Kids? Meet Satan.

vW. Scott Poole has a new book out, “Satan in America: The Devil We Know,” that says our view of Old Scratch was formed by theology, yes, but also pop culture and public policy.

Says Poole, in an interview with Religion Dispatches:

I hope to point out that America’s historic sense of its own innocence and righteousness, and the concomitant belief that its enemies represent the demonic Other, helps explain our historic obsession with Satan. The book’s examination of the strange byways of American belief about the Devil is really a brief filed against the whole notion of American exceptionalism, the idea that we are somehow exempt from the terror and the moral complexities of history.


6 responses to “Kids? Meet Satan.

  1. I just hosted a dinner at our Fellowship called Dinner a la Diablo. Yep, Satan was the theme! I turned the heat way up, and the joke was understood.

  2. I can’t remember where I found this:

    Samhain, which means “Summer’s End,” was a Celtic fire festival. The night of October 31st (last night of the Druid calendar year) was when the veil between this world and the next was thinnest, the perfect time to honor and remember loved ones that had passed. Sacred bonfires were lit on hilltops. After the celebration folks would take embers from the bonfire to their homes to relight the fires in their own hearths. Of course they needed something in which to carry the live ember — so a turnip or a gourd was used. But who wants to walk home in the dark with all those creepy spirits around? So they dressed up in costumes and carved scary faces in their ember holders, to scare the spirits away. Lumps of burning coal were also placed in hollowed gourds on doorsteps, to welcome deceased loved ones.

    European settlers in America found the larger, native pumpkin easier to carve. Native Americans called them “isquotersquash.” Hallowe’en (All Hallow’s Eve and then All Saints’ Day, so named by the Catholic church and juxtaposed over the original Samhain) became a widespread holiday in the late 19th century, and continues to inhabit our list of popular annual rituals in spite of its commercial and sugary nature.

    • Thank you, Sister Cynical! Leave it to people from my tribe to crap up a perfectly good holiday! (I say that with love. Almost.)

  3. You guys are nuts.

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