Document Type


Publication Date



Previous research suggests that religious service attendance, biblical literalism, images of God, and other measures of religion are related to moral beliefs (i.e., that certain behaviors are wrong or deviant). Given previous theory and research on spiritual appraisals (particularly demonization and desecration), we argue that belief in Satan should also predict moral beliefs. Using the first four waves of the Baylor Religion Survey, we tested the association between belief in Satan and belief in the wrongfulness of twelve different behaviors related to abortion, family matters, sexuality, and substance use. Although religious service attendance and biblical literalism were consistently related to moral beliefs, belief in Satan was significantly related to six of the twelve moral beliefs. Furthermore, there was a significant interaction effect between religious service attendance and belief in Satan for ten of the twelve moral beliefs, suggesting that religious service attendance has little or no effect on moral beliefs when people do not also believe in Satan.


This is an Accepted Manuscript version of an article accepted for publication in Deviant Behavior, volume 44, issue 5, in 2022. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Peer Reviewed



Taylor & Francis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.