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Is Scaring an Effective Means to Change Behavior

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Is Scaring an Effective Means to Change Behavior

  • By
  • September 2010
  • 362 Words
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In colonial New England, the Pilgrim Puritans had come to the New World to escape religious differences in Europe. However, they still believed in several key points that their religion stipulated in the Church of England according to the Bible, which was their daily guideline and lesson to achieving salvation. They also believed in John Calvin’s Predestination Theory, which meant that all people under God were destined to either go to Heaven or Hell depending upon what God chose their path to be as soon as their first cry entered the world from their mother’s womb. The Puritans believed that they were already either going to Paradise or were going to be burnt in the fiery pits of Hell, regardless of the way they led their lives. During this time of belief, there lived a woman named Anne Hutcherson who was a midwife and a devout Christian. She regularly attended the church services, and even attended meetings after the services to continue speaking about her beliefs and preaching to her fellow pilgrims. A young pregnant woman listened to Anne and began to get frightened about the Predestination theory because she was scared that she would succumb to the evils that would determine if she was damned to Hell. She gave birth to her child and shortly after dropped it into a water well, cursing Anne for her beliefs and theories. Anne was banned from her Church and home town and, shortly after, she and her several children were murdered in their home.

Because Ms. Jane Doe was terrified of Predestination, it led her to question her beliefs and kill her small child just to see if she was really destined to burn in Hell. In all, after hearing this story, I believe that scaring people is an effective way to change behavior, but the way a person attempts to do so should be monitored closely. I have no doubt in my mind that Anne felt extreme guilt over Jane’s conscience and actions; Anne had made the mistake of not explaining herself well enough to ensure that no one would...

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