What Is Satanism?

Hey and welcome to BrainStuff. I’m Josh Clark and you’re you, and this is
the BrainStuff where I explain to you… Satanism! Sure, if you like heavy metal and you have
a comb sticking out of your back pocket, you’re probably cool with somebody calling you a
Satanist. But more often than not, if you’re called
a Satanist, it’s because someone is shouting after that, “Burn him!” It’s not a good thing. And traditionally it’s been used to discredit
people. Probably the most famous early use of accusations
of Satanism was leveled against the Knights Templar, the very wealthy, religious army
that invaded the Middle East during the Crusades around the turn of the last millennium. The Templars were accused of worshipping Baphomet,
a form of Satan that turned into this guy by the 19th Century. The thing is, modern historians believe it’s
possible that Baphomet is a mangled translation of Muhammad, and that the Knights Templar
were actually secretly Muslim, and had converted during the Crusades. Even more famously were the witch hunts in
Europe and the Americas that were carried out from the 14th Century onward. All of those people who were accused of witchcraft
were also accused of worshipping the Devil and being in league with him. And even more recently than that, in the 1980s
and 90s in the United States and Britain, there was something called a Satanic Panic. Which was a moral panic that saw everybody
from burnouts to daycare workers accused of worshipping Satan, and murdering people, and
molesting children. All in the name of the dark lord. The thing is, this was a super nutso time,
and people actually went to prison for decades for crimes that they (and actually no one)
ever committed. The whole thing was totally fictitious. Despite the moral panics and instances where
people have murdered in the name of Satan, there’s no evidence that there actually ever
has been a widespread and organized worship of Satan. Despite the fear by some that it actually
exists. Instead, Satanism is a wholly made up philosophy
that focuses on the sanctity and the freedom of the individual. To Satanists, Satan is a symbol of mankind’s
freewill. They don’t really believe in the Christian
version of Satan. And they certainly don’t believe in the red
devil running around with the pointy tail and the horns. Although they did appropriate the beard. The actual Church of Satan was founded in
1966. It’s pretty recent. And it was founded by a guy named Anton LaVey. LaVey believed that Christian churches were
quite hypocritical. So he packaged his brand of individualism
which a dramatic mockery of Christian rites. It attracted likeminded people, and actually,
50 years on, the church is still around. It spawned some offshoots, like the Temple
of Set in 1975. And more recently, the Satanic Temple in 2013. The Satanic Temple’s activities mostly include
shining a spotlight on the lack of separation between church and state in the United States. So, for example, they paid for a 9 foot bronze
statue of Baphomet surrounded by adoring children, that they planned to install at the Oklahoma
state capitol building, after the Ten Commandments went up there. They also distributed a kids coloring book
at a school where Christians were handing out pamphlets. They’re also known as being the trolls who
trolled uber-trolls Westboro Baptist Church, by holding a gay Satanic wedding on the grave
of Fred Phelps’ mother. Fred Phelps is the founder of Westboro Baptist
Church. That’s some trolling. If you want to troll us, go ahead and leave
a comment below. We don’t care. Go ahead and subscribe while you’re down there,
we do care about that. And if you want more awesomeness, just go
to HowStuffWorks.com.

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