Satanists Keep Dominating Headlines: What Do They Believe? Do They Really Worship the Devil? An Explainer By Billy Hallowell for Faith Wire
On the heels of a Pennsylvania school district allowing The Satanic Temple, a Satanist group, to host a back-to-school event, there’s likely a superabundance of questions surrounding what this particular organization believes — and about Satanism more generally.
Do adherents believe in Satan? Do they actually worship the devil? What does it all mean?
With stories like this increasingly popping up in the headlines, there’s some understandable confusion, particularly when it comes to Satanists’ core beliefs and practices.
First and foremost, let’s start with the baseline definition of Satanism.
Merriam-Webster offers two denotative meanings. The first is “innate wickedness” and the second is the “obsession with or affinity for evil.”
Of course, these definitions don’t fully explain Satanism in the modern era, as it has become a more complex enigma — one with an atheistic and secularist flair.
Before we break down the distinctions, we must recognize a core reality: evil is real. The Bible speaks explicitly about Satan and the presence of evil, with stories of possession and healing present throughout the entirety of the biblical narrative.
That said, not everyone who calls himself or herself a “Satanist” actually believes in the devil’s existence, as strange as that might seem.
Breaking Down the Headlines: Atheistic Satanism
As stated, there are a lot of contemporary headlines about Satanists creating after-school clubs among other antics. One of the groups sometimes associated with these stories is The Satanic Temple.
The organization’s website contains images one might associate with Satanism, but upon digging into The Satanic Temple’s core tenets, it becomes clear adherents are essentially atheistic.
In the organization’s FAQ section, the question: “Do you worship Satan?” is presented. Here’s the organization’s response: