Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God & Hell House   An Analysis of Fear Appeals—Then and Now                 By Lacey Solh...
―There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell ,       but the mere pleasure of God. By the mere pl...
push their shows further and further before, strategically planning what their scenarios willbe based on what is important...
and in the near future is what is feared—not necessarily those events that seem far off andimpossible.Witte defines fear v...
at a local school to act and perform the skits. In using children as the actors, it creates thesense of reality for the au...
than not it is political power and symbolic dominance: getting one’s view of the worldaccepted opens the door to many othe...
every year.By being able to do this event, the door has been opened for future events.According to the video, over 75,000 ...
environment that uses social pressure on others. No one wants to be that one person that isleft out. He urges people to ta...
follow what he wants them to do, they will avoid going to Hell. They are then shown theconstant torture and everlasting pa...
up in our minds.“I suggest that much of the value of dreaming, fantasizing and making-believe depends crucially on one’s t...
Edwards and Hell House function the same way. It is hard to get through to anoverly confident audience that already believ...
fear appeal argument can be more complex in its structure. What is alleged by the speaker isthat if the hearer carries out...
That sense had to be a true sense of the heart, a true convictions, rather than merely aspeculative or notional or otherwi...
susceptibility) and/or believe the health threat to be trivial (low severity), they will simplynot respond to the message ...
fear cause by this condition produce defensive motivation resulting in coping responses thatreduce fear and prevent danger...
creates a sense of efficacy in the audience. He creates a feeling of susceptibility when heconstantly reminds them that it...
is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old me and women, ormiddle aged, or young people, ...
the requests of the speakers. In danger control situations, the audience would feel as thoughthey are capable of the reque...
naturally born with, it is something that in ingrained in us by the culture we immerseourselves in. In all, there are fear...
Debiec, Jacek and Joseph LeDoux. "Fear and the Brain." Social Research 71 (2004): 807-       818. Print.Dillard, James. Ha...
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Senior Capstone Project: Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God & Hell House

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This was a paper I did my senior Year at UMD. It is an analysis of the fear appeals used in the 1600s during the great revival and today in "hell houses".

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

  1. 1. Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God & Hell House An Analysis of Fear Appeals—Then and Now By Lacey Solheid University of Minnesota Duluth April, 2012 1
  2. 2. ―There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell , but the mere pleasure of God. By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God’s mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.‖ –Jonathan Edwards In the early 18th Century, a “Great Revival” of sorts was going throughout theChristian communities. The preachers called the members of their small towns to becomebetter Christians and follow the faith. The most famous preacher of the time was JonathanEdwards. He gave moving “fire and brimstone” speeches that urged people to God. In hismost famous sermon,“Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God,” he used graphic imagery andextravagant language to describe Hell for the non-believers.Throughout his speech heexplains that at any moment, God can let the non-believers slip into Hell and perish. Thisspeech is over 270 years old and much of the imagery used might not seem as applicable bytoday’s standards. But a new phenomenon is stretching across the country.Hell Houses arepopping up in many different states. They are a contemporary way of preaching the samemessage Edwards was preaching two centuries ago.Similar to a haunted house, churchescreate elaborate skits and scenes depicting a tour of hell and how those people got there.Thisincludes a rather graphic scene of abortion, a child shooting himself at school, date rape, anddomestic violence.While it may be hard to see how the 270 year old sermon may apply totoday’s world, the Hell House is very real and getting a lot of attention.They continue to 2
  3. 3. push their shows further and further before, strategically planning what their scenarios willbe based on what is important to that year’s society. The Hell House creators claim that theyare not using scare tactics to attract people to the Christian faith, but this essay will beg todiffer.Both “Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God” and Hell House use fear appeals to gettheir audience to either convert or recommit themselves to God.In the documentary watcheddepicting the planning and carrying out of Hell House, one of the workers is seen talking tothe audience.“This is not a scare tactic. This is not a guilt trip we’re trying to play on you.This is about as you saw in each seen, someone died. And when they died, they either wentto heaven or hell… If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?”(Ratlife1:17:00). Although it claims not to be a scare tactic, it can be said that they are doingexactly what they say they are not. This essay hopes to evaluate the fear appeals used by Jonathan Edwards in his“Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God” sermon and Trinity Church’s Hell House byevaluating their appeals in Kim Witte’s Extended Parallel Process Model.Were fear appealsused based on the model? Are these fear appeals seen as effective? Are the fear appealslogical? Both Edwards and Hell House play on the idea that Hell is a very near threat andplay on those fears. In defining fear as an emotion, Aristotle wrote in Book II: “Let fear bedefined as a sort of pain and agitation derived from the imagination of a future destructive orpainful evil…and these if they do not appear to be far off but near, so that they are about tohappen; for what is far off is not feared...”(128). He is saying that what is happening now 3
  4. 4. and in the near future is what is feared—not necessarily those events that seem far off andimpossible.Witte defines fear very similarly to the way Aristotle does.“Fear is one of thebasic human emotions. Definitionally, it is a negatively valenced emotion accompanied by ahigh level of arousal and is elicited by a threat that is perceived to be significant andpersonally relevant. The elicitation of fear may occur following an appraisal of a threateningsituation or stimulus with or without an individual’s conscious intention orawareness”(424). She believes that in order to fear something, it must be seen as relevant tothe person feeling the pain. Edwards used vivid images to paint a picture of an angry God that does not seemvery far away. He created a sort of reality for his listeners it seemed as though Hell wasinevitable if the Christian faith was not followed. He describes the reality of how close Godis: “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justicebends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure ofGod, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps thearrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood”(8-9).He uses the images of anarrow to show the immediacy of God’s wrath. At any moment, without warning, God canrelease the arrow and send the members of the audience and community to Hell. The Hell House also creates this sense of near and present danger, but does it in adifferent way. Despite the graphic depictions of death, the intended audience for Hell Houseis comprised of teens and young adults. There are adults that attend, but younger people arewho they hope to reach out to. Because of this, they often draw upon the children and teens 4
  5. 5. at a local school to act and perform the skits. In using children as the actors, it creates thesense of reality for the audience that it could be them in the compromising positions they arewitnessing. There is also a sense of immediacy in Hell House because they draw upon manyproblems happening in the current society. One of the major examples is a school shooting.In one of the first scenes the audience comes upon, a teacher and her class are bullying astudent. The student becomes so fed up with their comments and criticism that he takes outa gun and shoots himself. A girl dressed as the Grim Reaper then drags him off to Hellkicking and screaming. The Hell House knows that shootings in schools do happen. Thereseems to always be at least one every year that comes up in the media. Knowing that thingslike this does happen, the Hell House can utilize this knowledge to scare its audience intobelieving the danger and threat is near to them. The use of fear can also be seen as a way to control and manipulate people.BarryGlassner defines the techniques used by fear mongers who use appeals to fear to control theaudiences. In his article, he talks about those who use power to manipulate.“In a culture offear, politicians and advocacy groups use and abuse collective anxieties for narrow politicalgains. Having helped to instill fears, they capitalize upon them to win elections…”(826).Those in charge instill a fear in an audience in attempt to further their own agendas. DavidAltheide agrees.“Citizens beliefs are constructed and then manipulated by those who see tobenefit. Fear does not just happen; it is socially constructed and managed by political actorsto promote their own goals. The goal of such manipulators might be money, but more often 5
  6. 6. than not it is political power and symbolic dominance: getting one’s view of the worldaccepted opens the door to many other programs and activities to implement this view”(18).Both of these views can also be applied to Edwards and Hell House. In the early 1700s, the leaders of many towns and cities were not governmentofficials, but the religious leaders of the time. They were typically the ones looked to foradvice and decisions. They were almost automatically given the credibility andreputation.“The power of the Church in Puritan new England was enormous. Besides thefamily, the Church became the most powerful institutional tool for controlling the youngpeople of the second generation…The sermon was the central and commanding incident intheir lives; theaters were forbidden and the religious service was the only possiblecommunal gathering for both men and women”(Garrigos 106). Because Edwards was solooked upon in his community, he could be considered a fear monger. He was able to createpowerful, repetitive images for his audience.He creates these scary images to get people tocome closer to the church and to change the way they act in their normal lives. If thecommunity didn’t follow the Christian teachings, he would be out of a job and out of thepower seat in the community. Because power seems to be very important to many people ofthe world, he wields his power over the audience to continue to build upon his power. The creators of the Hell House also construct fear in the audience to further anagenda as well. Hell House is meant to create this fear in the audience to ultimately convertto Christianity and potentially their church. Again, if there are no members to their churchor people following their church, they do not have the resources to put on the Hell House 6
  7. 7. every year.By being able to do this event, the door has been opened for future events.According to the video, over 75,000 people came to visit Hell House over the past fewyears. They have been able to reach out to a very large community. Once they found thatpeople were interested in what they were doing, they have continued to push the envelope tosee what they could get away with in the community.They can continue to put on thecontroversial show. There is very much a social component to fear that is played on by both Edwards andHell House as well.Dillard sees the social environment as the most important to humans andhuman behavior because it creates hierarchies.“...The challenges of social life are reducibleto just two over arching issues: getting along and getting ahead. The human group createsstatus hierarchies and networks of affiliation that correspond to these two issues. Togetherthey constitute social structure”(xxii). In both the sermon and Hell House, there is a definitehierarchy. In both, those that are the believers that know that they are not going to hell arefar above those that do not know. They share with their audiences the benefits of being aChristian in order to convince them to convert to their ways. In a sense, they are pressuringtheir audience to accept what they are saying and do as they do—a very social thought.Thesermon also puts the believers and followers in a better position than the non-believers.“Ifwe knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregations, that was to bethe subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to think of! If we knew who itwas, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person!”(13-14). He wants to create this 7
  8. 8. environment that uses social pressure on others. No one wants to be that one person that isleft out. He urges people to take the side that he is on so that no one feels left out. Emotions, especially fear, are learned through the social process as well.One cannotbe born with the fear a god, for gods and religion are totally instilled upon an individual byhis or her culture, family and community. Learned fear happens very quickly and canremain with a person for the rest of their life. They will have the ability to retrieve theinformation in their brain to build upon their thoughts. It can also affect the behavior andactions for an individual.“Once these behavior get ingrained, they become part of their ownreality, determining the behavioral patterns of an individual”(Debiec & LeDoux 809). Applying that idea to Edwards and Hell House, they hope to present a case thatmakes it so clear that Hell is a bad place to force people to want to avoid that situation. If aperson truly believes that they are going to Hell and are scared of what could happen tothem, they will act in such a way to avoid that from happening. In reality, what Edwardswas preaching was really not new information to his audience.“They were meant primarilyto remindcongregations of what they already knew and believed to give congregationsopportunities to review and possibly experience anew his repetitive Calvinist theme ofpredestination”(Yarbrough and Adams 1). The audience was already aware of what couldhappen, but Edwards continually gave them fearful images of burning and wrath to helpthem rethink what they already knew about Hell. Especially evident in Hell House and their depiction of an abortion and death of ahomosexual from AIDS. They want the audience to see that if they accept the Lord and 8
  9. 9. follow what he wants them to do, they will avoid going to Hell. They are then shown theconstant torture and everlasting pain of Hell for their own eyes in a different scene.They areshown what could potentially happen if they do not act in a way that prevents this fromhappening to them. Because fear is a learned process, there is a cognitive component to it.Nussbaumbelieves emotions to be a cognitive process that is intentional and direct.“Emotions areforms of intentional awareness: that is (since no ancient term corresponds precisely to theseterms), they are forms of awareness directed at or about an object, in which the objectfigures as it is seen from the creature’s point of view. Anger, for example, is not, or notsimply, a bodily reaction (such as boiling of the blood). To give adequate account of it, onemust mention the object to which it is directed, what it’s about and for. And when we dothis, we characterize the object as it is seen by the person experiencing the emotion, whetherthat view is correct or not: my anger depends upon the way I view you and what you havedone, not on the way you really are or what you really have done”(303-304). There is acognitive part to emotions where the person feeling the fear must actually believe that thereis a threat and they are scared or feel emotion toward the threat.“To fear that something is soquite plainly involves cognitive and attitudinal states. If all fear involves fearing thatsomething is so, then all fear involves such states”(Gordon 560-561).Whether Hell isactually a scary place, and the way in which it is described the artifacts makes it seem like aplace to fear,people decide that for themselves whether Hell exists or not.This is also similarto K. Walton. Walton believes that our realities are grounded in a fictional world we make 9
  10. 10. up in our minds.“I suggest that much of the value of dreaming, fantasizing and making-believe depends crucially on one’s thinking of oneself as belonging to a fictional world. It ischiefly by fictionally facing certain situations, engaging in certain activities, and having orexpressing certain feelings I think, that a dreamer, fantasizer, or game player comes to termswith his actual feelings—that he discovers them, learns to accept them, purges himself ofthem or whatever exactly it is that he does”(24). He believes that by imagining certainsituations, in this case Hell, we prepare ourselves to avoid that situation should it arise.People create their own reality. Edwards and Hell House help the audience to imagine whatthey could face should they not accept what they are saying. Cognition is a part of feeling fear. Since there must be a moment of thinking throughthe fear appeals, there are those few people that are resistant to fear appeals. At times, fearappeals can cause a feeling of pain in the audience. Pfau says that because people wouldrather avoid painful experiences, they will stray away from those using fear appeals—whichproves problematic for the speaker using fear appeals (222). The two types of people thatare resistant to the fear appeals are those that are overly confident (and experience a lot ofpleasure) and those that are hopeless (and experience a lot of pain)(Pfau 222). In order toget through an overly confident audience, the speaker must make them feel vulnerable. Theother set of people are those that are hopeless and feel no way of getting out. These are thetwo people that are resistant to fear appeals. 10
  11. 11. Edwards and Hell House function the same way. It is hard to get through to anoverly confident audience that already believes they are saved or that they are invincible tobeing affected by God. They do not feel they need to be saved. In order to effectively reachthose people, the speaker must make them feel like they are vulnerable. Edwards attemptsthis by trying to make it seem as though the wrath and anger of God can happen to anyone atanytime. This is done through his attempts to make it seem as though the threat is very closeat all times. And his repetition of this message throughout his sermon. In a scene of thedocumentary on the making of Hell House, a group of young people discuss the Hell Housewith the people on the planning team. The young students are clearly on the spectrum of thepeople that are not affected by the fear appeals. They believed that Hell House had gone toofar in their depictions of events. The appeals did not work on these students and they wereclearly upset had what they had just witnessed. A fear appeal is “recognized as a distinctive type of argumentation by empiricalresearchers, where it is seen as a kind of argument used to threaten a target audience with afearful outcome (most typically the outcome is the likelihood of death), in order to get theaudience to adopt a recommended response”(D. Walton 1).The speaker wants the audienceto act in a certain way because of the fear appeal used.Walton later goes on to say there arebasically two parts to a fear appeal, but other situations can be a little more complicated thanjust the two parts.“In most fear appeal arguments, the conditional is a simple two-stepconnection between two propositions or events—the hearer is told that if he carries out someaction, then some bad event will occur that is fearful to him. However, in some cases, the 11
  12. 12. fear appeal argument can be more complex in its structure. What is alleged by the speaker isthat if the hearer carries out one action, then that will lead to another, and so forth, in asequence of connected events that results in some horrible or fearful outcome. What isfearful for the respondent in this type of argument can be not only the final outcome, butalso the uncertainty and insecurity attached to the uncontrollability of thissequence”(Walton 14). Some basic appeals are simply a speaker telling an audience thatsomething bad will happen if they do a certain action, while others create a series of eventsthat could lead to that bad event. Based on Walton’s definition, both “Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God” andHell House could be seen as a fear appeal. At many times throughout his sermon, Edwardstells the audience that if they do not accept God, they will go to Hell. He urges thecongregation to follow the ways of the Lord.“How dreadful is the state of those that aredaily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismalcase of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again, however moral andstrict, sober and religious, they may otherwise be. Oh that you would consider it, whetheryou be young or old!”(13-14). If people in the audience have not decided to follow thefaith, it is now the time to choose to do so to avoid all of the scary, vengeful things that Godcan do to the non-believers.He had to convince them that Hell was a terrible place.“In orderto use fear appeals for the glory of God, the preacher had to make the members of thecongregation sense the awfulness of hell psychosomatically—in the body and the mind. 12
  13. 13. That sense had to be a true sense of the heart, a true convictions, rather than merely aspeculative or notional or otherwise bookish understanding of Hell”(Jackson 47-48). Although the Hell House organizers do not see their tactics as fear appeals, it is clearthat they utilize this scare tactics in their skits. In the same scene from the openingparagraph, one of the leaders explains what happens after witnessing Hell.“There are peoplein the next room waiting to pray with you should you choose to do so. If you were to dietonight, do you know where you will go? Or do you think that you know? Because if youthink that you know, then you’re taking a chance with your soul for eternity”(Ratlife1:17:30). He wants them to be certain that they are not going to Hell. He wants the audienceto go to the other room and pray with the people there so they can know for sure that theyare going to Heaven.If they don’t walk through that door, they are condemned to Hell afterthey leave. This is clearly a fear appeal. If the audience does a certain action, they will havea fearful, terrifying outcome that they just witnessed in the Hell House. Witte created the EPPM to evaluate fear appeals. There are three parts to the EPPM:threat, efficacy, and danger control or fear control. She defines fear as“an internal emotionalreaction composed of psychological and physiological dimensions that may be arousedwhen a serious and personally relevant threat is perceived”(429).Fear is the feeling that iscomes about when a perceived threat is near. There are two parts to feeling the threat:perceived susceptibility and perceived severity. A person must feel as though they couldpotentially experience the threat and also believe the threat to be severe enough to harmthem.“If people do not believe themselves to be at-risk for experiencing a health threat (low 13
  14. 14. susceptibility) and/or believe the health threat to be trivial (low severity), they will simplynot respond to the message because they are not motivated to do so”(428). The second part of the EPPM is efficacy. People must believe that their actions couldprevent this threat from happening to them. Efficacy “pertains to the effectiveness,feasibility, and ease with which a recommended response impedes or averts a threat.Perceived efficacy as thoughts or cognitions about its underlying dimensions, responseefficacy and self-efficacy”(429). Here there are two parts as well: response efficacy and selfefficacy. The first being “beliefs about the effectiveness of the recommended response indeterring the threat. The second being “beliefs about one’s ability to perform therecommended response in deterring the threat”(429). The audience must feel that the actionbeing recommended by the speaker will help to solve the problem, and that they can carryout those actions themselves. Finally, the audience’s reaction will either be danger controlor fear control. Danger control and fear control are two different things. Danger control is a“cognitive process eliciting protection motivation that occurs when one believes she or he isable to effectively avert a significant and relevant threat through self protective changes.When in danger control people think of strategies to avert a threat”(429). In turn, fearcontrol is “an emotional process eliciting defensive motivation that occurs when people arefaced with a significant and relevant threat but believe themselves to be unable to perform arecommencedresponse and/or they believe the response to be ineffective. The high levels of 14
  15. 15. fear cause by this condition produce defensive motivation resulting in coping responses thatreduce fear and prevent danger control responses from occurring”(429). By the EPPM, if Edwards and Hell House should be able to effectively use fearappeals.Each attempts to create a threat in which the audiences not only feel like they aresusceptible to the threat of Hell, but also that Hell is a terrible place. The audience can thenevaluate whether or not they think the suggested action of the speaker would actually solvetheir problem and whether or not they believe they can carry out the action. If Edwards andHell House can cause their audiences to believe that they are capable of accepting God andthat by doing so it will save them from Hell, they have potentially used an effective fearappeal. In both of the situations, the desired outcome is to have the audiences take theaccounts of the speaker and believe that they are true and could happen. The speaker alsowants the audience to believe the course of action they are suggesting (converting orrecommitting to Christianity) is plausible for the audience to achieve. Now, to apply bothEdwards’ speech and Hell House to this model. “Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God” follows the EPPM very closely.It wasestablished earlier in this paper that there must be a threat that is present. Edwards clearlyestablished how great of a threat going to Hell was.“O Sinner! Consider the fearful dangeryou are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire o wrath,that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed asmuch against you, as against many of the damned to hell”(Edwards 9).He clearly tells theaudience that they currently face a threat and are vulnerable to the pit of Hell. He also 15
  16. 16. creates a sense of efficacy in the audience. He creates a feeling of susceptibility when heconstantly reminds them that it could happen at any moment to any person.“It implies, thatthey were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slipperyplaces is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall standor fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning”(Edwards2).Anyone in the audience is capable of slipping and falling at any moment into Hell. Thereis also a sense of severity of Hell throughout the speech as well.“The wrath of God burnsagainst them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the is made ready, thefurnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glitteringsword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them”(Edwards4).Edwards is able to use words and figurative language to make the audience believe thatthey can be sent to Hell at any moment at the hands of God. After establishing that the threatexists, Edwards also explains that by following God and accepting him as the father willlead to a good life and heaven. He explains that there are so many opportunities to convert,why watch other people celebrate, why not join in? He creates a response efficacy byshowing the audience that good times are to follow should they do what he is asking.“Andnow you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day where in Christ has thrown the door ofmercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a daywherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God”(Edwards 14). Healso makes it seem like it is easy for each member of the audience to do.“Let every one that 16
  17. 17. is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old me and women, ormiddle aged, or young people, or little children, now harken to the loud calls of God’s wordand providence”(Edwards 15). No matter someone’s age in the audience, it is possible forthem to accept his message and carry out his request. The EPPM can be applied to the Hell House as well. To create a sense of threat theymake the situations seem very realistic. They use realistic props and costumes. They alsoshow a variety of situations that teens and families go through on a daily basis includingdomestic violence, drugs and alcohol, bullying, suicide, homosexuality, and abortions. TheHell House creates a feeling in the audience that it can happen to anyone. While most of theactors are teens, there are a few adults in roles as well. A wide spectrum of people is used tocreate a feeling that anyone can find themselves in some of the situations they are watching.The scene at the end of the show depicts Hell and shows the constant torture, suffering andbrutality of Hell. They show the pain and agony people face when condemned there. HellHouse was able to show the fiery pit of Hell and its destruction. At the end of the show, theaudience is then witnessed to and urged to walk through a door to pray with someone alongtheir journey. The simple and easy thing for the audience member to do is to walk throughthe door and they will forever be saved. The Hell House makes it seem as though it is veryeasy to avoid the threat of Hell. In both situations, the speakers want the outcome to be danger control. If they werepartaking in fear control, they would feel as though they were not capable of carrying out 17
  18. 18. the requests of the speakers. In danger control situations, the audience would feel as thoughthey are capable of the request and carry out the task to lower their fear. Finally, Edwards’ sermon and Hell House will be analyzed on whether or not theirfear appeals are logical.“Some fear appeal arguments work by sketching out a picture thatsuggests (often rather vaguely) something that is highly fearful to a target audience. Thistype of fear appeal argument tends to be logically weak, because it is based on suggestionsinstead of hard evidence that the fearful event really will occur”(Walton 14). While the fearappeals that are used in both situations are not vague, they are not seen as logical. The fearappeal is weak because there are no hard facts to say who is or is not going to be condemnedto Hell.Aristotle would also agree with this because he sees that emotions tend to warp ourjudgment. “[There is persuasion] through hearers when they are led to feeling free emotionsby the speech; for we do not give the same judgment when grieved and rejoicing or whenbeing friendly and hostile” (39). The appeals used by both the Hell House and the “Sinnersat the Hands of an Angry God” sermon are not seen as logical. Through this essay, fear appeals in two religious artifacts were studied. While HellHouse claims not to be a scare tactic, it is in fact a fear appeal according to the EPPM.Bothsituations create a scenario in which a threat is seen as being close and very terrifying. Fearcan also be used to manipulate people and used by those in power. Edwards and Hell Houseutilize their position to further their agendas. There is a social and learned component to fearthat is evident throughout the sermon and Hell House as well. It is not something that we are 18
  19. 19. naturally born with, it is something that in ingrained in us by the culture we immerseourselves in. In all, there are fear appeals used in the Christian faith. It was used twocenturies ago by men in wigs and it is continually seen in contemporary churches withpeople in costumes. Whether a person takes the time to evaluate the messages they arehearing, is up to them. BibliographyAltheide, 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. 19
  20. 20. 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 Glory.com. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <http://www.hisglory.com/sinners_in_the_hands_of_an_angry_god.htm>.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. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbhQsRJ6ARw>.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. 20

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