Atheistic Satanism: What is it and why do I practice it?


Lucien Greaves, co-founder of the Satanic Temple.

When I say that I’m a Satanist, the images often called to mind are of cloaks and daggers, of spells and sacrifices. In reality, atheistic Satanism, the form I practice, is nothing like that.

Atheistic Satanism is a religion that involves no worship. We don’t believe in the actual being Lucifer, but in the ideals He represents. He challenged an authority figure and for it, he was banished. Our religion is one of questioning the status quo.

Satanism has been practiced for centuries but became an organized religion in the 1960s. It grew to the point that Christian fundamentalists became concerned in the 1980s. This began the Satanic Panic, a movement where people were convinced by pseudo-psychology that Satanists were ritually abusing and murdering children. All of these claims were unfounded and ultimately the entire thing was an urban legend, but it left its marks.

Misconceptions still persist today about my religion. We don’t sacrifice animals or abuse children–in fact, our religion prohibits both in the Seven Satanic Tenets, which state that “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy tow

Statue of Baphomet, our symbol.

ard all creatures in accordance with reason.” We don’t sexually assault anyone, especially children–our third Tenet is “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” We have programs that are meant to prevent child abuse across the nation. We may have some rituals, but none of them involve drinking human blood or pledging allegiance to the Dark Lord or anything of a similarly sinister nature.

I’m part of the Satanic Temple. Our goals are to spread compassion, justice, and knowledge. We fight against religion encroaching on government institutions, especially schools, stand up against hate groups, push for autonomy in reproductive rights, and advocate for similar causes across the world. We reject the idea of America as a Christian nation and attempt to make religious freedom a reality for all its citizens.

Atheistic Satanism is a religion of questioning authority, standing up for the truth, and fighting for justice. We’re not boogeymen in the night who will come to take away America’s children; in fact, we hope to save them.