The Puritan Belief That The Devil Essay

The Puritan Belief That The Devil Essay

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One can also see the Puritan belief that the Devil was among them through the sermons of the one of their most influential ministers Samuel Parris. In one of his sermons, Parris preaches extensively on the presence of devils among the saints in the Church. He says that not only are there devils among them, but that Christ knows who they are. Parris suggests that the devils may be people who have chosen farms and merchandise above God. Towards the end of his sermon, he lists several sins that are certain to make one a devil. (Boyer and Nissenbaum, 129-131) This fear of the Devil influencing the people around you, let alone oneself, certainly played a role in the trials. The trials may have turned into such a hysteria because no one wanted to be considered a devil. Therefore, they accused those around them of being one. Both the fear of the Devil’s servants the Indians and the fear of the Devil among the people of Salem had a huge impact on the witch trials. Without this fear and belief, the trials would not have taken off as they did.
During the time of the Salem Witch Trials, neighborliness was a big virtue of the Puritans living in that society. The Puritan faith taught that being a good neighbor had both spiritual and practical dimensions. Colonists were supposed to keep an eye on each other and warn one another when they were in danger. Therefore, people who were bad neighbors were often frowned at and looked upon suspiciously. When colonists suspected that they had been bewitched, the first person they blamed was often a neighbor with whom they had had a conflict with in the past. Witch accusations often occurred when one neighbor felt mistreated, and therefore, turned to witchcraft as a form of revenge. Neighborliness ca...


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...that there are other explanations for the mass hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials, but the Puritan’s and their beliefs can be found in almost every argument.
Though we may not be hanging people for being witches in modern day society, American’s today are accusing people of being something they are not. Like the colonists during 1692 feared the Devil and his servants, American’s today fear terrorist groups and their members. Because we are so afraid of terrorists and what they can do, we are automatically afraid of everyone associated with them. In the past decade, the fear of Muslims in America has escalated at an alarming rate. People associate Muslims with terrorism and therefore think all Muslims are terrorists. Just like the witches of Salem, this is not the case. If we are not careful, we may soon be asking – why did the Muslim Hunt of the 21st century occur?

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