Modern Satanism is probably the widest-spread of the Satanic denominations, and also the biggest "bone of contention" amongst the others. Modernists do not worship Satan as a god or deity; theistically, they are atheists. They believe in neither a god nor a devil.
Modern Satanists can be roughly defined in three categories:
The Naturalists view Satan as the natural force of the universe, the "underlying current" of nature. The power which makes trees grow, earthquakes shatter, stars form and die....all these, the raw energy of "What Is," is Satan. As such it has no good or bad side in and of itself; it is everything. But, it is not intelligent or self-aware. Just like electricity or windpower, it exists without consciousness, but may be tapped by the conscious user (magician). This is the basis of Modern Satanic magick: that by training oneself to "tap into" this force -- Satan -- one may subtly warp reality into a form more advantageous to ones desires. However, it is not an external godhead or force which enables you to accomplish this; it is the force of your own willpower and emotions, exerting a "draw" on the Satan, attracting it to you so that you can "mold" it into a more suitable shape.
The Psychologic viewpoint centers around Satan as being the primordial side of the human psyche which the majority of humanity seeks to control and eliminate, instead of accepting and utilizing. The Freudian id, the Jungian shadow, the "animal within" -- these are perhaps the best parallels to the 'Satanic self' which the Psychologic view of Modern Satanism desires to seek out and liberate.
The Symbolists view Satan as a mental/mythic archetype, as the "Adversary" or the "Light-bringer." As such, the figure of Satan as an anthropomorphic being is completely fictional: he does not exist as such. However, the mental conception of the figure draws us to him. We identify with him, respect him, admire him, even as a fictional character. The archetype or mythic figure embodies a lot of what Symbolists consider important and good qualities. Some of them may include pride, independence, free-will, intelligence, knowledge, truthfulness, and ambition. The exact list will vary on who you ask. The qualities of the archetype may be draw from various sources, such as the Christian Bible, Milton's Paradise Lost, the Apocrypha, The Satanic Bible, and personal experience or thought. For some, the admirable qualities may include destruction, cruelty, hatred -- it truly depends on what the individual Satanist sees as "desirable" and "undesirable," or as "admirable" and "inadmirable." Again, he Symbolists do not worship Satan-Lucifer, or acknowledge his literal existence, but view him as a mythic figure much like Peter Pan, Uncle Sam, Zeus, or King Midas.
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