Podcasts/Sacred Tension-The Satanic Conversion
The_Satanic_Conversion SUMMARY KEYWORDS satanism, satanic temple, non theist, love, passion, physicalist, religion, call, satan, deeper, life, readers, love affair, steven, feel, religious, work, mysticism, agree, rationalism SPEAKERS Stephen Bradford Long
Stephen Bradford Long 00:17 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and you can find the full transcript of this mini episode at Steven Bradford long.com. I've spent a great deal of time explaining why Satanism works for me. But as I continue to explore my Satanism and receive questions from bemused readers and listeners, I'm starting to realize that there is any central component of my Satanism that I've left out so essential, perhaps, that it feels impossible to articulate, I feel intimidated, even trying to put this to words, but I will do my best reader and patron David got to the heart of this essential element of my Satanism when he asked the following question, quote, however, if I may, why not something more conventional like Buddhism, I always thought it would be nice to reach the ultimate state of Nirvana, you really don't have to believe in anything supernatural with that, of course, no one can tell you what you should do. It's only that there might be a tendency for people to be put off by the notion of Satan, because they might think you actually are worshipping evil or whatever. And quote, I can't help but feel that my readers are going about this far more rationally than I am. People looking in on my Satanism assume that because I'm a non theist, I surveyed the vast array of religious options and deliberately and calmly chose the most inflammatory, offensive and misunderstood path possible. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I were going about this rationally, I would be a boring Unitarian Universalist or a milquetoast Episcopalian, if I want it to be the most palatable, approachable person, I could manage it to be a secular Buddhist because I'm a non theist, people assume that I don't have any trace of intuition, mysticism or religious passion. It makes sense then that they would wonder why I chose the most obviously controversial religion in the Western Hemisphere. But something deeper than choice happened here. Something deeply inconvenient and confusing happened, I can only call it a satanic conversion. Against my better judgment. I fell headfirst in love with the symbol of the romantic Satan when I first encountered the Satanic Temple and 2017 Something inside me saying this was deeper than choice or strategy, but was intuition, passion and romance. GK Chesterton wrote let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. My Satanism is all love affair. The only other thing I can compare it to is my love of Christ. When I was a Christian, Christ felt like a living being and to the object of my most earnest adoration and affection. Christ permeated my life. I couldn't help it. Now, even though I'm a non theist who does not believe in the supernatural God or an afterlife, I feel a similar passion. In the same way I fell in love with Christ. I have fallen in love with Satan, not by cold, calculated choice not out of a sense of what's most politically expedient, not out of a desire to troll conservative Christians and not because it makes my life easier. My Satanism does make my life more difficult. Why lose friends and be an object of fear or confusion? Why would I endanger my work and livelihood? Why would I jeopardize my relationship with my family? It's irrational, you might say, and I agree, it is deeply inconvenient and a deeply irrational. In fact, when I first joined the Satanic Temple, I resolved to keep it a secret and to live and practice quietly as a Satanist because I knew there would be repercussions. But as I started my journey as a Satanist, my passion for the symbol of Satan grew and grew. It flourished. It filled my soul I found myself possessed of what I can only call uncomfortably. A religious fervor, and overwhelming love. I reached out to some prominent Satanists on Twitter to get their comments on this experience. Satanic Temple "International Council" member Challies Blythe had this to say, quote, calling it a love affair. It's really close to my own view of it. And I agree that though based in rationalism, being a Satanist doesn't come from a hard, cold place. It's an almost instantaneous, deeply connected passion that you just know. It's coming home. And like most intense loves, the more you learn, the deeper it solidifies within you, and quote, When I expressed that the more it solidifies, the more impossible it feels to communicate this love to those outside it Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves agreed, quote, that's exactly the problem I have. I can try to articulate it. But there is no way I can make people feel it if it doesn't really speak to them. And quote, This is why I insist on calling my Satanism a religion, religion touches our whole being. It envelops us in a way nothing else can my Satanism connects with me on a deep, irrational, intuitive level while also engaging my mind and reason. It is a full body, mind and heart experience. It is also a shared communion existing not just individually but in the space between other practitioners of this path. While it might make the more rational among us uncomfortable, I don't know how to describe this journey as anything other than a path of physicalist mysticism which started with a satanic conversion. In essence, a living religious factionalism. This might leave you with questions. How is it possible to feel such love and fervor for a mythic being who has no objective reality? How is it possible to be religious and non theistic? How is it possible to be a physicalist and a mystic, I'm open to using terms other than mystic, but it was the word that came most readily to me when I was writing this piece. Satanism requires a profound paradigm shift into a different space, a place of wonderment and rationalism, religion and atheism. It breaks down these false binaries. Ultimately, with the goal of living a more fulfilled and joyful life. I love my work and want to support it. Please go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long and for $1 or $5 a month you will get access to extra content every week. And as usual, thanks for listening.