|Links: Pages on Satanism, Other Religions|
|Texts||Writings of founder and leaders|
|Area of Origin||USA|
|Founder||By Anton Lavey|
|Numbers in the UK (Census results)|
|2001||1 525||2011||1 893|
Satanism is a ferocious religion based on materialism, the empowerment of the self and the ego, the carnal realities of animal life, the questioning of social taboos, the ridiculing of most other religions, and the promotion of tough social justice. Satan is not real but is the most ideal and accurate symbol of reality and nature: The world is full of violence, suffering, stress, striving and death - the life cycle itself requires all these things. It is clear that no symbol of 'goodness' or 'light' can embody it all. The vast, uninhabitable darkness of the Universe, with galactic cataclysms rendering huge destructions on huge scales, means that only Satan can embody the true state of everything that is. Satanists tend to use all the symbols of darkness and evil. There is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife, no angels or demons: there are no gods or saviours apart from ourselves. But if there was a god, it would surely be utterly evil.
The Church of Satan was founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey and as of 2001 its Black Pope has been the powerful and articulate Peter Gilmore. Satanism as religion is highly skeptical, rationalist and philosophical, demanding evidence and strong argumentation, but is otherwise open-minded on magic and some parts of the supernatural. Satanists are often bold, intelligent, demanding; but are also often subtle, cautious, hidden, while others still are outrageous, aggressive, angry and puzzling. It is a religion of fire, drama, depth and forceful progress.
For more, see:
Historical Satanism (2004)
There are few formal denominations of Satanism outside of the USA, and instead, a gradual series of local groups rise and fade, lasting only a few years each, and based on individual personalities. The central Church of Satan was the first and is by far the largest and most stable. There is also the Temple of Set, First Satanic Church and in more modern times, The Satanic Temple, who are a political lobbying group simply using Satanic imagery to further their aim, often intentionally entertainingly. Most denominations collapse within a few years. There are a few tiny denominations that promote indefensibly extremist far-right ideology. Most Satanists don't follow any particular organisation, and so, aside from a small number who (normally temporarily) attach to one of the more difficult groups, denominations are not of much significance to those who are valuating individual Satanists.
For more, see:
Use the link above for full descriptions; here they are in brief:
Church of Satan [Link]. Founded in USA in 1966CE by Anton Szandor LaVey. A philosophy of elitism, self-development and self-interest with few set ethics. The COS was the first organised representation of Satanism; indeed, before then, there was no such thing as Satanism except for Christian devil worshippers. It is criticized for its contradictory nature: how can an individualistic religion of dissenters have a representative organisation? The answer is that the COS grants its members full freedom and autonomy and members join for personal reasons, to feel good1. Most Satanists are LaVeyan but do not join the COS. Of all the multiple denominations of Satanism that have arisen since the COS was founded, the COS is the only organisation to stand the test of time, and it remains an enigmatic but slow-moving source of inspiration for 'those who carry the red card'.
Order of Nine Angels. Founded in UK in the 1980s. Theistic Satanism, secretive. There was a period of prolific activity around the year 2000, but, it appears that the bulk it was all a single person, writing under multiple pseudonyms. Associated with some very problematic ideas and far-right extremism.
The inverted pentacle (with a solitary point at the bottom, and two at the top), the goat, skulls and momento mori of all kinds, symbols of hell, the inverted cross, the moon and the trident: The majority of these represent eartly, carnal and unspiritual elements of religion. Harsh angles, high-contrast black-and-white-and-red colours make some observers note comparisons between the shock and awe of Fascist imagery. Much Satanic symbolism is designed to shock and to put people off, in order to repel anyone unwilling to suspend prejudice and niceties.
For more, see:
The existence of such large quantities of suffering, despair, pain, of natural disasters such as earthquakes, of the death of the unborn and the immense suffering of lovers & kind-hearted people means that god is evil and intentionally creates life in order to create suffering. That all life exists in a food chain means that life is completely tied to death, and such a barbaric biological cycle could only have been made by an evil god. Also, that such a god appears not to exist, or actively hides itself, is a source of confusion, conflict, war and stress and is again more likely the antics of an evil god. Given the state of the natural world, it is impossible that a good god exists. It is more likely that an evil god exists, but, it is sensible to assume that there is no god of either type. Even if there is not a god of either type, as the dominance of death and violence in the natural world, a result of nature being abused by life and not being designed for life, I think the evil symbol of Satan is the best representative of the state of reality and the universe, whether or not an actual evil god exists.
If God did exist and was evil, it would undoubtedly lie and tell everyone it was a good god and that it loved them. It would create maximum confusion by preaching multiple conflicting religions. It would create heaven and make it hard to get to in order to tease and torture people into making their own lives hell. As all of those things happen, if there is a God, it is doing the things an evil God would do!
Once I recognized and accepted this state of affairs and adequately called myself a Satanist, I could concentrate my life on happiness, love, stability and peace. Because I know and understand that death always wins, that life is temporary, I waste no time on short-term whims that reduce my quality of life, or of those around me, and I waste no time with spiritual pipe dreams. Recognizing Satan as the personified meta-figure of reality is self-affirming, life-affirming, positive, honest and clarifying.
For more, see: