Satanism

Satanism: The cult of Satan, or Satan worship, is in part a survival of the ancient worship of demons and in part a revolt against Christianity or the church. It rose about the 12th cent. in Europe and reached its culmination in the blasphemous ritual of the Black Mass, a desecration of the Christian rite. The history of early Satanism is obscure. It was revived in the reign of Louis XIV in France and is still practiced by various groups throughout the world, particularly in the United States. One of the largest and most influential Satanic groups is the Church of Satan (1966), founded by Anton LaVey in San Francisco. A splinter group, the Temple of Set (1975), was organized by Michael Aquino. Many Satanic groups, including the ones mentioned, attest that such worship does not necessarily imply evil intentions, but rather an alternative to the repressive morality of many other religious groups. Such groups see no harm in their indulgence in "worldly pleasures" that other religions forbid. Other, more severe brands of Satanism likely exist, although much of the activity pegged as "Satanic" has less to do with the religion than with various forms of sociopathy. Indeed, reliable research has found no evidence indicating the existence of alarming, large-scale Satanic phenomena. An unfortunate mistake is the unfounded—yet common—linkage of minority religious traditions, such as the African-derived voodoo and Santería, with Satanism. See also witchcraft.

See A. LaVey, Satanic Bible (1969); A. Lyons, The Second Coming (1970) and Satan Wants You! (1989); J. T. Richardson and D. Bromley, ed., The Satanism Scare (1991).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America
James Randall Noblitt; Pamela Sue Perskin.
Praeger, 2000 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Satanism?"
The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements
James R. Lewis.
Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Satanism and Ritual Abuse"
Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers
Robert L. Snow.
Praeger, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Satanic Cults"
Controversial New Religions
James R. Lewis; Jesper Aagaard Petersen.
Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 19 "Modern Satanism: Dark Doctrines and Black Flames"
New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America
Derek H. Davis; Barry Hankins.
Baylor University Press, 2003 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Satanism and Witchcraft: Social Construction of a Melded but Mistaken Identity"
Essays on Religion and Education
R. M. Hare.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Satanism and Nihilism"
Clinical Assessment of Adolescents Involved in Satanism
Clark, Cynthia M.
Adolescence, Vol. 29, No. 114, Summer 1994
Satanic Tourism: Adolescent Dabblers and Identity Work
Fine, Gary Alan; Victor, Jeffrey.
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 76, No. 1, September 1994
Legitimating New Religions
James R. Lewis.
Rutgers University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Anton Lavey, The Satanic Bible, and the Satanist Tradition"
The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture
Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal.
Cornell University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "'The Shade of Lucifer's Dark Wing': Satanism in Silver Age Russia"
Critical Readings: Moral Panics and the Media
Chas Critcher.
Open University Press, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Satanism: Myth and Reality in a Contemporary Moral Panic"
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