A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Updated 3-12-2009
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Satanist Types  |  Youthful Satanist  |  FBI Report

Christian Satanism / Youthful Satanism

[WARNING: The information presented in this area may not be entirely accurate. Please read the FBI report by Kenneth Lanning concerning the myth of ritual Satanic abuse.]

I have reorganized this area to reflect what I have come to know about Satanism over the course of my research. I still feel no obligation to defend it as a religion; this site is not primarily about Satanism. However, I have now made the effort to qualify some of the statements made below. Material in this section was written by Captain Randy Johnson, a police officer. He has done extensive research on the subject of the occult and satanism; and he often lectures to other police officers about these subjects in relation to criminal activity. After interviewing him, I trust that he is more knowledgeable about the subject than I. However, I think there is some additional information that needs to be presented to supplement his material. Here is my theory:

What's a Christian Satanist? I would describe them as people who have been raised in the Christian tradition. They believe the principles and tenets of Christianity (they accept the Christian teleological explanation of the universe), but they choose to worship the figure of Satan rather than Christ. They call themselves Satanists, but they have little to nothing in common with followers of LaVey's Church of Satan, or any other group of proclaimed satanists. What's the difference? The primary motivation of the Christian Satanist is rebellion. They make up their worship as they go along.

The myths of demonology and Satanism have been spread by fundamentalist Christian groups throughout the centuries. The Salem witch hunts and Spanish Inquisition are the most familiar examples of Christian fervor to brand anything different from itself as Satanism. Extreme Christian groups have shown throughout history to use scare-tactics to keep their followers in line. Satan has also often been the scapegoat for those who stepped out of line, i.e. "the devil made me do it."

Kenneth Lanning of the FBI reported that there is no conclusive evidence that a secret, organized, Satanic cult group committing large-scale crime and multiple murders has ever existed. However, there are rebellious teenagers today who choose to do anything in their power to shock and outrage adults. Since Christianity is the dominant belief system of Western culture, the concept of Satan as the "evil being" has a certain appeal to anyone who wishes to upset conservative forces. These teens will buy into what I call the myth of Christian Satanism. They will create a reality to substantiate the myth. They will act to fulfill every stereotype which has been presented as Satanism by the media and religion. They will also use Satanism as an excuse to justify or explain criminal activity they don't want to take responsibility for. This group of youthful Christian Satanists essentially exists because of the myth originally popularized by conservative Christian groups. Proclaimed Satanists would state that these people are not authentic Satanists. With these things in mind, read through Johnson's material about Youthful Satanists below:

Today's Youthful Satanism contains elements taken from voodoo, witchcraft, pornography, paganism, the Church of Satan, other religions and the drug culture. There are two main types of Youthful Satanists.


These youths are usually about 10 to 16 years of age. They get their information from friends, certain kinds of music, books, movies, videos, and television. Crimes they might commit would be: vandalizing a stop sign, smashing a tombstone, breaking into a church and stealing something, or ripping up a Bible. Approximately 8% of all high school age children go through this phase of living on the "darker side of life." An increasing number of junior high and elementary age kids are dabbling as well, but most young people pass through this phase relatively unaffected. These children are rebelling; they are not religiously motivated. Theatrical Satanism has little organization to it.


About 1% of children between the ages of 14 and 20 move on to this second phase, which is characterized by personal study or practice. The Experimental Satanist may have sensed a power over others or the unseen world and is trying to control it. These youths borrow from all aspects of the occult and make up their own style of worship. They perform rituals -- thus the title "experimental". Part of their rituals may involve cutting their body to obtain blood to drink during a ceremony. They may kill animals as a sacrifice. Some have been known to commit acts of homicide. While these youth are somewhat religiously motivated, their primary motivation is still rebellion.

Experimental Satanism has a definite organization and leadership structure [which is created by the group's participants]. When a juvenile joins a group of Experimental Satanists, he is required to attend certain activities and make commitments. In the beginning stage he is told that Satan has all power and that God is weak. God doesn't care about mankind. That is the reason why there is so much misery in the world. He is told about the ability to obtain riches here on earth and about reincarnation and how he can return to earth with great powers. Beginning ceremonies are introduced to him at this point. If he decides to continue with the group, he is told he must make strong and binding commitments. He will eventually be required to give his soul to Satan in return for the riches and powers he will receive. It is stressed that roasting in hell for all eternity is just a myth perpetrated by the Christians. Through Satanism he will receive powers beyond anything he can imagine. To demonstrate his loyalty to the group and to prove to Satan he is sincere, he might be asked to become sexually involved with the group or to commit a serious crime. This is also a tactic to keep him from telling on the group. He will be required to go through some type of ceremony in which he swears allegiance to Satan and denounces God. He promises to fight against and do anything to destroy Christianity. This will sometimes be a verbal covenant, but will often be a blood covenant where a communion made of blood, urine and alcohol will be taken. He is told that a demon (he is often told the demon's name) has been assigned to watch him and report to Satan. The demon will destroy him if he disobeys those in authority or tells on the group. He may be told that members of his family will die if he breaks his covenants. He will probably take part in animal sacrifices and may eventually participate in the killing of a human, usually a member of the group. [It must be emphasized again that this type of Satanic group is created entirely by its local participants. The goal of the group's leader is not to worship a deity, but to gain control of others within the group.]


  • Rebellion: It's normal for many kids rebel while growing up. Satanism is visible and available. Some kids use it to get back at their parents.
  • Peer pressure: Their friends are into it, so they go along.
  • Sense of belonging: They are lonely and want to gain friends and acceptance.
  • Sense of status or power: Everyone wants to feel special or important.
  • Freedom: Satanism is self-gratification and unlimited freedom. It says "do what you want" while parents want them to conform.
  • Life's pressure: Some youths find Satanism as a way to deal with the pressures of life. For example, a recruiter might suggest using an incantation to help a student get a good grade on a math test. The incantation builds up a little self-confidence, and he gets a B+. He thinks it works. Next time he might be asked to go to a cemetery. This begins a gradual evolution into Satanism.
  • Curiosity/mystery: Excitement comes with something new and mysterious.
  • Fear: Fear releases neurotransmitters which causes a chemical change in the body. This "high" may be addictive.
  • Commercialization of music and literature that have Satanic themes: Drugs, alcohol, sex, and pornography are popularized.