Looking over the biggest religious news stories of 2014 the choices are myriad. Lots. However, once you ignore the constant coverage of ISIS(L), various things the Pope said that upset Catholics and made other people happy, and the wearing deluge of overly provocative statements from the Radical Protestant Right we are left with a curious central figure in religious coverage.
Satan. Well, Satan maybe.
Or does he (she/it)?
The so called Church of Satan was founded in 1966 by a man named Anton LaVey, who more often than not is pictured as Ming the Merciless. It uses religious language to convey a doctirine of self aggrandizement, rebellion, and indulgence. It has nothing to do with historic occultism or the actual worship of a being that might be known as Satan. The Satanic Temple mentioned in the preceding articles is clearly a non-supernatural philosophy using Milton's anti-hero Lucifer as its model. Yes there are a few occult groups out there, like the Order of Nine Angels, that at least claim to actually worship an evil being, but they do not pass out coloring books or erect public statues.
In truth, all of these are about a pop culture, and unreligious, view of Satan that does not conform to any scriptural appearance of the figure in the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,) The idea of an opposing force to God is more Zoroastrian than anything else. The images used are clearly of Pan, associated with nature worship and literally demonized by the Medieval Church in an effort to stop people observing old ways. The same is true for the Pentagram, supposedly a satanic symbol, was at one time a symbol of Christ's wounds,later was associated with the spiritual forces of various directions or elements, and only became associated with Evil forces in the late 1800s in the occult work of Eliphas Levi. The aforementioned LaVey adopted the symbol for his church and solidified its association with Satan in the minds of the average person.
All of these churches stem out of either late 60s radicalism or post-modern extreme individualism. They have little if anything to do with Satan beyond symbolism.
If you want to learn more about the origins of the popular view of Satan and other things look for my forthcoming book Popping Pop Christianity (working title)!