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SergeantQueen's avatar

Do you think Satanism actually exists?

Asked by SergeantQueen (10638points) January 30th, 2018

I mean like as a religion, a group of people who legitimately worship the devil, abide by a book, all that.
I see forums online dedicated to satan, and I hear people claim to be Satanists, but most of those forums/people are 12 year olds trying to be edgy. I personally have never seen or heard of a grown adult worshipping the devil as a serious thing and not just ironically.
Is Satanism considered a real religion?

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34 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I would say there are.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t know if it’s considered a real religion (who decides?), but I do know a couple of practitioners who are pretty damned serious and do follow a book. I’ve also visited some events where it did look pretty much like people were just playing at it.

I also know a number of pagans or “earth religion” adherents who call their groups covens but don’t (as far as I know) regard Satan as an object of worship.

In general I don’t think member of those groups are likely to talk much about their practices, rightly fearing harsh misjudgments, so you may know people yourself who are followers but don’t identify themselves as such outside their circles.

Mimishu1995's avatar

It is, according to the people who are really into it. People can be into really weird shit.

But if someone is really into Satanism, I don’t think they would be stupid enough to say it out loud for the world to hear. They know well what would happen if they did. The people who claim to be so are just trying to look hippy.

SergeantQueen's avatar

So I’m looking into it a bit, and I found this article. Now, it’s from CNN so take it however you want. I’m just doing some quick research Here
They claim that most Satanists actually don’t worship the devil and are more of an Atheist than anything else

Jeruba's avatar

a-the-ist.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Yeah, that’s what I thought too.
I also read somewhere that a lot of the satanic ritual killings or cults are not truly satanic, (the article talks about how none of the ritual killings in the 80s weren’t actually credible according to the FBI
I looked up Satanism and Google says it’s a “philosophical belief” vs when I google Christianity I get “religion” (The difference is a philosophical belief is based more on logic, and religion is based other things like just pure faith)
Wikipedia also says that prior to public practice, satanism was more of a concept thrown around by Christians, than a serious thing

SergeantQueen's avatar

I’m going to quote myself hereThey claim that most Satanists actually don’t worship the devil and are more of an Atheist than anything else
This kind of confuses me because if you are claiming to be a Satanist, I would assume you are acknowledging that Satan exists even if you don’t worship him. But, if you are also claiming to be Atheist, which I thought meant you don’t believe in a God, how can you claim to be Satanist as well?
I though if you believed in one you had to believe in the other

Jeruba's avatar

There are no rules or if-thens about what people believe. There’s absolutely no reason why a person who believes in one supernatural being has to believe in another. Some people believe in a lot of them and some pick and choose (or deny all of them). Why not?

You’ll even find people who declare that atheists don’t believe in a god wanting to do battle with others who claim that atheists believe there is no god (those are two different positions) and people like me who say “Speak for yourself. I don’t want anyone speaking for me and saying what I do or don’t believe as an atheist.”

rojo's avatar

I know there are people out there who follow Satanism and as such I would categorize it as a religion.
I have never had a Satanist come to my door and ask me if I have found Satan yet or offer me salvation if I would but believe, in fact, I have never met anyone who did but I prefer people keep their religion to themselves regardless of which they follow so no surprise there.

I do not see how it would be any different from any of the more established and militant religions.

johnpowell's avatar

“It is, according to the people who are really into it. People can be into really weird shit.”

See Christianity or any other sky_god nonsense.

Zaku's avatar

To answer the question, yes, there are definitely several things called Satanism that exist, with serious adult members.

I’m no expert, but I’ve seen, read about, and heard about various sorts of Satanists.

For example:

* Angry kids (mostly but not entirely) poorly raised by Christians, who express their anger and rejection by identifying as Satanists and possibly sacrificing some animals or something. (Often inspired by Christian and/or Hollywood exaggerations of Satanists as terrible villains, they act something like that out.)

* Intellectuals who subscribe to a new religion called Satanism which is very humanist and tends to speak out an demonstrate against Christian hypocrisy and issues relating to separation of church and state. (e.g. http://deadstate.org/satanic-temple-argues-that-missouris-extreme-abortion-laws-violate-their-religious-freedomfbrefreshforce/ and http://time.com/3972713/detroit-satanic-statue-baphomet/ )

* People into a spiritual relationship with Satan, and/or a magical relationship with Satan.

* People who are mainly just into the style or shock value of Satan.

It seems to me that the above behaviors are pretty distinct and generally don’t really overlap in the same people. But I’m probably doing some people a disservice by sharing my imperfect knowledge and understanding.

Kropotkin's avatar

Satanism exists, and if one is going to worship or take ethical guidance from one of the biblical characters—then Satan is really one of the most moral ones in the bible.

Satan is basically the most honest and least murderous character in the bible. This is in stark contrast to Jehova, who is a psychotic genocidal maniac and utterly dishonest.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Agree with Zaku. Wiccans here have some odd practices, too, but I didnt get involved.

flutherother's avatar

It exists in the minds of some people who rebel against the established order. For example Aleister Crowley, whose philosophy was “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. Crowley established a religious movement called Thelema based on this principle in the early part of the last century.

Crowley said a person “must not be ashamed or afraid of being homosexual if he happens to be so at heart; he must not attempt to violate his own true nature because of public opinion, or medieval morality, or religious prejudice which would wish he were otherwise.” In this he was ahead of his time.

Crowley was once described as “the wickedest man in the world” but there isn’t much evidence for that in his licentious lifestyle. He himself said “I have never done wilful harm to any human being.”

LostInParadise's avatar

By definition Satan does bad things because he opposes God, who only does good things. Therefore Satanists would be committing themselves to doing things that they themselves believe to be wrong. Makes no sense.

Of course there is the Satanic Temple, but they use Satan as a literary figure to oppose the nonsense spouted by fundamentalists.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@LostInParadise According to people who claim to be Satanists, they aren’t actually evil. They have a whole set of rules that are more self-serving than anything from what I got from it

elbanditoroso's avatar

I am no expert on Satanism, but yes, I am sure that there are organized groups of believers that worship Satan with the same fervency that Christians worship Jesus and Muslims worship Allah, etc.

Satanism, to me, is just another belief system that people have put together for themselves. No worse, and no better, than any of a 500 different religions that exist. Let them be.

The only reason Satanism gets a bad rap is because Christians need something to hate, and it isn’t accepted to hate Jews any more.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@elbanditoroso Jesus was a Jew so that doesn’t even make sense. I hate generalizations not based on fact.

stanleybmanly's avatar

A real religion? It’s every bit as “real” as any of the others. Makes no difference who or what you worship. The devil, cat poop or money—your “faith” is as legitimate as any other.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SergeantQueen _“They claim that most Satanists actually don’t worship the devil and are more of an Atheist than anything else”
This kind of confuses me because if you are claiming to be a Satanist, I would assume you are acknowledging that Satan exists even if you don’t worship him. But, if you are also claiming to be Atheist, which I thought meant you don’t believe in a God, how can you claim to be Satanist as well?
I though if you believed in one you had to believe in the other“_

There’s LaVeyan/Church of Satan type Satanism (formulated by Anton LaVey in the 1960s) which is, essentially, sorta Randian Objectivism with some pomp and psychodrama thrown in. They don’t literally worship or believe in Satan (or God or anything of the sort), but recognize that ritual and ceremony can be useful psychologically. For example: a ritual to curse one’s enemy isn’t going to literally hex that enemy, but it can be useful for purging negative emotions. Also they view Satan as a sort of metaphorical archetype of human enlightenment (further evidenced by the fact that the name Lucifer means “light bringer”) and liberation of the human spirit from the shackles of religious control.

rojo's avatar

@KNOWITALL Interesting quote from Brian Hennessy: “Many Christians are shocked to learn that Jesus, the one they consider the founder of Christianity, was born a Jew, died a Jew, arose a Jew, is seated in Heaven a Jew and will return as a Jew on steroids – “the lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the root of David” (Rev. 5:5). But their eyes really start to cross when they learn Jesus would have never thought himself a Christian. Or called himself one.” Article

BellaB's avatar

Why not? people believe in gods of all sorts.

Zaku's avatar

@LostInParadise “By definition Satan does bad things because he opposes God, who only does good things. Therefore Satanists would be committing themselves to doing things that they themselves believe to be wrong. Makes no sense.”
Er, only “by definition” of the Church, which is where the not making great sense is.

LostInParadise's avatar

Why use the name from the Bible then? Why Satan and not God?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo Interesting article, thanks. My point, however, was that I’ve never known a christian who hated Jews (unless it was a Nazi posing as a christian), which was implied by @elbanditoroso.

Additionally, the bible is the backbone of the christian faith, using Jesus teachings as our guide. Even here in the Midwest we have synagogues out in the country, it’s not a problem or an issue at all, so his comment took me by surprise.

rojo's avatar

@KNOWITALL actually I think Mr. Hennessy is mistaken. It isn’t that they do not know it but that the teaching was not emphasized or reinforced and the fact just kind of falls by the wayside.

Zaku's avatar

@LostInParadise Good question. I think it’s usually because the people making that choice still have some Christian context in mind, either because they were raised with it, because it imbues the culture they live in, because they don’t know much about other religions, because their family and community is Christian, and/or because they are trying to shake up Christians in one way or another.

Personally, I don’t relate to Satan much at all, except in the context of literature such as Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Bedazzled, or other Christian dramas, in which I’m far more interested in the archetypal forms in the story, and the criticism of the Christian mindset. Spiritually, I think of Satan as a Christian scapegoat and label used to vilify everything non-Christian, which I think exposes the folly (or wickedly clever scheme) of the medieval Christian Church in trying to dominate the population and achieve supremacy, and agenda I see as mostly misguided and full of terrible consequences. As such, I tend to see worshiping Satan or other Christian devils, or even relating to them, as falling into a medieval Christian trap of mistaking everything non-Christian as just “evil” and still being stuck in a medieval Christian-Church cosmological mindset. Out of the frying pan, into the fire…

elbanditoroso's avatar

@KNOWITALL obviously you have not lived as the only Jew is a men’s dormitory at a Catholic university.

tinyfaery's avatar

The Church of Satan was founded by Anton Lavey. It is an atheistic religion, recognized by the government, with members all over the world. They use the symbol of Satan to represent their hedonism.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@elbanditoroso I have not, but any group of people, especially school age, tend to bully the ‘different’ one. I’m Catholic btw…and in our area it’s very inclusive of all races and even different beliefs, such as a large asian population, some of which are Buddhists, etc..

Patty_Melt's avatar

I have known a number of satanists. According to those I have met, the one Christians call god was greedy, and power hungry. He tossed Lucifer out because he knew Lucifer might one day stop him.
To them, Lucifer is an underdog who will one day take his rightful place.
Yes, they have a Bible. I have never seen it, but a long ago boyfriend went to one of their “services” and he saw someone read from it.
The people I knew didn’t meet in any sort of church. Their services were held in a home.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Patty_Melt

You’re likely referring to The Satanic Bible, published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It’s a cheap paperback that can be bought through pretty much any bookstore. It’s not all that well written and LaVey plagiarizes most of. It’s basically a half-baked hodgepodge of various self-centered philosophy and mild occult practices. LaVey was more of a showman than a creative philosopher. He’d be the first to acknowledge that it was mostly a big act for him (he basically regarded himself like an old carnival emcee).

Patty_Melt's avatar

I really have no idea. My understanding was that it was something written much longer ago, but I was not personally involved.
I do know the people involved took it all very seriously. It seems to me they felt that in the battle of good and evil, evil took the throne, and allowed things to run amok, and that Lucifer was the good entity, one day to be returned to power.

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