Satanism--tenets, beliefs & values?

After the recent mention of the whole Kansas statue thing, the question leaps to mind–exactly what do satanists believe? What are the tenets of their beliefs?

Side question–has anybody known a family where the kids were raised in that faith? What were they like?

Last side question–do you want fries with that?

Satanists are not an organized group. The closest you could get to any centralization of belief would LaVey and his Satanic Bible, but even that’s probably not taken seriously by most. Among those who do classify themselves as Satanists, most are probably young punks who think that being a Satanist is somehow sticking it to The Man.

Not many active members of the Church of Satan, probably even fewer active members of its offshoot the Temple of Set. Numbers, not surprisingly, are hard to come by.

Neither believes in Satan as an entity. They also generally do not believe in God, holding both God and Satan to be created by, and aspects of, every individual. “Satanism” is the worship of–actually, more like embracing of–the desires, drives, lusts and dreams of mankind without constraint by societal or religious morality.

But LaVey pretty much grabbed the name as a way to fuck with the mundanes, IMO.

They’re Crowleyan in their dedication to “do as thou wilt,” and are pretty much the crazyass Objectivists of the theological world.

I’ve known several, mostly dabblers, but none with kids.

For all practical purposes, there AREN’T any Satanic churches, institutions, dogmas or tenets. There’s just a fairly small group of people in the USA who might call themselves Satanists. They tend to fall into a few categories:

  1. ATheists who don’t really believe in the devil any more than they believe in God, but get a kick out of being transgressive and messing with the bourgeoisie. Anton LaVey fits into this category.

  2. Dumb, bored teenagers who think black magic seems kinda cool.

  3. New Agey space cadets who’ve convinced themselves that the “real” Satan isn’t the evil guy described in Scripture, but rather the equivalent of some mischievous but likable pagan god.

  4. Criminal lowlives, many from Latin America, who dabble in black magic in the hope that it will make them more powerful, grant them invincibility, or just make them seem scarier to people they want to intimidate.

I heard a recent interview with Karen Stollznow, author of the book God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States. Her research has led her to the conclusion that there is almost no one who believes that Satan exists, who actually worships him as a deity.

That corresponds with everything I’ve read by people who describe themselves as Satanists.

To them “Satan” is just a code word for power, freedom, pleasure, individualism, knowledge, or other similar quality they feel is stunted in traditional religions. I’d be willing to bet just about all of them don’t believe in an actual being called Satan. Satanism seems to be almost entirely defined by what it rejects.

For all the founding parents of Wicca sought to distance themselves from Satanism, both Gerald Gardner & Doreen Valiente seemed to believe in active diabolist Satanist covens in their day.

Did they? I’m inclined take your word on it in re Gardner, who was as nutbally a nutball as ever balled a nut. (Exhibit A: He was a Rosicrucian, for fuck’s sake. Exhibit B: He was arguably a Crowleyist.)

But from what I’ve seen, Ameth was well in the “RSA is a pile of horseshit” camp.

Can you point me to statements from them, particularly from Ameth, indicating their belief in active Satanism?

The most important points I gleam from the CoS website are:

  1. Satanism is not simply inverted Christianity. E.g., if Christians are enjoined to love other people and help them, Satanists are not enjoined to go out and cause harm and trouble and mischief. Some elements of Christianity are inverted in Satanism – most importantly, humility is discarded and pride made a virtue.

  2. Satanists do not really worship Satan. They worship themselves. “Satan” is just their pet-name for their own egos.

  3. Satanism, unlike Christianity, makes no pretense of being for everybody. It is only for those of proud and bold and fierce and noble character.

Cite for the existence of such covens in their day?

OK, I would have to dig out the books. Let’s table this till I can find where I thought I got it from.

It would have to have been her “An ABC of Witchcraft” or “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”.
IIRC, what she said was that she knew of people/groups who practice Satanism much as described by Dennis Wheatley. Now, that could be true & still consistent with disbelief in SRA.

But, also, the concept of Satan is in fact inextricably a tenet of Christianity. If you adopt Satanism you are in fact also adopting Christianity, whether you like it or not. They understand this without realizing it, and it’s why they don’t really believe in such a being.

Not sure what you’re saying here. LaVeyan Satanists, at least, certainly acknowledge the existence of Christianity, and recognize the Christian concept of Satan. That doesn’t mean they believe in the Christian constructs of God or Satan, and it doesn’t mean that in calling themselves Satanists they are adopting Christianity.

I don’t know about “adopting” it, but Satanists are reacting against it.

Or (more commonly IME) using it to get a rise out of people. One of the tenets of Satanism appears to be trolling. When piercings and death metal aren’t enough anymore, what are ya gonna do?


Well, not necessarily exactly.

See also:

The earliest person in history who we know self-identified as a Satanist was Carl William Hansen, a Danish dairy merchant. This was in 1906.

He was a Luciferian, but please share your sources on him.

Yep, that is indeed the term he used.

The best source is the 2006 reprint of his pamphlet, Den Ny Morgens Gry. It’s in Danish, though.

Hmm. It’s my understanding that Luciferians–not, strictly speaking, Satanists–have been around for centuries.