Satanist, n.
/sayt"n iz'euhm/, n.
1. the worship of Satan or the powers of evil.
2. a travesty of Christian rites in which Satan is worshiped.
3. diabolical or satanic disposition, behavior, or activity.
[1555-65; SATAN + -ISM]

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Worship of Satan, or the devil, the personality or principle regarded in the Judeo-Christian tradition as embodying absolute evil, in complete antithesis to God.

Cults associated with satanism have been documented, however sketchily, back to the 17th century. Their central feature is the black mass, a corrupted and inverted rendition of the Christian Eucharist. Practices are said to include animal sacrifice and deviant sexual activity. Worship is motivated by the belief that Satan is more powerful than the forces of good, and so is more capable of bringing about the results sought by his adherents.

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▪ occult practice
also called  Devil Worship 

      worship of Satan, or the devil, the personality or principle regarded by the Judeo-Christian tradition as embodying absolute evil in complete antithesis to God. This worship may be regarded as a gesture of extreme protest against Judeo-Christian spiritual hegemony. Satanic cults have been documented in Europe and America as far back as the 17th century, but their earlier roots are difficult to trace, just as the number of real satanists in any period is frequently overestimated. Churchmen have readily attributed satanism to “witches,” and to such heretics as Gnostics, Cathars, and Bogomils, but that charge does not correspond with the heretics' own understanding of their beliefs, and the alleged satanism of those persecuted in the heyday of witch-burning may rest on no better foundation than the overheated imagination of witch-finders and confessions obtained by torture. By the same token, devil worship ascribed to non-Christian religions is usually based on polemic or misunderstanding. Modern witchcraft and neopaganism are not to be confused with satanism, since these groups worship not Satan but pre-Christian gods. Satanism, as devotion to the Judeo-Christian source of evil, can only exist in symbiosis with that tradition, for it shares but inverts its worldview.

      Satanist worship has traditionally centred on the “ black mass,” a corrupted rendition of the Christian Eucharist, and ritual magic evocations of Satan. Some recent satanist groups have supplanted those practices with rites of self-expression reminiscent of psychodrama and hyperventilation.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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