Senior Capstone Project: Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God and Hell House Slideshow
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Senior Capstone Project: Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God and Hell House Slideshow






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  • Started by thinking that things like this are not used in today’s world, but then came across what is called a Hell HouseImportance: The same tactics used 2 centuries ago are being used in churches today.
  • Hell House: 1:02:34 & 1:15:48
  • “The power of the Church in Puritan new England was enormous. Besides the family, the Church became the most powerful institutional tool for controlling the young people of the second generation…The sermon was the central and commanding incident in their lives; theaters were forbidden and the religious service was the only possible communal gathering for both men and women” Garrigos
  • The EPPM suggests that individuals implicitly weigh perceived threat against perceived efficacy in a manipulative manner in their cognitive appraisal. Therefore and interaction between threat and efficacy would be expected. Danger Control: think of strategies to avert the threatFear Control: defensive motions, feel as though can’t perform recommended response; coping responses
  • “Some fear appeal arguments work by sketching out a picture that suggests (often rather vaguely) something that is highly fearful to a target audience. This type of fear appeal argument tends to be logically weak, because it is based on suggestions instead of hard evidence that the fearful event really will occur”walton

Senior Capstone Project: Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God and Hell House Slideshow Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Fear Appeals used inSinners at the Hands ofan Angry God & HellHouseLacey SolheidSenior Seminar
  • 2. The ArtifactsSinners at the Hands of an Angry God Sermon given in 1741 by Jonathan Edwards Given during the “Great Revival” of Christianity One of the most well-known and studied sermons Known for “fire and brimstone” speaking—graphic imagery and extravagant languageHell House Church’s “Haunted House” put on during Halloween First started by Trinity Church in Texas Audience walks through and witnesses how people go to Hell Homosexual dying of AIDS, school shooting, date rape, abortion, family violence Seen as controversial
  • 3. Research QuestionsAre fear appeals used?How do the artifacts fit the EPPM?Are these logical appeals?
  • 4. Literature ReviewAristotle: must be perceived as a near threat “Sinners”: “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart… and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God… that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood”. Hell House: Targeted at teens & young adults. Utilize actors that are the same age as the intended audience.
  • 5. Literature ReviewGlassner: fear mongering “Sinners”: Edwards was seen as one of the leaders of the community. By utilizing these tactics, he is able to keep people coming to his church to listen to his sermons. Hell House: Continue to push the envelope to see what they can get away with in their skits. They have had 75000 visitors (according to the video) and have had 15000 people convert or recommit.
  • 6. Literature ReviewWalton: Definition of a fear appeal “Where it is seen as a kind of argument usedto threaten a target audience with a fearfuloutcome (most typically the outcome is thelikelihood of death), in order to get the audience toadopt a recommended response”Debiec & LeDoux: Learned fear This type of fear is a learned fear becausereligion is socially constructed.
  • 7. Extended Parallel Process ModelFearThreat Susceptibility SeverityEfficacy Response Self
  • 8. EPPM & “Sinners”Threat: Established throughout the speech—makes itseem as though it could happen at any moment Susceptibility: “That they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning” Severity: “The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under themEfficacy: Response: “And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day where in Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God” (Edwards 14). Self: Let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old me and women,
  • 9. EPPM & Hell HouseThreat: Made situations seem very realistic Susceptibility: Show situations that a lot of families and teens deal with; use people audience members can relate to. Severity: The scene at the end of the show depicts Hell and shows the constant torture, suffering and brutality of Hell.Efficacy: At the end, created a scene where itcould be easy for people to recommit themselves Self: Audience can do the easy thing and walk through the door and pray. Response: By going through the door to the prayer room, they will avoid going to Hell.
  • 10. Logical?“This type of fear appeal argument tends to belogically weak, because it is based onsuggestions instead of hard evidence that thefearful event really will occur”Not seen as logical. Based on suggestion, not on actual factsEmotions distort judgment Cannot make sound judgment if you are fearful
  • 11. ConclusionFear appeals are in fact used Speakers create a visual of Hell and encourage the audience to take actions to avoid itNot logical appealsThere are potentially other ways of getting themessage across to an audience.
  • 12. ReferencesAltheide, David. Terrorism and the Politics of Fear. Lanham, MD: Alta Mira Press, 2006. Print.Aristotle. Aristotle on Rhetoric. 2nd Edition ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.Debiec, Jacek and Joseph LeDoux. "Fear and the Brain." Social Research 71 (2004): 807-818. Print.Dillard, James. Handbook of Communication and Emotion: Research, Theory, Applications, and Contexts. New York: Academic Press, 1998. Print.Edwards, Jonathan. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards." His Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <>.Garrigos, Cristina. "Manipulative Rhetoric in 17th and 18th Century Sermons: Aporia, the Borders of Reason." Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 22 (2009): 99-114. Print.Glassner, Barry. "Narrative Techniques of Fear Mongering." Social Research 71 (2004): 819-826. Print.Gordon, Robert . "Fear." The Philosophical Review 89.4 (1980): 560-578. Print."Hell House." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <>.Jackson, Brian. "Jonathan Edwards Goes to Hell (House): Fear Appeals in American Evanelism." Rhetoric Review26.1 (2007): 42-59. Print.Nussbaum, Martha . Essays on Aristotles Rhetoric. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996. Print.Pfau, Michael . "Who’s Afraid of Fear Appeals? Contingency, Courage, and Deliberation in Rhetorical Theory and Practice." Philosophy and Rhetoric. 40.2 (2007): 216-237. Print.Walton, Douglas . "Fear Appeal Arguments." Scare Tactics: Arguments that Appeal to Fear and Threats. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000. 1-29. Print.Walton, Kendall. "Fearing Fictions."The Journal of Philosophy 75.1 (1978): 5-27. Print. Witte, Kim. "Fear as Motivator, Fear as Inhibitor: Using the Extended Parallel Process Model to Explain Fear Appeals Successes and Failures."Handbook of Communication and Emotion: Research, Theory, Applications, and Contexts IV (1998): 423-450. Print.Yarbrough, Stephen R. and John C. Adams. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Saints in the Hands of Their Fathers.” Journal of Communication and Religion. (1997): 25-35.
  • 13. Questions?