cover image


Ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Satanism?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Although several historical precedents exist, the contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the atheistic Church of Satan by Anton LaVey in the United States in 1966. Prior to that time, Satanism existed primarily as the subject of accusations by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents rather than a self-identity or expressed religious belief. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

The inverted pentagram circumscribed by a circle (also known as a pentacle) is often used to represent Satanism.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism (in a 'Devil-worship' interpretation) have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition led by the Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as the development of Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom between the 18th and 20th centuries. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshipped Satan, Lucifer, and/or Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and the United Kingdom amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there was no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were either practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanist or use Satanic iconography. The Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse but can be divided into theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism.[1] Those venerating Satan as a supernatural deity view him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. Atheistic Satanists regard Satan as a symbol of certain human traits but not ontologically real.[2] Since its founding in 2012, The Satanic Temple has attracted hundreds of thousands of nontheistic members worldwide.[3]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon; the ideas spreading elsewhere is an effect of globalization and the Internet.[4] The internet has allowed for intra-group communication and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[4] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s—in time with the fall of the Communist Bloc—and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[5][6]