Hi, I'm from Dumfriesshire in South West Scotland - where we used to strangle witches before we burned them - and the Presbyterians think I'm the crazy one!
Hi, Scotswoman, welcome to A/N.
The "burning times" you mentioned were well portrayed in the 1973 English movie, The Wicker Man. Set in your part of the UK, it recently, and thoroughly, persuaded me those times were not for freethinkers, or any newcomers to a community. The Hollywood remake doesn't deserve even this small mention.
Again, welcome to A/N.
Thanks for your welcome. At least the people portrayed in the Wicker man - flmed around this area by the way and not on an island as appeared - were ignorant and burned poor old Edward Woodward in order to try to restore fertility to their land - crazy enough. Often women were burned as witches because the church and/or state wanted their land and used their religeon as a mean to acquire it.
Cheryl, your final sentence above inspired me to go to the A/M Water Cooler and start a discussion titled "Too Soon Old and Too Late Smart". Thanks.
I can relate. I saw the light way to late and I am smart enough to know when I die it is all over. I am 72. Am I happier ? Somewhat. I have allowed myself to be who I am and be glad I am an atheist. I have had a lot of religious indoctrination to overcome so the farther removed from religion I am the happier I will be.
A terribly sad history; it is important to remember history and realize the depravity of some human beings, and recognize when depravity occurs in the present era. We are not immune.
Joan, you're right; the recent campaign for the Presidency told us we are not immune.
Xian Reconstructionists (America's Taliban and once headquartered near where I now live) want to replace the Constitution with the Old Testament. They would execute adulterers, difficult children and more.
Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars their wealthy allies (all of them capitalists who, as Elizabeth Warren brilliantly said, used what taxpayers provided them to get rich ) poured into the campaign, America's voters sent them packing. For now.
Tom, we should use the words American Taliban for those who would impose their value systems on all of us. Even better than that, we can enjoy all the great gifts that come to us from nature and that enrich our lives in so many ways. We can celebrate with full enthusiasm the coming Winter Solstice, knowing that the daylight will remain short for three days and then the sun will start its northern journey, bringing more sunlight each and every day until Summer Solstice.
Have you noticed the new songs coming out that celebrate the seasonal changes?
Or the growing awareness of the reasons for the seasons?
We have many interesting, challenging, stimulating reasons to celebrate than those brought to us by Bronze Age tribal dessert people.
I work in a museum and we have a section about local witch hunts. The tortures described include torturing the children of the accused in front of them in order to extract a confession. Our area was particularly bad. Once witch hunting was banned the Lowland Clearances took over. Local landlords hiked up rents or refused to renew leases. This created a poor, rural workforce that could be relocated into the urban areas to provide cheap labour for the new factories of the industrial revoltion. The landlords get the land back and get profits from their investments in the factories. Funnily enough you don't find many of these landlords claming to be atheists. Their "god" has been so good to them!
Cheryl Easton, in what part of the world do you live? You probably have a memory of witch hunts that most of us do not.
I became interested because my ancestors arrived on the east coast at Plymouth, Mass in 1632 and spread south and west until a terrible depression forced them out of the east in 1890's and they came west to make their livings. I traced that migration and found my ancesters were at Salem, Mass during the Salem Witch Trials, that they were among the accusers, judges, trial members and benefactors by taking over the land of those who were found guilty and hung or pressed to death. Much of our family wealth came from those stolen pieces of land and businesses.
When we read history in school, we don't learn about this aspect of earlier colonial days. We also don't learn of the terrible things people did to each other. My ancestors cut off the noses and ears of Quakers because they refused to become Puritans.
"The Puritans in New England were equally zealous in persecuting dissenters. Those who taught deviant doctrines were mutilated (such as having their ears chopped off) or hanged. Catholics and Quakers were also severely persecuted by the Puritans in New England. Thus, at least four Quakers were hanged by the Puritans for their beliefs. The Puritans were also responsible for the execution of twenty people for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.
So much for Pascal's Wager
Haught, Holy Horrors: p109-111
Haught, Holy Horrors: p117-124
Knight, Humanist Anthology: p113-114
Robertson, History of Christianity: p206-207
Dumfries and Galloway, South West Sotland. This link gives a bit of information about the Witch trials http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/7706/1/Lizanne3pdf When a woman (usually a woman) was found guilty of witchcraft her possessions were forfeit to the church or crown. I beleive there is a move afoot to have these convictions overturned and, where possible, to have reparations made to any living descendants. Can't imagine the Westminster government allowing that - although a Scottish government might.