Goth = Satanism? WTF?

Atratus's picture

Canwest Global have their heads up their asses again, insinuating a necessary relationship between goth and Satanism in order to sensationalize a story about a missing 16-year old girl. See the post here where a reporter from the Sun says,

[quote by=vancouversun,m=1107468913,s=0 date=1107468913] she was a regular visitor to Goth/Satanic message boards and websites[/quote]

"Goth/Satanic? WTF is that supposed to imply? I'm not ready to sit around get dragged through the mud again.

Trixy, Ziv, both of you being well versed and passionate about your religions, how do you feel about this? Am I wrong to be thinking "libel"?

Kouhmeirah, you are definately well-educated on the subject and I am really glad you've been open to sharing your beliefs.  I am sorry if I, at all, came across like I didn't approve, etc.  Our beliefs are very different, but I can definately see the appeal.

Atratus, do you have any idea where I could read up on the aforementioned studies indicating that some people are not born with the persuasion to believe in a deity?  I think it's quite interesting that some people might be born without the "God-shaped hole".

Spinning off from that idea, I find it so perplexing that Christians tend to ignore such phenomenon (the absence of the pre-disposed desire to follow a god, being born with gender identity issues, being born homosexual, etc), even though it makes sense not only from a scientific stand-point, but a religious one.  The world is, supposedly, dissintegrating.  Since the Fall (of Man) Man himself, and the world, has been falling farther from perfection.  If one believes that to be true, it would only make sense that the very way a person's brain is developed would also be farther from that picture of perfection presented by Adam and Eve in Genesis (before the apple incident, of course).  Perhaps these incidences are not new, but as we are only now able to discover them, they explain a lot and fit in with my belief of why the world and people are how they are.

Trixy: No, I don't think any religion that focusses completely on the pleasure one may derive right now only can be entirely satisfying. While that's part of Satanism, so is preparing for a strong, benefical future. There is very little allowance for spiritualism in the Satanic community, but it remains an individual choice. Striving for personal excellence is the destination of the religion, I've found. For me, it's merely a cohesive blend of many ideas that I agree with, and a direction to turn my fires to. There is also a lot of wonder at the things we can't see or really understand involved.

The ambience is created through liberal use of symbols and ritual movements that can be often seen in more Pagan paths, but with a lot more black involved. :) The rituals are a collection of things written about through history and seen in other faiths, melted down into a workable form, with heavy influence from Crowley and Redbeard. Of course, if you choose to do rituals, you don't even need to follow these guidelines. The point is the release of a goodly amount of emotional energy, so however you can go around doing that..

Personally, I read the Satanic Bible when I was in my early teens and connected with it. Many who read it cannot do so with a subjective mindset and toss it as some sort of insane diatribe. However, I've always lived and thought in the manner outlined in the book and thought nothing of it. I began to study modern Paganism and other faiths, but they only strengthened my original views.

It offers arrow-like direction and a connection with ingrained, solitary instinct. I'm a very woodsy person with a great interest in the old ways of weaponry and living, but I found other religions to rely too heavily on what can't be proved, and rely too heavily on community. Certainly, I practise yoga, and have great respect for nature, but I don't attatch much spiritualism to it. Satanism also makes me look to the future and what I might be doing now that would hurt it.

Aratus: Interesting! It's the general thought among Satanists that it is impossible to become one. You must be born that way. If indeed these studies are accurate, that would lend quite a bit of support to that idea.

In the gothic scene, many tend to be artistic in some way. New meaning to dark beauty?

Freaker: I believe the fire and brimstone thing was started by nobles in the 1600's who would partake of gross rituals as a fashion statement. Don't quote me on this, though. It's been a while since I read that paper. :)

Openly discussing Satanism on the gothic forums - doesn't this seem like it might feed the public opinion?  Granted there is open discussion on other religions but given the thought buffer size of 1 that most in the news media and public it feeds, that won't matter a bit.

Just an ironic injection unrelated to the interesting discussion that's ongoing.  Please continue....btw I tried discussing this view of Satanism (which I'd picked up from a couple of sources prior to this debate) with others and they don't generally see it that way.  Mainstream media and the Catholic church have pretty much served to propagate the fire, brimstone and sacrifice point of view.  It doesn't appeal to me personally as a religion but then no organized religion does.

Personally I tend to be right down the middle of all of the religions that exist.  I don't believe a higher power would care about or want my devotions and would find the whole thing insufferably funny.  I do believe that seeking a path of balance between self-gratification and self-fulfilment while striving to better grasp the intangibles of our universe is the path I am meant for.

Sadly this contravenes just about every organized religion therefore pissing off all of the ostensible deities....actually this is probably closer to the pagan point of view....

Since I am of the "no religion at all" persuasion, I'll leave Koumeirah to her own, but I do have some things to offer on the question of whether a person can be religiously satisfied without the belief in divinity.

Recent (within the last five years or so) brain studies have identified an area in the brain essentially hard-wired for authority. Most people not only want to believe in a higher power, they actually are compelled to. Depending on where you want to stand you can say that this instinct is a product of evolution in a social animal where by necessity the bulk of the social order is made up of followers, or you can argue that it is a function of creation (or intellegent design) put there by the Creator/Designer to ensure His worship. Either way, it is an interesting fact that a certain percentage of humanity lacks this hard-wiring. While not necessisarily "born leaders" certain people are unambigiously born not-followers.

In the context of social evolution, there is good reason for this, because in addition to leaders, rogues also serve an important evolutionary function - they provide inter-tribal cross-breeding, ensuring that the gene-pool doesn't stagnate in any one population. If you imagine a small village or tribe it is a truism that there always seems to be one shaman, one leader, one consul, one rogue, one loner, one night-owl, along with the couple dozen "ordinary" people. The roles of the "oddballs" ofter overlap, the king may be his own consul, the shaman and the night-owl may be one-and-the-same, or maybe the artist and the night-owl, or the rogue and loner, etc., but essentially you have between 1-in-10 and 1-in-20 or so people that simply aren't cut out for an ordinary life. These oddballs server vital roles in the core tribal social group: for example someone has to stay up at night and tend the fire and keep the wolves at bay, someone makes the magic that keeps the people faithful to their leader, someone tells the stories and histories that bond the tribe, etc. The leaders and rogues are not wired for "God", and often neither are the other "oddballs" (even the Shaman) - these people can be perfectly satisfied in their lives without a sense of the divine.

I believe that a lot of people that gravitate to sub-cultures like ours are these same oddballs. With the exeption of leaders, the larger social constructs of civilisation result in an excess of these specialised roles, and these people struggle for a place to be who they were born to be. They find something like our electronic bonfire to dance around and wonder how anyone could be happy working M-F, driving the kids to soccer and mowing the lawn on Saturday, and going to church on Sunday. It certainly explains the vehemece that comes out toward people who are attracted to the sub-culture in order to follow and fit in -- not the best fit in a collection of disenfranchised night-owls, artists, intellectuals, rogues, shamen, and loners (there are leaders, too, but in this scene they are invariably mixed with something else: artist/leader, intellectual/leader, night-owl/leader etc. - leaders who are otherwise normal have plenty of opportunity).

I think I could watch the two of you be all intelligent and debate-y all day.  ^__^  However, I do have some more questions:

Is a day-by-day, self-interested "religion" truly satisfying in the long run?  Is there anything to strive for aside from momentary pleasures?

What do you mean by "dark" ambience?  Who created the framework for the magic/rituals that are involved in the religion?

What about Satanism first attracted you to it, and why are you currently practising Satanism?  What about it do you find makes it better/preferable to another religion, or not religion at all?

Indeed! This needed to be brought up, as well. :)

Very few people would be inclined to find a "path" so far removed from the present, and so, Satanism is accessable to the person inclined. It's merely a modern reincarnation of ideas possibly as old as man.

A melting-pot, if you will, carved out of Ayn Rand's studies, and the rhythms of older religion and philosophy. It would be an intelligent person's hope that those that become interested in Satanism would have the wit to see that it's nothing new, only pulled together in a workable form. And maybe do a bit of studying. I'm still doing so, myself!

Religion? Possibly, with the introduction of a holy book, "magic," and a central figure - oneself. The religion also offers a way of life that would concievably make the practitioner the happiest. But of course, there are doubtlessly many people living what would be considered a Satanic lifestyle and be completely unaware that Plato or Redbeard existed. The absence of a central, supernatural focus puts Satanism on shaky ground in terms of being a religion. Even then, that might not even be so. Does the definition of religion require the central force to be sentient? If not, then the standing is a bit more steady.

And bringing old ideas to the fore, Judaism and Christianity have done so very well, as you've mentioned. Even the beginning pages of Genesis rehashes the myths of Tiamat and Marduk, so the repeating of ideas is useful in keeping it in the view of modern society.

Which ultimately (and the fundamental issue I have with it) begs the question, why call it a religion at all? In philosophy the same approach is called "Utilitarianism" (the broader category, of which Consequentialism, Objectivism, and others are subtly different schools). Calling it a religion is an unnecessary complication, and calling it "Satanism" simply to thumb one's nose at Christianity is counter-productive. All LaVey really did was take some Enlightenment Era ideas, themselves coming out of Renaissance Secular Humanism (in turn going back to Classical thought), and wrap them in a "scary" name and reintroduce the idea of a Platonic source/force/what-have-you. An idea that I feel actually *detracts* from the notion of individual accountability in the context of personal and societal responsibility.

The same idea of a universal force exists in Buddhism as well. In Buddhism the path to enlightment also includes allowing for self-indulgence (ergo the "fat Buddha" statues) - not as an end, but as part of the greater path. The Buddhist seeks to know himself in order to begin to grasp his place in the universe, ultimately so that the self can be relinquished entirely in order to melt into the universal force, i.e. become one with God.

Pagan Greeks had similar concepts (the Buddha and Plato were actually contemporaries, and Buddhism developed originally in present-day Afghanistan - areas well connected by trade and under Alexander, even part of the same empire). On the temple of the oracle of Delphi are inscribed the words ????? ???????, meaning "know thyself". It's really the same idea. Aristotle. goes on at length critiquing the necessity of a Platonic source (Aristotle was Plato's student) and how the ideas of good an evil are really based in human priciples, and that what is good for the individual at no detrement to others, and what is good for society at no detriment to individuals are the greatest goods.

In mediæval times St. Augustine brought back the idea of the Platonic source and called it God. Thomas Aquinas then re-introduced Aristotle in a Christian context. A few hundred years later Bishop Berkeley brought back the unifying force, and John Locke sent it away again. Basically, the same issues have been around for several thousand years, and get recycled repeatedly, in varying proportions and mixes, with varying results.

There IS the viewpoint that Satan is the scape-goat of modern religion - the one that questions, and is cast out for wanting to be more than he is. It's sort of a flag people of such a mindset can rally around and still be who they are. (Unless you're a Manson-loving, loud-mouthed ass, that is. Then you're doing it to be obnoxious and "assertive." You're also probably a Luciferian or a member of some very, very distasteful cult. :()

Belief usually revolves around the individual and their needs. One partakes of anything they desire to, if it suits them - however, the cap on all of this is the Satanic "sin" of stupidity. If it hurts you or the ones you love in the end, you just don't do it. (There is an example somewhere of a man becoming fat with his overt gluttony, but his pride kicks in and causes him to lose the weight. It is possible he would have seen the dangers to his health and gotten fit again, as well.)  It's a very malleable religion, actually. You can be quiet and peaceful and still be a Satanist. There is no necessity to be violently antagonistic towards society.

The struggle to be elite underlies the whole thing, really. But elite doesn't mean rich, or influential. If you dream of being an archer of the highest quality - if you can get there, then you're elite. It's a personal standard thing.

You will find many atheistic Satanists who are, quite frankly, elitist pricks. They will jump on other people over every petty little detail and claim to be the height of human intelligence. They shouldn't really be doing that, since it's lack of perspective, and another "sin," but there will always be those who use the religion to inflate their rather hollow ego.

Reincarnation is an individual belief, and not part of the religion. I personally don't believe in it, but I know a few who do. I haven't met a Satanist with a Nirvana mindset, however, because it requires a belief in a higher power that's taking record of all that we do on earth.

Rituals are totally optional. They usually fall into three categories: compassion, lust, or destruction. The point of them is to create a dark ambience in which you can build emotional energy and release it in order to affect the world around you, but have the occurrence be separate from normal life. No baby burning or virgin sacrifice, though. This kind of thing is called Higher Magic, while just small things you do on your own to help your situation is Lesser Magic.

To be everything you wanted to be, and to look at life with the wonder of a child is the point of this religion, when you get past all the "bad-ass" dressings and posturings.

I'm rambling again. ;)

So, then, "Satan" is just the name used in lieu of the lifeforce that is the essence of the religion?  Aside from giving the middle finger to Christians (and to make it, decidedly, the outcast in the religion playground ) by using the term "Satanism", there is no reason why it's called that?

I would also like to hear more about what the actual belief structure is, if there is a clear-cut one, and if there is any belief in an afterlife, reincarnation, etc.  What sort of "rituals" were you talking about, and I assume they are optional.  If so, then why do they exist at all?  Is this a religion of momentary self-satisfaction, self-benefit, ect, or is there any hope or peace found in it?  I know I am asking a lot of questions, but I am truly curious.

Thanks!  ^__^

Eek, sorry I didn't get back to you guys right away!

I am indeed a LaVeyan. At any rate, the name of Satanism was used by LaVey to thumb his nose at Christianity, yes, but also to give a black sheep aura to his pet religion. (That being said, I agree with the religion, just not always the founder.) He often wrote that he could have quite easily called it "Humanism," but that it didn't fit very well.

"Satan" itself can be anything the individal Satanist needs it to be, but often is considered to be the lifeforce of all existence. Not a sentient diety, as such, but mainly the energy that makes things work. Satanists who lean more heavily on the ritualistic side of things likely have a better and clearer understanding of what Satan is to them, though.

maybe we could all write letters to the editor such as:

Thou shalt burn in the deepest of all hells for offending the one master, our lord, Baal....

Ok that was obviously a joke....

Well I wasn't suggesting a deep expose.  Really for most of us writing is anything from torture to a hobby we're moderately good at, but I'd expect an expert writer to be able to get at least a few points across. 

I was thinking more along the lines of a directed set of questions - almost like the mini-polls people have run off this board including questions regarding religion, suicide and blood/s&m fetishes which seem to be the most common misconceptions - things that mainstream folx think absolutely apply to all goth people. 

Still my suggestion did state that what resultd could be as wrong anyways - perhaps it's not worth trying but it was a thought.  I still think providing some guided information and then letting people explore it themselves if they really wanted to learn more would be better....but if it's been done (badly) then perhaps there's no way to deal with the stereotypes.

It's a nice idea, but the both the Sun and Province tried doing just that in an effort to redeem themselves after raking us through the mud, and the well-intentioned "profile" was almost as bad as the muck. There is too much nuance to wrap in one neat little article with a few side-bar bullets. It's been a hair of twenty years since the British music press applied the term "Gothic" to out little faction of post-punk that was otherwise being called things like "gloom punk" and  "deathrock"...and I don't think anyone has *ever* been able to put their finger on just what the term is supposed to mean exactly.

Twenty years into it myself, and I wouldn't want to try and write that article.

hey I don't mean to sound practical or anything but why not:

Contact that reporter or another up-and-comer who wants an interesting story and take them on a goth culture tour?  Bring them out, let them interview some people and get a better idea of what it's about.  It's a strange, exotic and sexy tour of something foreign to most people so it should be sensational enough for a story.  Get them out to a Blender and/or Sanctuary and/or Curiousity or whatever and let them chat some people up, do some interviews and meet some of the more interesting figures. 

They'll still get it wrong but it might be closer.  And then you can say that you tried to make it better.

Thanks, Atratus.  I wasn't really offended, but only painfully aware of how little I know about the world outside my own.  Slowl y I am being introduced to the broader spectrum of what people have to offer outside the circle of private school and church, but it takes time, and since I am quite secluded right now, I don't have as much chance to interact with people face to face as I would like...  Ah well.  Thank you, again, though, for the apology.  It made me feel better.  ^__^

Oh, dear :( Trixy, I didn't mean it that way at all. Just by virtue of asking for an explaination you are infinitely better than the sort of person I had in mind when typing that. I was thinking specifically of the media that picked up the term for its shock value in regard to this incident California without so much as investigating where the allegations came from. I was also thinking of the incident that started this whole thread in the first place where the Vancouver Sun, reporting on the nonsense spewed by the Richmond police, decided to draw a necessary connection between goth and Satanism, without knowing much of anything about either of them. I was thinking of the sort of people who let the media get away with this sort of irresponsible "reporting" because it feeds into their misconceptions and prejudices. I was thinking of the people that make up the audience of shows like Sally Jesse Raphael, Jerry Springer, Maury Povitch. I was thinking of the sort of nitwits like the "Christians" that have ostracized you for "living in sin". I was thinking of all the sheep that will only hear what bolsters their narrow view of the world and are deaf to anything that may challenge it. I know you are not one of those people or you would never say anything like:

There are too many Christians who just think that everything that isn't in their belief system is automatically wrong and not even worth learning about.  Taking that route almost always blocks you off from ever ministering to/sharing with someone of another faith.  Who wants to discuss religion with a nitwit who knows nothing about a faith other than their own?

Those are exactly the "nitwits" I had in mind.

So now I'm an average nitwit... *sigh*  Ah well, such is life.  It's definately true that I have not been exposed to many religions outside of my own, except in a negative light, because of my upbringing and education in a Christian environment.  I know that I have been sheltered, but I try very hard to shake that off and learn more about the world around me.  There are too many Christians who just think that everything that isn't in their belief system is automatically wrong and not even worth learning about.  Taking that route almost always blocks you off from ever ministering to/sharing with someone of another faith.  Who wants to discuss religion with a nitwit who knows nothing about a faith other than their own?

That being said, Koumeirah, educate me!  ^__^

Koumeirah, please feel free to go ahead and explain at length. I run the board and Trixy is one of the religion forum moderators. Personally I'm familiar with Anton LeVey and own a copy of the Satanic Bible. It  sits on my religion shelf along with a couple of translations of Christian Bible, the Bhadavad Gita, and texts on Wicca, Celtic paganism, Greek, Roman, and Norse religions, and books on touching on other religions as well.

You and I both know that the sort of "Satanism" you are talking about is not what the average nitwit thinks of when the term is bandied about in the media. This part of the forum is specifically for discussing religion so please do. I wouldn't consider myself expert enough on this subject to go in depth, so I welcome someone who is.

Oh, actually Koumeirah, I'm also very interested in this topic. I'm going to make a huge assumption on that you are talking about LaVey(sp?) Satanism?

Koumeirah, if you're truly worried about taking up too much space in the public forums, then feel free to send me a private message, but I am very curious about "Satanism", as it is, supposedly, the exact opposite of my own faith.  If there is no belief in a "higher power", then why is it called Satanism?  Is there no idolatry or even recognition of the Devil/Satan/Lucifer/etc?

Greek cross? I didn't hear that part of the news! Very interesting.

As for atheistic Satanism - those that follow this "path" if you will do not believe in a higher power, nor worship anything but living life to the fullest. Some would say that it is a religion of self-worship, and that's true in some sense, but certainly does not encourage idiotic levels of arrogance. One big difference in it in comparison to other popular religions is the discouragement of loving those who would do you harm or don't care one whit about you. As well, there is the overture of indulging in everything you please, if it isn't detrimental to yourself or those you love.

It's hard to make an accurate description in a short space, though. :-/

Koumeirah, out of curiousity, can you explain how you can be an "atheistic Satanist"?  The concept, quite frankly, confuzzles me.  ^__^

It's even funnier that the "Satanic" symbol the media keeps talking about with this murder in California was a Greek cross.  Are there no Ukrainians in America? But then again, the historic Goths hailed from the Ukraine, so it all comes around. lol

Really, I'm just trying to ignore the whole thing.

It's interesting to see the current homicide events (surprise, surprise!) linking black clothing with "gawth" and "DEVILWORSHIPOHNO."

It certainly isn't helping the nastiness that goths can encounter from the general public!

As an atheistic Satanist, I find the media's portrayal of Satanism more amusing than annoying, as though there was only one kind: the kind that requires everyone to strip at three minutes past midnight and feast on baby livers. Or is it nine minutes? ::)

However, it's good that pagan religions are being treated a little kinder, recently. What is surprising.. is the degree to which Christians must go into the closet. They can't converse about prayer with each other without being given Looks. Seems strange to me, really.

But we all know: It's the evil, subversive Gawthicks that are undermining society, right guys? 8)

The coffee date sounds like a plan, Swoop.

Also, that little blurb was a nice change from the rubbish people usually use to label us with.

I found this on a "safer schools" webiste.  It seemed to be on topic, and I thought it worth sharing.

"Goths do not subscribe to any particular religious belief. In fact, they appear to rebel against established religion just as they refuse to accept other established norms. They can be seen wearing any number of religious symbols, crosses, ankhs, pentagrams and others.  When asked, they will usually say that they wear it because they like the way it looks. Goths can be found who follow the belief systems of Christianity, Gnosticism, Wica, Atheism, New Age and others. Goths have been unfairly labeled as being aligned with Satanism or some other darker religious movement. There are Goths who may embrace or follow dark religions or more mainstream religions, as with any other individual. An excellent source for more on religion and Goths is found at: "

That's ok, Trixy.  We here at Satanists BC love and understand you.  Why don't we get together for coffee in a dark secluded place, where my deciples and I can console you.  The Dark Lord knows and understands your suffering, and would be more than pleased to relieve you of it.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek,


Swoop, that was mean!  I am going to go cry in a corner, now.  Everyone knows my parents don't appreciate or understand me!  *sob*


Careful when using sarcasm in print.  Some reporters may not be adept as we give them credit for and misrepresent your meaning.

Goths Admit Links with the Devil

[sup]by Jack Skelington[/sup]

Young followers of the self proclaimed Satanist, Maralyn Manson, admitted themselves to being satanists on a local forum toady.

"...goth culture is just a front to cover up for our more wicked and treacherous plans.  We pretend to just be artistic, brooding people who like a certain type of fashion...  but really we are Satanists who encourage people to kill themselves," said one of the forums moderators early last night.

Psychologists suggest that parents take a more active role in the lives of their children.  Appearently satanic cults feed on impressionalbe youth who feel unappreciated or misunderstood by their parents.

"We've seen this in the past in other forms. Two people died," he said, referring to last October's disappearance of a Vancouver couple.

Rachel Adams and Mark Remple hanged themselves near Lions Bay, north of Vancouver. They were known to be involved in so-called goth culture.

That part, as well, drove me up the wall.  "Two people died... involved in so-called goth culture."  First, tying people like us to those two deaths, and then putting that "so-called" label on there, making it seem like the goth culture is just a front to cover up for our more wicked and treacherous plans.  We pretend to just be artistic, brooding people who like a certain type of fashion...  but really we are Satanists who encourage people to kill themselves.  *cue lightening and dramatic music*  I am just so angry!

I'm glad you threw your two bits in, Trixy. As soon as I saw the post I figured that you and Dream King would both have something to say about it. It's a shame that now it is Shabbat and Dream King won't be on the computer until after sunset tomorrow.

I still can't comprehend that the spokesman for the Richmond RCMP would say something that ignorant and that the media would run with it.

I am so sick of these stories being posted, linking goths to Satanism...  I am a goth, but first and foremost I am a Christian.  I love my God, I go to church and Young Adults groups, I want to go to Russia to be a missionary, I read my Bible every day (or try to).  People like that need to sit down with me and have a discussion about "goths being Satanists".  I am so tired of ignorant people!  I agree with Swoop.  All the people who read this and are frustrated with being potrayed this way by the media should write letters to the editor.  Our voices need to be heard, too.

It's hard to account for the ignorance of others.  Maybe we could write a rebuttal to the editor.  They might even put it in the paper.  Lord knows the editors for the rags on the island will print anything.

Yup, and then the papers pick it up at face value and start tying it in with the crap they were spewing last October. It's not the bling leading the blind, it's the ignorant leading the unethical.

Thaaaaaaat's right.  Whenever people look similar it means they are actually the same.  Everyone knows that.  All men who wear plaid shirts are racist rednecks, all women who wear short skirts are hookers, and all people that wear black are Satanists.  Yup.

Give the cop some credit.  At least he admits he's uninformed: "I don't know the difference...".  In front of the entire province, even, wow that must take some kinda balls.


I found this in a related article linked off the telus news page.

"Frankly, to be honest with you, I don't know the difference between satanic, goth, it's all to me the same," Thiessen said.

The person quoted is a police officer on the case in question. I can't believe the utter ignorance of these people. And yet these are the same people that the general public looks to as authority figures. You'd think they'd do some "investigating" and get their info straight before they start looking for answers in all the wrong places.


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