Sacred Tension: Online Gurus and New Religious Movements | Helen Lewis

In this episode of Sacred Tension, I’m joined by journalist Helen Lewis to discuss her new BBC series The New Gurus. We discuss the rise of advice-giving gurus online, whether social justice is a new religion, her confrontational interview with Jordan Peterson, how online cancelation radicalizes people, and much more. 

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The Satanic Dichotomy of Indulgence Vs. Mastery

A central theme of my personal Satanic practice is the reconciliation of opposites. In the symbol of the Baphomet, we see the marriage of binaries: angelic and demonic, male and female, light and dark, up and down. My practice is an integration of seemingly irreconcilable conflicts. I wrote an article a couple of years ago listing several primary dichotomies of my Satanism, which you can read here.

As I’ve grown in my religious Satanism, another Satanic dichotomy has emerged: indulgence vs. self-mastery.

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Mysticism, Kink, and the Terror of Transcendence

Last week’s article “Mysticism Is Like Sex” argued that self-transcendent experiences are comparable to sex in that they are both hardwired into the human body. They don’t necessarily need to be attached to religious beliefs to be enjoyed and experienced.

As I explored in the article, my fascination with altered states of consciousness started when I was young. I was raised in a Charismatic Christian family that regularly spoke in tongues, and this revealed to me that interesting states of mind were always just around the corner. This provoked a lot of feedback from my audience on my discord server, and a number of people shared their own experiences with speaking in tongues.

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Mysticism Is Like Sex

Mysticism is like sex. Let me explain.

I don’t believe in god or gods. I have no belief in an afterlife or supernatural beings. I’m not saying that they don’t exist. I’m open to being wrong. I just have an absence of belief in them. I’m what could be described as a “soft atheist”.

And yet, I also have a lifelong fascination with altered states of consciousness and the experience and practice of mystical self-transcendence. This fascination started when I was a child growing up in a charismatic family.

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