This is a topic I’ve touched on in the past, but since it’s also next in my series about my personal Satanic Principles and I haven’t talked about those in a while, let’s go a little more in depth than last time.
To recap my original article, it’s important to face the things which make us uncomfortable in order to grow and learn about ourselves. Being a consumer and writer of the horror genre makes it a little bit easier because horror allows me to face uncomfortable things safely. What I didn’t talk about in my original article was how it’s possible to grow by confronting what makes us uncomfortable.
I’ll use my own experience as an example. Back when I was still a Christian, I had quite a few friends who were non-Christians. That already established me as different from other Christians because the amount of people in the small town I was living in who didn’t belong to a church was pretty small, and there wasn’t much intermingling between Christians and non-Christians. It was generally looked down upon in the church – one of the many failings of Christianity is that not being “saved” is viewed as a moral failure, so unless you’re actively trying to pull them into the fold, you don’t waste your time with non-Christians. On the non-Christian side, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to have friends who are constantly trying to get you to join their cult, so non-Christians in town learned to avoid those who advertised their Christianity.
Because I was so close to some of those non-Christians in town, I couldn’t be blind to the abuses they suffered in the name of the Christian god. One of my friends (who is still one of my best friends today) practices Asatru and wears his Mjolnir everywhere he goes. He was harassed wherever he went in that little town, even when he was at work. Another friend from high school was an atheist, and she didn’t hide it. Everyone in our friend circle, including me, tried to convince her at some point to come to church. She hasn’t spoken to me since we graduated high school, and I deeply regret making her feel unwelcome. I also have a lot of gay friends, and if you’ve ever been gay in a small town in Texas, you can imagine the sort of harassment and abuse my friends went through.
It’s not comfortable to see the people you care about go through all of that. It’s especially not comfortable to watch a member of your church – someone you consider to otherwise have a good moral character – put down and abuse another person you hold in high esteem. I struggled with that a lot, and although I rebuked my fellow Christians whenever I saw them bothering my friends, I didn’t win many friends in the Christian community.
I admit that I pulled the “Not all Christians” card when trying to comfort my friends. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t comfort them much. As I became more and more isolated from other Christians, I came to realize that I was pulling that card not to try and comfort my friends but myself. And that said a hell of a lot about how I really felt about Christianity. If I had to keep telling myself that not all Christians were like that, despite everything my eyes and ears were showing me, then something was very wrong with the religion I had followed my entire life.
The “Not all Christians” card was me running from what was making me uncomfortable instead of facing it. The idea that “Not all Christians are like that” was a way for me to avoid thinking about the problem that was staring me in the face. Had I continued to run from the uncomfortable fact that my religion was hurting people I cared about, I would not be the person I am today. I probably would have lost many of the friends I hold dear, and in some cases I never would have met them. My fiancé would have found me incredibly obnoxious when I met him, and in all honesty, I don’t think I would have liked myself very much either if I continued trying to excuse Christianity’s bullshit.
Facing the uncomfortable truth instead of embracing a comfortable lie was what allowed me to break away from harmful patterns. It allowed me to conquer my flaws and acknowledge the fact that I had been brainwashed and manipulated, and it allowed me to reject many of the doctrines I had allowed to define me. Facing the things that made me uncomfortable allowed me to become myself.