What is Satanism?

Question
What is Satanism? Is it as evil as it sounds? Isn't it criminal?
Answer

Satanism is the worship of Satan. In the United States, the Church of Satan was begun on Walpurgisnacht (witch's night), April 30, 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey. He served as its high priest until his death in 1997. The current high priest is Peter H. Gilmore. The Sigil of Baphomet is the group's symbol (trademarked and copyrighted).

The Satanic Bible was first published in 1969 by Anton LeVey. It is a collection of essays, divided into four sections: (2) The Book of Satan, (2) The Book of Lucifer, (3) The Book of Belial, and (4) The Book of Leviathan. Another book by LeVey is, The Satanic Rituals: Companion to The Satanic Bible. Levy was raised in and disliked the Catholic Church, so many of the rituals in Satanism are anti-Catholic by design. They often use silver vessels, instead of gold and have black mass instead of mass. The Bible has 10 Commandments, so by design Satanic Church has 9 Statements.

Though the church of Satan began at Black House in San Francisco, California, Satanists in various locations often practice different rituals. Normally each locality has what they call a, Book of Shadows which is a catalogue of rituals, spells, etc. used by the group. LeVey himself said his church does not espouse a belief in Satan and that his church did not do blood sacrifices, etc. However, as a previous Homicide Detective I had the opportunity to investigate the largest Satanic site east of the Mississippi. I worked on various murders, kidnappings and sacrifices associated with Satanism. I personally disagree with LeVey's statements. Satanists have done some pretty gruesome crimes.

Allegedly, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Manson, Sammy Davis, Jr., the serial murderer, Richard Ramirez, and numerous others of some fame have been members of the Satanic Church.

Teens influenced by alcohol, drugs, sex and peer pressure have joined Satanic groups (covens). However, several adults are members of these groups too - from various walks of life - including attorneys, police officers, school teachers, Hollywood and rock band type figures, etc.

They, as any other lost person, need Christ.

References

[1] Anton Szandor Lavey, The Satanic Bible, (Avon, 1969).
[2] Anton Szandor Lavey, The Satanic Rituals: Companion to The Satanic Bible, (Avon, 1976).
[3] Anton Szandor Lavey, The Satanic Witch, (Feral House, 1989).
[4] Colin Ross, Satanic Ritual Abuse: Principles of Treatment, (University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division, 1995).
[5] David Shurter, Rabbit Hole: A Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor's Story, (Consider It Creative, LLC, 2012).
[6] Andrew Boyd, Blasphemous Rumors: Is Satanic Ritual Abuse Fact or Fantasy? an Investigation, (Harpercollins, 1995).
[7] Maury Terry, The Ultimate Evil, (Bantam Books, 1989).
[8] David McGowan, Programmed to Kill: The Politics of Serial Murder, (iUniverse, Inc. , 2004).

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).