128 thoughts on “Demonic Possession”

        1. It’s okay to call women ladies! It’s not reserved for just Fundies, honest! I’ve even seen a skit on Saturday Night Live called the Ladies’ room! 😆

        1. The sad thing is…you criticize something like this, the automatic knee jerk response from many is “but it’s true, or could be true”. They can’t even admit things may go a little overboard without firmly stating that “no things really don’t because IT COULD BE TRUE (TM).” 👿 👿 👿

  1. Rule #1 of determining whether something is demonic: Do not attribute to the demonic what is better explained by human stupidity.

    Rule #2: Do not attribute to the demonic what better explained by bad taste (Twilight, etc).

    Rule #3: Do not attribute to the demonic is better explained by concupiscence.

    Intelligent designers rightfully get accused of having a ‘God of the Gaps’ theory when it comes to creation. Fundies have a ‘Demon of the Gaps’ theory for everything they don’t understand, don’t like, or don’t want to engage with.

    1. Well, George to a hammer to that. Wait…

      Rule #1 for determining if George screwed something up: Do not attribute to George what is better explained by poor proof reading.

      1. While it might simply be a matter of bad taste when it comes to impressionable young people liking Twilight, it’s pretty demonic to write a storyline that romanticizes a manipulative, controlling, mentally abusive relationship. 👿

        1. That’s a good point, Doc.

          You know, if Edward was a MOG, instead of a vampire (but I repeat myself, *rimshot*) the creepy bedroom stalking makes sense. Then Jacob could be that one cool guy who’s trying to look like a bad boy by dabbling in a little Calvinism here, some Orthodoxy over there. The warring vampire sects are actually compromisers who use the NIV and are persecuting the old time religion. Anyway, because Bella is so submissive to Eddy the MOG and doesn’t give into the evilly evil sin of pre-matarial sex (not that she’s actually tempting…), God gives her a special grace to have a cop-out child whose fully grown and requires no sacrifice. Oh and the whole sparking thing is because Eddy reads the 1611 KJV, he shines with the light of its inspiration.

          Huh. I think I finally understand Twilight. Tell me when you start seeing patients Dr. J. I might be the first in line. 😉

        1. Don’t bother me with trifles. After 20 years in ministry I finally came up with an original idea. There will be demon blood tonight!

      1. B.R.O., you may be onto something here. Beyonce sang at Obama’s second inauguration. I was there; I can testify brother. There may be some link between her and Obamacare. But she’s still hot even if she has some sort of agreement with the prince of darkness.

  2. Ok, gonna be frank here. This is one of those things I have had problems with for the longest time. So many people (at least in olden times) who had “demons” were really just mentally ill. I mean, they needed a way to explain back then what was going on in that person, and as medicine had not come that far yet, obviously just blamed it on a religious device–demons. Carrying this into the future is slightly absurd. I cannot find one actual documented case of real possession in the modern age. Everything everywhere is just from fringe lunatics who want it to be real.
    This though. This just takes it to a whole new level. Especially now that we know the entire premise of an “alter-ego” is a documented mental disorder where a person truly has multiple personalities. If someone can give me a workable theory on how they believe possession works (in the present) I’d be happy to listen… as long as it’s nothing like what I just watched.
    Also, can he not tell the difference between special effects and possession? Because that “floating” trick has been around for quite a long time. Magicians have been doing it in their acts.
    PS. White piano sighting. 😎

    1. I was just thinking about this. I am finishing up my psych degree at the moment. I look back at those classes and remember so many illnesses we discussed that at one point could have been construed as possession. However, I feel that this man probably considers modern psychology “of the devil” as well.

      1. I’ve had friends who were mentally ill called demon possessed and told to ‘get the sin out of their lives’ by Fundies. I knew these people well, the biggest sin their lives was jaywalking on a college campus.

      2. I was wondering that too. I have a relative who is dealing with certain mental health issues. One of the ways that the issues manifest themselves is through crying and cutting so I was struck by the description of the man in Gadara in Mark 5:5 “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.”
        Perhaps people back then attributed things to demons when they were merely things beyond their understanding? I don’t know. I believe this requires a lot of thought.

        1. You nailed it. For most of history, before mental illness was understood, people unfortunate enough to be mentally ill = demon possessed.

        2. There is also the issue of difference between an object and its referent – I’m getting all Kantian here, but there is the “thing in itself” (which Kant argued couldn’t be known, and which I would argue can only be known in relative terms), and the “thang as we know it”. From that perspective, what is the difference between demon possession and mental illness? The difference appears when the two views appear simultaneously, causing conflict. This leads to all kinds of interesting speculation. If the Gadarene demoniac had mental health issues, then demonic possession is a mental health issue. But that in turn could mean that demons are real and they manifest in ways that our modern science calls mental disorder – or it could mean that demons are a psychological construct designed to embody entirely natural symptoms for a simpler audience. Of course, this kind of conversation inevitably turns to the pre-modern philosophy in which Christianity was born and matured. In the world of Christina formation, one of the dominant philosophical views was that of federal headship – that one could be “joined” to a spirit (not necessarily like the spirits we think of today) and come under its influence. This is certainly the worldview that informs passages like Saul’s oppression and the girl that followed Paul around until he got sick of her. Were they wrong? Maybe. But I would argue that historic Christianity is firmly pre-modern. Denying that is like trying to redefine Naziism for a new age. It just isn’t compelling.

        3. True, my only issue with that is that many disorders can be fixed with medication. This would either mean that these demons can be affected by the physical. Demons (at least how I think of them) are spiritual beings and would permeate a person in a spiritual sense that affects their physical and mental states. The way they are portrayed in the Bible however, they should only be affected by “spiritual” or religious things. Medicine should have no effect on their control of the being in question. I tend to lean towards simplifying a concept for an audience who either has no ability to comprehend the disorder or is too simple to understand the meaning at the present time. Chrsitianity’s being in pre-modern times definitely explains this.

        4. I tend to lean towards simplifying a concept for a pre-modern audience, also.

          Interesting to think about, though, that in the Bible Jesus also healed various people of other physical ailments, some of which can be healed with medication, some of which, even today, can’t be fully, but the effects of which can be alleviated somewhat. But they’re still physical ailments. When Jesus drove out demons from a possessed man, can we view it today as Jesus healing him, miraculously, of his mental illness, and the witnesses at the time describing it in the only terms they had?

        5. When I was about 18, my mother sent me to a “Christian” psychiatric center. I told my therapist that I was cutting, and he looked in a book of demons and found one and told me I was possessed. His advice was to try to resist it. I remember sitting there and thinking I had to take this because my mother was paying for it. I’ve had more good than bad experiences with mental health care professionals, but that was one of the worst.

        6. “Try to resist it?” Wonder how much he paid for that degree at Christian Psychiatry U.

    2. It seems to bother this nimrod ‘preacher’ that there are incredibly talented people in this world, and that sometimes they are not white people from the Deep South.

      Nikki Minaj and Beyonce have this in common: They are both incredibly talented and beautiful African-American females.

      Danny Castle resents these women. He is afraid of his own sexual attraction to Nikki and Beyonce. He knows that all sex is evil. Because he is attracted to them, they are demon possessed. The MoG hath spoken.

    3. I believe what people often considered demon possession was mental illness in days of yore. I also believe what many people sometimes consider mental illness in days of now has a demonic component. 😎

    4. Look up ergot poisoning. There is a fungus that attacks grains, and when ingested can cause seizures, psychosis, hallucinations, etc. It is suspected that many “possessions” documented in earlier times were attributable to ergot. Through the miracle of modern science and better housekeeping, we slay demons.

      1. “Through the miracle of modern science and better housekeeping, we slay demons.”

        Or simply by being affluent enough to throw out spoiled food instead of having to make a meal of grain with fungus growing on it.

      2. Also, since you’re there, I read that psychedelic mushrooms played a large role in the processions at Mt. Sinai. As in, the people consumed them then proceeded to go crazy (sounds of war), and start to worship a calf. The hallucinogen aspect caused Moses to see “god” and then to have a glowing face after the fact. Any thoughts?

        1. Then again, volcanic gasses have been known to produce hallucinations. The Oracle at Delphi sat on top of a fissure through which volcanic gasses would periodically emit.

  3. Well, that was an interesting ‘sermon’. If demons are required for success, then I guess that explains the lack of success and talent for “non-CCM” “proper” Christian artists. Or why they don’t exist.

  4. I’m not trying to be dramatic here, but there is more demon possession now than there has ever been. This video may be an illustration. No one has the ability to preach like that unless they have been praying to the Spirits of Nikki Minaj and Beyonce and Denzel Washington. I tend to think that if Minaj was actually possessed there would be a higher degree of quality in her work, I mean Lucifer was the music pastor in heaven, seems like he would put together something a little more compelling. Avant Garde does not equal Art. Most of the examples are more adequately explained by the low forms of supposedly artistic expression that have permeated our pop culture and the adoption of some very strange ideologies rather than direct possession by demons.

    Like Lewis opined in the Screwtape Letters, Satan would rather we not realize there is a spiritual world than be oppressed by it. Much more subtle than most fundies would grant with their demons behind every tree paranoia.

    1. Agreed! I hate contemporary pop music. It tries so hard to be “artistic”, but fails so hard at it. Doing something weird has taken the place of giving the visual representation of music true meaning. They bottle the meaning up so it can really only mean one thing whereas good artists leave it open for interpretation. Case in point, 30STM–one of the most artistic and meaningful bands to ever play. “The Kill” is one of my favorite videos (and songs) of all time.

  5. What an idiot. He experiences the same thing as the performers he’s talking about. I bet he doesn’t shout and rave the same way at KFC during dinner that he does in the pulpit. Why? Because he has a performance persona that’s somewhat different from the persona he adopts in everyday life. Everyone who makes any sort of public presentation has that. So Beyonce chose to name hers and romanticize it a little bit. It’s still the same thing. If he’s not demon possessed for his ranting and raving and yelling in the pulpit then Beyonce isn’t demon possessed when she’s performing.

    1. I think you make a very good point here. I am normally a quiet, even reserved kind of person. Back when I was attempting Mogdom though, I could yell and pound pulpits with the best of them. (Well, truthfully I could yell and pound pulpits with the more mediocre of them but you know what I mean. :mrgreen: )
      My pulpit persona and demeanor was quite different from my real personality. I don’t think it meant I was demon-possessed. It just meant that I was nervous about speaking in front of crowds and retreating into that identity was a way to cope.

    2. I agree with you Josh — I think almost every pastor puts on a second “persona” when they get in the pulpit and start spitting, ranting and raving about their impeccable reputations.

      The mind is a very strong tool and/or weapon — our mind can make us see thins that aren’t real.

    3. Nailed it. He opens up to the “spirit”, just not the same one, or from the same being if you believe all of that. Only he can tell I guess which is from Jee-zus and which is from thee Dev-ell.

  6. Were/are Sydney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Carl Weathers, Ella Fitzgerald, Satchmo, Pearl Baily, Bill Cosby, etc possessed?

    Maybe Steve McQueen, John Wayne, Yakima Canutt, Bruce Cabot, Jack Benny, George Burns, Tom Baker, John Pertwee, Johnny Carson, Leon Redbone, Peter Noone, Sir Alec Guiness, and a host of others were?

    Where do you stop? How do you know? Should I throw out my movie and album collections, just in case?

  7. Of course only black people are possessed! They brought devil worship with them along with rock music from the bowels of Africa!!! 🙄 🙄 🙄 (sarcasm intended)

    1. I wish you were joking! 😥 😥

      I heard one ijit preach that America’s punishment for slavery was essentially having to have black people around and their demonic music.

  8. I read the story of one man who went to see Fellowship of the Ring. He could actually ‘feel’ the evil coming from the screen. I understand. I had that same feeling when I listened to those fake metal 80’s hair bands.

    Then there was the group of Christian men who went to a retreat together. One of them had a blanket with some Native American symbols on them. One of the men could not sleep until the blanket was taken outside. What he doesn’t know is those so called Native American symbols were probably fake. :mrgreen:

    1. Yes, I could also “feel” the evil coming from the screen. Because, you know, the dead-but-not-properly-dead hunters that were so horrible that even ordinary bugs and spiders ran away from them, and the distorted reflections of divinely created beings who were obsessed with blood and destruction, and the fallen angel who chose to take the form of a huge scary flaming bull-monster for the lulz, and, oh yeah, the super-powerful being who was trying to find the good guys and was pretty much Satan’s lieutenant, and also he had his lost cell phone/power source/Mini-Me set permanently on Speaker and trickling evil into the ears of everybody in the Fellowship, while they were trying to sneak up to the one disposal facility in the known world that could destroy it . . .

      Oh, let me guess, this dude proclaimed that all of those villains were up on the screen because Jackson and his production team wanted us to worship them. 🙄

  9. I actually heard a SBC preacher say that anyone who isn’t saved is demon-possessed. His logic was that if one didn’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, then whose spirit was it??? 😯 👿

    He also believed that everyone is possessed. Either Gid possesses you, or Satan does! Who do you want for your Master?

    1. I think he’s overthinking that one parable. Or I suppose he’s attempting to connect demonic possession with the existence of the tempter. But it’s all silly IMHO; our information is too sparse to make effective decisions possible. When the Church begins making accusations of demonic possession or influence, it generally ends badly.

  10. I didn’t watch the clip, did he have anything to say about Robert Johnson?? If not then he is totally ignorant of his ethnic demonology. How a bout Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire and having simulated sex with it on stage? I see prince has already been mentioned… of course one can’t forget Clarence Carter and his Strokin’ to the east and strokin’ to the west.

    The only conclusion that one can rightly come to is that guitars are gateways to demonic possession. (/sarcasm)

        1. Good song, but the ultra-corny string arrangement sort of ruins it for me.
          That kind of thing was more or less standard for pop music in the 1950s, though.

  11. Is this the same Bro. Castle that was booted from New Manna because of multiple affairs with church members? I mean, I don’t see demons behind every tree, but I submit that Bro. Castle calls down the spirit of Himeros before performing. He doesn’t get that hot and bothered on the power of his own steam. Definitely showing signs of otherworldly forces.

  12. I’m gonna say this out loud. Judge me if you will…

    The Grammys weirded me out, too. Katy Perry especially.

    The Bible does speak of the reality of demons. Some of what is done by some actresses, singers, etc., may be an attempt to “shock” or get attention. But I also wonder if some of them don’t take Satan worship quite seriously.

    Still, I did attend a few Dave Benoit seminars when young, so maybe I’m overreacting.

    What do you think?

    1. Well, this might not be helpful, but real satanists (such as members of the official church of satan) themselves do not even believe in satan. They don’t believe in any deity. To them Satan is just a representative term for various human drives, desires, etc. So it seems to me that most of what fundies think of as satanism in popular entertainment is just what you suggest–performance art.

      1. “…but real satanists (such as members of the official church of satan) themselves do not even believe in satan.”

        What?! Those hypocrites!

        Seriously though, we can’t rule out the possibility that at least some of those folks are lying. The head of their “denomination” has been known to do that.

  13. Well, well. Demons are back again! Not that they ever left, of course.

    The first pastor at my IFB church was firmly against medication for depression. Depression and other mental illnesses were signs of demon possession (or demon oppression for “believers”). If the person got better with medicine, he contended you couldn’t talk to them without knowing whether you were talking to the person or to the medicine!

    A deacon (an M.D.) at the church went ahead and prescribed some of the medication for my wife anyway. It helped her tremendously. He didn’t say anything to the pastor. Neither did I. Since demons are supposedly spirits, then medicine shouldn’t affect them anyway, should it?

    I do have to say that human wickedness is quite sufficient to explain evil in the world. We do not need the Devil. Frankly, I no longer believe in the Devil as a nearly all-powerful being who opposes God. That sort of dualism in theology seems to me to be a Persian insertion into Judaic and Christian thinking. The Devil is not mentioned anywhere in the Books of Moses. An eternal lake of fire and brimstone is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament.

    If there are demons in the world, I think they go after fundamentalists and pester them. After all, with all that jumping around, screaming, hollering and trying to make people afraid of literally nothing, they do have something wrong in their own heads! “A demon is just waiting to try to possess you!” Great way to inspire fear in someone just walking down the street!

    I don’t need a Devil or demons to explain my sinfulness. I am a sinner by my own volition. A Devil seems to be just a way to try to explain the unexplainable, and we know a lot more about the world today than they did.

    1. I do believe in a literal Devil, but I don’t believe in a dualism with a nearly omnipotent Devil battling as an equal against God. God is the Almighty Creator. Satan is a fallen angel. His “equal opponent” would seem to be Michael the Archangel not God.

      1. Even that is far too dualistic for me. It also asks one to consider whether the writers of Scripture envisioned heaven and conflict in it with their viewpoint of human throne rooms and human armies.

        I cannot believe that the Throne Room of God is patterned after near-eastern kingdoms, nor that conflict in heaven is similar to conflict here on earth with armies, (weapons too?) and generals, etc.

        There is no physical evidence for the existence of the supernatural. There is no physical evidence of angels or demons or even miracles from God.

        I am sorry to be moving in this direction in my thinking, but it gets difficult not to go that way when you want actual evidence. For that matter, I am increasingly becoming skeptical that the “salvation” claimed by so many fundamentalists has “saved” them from anything. Even James and John noted that salvation had its proofs. And Jesus said that evil trees cannot bear good fruit.

        If it wasn’t for Christians, Christianity would be appear to be a great faith.

        1. It IS a sobering realization that so many who claim the name of Christ do not demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. God forgive us.

        2. Does the absence of physical evidence of ______ indicate its non-existence? I’m not arguing, I’m searching.

        3. as long as you realize that if you accept the existence of God, you have no reason not to accept that He could overrule the normal patterns of nature. If you are going to deny the possibility of the supernatural then you also remove the deity of Jesus in which case He was a fraud, liar, and lunatic. This is why the Bible starts as it does. A Creator God is the sine qua non for the rest of the book.

        4. Well, Joshua, God *could* overrule the normal patterns of nature. But if He were to do so, I would expect Him to leave evidence that He had done so. Does He do so today? Does He expect us to disbelieve the evidence of how the world works?

          The problem is that “evidence” by hearsay or “testimony” is all too often false. Consider eye-witness testimony concerning a crime scene. Such testimony is far less reliable than the physical evidence. Get a dozen people to witness the same event and you will get a dozen stories, with discrepancies and contradictions.

          Mind you, I am not coming from the position of Biblical inerrancy. After much study, I have had to relinquish that doctrine. There are several areas where two Biblical accounts of the same event (but by different authors) simply do not agree in very important points if you want to prove inerrancy. The Scriptures were penned by men. The overall message was the important thing. And Inspiration was not a guarantee of not having any error, but rather of being profitable for teaching, admonition, correction, and instruction in how to live right. Nothing said about being without error in any sense!

          So if a miracle is done, it is good for the moment and for those who witness it. It is not necessarily good for everyone, particularly if they have found the witnesses to be liars about other things!

          Yes, I believe in God. I believe that Christ died for my sins. I accept His miracles, and I believe that His power over physical illnesses was as much a miracle as if He had demonstrated power over spirits and demons. But in a very real way, the peoples’ beliefs in spirits and demons showed a regression toward paganism away from the relationship that God wanted His people to have with Himself and the world which He had made.

          The question is asked, “Does absence of evidence mean evidence of absence?” In criminal investigations, the answer is often “Yes.” A man collapses on the street and dies. Someone heard what they thought was a shot at the same time. Yet there is no bullet wound on the person. There is no evidence that he was shot! So was he shot? No. We look for some other cause of death.

          God *could* overrule the laws of nature. Does He? Can you prove that He does? If a million dollars arrived in your bank account, would that be a miracle, a mistake of the bank, or a criminal using your account for shady transactions? Which would be more likely?

          Frankly, I would be more willing to believe in miracles today if the hearts of those who claim to have received Christ as Savior were actually turned away from wickedness. I would love it if they found themselves able to love their neighbors as themselves, if instead of greediness they had a love for taking care of the needy. If, when confronted with their sin, the indwelling Spirit of God compelled them to confess and repent and seek to repair the wrongs they had done, I might be willing to believe in miracles. Instead, they seem to put the lie to the Scriptural promise that Christ will make his children into His image.

          No. There is no need for demons in our theology. Human wickedness is sufficient. Demons are another think to put blame on as we try to avoid responsibility for ourselves.

        5. I think you may be demanding a higher standard of proof than history provides. For instance, what proof do you have that the signatures of the Declaration of Independence were not the work of one forger? All we have are eyewitnesses and the testimony of the actors. What remaining physical proof could be given that Jesus healed a blind man? Whether or not it is true, it would be silly to demand proof of that sort.

      2. PW wrote, “It IS a sobering realization that so many who claim the name of Christ do not demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. God forgive us.”

        So true. Thank you for the sobering reminder.

    1. I think that’s a pretty good question. I am extremely reticent to ascribe coincidence and everyday life happenings to paranormal/supernatural causes. My mother will say things like “God turned a stop light red/green” or “God put that car there for you”, etc, that seem to me to be pretty clearly demonstrably untrue. I know how timers & sensors work, etc and don’t think you can ascribe their behavior to God.

      I do think things like the working of a moral universe to bend history towards justice, the existence of things like gravity & light that IDK science cause explain why they (or I guess anything) exists (instead of nothingness). I suppose it’s more of a “first cause, or unmoved mover” notion of paranormal. I don’t know that natural causes can fully explain the existence of a sense of conscience or morality in sentient beings, etc.

    2. I know exactly what you mean Rob. I thought so long and so hard about what I actually believe after I got out of IFB, because they whacked me up pretty good. I would say the thing that keeps me believing in a supernatural deity is the idea of the “prime mover.” Without that there is no solid explanation of the universe. It all goes back to Descartes’ Cogito Ergo Sum–“I think, therefore I am.”

      While I am not saying I believe in evolution or not, it does not explain the universe’s point of origin (matter is pre-existing). Even if one assumes that we are spirit beings (and so we are capable of thought), somehow we must have come into existence (therefore we are). At least for now, I am pretty convinced that there must be a deity. I cannot say which one or whose is right, if he cares about us, or even if he involves himself in human affairs, but that is what I am working with at the moment.

    3. “Does the paranormal really exist (apart from mental illness, sci-fi & horror genres)?”

      Well, no reputable and scientific investigation of the paranormal has produced any evidence that it exists. Such investigations HAVE produced evidence of quackery, however, along with people gullible enough to give their fortunes to con artists.

      Are there things that are unexplained? Sure. But the more we learn, the less there is that is unexplained. In 1918, the flu epidemic was unexplained. Later, scientists were able to discover viruses. The more they learned, the more they were able to explain — and to help.

      In 1918, a child dying of influenza would be attended by a doctor with no ability to help. “She is in the hands of God,” the doctor would tell the parents. “God took her Home,” the preacher would intone at her funeral. The parents were told that it was all God’s will.

      Today, a child dying of influenza would be put in the hospital, given intense therapy to prevent the child from dying. The doctors, nurses, and scientists would not be worrying about God’s will. They would be administering anti-viral agents, they would provide assistance breathing, they would work to control the fever — and they usually win. And while we still give thanks to God for the return of a healthy girl to her family, the fact is that Scientists didn’t think this was in the realm of the supernatural. They went against “the will of God” to save people. And they have been winning.

      This is not to say that the supernatural doesn’t exist. But it has given us no reason to think that it does. In that case, why pay attention to it? Why pretend it affects things it has no affect on at all?

      Yes, I believe in God. Still. I do wish He would provide more evidence of Himself – like kicking the arses of his “ministers” into line to stop their lies, their cheating, their hatred, and their power games. He could actually put down the arrogant and lift up the fallen instead of letting those who are victimized continue to be victimized. But I believe still, though it gets very difficult at times.

      But demons? There is no reason to believe they exist at all. None. They are theologically unnecessary. God left them out of the Creation stories while the other nations’ creation stories included them. God even left out knowledge of Hell and of the Devil for centuries or millennia.

  14. I am a true believer that mental illness is a physiologic condition, but I also believe in the reality of demonic possession simply based on Jesus’ interaction with them and that He had demanded the names of the demons and cast them out and into the swine. This is not mental illness, unless suddenly thousands of swine became psychotic at once. Also, Saul was troubled by “evil spirits”.

    Notice, Jesus didn’t correct the record by saying, “it really isn’t demons, it’s sickness of the mind” then either the Bible is in error, or Jesus perpetuated a myth/lie. I don’t think either is correct. I accept the Biblical account as written. Demonic possession exists, but so does genuine mental illness.

    1. You know, God didn’t tell Abraham, “I am not really here in the flesh. I am just a Spirit.” God was much more interested in a relationship than in correcting any misconceptions.

      People don’t like their misconceptions corrected. Had Jesus tried to tell them that what they saw as demon possession was epilepsy, autism, or mental illnesses, they would have laughed at him and ignored him — miracles or not. Had He said that medicine could have helped any of them, they’d have been ready to stone Him, since “medicine” as we know it was considered “sorcery” and punishable by death. Yes, indeed. Pop a couple of aspirin for a headache in ancient Israel and you will be relieved of your headaches permanently after being stoned to death!

      Christ did not come to teach about physical realities. He came to show people a God Who loved them.

      “Demon possession” was never found in the Scripture in the Old Testament. Never. That aspect of theological thinking was a Persian/Zoroastrian import. Nevertheless it was a cultural staple despite having no Scriptural support.

      Do I believe in Demon Possession? No. Unless, perhaps, we are talking about the state of slavery fundies in the pews are in to their MOGs.

    2. The subject of the spirit that troubled Saul brings to mind the phrase “spirit of fear” as in, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…” In the case of that verse found in 2 Timothy 1:7, I would tend to think that the word “spirit” did not refer to an actual spiritual being or spiritual beings. So I am not convinced that the spirit that troubled Saul was an actual spiritual entity either. Whatever the case is, though; the story of the maniac of Gedara clearly references actual devils.

      Fundy preachers, in my opinion, have done a great deal of harm in attributing to the devil, things that can be more properly understood to have natural causes. For example, depression can be caused by or at the very least affected by brain chemistry. Many have found medicines that treat the underlying physical condition to be enormously helpful. And pastors who categorically discourage people from taking advantage of those medicines are, in my mind, guilty of spiritual malpractice.

      Still, I really don’t think we can rule out the spiritual element in every single instance of mental illness. Personally I have encountered numbers of people who were literally not in their right minds.

      Many years ago I had some contact with a guy who had serious mental health issues. When I saw that guy again after returning to the states, he stopped me and told me with complete seriousness something like ‘the Ayatollah Khomeini has my head.’ Later I believe he was institutionalized.
      Was he mentally ill, certainly. Was there a spiritual element to his problem, I think maybe so, but I don’t know. In another instance, I met a man who told me (if I remember right) that while he was down by a river maybe, he heard a voice that said, “You’re Jesus.” He responded by saying, “No I’m not!” Again, maybe that was entirely the result of his brain not working properly, but again, I don’t know.

      The last example is from a time when finances had forced to live in a place with very low rent. There was another guy living there who was absolutely out of his skull. Through my door I could hear his deranged cursing and blasphemy. He could be heard making strange noises at times when others would be sleeping. Once I heard him mutter something about cracking my skull as he walked past my door. Time prohibits me from continuing. While no doubt drug use played a part in his insanity and psychiatrists would probably have diagnosed him as being schizophrenic, I think he would be the only person I have ever met who I really believe was demon possessed. Of course, I respect the fact that most people do not believe in that sort of thing.

      1. I appreciate your experience. When I was working the graveyard shift at a major hotel, we would get the loonies. Some were downright creepy. At that time I did believe in demons and demon possession.

        But since, I have witnessed how medication can take people like this and make them much more rational and sane. So I have to ask. Are demons affected by medication?

        And I don’t think they would be. I don’t think demon possession would have anything to do with physiology, biological chemistry, and so on.

        A former pastor of mine said that he believed all depression and mental illness was demon possession and railed against doctors and the pharmaceutical industry for trying to mask it with drugs. The people didn’t need medicine, they needed Christ (according to him). At another point he had made the statement that we didn’t need to spend money on schools. We needed to preach Christ and that would solve all problems!

        My wife had a problem. Now she is (and was) “saved,” but certain kinds of stress made her react inappropriately. We went to a Christian doctor (who also happened to be in our IFB church) and he prescribed an SSRI. What do you know! Her problem minimized. It wasn’t a spiritual problem, it was a physical problem.

        So I understand the temptation to view the unknown creepiness as “demon possession.” I just don’t think it exists. Mental illness exists in a wide variety of forms, and we human beings are infinitely warp-able.

        1. Actually it would be more correct to say that I could hear that last guy either through my door, his door, or through both of our doors.

          In any case, that former pastor of yours and my first fundy pastor sound like they probably had a fair amount in common.

  15. If you ever listen to Jim Logan, you will find out that it’s not just black people who have demons; Chinese people and Native Americans are also full of them, apparently.

  16. I’m going to go out on a limb, and in this case reach for Occam’s Razor to explain what he thinks he saw.

    He says it’s demonic possession. My guess is that what he saw has a much simpler explanation. Almost certainly, it had a lot more to do with these performers marketing a product to maximize its profit than it did any kind of perceived spiritual woo. I doubt that any of them gave even a minute’s thought to this preacher’s deity.

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