Satanism and Early Modern Witchcraft
I had quite a conversation with my very dear friend Janine today, with whom I always end up having thoughtful conversations. We discussed the idea of satanism in society. Afterwards, I looked up some stuff online, and I discovered a rather startling fact; many many people believe that the world is filled with satanists who kill/maim/torture or otherwise abuse children in North America. I personally don’t believe this is so, if only for the simple fact that in order to be an evil Satanist one would have to accept Christianity as it stands and decide to take the ‘wrong’ side. Seems unlikely. Though I know that there are lots of religions (Voodon, Wicca, and other neo-pagan excursions) that Christians believe to be satanist, but by all accounts are not. I ran across an interesting stat: in the last 300 years, no criminal investigation has uncovered any evidence for Satanic ritual abuse. The point of a stat like that, of course, is to show that satanist may well exist, but it doesn’t seem to be part of their agenda to perform ritual murders. Many Christians believe that there are as many as 60,000 ritual murders of ‘innocents’ a year in North America. Amazing.
It’s all very reminiscent, of course, of early modern witch-hunting. Lots of comparisons have been drawn, and what seems to be the underlying similarity, more than anything, is the fear. Fear that there is someone out there, preying on your children, and they are so smart and so powerful and so organized that it’s impossible to find a trace of them. (If there’s an organized international group, shouldn’t there be at least one stupid satanist who doesn’t dispose of a body properly? At least one mistake?)
Oh the world we live in.
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It’s interesting to note that before Christianity became legalized in the Roman empire, it was CHRISTIANS who were thought in the popular imagination to kill and even eat babies. They “ate” their God after all! Definitely cannibals! Centuries later, Christians demonized earlier faiths, collectively turned earlier deities into “the devil”, and made the same, lame charge against those whom they perceived to be in league with him.