Satanists Say Video Games Help Them Practice Their Religion

Satanists Say Video Games Help Them Practice Their Religion

In survival game Ark: Survival Evolved, Church of Satan member Citizen V (his “under the horns name”) ignores the naked and empty-handed low-level players who supplicate at his tribe’s floating base. It’s an opulent base where his tribe hatches pteranodons and cultivates their naval armada.

“Anyone worth my time, who enriches my life and brings something to the table — those are the people worth going out of your way for,” Citizen V told me over the phone. He doesn’t kill new players on sight. Not all new players are useless, he reasons. If they’re consistent, he’ll put them to work, maybe give them food and water.

“The more people we can get to do stuff for us — that’s great,” he said. “Responsibility to the responsible.”

Citizen V was quoting a mantra vital to Church of Satan members, a call for self-accountability. Despite the conception of Church of Satan devotees as Hot Topic-frequenting edgelords with no real belief system, the Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966 as a movement that would oppose the status quo and the damage done by traditional religious and social values. Satanists see traditional Christian vices as great human assets.

Pride, individualism and influence are their bread, butter and blood. Satanists seek to amass power and experience pleasure, and that’s by-the-book life advice. To that end, over half a dozen Satanists I interviewed say that games are playgrounds for their Satanic virtues to run free.

Left 4 Dead? Satanic. Call of Duty? Satanic. Minecraft? Mega-Satanic, the Satanists I spoke to said. “You can build every little thing — put a torch where you want it, a tunnel, a walkway, a moat. That’s very Satanic,” explained Satanist reverend John H. Shaw.

For decades, games and Satanism have had some connection in the American public consciousness.

During the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, American parents feared the supposed Satanic influences of games like Dungeons & Dragons and Doom. Back then, your average group of kids rolling 20-sided die in a dark basement looked a lot like a blood-worshipping Satanic cult to pearl-clutching parents. Games’ rampant devil imagery didn’t help.

“Almost anything that had some devil symbolism or fantasy symbolism was deemed Satanic and linked to fabricated stories of ritual abuse and baby-killing,” Church of Satan reverend Raul told me.

To him, though, it makes sense that Satanism was blamed for hype around fantasy media. “Part of our philosophy is that Satan has always been the scapegoat, the thing you blame for the evil of man,” he said.

“But man himself is the one doing all these things. God gets all the credit for the good stuff, but Satan gets the blame for all the bad stuff.”

While it’s true that Satanists weren’t committing mass infanticide or animal sacrifices, there is a small kernel of truth to the view that games are fertile soil for Satanic beliefs to take root. According to Satanist gamers, few things are more Satanic than video games.

Raul pointed out three tenets of Satanism that thrive in games: indulgence, meritocracy and “total environments,” customisable spaces that the Church of Satan calls “literal pleasure domes and places of amusement and delight.”

These can be anything from tiki bars to virtual reality porn to a floating base in Ark: Survival Evolved. It’s all about curating the best place for Satanists to become better and more powerful and to be able to delight in whatever is pleasurable. For Raul, one of these ideal environments is the apparently Satanic wonderland of sci-fi MMORPG Eve Online.

In Eve Online, pride-fuelled scams are actually encouraged. Last month, a massively destructive long con had one well-trusted player scoop up all the holdings of a 4,000-person alliance.

Although he would not disclose specifics for fear of blowing his in-game cover, Raul describes himself as an espionage master. Using multiple identities he’s developed over the last decade, he spies on Eve Online factions to solicit intel and slyly relay it to allies in faction warfare. “I would consider Eve one of the most Satanic games out there because you have so much power as an individual,” Raul said.

“You gain sovereignty of part of the universe. It’s a battle for control of space, expanding influence. It exercises parts of my philosophy I feel are healthy.” It’s a place for him to worship his own potential as a forceful actor in the world around him.

In games, power can mean more than political influence. Church of Satan reverend John H. Shaw told me that the more money and flashier threads he earns in Grand Theft Auto V, the closer he feels to his religion. “You get better cars, more money, you’re more successful, you buy houses,” Shaw told me over the phone. “That’s Satanic.”

Shaw was 13 when he borrowed a copy of Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, Satanism’s core text, from his neighbour. Hidden from his overbearing mother, he tore through it. Shaw recalled how the core values of Satanism “spoke to me personally”.

Pride, to him, can be worn as an outfit — an emphasis on Satanism’s focus on aesthetics. In GTA V, Shaw gets haircuts. He adorns himself with tattoos. He’s mindful of his outfits and his cars — the way he shows his material success to other players.

“I love the fact that, when you put on a pair of pants in GTA, they fit correctly,” he said.

For Satanist Misty Tyers, her affinity for material wealth and self-preservation recently puppeted the tiny rogue character she made in her Dungeons & Dragons game. Her party had just commandeered an air ship before a small army of orcs ambushed them. “In that moment, I considered the possible outcome if I stayed and helped defend the ship with the party as opposed to taking off to save my own skin and leave them to die,” Tyers told me.

In the end, she decided to stay and lend a hand — but not necessarily because she’d bonded with them. If she stayed and fought, she told me, maybe a few of her party members would die. That meant she’d get a bigger share of the quest’s reward. After two comrades became orc dinner in the fight, her reward was handsome.

When their lust for something pulls them too far in one direction, practising Satanists will likely remind themselves that immoderation, like a rubber band, can shoot them back into a place where they’re powerless. Anything in excess is counter-productive, the reasoning goes.

Satanists will lose their freedom to be proud or vengeful if they’re so prideful that they’re disliked or sent to jail for exacting revenge. Raul pointed to Eve as an example, noting that a furious player threatened to chop off the hands of the traitor who made away with all those holdings. That player was swiftly banned. “Ultimately, self-preservation is the highest law,” he said, again quoting the mantra, “Responsibility to the responsible.”

“We advocate indulgence, but not compulsion,” Shaw explained. “When you steal a car and there are police in the area, now you have police after you. There are consequences,” he said.

Although Grand Theft Auto V is a hedonist’s wonderland, it’s also a perfect microcosm for Shaw to practice his version of self-awareness. “In real life, we have all had these thoughts and we bottle them up inside until it either lands us in prison for blowing our lids, or it turns into cancer.

Games are an outlet to rid ourselves of the negative or unproductive thoughts, just as much as providing us with the fantasy that real life tends to lack,” Shaw said.

“Running over people, shooting people — that’s not Satanic at all. That’s just fantasy.”

This article was originally published on 06/10/17.


  • Are there any actual satanists? From what ive seen most are just using the imagery to annoy evangelical Christians (The hardcore bible bashing type, Not your average folk) by using something they fear.

    • Yes. Read the article, they interview several members of the Church of Satan and none of what they talk about is about annoying Christians. That’s not a part of our philosophy. Some atheist pranksters do go around pretending to be satanists doing that, but they have nothing to do with us or our philosophy.

      • What is the difference between an Atheist and an atheistic satanist?

        Atheists are just people.

        Are Satanic atheists just areshole peolple?

        Honestly I want to know why people who are anti religion decided to one day make a religion based on…..not being a religion.

        • Honestly I want to know why people who are anti religion decided to one day make a religion based on…..not being a religion.

          The groups in America do it to challenge the Christian groups trying to inflict their society with their beliefs.

          For example in a US state they wanted to erect a statue of the 10 Commandments out the front of a Government building. Any normal person would object to that for obvious reason given that the Government cannot endorse one religion over the other.

          So to counter this the Church of Satan demanded they be allowed to erect a Baphomet statue. The government was not allowed to say no because to deny them would be discrimination against a religion which is against the law.

          Of course, the Christian groups raised a huge stink saying its offensive. Which made them look stupid.

          So the government ended up not allowing anything.

          here is the whole story.

          They got themselves to be classed as a religion so they could counter the Christian groups on their terms.

    • There are. Basically Satanism falls within two sub-classifications, theistic and atheistic. LaVeyan satansim falls within the atheistic category in that they don’t believe in a god, devil, etc. Theistic satanist are the ones who actually worship satan, they are sometimes referred to as “Luciferians” to avoid confusion.

      • Surely aetheistic satanists are actually not really satanists at all (um – they don’t believe in Satan). The people described here sound more like capitalists to me. Self-serving, manipulative mofo capitalists.

        • Satanism was a term thrown around for centuries to describe non Christians. So you do end up with all sorts of non devil worshipping Satanists.

        • One of the reasons they use the term satan is that they embody the core traits given to the adversary role within religions: wrath, pride, greed, etc. So while they don’t actually worship satan, they do sort of represent it, hence use of the term.

          As a side note, the word “satan” comes from Hebrew meaning adversary.

        • Duh. Just look up what the upside down pentacle means. (Spoiler: 4 corners represent earth, wind, fire and water, the 5th one the soul/spirit/immaterial/whatever…)

          That said, just because two things have similar characteristics doesn’t mean that they are the same.

        • Lavey created atheistic satanism in the 1960s. It’s basically Ayn Rands’s objectivism with some ritual thrown in. Those not familiar with objectivism probably best know it from Bioshock, which was a critique of that philosophy.

          So yeah.

    • There is more than one satanic church as well. Not all satanists agree with Anton Levay’s interpretation.

    • My father was a Satanist a a child. It was never spoken about or shared and I found out by coming across his literature while hunting for porn mags as a teen.
      From what I could tell, it’s a rather personal practice that has little to do with others (outside of like-minded individuals) and has nothing to do with wanting to annoy Christians (or even making them asare of your activities).
      I’m assuming it’s similar in principle and outcome to Chaos Magic (actualising will and basically programming reality in order to manifest self-centric outcomes with belief by way of non-belief).

      • Hahahaha thats a legit cool story. I found out by coming across his literature while hunting for porn mags as a teen. I love getting a little peep into peoples lives. (Yes I am weird).

        • Hahaha. I get it. Also, the hunt for erotica in the pre-internet age was a mission unto itself. We all got creative and resourceful.

          • Yeah mate, a friend of mine used to steal them from the corner store, then proceeded to off load them to kids at school to for a neat little profit until he got found out by one of the teachers. What a time to be alive back then.

  • It’s remarkable how similar Satanism is to the prosperity bible preached by evangelical scam artists, only with acknowledgment of reality and consequences as a core tenet.

  • So the eve hands chopping thing – it sounds like they’re saying that the only thing wrong with that is that the person got caught. And also that the stealing of a car would be fine, but only in an area with no cops. Am I missing something?

    • No, he is actually advocating responsibility and consequences for ones actions.
      The Eve example is stating how one players over indulgence stripped him of everything he had in that world.

      The car example is an extension and fairly self explanatory.
      You steal a car in front of a cop, you get arrested.
      No excuses, no poetic philosophy, every action has a reaction.

      Don’t think too much in to it, it’s practical and realistic advice from a satanist which would understandably conflict with the perceptions of many.
      Just remember that modern Satanism is just a reflection of a time where Christian influence was very prominent and more importantly, nobody has a trademark on making sense.

  • Satanism is clearly much more wholesome and good than anything like Christianity etc, and has caused literally a million times LESS human suffering. All religion is inherently evil, but Satanism is certainly one of the lesser ones.

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