Who are we Satanists?Posted: December 29, 2013
Alison over at Encyclopaedia Satanica recently blogged about a study which showed the demographics of Satanism. It is well worth a read so I urge people to check it out on her blog. Link
The study was however carried out over a decade ago in the USA with a relatively small sample group and a few of the findings don’t match with my own experience. My experience of course is based on an even smaller group of people and can’t be any more than anecdotal; but that is kind of what blogs are for, isn’t it?
The thing that stood out most for me as perhaps being inaccurate was the suggestion that most Satanists are male. I’d agree that there are probably more male than female Satanists but only just. In the circles I move in we are roughly fifty/fifty. However I have found that some of the most prominent, dominant and influential Satanists I know are actually female. Perhaps this is a trend that has grown in the time since the study was first made. I also think the increasing influence of women has almost certainly brought more balance and new perspectives to Satanism. In fact it may be one of the most significant developments in contemporary Satanism.
Most Satanists are apparently single. This may be true in the strictest sense but I think the truth has more to do with the fact that Satanists are more likely to have lifestyles and relationships that don’t come into the standard married or single categories. In the time when the study was carried out it was seldom possible for gay couples for example to be considered legally married. I am in a committed relationship but I’m not married. I know quite a few satanic couples (straight and gay) who are living together as couples without being married. Some of these are poly-amorous relationships while others are quite monogamous and traditional. I am not sure what the definition of married or single was in the original study, but these days I would guess that Satanic relationships are as diverse as in the rest of society and, given our emphasis on individualism, perhaps more so.
According to the study, “The average Satanist is 26 years old (ranging from 14 to 56) and the average member has been a Satanist for eight years”. I imagine the average age of a Satanist is a bit older now and the length of being a Satanist has probably increased too. In my own circle of contacts most of the Satanists I know are of a similar age to me (mid-thirties) but I know a couple in their sixties and young people and teenagers are showing interest all the time (admittedly for many of these it will just be a passing phase).
Satanists are employed in diverse occupations. In my own fairly small circle of Satanic friends and acquaintances there are several teachers, a doctor, several nurses, a handful of musicians and artists, some writers, a lawyer, a few sales and business people, several computer/IT wizards, a banker and a project manager. I could probably think of several other professions my friends represent too. If there is any unifying factor it is that most are involved in professions or jobs where creativity and self motivation are important as well as a degree of intelligence. Satanism is not a religion for people who don’t want to think for themselves.
Satanists are politically diverse, although in my experience Satanists tend not to have much faith in, or time for, the political structures and ideologies that dominate the world today. However, whatever our differing political views are; we do tend to argue and defend them quite strongly!
Most Satanists are humanistic (atheistic/agnostic) Satanists, reflecting the dominant influence of Anton LaVey’s thought. That does still seem to be true and even those of us who are theistic tend to still be very humanistic in our philosophy (our idea of theism and deity not having much relation to common concepts of these things anyway).
What the study and my own experience illuminate is that Satanists are a diverse bunch of people who almost certainly don’t belong to the stereotypes many people imagine.
We may well be your nice, respected and respectable neighbours.