If you're looking for an article on that kind of Satanism, see Satanic Panic.Note that many wealthy and powerful people are members of secret societies, whose rituals may look like Satanism to Christians instead of the bourgeois frivolity they actually are; see David Cameron having sex with a pig's head.They're responsible for a number of the antics described above in the "First Amendment and religious freedom" section, such as attempts to have a statue of Baphomet displayed wherever Christian symbols are shown on government property.
Stories of devil-worshippers existed in the middle ages and later but were largely folkloric and did not describe genuine religious practices.
However, there have been a few branches of religious belief which involve the worship of Satan.
Luciferianism is an offshoot of theistic Satanism that follows most of the same precepts, with the main point of contention between the two groups being one of philosophical hair-splitting: Luciferians tend to look down upon Satanism as being too preoccupied with the carnal and with anti-Christian rebellion, whereas they, on the other hand, seek to rise above their status as base animals.
was founded by Anton La Vey in 1960s San Francisco.
They believe every person is their own god and that everyone should worship themselves.
To them, "Satan" is a symbol of rebellion rather than a literal figure; they do not worship Satan any more than Buddhists worship Buddha.He concludes that, while it is unlikely that there was an organised cult of devil-worship in Sweden at the time, there were people who could be termed Satanists.Like most religions, there are a variety of beliefs, but a few precepts are generally observed by most Satanists.In Sweden, where the process of Christianization lasted into the second millennium AD, there is evidence that Satan received a degree of popular worship into the early modern era as an ambivalent or even benign spirit of nature, possibly the result of the Judeo-Christian figure blending with traces of local pagan deities.For example, in 1739 a Swedish fisherman named Mickel Kalkström remarked that he prayed to the Devil for help in his pursuit, believing that God had little or no power over fish."Sicko" Satanists are criminals and psychopathic individuals who use Satanism as a justification for murder, rape, kidnapping, child abuse, and similar activities.They are most commonly loners or occasionally small groups, and like dabblers, they generally lack a developed theology.Testimonies from the trials of alleged sorcerers in seventeenth-century Sweden, meanwhile, equate Satan with various traditional nature spirits.Historian Mikael Häll points out that many of these people were outlaws living in the woods, and speculates that they may have adopted Satan as a sort of patron spirit.They are often involved in petty crimes such as vandalism (churches are a popular and obvious target), although occasionally, they have been linked to more serious criminal activity, including property theft, assault, and the killing of animals, including pets.Most of them grow out of their Satanism by the time they reach their twenties, although some will develop into another form of Satanism over time.