On veganism

I was intending to write a post on this subject some time in early December, after finding out from my parents that my oldest brother had become vegan, but somehow lost the motivation to do it. This month, however, the subject of veganism appears to have resurfaced in the public consciousness, as it appears Veganuary is upon us once more. Thus I have regained some interest in writing a bit of a rant on the subject.

When I first learned that my oldest brother and his girlfriend had become vegans, I had wondered . My parents thought that they had gone nuts, presumably either because of some sentiment against veganism or because it was about three weeks before Christmas and I have a funny feeling they thought their newfound rejection of animal products would stand in the way of some good seasonal feasting involving meat.

Meanwhile, I have changed my position regarding veganism quite a bit within the last year. No, I am not a vegan if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m just not hostile to veganism in the same way I was before. I mean, years ago I would frequently and stridently look down on vegans and veganism as one of a myriad of fashionable exercises in faux social consciousness, as is still so utterly typical of liberals to engage in. Now, however, I no longer have that reaction to the moral sentiment of veganism, but I still can’t help but treat the movement as a kind of lifestylism. I say this not because I think not wanting to kill animals for food is somehow immoral but because a lot of vegans do have this very middle class lifestyle and culture about them. Not to mention, I can’t imagine how hard it is for vegans dealing not only with the biological expectation to consume meat and animal products but also a society that is effectively geared towards precisely that lifestyle.

The way I see it, the only way you’re going to change our norms for meat consumption is if synthetic meat becomes much more commonplace and we end up adopting a mode of food production centered around the production and distribution of synthetic meat. Now, it is worth noting that there are meat substitute products out there already, such as Quorn products where the “meat” and its proteins are derived from fungi, but that’s not what I mean. I’m referring to what’s called “cultured meat”, which is where the meat is produced not from the flesh of a slaughtered animal but instead from animal cells through in vitro cultivation. It’s my hope that through this process we may arrive at a point that we can create meat products that have the same or at least similar sort of tactile pleasure to them as animal meat, but without the slaughter of animals and with the potential bonuses that might come with cultured meat. Of course, I doubt the vegans would be happy anyway considering the process still uses animal products (the cells), but they can always have the mushroom meat that Quorn offers so it’ll all be good I think.

In the meantime, though, I find that vegans just seem caught up in this liberal fantasy of ethical consumerism, and this is especially troubling for me as we run out of time to reign in the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Like, I’m sorry, it’s great that you don’t want animals to suffer anymore but telling everyone to stop eating beef burgers or what have you is simply not going to be enough to stop what’s coming. Seriously, we are now far removed from a point in time where that might have been salient. And I find it unfortunate that, even with this in mind, the most radical response that people can think of still seems to be , when in reality broad systemic changes in conjunction with technological innovation are needed for us to get us out of this mess.

Of course, I think it’s worth pointing out that attitudes towards veganism are changing, and I believe that certain food companies are adding vegan options to their menus, suggesting perhaps that consumer society has become somewhat more accommodating to vegan lifestyle. This of course brings us to the reason Veganuary has come back into attention, namely to a hilarious online altercation between noted public figure Piers Morgan (a man who frankly I’ve always hated since my earliest stages of political consciousness) and various fast food outlets. Last week, shortly after New Year’s Day, Greggs announced that they were going to start rolling out Quorn sausage rolls for vegan customers as part of their menu, causing Piers to irrationally complain that the company had become “PC-ravaged clowns”. In one instance, following a reply, he even sarcastically suggested for some reason that the company change their name to something “more gender fluid and less toxically masculine”, as though that was somehow relevant to anything being discussed. He then took to bragging about a “vegan resistance” by him buying a meat sausage roll, which he was still able to do anyway contrary to his assertion that Greggs was abolishing meat products. He soon found himself whining about how McDonald’s were offering vegetarian Happy Meals in their menus. Yes, a grown man actually complained about there being a children’s fast food meal that didn’t have meat in it. The whole exchange has been a source of laughter for all present, seeing an adult man reduced to waging Twitter wars with fast food companies.

Now why do I bring this up? Well, you see, vegans are traditionally expected to be quite lodged into your ass (and sometimes their own) about their choice of lifestyle. The stereotype is that they can be very self-righteous and obnoxious about how they’ve taken the more moral choice than their fellows on account of the fact they don’t derive sustenance from animal products while the rest of us do. This particularly stings when you consider that, for many people, eating healthy or morally is not that cheap, or at least not as cheap as getting a burger when you feel peckish. But now I find there’s a reversal of this trend: people who not only aren’t vegan and instead, like myself, are as omnivorous as most people, but are also incredibly obnoxious about it. These sorts of people take great pride in eating meat. It’s so stupid and snowflakey that I’ve even seen someone buy a vegan sausage roll at Greggs just to throw it in the bin and record it just show how damned smug they are about the fact that they’re not vegans. It’s like being a Christian fundamentalist and buying rock records just so you can destroy in protest. And to be honest, for how much these people think they’re offending the right people, I don’t see a lot of outrage or offence. All I see is people making fun of people who, frankly, deserve to be made fun of for being such pompous jerks about veganism being a thing.

So in summary, I don’t despise veganism and I don’t make fun of it like I used to, but I still see it as something of a lifestylist activity given the circumstances.

Of course, you don’t have to let what I say stop you if you want some of this.

On marriage

Yesterday was a very special day. My sister was getting married, we attended service, and we had a long party. I think I learned a lot as well, and I think it’s worth reflecting on the subject of marriage as it relates to me personally.

As it stands, I have no real plan for what I want to do if I arrive at the point of commitment so to speak (perhaps because I’m nowhere near that point yet, I still don’t even have a girlfriend as it stands), but if I arrive at that point I think I may consider what my oldest brother is planning to do and have some kind of private ceremony. In his case it’s more of a secular and simplistic thing – just a ceremony and celebration at his place and then a holiday – but with me it might be a bit, shall we say, ritualistic, depending on how I get to do things. See, a lot of the problem I have is that marriage is traditionally a ceremony attached to faith, even with things like civil partnerships and secular ceremonies today, these are basically there to fill in for what marriage represents to religious people. In the case of Christianity, for example, marriage intended to be a ceremony fit for a community of faith in which the bride and groom are ultimately a part (provided they be Christian anyway), and the groom and the bride are ceremonial microcosms for Jesus Christ and his Church.

As you no doubt know from my writings, I tend to predominantly disagree with Christian doctrine, I do not agree with the Christian faith and as such cannot and do not identify with it, so obviously having a Christian marriage ceremony would indeed be a problem for me should I arrive at that moment. I also don’t feel so strongly about secular civic ceremonies either. It’s not out of hatred for secularism I assure you, it is simply that I desire more in terms of meaning and substance. I’m very cautious about having big ceremonies like other weddings I’ve been to. Not simply because of the expense involved but because it would be a wedding on my own terms: – logically, I fear, it would mean showing my hand by revealing my spiritual-philosophical inclinations and all that entails, which would make me uncomfortable. Sure my family are by and large a liberal bunch in terms of attitude, but they’re also Christians in background – they might not be as devout as Americans are, in fact they tend to be quite liberal in their faith and have a tolerant attitude most of the time, but I’m not gonna delude myself into thinking they’ll put up with a ceremony consecrated by the Morning Star instead of Christ and his Church without thinking I had fallen into mental illness or something.

Not to mention the extravagance and expense of the conventional ceremony, along with the sillier and stupider activities you can do. Hence, the idea of a private ceremony between myself and my potential partner in lieu of something grand like some of my relatives do.

For what it’s worth, though, I’m genuinely for the ceremony I had attended in spite of such things.

Christmas/Yule 2017

The winter holidays aren’t over for me yet, I’ve still got a pretty long break ahead, but I have to say I’ve been feeling great this Christmas. One of the reasons for this is that, at last, I’ve started drinking. Sure, it’s just some gin mixed with other drinks so far, but I’m becoming pretty comfortable with the idea of drinking alcoholic beverages. That’s a long way from the way I used to be: not only a non-drinker, but someone who detested the very idea of drinking, because I feared the loss of control that would come with drunkenness. Now, it seems, I’ve crossed the threshold and abandoned that fear. And I’m telling you, I’ve been feeling great.

All I needed to get comfy with idea was to try some gin mixed with some other non-alcoholic drink, and it wasn’t a bad drink at all. But I didn’t start . At first I tried some red wine at Christmas Eve lunch, but it smelled and tasted horrible. After a few sips I couldn’t handle it. At my oldest brother’s where I had Christmas Day lunch, I tried some champagne that was apparently mixed with Ribena, and it didn’t smell as bad but it still tasted awful. Then, on the night of Christmas Day, I tried a can of gin and Schweppes that I bought with one of my brothers last week and meant to drink earlier, and I didn’t immediately want to spit it out after drinking it. That was definitely good, but the drink itself was also rather nice.

This particular aspect has, understandably, been treated with surprise. When I was at a family dinner yesterday and I said I wanted some gin to drink, my relatives were kind of surprised. My sister, for one, couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It wasn’t a condemnation or anything like that, and being that I’m well over 18 at this point there certainly wasn’t a sense that I was doing something that was socially unacceptable, but it was just kind of a shock. I can hardly blame anyone for the surprise. Here’s me, a guy who’s avoided drinking for nearly all of his life (except one time last year when one of my cousins made me a light alcoholic drink involving lemonade and beer, but for some reason I didn’t continue drinking after that until literally this week). By the way, the drink I ordered was rather nice. It was apparently a mixture of gin and cranberry juice that my folks suggested, since apparently pure gin wasn’t recommended, at least for me. Nonetheless, it had a nice taste to it.

Anyways, one of the ubiquitous truths of human nature is that we humans are pretty much creatures of habit, and that we’re very much a pattern-seeking species. We desire familiarity in the world around us, as this not only comforts us but also grounds us to the world so that we can make sense of it. When we establish patterns or habits for ourselves we always become predictable to others, who in turn establish patterns and familiarity. Often, when we change things about ourselves, including our appearance, it surprises people, changes their perception of us, and it can generate a bit of shock in people. It’s pretty mundane to be honest, to the point that it’s kind of obvious when you think about it, but it’s something that was really brought home to me when I told people I wanted a drink of gin.

It doesn’t matter too much in the end. I don’t drink all that much alcohol, and I’m still at a point where I’ve pretty much just decided I like it, but I feel good about myself, so I don’t care in the end.

Anyways, Merry Christmas, Merry Yule, Io Saturnalia, Happy Winter Mass, and a Happy New Year from me. Hope you enjoyed your Christmas and are still enjoying the holiday season.

What does he know?

My brother recently told me something about car insurance that seemed a little surprising. I always thought that car insurance was terrible for people under the age of 25 because it was too damned expensive, and one of the lecturers actually told me that’s because they see people under 25 as being a liability. He was told by one of his classmates that car insurance is actually not as bad as I say it is, and that in fact the cost of car insurance goes down after you turn 21. We had this discussion about what our plans were regarding getting a car, and then our Dad decided to weigh in our conversation by telling us that we were looking at £1,000 a year. I don’t know where he heard that from, or anything about his insurance provider, so that didn’t help much. But he was also the advocate of the notion that we’re better off staying at home. For how long exactly, I’m not sure. Honestly though, it seems bogus to me. Just because Dad apparently lived an OK life by staying home with his parents until the age of 26, and without ever going to university, doesn’t mean we’d be happy living that way.

He’s also convinced that my brother and I won’t be able to get driving licenses anyway. The reason? Because we’re autistic. For Satan’s sake, that has to be the dumbest my Dad told me. Does he honestly think of autism as a liability? What kind of father implies that? He’s not really bad person as far as I know, but what the hell man? I’m still far more concerned about the fact that he honestly would prefer that we just stay comfortable with our current circumstances, despite the fact that we’re meant to be moving towards personal independence. And I would prefer that we make that kind of progress sooner rather than wait until I’m in my 30’s. I can’t help but wonder what he has to lose by us making those leaps? Or maybe he’ll just never see it from his point of view.

Freedom at last?

I know it seems weird to write another blog post on the same day as I’ve written a blog post already for today, but there is something that I really need to express today, right this moment. Another post will follow soon after this one.

I had a relatively light party with my family and a friend, and during the party, people started asking about what makes me (and my brother) tick, and our interests. I felt compelled to talk about them. Nothing about religion came up, but other subjects could be just as important. Particularly music and alcohol. Despite what might be expected, I still did not drink, but I did share my musical tastes and other tastes as best I can. They had their stereotypes and preconceptions, but I did my best to explain what lies beyond it (and the difference between real metal and whiny angsty depression music people may think is metal), without being intimidating. I think it all started when they took photos of me and I would start making wild faces, possibly like the kind made by King Diamond only without his trademark face-paint. I also made a couple silly faces that I thought reminded me of a young Lars Ulrich. I actually had fun, because I got to express a wild streak of some sort with the family even if it wasn’t extreme. Not only that, but I felt kind of happy. I enjoyed the party, I relished the prospect of going to concert (not sure about on my own though), and even going on nights out with my brother or cousin. And I think something is going to change.

For a long time, I was reserved about anything about me with family because I felt so radically different from them that I felt they would never understand and I had to be secretive, but I think this may be the last day I will let that go on if it still goes on. It will still be a long time before I reveal this blog and attach it to my name as I am known to family members, but I feel like I can be far more open about what makes me who I am and my attitudes than I ever was before with family, and I feel like I am on the way to being much more open than I was before, and I honestly believe it will bring me a lot of positive reactions and rewards. I have seen myself that I have greatly underestimated my family in terms of their tolerance, understanding, acceptance, and compassion, their willingness to take me as I am. I am actually starting to be very greatful for the family unit being there, and it would only be honorable to appreciate that. I think, in my mind, I am approaching a time of freedom, an end to the veil of mystery that I have imposed on myself and what pain it has caused, and maybe, even, a kind of happiness I have not foreseen yet.

The time will come; newfound freedom and joy will come to me, and I will be fulfilled and without fear. I await that day, and will chase after it…with pride unbridled!

Why I do what I do on Christmas Eve, and why I’d keep doing it

Since it’s Christmas Eve today, I thought I’d write about some traditions I have for this day.

Every Christmas Eve, I join my family for a certain period of time in order to enjoy a feast of seafood. You see, my dad’s side of the family is Catholic, which means they don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve so they eat fish and seafood instead. Even though I’m not Catholic, I participate in the feast because it means eating a lot of seafood and celebrating. And at least I don’t have to do any praying. Besides, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, so I have somewhat fond memories of the tradition, and I still to this day associate Christmas Eve with the prospect of stuffing my face with prawns and the like. Even in the future, even if I live in another country, I would still continue having seafood feasts. Not in the name of family, not in association with any religious ideas, but in honor of the memories of when I was a kid, and for the sake of the continuation of these memories, so that I can have a timeless link to the past.

It is also common for me and my brother to travel with my dad in the morning to a market to get fish and seafood to provide for the feast on Christmas Eve. The only reason I’m not doing it today is because apparently my dad is too busy. I’m not too worried though, because I think there’s enough seafood for today. That, and in the future it might be me who gathers fish and seafood from a market, perhaps even taking my kids to a market like my dad took me and my brother to the market.

A market stall for fish and seafood.

Another set of fond memories I have is that when I was a kid, my brother and I would go to bed early for Christmas, and then find ourselves waking up far earlier than usual. Around 1am to be precise. While we were awake, we found ourselves playing boardgames and toys and in general do something worth passing the time because we didn’t entirely feel like going back to sleep. Even though being older calls for the body to need more sleep, we still do this. We still go to bed early on Christmas Eve, not for Santa Claus or anything like that (we all know it’s actually just your parents giving you the gifts), but solely for the sake of getting really early at Christmas and spending time playing chess and other boardgames.

Of course, I can’t see myself doing this when I get to the point where I’m raising children with my partner, not least since I’m likely going to have to put their presents under the tree, but who knows if my potential children get up to the same thing on Christmas as I did? And hey, maybe after that point in time when I’m looking after kids of my own anymore, I might continue getting early, but by that time probably not as early as I used to.

In general, part of what’s so special about to Christmas to me is that to me it means a distinct connect to my life in the past or when I was young. It feels kind of timeless to me, and I think that’s great to have in one’s life. And with that I say Merry Christmas, Yule, Winter Solstice, and Happy Holidays to all for 2014, and to all a damn good night.

Faith in the cause

Remember that christening I was talking about only a few days ago? Well when the christening was over, to my surprise, my sister didn’t really raise a fuss. Not only that, but I don’t think anyone was too mad, although my cousin was disappointed I didn’t show up. Really the only worry I still have is about my dad, because he can still be difficult to talk to when it comes to this. He’s not particularly obnoxious or aggressive, he’s just difficult to deal with.

That said, I don’t think I can rest too easily. I cannot take any excuse to be too complacent in my faith in my cause. My cause of living honestly in the ideals of the Left Hand Path. The ideal of living in freedom, truth to my self as I see it, walking the path in which I will spiritually survive both the herds of the masses and their trends and the mayhemic sea of the world as it is by the immortality, integrity, and truthfulness of my self, my soul, without corruption or adulteration from any external forces or powers. I know I will continue to be tested in the future.

My soul doesn’t belong to anyone else, and neither should yours

In a few days, there is a christening for a recently born member of my family. Naturally, I dislike the prospect, and I neither can nor will support it. I actually managed to avoid attending that christening, thankfully, which means I will not have to worry about supporting something I don’t believe in. But let me tell you about just that.

Everything about christening, or infant baptism, is morally wrong because it means you are deciding the faith of the child for the child. The infant or baby has no conception of religion, beliefs, what their beliefs are, or what their answer to the world is, but the parent still has the nerve to label the child as a Christian before the child even decided he/she wanted to be Christian in the first place. It’s the same for all variations of christening for all religions. If you want to be a Christian, you should get baptized by yourself after you have decided you want to be a Christian, let alone associated with a particular denomination or church. You shouldn’t be forced, coaxed, or conditioned into being Christian before you’ve made your mind about, and you especially shouldn’t be raised Christian against your own will just because your family is Christian!

Which brings me to the soul. My mother apparently thinks getting christened is good for the infant’s soul. But let me tell you, she has no basis for saying that other than her apparent Christian faith. First, if you’re soul is supposed to be saved by baptism, and that didn’t save my sister from being a shallow, obnoxious, egotistical brat, why would it save anyone? Second, the only reason they’re going through with this whole thing is to keep up with the Joneses. In other words, to conform with the norms of everyone else without thinking even once about whether or not these stupid customs mean anything to them, or if they actually believe in it. People just go with the flow, supposedly out of a sense of “decency”, which isn’t even decency to begin with. Third, what the hell is so good about your soul belonging to anybody? Is there any reason your soul can’t actually be YOUR soul? Not to mention, if you are your soul, why should you be owned by anyone? You belong to you. No one else. You should be free to be spiritual autonomous, making your own decisions, walking your own path, and enjoying your own fruits and enduring your own austerities and sufferings, instead of belonging to someone else who probably doesn’t give a crap about you and only cares that you worship him like a ruler!

Even though my mother thinks giving your spiritual autonomy over to Jesus or Jehovah is a good thing, it actually means your soul is doomed. Think about it: do you know what the Christian heaven means? Your soul meets up with Jesus and joins a choir of angels or souls that do nothing but mindlessly sing praises for eternity. Why would you want that? Why would you consider that a good thing? That is not joy. That is false joy. A joy that only arises from the mindless devotion of the believer. What would I rather have? I would rather go to a heaven of my design, a place influenced by everything I could possibly want and enjoy. In any case I’d certainly rather not have to be stuck in the same heaven as everyone else.

I can just guess that at least some of my family is going to make a fuss over the fact that I refused to attend the christening, but at least I know I have stood up for individual freedom of choice even against family and tradition.

My experience in Italy (Part 1): Dealing with family

Yes, I’m back from my holiday (sorry it took so long to right this post by the way). I was in Italy for a week with my two brothers, my dad, and his partner (who is not my mother) and her daughter (who is also unrelated and 11 years younger than me), and as you might expect I am writing about the experience on this blog. The first three posts I will write are a three-part series of posts about my week there spanning today, tomorrow, and Thursday.

While the holiday wasn’t entirely bad (I attended a wedding party that was quite nice, going to the beach was enjoyable for the first time, and I actually had ice cream that turned out to be the best I ever had), I ended up feeling like I didn’t belong in Italy and that I had virtually no connect to my direct family.

My dad in particular seems to have, like most people I bet, left his brain at home for going on this holiday. He seems to me like a very carefree person, but at the same time rather authoritative. Time and time again he thinks he has the right to lead me and my brother on like dogs, he continuously expects us to go along with the usual holiday crap and spend every day in the sea. He also expects me to just deal with whatever incompetence we suffer when it happens, and he always seemed to want to pay for every drink, snack, and ice cream for me when I’m about to purchase individually and not at a restaurant. He seems to think I can’t do anything on my own or just with my brother, and he seems to take advantage of the fact that I’m not good with the language or entirely familiar with the environment. He also seems to think that love and finding a partner is all about picking up girls either by dancing like a fucking idiot at parties or by having a tanned look, and I made it very clear that if a girl went up to me and outright expressed an interest in me just for being tanned I would tell her to piss off because she’s interested in something that’s not me (I just want my skin to be as pale as it is naturally). He also doesn’t care for how I want to look or how it expresses me as a person, he prefers I look fancy and clean for parties. On top of that, his partner just goes along with his ways.

Then there’s my oldest brother, who is also incapable of understanding how I work. I usually find him watching football or sleeping after a party. When I told him I do not want tan, rather than just see that I just don’t want tan, he tries to convince me to keep tan by debasing my musical tastes. He referred to one band I like, Sepultura, and obviously thinks I should tan just because he thinks Max Cavalera (the former lead singer) would encourage it. I never fully expressed it to him, but I found it insulting that he was trying to present a metal band to me as like a sports hero to base oneself on, and I doubt any of those guys would have supported that. The weirdest part is that, like myself, he listens to metal music (though to be honest I’m pretty sure that’s not all he listens to, and a lot of the music I could hear faintly from his earphones sounds like a different plane of metal to what I usually listen to), and he used to listen to a lot of black metal in the past, but I doubt he has the same reverent attitude towards the music. I mean, I don’t doubt his love for the music, but I do doubt that he shares any kind of spirit with it, in the way I find a connect between the metal spirit and my own values. On top of this, he goes with the flow of family and tradition, perhaps because of whatever indulgent festivity can be involved. The fact that during the wedding service I could hear his voice reciting prayers and psalms definitely signifies either that he believes in the Christian faith or just goes with the flow. Either way, it’s a mockery for him to hold any intellectual position higher than mine, him who just goes with the flow, and if he doesn’t actually believe it’s even worse.

I seriously believe that my direct family besides my brother who is the same age as me, and maybe my mother, does not understand my personality, or how I work, or who I try to be everyday. I just want to be a man of freedom and confidence, a man who revels in earthly pleasures while practicing the values of ethicality (basically trying to do what I feel is right), personal honor, and dignity. I believe in a sense of righteousness not defined by religion or conventional morality, but instead defined by an instinct of what is right and also what I feel cannot be allowed be continue. I can be heavy, serious, even negative, but that’s not all of how I am or can be, and I can handle that, at least I take things seriously. Yeah, with the brother I like having around I often make jokes with him, but I like doing that with him and other friends. And I want to find a partner who loves me for me, not for some idea of what I can be. And I don’t think most of my family gets that, but then there’s a lot more of my family out there who I probably don’t mention myself to and probably don’t connect with a lot. I do have a few cousins, and their boyfriends, who have heard me out (I didn’t mention Satanism though) when I explained myself, and they seem to understand me and recognize the positiveness of my values.

That said, being in Italy kinda reminded me of how not connected I am with my family. I can never observe the same traditions as them, and I never seemed to care about the national identities that both sides of my family considered me to be. I know I didn’t mention my sister at all, but that’s because she was never really involved in the holiday. Not that it matters, she’s probably the same.

My brother doesn’t get it

Yesterday we got into an argument about family and religion, specifically, how I feel I can’t disclose my personal religious/spiritual beliefs to the rest of my family. As you probably know from reading this blog, I am a Satanist, a Pagan, and an advocate for the ideas of the Left Hand Path. Most of my family is Catholic Christian, so they outnumber me. I know I don’t see a lot of my family on a regular basis, but I still worry about my family knowing about my beliefs for good reason.

Because they are mostly Christian (maybe not devout or fundamentalist Christians, but I am confident they do observe the customs and beliefs on a basic level), I cannot trust them to not make a big of me having beliefs so far outside their norm.I don’t want to have to try and explain myself to them (my whole beliefs would need more explanation than just “I’m a Satanist” or “I’m a pagan”) or deal with any crap they give me about my beliefs. It’s not that I don’t strongly believe in them, it’s just that I don’t feel they need to know most of it, you know, for protection. And it’s not like I’d be entirely lying to them either; if they ask, I could just say non-religious.

Now my brother doesn’t seem to understand my insecurity regarding my family, he thinks it’s not that big a deal, to the point that he accidentally implies that if you believe something you should tell everyone about it. He’s an atheist, warts and all, and what he doesn’t seem to realize is that atheists are lucky to have a position that is considered modern in this day and age and is still way more socially acceptable than my beliefs or interest in the occult ever could be. It’s not that I’m giving up, I’m just saying how my brother doesn’t seem to get it, and that he doesn’t seem to see how big a deal talking about beliefs is. He says in the modern age it shouldn’t matter, but “modern age” or no, beliefs are and always will be a big deal, and I don’t think he gets that.