The Demon Haunted World

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Questions and Responses for "The Demon Haunted World"
1. What is the danger of Sagan using a rhetorical question at the end of the first paragraph, especially considering that he has mentioned “traditional religions” earlier on? A rhetorical question, commonly asked to make a statement rather than an argument, extracts a casual "yes" from the reader, as they agree to something obvious. However, Sagan disregards the common use of the literary device to bluntly state his personal opinion and belittle the beliefs of all religions. As most people are devotees of a certain faith, his statement is prone to distaste. He takes it upon himself to demean age old views, while simultaneously offering a fresh perspective. Sagan's accusation of people believing in such preposterous things makes him the perfect target, on which, aimed directly at him, is the wrath of all those who disagree. 2. What is the effect of Sagan using Augustine’s own words when, on page 118, he writes witches were guilty of “a criminal tampering with the unseen world”? The reality of opinions becomes apparent when quotes enclose a statement. This truly was the belief of an influential philosopher, who, without hesitation, justified the existence of demons through witchcraft. Doubt is the immediate response pertaining to the reader's own beliefs. If someone could so blindly have confidence in a theory, that, today, seems senseless, it is simply instinctive to second guess one's own proclivity. 3. How is it ironic that torture induced confessions lead church officials to state that they were “…frightful proofs that the Devil is still alive”? The victims of torture simply said what the inflictors wanted to hear in order to save themselves. The confessions were not only false but they had been extracted by the true Devils. Common views of the Devil's nature entail violence and overall negative connotations. Therefore, the inflictors of pain on those accused of witchcraft unconsciously validated...
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