Yeah I know, the title isn't the most clever nor my best, but I think it's the best descriptor of what I'm gonna talk about tonight.
I don't think I've really made it that much of a secret as everything about me is almost always going to become public knowledge, but I am a LaVeyan Satanist. If that's your first time learning this, welcome. I won't go into huge detail about what that is, The Church of Satan is carrying that torch for me just fine, but in a nutshell, LaVeyan Satanism is an atheistic religion (though religion is used very loosely, I'd call it more an anti-religion than anything) that uses the figure of Satan as a symbol of the core values of the practitioners. I follow the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth, the Nine Tenets of Satanism, and though I don't have the Satanic Bible, I'll purchase it in the future as it's a $10.99 paperback. Might even get the sick CoS membership card later on in life as well.
That's a very cursory explanation of what Satanism is and I'd be more than happy to provide more information, but that's not the focus of what I'm writing about now. I'm talking about what I can only call Satan-shaming. This is a goofy term I coined for what I've been experiencing from not only ill-informed strangers, but from my closest friends as well. In essence, Satan-shaming is a phenomenon that occurs when I bring up Satanism in any context, and without fail, someone I know will either make a quip or an extensive rant about how LaVeyan Satanism is nothing but edgy garbage.
While I understand that yes, there are other Satanists that - I'm sure - go out of their way to harass religious people and they might be reeling from that, I'm a bit at a loss as to why I get thrown under the bus so hard. I never have time to explain why I chose this religion, why I like the rules and tenets, I just get bombarded with the sentiment that Satanism is edgy bullshit.
Like I said before, it's one thing to hear this from strangers who are just, to put it bluntly, dumber than a box of tacks, but it's a total other thing to hear Satanism is the religion of those with a low IQ from people I consider friends. I'm going to get a bit personal here and fill you in on some backstory about me and why I chose to follow LaVey's teachings. I've gone into this before; my parents, especially my mother, are abusive people. They are also very hardcore conservative evangelical Christians. To condense the two decades I've been alive, I became jaded and distant from Christianity, not only because of the bigotry and abuse I faced from my parents, but because I was taking issue with the Bible and Abrahamic religion in general. If you've been raised Christian or even religious, you're gonna know what I'm talking about when I say that I wasn't allowed to question anything. I wasn't allowed to have philosophical debates (which is something I actually like to do), I was just supposed to believe in something without question and blindly believe in something that I couldn't see. It got worse when I was institutionalized in 2017 and I peaked in my "I'm so sick and fucking tired of hearing 'just pray!' when I literally have a mental disorder that won't go away because of sky daddy" beliefs. I was already on the road to being an atheist already because I just couldn't agree with the religion in good faith (no pun intended)...and then LaVeyan Satanism shows up.
I had been off-and-on again with Satanism up until, I'd say...2018? I had already been distancing myself from Christianity, I stopped being forced to go to church (thank..Satan?) and when I re-read the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth, I cemented that this was going to be the set of beliefs I wanted to maintain for my life going forward. It was a very personal decision and a very cathartic one. I felt like I was really discovering myself and I was finally able to choose something to follow for myself, as opposed to being forced into a belief that was, in my eyes, a shield and fall-back for discriminating against others and prejudice against marginalized people.
When I get told my beliefs are just edgy poser shit, I take it more personally than I honestly should. It's something that really gets to me considering how close I want to follow these rules and tenets, and I really hate that even my friends want to shit on me for it. I know it's probably that I'm just too sensitive about something that doesn't matter, but I really do wish my friends would stop assuming shit about something that's very personal and dear to me in my journey as a person. I really wish they'd sit down and just talk with me about what I believe and why instead of insulting my intelligence or laughing at me. It's starting to wear me down and honestly? It really hurts.