It might come as a minor shock, but there are a lot of people who don’t take Satanism seriously as a religion. Those with neither the capacity nor the desire to understand it scoff at us Satanists as silly little edgelords desperate for attention, at best, or, at worst, target us as devil worshipers who are dangerous to society (I had one man try to get me fired from my job by telling a supervisor I drink human blood; fortunately that complaint didn’t actually go anywhere). Even those who are Satan friendly sometimes have a tendency to claim the Satanic movement, while it has the potential to do hilarious and even great things, cannot be a religion because Satanists don’t believe in or worship a literal devil. No matter your opinion on Satanism, be it that it’s dangerous devil worship or that it’s not a true religion, you cannot deny its importance or its impact.
To begin with, Satanism encourages its members, who in turn encourage others, to think for themselves. Many Satanists, myself included, came to the religion by asking questions. We were told a certain thing growing up, only to be taught differently by experience, logic, and reason. Turning to our spiritual leaders gave us no real answers, only a vague, “God works in mysterious ways,” or other such nugget of wisdom. Rather than adhering to blind faith, Satanists value science and reason as a basis for developing world view, and encourage others to do so as well.
However, many of us were shamed by asking those very questions that led us to Satanism. My own father, when I started expressing my own doubts, told me that the reason I was having so many questions was because I “didn’t study the Bible often enough.” I became the black sheep of the family, being the only one of us to really consider that what we were being told in church might not be entirely factual. Rather than despairing, I decided to own it. (Okay, maybe there was a little teenage angst. I was fifteen, for Satan’s sake!) That’s where the figure of Satan comes in. Satan represents a lot of things, but one of the more prominent things he represents is the outcast. Satanism is a safe haven for people who don’t quite fit the definition of “normal.” We have gay Satanists, lesbian Satanists, trans Satanists. We have some Satanists who are advocates for the homeless. Some of us are abortions rights activists. We’re writers. We’re artists. Some of us even have real jobs. But we have all been branded as different, or even wrong, by general society. Satan is therefore an appropriate banner under which we can gather.
No matter which way you look at it, Satan provokes a strong reaction. Even those who consider themselves open-minded hesitate when they hear the word. That’s why it’s so important. It jars people out of their comfort zone, shows them a perspective they perhaps hadn’t considered before. If they’re open to it, they might actually learn something from the devil.