AskDefine | Define Satanism

Dictionary Definition

Satanism n : the worship of devils (especially Satan) [syn: diabolism, demonism]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Worship of the Devil.
  2. Any religion seen as both non-Christian and anti-Christian.
  3. The religion of the Church of Satan, founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey, which characterizes human instincts and desires as "Satan" and urges capitulation to such instincts and desires; also called LaVeyan Satanism.

Usage notes

  • Satanism is not always capitalized in all senses.
  • Self-identified Satanists typically use the term Satanism in senses 2 and 3, and use the terms Satanic and Satanist analogously.


devil worship
a religion founded by Anton Szandor LaVey
  • Croatian: sotonizam
  • German: Satanismus
  • Norwegian: satanisme
translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

For other uses of the word, see Satanism (disambiguation).
Satanism can refer to a number of belief systems depending on the user and context. Common use of the word generally refers to the worship of Satan as described in the Christian Bible or the practice of ritual magic. However, by the actual adherents, the suffix -ism is used by some groups to suggest the definition as an act or practice, as opposed to the oft-assumed definition as the doctrine or philosophy behind an act or practice.
Generally, the word "Satanism" is used by scholars to describe several distinct spiritual practices and beliefs; the two most significant seem to be LaVeyan Satanism and Theistic Satanism. Ideas about Satan come from essentially these two sources. Careful use of the word Satanism, according to one website, refers to a "small religious group that is unrelated to any other faith, and whose members feel free to satisfy their urges responsibly, exhibit kindness to their friends, and attack their enemies.
LeVayan Satanism is largely based around the teachings and writings (such as The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals) of Anton Svandor LeVay, who founded the Church of Satan. An offshoot that claims to remain true to LeVay's legacy was founded by his daughter and is called the First Satanic Church.

Theistic Satanism

Theistic Satanism, also called Spiritual Satanism, contains several groups. Some groups consider themselves to be the true Satanists while other groups see reality as subjective and view issues such as "true & false" as the folly of zealots.

Reverse Christians

One group that falls under the definition of Theistic Satanism are called "reverse Christians"; this is sometimes used as a disparaging term by other theistic Satanists, and embraced to a lesser or greater extent by the groups given this label. Groups called "Reverse Christian" are said to practice what Christians claim Satanists do, and worship what Christians consider to be the enemy of Christ and God, basing their concept of Satan somewhat on descriptions of him in the bible. Some other groups of theistic Satanists do not accept the bible as depicting the true Satan to the same degree, basing their concept of him on personal spiritual experience and prayer.


Recently developed is an offshoot of Satanism that keeps most of the tenets of Satanism, yet has more leniency to what is commonly referred to as a 'good' morality. Their view of Satan may incorporate some concepts from contemporary western religion, such as their sense of him as a father. One of these groups considers themselves to be 'Christian Satanists,' rejects the ideas of magic and rituals, and define themselves as being in the middle of LaVeyan Satanism and Christian teachings. This stance has led to their rejection from the Church of Satan.

Groups alleged to have practiced Satanism

Many groups have been believed to have worshiped Satan, from pagans celebrating Pan to Yezidis worshiping Melek Taus. Most of Crowley's work shows he did not consider himself a black brother, and modern Thelemites such as the Ordo Templi Orientis do not consider themselves to be Satanists, but a fraternal Gnostic order with a structure that seeks to resembles freemasonry, with individuals themselves choosing whether to practice ceremonial magic.


Books on the history of Satanism

  • Satanism and Witchcraft: The Classic Study of Medieval Superstition Considered the first modern work to discuss Satanism.
  • The Black Arts: An Absorbing Account of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages Summary of the history of Witchcraft, Satanism, and Devil Worship in the last part of the book.
  • The Satanic Cult Translated from the 1964 German edition by Christine Trollope
  • Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism

External links

Satanism in Afrikaans: Satanisme
Satanism in Arabic: شيطانية
Satanism in Bavarian: Satanismus
Satanism in Bulgarian: Сатанизъм
Satanism in Catalan: Satanisme
Satanism in Czech: Satanismus
Satanism in Danish: Satanisme
Satanism in German: Satanismus
Satanism in Estonian: Satanism
Satanism in Persian: شیطان‌پرستی
Satanism in French: Satanisme
Satanism in Korean: 사탄교
Satanism in Hindi: शैतानी धर्म
Satanism in Croatian: Sotonizam
Satanism in Ido: Satanismo
Satanism in Indonesian: Setanisme
Satanism in Italian: Satanismo
Satanism in Lithuanian: Satanizmas
Satanism in Hungarian: Sátánizmus
Satanism in Maltese: Sataniżmu
Satanism in Dutch: Satanisme
Satanism in Japanese: サタニズム
Satanism in Norwegian: Satanisme
Satanism in Polish: Satanizm symboliczny
Satanism in Portuguese: Satanismo
Satanism in Romanian: Satanism
Satanism in Russian: Сатанизм
Satanism in Albanian: Satanizmi
Satanism in Simple English: Satanism
Satanism in Slovak: Satanizmus
Satanism in Slovenian: Satanizem
Satanism in Serbian: Сатанизам
Satanism in Serbo-Croatian: Satanizam
Satanism in Finnish: Satanismi
Satanism in Swedish: Satanism
Satanism in Turkish: Satanizm
Satanism in Chinese: 撒旦教

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Black Mass, black magic, chthonian worship, demonism, demonography, demonolatry, demonology, demonomancy, demonomy, demonry, devil lore, devil worship, devilry, diablerie, diabolism, diabology, diabolology, sorcery, the black art
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