Black Goat Cabal > Essays > What is "theistic Satanism"?
What is "theistic Satanism"?
by Diane Vera
"Theistic Satanism" is another term for what is also known as "traditional Satanism." The primary meaning of "theism" is "belief in a god or gods." A theistic Satanist is a Satanist who reveres Satan as an actual deity, not just a symbol.
A secondary meaning of "theism" is more specific: belief in a personal Creator God. However, those who use the term "theistic Satanism" are using it in the more general sense of belief in Satan in some kind of God, not necessarily as a personal Creator God or as the opponent of a personal Creator God.
Theistic Satanists vary in our understanding of who or what Satan is. Some of us base our understanding solely or primarily on a reinterpretation of Christianity, while others identify Satan with one or more non-Christian deities (e.g. Enki, Prometheus, Pan, Set, Shiva, Exu). Still others believe in Satan as an impersonal "Dark Force in Nature" or as "the All."
The term "theistic Satanism" is intended to include all who revere Satan as a deity, regardless of their specific theology. Theistic Satanism can be monotheistic, duotheistic polytheistic, or pantheistic.
Thus, theistic Satanism is not one single religion. It is a category of spiritualities and worldviews all involving a reverence for Satan.
Other terms for "theistic Satanism" or "traditional Satanism" include "Devil worship," "spiritual Satanism," and "Diabolatry." Some of us may consider one or more of these other labels to be more accurate or otherwise more appropriate.
When the Black Goat Cabal was first organized, our aim was to advance the public visibility of theistic/"traditional" Satanism. Our aim has shifted to opposing dogma-based definitions of "Satanism," whether theistic or atheistic/symbolic. To that end, we aim to advance the public visibility of whichever forms of Satanism will best aid our efforts in opposing the most commonplace (among both Satanists and outsiders) dogma-based definitions of "Satanism." We still aim primarily to advance the public visibility of theistic Satanism, in opposition to the Church of Satan's and other dogmatic LaVeyans' would-be monopoly, and we still welcome, especially, those who are unashamed to say that they worship the Devil. But we may aim also to advance the public visibility of some non-LaVeyan forms of atheistic/symbolic Satanism as well.
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