Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Satanism

Sometimes people ask me questions about Satanism. These are my answers. They may not reflect the beliefs of all Satanists. They may not reflect the beliefs of any Satanists. They may not even reflect my own beliefs. Use at your own risk.
Do you believe in Satan?

No.

Then why do you call yourself a Satanist?

I am an atheistic Satanist: for me, Satan is a powerful symbol: a fictional character who represents rebellion, the rejection of faith, and independence.

Do you believe in God?

No

So you’re an atheist?

Yes

Is atheism your religion?

No, Satanism is my religion. Atheism is one of the characteristics of my religion. If you are a Christian or a Muslim, then you are a theist, because Christianity and Islam are theistic religions: religions that involve belief in a God. Satanism is an atheistic religion: a religion that does not involve belief in a God.

Do you believe in a soul and an afterlife?

No.

Satanism doesn’t sound like a religion to me.

Too bad.

How can Satanism be a religion if it doesn’t involve anything spiritual?

Satanism has a very strong moral foundation, a world view rooted in a narrative with deep cultural and historical significance, and a set of symbols that we as Satanists have a deep connection to, and from which we draw inspiration and meaning. If that sounds “spiritual” to you, then Satanism is “spiritual”. But I don’t believe in anything supernatural.

Hasn’t belief in the supernatural always been part of the definition of religion?

Maybe. Maybe the two overlapped for most of human history. But that doesn’t mean that they are inherently tied together. We are learning new things and creating new meanings for words all the time. We used to believe that only living things move on their own, then we invented machines that move. We used to think that only living things reproduce, then we wrote computer programs that write other computer programs. Maybe it is only that most religions in the past involved belief in the supernatural… but that doesn’t mean that religions must involve belief in the supernatural.

Don’t most people assume all religions involve belief in something more? Something outside science?

Maybe that is how they use the word. I use it differently, and I’m trying to get other people to use it differently.

Why are you trying to get people to accept atheistic religions?

Because in our culture, and in our laws, the notion of “religious belief” has become intrinsically entwined with “deeply held moral beliefs” and we give such beliefs special status. This special status doesn’t only exist in how we treat each other and how we speak, but it also exists in our laws. If the laws give preferential treatment to “religious beliefs”, and you declare that by definition an atheist cannot have “religious beliefs”, then you are saying that an entire class of citizens–atheists–is automatically not protected by these laws.

That is clearly unfair and unjust. My deeply-held moral beliefs are no less dear to me, and are no less foundational to my entire being, than yours are to you, simply because I don’t believe in ghosts or gods or pixies or angels. Whether my deeply held moral beliefs are granted legal protection cannot justly depend on whether or not I believe in supernatural entities.

That is why it is a moral imperative that we fight for the recognition of not just atheistic religions, but also non-supernaturalist religions like Satanism.

What are the deeply-held moral beliefs of Satanists, anyway?

They vary from one Satanist to the next. For me, the clearest expressions of both my moral and philosophical world-view can be found in the Seven Tenets of The Satanic Temple and the Baphomet Principle of the United Aspects of Satan.

So Satanists are just secular humanists who like Satanic symbols?

No. Secular humanism is too vague of a category to count as a religion. Like “theism” and “atheism”, the category of secular humanism describes some general properties of a world-view, but there can be many different world-views that are described under the umbrella of secular humanism. Secular humanists don’t have a coherent underlying moral system, or cultural narrative that ties them all together.

For a Satanist, the symbolism and the mythological narrative of Satan is more than just “cool imagery”, it holds a deeply powerful significance for the ideas that it represents. It’s not just “trappings” on top of an attitude, any more than a crucifix is just a “trapping” on top of the world view of a Christian.

Don’t you think using the term “Satanist” will alienate people?

Yes.

Why should I be a Satanist?

You shouldn’t.