March 18 Flashback: Satanic baby-killers No. 1

March 18 Flashback: Satanic baby-killers No. 1 March 18, 2022

Twenty years is, like, six generations in internet time.

From March 18, 2005, “A peculiar people“:

That’s a rather astonishing calendar and agenda. Horrifying stuff. Evil. Very, very bad.

Except, fortunately, that it’s not true.

Some would disagree with that, of course. They would disagree that this is not true, and they would disagree that it’s not being true is fortunate.

The strange thing about believers in “Satanic Ritual Abuse” is not just that their belief persists despite an utter lack of evidence, but that they seem so eager for these things to really be true. They seem to want it to be the case that a vast, secret, predatory network exists that abducts, abuses and murders tens of thousands of children every year as part of its ritualistic worship of Satan.

This is not a healthy thing to want to believe is true. And yet, despite the fact that no actual practitioners of Satanic Ritual Abuse have ever been found, thousands of people believe in it because they somehow want it to be so. These believers fail the test that C.S. Lewis speaks of in Mere Christianity:

The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?

The dates and activities in our police officer’s handout almost certainly came from one of the many books detailing the sex, abuse, torture and dismemberment allegedly practiced by these alleged worshippers of the Christian Satan. (See this helpful list of “ Satanic holidays, as viewed by conservative Christian authors.”) These books were written mainly by evangelical Christian authors writing for Christian publishing houses like Word, Zondervan and Broadman & Holman.

As with most urban legends, it’s difficult to determine precise origins for many of these stories. But it certainly appears that some devout, Christian writers sat down and devised elaborate rituals involving group sex, dismemberment and the rape of infants. That these writers ran this material by the devout Christian editors at these publishing houses. And that these publishing houses packaged these claims, bound them attractively, and shipped them out to the local Mustard Seeds, Wellsprings and other devout Christian bookstores across the country.

These writers are, like H.P. Lovecraft, engaged in the business of writing horror stories. Yet where Lovecraft saw horror as horrifying — as something from which to recoil — these writers seem strangely heartened and encouraged by their bloodcurdling tales.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things,” Philippians 4:8 says. So why, one wonders, do evangelical Christians in America have such an enthusiastic appetite for tales of alleged perversity and depravity?

Read the whole post here.

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