An Introduction to Theistic Satanism

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Theistic Satanism encompasses a variety of related beliefs honoring a figure addressed as Satan or associated with Satan. In contrast to LaVeyan Satanism, which is atheistic and considers Satan merely a symbol for what their faith encourages, theistic Satanists view Satan as an actual being.

The Development of Theistic Satanism

Theistic Satanism is largely a development of the 20th century. Followers are often called "traditional Satanists" or "spiritual Satanists." The term "devil worshiper" is one of much debate within both the atheistic and theistic Satanist communities. Outsiders are best off avoiding the term to avoid offense.

Many Satanists were introduced to it through Anton LaVey's "Satanic Bible" which was written in 1969. While some small groups practiced theistic Satanism, it was not until the internet came along that the community began to take hold. This also led to new followers as the spread of information is easier than it ever was.

Association With the Christian Satan

Theistic Satanists do acknowledge an actual deity to whom they are dedicated. That being, however, has significant differences from the Christian Satan.

Contrary to common misconceptions, theistic Satanism does not promote murder, rape, evil, etc. Instead, their Satan is a god of things like freedom, sexuality, strength, creativity, hedonism, and success.

Branches of Theistic Satanism

Theistic Satanism has no central organization. They are many different branches working independently of each other. Some of these groups address their deity as Satan, while others have alternative names for him.

These groups include:

  • The Church of Azazel
  • The Ordo Flammeus Serpens
  • The First Church of Satan (not to be confused with LaVey's atheistic Church of Satan)
  • Joy of Satan Ministries

Theology between groups can vary widely. Some take a theistic approach to LaVey's atheistic writings while others are influenced by the writings of Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set which previously identified itself as Satanic but no longer does.

Likewise, Luciferians hold many principles in common with theistic Satanists. They recognize a being they call Lucifer, but they do not identify themselves as Satanists.

In pantheistic Satanism, there is a belief in God as the universe itself. In this, Satan is seen as a personification of "the All." Other groups build off that and use Satan as a representation of the cosmic. The First Church of Satan is pantheistic.

Polytheistic Satanism reveres Satan as one of a number of gods, many of which come from non-Abrahamic cultures. The Church of Azazel is one example.

The Left-Hand Path

Satanists, as well as Setians and Luciferians, consider their practices to be part of the left-hand path. By this, they mean that there is a focus on the self rather than religious authority. In contrast, religions from Christianity to Wicca are considered to follow the right-hand path.

It is important to note that the right- and left-hand path terminology can be used in very derogatory ways. The bias is not limited to one side or the other, either.

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Your Citation
Beyer, Catherine. "An Introduction to Theistic Satanism." Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, Beyer, Catherine. (2020, August 27). An Introduction to Theistic Satanism. Retrieved from Beyer, Catherine. "An Introduction to Theistic Satanism." Learn Religions. (accessed June 1, 2023).