This won’t be a traditional “about my deconversation” from being a sort of Catholic to an atheist and then a Satanist. This won’t be a break down of every thought process I had and how logic played a part, I have read so many of those and I am sure you have as well. This will be about how those transitions changed me. This is a hard thing to write as I am not too sure how much I believed, what I believed about what. So take what I say about my pre-atheist self with the understanding it’s a bit fuzzy.
Who was I before I was an atheist?
Well I wasn’t some Westboro Baptist type, I was more libertarian leaning, I wasn’t the type that wore tinfoil hats or thought government had no place in anything. My thought was the private sector should do what it can and anything it couldn’t do should be up to government.
Why was I that way? Well, while I wasn’t sure about god or all the Catholic stuff, my thoughts on it was “I’m young I can worry about it later when I’m more likely to die and get any sins forgiven later” which frankly is a lot of Catholics. I did however believe in maybe some creator or supernatural thing that balanced things out or as Venkman would say “call it fate, call it luck, call it karma”. It was that which caused me to be libertarian. My thought was the government wasn’t trustworthy given history and I figured things would work out because of course it would. I also grew up around fairly conservative people, since well my family was a lot more Catholic than I was
So because I thought everything would work out due to some plan or universal balancing act, I was pretty against any form of aid that wasn’t toward people who were basically homeless or starving. Even those people I had ideas that they shouldn’t just be given something, they should be made to work for the government to get the funding. Now I don’t know how I processed the idea of forcing people to work for the government to get aid as a Liberian, but I did. Of course I was against universal healthcare, “look at England where people die in waiting rooms” or “With how bad the DMV is you want them to be in charge of your life”, is what I would have told you.
I also of course believed in some form of afterlife, I was fuzzy on what that meant. I believed in ghosts, cursed items, maybe magic I was really unsure about magic though. So hey if you died from not getting medical care at least you went somewhere. Interestingly enough the death penalty I was against, but not because it was wrong to kill someone, I thought that the government shouldn’t have the authority to kill someone in what amounted to cold blood. Death in war, because they were not citizens I had less issues with, which not really sure how I that worked in my head since the bill of rights is for all people, not just Americans, but in Libertarian circles you hear that repeated enough you don’t even check.
I am thankful to say I was never a bigot, but it was a near miss, had I not had friends from different walks of life I would have worried what I could have ended up as. I am sure I had views that would have harmed minority groups unknowingly, but I can take som comfort it was not my intent, even if it’s not all that much comfort.
Why is this important
well, because theism even in it’s weak forms can cause people not to see things clearly. This doesn’t go for everyone, I know some amazing theists and some really shitty atheists, but most the the time shitty people will be shitty with or without, but some times theism and believe in some supernatural ideas can cause some non rational ideas to produce other non rational ideas.
How science saved my soul
Up front I want to state that this section title and part of the article title come from the YouTube video that, and I am not understating this, changed my life.
My views had been slowly changing as I met more people and was interacting with the world on a larger scale, I felt my views starting to fall apart. It was during one of the times I was struggling with what I believed a friend sent me that video. It took me on a journey, it led with stuff I agreed with, it then went after religion and spiritualism which is where I struggled. The ending made me feel connected with people on a non-supernatural scale, I came out of that video rejecting religion and spiritualism.
Over time my views changed, as I was faced with the idea that nothing would balance the world and there was no afterlife, I felt that humans had to be the ones to fix everything. I was pulled through this journey with podcasts such as the Thinking Atheist, Scathing Atheist, Atheist Experience and others. I however was a bit of an angry atheist, I could not stand religion in any form, I felt that people who went to things like Sunday Assembly were using a crutch because they could not get past it.
I found myself having trouble enjoying anything that touched on religion or the supernatural. I couldn’t meditate as I once did, as I knew that it had it’s roots in a religion, I could not find any entertainment in ghost stories which I use to love. While I was a better person I didn’t really have much to be, I had stuff I was against and things I rejected, but I didn’t really have something I was. It took a year or two to get past the angry atheist phase, during that time I heard about Satanism and The Satanic Temple, I had the idea that really they were the same as the Flying Spaghetti Monster so I dismissed that and the whole Satan thing still crawled under my skin.
How Satanism Revived My Soul
I don’t really know what it was, but I started looking for a philosophy that I could have as a way to check in with myself. As an atheist I had something I didn’t believe in, but I wanted to know what I believed in. I came up with some statements and when I shared them it was noted they reminded that friend of the 7 tenets, well at that point I was still ify on the whole Satanism thing, so I ignored that. I would not have called it this then, but now I can see I was looking at different symbols and ideas, it bothered me that some of the symbols I liked were of a demonic nature as I didn’t want anything to do with religion. I also found it hard to talk to some atheists about some of the ideas I had about not liking that there was no shared secular culture and that at times being an atheist felt kinda cold. I tried looking into meditation again and found it hard as the religious aspects still bothered me.
I honestly don’t remember what made me look at Satanism again, I am sure it was some activity TST was doing, but I started looking into it more deeply. For a while to me, it was a group with 7 tenets that used them to “play” religion. I found out that they had a reading list, I listened to a podcast called blackmass appeal, I looked into what Lucien has said about Satanism, I read some blogs by Lilith Starr and heard them talk about it as a religion. That blew my mind for a while, I honestly wasn’t too sure what to think about that, so I looked at the arguments that centered around court cases on why they claimed to be a religion. It was a bit of a struggle, trying to mesh the idea of a non-theistic, non-supernatural religion and it took me time till I was okay with the idea…maybe.
(I will note that yes I looked into CoS and The Satanic Bible, but I found no connection with them what so ever, luckily I knew they were different from other ideas modern Satanism and it did not cause me to stop my research)
I was interested enough to go to a meet and greet with the Boston TST chapter, because Hail Satan had come out and many people only knew about it’s activism side, there was a lot of talk about it being a religion. One of the Boston TST members stated “I tell people I am very religious, but not spiritual.” There was also talk about being playful with rituals and occult, which as someone who was honestly interested in that sort of stuff when I believed in the supernatural I found interesting.
After more reading and learning I really started to enjoy the idea of having a community that felt connected to the same symbols I did, who didn’t find it odd to have ritual and play with occult symbolism without caring that is had started as part of something else, but they make it their own. Religion, ritual, symbolism and other things as just an atheist I was told I had to reject became open to me, really anything I could use as a tool could be open to me. The world became a bit less serious in some ways and more serious in others, it’s really hard to explain, but I am sure those who are Satanists reading this know what I am talking about. So I don’t feel it’s much of an understatement to say that indeed, science saved my (proverbial) soul and Satanism revived it.