First, there is LaVey (I think) Satanism. This promotes worship of one's self, practicing indulgence in the 7 "deadly" sins, and other such things. This is pretty much just a step up from Atheism where instead of the high range of morals that Atheists have, you get "lower" morals. (An Atheist can still believe in what the Cristian Church preaches in terms of morals. i.e. monogamy, abstinence before marriage, etc. while not believing in God. LaVey Satanists can't have similar morals to the Church.) This practice has nothing to do at all with Lucifer, or any of his followers. These are not bad people, freaks, or any of the other labels they've been given on this site.
Another type of Satanist is the Lucifarian (SP?) Satanists, who worship Lucifer (Satan, The Devil, The Fallen Angel, The Morning Star) as their idol. These people worship Lucifer because he is the bringer of forbidden light, he wanted humanity to have the knowledge that God and his angels do. I think they believe in a sort of "unholy trinity" consisting of Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Astaroth(SP?), though I'm not sure about that last point.
P.S. I'm atheist, so this is fairly objective =D
<b>"If you have read our books, you know that Satanism isn’t about taking drugs, and it isn’t about harming animals or children. Unlike many religions and philosophies, Satanism respects and exalts life. Children and animals are the purest expressions of that life force, and as such are held sacred and precious in the eyes of the Satanist. Besides, it is very un-Satanic to take any creature’s life against its will. It is equally un-Satanic to cloud your brain and impair your judgment with mind-altering substances."</b>
Where Catholics have the Ten Commandments:
I. Do not worship any other Gods
II. Do not make any false idols.
III. Do not use gods name in vain.
IV. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
V. Honour Your Father and Mother.
VI. Do not Murder.
VII. Do not commit Adultery.
VIII. Do not steal.
IX. Do not covet thy neighbours goods.
X. Do not covet thy neighbours wife.
Theistic Satanist/Traditional Satanists/Luciferians have the Nine Statements:
I. Satan believes in indulgence, instead of abstinence.
II. Satan believes in vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams.
III. Satan believes in undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self deciet.
IV. Satan believes in kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates.
V. Satan believes in vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek.
VI. Satan believes in responsibility to the reponsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires
VII. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those who walk on all fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual development," has become the most vicious animal of all.
VIII. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.
IX. Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had as he kept it in buisness all these years.
To wrap it up Satanism is a religion with many definitions.
"no, I practice Satanism"
"go read the Satanic Bible, you ignorant wretch of a human being"
The church practices self indulgences and frowns upon altruistic behavior. The Church of Satan in no way acknowledges the existence of any devine being neither good nor evil. They worship no devil, though the phrase "hail satan" is commonly used. However in the church Satan represent the repressed desires of all humans and therefore saying "hail satan" is to hail one's self.
It is commonly believed that the church of satan is a horrible group of people that should be feared. The CoS should only be feared if one is actually a member of an archaic religion which preaches self restraint and stupid moral systems that are truly outdated. To roughly quote LeVay one of the philosophies is if someone smacks you on the cheek smash him on his and ten times more for he that turns the other cheek is like the cowardly dog that roles over when kicked. Therefore the person above who stated he beat up on satanists at school was more a satanist than the person who laid there and took it while "chanting" the name of an entity that a true satanist would not even believe to truly exist.
Many religions have broken off from satanism including but not limited The temple of Set.