"Twas But a Delusion of Satan." [Aka... "The Devil Made Me Do It."]

What is it with religious people and refusing to take responsibility for their own TRUE sins? If you wonder about the title, this was taken as a direct quote from the confrontation of Ann Putnam by the elders of Salem Village in Massachussetts when they finally got their heads together.

 

When the village magistrate and elders demanded to know why Ann Putnam and her gang of "afflicted children" had condemned 18 of their fellow neighbors to the noose on Gallows Hill and many others to wrongful imprisonment, she finally said... rather pathetically... "Twas but a delusion of Satan." [Source.. "A Delusion of Satan" by Frances Hill http://www.amazon.com/Delusion-Satan-Story-Salem-Trials/dp/03068115... ]

 

[This is an excellent book btw... it gives a wonderful look into the chronology of events regarding the Salem Witchcraft Trials complete with documents from the time period].

 

Did she honestly think that answer would remove her guilt? Whipe the blood from her hands? The case of Four-year-old convicted "witch," Dorcas Goode struck me with especial horror and anger.

 

There are no pictures of Dorcas... so I'm posting a picture of a random four year old from the present day to let the insanity of the idea of her being a witch come to horrible light.

 http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/JeanRenee/PICT0056copy.jpg&am..." width="186" height="271"/>

Now... what on Earth could have convinced a Judge that a little girl like this could be a servant of Satan is beyond me. But if you check the records... her conviction is there...

 

The poor preschool aged child was dragged into the courtroom under the accusing stares of her community and subjected to the hysterical [and probably gleeful] twitching and shrieking of the "afflicted children" as well as the accusatory "questions" of Judge John Hawthorne, who was convinced of her guilt before she walked into the room.

http://s36.photobucket.com/albums/e41/heroesforsale/th_hawthorne.jpg" width="89" height="98"/> [Actor Playing John Hawthorne in the Play "The Crucible"]

 

According to records the child bursting into hysterical shrieking sobs and her tiny body was then clapped in shackles and dragged away to the dungeon like jail where [I believe] she spent several months. One can almost hear the terrible screams and sobs of the child locked away like a murderess in the dank, dark, dungeon-like cell. One can almost hear her cries for her dead mother who had been dragged to the gallows earlier for the same crime and see her tiny fists banging the wall until they bled. Eventually she would fall silent as she made a descent into madness.

 

And all Ann Putnam could say about this was "The Devil made me do it." Really? If Dorcas had been in her right mind I can hear a response to this.

 

"WHAT?! 'The Devil made you do it?!' What kind of answer is that?! You killed my mother! You drove me insane! You ruined my childhood! And all you can say is 'The Devil made me do it?!' Screw you! Bitch!!"

 

Of course... this kind of language was unheard of in 1692... but the point is there right?

 

That was 1692... but over 300 years later... that lame excuse is still popular among some Christians. Can anyone think of a popular evangelist who has used that excuse in the past 20 years? For example... "Umm... I cheated on my wife because the Devil made me do it." Disgusting.

 

But what is perhaps even more disturbing is that a great number of Christians believe that the horrific human sacrifice of their God cleanses them of their sins no matter what they do.

 

"I beat my wife 'till she went to the ER... but that's okay because Jesus died for my sins."

 

"I raped a 10-year-old boy who trusted me as a priest of his church... but that's okay because Jesus died for my sins."

 

"I strangled and decapitated a hitchiker... but that's okay because Jesus died for my sins."

 

"But all you heathens! You are going to burn forever [even if you did nothing to anyone] because you don't accept that Jesus died for your sins!"

 

[...] Fuck! What a load of disgusting selfish bullshit!! [Please excuse my language... I'm pissed]

 

What is worse? Blaming the Devil for your sins? Or feeling as if you are cleansed of them by "the blood of the Lamb?"

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: devil, died, do, for, it, jesus, jesus saves, made, me, morality, More…my sins, salem, saved, sin, trials, witch, witchcraft

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Another thing... "The Devil Made Me Do It" doesn't make sense also because HOW could the Devil do ANYTHING without God's consent? The book of Job paints it as more like... "God made the Devil make me do it."

Or... perhaps the more reasonable explanation [to use Occam's Razor] if we pull off all the extra entities one attaches to one's deeds.... is it not more probable that a person chose their own actions and projected them onto a diety and his evil twin?
What a disgusting story. That poor little girl. Those poor people.

What's worse? I think it's a combination. To have the audacity to blame some invisible, evil entity for something you did (knowing all too well that it was wrong while you were doing it) is cowardly and it's a massive cop-out. To say that is to basically wash your hands of any and all responsibility for your own actions. It makes you the poor victim of the big, mean, Devil instead of the jerk/criminal/whatever that you are.

There are a lot of genuine people out there who do believe they've been forgiven and "cleansed" by Jesus, and they really do try to live better lives once they've "found Jesus." The major down side to this are people who believe they can do whatever they want because "Jesus" will forgive them. Again - massive cop-out.

I find that "the Devil made me do it" mindset is extremely common among religious people. As a former Christian, I have an insight into this mindset and I do understand where it comes from. As a young child I was taught that there were demons and angels battling over my soul. I was taught that Jesus was the still, small voice I heard , encouraging me to do good, and that the Devil was... well, everything bad. (Interestingly enough, "everything bad" included only what my parents, pastors, and teachers thought was "bad.")

When I would "sin," I would cry and pray and beat myself up inside for succumbing to the "evil." I would then cry and pray for God to help me not do [whatever it was] again. If I failed and made the same mistake, I beat myself up even more. Eventually (due to my religion and due to a few unfortunate events in my childhood) I became a "cutter," and would punish myself on a regular basis for things I did wrong. I still struggle with guilt to an extent today. I can see how years of this cycle could lead someone to be delusional enough to really think that their actions are influenced by "God" and the "Devil," and to take little responsibility for what they've done.

Once I realized that there are no supernatural beings playing puppet with me, the change was incredible. I felt stronger. I stood up for myself. I stood up for the things I thought were right. I stopped doing things that were harmful to me. I no longer felt like I had no control over my life. I had all the control. I was responsible for what I do in this life. It was incredibly liberating, but it took years of questioning and allowing myself to think outside the tiny box that had been provided for me. It was hard and it was painful... knowing that I had been lied to my whole life and that I had suffered so much inner pain for something that wasn't real.
I know... it's a horrible story. I would agree that both excuses are horrible as well. I'm so sorry that you went through such an awful experience as a theist. Actually I was "hurting myself for God" as well.
That would fall under my old post "Chronic Guilt Disorder" http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/chronic-guilt-disorder-a
I know... and as for thinking outside the box... well... people could... but if anyone protested Dorcas Goode's conviction he or she would be accused of witchcraft as well. During that time... to be accused of the crime of consulting with the devil was to be convicted of it. So few would dare. :(
I find it ridiculous that theists always tell us that we are going to have to pay for our sins, when in reality, they dont pay for theirs. we take responsibility for our actions, they are "forgiven" and dont have to worry about it.
In Christian Orthodoxy you can go to hell even if you are a believer. Here "god" measures each ones sins and you have to pass a certain grade ( so it is not enough just to take the test ).
Furthermore... in puritan Calvanism [which was the religion to which the Salem villagers subscibed] the "elect" were chosen before they were born. It was unknown to them whether they were elect or not... but if you were unlucky enough not to be "chosen" then you were going to Hell no matter what you did in your life... and there was nothing at all you could do about it.

Puritans spent a lot of time fretting over whether they were elect or not... which was a question that is impossible to answer.

I believe the modern day Jehovah's Wittnesses take the same view of "chosen or rejected before birth" as the Puritans did.

What I don't understand is why the Puritans still subscibed to such restrictive rules... if you are chosen or not before you are born... and your behavior doesn't matter... why should you care about covering your head in church... or whether you slept during 6 hour sunday services... or whether you fornicated... or whether you lived a pious christian life at all? It wouldn't matter anyway....
And yet this idea never seemed to cross their minds... O_O
I actually watched this movie about 2 weeks ago and (even though it is not totally factual, you get the idea) thought is was the most insane bunch of BS I had ever heard. I will have to get the book to which you are speaking of.
Which movie is that? I was unaware that "A Delusion of Satan" was a movie... or are you referring to the play by Arthur Miller, "The Crucible?"
O my bad LOL, I meant the salem witch trials. i should have been more specific. :)

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