In this episode of Sacred Tension I speak with new religious movements scholar Joseph Laycock about his book Speak of the Devil: How the Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk About Religion.Continue reading “Sacred Tension: Speak of the Devil with Joseph Laycock”
I’m a slow reader, and at the end of each year I find myself mildly disappointed by my low book count. However, this was the year of COVID-19, political unrest, and existential uncertainty. All my previous forms of entertainment (news, social media, shows, gaming) became too stimulating in an already over-stressed existence. I retreated to books, and they sustained me through this dumpster fire of a year.Continue reading “Top Fifteen Books of 2020”
As I’ve developed my personal Satanic Philosophy over the past few years, I’ve received a number of questions from the non-infernal. Questions like: how can you be religious if you don’t believe in God? How do you reconcile Satanic individualism with our human need for community? What’s the point of ritual if you don’t believe in the supernatural? I’ve used these perceived contradictions and questions as a way of establishing a sort of meta-structure for my Satanic practice.Continue reading “Seven Satanic Dichotomies”
Like everyone else during this plague, I’ve been struggling to find ways to survive and stay sane. I’m an essential worker, and life has been somewhat fraught with existential dread. Some days, I feel good – balanced, mostly happy, and relatively centered. Other days, the existential despair crushes me. I don’t know how we will get out of this, how we will create a better world, how we will survive intact.
Many of the previous avenues of leisure are closed to me, now. Podcasts are often too stressful. Youtube is too stressful. Social media is too stressful. I’m already maxed out trying to stay safe and responsible at the front lines of the food industry. My brain just doesn’t have as much capacity as it used to.
The only place I can go, then, are books, primarily sci-fi and fantasy. I’ve devoured a huge number of books since the beginning of the pandemic, as books feel like the only safe place I have left.Continue reading “How Reading Sci-fi and Fantasy Gives Me Hope”
I’m currently working my way through Joseph Laycock’s new book Speak of the Devil. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read on Satanism, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Satanic religious movement and The Satanic Temple. Joseph Laycock is a scholar of new religious movements, and (full disclosure) he is the most-interviewed guest on my podcast Sacred Tension.Continue reading “Satanism and Ignorant Familiarity”
Few religious groups are as misunderstood as Satanists. While I’ve done a great deal of explaining and pontificating about my own Satanism, I haven’t featured many other Satanic voices on this blog. I thought I would reach out to a few prominent Satanists and ask them what they wish non-Satanists understood about their religion. I found their answers enlightening and lovely.Continue reading “What Satanists Wish Other People Understood About Satanism”
I’ve discussed in great detail the ways in which Satanism works for me. I’ve explained that I see self-aware, non theistic religion as healthier and more enlightened than theistic and un-self-aware religion. I’ve explained that Satan is not a real figure, but a metaphor for the unbowed will and icon of the outsider, and that my Satanism is not necessarily anti-Christian, but rather a positive and separate post-Christian concoction.
And yet, I realized recently that one of the most crucial aspects of my Satanism, and religious life in general, has been neglected in these explanations.Continue reading “Living as Satan”
I’m the middle of a fascinating book called Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds. Author Joseph Laycock explores, with great detail and insight, the parallel worlds of role-playing games and religion. For three decades, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons were at the center of a moral panic involving everything from fears of cults, satanists, to a lost generation of super predators. His thesis is that role-playing games were threatening to the religious right because, if communities could create such intricate, imagined, and meaning-making worlds through games, does that mean that religion itself is a sort of game? But beneath this initial thesis lie some profound insights for people like me who still greatly value religion, even as I doubt the existence of a personal God.