What is a Satanist?
Satanism is not well defined by anyone, It is different depending on what type of satanism is being practiced. There are four main groups of terms and descriptions that Satanism has been called, but only Religious Satanism is the true religion.
- Religious Satanism: This is the recognition of Satan as a deity or a force of nature, not the Chrisitian devil. Serious adults usually practice this, but some followers are teenagers. There are three main traditions including (1) The Church of Satan, (2) The Temple of Set, and (3) The Church of Satanic Liberation. Some other Satanic groups exist today or recently, but they are not as followed as the ones above.
The number of Satanists is not actually known. A Us Department of the Army pamphlet #165-13 estimated that the Church of Satan had ten thousand to twenty thousand members in the late 1970's. No estimate of this could be accurate because the Church of Satan, the largest group of Satanist, does not release its membership numbers.
The Satan that Satanist recognize is almost completely different from the Chrisitian devil. Their Satan is pre-Christian, forming from the Pagan image of power, virility, sexuality, and sensuality. Instead of a living deity, Satan is a force of nature. It has nothing to do with demons, Hell, and profound evil.
- Gothic Satanism: This is a religion that is profoundly evil and mostly imaginary, in the eye of the public. It was invented during the late Middle Ages, but never existed in an organized manor. It is mainly what people think satanism is, including ritual killing of children, selling of souls to the devil, breaking crucifixes, conducting of black masses, and other abserd ideas. Gothic Satanism was invented by the Christian Church. There are a few anti-Christian believers who get their rituals from anti-Satanic writings, that do worship the Christian devil, Satan. They do not, however, commit criminal acts or abuse other people.
- Satanic Dabblers: These are rebellious teenagers or young adults who practice a blend of elements taken from Religious Satanism, Gothic Satanism, ceremonial Magick, and other sources of ritual practices. This is usually only practiced for a short period of time by the teenagers, until they outgrow it. A number of followers is impossible to obtain because they don't practice at an oganized level. They occasionally do crimal activities on a small level, such as cemetary vandalization and making graffiti of Satanic symbols. Rarely, a few have been know to sacrifice animals.
- Other types of Satanism: To justify their horrendous acts, Serial murders will occationally claim to be Satanists. However, police investigations reveal that they don't know much about the religion. Child molesters sometimes abuse children in a Satanic setting as a means of scaring and controlling the victims. These molesters are not acctually satanists, they just use the idea of Gothic Satanism to further their criminal activities. Heavy metal rock bands pretend to be satanists to gain notoriety to sell their records.