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Their beliefs revolved around fear and the never-ending quest to be holy.
Vices were always on their mind and damnation was always only one step away. THey believed if they tried really hard, they could overcome sin, with God's help of course.
They took their natural urges to be temptations and hence kept an ever watchful vigil that the pesky Devil doesn't tempt them.
Only God could absolve them of the sin that is in their heart.
It feels way better to look down on people like Hester than to examine themselves.