Dating a devil worshipper

Satanism seemed to acknowledge the pain and anger I was feeling. The next day, I had a huge row with my mum, so I locked myself in my room and started carving a pentagram - the symbol of the Church of Satan - onto my arm. I wanted to permanently scar my body. People interpret it in different ways but, to me, Satanism was about loving yourself at the expense of others.

Most Satanists believe in doing everything in their power to get what they want out of life. Indulging in desires such as sex, food, and booze is encouraged. It breeds selfishness within you, which is what makes it so dark - for yourself as well as those around you. Putting yourself first all the time, and not caring about others, is lonely. But, at the time, I felt like the Christian God that I grew up with, who was meant to be good, didn't seem to care about my suffering.

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I was self-harming and rebelling with drink and drugs. It seemed to be all about pretending everything was fine; there was no room for darkness or controversy. So I rejected it. It became my life. I drew the pentagram on everything, from my school books to my body.

‘Satanism became my life’

My friends and my girlfriend were freaked out - they all thought I'd gone too far. I went from being pretty popular to having no friends. Then one night I dreamt that Satan was standing at the end of my bed. He was well-dressed and well-spoken, like a character from a Sherlock Holmes film. So, I started making deals with Satan. If I stole things like booze from my parents, was honest with girls that I just wanted sex, or turned people against each other, then I got to live.

After a while, I started having terrible nightmares and realised I was getting quite disturbed. There was a moment when I asked myself, 'Am I really having a conversation with Satan? I felt totally isolated and like I had nobody to turn to except Satan.

Then my exams were over - and I was still alive. Suddenly, it was clear to me that he was a liar.

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Salvation came in an unlikely form. It was a week-long event in the countryside. To be honest, I went because I thought there might be some hot girls there. But I was surprised to find that it was full of people who, like me, were unhappy with traditional Christianity.

‘Satanism became my life’ - BBC Three

While he was praying, I felt a sense of peace flood my body. Afterwards, the man said that even though I felt there was no hope in my life, God had a plan for me and Satan was a liar. I went home feeling free and positive for the first time in ages. I decided to look at Christianity again, but not just accepting it unquestioningly, as I had been told to do before. Slowly, I learned not to use people for money or sex, as Satanism had led me to. Some of my friends were supportive, but it became hard to stay part of such a hedonistic scene. Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll had been my coping mechanisms throughout my teens.

It took me years to learn that you don't need those to feel good about yourself, and I slipped up on occasion. Story highlights On their websites, the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple say Satan is a symbol, not a being The groups reject holy sites, gods and other things sacred to most religions, but they place a high value on symbolism and art They don't celebrate Jesus' birth, but on satanist says he spends time with family and "enjoy s the richness of life" on Christmas.

But you might be surprised to learn that many satanists are a lot more interested in community activism and individual freedoms than heavy metal or performing bizarre rites. Surprisingly, most card-carrying satanists do not worship Satan or any other form of the devil -- they are actually atheists.

The Church of Satan, founded in the mids, explains it this way on its website: We do not believe in Satan as a being or person. The Church of Satan puts the individual at the center of the universe, what high priest Peter Gilmore describes as going from an "a-theist" to an "I-theist. The Satanic Temple , which formed in recent years to fight a perceived intrusion of Christian values on American politics, says, "we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan.

To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.

Why would satanists be OK with celebrating the birth of Jesus? Because, the Church of Satan claims, "Christians stole this holiday from the pagans -- Santa Claus has come to signify indulgence, and he is a combination of Dionysos and Silenus from Roman and Greek myths. Michael Mars, a Detroit artist and member of the Satanic Temple, says he celebrates Christmas, but not as a day to commemorate Jesus' birth.

He, like other members of the Satanic Temple, has no problem with other religions' holidays.

The Church of Satan doesn't have actual church buildings, because "that would be against our individualist approach to living," its website says. For a short time, its founder Anton LaVey used his San Francisco home as the church's headquarters, where he performed rituals. Now, the church is based in New York, and its headquarters is not open to visitors. The Church of Satan once had "grottos," or local chapters, but it disbanded those after deeming them "unnecessary. The Satanic Temple has chapters in at least a dozen locations in the United States, as well as Finland and Italy, but it also does not have permanent physical temples.

The temple had difficulty finding a temporary location for the unveiling of its massive Baphomet statue in Detroit this summer: Threats and protests caused the owners of several locations to back out.

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It finally found a venue, but it had to keep the location secret -- even from those attending -- until the night of the event, because of security concerns. In the s and s, American talk shows and news programs linked reports of animal sacrifice and ritualistic killing to satanic worship. Geraldo Rivera claimed in a televised special report that more than a million satanists were plying their evil trade in America right at the very moment. He has since apologized. In , Oprah Winfrey interviewed Michelle Smith and another woman who claimed to have recovered memories of being abused by a satanic cult; Sally Jesse Raphael, not to be outdone, ran two shows on the subject.

The California preschool trial ended with no convictions and an FBI report concluding that the satanic ritual abuse allegations were not credible. It probably didn't help that at the time, many American teens were listening to heavy metal bands that intertwined their rebellious music with satanic imagery and songs about the devil. This demonic-looking mascot appears on album covers for the heavy metal band Dio, popular in the '80s and '90s. While satanism may eschew holy sites, gods and other tenets that are sacred to most religions, it places a high value on symbolism and art.

The Satanic Temple has used symbols of Satan to draw attention to what it sees as the hypocrisy of Christian symbols on government property.