The Satanic Temple is an advocacy organization based in Salem, Massachusetts, that embraces the devil as a literary figure to amplify and advance its beliefs and values in society. Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry founded the Satanic Temple in 2013. The organization promotes events and symbols that reflect their worldview in communal spaces, such as public schools. The temple’s goals are to champion the separation of church and state and advance social justice as it defines those terms. To achieve these objectives, the organization uses shock and provocation to attract attention from traditional and social media.
The type of Satanism that the Satanic Temple subscribes to doesn’t practice or encourage devil worship. Theistic Satanism believes in the devil and worships him with rituals and sacrifices. Non-theistic Satanism, such as practiced in the Satanic Temple, denies the existence of the devil yet uses him as a symbol to represent ideas like fighting against oppression and opposing biblical teaching.
“Secular humanism” is a more accurate description of the Satanic Temple’s beliefs. The Satanic Temple is secular in that it is without religion. It is humanistic in that it teaches that people can live moral lives and solve social problems using rational thinking and science. Secular humanism denies God’s revelation in the world and the Bible, rejects the person and work of Jesus Christ, and holds an atheistic worldview.
The Satanic Temple holds non-biblical views on several social issues. For example, it supports abortion, viewing abortion as a personal decision that falls under the domain of bodily autonomy and individual freedom. The organization believes that federal and local governments should not interfere with an individual’s right to have an abortion. This position contradicts the Bible’s teaching about the value of unborn human life (Psalm 139:13–16; Jeremiah 1:4).
The Satanic Temple has attracted considerable attention for its initiative to start After School Satan Clubs in public schools. The vision of the extracurricular club is to give children a place to play games and learn about rational thinking and science according to the secular humanist worldview. The After School Satan Club is a response to Christian after-school programs in public schools like the Good News Club. The organization argues that, if Christian groups are allowed in public schools, then so should the Satanic Temple. The Satanic Temple has attempted to start several After School Satan Clubs around the country, with little success.
Even though the Satanic Temple doesn’t believe in the existence of the devil, it is still doing his work in the world. As God’s chief adversary, Satan is “the ruler” and “god of this world” (John 12:32; 2 Corinthians 4:4). His names, such as “devil,” meaning “slanderer” (Acts 13:10), “evil one” (Matthew 13:19), “deceiver” (Revelation 12:9), and “accuser” (Revelation 12:10), reveal his character. Satan aims to destroy the lives of Christians (1 Peter 5:8) and disrupt God’s plan for the world (e.g., Matthew 4:1–11). Christians are right to resist the devil and the efforts of the Satanic Temple (Ephesians 4:27; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9), praying and trusting that God will give them victory (1 John 2:13).
When Christians hear about or encounter Satan’s activity in the world, they shouldn’t despair. Instead, they should find comfort and hope in remembering that Jesus ultimately defeated Satan on the cross (Colossians 2:15) and that God’s chief adversary will soon receive his punishment: “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10, ESV).