| Here's to my sweet
|Whose power is Satan|
|He will give those with him 666|
Satanism is a loose term which has been used in a number of different ways and covers several distinct concepts, not all of which involve bowing to the Dark Lord.
 Definitions and origin
The idea of devil worship is centuries old, although the usage of the term "Satanism" to describe a specific belief system appears to date from the nineteenth century. Stories of devil-worshippers existed in the middle ages and later but were largely folkloric and did not describe genuine religious practices. However, there have been a few branches of religious belief which involve the worship of Satan.
In Sweden, where the process of Christianization lasted into the second millenium AD, there is evidence that Satan received a degree of popular worship into the early modern era as an ambivalent or even benign spirit of nature, possibly the result of the Judeo-Christian figure blending with traces of local pagan deities. For example, in 1739 a Swedish fisherman named Mickel Kalkström remarked that he prayed to the Devil for help in his pursuit, believing that God had little or no power over fish. Testimonies from the trials of alleged sorcerers in seventeenth-century Sweden, meanwhile, equate Satan with various traditional nature spirits. Historian Mikael Häll points out that many of these people were outlaws living in the woods, and speculates that they may have adopted Satan as a sort of patron spirit. He concludes that, while it is unlikely that there was an organised cult of devil-worship in Sweden at the time, there were people who could be termed Satanists.
Like most religions, there are a variety of beliefs, but a few precepts are generally observed by most Satanists.
- Major emphasis is placed on the power and authority of the individual Satanist, rather than on a God or Goddess.
- They believe that "no redeemer liveth" — that each person is their own redeemer, fully responsible for their own life.
- "Satanism respects and exalts life. Children and animals are the purest expressions of that life force, and as such are held sacred and precious..." Children and animals are not abused or killed.
- They believe that one should live out their lusts and desires, and enthusiastically explore the "seven deadly sins" with other consenting adults.
- They follow many beliefs, practices and rules of behavior which are in conflict with traditional Christianity, and essentially all other religions.
- Uniqueness and creativity are encouraged.
 Types of Satanism
In terms of theology, Satanists today can be divided into two main groups:
 Atheistic Satanism
Atheistic Satanism does not believe that "Satan" actually exists, as such, they do not worship Satan. They believe every person is their own god and that everyone should worship themselves. To them, "Satan" is a symbol of rebellion rather than a literal figure; they do not worship Satan any more than Buddhists worship Buddha.
 LaVeyan Satanism
LaVeyan Satanism is an atheistic "religion" whose chief organization, the Church of Satan, was founded by Anton LaVey in 1960s San Francisco. They all but admit that they chose to call their belief system "Satanism" to annoy Christians. While anti-religious, it also rejects many of the ethical tenets of secular humanism, feeling them to be too close to Christian morality (which they feel represses the individual) and instead following a combination of pseudo-Nietzschean ideas and Ayn Rand worship that it calls the "Left-Hand Path." For the record, they officially frown on child and animal sacrifices, saying that we should all strive to be like children or animals. (Adult sacrifice, on the other hand, seems to be totally cool, as long as the person pissed you off.)
 Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism believes that "Satan" is an actual independently existing being, which serves as a God-analogue. While atheistic Satanists deny that the Christian God exists. Theistic Satanists vary in their opinions:
- Most deny God's existence altogether
- Some believe that God exists, but is weaker than Satan
- Some believe that God exists, and that Satan is weaker and God will ultimately triumph over him — and they will be consigned along with Satan to an eternity in hell. They believe that it is "better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven", as Milton said.
- Some believe that both God and Satan exist but that the final outcome of all this is unknowable.
- Some believe that God exists but is unworthy of worship and choose to worship Satan rather than show even tacit approval for such a God.
A prominent example of theistic Satanism is the Temple of Set.
 Marginal divisions
Groups such as the Church of Satan fall into the category of Organized Satanism: publicly known Satanic groups which oppose criminal activity and have well-developed theologies which they often publish electronically or in printed form. Outside of organized Satanism we find marginal groups which can be divided along more sociological terms:
- Dabbler Satanism: People (usually teenagers) who turn to Satanism as a form of rebellion against their parents, school, church, etc. Generally, they lack a well-developed theology. They are often involved in petty crimes such as vandalism, although occasionally, they have been linked to more serious criminal activity, including property theft, assault, and the murder of animals, including pets. Most of them grow out of their Satanism, although some will develop into another form of Satanism over time.
- "Sicko" Satanism: Criminals and psychopathic individuals who use Satanism as a justification for criminal activities such as murder, rape, child molestation, etc. Generally lack a developed theology. In some cases the trappings of Satanism are used to try to scare victims (especially children) and prevent them from reporting the crimes. They are most commonly loners or occasionally small groups. One notorious example was the Ripper Crew, a gang of serial killers in Chicago in the early '80s.
- "Showbiz" Satanism: Musical and other groups who use the trappings of Satanism for artistic purposes. Sometimes this is meant seriously, the musician being an actual adherent of organized Satanism and seeing his or her art as a vehicle for spreading Satanic ideas. This is most commonly associated with the heavy metal subgenre known as "black metal", which was associated with a series of church burnings in Norway in the mid '90s. In other cases, Satanism is not adopted as a belief system but rather chosen to be shocking or outrageous, or due to an artistic preference for "dark" imagery. Such was the case with many metal bands in the '70s and '80s, like KISS, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath.
 The kids-sacrificing-your-pets, backward-messages-in-heavy-metal kind of Satanism
A controversial issue is the alleged existence of large scale, conspiratorial groups which practice human sacrifice, child molestation, etc., many of whose members allegedly occupy positions of power, authority or respect in their communities (such as doctors, lawyers, politicians, police officers, schoolteachers, etc.) Some believe in the existence of this form of Satanism; however, there is no evidence for its actual existence, so it seems to most likely be a form of urban legend or mass hysteria.
Oh, you were looking for an article on that kind of Satanism? See Satanic Panic.
 See also
- First Satanic Church
- Church of Satan (LaVey)
- Satanism: Real and Imaginary, Religious Tolerance
- Satanism page at rickross.com
- Temple Of Set
- ↑ The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1962 edition) identifies the earliest known use of the term as dating from 1562. However, this usage is defined as "A Satanic or diabolic disposition, doctrine, spirit or contrivance"; the modern usage of the term, to describe the worship of Satan, is identified as dating back to 1896.
- ↑ http://christianization.hist.cam.ac.uk/regions/sweden/sweden-process-christ.html
- ↑ Hall, Mikael (2003). "'It Is Better to Believe in the Devil': Conceptions of Satanists and Sympathies for the Devil in Early Modern Sweden". The Devil's Party: Satanism in Modernity. Oxford University Press. pp. 23-40.
- ↑ Church of Satan home page
- ↑ Theory and Practice of the Church of Satan. Of interest for this reference are the "Nine Satanic Statements", the "Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth", the "Nine Satanic Sins", and the "Five-Point Program" for a Satanic society, the first point of which is a firm rejection of the concept of the equality of all men. They also offer a ringing endorsement of Objectivism as being in like with their teachings, and reject compulsory education in favor of homeschooling.
- ↑ wp:Ripper Crew
- ↑ wp:Black metal#Church burnings