There was a significant controversy in August of 2016 that gained national attention. The Church of Ahriman is based in Oklahoma City and is based on the ancient Persian deity Angra Mainyu, the God of Destruction.
The church produced a Black Mass at the Civic Center which was met with intense scrutiny and protests from various Christian denominations many of whose adherents came across state lines to be a part of the protest.
I went to cover the protest for my college paper. I took photos of the event and gathered statements. At that time I was under the impression that Satanists were a monolith and that they actually worshipped the physical entity Satan.
Now that I have more knowledge of the history of what and who Satan has become over time I would like to inform you of what Satanists truly believe. For more on the history of Satan read my article Ha-Satan: The Adversary.
There are two main organizations which the public misidentifies with the other. These are the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple. These organizations are vastly different despite Satan being in their names.
The Church of Satan was created by Anton LaVey in the 1960’s. Adherents follow his writings as scripture. They do not worship the Devil or see him as a physical entity. The Church makes a distinction between the supernatural Devil and the symbol of Satan. They believe that they are the One True Church as opposed to the Satanic Temple. They are unhappy with the Temple of Satan’s activities saying that they are making a mockery of the religion.
The Satanic Temple, however is very active politically and socially and only growing. They have a worldwide presence and chapters across the globe. They state that the Church of Satan has been reduced to online forums.
The website of the Temple of Satan states, “Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person.” Most Satanists believe that they are their own God. Satan is instead seen as the Eternal Rebel and one who fought against tyranny, the status quo, doctrines, traditions, and dared to become a heretic. He is seen to be the embodiment of independence, free will, and rational thinking. The Temple states, ” Our metaphoric representation is the literary Satan best exemplified by Milton and the Romantic Satanists from Blake to Shelley to Anatole France.”
As a religion the Temple wants to represent their faith in the public realm. In 2015, again in Oklahoma it was the Temple which was stirring up controversy. They wanted to put a statue of Baphomet on the steps of the state capitol building next to the Ten Commandments monument. Their motion wasn’t met without controversy, however their point in doing this was to point out how these states favored one religion, specifically Christianity, over others.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the statue couldn’t reside on the capitol steps. It was removed, but petitions for the statue to be placed in Detroit and Little Rock, Arkansas and were granted.
The Temple has a basic set of rules. These are called Tenets of which there are seven. They are:
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.
- Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
- People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
- Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
If your looking or worried about the Temple selling your soul, joining the Illuminati, etc. then you’ve barked up the wrong tree. As the Temple simply says, “Please look elsewhere.”
The Temple does not promote evil, they instead do what they can to prevent unnecessary harm to all living things.
They don’t have a Satanic Bible or any scripture, it is simply their faith that guides them. Their rituals are not a requirement of their religion.
The Church of Satan set the groundwork for the Satanic Temple to rise. It seems that the Church is growing out of fashion and is out of date. The Temple wants to do the hard work of changing the landscape and both have been very successful in that endeavor.
The Temple of Satan’s HQ is located in Salem, Massachusetts. The Church of Satan’s headquarters is in Hell’s Kitchen in New York.
You can find more information about the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple and their adherents at these sites.