I became a Christian in 1984. At that time, there was great hub-bub on both “Christian” and secular media about Satanic rituals and the attendant child abuse allegedly happening with great frequency around the United States. As a new Christian, in a job in which I was in the car much of the day, I listened to the radio and lapped that stuff up.
I’ve spent many years since spitting it all back out. It turned out the whole Satanic Ritual Abuse scare was nonsense. It was founded almost solely on the imaginations of authors who discovered a real, ready, and gullible market for books that somehow confirmed for millions of book buyers that, if Satan was real, then their God must be real, too! Books like Michelle Remembers, Satan’s Underground, and The Satan Seller gave millions of grasping believers the confidence that their fight was a good one and that their God was vulnerable, and needed their help.
One by one, these books were exposed to be false, usually by more reputable Christian publications. Their authors were taking shreds of childhood memories and making the rest up. They were lying for the glory of speaking to thousands of hungry church-goers and, not incidentally, for quick and easy access to those listeners’ wallets and purses.
Some psychotherapists became envious of the spiritual gravy train rolling through town and came up with an elaboration of Freud’s Repressed Memories, called Recovered Memories, which enabled them to lead troubled adults backward in time to recover “memories” of their own Satanic Ritual Abuse. Thousands of families were wrongfully torn apart, hundreds of innocent people, particularly daycare workers, were wrongfully prosecuted, and all of Christendom took another hit (and rightfully so) for jumping uncritically, even enthusiastically, into the quagmire of this nonsense.
But, of course, the beat goes on. There are still “evangelists” tramping the back roads of America, regaling small-town audiences with tales of their involvement with witchcraft and their own halcyon days of (literal) hell-raising. They even do exorcisms! And- surprise! They can find demons in a roomful of desirous believers faster than a fly finds..melting ice cream. There’s the demon of nicotine, of alcohol, and of slothfulness. There’s the all-inclusive sexual demon of Jezebel, the specialized demon of Succubus, and the catch-all demon of Rebellion. There is a demon to fit the excuses anyone needs for wrong behavior, and these self-anointed demon-finders are happy to help you find one that will fit your needs! (Before “casting” it out of you.)
There’s much more I want to
rant say about this, including special mention of the Grand Kontinuing Kleagle perpetuating this nonsense, Bob Larson; who, in my days of flirting with fundamentalism, I actually sent $40 to, in the absurdly mistaken notion that I was helping finance the cause of Christ. Turns out, I was more likely helping finance one of Larson’s vacations with his mistress-of-the-month.
C’est la vie. I have amends to make..