|Symbols||Baphomet, inverted pentagram, inverted cross|
Satanism is one of the most controversial belief systems in the world today, in whatever expression it takes. Satan, who not all satanic groups acknowledge or recognize, is presented in the Hebrew and Christian Bible as the chief enemy of God and the most evil being in the universe. As a result, many people both fear, and are intrigued by, certain versions of Satanism, especially expressions that incorporate things such as satanic worship and satanic symbols.
Terms like “Satanism,” "satanic," and even the name "Satan," encompass a variety of ideological, philosophical, and spiritual beliefs today. "Satanic" groups can be quite different from one another, but use the same terminology. There are different ways to classify satanic groups according to how each group believes and behaves. Not every group performs satanic rituals, participates in satanic worship, reads theThe Satanic Bible, uses traditional Satanic symbols, or attends "the Church of Satan."
Not every form of Satanism professes a belief in gods or spirits. While some forms of Satanism believe in spiritual entities, others have a materialistic worldview, and in relation to faith and religion, they are atheists or agnostics. Satanic spiritualists on the other hand, contend that Satan is a god or a chief evil spirit and they pursue interaction with him and other evil spirits. In contrast, those Satanists who are professed atheists and agnostics see Satanism as a philosophical worldview manifesting in a particular lifestyle often characterized by questioning authority. The spiritualitsts are more likely to perform satanic rituals, while the non-spiritualists don't.
Satanic groups include a wide range of adherents. Some Satanists are teenagers who are dabbling in self-proclaimed diabolical groups and covens These young people practice Satanism recreationally and their activities often include fantasy role-playing games, heavy metal music with satanic lyrics, and drug use. Other Satanists belong to groups whose purpose is less recreational. This type of satanic order is often esoteric and regularly practices occult rituals. It's also populated by adults, not teenagers.
Satanic organizations have different purposes. Some are public, while others are private. Public groups are sometimes incorporated as non-profit religious organizations and can even have tax-exempt status in the United States. This subset of Satanism produces the most literature and is even recognized by the United States military. There are, however, private groups as well, which largely operate in secret.