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Exorcisims And Demonic Possession


Justin
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Have any scientific studies or research been carried out on this to debunk it? I don't believe in it but i was just wondering if the scientific community has done anything on the subject.

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I think it's funny that you posted this thread, since I was just thinking about something sort of similar. I lived in a small town in Mexico for almost a year. While I was there, I heard numerous reports of town "witches" who could supposedly transform themselves into turkeys and owls. I know it sounds so ridiculous, but these people really did believe this stuff. I would love to see one of those witches try that while under real observation.

 

As for exorcisms and demonic possession, I don't know what criteria someone could use to objectively determine whether or not someone was just faking their behavior.

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I have been told that in the Catholic countries such as Italy, psychologists and psychiatrists have a "hands off" policy regarding anything having to do with Catholicism. For example, none of them will state that St. Francis of Assisi was probably a schizophrenic, because that would poo-poo the cherished Catholic myth that he had a God-given ability to talk with animals. They also won't touch anything involving demonic this-that-or-the-other. Well, that's the case in Italy. It could be different in France which has a much stronger secular tradition, but I wouldn't know.

 

I would really like to see a cross-cultural comparative study of people's experiences of demons. As a Pentecostal, me and several others regularly "saw" them and thought that they were constantly fucking with us. Not just putting bad thoughts in our head, but even going so far as to physically manipulate the environment, such as causing inexplicable car troubles when we were trying to drive to Venice Beach to evangelize, or even hitting us *FWAP* out of thin air. I've seen some freaky, fucked up shit that I still can't explain to this day and it deeply troubles me.

 

But I know that other cultures/religions see, hear, and feel shit like that too. Sometimes I think that the spirits are real, except that they don't subscribe to any of the major or minor religions, and maybe they're not really "spirits." But I'll tell you, I've seen some fucked up shit, and my inability to explain it keeps me awake at night at times. It troubles me, deeply at times, and that's why I'm an agnostic and could never be an atheist.

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I would really like to see a cross-cultural comparative study of people's experiences of demons. As a Pentecostal, me and several others regularly "saw" them and thought that they were constantly fucking with us. Not just putting bad thoughts in our head, but even going so far as to physically manipulate the environment, such as causing inexplicable car troubles when we were trying to drive to Venice Beach to evangelize, or even hitting us *FWAP* out of thin air. I've seen some freaky, fucked up shit that I still can't explain to this day and it deeply troubles me.

 

But I know that other cultures/religions see, hear, and feel shit like that too. Sometimes I think that the spirits are real, except that they don't subscribe to any of the major or minor religions, and maybe they're not really "spirits." But I'll tell you, I've seen some fucked up shit, and my inability to explain it keeps me awake at night at times. It troubles me, deeply at times, and that's why I'm an agnostic and could never be an atheist.

 

Vomit Comet, can you elaborate on some of the things you've seen? It sounds like you have quite a story to tell.

 

I've heard the apocryphal stories of demonic posession, the entire losing-one's-personality-and-memory thing. A bit scary/freaky from the stories and movies themselves. Halloween stories aside (but not the candy, yum!) lets take a look at what the realm of psychology has to say about this...

 

A brief lit search into this phenomenon gives some insight into psychological explanations. A study by Ward and Beaubrun, The Psychodynamics of Demon Possession, examined case studies in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Stress and domestic problems are primary motivating factors for people to become 'possessed', and such 'possession' allows a convenient way to cope with conflict situations. Being 'possessed' allows the individual to escape from their current situation and to place the blame on whatever spirit is 'possessing' them. Thus the person's guilt is diffused through that entity. This study also explains how the church culture provides a medium by which the possessee can express themselves in a type of social network.

 

The article doesn't state it explicitly, but I have the feeling that the church subculture exacerbates the situation when they are sending priests to exorcise them. This action serves only to reinforce the belief that they are possessed and will act out on it. Another lit search reveals an article that backs up this thought: A study by Ferracuti, Sacco, and Lazzari says, "Persons with DTD (Dissociative Trance Disorder) are possibly conflictual individuals who have guilt feelings, are psychologically complex, have problems with control, and maintain strong religious values." and also "Unlike patients with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), possession trance in these persons is expressed mainly in the presence of an exorcist, thus allowing a form of guidance during the altered conscious state. The personality and professional skill of the exorcist may therefore play a fundamental role in the regenerative quality of the dissociation experience."

 

Interesting read. I wouldn't be surprised if it is explained by psychology.

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I've seen some freaky, fucked up shit that I still can't explain to this day and it deeply troubles me.

 

But I know that other cultures/religions see, hear, and feel shit like that too. Sometimes I think that the spirits are real, except that they don't subscribe to any of the major or minor religions, and maybe they're not really "spirits." But I'll tell you, I've seen some fucked up shit, and my inability to explain it keeps me awake at night at times. It troubles me, deeply at times, and that's why I'm an agnostic and could never be an atheist.

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind that the mind can go into some pretty interesting "modes", sometimes. A string of coincidences can sometimes reinforce various beliefs when it comes to this kind of thing. While I was in the process of deconversion, and denying the existence of any "supernatural" dimension, I had a disturbing experience or two that also bothered me quite a bit. However, since that time I have attempted to put them into perspective, and strangely enough, as time has gone on and the "superstitious/occult/dark forces" realities have completely worn off, I have had no such experiences, not even close.

 

It seems that once we orient the mind and our perceptions away from the superstitious and the supernatural, less of this kind of phenomenon presents itself. It was actually a Buddhist priest who once told me how powerful the force of superstitious thinking can be; like a magnet, he said, that can even curve reality and distort it to limitless degrees. At least in the eye of the beholder.

 

Wouldn't mind hearing some of your anecdotes, though. Not that we'll jump all over it to debunk it or anything, I just find this subject interesting.

 

OK, maybe debunk it a little....

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Several things.

 

1. It did indeed all go quiet (for the most part) once I deconverted. But then the former Christian me would say "the demons aren't fucking with you anymore because they've won. You're going to Hell now, which is a victory for Satan. If they fucked with you now that you're a non-believer, it would scare you right back into born-again funda-costal Christianity. Instead, they're leaving you alone so that you'll stay agnostic and go to hell when you die."

 

2. I've been planning for a while to post an incredibly massive post about all my experiences. Maybe in the next month or so; it'll take a while for me to collect my thoughts.

 

3. If y'all could debunk that shit as completely as possible, that would be fucking excellent. I'd sleep much better at night and worry less about the future (I fret that I'll get all chicken-shit as I near death), that's for goddamn sure.

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"The mind is a terrible thing. When wasted." --Dan Quayle

 

The human mind can and does produce even more outrageous things than demons and spirits, but that's all it is. Most fundy religions use a form of hypnosis and mind controlto keep the sheep scared and in line.

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1. It did indeed all go quiet (for the most part) once I deconverted. But then the former Christian me would say "the demons aren't fucking with you anymore because they've won. You're going to Hell now, which is a victory for Satan. If they fucked with you now that you're a non-believer, it would scare you right back into born-again funda-costal Christianity. Instead, they're leaving you alone so that you'll stay agnostic and go to hell when you die."

 

I think it all went quiet because none of that ever existed, you just believed in it as a christian. Kind of like as a child one can believe in an imaginary friend or that a monster lives in under their bed. One day they realize that they just don't believe it anymore and thus there goes all the sounds and things that they thought they saw and heard. They see that it never was real to begin with.

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1. It did indeed all go quiet (for the most part) once I deconverted. But then the former Christian me would say "the demons aren't fucking with you anymore because they've won. You're going to Hell now, which is a victory for Satan. If they fucked with you now that you're a non-believer, it would scare you right back into born-again funda-costal Christianity. Instead, they're leaving you alone so that you'll stay agnostic and go to hell when you die."

 

I think it all went quiet because none of that ever existed, you just believed in it as a christian. Kind of like as a child one can believe in an imaginary friend or that a monster lives in under their bed. One day they realize that they just don't believe it anymore and thus there goes all the sounds and things that they thought they saw and heard. They see that it never was real to begin with.

Kind of like what happened with Puff the Magic Dragon.

 

Aka Satan.

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My pastor taught me that satan doesn't want anyone to believe in him. That way, he can trick them all the easier into going to hell. The demonic experiences convinced me that the universe of Christianity was very, very real. I would have deconverted about five or six years earlier than I did were it not for that; the "good people are going to hell without Jesus" thing was really fucked up and I always knew it deep down inside.

 

Kind of a catch 22, eh? Well, not really, but it's just as insidious.

 

"I can't see your demons. This is bullshit."

 

"That's because satan has you right where he wants you!"

 

"How come you can see them?"

 

"Because I'm engaging in spiritual warfare and that pisses him off enough to reveal himself to me when he tries to fight back."

 

"You're crazy."

 

"Ha! You're satan's tool."

 

"There is no satan."

 

"That's what makes you satan's tool."

 

Ya can't fucking win. :Doh:

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I have been told that in the Catholic countries such as Italy, psychologists and psychiatrists have a "hands off" policy regarding anything having to do with Catholicism. For example, none of them will state that St. Francis of Assisi was probably a schizophrenic, because that would poo-poo the cherished Catholic myth that he had a God-given ability to talk with animals. They also won't touch anything involving demonic this-that-or-the-other. Well, that's the case in Italy. It could be different in France which has a much stronger secular tradition, but I wouldn't know.

 

I would really like to see a cross-cultural comparative study of people's experiences of demons. As a Pentecostal, me and several others regularly "saw" them and thought that they were constantly fucking with us. Not just putting bad thoughts in our head, but even going so far as to physically manipulate the environment, such as causing inexplicable car troubles when we were trying to drive to Venice Beach to evangelize, or even hitting us *FWAP* out of thin air. I've seen some freaky, fucked up shit that I still can't explain to this day and it deeply troubles me.

 

But I know that other cultures/religions see, hear, and feel shit like that too. Sometimes I think that the spirits are real, except that they don't subscribe to any of the major or minor religions, and maybe they're not really "spirits." But I'll tell you, I've seen some fucked up shit, and my inability to explain it keeps me awake at night at times. It troubles me, deeply at times, and that's why I'm an agnostic and could never be an atheist.

 

 

OK, this is one topic that very seriously screwed with my head... and contributed in large part to the self-fulfilling prophecy of self-destructiveness that I went through after leaving the faith. Vomit, I understand a lot of what you went through here and the "no-win" ideology you describe in your 2nd and 3rd posts. I had some experiences which could well have landed me in the hospital. I am pretty sure that I found some psychological references to how some of this works as I was recovering and I'll see if I can dig them out again, but a big part of the healing for me on this issue was very much a personal "facing of demons," whether they were real or psychological. After doing so it became apparent to me that they were psychological, but nevertheless that's still very powerful stuff.

 

I'll have to get back to this topic again later, perhaps in bits and pieces.

 

Incidentally, this is one issue which I am slowly and carefully asking my current date about (see the thread here), because the Charismatic church he used to attend -- and enjoyed -- was involved with spiritual warfare. I am not yet sure of his stance on this issue right now, but suspect he might be skeptical at this point like he seems to be on other points of doctrine. Nevertheless, it's a worldview that is so destructive and manipulative that I am not sure I would ever want to have continued close contact with someone who believes it again. Either that or I would need to be certain that I have so completely gotten over it that even this idea espoused by someone I'm very close to would not affect me. I might already be at that point (I really did have to do a lot of work on this), but am not sure yet.

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One thing I can suggest right away is the section in Marlene Winell's book on the Idea Monster. This section was very helpful to me with respect to this issue once I actually discovered the book.

 

Another thing, just generally speaking, is that like with other topics, I was really helped by studying comparative religions. "Demon theology" in Christianity is not a stand-alone idea. It depends on other ideas such as an ongoing war between good and evil, ideas about hell, God, the power of Jesus and so on. Any study which helped to put this whole worldview into its cultural and historical perspective or taught me about entirely different worldviews (and their cultural/historical context) helped to diminish the power of the Christian demon idea.

 

Imagine what it might feel like to stand in an art gallery before a large painting of a demon which towers over you in, say, the "Christian" room. Now imagine backing off and taking a bird's eye view of the whole art gallery with all its different rooms full of religious iconography and depictions of stories, figures, and themes. The demon painting occupies a much smaller place because your consciousness of the whole range of ideas and images has expanded. It was like that.

 

One might also then imagine backing off from the art gallery and taking in the larger neighborhood, the local ecosystem, etc, for that matter. After finally finding some good answers, it was helpful just to let go of the topic and investigate other things.

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"The mind is a terrible thing. When wasted." --Dan Quayle

 

The human mind can and does produce even more outrageous things than demons and spirits, but that's all it is. Most fundy religions use a form of hypnosis and mind controlto keep the sheep scared and in line.

 

 

So true. Satan is part of the mindgame that Christians play with people to keep them scared as fuck and in line. I mean there is some truth to the idea that you can't truly defend against an enemy you aren't aware of and snipers, for example, use this aspect of existence all the time to devastating effect in warfare.

 

The problem with this is, as you pointed out, that the mind can produce outrageous things like that. Then the religious unwittingly (usually) use those things for mind control purposes to control even more people or put more control over a particular person. It's really quite sad.

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OK, it's not a scientific study, but here's a reference I found helpful. Skipp Porteous's Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore has a chapter called "Exorcists and Flying Prophets" which goes into some of this stuff.

 

Here's a quote from towards the end of the chapter:

 

Over a period of almost three years, we performed dozens of exorcisms. Our victims included men, women, and children -- as young as seven and eight.

 

After a while, it became clear to everyone that everyone we thought we delivered of demons reverted back to their old ways and still had the same problems. In fact, several ended up in mental institutions or died through suicide. Rather than admit to the severity of our destruction, we just let it go and went on to emphasize something else.

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Bird Lady, thank you so much. You've really given me food for thought.

 

I've thought about studying the demonology of other religious paradigms, such as Hinduism, hoodoo voodoo, the various paganisms (old and new) and so on and so forth.

 

One thing that really shook me prior to my deconversion was my encounter with an ex-Christian who had become a full blown neo-Pagan. He regarded spirits as very real and he said "we have all the same methods that you do for spiritual warfare. But ours are more effective because they're more practical and not as laden with falsehoods." And then he told me stories that were remarkably similar to my own experiences and that of other Christians I knew. Freaked me the fuck out; it contributed a bit to the crack that would one day split the whole thing, you could say.

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I've thought about studying the demonology of other religious paradigms, such as Hinduism, hoodoo voodoo, the various paganisms (old and new) and so on and so forth.

 

For what it's worth, I looked more at other religions in general rather than at the demonology of other religions in particular. There are pretty interesting/bizarre/frightening stories of spirits the world over. I could find a few if you want to see some. You could potentially include faerie stories, too (the old ones of powerful and unpredictible fae, not the twinkerbell type). I'm not sure whether these would have been as helpful to me back then as just getting a better understanding of other religions in general, how they all change through time and what they mean to those in their respective cultures, though. The big religious picture helped to diminish the power of the Christian worldview over me, and Christian demons were part of that. A study of stories of the world's demons and spirits might have freaked me out more back then, unless perhaps I looked at the development of what was assumed about these spirits throughout history.

 

One thing that really shook me prior to my deconversion was my encounter with an ex-Christian who had become a full blown neo-Pagan. He regarded spirits as very real and he said "we have all the same methods that you do for spiritual warfare. But ours are more effective because they're more practical and not as laden with falsehoods." And then he told me stories that were remarkably similar to my own experiences and that of other Christians I knew. Freaked me the fuck out; it contributed a bit to the crack that would one day split the whole thing, you could say.

 

If you're willing, I'd be interested in hearing some of this.

 

I'm Pagan and have seen enough to keep my eyes and mind open, but part of me stays skeptical of a lot of things I hear about and even experience. I have also heard stories about some of these things from intelligent friends that I have reason to trust. There are sometimes psychological or physiological explanations for these things, and sometimes more rational explanations are just not apparent.

 

I do tend to separate stories of spirits in general from stories of Christian demons. Christian demons come with a whole set of baggage that "spirits" in other religions don't. Christian demons are said to be evil beings specifically bent on deceiving people and keeping them away from God. They're supposed to cower at Jesus' name and so on.

 

"Daemons" (or daimon) in the ancient Greek tradition (which is where the Christian concept largely originated, anyway) were just spirits, and while some back then speculated that there might be both good ones and bad ones, others, like many of the Greek philosophers, denied this. The words were also used to indicate psychological states such as "happiness" (eudaimonia = "good daemon") or "unhappiness" (dysdaimonia or kakodaimonia = "bad daemon"). "Agathos daimon" or "very good spirit" was similar to the Roman personal "genius" or a Christian "guardian angel" and worshipped the 2nd day of every month. A handy little book on Greek daemons called "The God of Socrates" by Apuleius contains a short publisher's foreword which explains why the Greek philosophers even postulated the existence of daemons in the first place. It's worth a read if you can get it through an interlibrary loan. In a nutshell, it says that the Greek stories in Homer and Hesiod showed the Gods engaging in acts which the philosohpers thought were beneath the serenity and dignity that Gods should have... i.e. they got angry, they lusted, they were violent. Daemons, thought to be "intermediary beings, sharing with the gods immortality, but sharing with human-kind passions and falability," were therefore proposed to be the actual agents of action in these stories, operating independently yet somehow under the name of the God they served. Then the Church Fathers came along and said that all daemons were evil beings subservient to Satan. From the foreword:

Thus, any one not worshipping the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures according to the Fathers was paying homage to demons or devils and indirectly to Satan. Greek Philosophy was hard put to answer the charge of the Fathers simply because it did not, would not, and could not accept or conceive of an intelligent and active principle of evil: that was too Oriental (Persian in fact) for the Greek mind to accept or deal with. Evil was seen as a privation or incapacity to receive the full beneficence of the Good, a beclouded vision; never as an active and malicious principle... To the Greek mind, this evil is a passive condition; to the Christians it is active, malicious and malevolent. Equating daemons with demons committed the new order to accepting the Greek or Platonic Daemonology and its denizens albeit dethroned, but powerful forces in the theological landscape nevertheless. (p.iv-v)

 

The idea that neither daemons nor any other force could be a malicious agent of evil sort-of parallels an idea I've heard from other Pagans on the issue of spirits vs. Christian demons: "Don't those spirits have better things to do than bother humans? It's awfully narcissistic of humans to be so paranoid about demons (or other spirits) being out to get them." :HaHa:

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Wow, MBL, thanks for your gigantic reply!

 

For what it's worth, I looked more at other religions in general rather than at the demonology of other religions in particular. There are pretty interesting/bizarre/frightening stories of spirits the world over. I could find a few if you want to see some.

 

I'm much more interested in the evil/scary side of things than the happy smiley earth mama side of things, but that's just me. Guess I've just listened to too much death metal over the years. Though in general it's probably better to go whole rather than partial.

 

If you're willing, I'd be interested in hearing some of this.

 

I don't remember much. The guy said that he would draw circles on the ground, and the spirits couldn't come inside the circle. Or he'd do some thingy to the windows and doors so that they couldn't come in the house; it was much like how we'd annoint doors and windows with oil to keep demons out.

 

Also, I remember when I was a brand new Christian, I had a close friend who was into the occult and so were many of his friends. We were hanging out at a mall out in the desert ass-end of Southern California, and he and his friends started talking about all this crazy hoodoo shit. "There is a black magician in there now. I sensed his presence." "Yeah, I did too." This was before I knew about demons and shit, so I was like "what the fuck!?" :twitch: I chalked it up to them being a little too into Dungeons & Dragons, but they were so deadly serious. They implied that they sensed the same exact thing independently of one another. And they made it sound as dire as if they were federal agents trying to track a professional assassin or some shit like that.

 

So they seemed to have a whole entire demonology going. Some of his friends were pretty fucking weird. One of his friends ended up in the mental hospital because he tried to kill his dad, because he thought his dad was a witch hunter that was going to kill him first. He told me that his mom was a heathen priestess of some kind from Zimbabwe. Well, I can tell you that she was from Zimbabwe (or somewhere in Africa, at least), that's about all I know for sure. He claimed to be a necromancer. Honestly, I don't know what the fuck.... :twitch: It scared the shit out of me at the time (I was about 15) but I was also morbidly curious. Strangely enough, they were also Scientologists. Or Christian Science, I can't remember what the fuck which.

 

Christ. I'm half afraid that someone who knew that guy is reading this. That's some seriously bat-shit crazy madness, I'll tell you. There was always some seriously weird ass shit going down back home in Los Angeles County, California. We gave the world Charles Manson, as well as the world's very first satanic rock and roll band, all the way back in 1968. They were called Coven. Who remembers?

 

My link

 

It always seemed to me that Northern California got all the hippy dippy sweetness and light types. But SoCal got all the dark and creepy, vaguely satanic types. Hoooo boy... memories....

 

I'm Pagan and have seen enough to keep my eyes and mind open, but part of me stays skeptical of a lot of things I hear about and even experience. I have also heard stories about some of these things from intelligent friends that I have reason to trust. There are sometimes psychological or physiological explanations for these things, and sometimes more rational explanations are just not apparent.

 

A close personal friend of mine is just such a Pagan. Although she also attends an ultra-liberal church that has a lesbian pastor. (She's up in NorCal, and isn't scary at all.) She has told me just as much. I confessed to her my ultra-traumatic deconversion ex-timony, along with all the fucked up demon shit. She said "oh, reality is much different from what you experienced. If you ever want to experience it..." I said "I need a break. I'm just not ready. I don't know if I'll ever be." She understood.

 

I told her "I live in fear that maybe it was all real after all." That the Christian/Pentecostal/Catholic/Bat-shit understanding of demons was indeed true, and I was in deadly error. She said "don't worry. It's not."

 

I do tend to separate stories of spirits in general from stories of Christian demons. Christian demons come with a whole set of baggage that "spirits" in other religions don't. Christian demons are said to be evil beings specifically bent on deceiving people and keeping them away from God. They're supposed to cower at Jesus' name and so on.

 

I also got that same sense of it from her.

 

"Daemons" (or daimon) in the ancient Greek tradition (which is where the Christian concept largely originated, anyway)

 

I always sensed that there was this weird tension between the Greek understanding and the Hebrew understanding of demons. You even sense it in Scripture, particularly due to the weird translation issues that my study Bible would point out vaguely.

 

In a nutshell, it says that the Greek stories in Homer and Hesiod showed the Gods engaging in acts which the philosohpers thought were beneath the serenity and dignity that Gods should have... i.e. they got angry, they lusted, they were violent. Daemons, thought to be "intermediary beings, sharing with the gods immortality, but sharing with human-kind passions and falability," were therefore proposed to be the actual agents of action in these stories, operating independently yet somehow under the name of the God they served. Then the Church Fathers came along and said that all daemons were evil beings subservient to Satan.

 

Holy shit! That's pretty interesting. I should check that out.

 

Thus, any one not worshipping the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures according to the Fathers was paying homage to demons or devils and indirectly to Satan.

 

That's what the man, St. Paul, himself said. That pagans were really worshiping demons. I figured that the Allah of Islam was just a giant desert demon that got way too big for his britches, pulling the greatest pseudo-Abrahamic bait-and-switch ever. I remember getting a hard-on (speaking figuratiely, of course) thinking about the Last Days when Jesus would beat the shit out of Allah and then cast him into the flames along with all the other demonic motherfuckers.

 

Greek Philosophy was hard put to answer the charge of the Fathers simply because it did not, would not, and could not accept or conceive of an intelligent and active principle of evil: that was too Oriental (Persian in fact) for the Greek mind to accept or deal with.

 

I see.

 

The idea that neither daemons nor any other force could be a malicious agent of evil sort-of parallels an idea I've heard from other Pagans on the issue of spirits vs. Christian demons: "Don't those spirits have better things to do than bother humans? It's awfully narcissistic of humans to be so paranoid about demons (or other spirits) being out to get them."

 

But that's what the demons want you to think! :wicked:

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Wow, MBL, thanks for your gigantic reply!

 

No problem, Vomit. Like I said, I understand how frightening and twisted this particular idea can be to deal with. I think it's important.

 

I'm much more interested in the evil/scary side of things than the happy smiley earth mama side of things, but that's just me. Guess I've just listened to too much death metal over the years. Though in general it's probably better to go whole rather than partial.

 

Well, if you really want to turn things on their heads, have you looked into any forms of Satanism? (There is more than one form.) They're not what most people think they are... and they're certainly not what most Christians say they are.

 

If you are still triggered by this stuff, this might not be the right way to go, though.

 

I don't remember much. The guy said that he would draw circles on the ground, and the spirits couldn't come inside the circle. Or he'd do some thingy to the windows and doors so that they couldn't come in the house; it was much like how we'd annoint doors and windows with oil to keep demons out.

 

OK, he's talking about casting circles (which aren't usually physically drawn) and warding. Not all Pagans think it's necessary to do this, though. If I remember correctly, I think Druids are one of the groups that don't put up boundaries like that, especially for normal rituals. More traditional Hellenic Pagans tend not to, either. In Wicca, however, it's pretty standard to start a ritual by casting a circle in one way or another, and Wicca is widespread and popular enough that many of its practices have been picked up and used in many eclectic Pagan circles. Not all Wiccans and Pagans think the purpose of circle-casting is to keep spirits out, though. For many it's primary purpose is to mark a boundary "between the worlds" (i.e. the mundane world and the spiritual world) or to contain and magnify any magickal* energy raised inside. For others it's just "what you're supposed to do"... casting the circle marks the beginning of the ritual and opening the circle marks the end.

 

* In this context, this is spelled correctly.

 

Also, I remember when I was a brand new Christian, I had a close friend who was into the occult and so were many of his friends. We were hanging out at a mall out in the desert ass-end of Southern California, and he and his friends started talking about all this crazy hoodoo shit. "There is a black magician in there now. I sensed his presence." "Yeah, I did too." This was before I knew about demons and shit, so I was like "what the fuck!?" :twitch: I chalked it up to them being a little too into Dungeons & Dragons, but they were so deadly serious. They implied that they sensed the same exact thing independently of one another. And they made it sound as dire as if they were federal agents trying to track a professional assassin or some shit like that.

 

To me this sounds like some of the ways people can freak each other out about various things. I saw some of that in high school and some in college. At times I got the spooky feelings, too. But I have not yet seen any evidence that 'perceptions' like these (including my own) were accurate. I suspect there is something more psychological going on in many of these incidents which has more to do with the people getting the feeling than anything outside of them.

 

So they seemed to have a whole entire demonology going. Some of his friends were pretty fucking weird. One of his friends ended up in the mental hospital because he tried to kill his dad, because he thought his dad was a witch hunter that was going to kill him first. He told me that his mom was a heathen priestess of some kind from Zimbabwe. Well, I can tell you that she was from Zimbabwe (or somewhere in Africa, at least), that's about all I know for sure. He claimed to be a necromancer. Honestly, I don't know what the fuck.... :twitch: It scared the shit out of me at the time (I was about 15) but I was also morbidly curious. Strangely enough, they were also Scientologists. Or Christian Science, I can't remember what the fuck which.

 

There's a pretty big difference between Scientology and Christian Science. ;)

 

I have no guess as to what occurred in the case you mention above, but I have had enough contact with African magick to know that it is taken very seriously within those cultures.

 

Sadly, the influence of American-style fundamentalist Christianity in Africa and other nations has resulted lately in a series of literal witch-hunts in which people (including children) have been beaten, burned, or stoned to death. It's like European middle-ages insanity all over again.

 

Christ. I'm half afraid that someone who knew that guy is reading this. That's some seriously bat-shit crazy madness, I'll tell you. There was always some seriously weird ass shit going down back home in Los Angeles County, California. We gave the world Charles Manson, as well as the world's very first satanic rock and roll band, all the way back in 1968. They were called Coven. Who remembers?

 

My link

 

I enjoyed that video, thanks! It's a hoot!

 

I'm glad your Pagan friend was able to provide some comfort.

 

 

I always sensed that there was this weird tension between the Greek understanding and the Hebrew understanding of demons.

 

I am not really sure what the Hebrew (i.e. Jewish) understanding of demons is. The most I'm aware of is that there is a character called Lilith who according to Jewish legend was Adam's first wife. When he rejected her for disobeying him (and wanting to be on top) she became portrayed as a demon. But according to the story, Eve was only created after her relationship with Adam didn't work out.

 

Anyway, the tension you mention is really between Greek and specifically Christian demons. The Jews to my understanding did/do not have a similar concept.

 

CORRECTION: I did some poking around, and apparently some Jews back then did believe in demons, but the reports of these were in apocryphal works, not in the Hebrew scriptures.

 

That's what the man, St. Paul, himself said. That pagans were really worshiping demons.

 

Yep, and the Christians said this about every God or spirit that wasn't theirs. There are records of a prominent early Christian apologist calling Asclepius, the Greek God of healing, the "arch-demon", because his mythology had a number of parallels to that of Jesus and he was very stiff competition for Christianity. There's good evidence that Asclepius was regarded as one of the "many antichrists" that is referred to in 1 John 2:18.

 

The idea that neither daemons nor any other force could be a malicious agent of evil sort-of parallels an idea I've heard from other Pagans on the issue of spirits vs. Christian demons: "Don't those spirits have better things to do than bother humans? It's awfully narcissistic of humans to be so paranoid about demons (or other spirits) being out to get them."

 

But that's what the demons want you to think! :wicked:

 

Again, yes, I understand the dilemma there. -_-

 

One book you might find really helpful is Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World. In particular there is a chapter (also called "Demon-Haunted World") which talks about Christian concepts of demons and then goes into some stuff about witchcraft and the European witch-hunts. He makes a lot of parallels between old reports of "demons" and modern reports of "aliens" and suggests that the cause of these experiences (and their similarities) is a combination of the biology of the human brain and the socio-cultural context in which people have these experiences. In other words, when the brain produces an experience of "demons" or "aliens," what those things look like to us is conditioned by what our culture expects us to see. Sagan writes: "The form of the supposed aliens [or demons] is marked by a failure of the imagination and a preoccupation with human concerns. Not a single being presented in all these accounts is as astonishing as a cockatoo would be if you had never before beheld a bird. Any protozoology or bacteriology or mycology textbook is filled with wonders that far outshine the most exotic descriptions of the alien abductionists [or of those who "see" demons]. The believers take the common elements in their stories as tokens of verisimilitude, rather than as evicence that they have contrived their stories out of a shared culture and biology."

 

I thought that was a really good point.

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There's another thread about this very topic going on over in Rants and Replies. Here's the link, as well as the latest post by me from that thread, as it's very useful for this thread. Oh hell, I hope this doesn't create a big mess that the mods have to sort out. My apologies if it does. So anyways, here'goes....

 

My link

 

 

Why don't you see or hear them now that you have left the faith? I believe the things you saw/experienced with another person, like your brother, where because you two were of a like mind. If one person "saw" something then the other would likely go along with it even if they didn't. This sounds silly but it is a common theme in religion and they elaborated on this in that voodoo documentary i mentioned before.

 

I'll give you a real freaky example. If you can debunk the example I'm about to give you, I will give you a hug.

 

One time there was this girl in our young adults group. My best friend and I became convinced that she was being possessed or oppressed by a particularly nasty demon whose greater aim was to fuck up our entire church. We also thought this demon was trying to get her to destroy the senior pastor's daughter, because at the time they had this weird fucked-up co-dependent friendship going. We strongly suspected that the girl had Borderline Personality Disorder (and we still suspect that to this day, because she continues to fuck shit up for others), and we figured that the demon was there to exploit this to great effect.

 

One day I got super fucking sick of her bullshit. We were at some event with several hundred young people, and I disappeared into the crowd and exited the building. Nobody saw me leave. I stood on a hill above the building and I decided to perform my first Exorcism, despite the warnings by fellow spiritual warriors about how badly a novice can fuck that up. I performed an Exorcism from a distance of about 400 yards.

 

And... oh shit, I think it worked! I sensed that one very pissed off demon went flying out through the ceiling and off into the stratosphere.

 

So I stayed standing on the hillside, pondering what had just happened. Five minutes later my friend came running out the door and saw me. "Dude, dude, dude!!! I've been trying to find you for five minutes! The demon left her! I saw it fly out of her and through the ceiling!!!"

 

I nearly pissed my pants. When I regained my composure I told him what I had done, and he nearly pissed his pants.

 

How the fuck does somebody directly debunk that? I sure hope one of you can, because it's probably in the "Top 3" of Unexplainable Past Experiences that keeps me up some nights and makes me think that maybe I've made a real bad fucking move by telling Jesus to fuck off.

 

To me, if both of us weren't having some long-distance telepathic shared hallucination that is currently unexplainable by any scientific understanding that I am presently aware of, then the best case scenario is that Christianity is phony after all and that I don't have to worry about me and most of my loved ones going to hell, but that spirits are real and that some of them aren't very nice. Refer to my dialogue with Multifarious Bird Lady in the Science forum.

 

Another thing, don't you find it interesting and telling that you and others didn't start seeing demons until those youths came to your church?

 

At the time, I figured that they had made me aware of the truth. And once I was aware of the truth, latent spiritual 'gifts' such as "Spiritual Sight" (as they called it) suddenly started expressing themselves.

 

It also seems apparent that if demons were as common as what you and others claim to have witnessed, they would have been seen and documented by science.

 

The demons wouldn't reveal themselves to scientists because they don't want their cover blown. They want everyone to think that only crazy religious loons see them.

 

I am not playing the old "yes, but" game. Those are the justifications and explanations that I generated back then, in response to the very two problems you raise. For these surely did occur to me back then; my ability to reason wasn't completely asleep at the time. As you can see, the more bat-shit strains of fundamentalism require a greater level of sophistry and mental gymnastics to stave off all the cognitive dissonance.

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There's another thread about this very topic going on over in Rants and Replies. Here's the link, as well as the latest post by me from that thread, as it's very useful for this thread. Oh hell, I hope this doesn't create a big mess that the mods have to sort out. My apologies if it does. So anyways, here'goes....

 

 

Thanks, Vomit. I was thinking this might not necessarily be the best section to be putting up the historical info anyway.

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This stuff still keeps me awake at night sometimes. Not so much because it's scary, but because the only way I ever had to explain what was happening was with the paradigm of bat-shit Pentecostalism. I call myself "agnostic" because I can't convince myself that I was simply hallucinating.

 

What really disturbs me, though, is the thought that I have made a terrible mistake by going agnostic and telling Jesus to fuck off. Unless I can have my past experiences effectively debunked, the only alternative explanation is that spirits (whatever the fuck they are) are real but that fundamentalism--be it the Pentecostal variety or your more run-of-the-mill Southern Baptist type shit--remains phony.

 

If spirits are real, I'd much, much, much rather that the Pagan understanding be closer to the truth. Because if the Pre-Modern Christian paradigm is the truth, we're fucked. My only choice then would be to accept my destiny in Hell, or to repent and re-convert.

 

But I don't want to go back. It was misery and torture, and the Christian God that I so slavishly served as I suffered was, in hindsight (and according to the words of Nomeansno), "the biggest fucking jerk." But Hell is even worse! So I'd have to suffer all over again until I die, so that I won't suffer forever in Hell. Giving the enthroned Jesus a hand-job for the rest of eternity, as shitty as that may be, sure beats roasting in oil while being ass-raped by Satan's pitchfork.

 

I'm happy now, being an agnostic. Even if I don't yet have the peace of mind that I so crave. But as I said, if my experiences were indeed real, then I hope to whatever godlike beings are out there that you Pagans are as close as possible to being correct, and that the Pentecostals are all but completely mistaken.

 

Regarding Satanism: Oh God, no. :twitch: Aside from when I was in the 9th and 10th grades I was never that into death metal. I just liked it so much because it sounded like shit. Kind of like the kid who laughs his ass off while scratching his fingers on the chalkboard.

 

As for content, I usually preferred the gore-obsessed variety (Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, etc.) because it was like the lyrical equivalent of an ultra-disgusting zombie movie. Either that or the ridiculously offensive stuff like Anal Cunt (you probably don't wanna know!). That Norweigan church-burning shit only ever made me roll my eyes, running around looking like Satan's hockey team with the goofy make-up, medieval S&M armour, and spiked clubs and shit. It was like a bad combination of Spinal Tap and Dungeons & Dragons. Even the less extremist groups like Venom or Deicide weren't my thing; they always seemed to take themselves and their own shit so seriously, never realizing just how close to Spinal Tap they were. But I digress.

 

On top of that, I feel like I'd really be pushing my luck. I already get hit with an uncomfortable twinge of paranoia when, for example, I blurt out things such as "Jesus can suck me off!" on this here message board. That said, if I got invited to Black Mass and was given strong reason to believe I'd be getting some :wicked: just for being there, my curiosity would be a little bit piqued.

 

OK, he's talking about casting circles (which aren't usually physically drawn) and warding. Not all Pagans think it's necessary to do this, though.

 

Strangely enough, a former pastor of mine used to be the head of the local grove for our corner of the L.A. area. (God, if anyone from that group is lurking here, I am so busted! Dead fuckin' giveaway.) Of course, he was always sharing his testimony of how he got away from it and got saved. He also was always telling us "that stuff never worked." He was also very skeptical about my demonic experiences, and at the time I thought he was an obstinate idiot because of that.

 

And also strangely enough, the guy that told me that stuff (casting circles, etc.) was a traditional Hellenic Pagan. He lived in some redneck town in Idaho and I got the sense that he was operating largely in isolation, aside from people he talked to on the internet. Though he might have mentioned something about walking for days through the fields and woods (he didn't have a car) to get to a group meeting. Or maybe he was just walking for the hell of it... my memory is foggy.

 

Regarding Wicca: What's your assessment of Wicca? The former-druid pastor always told us that Wicca was an invented pastiche from the late 19th century that had no real basis in any European tradition, and was also invented before we had as much knowledge as we now do about ancient paganism. Though I sense that his prejudice was carried over from when he was a druid; I got the impression that those druids were a little bit... "fundamentalist" about what they were doing.

 

Regarding the Circle thing: The Hellenic guy I talked to seemed to be implying that some spirits weren't very nice or very safe, and that these needed to be guarded against.

 

Regarding "Magick": Forgive my endless questions, but why the alternative spelling? I always got the impression that this is so that neo-pagans could differentiate what they're doing from what Penn & Teller are doing. Or maybe it's kind of like how some people use the spellings of "Amerika" and "Afrika"? How did the letter "k" get so politicized, anyways? Is it because "c" stands for "colonizer"? :HaHa:

 

To me this sounds like some of the ways people can freak each other out about various things. I saw some of that in high school and some in college. At times I got the spooky feelings, too. But I have not yet seen any evidence that 'perceptions' like these (including my own) were accurate. I suspect there is something more psychological going on in many of these incidents which has more to do with the people getting the feeling than anything outside of them.

 

Makes sense.

 

There's a pretty big difference between Scientology and Christian Science. ;)

 

Thinking back on it, it was Christian Science.

 

I have no guess as to what occurred in the case you mention above, but I have had enough contact with African magick to know that it is taken very seriously within those cultures.

 

Seemed that way to me. I remember his mom seemed to take herself very seriously, as did those around her. Her presence felt kind of... "regal", and we would get all quiet and respectful when she was around.

 

It's like European middle-ages insanity all over again.

 

People think I'm nuts when I say this. But there are places in North America that could devolve into something fairly medieval if the order were to break down and the Sarah Palins out there were allowed to run amok. It's pretty damned remote, I reckon, but neither is it completely implausible.

 

"Today's Christians do not burn us out of their love for us. It's because they lack faith." - Nietzsche

 

I enjoyed that video, thanks! It's a hoot!

 

Interesting history about Coven. As the Charles Manson thing was going down, Esquire magazine did an article about the spooky, creepy things that were going on in Southern California. Coven was mentioned as an example and I think Esquire may have interviewed them a little bit. People freaked out so badly in reaction that Coven's records got taken out of circulation by Mercury.

 

I'm glad your Pagan friend was able to provide some comfort.

 

I want to visit her again fairly soon. She's truly one of my greatest friends, and I love her dearly as such. *sigh*

 

Anyway, the tension you mention is really between Greek and specifically Christian demons.

 

That's what I meant to say. It dawned on me later, in fact.

 

Although I seem to remember something about unclean spirits bothering Saul, with Daniel playing his harp to make them go away. Other little snippets like that.

 

Also, someone once told me that the ancient Hebrews weren't so much monotheists as they were "monolateralists." God was a jealous God, but when it was said "don't worship other gods" it was implied that those gods were real but were not to be worshiped. It was as if Yahweh was in competition with those other gods and he wanted to stamp them out like Walmart stamps out small mom-and-pop stores.

 

Yahweh = the Walmart of the ancient world! :lmao:

 

Although, I believe the ancient worldview was that everyone's pantheons existed and that they exerted control (or whatever you want to call it) over certain territories. This was why Alexander's men were scared shitless about going into India; India was under the domain of "foreign gods" and they were too far away from the territorial domain of their Greek gods.

 

The Hebrews seemed to go by the same logic. YHWH was the one god over the territory that the Israelites conquered for themselves, and all other gods, rather than being adapted into a pantheon, were told to fuck off and die. It seems that YHWH didn't give a shit about what was going on hundreds of miles away in Babylon or Persia, but if Ba'al was there on his turf, then Ba'al was in for some shit. Kind of like if 18th St. tried to set up shop on SalvaTrucha (known to most Americans as MS-13) turf, they'd be in for some serious deep shit. But if they stick to their own 'hoods, it stays relatively mellow.

 

Makes sense?

 

Yep, and the Christians said this about every God or spirit that wasn't theirs. There are records of a prominent early Christian apologist calling Asclepius, the Greek God of healing, the "arch-demon", because his mythology had a number of parallels to that of Jesus and he was very stiff competition for Christianity. There's good evidence that Asclepius was regarded as one of the "many antichrists" that is referred to in 1 John 2:18.

 

Ultimate evidence that YHWH hated competition, be it large or small. Just like Walmart.

 

St. Paul calling all competing gods "demons" was a brilliant marketing move, I'll say.

 

One book you might find really helpful is Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World. In particular there is a chapter (also called "Demon-Haunted World") which talks about Christian concepts of demons and then goes into some stuff about witchcraft and the European witch-hunts. He makes a lot of parallels between old reports of "demons" and modern reports of "aliens" and suggests that the cause of these experiences (and their similarities) is a combination of the biology of the human brain and the socio-cultural context in which people have these experiences.

 

It's one of those books where if I saw it sticking out of the "free books" box at work, I'd snatch it before anyone else did. But I just might have to buy it now.

 

I have a question for you: has any pagan you know (of) ever "seen" (a) spirit(s)? Or otherwise had a direct sensual encounter with one (or more)? How did they describe it?

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The demons wouldn't reveal themselves to scientists because they don't want their cover blown. They want everyone to think that only crazy religious loons see them.

 

 

Like with everything else, the desire to keep such things on the "periphery" keeps the magic going.

 

For some Christians I've known, taking away the actual existence of "supernatural demons" would be a blow to their overall faith. Many Christians exist in a grey area about this; they want to believe that it's partly true, just not enough to become a hassle in their lives. After seeing the famous Sarah Palin video, I asked a couple of my Christian friends if they were going to get a protective "forcefield" to fend off witchcraft and other acts of evil mischief that might come their way. They acted insulted at me asking this, yet they refused to criticize Palin or other Christians for engaging in these kinds of rituals.

 

This is a typical trait of fundamentalists. They want to cling to these notions, but don't won't to really be bothered by them. Again, when I bring up the question of how they "defend" against the "demons" that are all on secret missions to take away their faith, or kill their cat, they just shrug and say that Jesus is protecting them.

 

"How, exactly, does that work" I ask, suggesting that maybe Jesus gives them a forcefield or something. Again, they get offended at these inquiries, like so many do when you confront them with the very beliefs they claim to profess.

 

The stuff's either true, or it's not... but regardless of how often I remind them of this, they keep responding in vague terms about it. Again, they want it to be true, but not to the extent that it's going to bother them really. Which means that they don't really deep down believe it.

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Like with everything else, the desire to keep such things on the "periphery" keeps the magic going.

 

I used to have this saying: "if only you knew." I remember wishing I had a way of exposing the reality of things to everybody. I felt like I was sitting on this crazy secret knowledge, like some kind of guardian or something.

 

For some Christians I've known, taking away the actual existence of "supernatural demons" would be a blow to their overall faith.

 

The demon thing was actually why I stayed in it as long as I did. I would have deconverted 8 fucking years earlier if it weren't for that. I remember sitting in a college class when I was an undergrad, and I literally came within 5 seconds of saying "fuck it." I was that close to liberating myself, that fucking close. And the very next thing I would have done was fucked this girl I was seeing--I knew I would eventually have to tell her the truth and dump her before I got to have any fun. I was so close, so goddamn close.

 

But then I reflected on all my crazy fucked up demon experiences and I said "I cannot deny the reality. This is real. Jesus is real." And I immediately got this crazy ass mental rush that I later described to people as "God patting me on the back for passing that test of faith." Fuck, was I a dumb-ass!!!

 

I could have spared myself eight more years of fucked up bullshit, and worse yet, it ended up being all downhill (as in, the demon shit just got worse and worse, not to mention all the interpersonal shit in the church) from there. And I could have lost my virginity 8 years earlier than I did and learned how to actually be young and have fun and score. Fuck! There went my goddamn fucking twenties!!!!!! Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Many Christians exist in a grey area about this; they want to believe that it's partly true, just not enough to become a hassle in their lives.

 

That used to piss me off to no end. I kept saying "if only you knew!" They thought that Jesus did everything automatically, but I knew that you had to be on your fucking toes. According to my understanding, Jesus was more like air support that you had to call in when things got hairy, just like "Puff the Magic Dragon" back in Vietnam. I thought Christians that failed to (fully) realize this were basically being fucked over, just barely getting the "basic" amount of protection from Jesus.

 

Even the ones who acknowledged that demons were about... you're right, they didn't want to be inconvenienced.

 

Turns out they were the smart ones! Smarter than me, at least.

 

After seeing the famous Sarah Palin video, I asked a couple of my Christian friends if they were going to get a protective "forcefield" to fend off witchcraft and other acts of evil mischief that might come their way. They acted insulted at me asking this, yet they refused to criticize Palin or other Christians for engaging in these kinds of rituals.

 

This is what pisses me the fuck off. The Southern Baptists treated us like insane heretics. They practically thought we were going to go to hell for believing all that crazy shit and for deviating from or fucking up true Christianity as they understood it. We thought they had their heads up their asses in total reality denial mode.

 

These same pigfuckers rallied to defend Sarah Palin and sweep the batshit demon stuff under the rug. If Sarah Palin were just some Pentecostal televangelist's overly made-up poodle of a wife, they would have screamed and yelled until purple in the face about how terribly misguided and delusional she was.

 

This is a typical trait of fundamentalists. They want to cling to these notions, but don't won't to really be bothered by them.

 

Me and the people I knew who were into this also regarded ourselves as the "nightwatchmen" performing a thankless yet dangerous and highly necessary job. I remember wishing that one day all the shit I endured would be honored, and that we would be honored for rescuing the church from being ruined by scheming demons. And then I remember feeling guilty for wanting recognition, because pride is bad.

 

Again, when I bring up the question of how they "defend" against the "demons" that are all on secret missions to take away their faith, or kill their cat, they just shrug and say that Jesus is protecting them.

 

"How, exactly, does that work" I ask, suggesting that maybe Jesus gives them a forcefield or something. Again, they get offended at these inquiries, like so many do when you confront them with the very beliefs they claim to profess.

 

They saw it as an automatic forefield that was always on and you didn't have to worry about shit, even though they were always talking about "and then the Enemy tried to do blah blah blah, but fortunately Jesus always blah blah blah."

 

I viewed it more as air support. Jesus would come in like an AC-130 and blow the shit out of the enemy from above, but you had to be on your motherfucking toes just like a radioman in a Marine Corps platoon slogging through the jungle of demonic evil, and there would be a whole lot of rounds sent downrange before the air support showed up.

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For demons to fasten onto physical humans, they must be physical too. None of this spiritual crap. That means they must be able to be detected. The obvious way is by brain waves, especially if they can take over the brains of others. But this has never happened. No one has ever found any physical evidence for them.

 

Of course Jesus believed in them, that they were the cause of physical and mental illnesses but he also believed (and said) the world would end over 1900 years ago, so what did he know?

 

 

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/end.html

 

 

.

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Coming back to a few issues here...

 

These same pigfuckers rallied to defend Sarah Palin and sweep the batshit demon stuff under the rug. If Sarah Palin were just some Pentecostal televangelist's overly made-up poodle of a wife, they would have screamed and yelled until purple in the face about how terribly misguided and delusional she was.

 

Indeed. It's frightening to me how many conservatives just dismiss this about her as unimportant because she is in line with some of the political stances they like.

 

Again, when I bring up the question of how they "defend" against the "demons" that are all on secret missions to take away their faith, or kill their cat, they just shrug and say that Jesus is protecting them.

 

"How, exactly, does that work" I ask, suggesting that maybe Jesus gives them a forcefield or something. Again, they get offended at these inquiries, like so many do when you confront them with the very beliefs they claim to profess.

 

They saw it as an automatic forefield that was always on and you didn't have to worry about shit, even though they were always talking about "and then the Enemy tried to do blah blah blah, but fortunately Jesus always blah blah blah."

 

I viewed it more as air support. Jesus would come in like an AC-130 and blow the shit out of the enemy from above, but you had to be on your motherfucking toes just like a radioman in a Marine Corps platoon slogging through the jungle of demonic evil, and there would be a whole lot of rounds sent downrange before the air support showed up.

 

There is a section in this book that you might find helpful, actually. It's found on pp. 308 - 315. Here's an excerpt:

Nothing in secular literature illustrates so well as the biblical lore on spirits the clinical insight that people, if they do not integrate what wells up from the unconscious to the conscious attitude, if they do not depotentiate negative manifestations of the unconscious through insight, must live out their implications blindly, or experience them as baffling neurotic symptoms, expending energy that could be put to much better use instead to keep them down, to combat the agitation for their expression inevitably following from the attempt to handle them by repression or disociation only. That the Christian, who tries to make the gap of inner dividedness so wide that what is on the other side is too far away to perceive, will continue to have trouble with what he dissociates, is vividly, perhaps mockingly expressed, in this reverse-suggestive passage [fully quoted in the book but not here to save space].

The idea that dealing with proscribed mental content by repression or dissociation leads to return of the same kind of content seven times worse is all too psychologically valid... The behavior of psychological complexes, potentially manifesting themselves as obsessive thoughts, unruly feelings, hysterical medical symptoms, or in the most extreme case, a splinter personality experienced as entirely separate and apart from the ego-personality, is artfully condensed in the allegory... The believer is not merely encouraged but required to appraise projections of facets of the dissociated shadow side of his own personality as real, as so powerful in the natural world as to appear to have the upper hand generally, and as definitely having the upper hand in the lives of the unsaved. Note how the biblical devotional program creates the fragmentation problem, by alienating the person from his inner roots so thoroughly that their manifestation can only take place divorced from insight as to their true nature and origin. The devotional program then supplies just the wrong solution: constant escalation of the effort devoted to dissociating the contents, to preventing their constructive resolution to the conscious attitude. The biblical devotional program does best at seeming to solve problems that it, itself, has created!

 

This describes pretty darn well the huge struggle I had with "demons" after leaving, actually.

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