Originally published April 20, 2014
Finding communities post-college can be difficult, as college has the neat advantage of a community already built in. More than that, there were always people to do things with—have a smoke with, take shots with, gossip and flirt and loiter with, and, on occasion, study with. After college, in the maze of cubicles that has somehow become your life, there’s not that sense of community, prepackaged and orderly. Sure, you can grab a drink with some coworkers on Fridays and talk about the weather and spreadsheets, but it’s not the same. Or you could find hyper-specific groups on the internet, but “liking” the same picture of a kitten covered in spaghetti with a caption that says “Mondays” does not really qualify as an activity.
At times like these, it’s tempting to turn to religion. It’s not existential crises or tragedy, but ennui and loneliness and preemptive middle-age. I, personally, cannot return to the religion of my childhood. There are too many reasons to list here, but suffice to say, I don’t fit in. I cannot become a Jew; I have all of the cantankerousness but none of the dignity. Islamism just isn’t my style. Paganism of any sort would be too pretentious and stereotypical for a girl who has been called the whitest in existence. As for a nice, normal brand of Protestantism—well, that just seems too white-bread, picket-fence, and fifties house-dress for me.
Naturally, I decided to look into Satanism. Their website is as one might expect—tacky fonts and a confusing layout. The content, however, was surprising. Most of the website’s information is clearing up misconceptions. Satanists do not, in fact, worship Satan—which was a relief and a disappointment all at once. Satanists are atheists who don’t believe in any paranormal phenomena or deities, They seem like decent, normal people. I found myself agreeing with, or, at least, respecting most of their ideas. For example, Satanism stresses the importance of consenting partners in sexual relationships. Satanism states that if you hear demons, do not contact the Satanists; get mental help. Satanism supports autonomy and individual freedom. A sin against Satanism is being pretentious, which I’m all for…as I post this on a blog. And I couldn’t help but imagine a plump, white, adolescent stating “I became a Satanist because I’m just, like, really against pretentiousness, y’know?”.
And then, then everything was ruined. According to the website, Satanists support a world where everyone has a robot sex-slave. That’s right. A robot sex-slave. It’s right there on the site. Well, religion has certainly supported worse things over the years, but my goodness, that’s just bat-shit crazy. Shouldn’t you not put that on site you made to tell everyone what nice, normal people you are?
The problem with groups isn’t that I wouldn’t join one that would have someone like me as a member. Woody Allen didn’t quite get it right in that joke he made famous. (Then again, Woody Allen doesn’t quite get a lot of things right, does he?) The problem with groups is rules. You have to as a group make boundaries that define who is in and who is out. You have to draw a line somewhere. The problem isn’t that the other members are creeps like you; it’s that the creeps are almost like you, but not close enough.
In a dark embrace of the godlessness within, in a final acceptance of my autonomy, as the lack of Anton LeVey’s ghost looked on, I did the only thing I could think of. I closed the window in my webbrowser. Membership costs two-hundred dollars anyways.