There was a tendency to call upon spirits of terror and compulsion. There is always a sort of dim idea that these darker powers will really do things, with no nonsense about it. In the interior psychology of the Punic peoples this strange sort of pessimistic practicality had grown to great proportions. In the New Town, which the Romans called Carthage, as in the parent cities of Phoenicia, the god who got things done bore the name Moloch, who was perhaps identical with the other deity whom we know as Baal, the Lord. The Romans did not at first know quite what to call him or what to make of him; they had to go back to the grossest myth of Greek or Roman origins and compare him to Saturn devouring his children. But the worshippers of Moloch were not gross or primitive. They were members of a mature and polished civilization, abounding in refinements and luxuries; they were probably far more civilized than the Romans. And Moloch was not a myth. These highly civilized people really met together to invoke the blessing of heaven on their empire by throwing hundreds of their infants into a large furnace. We can only realize the combination by imagining a number of Manchester merchants with chimney-pot hats and mutton-chop whiskers, going to church every Sunday at eleven o’clock to see a baby roasted alive.What is terrible is that today we don't have to imagine Moloch worshippers being civilized the way Chesterton did. We've got abortion clinics all over the country.
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man