Podcasts/Sacred Tension-ST satanist QA-nu
ST_satanist_QA-nu SUMMARY KEYWORDS satanism, satan, people, satanic, satanist, question, lavey, individualism, satanists, satanic temple, tst, call, hail satan, anton lavey, community, religion, christianity, church, answer, life SPEAKERS Jack Matirko, Stephen Bradford Long
Stephen Bradford Long 00:28 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the spiritual discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long 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 week I am here with the fabulous end infernal Jack Metallica. He is the author of the four infernal use only blog on patios, the only satanic blog on Patheos. I might also add he is also a member of the Satanic Temple and is indeed a Satanist. Jack, welcome back to the show.
Jack Matirko 01:02 Hey, how you doing, man?
Stephen Bradford Long 01:04 I'm great, man a minute. It has been a minute. But you know, lots of life changes. Also. Congratulations on being a father now.
Jack Matirko 01:11 Thank you very much. We're very happy.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:13 I'm very, very proud of you. You have managed to not eat your child. Well done. So yeah, you know, parenthood kind of disrupts a lot of things as as it is supposed to do. So we haven't really talked to each other much but I hope you're doing well. Yeah,
Jack Matirko 01:31 I'm doing good. The blog has kind of been on hiatus. Oh, yeah, totally. Well, I adjust to this whole thing. But we've still been doing the the podcast me and Andy are the naked diner so nice. And I've been keeping things going great. My toe in the water as it is.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:45 That's fantastic. This is actually the first sacred tension episode recorded in my new studio here on the side of the mountain just outside of pisco National Forest way up here and bumfuck nowhere as long as the meth cannibals don't eat us, we'll be fine. It's very nice. It's very, very nice and pristine and quiet up here and we just got a new child ourselves. We actually got her today she's a tiny pink Toad tarantula. Oh, John ordered her in the mail. And so I had to fucking unpack. I had to unbox a tarantula today.
Jack Matirko 02:19 Is it on YouTube?
Stephen Bradford Long 02:20 No, no. I was too terrified. I was like, is she gonna like latch onto my face? Like a like a face hugger? Like what's going what's gonna go on? Like, I've never had a tarantula before but right now she's just this we got a junior. So she's like this tiny little ball of fluff and legs and she's cute, but
Jack Matirko 02:37 they are they're, they're really pretty passive spiders. They just live naturally out. Here's
Stephen Bradford Long 02:43 Oh, yeah, it's supposed to live for like 30 years, so it'll probably outlive me. I wanted to name it some like boring white mom name like baby boomer white mom name like Linda. But we decided to go with Elvira. So Elvira is the latest addition to the family. Oh, all right. Well, we are here to answer questions about Satanism. I'm a member of the Satanic Temple. I consider myself a Satanist. I consider myself a deeply religious person and I am a Satanist. My religion is Satanism. I am also a very ecumenical person. So for longtime listeners of the show, you notice that I have lots of Christians, lots of pagans, you know, I believe in cultivating ecumenical dialogue. And so that's a lot of what the show is, but my personal religious perspective is non theistic Satanism. And that tends to freak people out. That tends to stress a lot of people out, I get called lots of different things on social media, which is to be expected. I don't worry about that. I you know, I know what I'm taking on when I become a public Satanist. But it's an incredibly misunderstood religion. And so I thought that I would just bring my friend Jack on to answer some questions from Twitter and Instagram and my patrons and we got a ton of questions. Way too many that we can answer we're just going to go through a few I excluded a lot of questions because some of them were repeats and then there were also quite a few that I was not able to put down just because I'd already put the document together and they just kept rolling in today that also you know, I mean, it's an hour show Oh, yeah, exactly. It's an hour show I mean, we could like start a completely separate podcast like satanic q&a podcast like that obnoxious Catholic Answers website. And they do you know them they're they're atrocious, super homophobic and awful, but they they have the Catholic Answers YouTube channel, we could do a satanic answers, but I think that would be kind of antithetical to what it means to be a Satanist.
Jack Matirko 04:48 Yeah, we'll kind of probably get into some of that with some Exactly. Yeah,
Stephen Bradford Long 04:52 exactly. Okay, so first things first, just getting the caveats out of the way we are not spokespersons for the Satanic Temple. Well, we also don't speak for any other Satanists, we really only speak for ourselves in our own satanic practices. And we, you know, speak from our observations, but the truth is, is that we're just two guys with, you know, with microphones and we do not speak for Satanism as a whole. Right? Okay, well, so Jack, do you want to go ahead and choose a question to start this off
Jack Matirko 05:20 with? Well, I think we'll start with this first one, this one from is it uni or uni? Uni? Yeah, okay. Okay, so they asked, it's difficult for me to see Satanism as anything but simply a reactionary stance to Catholicism and evangelicalism. Why not choose Buddhism or any other ideology that completely issues itself of this dichotomy rather than effectively, quote, choose aside, unquote, in their dichotomy? Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 05:44 So if I could, like maybe translate that some, you know, he has difficulty seeing Satanism as anything other than a reactionary stance to Catholicism and evangelicalism. But that really, why choose a side between this binary of Christian or against Christian, you know, why not choose something completely outside of that dichotomy, or binary is basically what I'm hearing him asked here.
Jack Matirko 06:10 Right. So my take on it, when I read that question, I immediately remembered and the only way I'm going to be able to explain this is to kind of slip into pop culture references. Yeah, let's do it. So you're gonna have to forgive me, but that's the way it's going to have to go. So in the first episode of community, are you familiar with that show? At all? I
Stephen Bradford Long 06:27 am. Yep. Okay.
Jack Matirko 06:28 So in the first episode, at the end there, there's this bit where Troy was asking, he was complaining that everybody gave him crap for wearing his high school Letterman's jacket. And he's like, What if I take it off, then that looks weak? And the answer was, look, if you leave it on to piss them off, or take it off to make them happy? Either way, you're doing it for that? Yes. So my sense there is and if you watch the hail satan documentary, there's a bit in there where Jasper Peterson says, you know that it's post Christian, they're leaving Christianity behind and taking taking with them. So the concept there is okay, they it fits into their dichotomy, but we completely ignoring that dichotomy altogether and saying, it's irrelevant, it doesn't matter anymore. We took this part, that means something to us, and that's fine. Yes, exactly. What if we stopped using it to appease them? That would be worse, in my opinion? No,
Stephen Bradford Long 07:21 no, I totally agree. And, you know, I wrote an article called why Satan, you know, where I tried to answer the question, why Satan of all, you know, of all the religious figures, or religions that you could choose why a symbol that fills you with such revulsion, or that fills the public with such revulsion? And I tried to answer some of the most, you know, basic questions that I get all the time, I did record that article as a mini podcast episode several episodes back, so you can go check that out if you want. But I really like the idea of Satanism emerging from Christianity, kinda, I mean, it isn't a perfect analogy by any means. But kind of similar to the way Buddhism emerged from Hinduism, in that, you know, religions always are morphing into each other and out of each other, and are giving birth to new religions all the time. And that isn't remarkable at all. And so to me, this is not about being anti Christian. You know, to me, my Satanism is not a negative, it isn't about what I'm against. It's rather an embodiment of a positive worldview. And I'm taking the symbol of Satan with me because I think it's easier to reconstruct a new religion from the remains of what's come before and I come from a predominantly Christian world. And we all do in the here in the West, I end personally, I come from a deeply religious background, and that symbolism that mythology, that language that liturgy, those stories, it's all deep within my blood, right? It makes up part of who I am. And so I one of the reasons why I've chosen Satanism, over a religion like Buddhism, is because it's closer to home, but it's post Christian, you know, it's like as I'm journeying out of my Christianity, it's like that religious scholar in hail. Satan said, you know, it isn't anti Christian. It's post Christian. We've just taken Satan with us. I don't see my religion as anti Christian in any way. I see it as anti authoritarian.
Jack Matirko 09:34 It's a bit like asking Marvel Comics. Why call it Asgard? If you don't believe in Thor,
Stephen Bradford Long 09:40 yes, you know, yeah, precisely. You know, it's also I'm anti authoritarianism. And there's plenty of that within Christianity that I objected to. And I think because Christianity is the dominant religion here in America. A lot of our opposition it's is towards Christianity. it but it isn't actually towards Christianity. It's towards those corrupt and evil and theocratic manifestations of Christianity. There are plenty of forms of Christianity that I have no problem with, you know, like, you know, super chill Episcopalians or, you know, Quakers who get together and you know, support their trans friends and meditate every week, like I have no problem with any of that. So it doesn't have anything to do with being anti Christian. It has to do with being anti authoritarian.
Jack Matirko 10:27 Yeah, an anti theocratic, anti theocratic pro pluralism would probably be the right way to put a positive spin on that, right.
Stephen Bradford Long 10:35 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I don't know. Do you have any more thoughts on this one? Because I hear this all the time. And it's really it's really hard for people to understand. I don't I don't know. P. I think this is the actually one of the biggest things that I come up against people struggle all the time with understanding that Satanism does not necessarily mean anti Christian. And maybe this also has to do with the legacy of Anton LaVey, who kind of had a very Nietzsche as opposition to what he called the slave morality of Christianity. Maybe that has to do with it, but it is not necessarily so.
Jack Matirko 11:11 Yeah, no, I don't think I have too much more to add on that. I think that however, the terminology came about, because it's not like this was invented out of whole cloth when TSD came around five years ago, you know, this has been an idea for a very long time. Yeah. So you know, it's not like we're just making this up as we go along. There's all there's already a culture in place there. It's just a very small niche minority that right, most people aren't exposed to.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:41 Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, let me choose a question here. Nick asks, Are there spiritual or theistic Satanists? Well?
Jack Matirko 11:50 I would say, yes, there are people who identify as Satanists who do have some sort of theological belief, right? I don't know if that necessarily like I think if you game it out far enough, that doesn't actually like hold up in any constructive sense. I think it doesn't actually work, because the embodiment of Satanism is self worship. So to have any kind of deity doesn't necessarily make sense to me. And I think, at least in terms of, at least in terms of the Satanic Temple, and I think probably the Church of Satan to this idea that, you know, if you're trying to follow what is the the the truth, according to the best available evidence, there's no reason to presuppose theism at all. So I don't know where those people get that from, but people are going to call themselves they're going to call themselves eventually, you kind of come down to a labeling issue where, you know, like, if somebody says, I believe in God, the next question should be well, do you need to define what you mean by that? Right? Because that could be anything to any number of people.
Stephen Bradford Long 12:46 Right? Yeah. And my thoughts on this is, I take a very simplistic definition of Satanism. And I'd actually like to hear your thoughts on this, because I think that the most basic definition of religious Satanism is a religious veneration for the figure of Satan and just kind of as an umbrella term Satanism, that is, in my view, all Satanism is right. And then it can contain a multitude of different theologies, perspectives, philosophies, beliefs, practices, etc.
Jack Matirko 13:21 Sure, but it would all fall under that same umbrella, the same way that the same way that Protestantism and Mormonism and everything falls under the umbrella of Christianity.
Stephen Bradford Long 13:30 Exactly. And so that that's my thoughts on this. And so with that understanding of Satanism, then yes, there are spiritual and theistic Satanists, there are some forms of Satanism in the pagan world. I don't really know much about paganism at all, but that that's what I hear from my pagan friends. There's also a branch, another satanic organization that branched off of Church of Satan called the Temple of set, and they are a theistic satanic organization, but with kind of a spin because they actually understand Satan as being the Egyptian God set. And so that, that becomes like weirdly complicated, like, yes, they're Satanists, but they're ultimately Egyptian Neo pagans. Yeah,
Jack Matirko 14:17 I guess that's the right way to put it, or something like that. And it takes an awful lot of reading to get through Aquino. So it's, yeah, it's, it's always clear. Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 14:28 I do not have the energy for that. Yeah, Aquino was his name. He was a high ranking official and in Anton LaVey Church of Satan in the early days. And so one of the things that that is really interesting about those about Anton LaVey is that he was pretty ambiguous about whether he believed in Satan or not, he was he mostly said that he did not. He mostly said, you know, we're Satan, or we're atheists. We do not believe in a god or gods or Satan, but then in a lot of ways, he kind of betrayed that I idea, you know, it seems he believed in magic, it seems that he did believe at times in some sort of Satan. So there was a lot of ambiguity within the Church of Satan. And I think it was that it was that atmosphere that helped to cultivate that, you know Aquino in the temple of set
Jack Matirko 15:15 well, yeah, cuz okay no thought that declaration of atheism was kind of a betrayal of the original principles like
Stephen Bradford Long 15:23 yeah apps and Aquino thought LaVey was actually a theistic Satanists. Yeah. He he thought that, and so yeah, it's really interesting.
Jack Matirko 15:33 Not bad. We just need to clear that up. Yes. Now was he still thinks that instil render the template set and actually published the book last year?
Stephen Bradford Long 15:40 Oh, I didn't know that. I haven't been following him at all. I mean, the how, just out of curiosity, how big is the temple of say,
Jack Matirko 15:48 I have no idea. I couldn't tell you. It's not something I spend a whole lot of time focused on really like what other groups are doing necessarily, you know? Yeah,
Stephen Bradford Long 15:57 me too. All right. So moral of the story is, yes, there are spiritual and theistic Satanists, but I would say that Satanism is predominantly an atheistic religion, or a non theistic religion. Sure. Okay. Do you want to do you want to take a question? Well, let's
Jack Matirko 16:15 see. Let's try this one for fun. Kate asks, What is your personal opinion on what the goal of Satanism is maintaining separation of church and state is great and all but I can't believe it's the end goal. I personally don't even think that's necessarily the primary goal. It's just an important issue to a lot of people who identify as Satanists. I think one of the things that's interesting about TST is that it never has purported to represent all Satanists. Yeah. You know, it's, this is what we're doing. And if you want to help do this stuff. Cool. Come over here. That's what we're doing.
Stephen Bradford Long 16:50 Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And that's one thing that I really appreciate about TST is that they don't claim to be the one true satanic church the way Church of Satan does, or to define Satanism. No, I was thinking about this question, too. And I guess the question that I came up with was, or the answer I came up with was, why does it have to have a purpose? You know, I don't I don't really think in church or goals, you know?
Jack Matirko 17:18 Well, I mean, I think at its at its base, fundamental core, the goal of Satanism in terms of, you know, satanic practice, is for you to live a fulfilling, happy, satisfied life.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:33 Yes, absolutely. I agree with that. Everything else is
Jack Matirko 17:37 kind of built on top of that, right. So if you're doing activism as a Satanist, that's fine. That's something you feel you need to do to make the kind of world that you want to live in.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:48 Yeah. And, you know, one of the reasons why I'm a Satanist is and why I'm a religious person. And, you know, I've, you know, given myself lots and lots of answers to this question many times, like, why am I involved in the church? Or why am I involved in this particular religious practice? You know, I've had to confront that question several times over the years, and I've often given myself, you know, these profound and meaningful answers. Now, I just kind of cut through that through all that bullshit. And just admit to myself, I do this because it's fun.
Jack Matirko 18:18 There is a lot of the NL tell you since yes, we've had the kid. It's weird how quickly the volume gets turned down on a lot of other stuff, you know, Oh, yeah. Before I would wake up in the morning, turn on the news, catch up with what's going on, sit down, read things, write my article for the day. And now it's like, wait, I can just hang out with a baby and watch this and be straight for two hours. That's, that's awesome. Let's do that.
Stephen Bradford Long 18:40 Let's do that instead. Right. So that is more fun for you. It is for now at least Yeah, it is for now. Yeah. And, you know, I think one of the reasons why I do what I do, why a lot of religious people do what they do is because it makes life more fun and interesting. And it's a form of play. And I don't think that that I don't think that that should be a mark against religious practice. Those of us for whom that's true, I think we should just admit that that's the way it is and embrace it like Satanism. You know, as Mason said, In the movie, Hail Satan, it Mason says, this makes life fun. I think that's one of the main reasons why I do it. It makes my life fun and interesting. It also, you know, it's a meaning making machine to, you know, it's a scaffold of that provides symbolism and meaning there's all that, you know, there's all that deeper stuff, but I think really, I wouldn't do it if I wasn't having fun. And to me, that's enough. Like, to me, that's enough of a goal is that I'm having fun doing this, so why the fuck not?
Jack Matirko 19:41 Yeah, exactly. And who's to tell you not to so precisely and
Stephen Bradford Long 19:45 and, you know, that goes to what you're saying, which is, you know, ultimately the goal of Satan is to help people live more fulfilled meaningful lives and to enable us to do that as best we can. And so for me, having fun is a part of me being fulfilled as a human being, you know,
Jack Matirko 20:02 right. And so like going back to the the other question about why call it Satanism? If if by applying that that, you know, mythological framework to a destruction ritual that you do with your friends is enjoyable and fulfilling and cathartic, then what's the harm?
Stephen Bradford Long 20:20 And then do it? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you know, I think that this is one of I don't know, I've, I want to get your opinion on this. I think that a lot of humanism and atheism in general, it's really good. You know, I love a lot of atheist content online, but but it isn't as fun. Do you know what I mean? Like, it isn't as fun. Yeah, I know. And I really think I really, really think that that might be one reason why theistic religion, you know, often beats out atheism,
Jack Matirko 20:58 because it's because it's more fun as a show. There's pageantry. There's Yeah, exactly. Oh, there's definitely something to that. In fact, when we were doing the interviews for the hail satan documentary,
Stephen Bradford Long 21:11 yes. By the way, could we briefly pause and just tell people what that movie is? Since we keep bringing it up? Oh, yeah. Well,
Jack Matirko 21:17 I mean, that's the documentary of the last.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:21 I'm gonna say five, five years of the satanic four years. Yeah, about that. Somewhere in there. Yeah. And it's great. I interviewed Penny Lane, the director, the interview is called hail satan. Of course, you can go and listen to that 30 minute interview I did. And also Hail Satan is now out on streaming. You can rent it across all the streaming platforms. So please go watch
Jack Matirko 21:41 it. Depending on when you put this out. It might be on Hulu comes out on Hulu, August 22.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:46 Yeah, it'll be on Hulu by the time this comes out. So go watch it on Hulu.
Jack Matirko 21:52 So when we were doing those interviews, I was talking to Penny about the interaction between Satanic Temple and the atheist movement, because that's where I came in from. And I made the point that, you know, you put the bathroom at statue there next to those 10 commandments. And it's a statement. Yeah, it's big. It's brash, it's right there, as opposed to in Florida when American Atheists put in that bench, their secular bench that just had some quotes from you know, Carl Sagan and stuff on it.
Stephen Bradford Long 22:23 God damn boring Carl Sagan,
Jack Matirko 22:25 just a boring bench. And like, it's so in some respects, just adding this this metaphor makes it makes it more powerful. Right? The it makes it alive. Yeah. Yeah, it makes it alive, in a way gives a story in context in a way that just, you know, wrote atheists can't?
Stephen Bradford Long 22:41 Yes, precisely. Well, and you know, it embodies a positive value. And I know that humanism does, too. But I often wonder if there is a if, you know, I think that because we're human beings, we respond really powerfully to story and symbol, right. And so when we try to have a message that doesn't involve those things, I think it's just harder. So anyway, I forget how we got on onto this track, but
Jack Matirko 23:12 personal opinion on the goal of Satanism. Oh, yeah, and I don't Yeah, so the end result is that there's no one goal, right, everyone who identifies as satanist is going to have their own goals and ideals, and sometimes they line up and sometimes they don't. So
Stephen Bradford Long 23:27 results may vary. Exactly. Moving on. Here's another issue that comes up all the time. Michael asks, Is it possible for Satanists to not be social Darwinists given live A's general outlook and aping of Ragnar red beard and the Satanic Bible? Also, what is the relationship between fascism and the satanic community? Is that overblown? Okay, so for some background, Anton LaVey, was who popularized Satanism I don't think he invented Satanism, but he popularized it. He kind of codified the first formal version of Satanism, but it existed before him. And he was really influenced by Nietzsche by Master morality, slave morality concepts of Nietzsche, he was influenced heavily by iron Rand, and he was influenced heavily by a really obscure author named Ragnar Red Beard who wrote correct me if I'm wrong. Might is right. That's the name of the book. That's the name of the book. Okay. And so he kind of copied a lot of red beard in the Satanic Bible. So because of this modern Satanism, of the LaVeyan variety has largely been a religion of the right in a way, you know, it's been a religion of class hierarchy. And LaVey himself was very anti gay, he was anti abortion he was and so he, you know, he was not the liberationist that many people, I think, have the impression that he was, but this legacy has continued to live on and peep will often assume that I am a social Darwinist because I label myself as a as a Satanist or some kind of ridiculously radical individualist and you know who embraces kind of Randian selfishness, right? These very simple answer is no, you don't have to do any of that in order to be you can complete in fact, you can completely reject LaVey and everything he taught and still be a Satanist. Because Satanism is an umbrella term, and all it means is a religious veneration for the symbol of Satan. Well,
Jack Matirko 25:36 that's all it you know, I think the thing there is the LaVeyan perspective is very, you know, it's it's more immediate, right? It's, it's, I'm going to do what's good for me fuck everyone else, you know? Yeah. Yeah. As opposed to, you know, when you look at a more anyone in Satanism, who's more liberal minded, more community based there, they're going to say, well, it's more of a rising tide raises all boats thing. I'm still doing what's good for me, like doing good for other people is good for me in the long run, because it makes society better. It's kind of the same argument you make for why we have public schools.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:08 Exactly. Yeah. Okay. Well, let's, let's hang out on that for a bit. Before we move on to the next point. I really think that LaVey bypassed a lot of the romantic literary foundations of Satanism. So he was much more informed by pop culture by Aleister Crowley, you know, people like that, which is fine. Nothing wrong with that. But
Jack Matirko 26:31 I think a lot of it was just LaVey wanting to appeal to people who were tired of hippie culture. I mean, you have to remember this was San Francisco. Yeah. 60s, right. So yes, there were disgruntled people who were pissed off at all this peace and love shit. And he was just trying to cash in on that. Really, if you get, you know, I think there's a part of LaVey that was just I'm gonna say this because I think it'll sell more books. You know, I have that in him. And to say, there's not is too i, they go through his history all the time. And they're just like, oh, he worked in the carnival. He was Alliant. Okay, so at least he's got a little bit of huckster and him somewhere. Exactly. You say that everything in the book is genuine, is almost a betrayal to who he was as a person, I think.
Stephen Bradford Long 27:17 Yeah, I 100% agree. But you know, I think the literary underpinnings of Satan if you've read, first of all, Milton, but especially Shelly Blake, Byron, Hugo, they connected Satan with revolution with enlightenment with defending the downtrodden. Right. And
Jack Matirko 27:38 it was it was the same kind of thing. Then it was this this objection to a theocratic, you know, state
Stephen Bradford Long 27:45 really? Yeah, exactly. And so I find myself much more in line with the romantic Satan of Anatole France or Byron, than I do with Anton LaVey. Yeah. So moral of the story. Yes, absolutely. You can be a Satanist. It is more than possible, because there are a ton of us who are not social Darwinists. And frankly, I hope that this social Darwinist aspect of Satanism dies out I think it is, I think they're pretty dead. They're, they're pretty inactive. Okay. But no, they're just Republicans now. They're just Republicans. Okay, so moving on. Moving on to the next part of this. What is the relationship between fascism and the satanic community? Is that overblown? Okay, so in the book, children of Lucifer by Ruben van Leeuwen, which is a fantastic scholarly analysis of Satanism and the history of Satanism. There were a few people who took some of Anton the vase teachings to terrifying extremes. I forget his name, there is the guy who founded the order of the nine angles. Do you know I know about this
Jack Matirko 28:51 check name off the top of my head. But yeah, really what the
Stephen Bradford Long 28:55 order of the nine angles which did embody some pretty horrifying fascist beliefs, there have been people who have some kind of fascist or fascist, ask
Jack Matirko 29:07 fascist, I think is the way that you're talking like Boyd writes, in part, right. And it's like that and and to some extent there. That's, that's that other part of the Free Speech argument, which is, you know, I think a lot of ways when you look at somebody like like Boyd Reiser, and particularly parfait, you're talking about people who genuinely believe that people should be allowed to say whatever they want to say, even if it's horrible, right, right. Yeah. So yeah, they're not necessarily standing up for the idea as much as they're standing up for the right to express the idea which is splitting hairs in a very weird way and problematic and it gets into all this all this stuff with Antifa that I didn't want to go into.
Stephen Bradford Long 29:48 Yeah, let's not go down that rabbit hole on my podcast. But needless to say, I think that yeah, no, I agree with you. I think it is very problematic because I if You become wedded to these causes when you take that, that kind of free speech, absolutist stance, you know, you you find yourself by default wedded to some pretty horrific ideas, just because you are making that argument and the sort of people that that defends by default. And I think that that can be pretty toxic. Yeah. You know, I think that when we, I'm, you know, I call myself a free speech absolutist, with the exception of, you know, when speech is illegal, and I actually think that a lot of the laws that we have in place for speech are pretty good, you know, no inciting violence, right. That's slander, where
Jack Matirko 30:37 that gets tripped up as with the what constitutes violence. And
Stephen Bradford Long 30:41 yes, that is, that is the issue. And so, you know, like, when I'm moderating any comments on my blog, I try to, you know, only delete comments that are that would veer towards violence or, or slander. But anyway, all that aside, I think that the fascism link, is there, particularly with LaVeyan Satanism? I don't think that it is necessarily so I don't think that there is something intrinsically about Satanism that attracts it. I think there is something intrinsically about LaVeyan Satanism that attracts it?
Jack Matirko 31:17 Well, I think that there's there's something about fascist ideology that attracts people who feel that the world is treated them unfairly, whether that's the case or not? Absolutely. And I think that a lot of people who I think there's an overlap in that demographic, I think that there's a lot of people who become Satanists who think that the world has been unfair to them in some way, shape, or form. Yes. So I understand that there's some weird crossover there
Stephen Bradford Long 31:43 but also don't a lot of like modern fascist, a lot of them are just edge lords. I mean, not to say that they don't have real you know, that that they don't have real consequences in the real world or real ideologies. I think a lot of them do. But you know, there's this edge Lord ism that comes with online fascism. And you know, there is kind of also an edge Lord element to Satanism, you have to, at the very least be okay with offending people. And so those things can do kind of attract.
Jack Matirko 32:09 Yeah. But they're sometimes kind of, yeah, say that, that, you know, their LinkedIn anyway, I think that they just have a similar demographic appeal.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:18 They have they have an affinity, but they aren't necessarily linked in any particular way. Plus, I mean, I have yet to meet anyone who's even on the right in tst. I mean, everyone in TST is pretty far left to some degree. You know, of course, there's a lot of political diversity there. But it's all kind of on, you know, it left of center left of center, at least left of
Jack Matirko 32:42 center for America, at least, sir. Yeah, for sure.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:45 All right. Here's one that I think is really interesting. And this is a question that comes from a lot of and I forgot to put this guy's name down who asked this question, but this question is echoed from a lot of Christian people in my audience. So this guy asks, My perception of American Satanism is that it is very much an individualist practice and religious framework. I think that the individualist mindset and US culture is toxic and bad for our overall mental health as a society. I think community mindedness and solidarity are far healthier social attitudes, not that all individualism is bad, but I hope you understand what I mean by toxic individualism. Is there a form of Satanism that can foster community and solidarity rather than individualism? For individualism sake? Am I just incorrect in my perception?
Jack Matirko 33:36 I mean, yeah, I would say obviously, there is
Stephen Bradford Long 33:40 obviously yes. And you know, if you take if you take even five seconds to look at the work TST is doing the answer is obviously, yes. I mean, this is a community kind of grassroots movement, people experience lots of wonderful community within tst. You know, of course, we can support one another. And of course, we can come together as a community and group identity. And of course, we can champion others like, of course, there, there is nothing about that, that is opposed to Satanism as a religion, nothing at all. Instead, I think what he has in mind is LaVeyan Satanism. And, you know, this person is probably not read LaVeyan Satanism, but that's the impression that a lot of people have,
Jack Matirko 34:28 I don't even think this is necessary. I don't think this is limited to Satanism at all. I think the kind of toxic individualism they're talking about, you see, through a pretty big swath of the far right right now. 1% Right. I think you see it in atheism with people like Sargon of Akkad. Or, yeah, you know, some of the the mythicist folks who are a little too much well, even Jordan Peterson, I think would probably fall into that toxic individualism.
Stephen Bradford Long 34:57 I was I was just about to bring up Jordan Peterson
Jack Matirko 35:00 Yeah, so yeah, that's not limited to Satanism. That's just America. And
Stephen Bradford Long 35:05 yes, you know what I've actually been thinking quite a bit about this. And I might write an article on this, for me, my Satanism, when it comes to individualism versus collect, you know, quote unquote collectivism, I think that we have these two switches inside of us as homosapiens. And they're both good. They're both healthy, depending on context. One is the Jaron Lanier, who is a really brilliant computer guy and philosopher, he talks about how we all have the lone wolf in the pack within us and how it's like a switch that gets hit. And so sometimes we feel intensely communal, and we have a very intense group identity. And then sometimes we have a very solitary identity, individual identity. And so for me, it isn't about being stuck in one or the other. And I, I really think that this whole idea of individualism versus community, I think the whole thing is just a fucking false binary. I think it's a false dichotomy. I think both are helpful. And both are unhelpful, depending on the situation. And for me, it's just a matter of cultivating the mindfulness to know which which one I'm in, you know, there are times when intense nationalism is really ugly, and awful, that's a form of collectivism. But then at the same time, you know, my collective identity as being a gay person in the gay community. And you know, these are my people, this is my tribe, and we're going to get through this together. And, you know, coming together with a bunch of queer people is amazing. And having that collective identity together is amazing. And so there are times when it's harmful and awful. There are other times when it's great. So too, with individualism. I just think that, that it's a stupid false binary. And we think that we have to be caught in one mode or the other, you know, stuck. And I don't think that that's true. I think that
Jack Matirko 37:05 I think that the thing there's like, when you talk about, you know, community mindedness, I think that, especially in just the nature of the way that that charity work kind of operates now, since it's all there's all these competing things that need resources, and they're all fighting for the same, you know, pile of attention and money and whatnot, that there's a lot of pressure, you know, when when you sign up for our cause, to, you know, give as much of yourself as you can. And at some point, the individualist aspect comes to the point where it just like, I feel like I've given enough I feel like I've contributed as much as I am comfortable with before it starts to be a detriment to me.
Stephen Bradford Long 37:49 Yeah, exactly.
Jack Matirko 37:50 And that's what leads to burnout. You know,
Stephen Bradford Long 37:52 yes, it is. And so to me, I think part of the individualism, it within Satanism for me is not so much, you know, having an iron Randian level of intense individualism, but rather it has to do with mindfulness, it has to do with being present to what state I'm in. And, you know, I think that collectivism or collective trance states, or whatever you want to call them are sources of some of the greatest pleasure that we can experience as human beings, they're good, you know, they can be good, but at the same time, they're also some of their sources of greatest suffering and harm and violence that we can experience. You know, when we get into a hive mind state, the hive can be wonderful and beautiful work can be absolutely bloody and awful and horrific. And so to me, it's about being mindful, not losing myself so much, that I lose the mindfulness of knowing what's right and wrong. And so to me, that's very much what my Satanism is about, because ultimately, Satan in the myth, you know, he was kind of part of a hive, he was part of heaven until he said, No, this, this isn't right. There's something wrong here. And I want to be able to retain that ability. So I still want to be able to enjoy collectivism and communal efforts, but I want to retain enough of myself to be able to say no, yeah, when it goes wrong. Exactly. That to me, is what it comes down to.
Jack Matirko 39:24 Because I mean, hey, I mean, the Nazis were very community minded. Very. So it's not, that's not an inherent good, I guess is the
Stephen Bradford Long 39:35 thing. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. All right. Do you want to choose the question?
Jack Matirko 39:39 Okay, let's go with what is the satanic position on Jesus? Was he the son of God? Is there a satanic afterlife?
Stephen Bradford Long 39:45 Okay. Yeah, this is a great question. This is one of my Christian followers, obviously on Twitter who's I think been pretty peeved by my Satanism, okay, which is fine. Also, there is a follow up question to Who this that? That's further down. And I'll go ahead and tack it on. So it'll be several questions. He says also, is Satan a fallen angel in Satanism? If yes, does that mean, you acknowledge a higher power than Satan? Okay, so this is actually a really important question, because I think it demonstrates the huge paradigm difference that we're working from. So the satanic position on Jesus, first of all, I, if we're assuming that Satanism is predominantly non theistic? Yeah, so if we're working from the non theistic satanic model, Jesus was not the Son of God, because God has not met his burden of proof. And is there a satanic afterlife? No, because we reject supernaturalism. Now, my personal approach to this is, I'm not an anti theist, meaning I believe that there is no God, I am simply a theist, meaning, I have not been convinced of the burden of proof for the existence of God. So maybe there's a God out there somewhere, you know, maybe he's hiding behind, you know, a galaxy somewhere. But I, I personally have no reason to believe in something that that I don't think has sufficient evidence. And so that's my approach to this. So is there a satanic afterlife? Nope. Because I don't think the evidence has is in on that. There could be maybe I don't, I don't know. I don't really care. But my default is no. Yeah. You have anything to add to that?
Jack Matirko 41:28 That that's about right. I would add that in terms of like, my position on Jesus. Is that as a character, a bad guy? pretty okay. Like, yeah,
Stephen Bradford Long 41:38 he's pretty fine. He's pretty good.
Jack Matirko 41:40 There's some good stuff in the Sermon on the Mount. Okay. Yeah. And, you know,
Stephen Bradford Long 41:44 there's also a lot of the mythology of Christ that I really love it. It was that mythology that compelled me to stay within the Christian world for so long. And in many ways, I am still moving through the Christian world, because I love so very much the mythology that has been built up around the figure of Christ.
Jack Matirko 42:04 I appreciate those stories at least as much as Harry Potter.
Stephen Bradford Long 42:07 Yeah, exactly. But you know, I don't really think you know, as for this specific details, was Satan II. Not Satan was, uh, was Jesus a real person? Did he actually walk on earth? You know what, I think all that stuff is going to vary from Satanists to Satanists. And then moving on to the latter part of his question. Is Satan, a fallen angel and Satanism? Well, so Satanism is nontheistic, we use a symbolic understanding of Satan. And so according to the myth, yes, he is. He is a fallen angel. That's the whole point of Satan is that he is that he rebelled against the theocracy and undue authority of God in the story. And so he is the unbowed will who chose to stand up and not align himself with the corrupt that God represented. If yes, does that mean you acknowledge a higher power than Satan? No, because we believe it's a story. It's a story. Okay, so and so here's, here's the thing. This is where I think I've been trying to think about how to communicate this, I believe, I believe that Satan is not real. Okay, obviously, but Satan, and Satanism permeate my life, almost as if it were real, and it guides my life and informs my life in such a real and tangible way. And what I have a hard time explaining to people is that it is, I believe that Satan is not a real figure. I also live and breathe Satanism, and it has a real impact on my life. It changes my life profoundly. And so trying to explain, I was thinking like, how do I explain this to a theist? And, and basically, I came up with Okay, so think of all the ways you're really let's say, you're an Anglican. Let's say you're an Anglican priest. So think of all the ways Christ, how real Christ is to you, and how that has transformed your life and guides your life in profound ways. Well, guess what? I believe that your Christ isn't real, but you have that experience. Anyway. That's the power of religion. That's the power of imagination and story. That's the power of play that even though something isn't real, it still has power over us to quote Dumbledore from Harry Potter just because it isn't or just because it's in your mind doesn't mean it isn't real. It means it's it's real, just in a different way in a less tangible way, but it still has it's
Jack Matirko 44:53 kind of eerie. The GK Chesterton quote, fairy tales are more than true, not because they teach you The dragons exist, but because they teach you the dragons can be defeated.
Stephen Bradford Long 45:03 Exactly. Yeah, precisely. And so is there a higher power than Satan? No, because I don't believe in the supernatural. Satan has a story. But that is not to say that Satanism does not have a real impact on my life. Right? Is there anything else you'd add to that?
Jack Matirko 45:22 No, I think that that, that was a pretty solid answer.
Stephen Bradford Long 45:25 Great. All right. So let's just let's choose one last question, or one or two last questions here. Here's a funny one that we can go over real fast. Why is the Church of Satan so inactive? Is it just a relic that fails to appreciate how dynamic organizations can be come on man develop or die from Frederick land? All right, you'd have to ask them, you'd have to ask them. It's tweet at them. They won't answer your question, as has been proven again and again on Twitter, but take it to them see what they say.
Jack Matirko 45:57 All right. If we can plug the documentary one more time, in the special features on the DVD, there is an extended interview with a member of the Church of Satan revealing his opinions. I didn't know that which which member was it? I don't remember, I was too transfixed by his shiny jacket.
Stephen Bradford Long 46:14 Oh, they do like their shiny jacket. It really, really
Jack Matirko 46:18 is the thing it is a bit of pomp and I don't know, I was thinking lately that the issue with the Church of Satan and LaVey is teachings in general is that their position is We are the premier satanic organization and we are successful. But if you read through of a the entire point there is well defined success for yourself. So yes, it's like, it's there's a lot of this eternity Bible. That's a really shitty self help book, you know?
Stephen Bradford Long 46:46 Yes, there is. They also, you know, you were mentioning his shiny jacket. They are the satanic equivalent of the Catholic High liturgy, queens that you always encounter, you know, usually the trads, who, whose dream is to go off and live in fabulous opulence and a castle that overlooks you know, some flea ridden peasant town where everyone's dying of bubonic plague. You know, that's like the TRad dream is to go back to the Benedictine rule and live in solitary confinement with a bunch of religious lunatics and they are so into the pageantry, and the vestments and the ruffles. They fucking live for that shit. That's, that's really what church of Satan reminds me of. Okay, so here's, here's one last question that we can end on. And this is from listener, Ken, and he says, What does it take to be a member of tsp? Do you meet weekly like church? What have you done with tsp? Or how have you contributed? Okay, so to become a member of TSP, just go to their website, click the Join button, it is free. But ultimately, that's just a it just means that you're registered as a member, being registered as a as a member is entirely what you make of it. You know, some people join just because it's fun, just because it's fun to say that they signed up for a satanic organization. I mean, it's it's preferable, I think it's, I think it's best to sign up as a member, if you actually agree with the seven tenets of the Satanic Temple and shouldn't you know, want to live in accordance with them is to the best of your ability. But ultimately, it's entirely what you make of it. Your level of involvement is entirely on you. And if you call yourself a Satanist, then you're a Satanist. And it's pretty, I think it's really that simple.
Jack Matirko 48:38 Yeah. And I don't I mean, I know that at headquarters in Salem, they do a monthly kind of like a salon kind of thing, where they'll get together and talk about, you know, some philosophy books or whatever,
Stephen Bradford Long 48:51 satanic salon. Oh, that sounds awesome. I didn't know they did that.
Jack Matirko 48:55 Yeah, that's, that's, that's what counts is there, you know, regular meetings for the tax exemptions. I'm really we're looking to I don't want to give too much away. But I'm hoping that the Arizona chapter we've been talking to our local humanist society, because they have a building and with any luck, we'll we'll we're gonna start trying to do something like that with them. That would
Stephen Bradford Long 49:15 be awesome. So do you meet weekly like church? It depends. Some groups do.
Jack Matirko 49:21 We have a lot of brunches out here? And I know a few other chapters do things like that too. Yeah. Satanic picnics, picnics. Yeah, camping trip.
Stephen Bradford Long 49:30 I don't because I'm kind of a I'm a lone solitary satanist out here in the mountains. And I also don't really have much time for on site involvement. Just because I work so much. So a lot of my involvement is online. I talked to a lot of Satanists like Jacques here and I write quite a bit about Satanism. I do also donate to the Satanic Temple and Satanism is is very much part of my life, even though I don't attend an on site place.
Jack Matirko 50:03 Yeah. And it's, it's tricky if you're if you're somewhere that doesn't have, you know, a chapter that's doing events and coordinating stuff like that. Or if you're in a small town, and you're the only one there. Yeah, it is, it's, there's not really a way to to participate with the organization really, in any way like that. I mean, I think if the Satanic Temple is in power is participating in what the Satanic Temple is doing, I think like, if you're in Missouri, you could write your senators, state senators and state Congress, people and Governor. If you're in Arizona, same thing with Scottsdale lawsuit, things like that. Or if you're in a state where there is some, you know, abortion ban law coming down, right, your congress people that to me would be, you know, a form of participation in the goals of what DSD is doing. And you don't need a grip for that. You can just sit down at your computer, find your representatives and right, yeah, and your letters at them all day long.
Stephen Bradford Long 51:00 To me, it's really about how do I how do I live satanic Lee? Yeah, you know, how do I, in my day to day life embody these values? How do I embody the seven tenets on a day to day basis, and I do the best I can. And so that, to me is how I live my Satanism is how do I embody these values? And the myth of Satan? How do I become Satan? How do I become Baphomet? You know, and holding within myself, you know, resisting false binaries, and resisting social taboos, just for the sake of just for their own sake, you know, stuff like that. I also donate to TST. And that's a really tangible way that you can support TSDS work. So yeah, there are lots of ways to be a Satanist. There. There are lots of ways to do this. Indeed. All right. Well, I think that's about I mean, we have like, reasonably much questions. But that's, that's all we can do. Yeah, that's all we can do for now. But if you enjoyed this episode, maybe we can do another one. If listeners enjoyed this, and if you have more questions, just let me know. And maybe we can bring jack or someone or another satanist on to answer more satanic questions. Do you have any parting words before we finish this up?
Jack Matirko 52:15 Ah, boy, not really. At the moment. I'm still kind of trying to figure out where things are going since the documentary came out. I there's been a lot of
Stephen Bradford Long 52:24 it's it's been madness. Yeah. It's the document.
Jack Matirko 52:26 Yes. And I'm not. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.
Stephen Bradford Long 52:30 Yeah. So yeah, just to explain briefly, the documentary hail satan. It released this month, last month, it released recently. And so now there's this massive influx of interest. And I think we're all kind of struggling with how to handle that. Like the online Facebook group has been very interesting lately.
Jack Matirko 52:54 Yeah. There's a bit of dog that caught the car going on.
Stephen Bradford Long 52:58 Yeah, absolutely.
Jack Matirko 53:01 Know, we're just like, we're trying to get people to pay attention to this stuff. And now everyone's paying attention to
Stephen Bradford Long 53:06 this stuff now. And now what the fuck do we do?
Jack Matirko 53:09 You know, this kind of happened before with a lot of other TST stuff, where there'd be these influxes. You know, like when the when the Arkansas lawsuit happened, or when the Missouri stuff went down, and like those influxes have happened, just never on this scale before. And I think, especially for people who have been around for the last few years, there's almost a sense of, of burnout on answering the same questions over and over and over again, you know, as newbies, I totally get
Stephen Bradford Long 53:38 them. Well, fortunately, I have not yet burned out on answering the same questions over and over again, because I just joined in 2017. So I'm still a baby. I'm still a newbie. So I'm, I'm happy to answer the same question over and over and over again, what I usually do is I just refer people to my articles or to the FAQ, that's
Jack Matirko 53:56 a lot too or something. Just like yeah, here's my thing from two years ago. I answered it you know, you just kind of want to ask and answer a lot of them but yeah, which kind of feels like cheating but you know, you can only so much
Stephen Bradford Long 54:09 there's only so many hours in a day Yeah, I got a I got you you have a you have a baby to not eat you have a baby to not sacrifice so All right, well that is it for this show. Also, do be sure to check out Jack's other podcast naked diner and his blog for internal use only. Go watch the movie hail satan. It is fabulous. You won't regret it. And for those of you who want to support my show, maybe you find yourself listening to it every Monday or Tuesday morning and you're just waiting for it to come out. If that's you, then please consider becoming a patron. becoming a patron gives you access to more content, a second patrons only podcast called House of heretics in which Justin and I have very not safe for work conversations while we drink our morning. Coffee and it will also help ensure that my creative work has a long life and that I have more margin to do the stuff that I want to do that I need to do. I believe in bringing my work to the world for free, but in order to do that, I need a lot of support. Also, if you like the other work I'm doing with rock candy podcast. If you liked the shows, we're producing a like eleventy life bubble and squeak Bible bash, the other shows that I'm involved in those shows and our live shows as well coming up at various festivals around the southeast. All of that is helped by my patrons so not only will it help my work, it also helps the larger community of creators that I'm working with the music is by the jelly rocks from the album bang and whimper you can find it on iTunes and Spotify. Other music is by 11 D seven from their album rad science. Also find that on iTunes and Spotify. A special thanks goes to my team Josh black and Justin Dozier Bryant and as usual thanks so much for listening. Close your watch me. You saved