I spoke about being taken seriously in the past, but with family I tend to be more quiet about my religious beliefs. It avoids conflict and drama, and frankly it’s for me, not for others. But I am open with some members of my extended family, and some word getting around is to be expected. So, every so often I get a pulled aside or sent a text by a more religious family member legitimately concerned for me. Over the last three years, I have learned that the best way for me to handle it.
First, I let the individual know that Satanism is not what they think it is, and that I understand their concern. To get angry over the situation is to be solipsistic. These family members are legitimately trying to make sure I am doing well and are coming to me in the hopes they help me live a better life. This confirmation of their fears is disarming to them, and they relax a bit. I then inform them that I would like to set aside some time to spend with them answering their questions and explaining what it is that I believe. This both makes them open to listening, as it is now about me setting aside time, and allows me to talk openly about Satanism for an extended period of time, which is something I enjoy. It is very freeing to be open about things.
When the time comes to have that conversation, I always expect the typical questions (if not devil worship then what; why Satan; how did you get into this; etc.), but there is always one more that I have learned is the key to being taken seriously and respected. “Would you be willing to come to a church service with me and tell me what you think?” This is a question I always answer yes to, and emphatically. Why? Because church is the great legitimizer. Going with that family member and paying attention shows them a multitude of things. First, I’m willing to give it a shot for them. I know that I’m secure in my religion, an hour or two of sitting in a roomful of Christians telling the sky that they are still Christian and listening to music that is mediocre at best is not going to change that. The drama that will be avoided by that gesture alone is worth more to me than the time. Second, the demonstration of my understanding of Christianity and the service I attended reassures them that I understand their fear, and I understand what it is that I am intentionally not being a part of. Between the first two alone, I have showed that I am not missing the point they probably thought I was, and that I gave that point another chance and still found it inadequate. The third and perhaps most important thing it shows is that I respect them and can be mature about my beliefs rather than spouting off to the world and trying to offend people. It shows that it isn’t about appearances or being edgy. The three together both legitimize the Satanic religion in the individual’s mind, and legitimize my affiliation with it. After I am taken to church the subject is never approached again in any seriousness. If anything an occasional ribbing is to be expected.
So take me to church, I get free coffee and left alone about Satanism. It sounds like a win for me on every front.