is no, there is no good evidence. And, and that's all it is.
Aron Ra 53:09 Yeah, if the Bible is no more evidence of God than the Bhagavad Gita is evidence of Lord Krishna. Yeah. And so you don't if you don't accept that you're the Adi grant of the Sikhs as evidence of their God, then I don't accept about the Bible, and you don't accept the Koran either. Then why should I accept the Bible? I don't accept the Quran, you know, for the same reason you don't. Right. So you accept as a Christian, you accept that the Quran is not the truth and you accepted the Bhagavad Gita is made up by people and you expected the autograph was made up by people in the investors of Zarathustra on which our Bible is based.
Stephen Bradford Long 53:48 What was what was what is the Bible based on what was that?
Aron Ra 53:51 The investors of Zarathustra? What is that? Okay. Oh,
Stephen Bradford Long 53:55 sorry, Zarathustra that like is
Aron Ra 53:57 the rational extremism got it? Yes. So biblical scholars will often say that Judaism adopted more from Zoroastrianism than from any other pre Juday in influence,
Stephen Bradford Long 54:14 and is Zoroastrianism still alive? Like is it it? Do people
Aron Ra 54:20 practices? It's arguable whether it's alive? I mean, they've had one famous member Freddie Mercury. Okay, got it. Who amusingly most Zoroastrians would not claim. But he is their most famous member ever. So Zoroastrians enjoy an interesting perspective in that Islam has a degree of respect for the Zoroastrians, completely different theism, non Abrahamic theism. But it's Um, has a respect for Zoroastrianism. Judaism is based largely, not entirely largely on Zoroastrianism, Christianity, reached past Judaism to take other aspects of Zoroastrianism and incorporate those things that Judaism did not incorporate Christianity did.
Stephen Bradford Long 55:22 So Zoroastrianism is like the the grandfather, religion of Abrahamic religions, and
Aron Ra 55:29 it is okay it is all of them. I mean, well, Islam took nothing from Zoroastrianism, but they respect the Zoroastrians. That's fascinating. I don't have those I doubt that any that any any scholar a world religions is going to contest me on that. Yeah, but if they do, I would appreciate if somebody would notify me of this because the best of my knowledge is what I just said. I don't I don't think that there's going to be a religious scholar anywhere that would contest me on that. It's fast. And so in the in the investors and I want to say it's the hot not gnashed where I read that, that a hora Mazda, somebody Azhar, maybe he's out of Australia is talking with hold on Mazda. And they say that the righteous man, and this is part of the Christianity took the Judaism did not take Christianity reach back and took this, that the righteous man will ascend to the kingdom of justice and truth under the wise lord ahora Mazda. And the evil man will descend into the kingdom of the lie, ruled by our Oman, the opposer. And the word for opposer. The opposer is harsh Schatten Satan, also known as Agra, my new so that's where the temple of set there, there's two, two subdivisions of the temple set. And one of them is the the document of Andhra Manju.
Stephen Bradford Long 57:06 Unfortunately, we're here at the end of the hour, but this is you kidding me, I know what we're gonna have to do, we're going to have to do this again. If you're up for that, if you're you're fun. I know, I know I am, too. But my my audience yells at me if I go over an hour, by audience can play this over.
Aron Ra 57:27 I'm sure I can convince them otherwise.
Stephen Bradford Long 57:30 But um, this has been great. And you're welcome back anytime. It's been great talking to you. It's kind of it's always kind of a surreal experience when I have someone on the show who has just kind of like been in my psyche for over a decade on YouTube. So it's been an honor talking to you. It's been really, really interesting. And you're welcome back anytime. Thank you very much indeed. All right. Well, that is it for this show. The music is by eleventy seven, the song is wild. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music This show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and as a production of rock candy recordings, as always Hail Satan. And thanks for listening.