Origins in Book of Revelations There was a sharp reaction from evangelical Christians last

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Origins in Book of Revelations There was a sharp reaction from evangelical Christians last night to the suggestion that they were to blame for spreading the myth of satanic abuse [writes Damian Thompson]. The Rev Clive Calver, the Evangelical Alliance director, said he was "dismayed that evangelicals should be dismissed for responding pastorally to people alleging ritual abuse and for seeking to share information with others". But to critics, the report was further evidence that the scare was rooted in the millenarian belief that the world is entering a dark chapter called the "end time" in which the Devil will hold sway. Dr Bill Thompson, a Reading University sociologist, said the "satanic abuse" concept was invented by American fundamentalists convinced that Christ's imminent return will be preceeded by a period of satanic rule foretold in the Book of Revelation. He said: "They needed evidence of satanic activity to validate their religious beliefs". In the past, he argued, fundamentalists helped engineer "moral panics". Satanic abuse, he said, was "the perfect scare". It could be used to convince would-be converts that the end-time was approaching, but could also be toned down for the benefit of social workers. "It's very clever. You can leave out the stuff about the end of the world and concentrate on lists of the signs of abuse" he said. A spokesman for the Evangelical Alliance said yesterday that the Alliance was still convinced that ritual abuse occured.

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