Theistic Satanism is not an easy thing to define since it means different things to different people and different groups, but lets give it a try:
Theistic Satanism, also called Traditional or Spiritual Satanism, is the belief that Satan is a god, deity, or higher power, and is worthy of worship and respect. It differs from atheistic Satanism, also known as symbolic or modern Satanism, such as that followed by Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, which believes that Satan is a symbol of a mans true nature to satisfy his desires and urges, and not an actual entity.
There are many different viewpoints and many different groups that can claim the title of Theistic Satanism but none of them have exclusive use of that title. Regardless of this, many use their own definition and their own meaning and so can cause confusion amongst people who only know of that one kind of theistic satanism. Since it is possible to have views and beliefs so divergent and still remain within the definition, given about, of theistic satanism, this confusion is understandable. Hopefully this article can bring some enlightenment.
One of the first to come to mind and most ‘infamous’ type of theistic satanism is "Reverse Christianity", sometimes known as devil worship. It is the belief in the Christian concept of Satan that is described in their bible. While the title is used pejoratively by some Satanists, those who label themselves as such usually assume it with pride. It is the belief that Satan is warring against the Abrahamic god and His victory is desirable. They see Satan as a champion for the freedom of humanity, but not necessarily a god but rather a fallen angel who is rebelling against the Creator. This form of theistic satanism is probably the form that most people who do not know much about Satanism think about when they think about Satanism, as well as what some Satanists think about when they think about theistic satanism.
Pantheistic Satanists believe that Satan is the sum of the universe, the force permeating nature and is deserving of their reverence and worship. Satan is seen as the ‘dark force of nature’ and the personification of the cosmic principle. They also believe that since Satan is ‘The All’ and since we are part of the all, then we too are part divine. Closely related to Pantheistic Satanists are Panentheistic Satanists (notice the ‘en’ between ‘pan’ and ‘theistic’) who believe that the whole of the universe makes up part of Satan but Satan is not the whole of the universe but rather more than the universe.
Polytheistic Satanists worship Satan as a god but not as their only god. He is one of many in a pantheon that can be as unique as the individual believing in it. Some polytheistic satanists may not even worship Satan as the primary god in their pantheon. The polytheists overlap greatly with pantheists/panentheists as seeing the universe as part/whole of the gods. Polytheistic Satanism can also be subdivided as soft polytheists or hard polytheists. Soft Polytheists see the gods as facets of the whole, each god a part, or personality, of the whole. Hard Polytheists see the gods as separate entities from each other, distinct beings in their own right.
Theistic Satanists as a whole tend to agree that Satan wants a more equal relationship with His followers. One of a mentor/student than like that of the Abrahamic gods relationship with its followers; which is seen as one of control and repression. As such, self-development is important to theistic satanists who see it as Satan’s will for us to exercise individuality and freedom of thought.
Theistic Satanism, united in a belief of Satan, do not all adhere to the same system of morality. It is believed that Satan does not dictate rules and behaviors for His followers other than that of person responsibility, everything else is for the individual to decide for themselves. Without personal responsibility, no one can lay claim to their victories or failures and can’t be rewarded or punished accordingly and so will not grow as Satan wills it.
Like any believe system, theistic satanism is complex and is diverse as its followers so this is by no means a complete definition of theistic satanism, but hopefully it can serve as a basis for understanding for those who need it. As an often-misunderstood path, it behooves all who call themselves Satanists to be educated on the subject and to educate others who are not enlightened on what exactly theistic satanism entails.
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