If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

Demonic Possession

'Presumptuous Satan, I am placing this candle on your head to light you the way to Hell. This is the light of the Holy Catholic Church, and you are a spirit of darkness. Now go back to Hell, and rejoin your true companions.'


'I am staying here, because it's good here. In Hell it's not good.'

 

Evidence of Satan in the Modern World, account of an alleged exorcism of a by at the orphanage of St. Charles at Schiltigheim.

 

One of the things most religions have in common is an acceptance of the possibility of diabolical possession, that is, that evil spirits or demons have the power to control the bodies of their victims. Taking over the body would not necessarily mean taking over the person. Why are things never possessed? That would be a sign that it is not demons at work at all. A demon if it can get into a person should be able to get into a knife and stick it in everybody in reach. It should be as easy for a demon to control a knife as a body. No it should be easier. They even push the inhabitant of the body to the one side and that takes a lot of magic to do such a thing. The reason people get possessed not things is that they are not possessed and have something wrong with their heads.

 

TOBIT 3

 

The Catholic Church is clear that this though the word of man is what God would write.  It says God wrote it.

 

 "In the city of Ecbatana in Media, it happened that Sarah, the daughter of a man named Raguel, was insulted by one of her father's servant women. Sarah had been married seven times, but the evil demon, Asmodeus, killed each husband before the marriage could be consummated. The servant woman said to Sarah, You husband killer! Look at you! You've already had seven husbands, but not one of them lived long enough to give you a son.  Why should you take it out on us? Why don't you go and join your dead husbands? I hope we never see a child of yours!  Sarah was so depressed that she burst into tears and went upstairs determined to hang herself. But when she thought it over, she said to herself, No, I won't do it! People would insult my father and say,
You had only one child, a daughter whom you loved dearly, but she hanged herself because she felt so miserable. Such grief would bring my gray-haired father to his grave, and I would be responsible. I won't kill myself; I'll just beg the Lord to let me die. Then I won't have to listen to those insults any longer!"

 

Analysis

 

The demon must have used Sarah to kill the men.  The book says that God sent an angel to exorcise her.  "Raphael was also ordered to expel the demon Asmodeus from Sarah."  After we read how Tobias said "he rid my wife of a demon".

 

One wonders why the demons the Church works with today never commit murder!  The Church knows fine well there are no demons and won't be responsible for making somebody think they have a murderous demon in them for it will lead to bloodshed.

 

Raphael is clear on how to get rid of a demon and its not a very religious tip.  Fish parts are burned. "The heart and liver can be burned and used to chase away a demon or an evil spirit that is tormenting someone. The attacks will stop immediately, and the person will never be troubled again. You can use the gall bladder to treat someone whose eyes are covered with a white film. Just rub it on his eyes and blow on the film, and he will be able to see again."

 

The angel had to get the demon to Egypt and bind him.  "The smell drove the demon away from them, and he fled to Egypt. Raphael chased after him and caught him there. At once he bound him hand and foot."

 

The book outlines how to exorcise.  Nothing else in the Bible gives a method. The demon must be driven away with smells and bound somewhere far away.  And demons can kill by possessing a person to get her or him to kill.  And we are expected to believe sane people like Sarah who claim their murders were a case of "the demon made me do it!".  None of this matches what the Catholic Church does so the exorcisms are a hoax in some form.  Perhaps the Church is redirecting demons not exorcising them!  No wonder they often keep coming back!

 

Asmodeus appears in the non-biblical Testament of Solomon.  Solomon is made to say that:

 

instantly there approached me the demon Asmodeus, bound, and I asked him: "Who art thou?" But he shot on me a glance of anger and rage, and said: "And who art thou?" And I said to him: "Thus punished as thou art, answerest thou me?" But he, with rage, said to me: "But how shall I answer thee, for thou art a son of man; whereas I was born an angel's seed by a daughter of man, so that no word of our heavenly kind addressed to the earth-born can be overweening. Wherefore also my star is bright in heaven, and men call it, some the Wain, and some the dragon's child. I keep near unto this star. So ask me not many things; for thy kingdom also after a little time is to be disrupted, and thy glory is but for a season. And short will be thy tyranny over us; and then we shall again have free range over mankind, so as that they shall revere us as if we were gods, not knowing, men that they are, the names of the angels set over us."  And I Solomon, on hearing this, bound him more carefully, and ordered him to be flogged with thongs of ox-hide, and to tell me humbly what was his name and what his business. And he answered me thus: "I am called Asmodeus among mortals, and my business is to plot against the newly wedded, so that they may not know one another. And I sever them utterly by many calamities, and I waste away the beauty of virgin women, and estrange their hearts."  And I said to him: "Is this thy only business?" And he answered me: "I transport men into fits of madness and desire, when they have wives of their own, so that they leave them, and go off by night and day to others that belong to other men; with the result that they commit sin, and fall into murderous deeds.  And I adjured him by the name of the Lord Sabaôth, saying: "Fear God, Asmodeus, and tell me by what angel thou art frustrated." But he said: "By Raphael, the archangel that stands before the throne of God. But the liver and gall of a fish put me to flight, when smoked over ashes of the tamarisk." I again asked him, and said: "Hide not aught from me. For I am Solomon, son of David, King of Israel. Tell me the name of the fish which thou reverest." And he answered: "It is the Glanosby name, and is found in the rivers of Assyria; wherefore it is that I roam about in those parts." And I said to him: "Hast thou nothing else about thee, Asmodeus?" And he answered: "The power of God knoweth, which hath bound me with the indissoluble bonds of yonder one's seal, that whatever I have told thee is true. I pray thee, King Solomon, condemn me not to [go into] water." But I smiled, and said to him: "As the Lord God of my fathers liveth, I will lay iron on thee to wear. But thou shalt also make the clay for the entire construction of the Temple, treading it down with thy feet." And I ordered them to give him ten water-jars to carry water in. And the demon groaned terribly, and did the work I ordered him to do. And this I did, because that fierce demon Asmodeus knew even the future. And I Solomon glorified God, who gave wisdom to me Solomon his servant. And the liver of the fish and its gall I hung on the spike of a reed, and burned it over Asmodeus because of his being so strong, and his unbearable malice was thus frustrated.

 

The demon is virgin born for his father is an angel.  The work could precede the gospels and shows that its possible that the Christian idea of Jesus being born by a supernatural power without a father could have been inspired by the legend.

 

FROM A CATHOLIC CATECHISM

 

 [It] sometimes happens that God allows men of vicious lives, or those who sin against faith, to be punished or led astray by evil spirits.

God sometimes permits that the bodies of men who have given themselves over to the indulgence of their passions be possessed by evil spirits, as a town is occupied by a general who has conquered it.  This state is called possession. In the time of Our Lord there were many thus possessed, and who in consequence were dumb (Matt. ix. 32), blind (Matt. xii. 22), and exceeding fierce (Matt. viii. 28). God permitted that then there should be many such, that He might show the power of the Son of God and the feebleness of the devils in His presence, and that He might drive them forth from those whom they tormented. Yet it does not follow that all who were possessed were necessarily so through their own fault. Some children were possessed from their birth (Mark ix. 20). Sometimes God allowed even holy men to be possessed for a time; but more often it was a punishment for grievous sin, and especially for a deliberate friendship with the devil, as was the case with the witch of Endor (1 Kings xxviii. 7 seq. ; Cf. Acts xvi. 16). Such cases are not unfrequent now in pagan countries. God also permits the evil spirits to mislead those who practise spiritualism, which consists in the invoking of the spirits of the dead in order to discover things secret, or that are taking place at a distance. The devils personate the spirits invoked, and by their superior knowledge are able to reveal many things, by which they delude those who deal with them into thinking that they are really conversing with some departed relative or friend. On these occasions the spirits will sometimes take a material form. Spiritualism leads to the loss of faith or of morals, or at least to the ruin of the peace of mind of the person practising it. Very often it is mixed up with a great deal of imposture.

 

WHAT IF THE SPIRIT SHOWS NO OR LITTLE MALICE?

 

Not all possessions seem to be worth worrying about.  Voodoo and religions like that consider possession by spirits claiming to be gods or ancestors is a good thing and followers use drums and prayers and rites to get possessed so that they can give hidden information and heal people. About five million people in the United States alone attempt to induce possession or to open up to it.   The majority of possessions then are not really demonic horror film stuff.  For Christianity, the "nice" possessions are the worst of all.  But only few if any think the nice ones are bad.  And if there is self-deception involved it is harmful to a person who likes getting possessed that it is a malicious spirit that is doing it for it programmes their brain to simulate possession by evil.

 

Possession based religion or shamanic religion holds that evil spirits can possess and practitioners claim to have the power to evict them.  The Catholic claim is that this is Satan's work.  But if it is, then it shows that Jesus' claim that Satan cannot cast out Satan is gibberish.  The Church has no evidence that if it casts out demons that it really is casting them out and not making them hide better or that the demon is not cast out but only leaving for a better offer has come up.  Without the evidence, the doctrine of possession simply leads to the spiritually abusive superstition of exorcism.

 

The Bible says that false Gods are really demons in disguise which is why there is a need for brutal opposition to idolatry.  And if you consider the Mass to be idolatry with its allegation that the bread becomes Jesus and you have to assimilate him to sort of become him that is a cry for possession.
 
DIAGNOSING POSSESSION FROM A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE
 
A person who claims to be possessed by Satan or a demon cannot just expect her or his word to be taken for it. The Church sets about a diagnosis which interestingly is kept top secret and confidential and medical professionals are not given the criteria or the reasons for the diagnosis. This is because possession is a scam.

 

Despite the New Testament teaching the opposite, being blind or deaf or dumb is not taken as a sufficient sign that a person is possessed!
 
Signs of demonic possession supposedly include:

A person knowing what he or she cannot possibly know without some paranormal or supernatural force telling him or her. (Why are there no remarkable examples of this such as a demon telling the the lottery numbers, where Jack the Ripper is buried, getting in the scientific investigator or even going on Oprah?)

A person may be able to speak reasonably well in a language she or he has not learned.

Strength far beyond what a person should be capable of.

A hysterical hatred of anything holy.

The power to float in mid-air not jumping but literally hovering.

What is the main sign?

Only the levitation would be necessarily paranormal or supernatural. But no reports of it have been well-verified. A person can surprise you with strength and some body parts such as legs are stronger than what most of us given them credit for.

None of these do anything to prove that demons are involved. The paranormal if it exists could explain it all. For that reason spiritual matters such as possession cannot be put in a manual of mental disorders. It cannot even go in as alleged possession!

So what is the main sign of demonic possession then? For Catholics it would be the hatred of sacred things and prayers. There is no point in the devil doing wonders such as levitating a victim if it is not a protest against the Catholic faith. It does not make sense to hold that devils hate God and the Catholic faith more than anything and then to say that they do not make their victims hate holy things or abuse the victims to force them to abuse the sacred. In fact when we think about it, extreme fear or aversion to holy Catholic things could be the real sign for Catholics while the others are just window dressing. The Church knows there is a shame in regarding hatred for the holy as enough to establish the work of a demon. The secular world and indeed most of the religious world would think it was hilarious.

The difficulty is that Satan by protesting the faith is advertising it and it is more rational to hold that he is in fact supporting the faith and pretending he does not. It is odd that God is everywhere meaning everywhere is sacred and God is in all so why would Satan fear things such as crosses?

The other problem is that the demon might not even need to get the person to hate the faith so the hate might be coming from the person.

 

Most think that the only sure sign a person has been possessed is when the exorcism works!  They are guinea pigs.
 
Such is the irrationality of the exorcist and the Church that they should not be allowed near troubled people.

 

POSSESSION - A SPIRITUAL PROBLEM?

 

It is asserted by some that demon possession is essentially a spiritual malady.  That makes it simple for mental illness is a multifactorial affair. It is very complicated.  Chemicals, food, trauma, your social setting, where you live, what you own, how you tend to feel and think and your religious and spiritual endeavours come together to produce an illness.  If insanity or schizophrenia or something else is mistaken for possession then that is very dangerous.  It is over-simplifying a mental illness at the very least.  Mental illness will become more dangerous if the person is told she is possessed for it will condition the illness to act as if she is.

 

EXPERIMENT

 

Jesus told demons to go and the person recovered there and then.  Nobody ever reports such success today.  Paul according to the Acts of the Apostles was annoyed by a girl with a demon following him around and he lost his temper and told it to get out in the name of Jesus and it did there and then.

 

All admit that it is hard to tell if somebody really is possessed.  All the exorcist does in such a case is attempt to use the name of Jesus to get the demon out and if it works the person was possessed.  This seems outrageously cruel. It is trying to test the alleged cure to see what the diagnosis should be.  You don't stoop so low that you amputate a limb in case somebody has gangrene.

 

Surely if you expect an instant departure in the name of Jesus and it does not happen you should surmise that the person is not possessed and stop trying to treat her with more exorcisms?

 

The Bible says demons are very strong for the Gadarene demonic was able to break his chains and presumably injure himself thereby.  Possession then means that attempting exorcism many only fuel the anger of the demon towards the victim.

 

Evidence of Satan in the Modern World, Chapter 5 Cases of Possession in the Ninetheenth and Twentith Centuries speaks of persons who got exorcised and then needed at least one more exorcism.  What about "the case of a young Bantu girl, Claire-Germaine Cele, of Natal, who was twice possessed and twice delivered by exorcism, once on 10th September 1906, and again on 24th April 1907."  Such ideas imply that exorcists do not admit that they failed to get the demon out and that it was dormant.  If the person relapses they treat it like the flu and start another course of exorcism.


THERE IS MORE

Sledgehammer Christianity says that if somebody is not Christian then do not get the demon out for it will return and find the house empty of God and faith and will re-possess and even bring along its even more evil friends (Matthew 12:45). So non-Christians are accused of providing houses for the demons!  And if a demon is invited, its mates must be gatecrashers.  This brings us to the question: is the possessed person in any way to blame for the possession or fully to blame?

 

In the gospels Jesus never speaks to the possessed person in such a way as to find out how and why they invited demons in and never tells them what to do to keep them away. He just speaks to the demon as if the demon took the person over against their will. It is just ordered out without any attempt to counsel the victim.  The doctrine of possession is terrible when it blames the victim and terrible when it does not. Demons just sitting around and pouncing on people is a terrifying thought.  It is pure pagan superstition. 

 

Even worse Jesus speaks to the demon in the body as if it is the person who owns the body.  The person responds as if they are the demon incarnate.  Is this the idea that the demon shoves the real owner out and replaces her or him?  Yes.  To murder the person who is exhibiting the demon is really to murder the demon not the person.  It is true that we have a story in the gospels about Jesus meeting a man with a legion of demons.  In Mark 5  we have "He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”   For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 

 

Notice how it says he when it is the demon talking.   When Jesus says come out of the man he really seems to mean just for the demon to come out of the body and let the man back in.  This early exorcism tale shows us how to interpret the possession stories about Jesus.
 
Some religions say the demons actually take over human beings.  The Catholic view is that there is at least one other person infesting the body that belongs to somebody else and that person has to be removed and kept out. But the owner of the body is still in there.

 

It is a mystery how something that has no components or parts or nerves can feel hate and greed.  Demons and evil spirits need bodies to feel hate and feel greed and all those other bad things.  That surely means they become Anton when they possess his body. 

 

Why is nobody possessed forever or permanently?  Victims have peace most of the time. Why are only Catholics possessed?  Is exorcism a scam and do demons prefer to lurk within without fanfare?
 
Exorcism though you hear little about it is a core Catholic practice for it and only it has the Church directly facing supernatural evil. The Church is all about combatting that evil or so it says. If it cannot handle demons it simply does not connect with God very well if at all. Jesus himself emphasised exorcism as a sign that Satan was being dealt with and that people were being saved from evil. His exorcisms were not just about curing an individual but about putting into practice the core teaching that God's kingdom was going to vanquish the kingdom of Satan and evil people.
 
Exorcism is a form of prayer to which God responds by putting the demons out. So it is said. But the fact remains that most rites are about nagging the demon to leave and not praying to God. The prayers seem to have no effect but the nagging does.
 
Exorcism is meant to be expulsion but most "exorcisms" are definitely not like that. The "demon" usually is still there after endless exorcisms. If it leaves it looks like it leaves of its own accord.
 
Not all religions think possession is curable. Some think that prayer only curtails some of the harm that the demon can do but cannot get rid of it and its leaving is its own decision. If so, exorcism does not cure. Asking a tenant to leave the house is not an eviction if they don't have to listen. In the same way, if a demon leaves during a ceremony it does not necessarily mean he was evicted.
 
The Catholic Church for about a hundred years has got more careful with performing exorcisms. Nowadays exorcism is only performed under extreme circumstances and if a supernatural agency is seen to be causing a person’s insanity or dangerous behaviour. So we are told but is it true that the Church is that careful? No. The whole process is shrouded in secrecy. There are no professional records such as what a doctor might keep. That alone is a warning bell.
 
In the past (it still happens but is hidden better) the Church made many schizophrenics and disturbed people far worse by diagnosing demonic possession and exorcising them! Mad people often think they are possessed and it will not help if priests validate their delusion. It will only encourage them. Even today the Church will not perform an exorcism on a person who is insane and whose insanity cannot be traced to anything medical unless that person shows signs of clairvoyance or speaks in languages he or she never learned and can make things float around the room just by thinking about it or whatever. So it needs evidence for the supernatural. Good luck to the Church then for science never found any evidence for the supernatural. And the evidence the Church provides is always hearsay.
 
It doesn’t trouble the Church that some force inside the so-called possessed that has nothing to do with demons could be causing the allegedly supernatural effects. Demons could be doing them but it still doesn’t show that the person is really possessed. It could be a simulated possession. Suppose you hear a "possessed" person talking in a language they have never learned. A demon could be getting into your mind to make you think the victim is talking in a language he or she never learned. It could be an illusion. If demons exist and possess people you cannot be sure of what is real.
 
There can be no doubt that Jesus Christ’s exorcisms and example has cost many their lives and caused a lot of suffering especially in centuries gone by. The exorcists say that the demon often gets very violent and abusive towards the victim during an exorcism. The demon reacts angrily towards the exorcism and it supposedly tortures the victim with new ferocity in the hope that the priest will discontinue the exorcism. And it takes many exorcisms to get each one out so the victim could be a bloody mass of pulp before it supposedly succeeds. This is nothing more than religion declaring that it has the right to torment people when it cannot prove that demons exist or possess people if they do. Also, people used to be forced to fast and were beaten up to get the demons out and locked up in towers with monks praying over them for weeks. There can be little doubt that Satan might have performed exorcisms through Jesus so that this would happen. If he cast demons out it was worth it to him for it resulted in superstition and worse evil than possessing.

If the demon is part of the person it is the person who is being tormented by the exorcist.
 
The Church has one or two priests in every diocese who perform exorcisms. It claims every priest has the power to cast out demons but only a few are selected and trained for the job. But in the Bible we read that Jesus choose his unstable and selfish disciples as exorcists and even protested when they complained that a man outside their group was casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus then does not see any need for being cautious and using science and medicine to make sure the person isn’t just suffering from a mental or physical disorder. How could Catholic exorcists have the power to cast out demons in Jesus’ name when they aren’t even obedient and don’t think much of the way he did things? How can they see their job as good when they know that for most of the Church’s history nobody knew how to differentiate between possession and mental illness? (They never did but it was worse in the past!) And yet exorcism was still practiced, permitted and even commanded by God and Christ and Church! From the way Jesus acted he wanted all mental illnesses seen as possession. Even if he wanted them to be seen as possible possession that is still awful. Teachings like that only make mental patients suffer more and makes their illness worse. To promote Christianity is to promote something that will disturb people who are mentally ill for a common symptom of mental illness is feeling afflicted by a demon or that a demon is present. The Church will flippantly say that even if it didn’t teach about demons and the Bible didn’t mention exorcisms and Jesus didn’t exorcise people would still be reporting such effects. But at least that would be nobody’s fault. To teach mentally ill people that it is possible for people to be possessed and hurt by demons is to hurt them and harm them. It is religious fanaticism. It is vile for there is no coherent evidence for any religion being true for they all manufacture evidence and the evidence for one religion contradicts the evidence for another religion that is against that religion.
 
Only trained high level conjurers not scientists or priests have the right to determine if the events surrounding an apparent victim of possession are really supernatural and not tricks. But even then they will be only able to go as far as to say that the events are inexplicable for just because something cannot be explained doesn’t mean it is a miracle or supernatural. The Catholic Church says that the Lourdes apparitions of Mary are not part of the faith and that because of that no apparition can ask you to do something dangerous. But still it said officially that Mary appeared there though she had people eating dirty infected plants and drinking water from a spring in a diseased dump. The alleged cures are mentioned but many people got more ill and died after drinking that water but usually the water was not blamed for they were sick anyway but what if the water helped kill them? That no harm seemed to have happened is not the point. The point is the apparition had no right to seek that trust. The Church just isn’t reliable when it comes to judging if something is from God or Satan or miraculous or not. It is the exorcists themselves who are possessed by evil and fanaticism.
 
The victim during an exorcism is often aware of what is going on. The process must be very distressing or her or him. Not only is there a creepy ceremony going on, but it is often being repeated and it builds up hope that the demon will go and that hope is usually dashed. It reinforces the belief that there really is a demon there. And the "demon" may be rampant and crazed during the exorcisms and start tormenting the victim with new ferocity. The victim is put through all that when there is absolutely no evidence that exorcism really benefits. The demon may go in its own time or start to hide in the victim. Exorcism is abuse. When the victim is a child this is heinous abuse.
 
Exorcists have no way of being sure that when they throw holy water on a person who screams that it burns if it is the demon or the person who is speaking. And the demon may be speaking but what if the real person is suffering too and cannot speak? The demon could leave temporarily or hide in the person to avoid the pain. A real demon would surely know that sprinkling holy water is part of the routine. It would see the bottle. It would hide. The reaction shows that the demon is faking if there is a demon. The person suffering, if any, is the victim. Holy water on the body of a person who is not the demon cannot effect the demon. The Wicked Witch of the West would not have been melted by a bucket of water had she being wearing waterproofs. The body of the possessed person does not belong to the demon so the demon cannot respond if the body is sprinkled with holy water. The body is like a shell.
 
The exorcist believes possession and mental illness can co-exist in the one person which makes anything that causes torment irresponsible. And the person may thrash about in agony and injure themselves.
 
A person may claim to be afflicted by a demon and possessed. More often, it is those who know the person who make this claim about them. That makes the whole circus surrounding exorcism far worse. 
 
The doctrine that a demon cannot really take over your body is a smokescreen for the Church acts as if it does. If it were true that the demon merely affects the body but does not own it it would not react to the holy water. If it does then it is faking which raises the question of why it wants people to think the Catholic Church really has power over evil spirits? The victim if she has any intelligence will realise that and that could be dangerous on the psychological level.
 
The Church never says that the person or "victim" has become a demon! Who says that some spirit has to come from elsewhere to possess you? What if you become a demon and possess yourself? Why do people think you have to die and go to Hell before you can become a demon? The demon is not going to be reliable so you cannot believe the information it gives about itself.
 
If you say a person has a demon, you might say it is possible that they are witches and lying that they are possessed. In that case, rather than have a demon they are the demon! It would be the ultimate in hate speech to suggest somebody is a demon or a servant of Satan the greatest liar and murderer imaginable (according to Jesus Christ). If you believed that about a person you could be regarded as guilty but insane if you killed them. It would be a crime of passion. When priests cannot really know much about the alleged entity, they are as good as saying the entity may be the person herself.
 
Once you say a person has a demon you by default show that you think they might be faking and might be the demon. You only assume it is likely that they have a demon so part of you has to be agnostic. In that case, exorcism would be no good. Religious people have no right to say, "We are 100% sure that the person is not evil but possessed." It is arrogance for it is impossible to know it 100%. And it is a lie.
 
Belief in possession by evil spirits of dead people or demons or deluded spirits of dead people who now think they are demons is dangerous. It opens the door to accusing dead people of what they have not done. Consider how an innocent old man who died in his chair was blamed for the Enfield Haunting in London. That case is a hoax though it was better assessed than Catholic accounts of demon possession.
 
Demonic possession is linked to accusing people of cursing the victim or of the victim inviting the demon in. If a demon enters by itself it will blame somebody to cause trouble. Being cursed and then possessed cannot prove the curse caused the possession. If B follows A that does not mean B was caused by A. It is easy to waste time exorcising demons when you see no effect and when you tell yourself that your Jesus gets it out but somebody is using magic to put it back in.
 
Psychotic people often report visions and terrors of a religious nature. They may see Satan appearing to them. Or Jesus may be threatening them with eternal torment. For the priest trying to see if the person is possessed, the information about the visions will prove very important. He will suspect that if they are down to the illness they are also caused by demons. Or he will think they are all down to demons. But that leads to the risk of misdiagnosing. And if the visions show signs of being down to mental illness you can assume that Satan is making sure that it looks as if it is the cause. He would. There is no way to diagnose at all. The diagnosis is just a guess and isn't fit to be described even as an opinion.
 
If demons control the body, they can pretend to be the person. They may commit murders. If demons control the person and not just the body, it follows that many murderers could be innocent. The Devil made them do it. The concept of demonic possession then is extremely important for it has huge implications if it really happens. The trouble is that if demonic possession is real, then different religions have different opinions about it. The door then is opened for people to think that demons are murdering and that murderers are innocent.

Roman Catholicism is a dangerous fanatical religion for encouraging the notion that there is such a thing as demonic possession. What if a new Hitler came and nations listened to the Church and refused to wage war on him because the church starts to say, "He needs a good exorcism. It is wrong to fight him for he is possessed"? The faith is intrinsically fanatical. The responsibility for this is down to Jesus.

The gospels indicate that the demons are so desperate to be in bodies that they would happily inhabit pigs even for a few minutes. Jesus put demons out of a man and they pleaded to be sent into pigs which then went mad and drowned themselves. The Catholic Church claims that it can cast out demons with prayer through priests conducting exorcisms. Demons would act as if the exorcism worked so that they could stay in the person. We have the gospels as our authority for being suspicious. And especially when Catholicism does not really do exorcisms. It only imagines it does. The priests keep praying until the person seems to have recovered and that takes ages - decades at times. That is like praying for a sick person until they feel better and thinking you can cast out sickness. Jesus's exorcisms were allegedly instant. He would say that the Church is counterfeiting the power to cast out demons - and he would see it as a demonic faith and/or a delusional one.
 
The best person to judge if an exorcism worked or not is not the exorcist or anybody else. It is the victim. And no victim tells us anything. Why do those who want us to believe in exorcism and have high regard for it neglect to provide us with the victim's witness? Why do they not even seek such witness?
 
Some people are believed to be possessed by evil spirits or demons. Some people fake their possession to gain attention. Some manifestations mistaken for diabolic possession are actually psychological or physiological conditions. Some possible causes for these pseudo-possessions are: migraines, bipolar disorder, Tourette's syndrome, somatization disorder, multiple personality disorder. If possession is not genuine, then it is the acceptance by the Christians of the myth of possession that produces the suffering of those who think they are possessed.
 
The Catholic Church claims to have the authority to cast out demons from people who are tormented by them. It has a rite of exorcism for that purpose. We read of how Jesus supposedly cast out demons in the gospels. Unlike the Catholic Church, the gospels say Jesus got instant results and just ordered the demon out instead of needing ceremonies and prayers. The differences are striking and you get the impression that the Devil is only making it look like the Catholic Church can move demons out of a person.
 
If the demon is gone, it is possible that the Church has made the person think he or she is still possessed!
 
The exorcism rite of Pope Leo XIII is quite disturbing. It goes "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered and let them that hate him flee from before his face. As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God." How vindictive! They could ask that God stops the wicked but now they tell him how he must do it - by exercising fire and fear and terror and by death. The demon is addressed as follows to exit the person or place, "The glorious Mother of God, the Virgin Mary commands you. She who by her humility and from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception crushed your proud head. The blood of the martyrs and the pious intercession of all the saints commands you." Surely its up to God if a demon leaves. And what right has anybody to tell a demon that Mary orders it to go? Its not her place. And the ceremony may be repeated countless times before the demon goes or at least seems to go.
 
The exorcism includes a prayer to St Michael the Archangel to put Satan back in Hell. That sounds vicious. The Church may say that Satan belongs there and that we would send him back there not because we are bad but because we are so good that we give him what he wants. The Church says that if we go to Hell to suffer forever, it is what we have asked for and God kindly grants it. This is an obviously absurd teaching. It shows the Church is actually grateful to God for putting demons and people in Hell. To reconcile a loving God and Hell you have to make it look like Hell is a favour!
 
Conspiracy theories wreak havoc today. Belief in a Devil and demons who intervene in world affairs only leads to a nasty new batch of conspiracy theories. Eg, maybe Barack Obama is dead and a clone controlled by demons is now the President of the United States? And there is no hope of answering that. With conspiracy theories, there may be some hope of making the believer see sense but only as long as the believer makes no supernatural assumptions. There should be ways of showing that it is implausible that the Freemasons control all the world's finances. But if they have magical powers you cannot know that it is implausible. See the point? Belief in demons and the devil and exorcisms is essentially evil.
 
The Chief Exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, claims to have performed in excess of 70,000 exorcisms. Yet he says he surmises that less than 100 of these were cases of real demonic possession. This is a man who misled thousands of people. He treated them as if they had demons when they had not. What would we think of a doctor who let people think they had cancer when they had not?
 
People might say that as long as the exorcism helps the people it doesn't matter if there were really demons there or not. That is saying that human happiness matters more than truth. Should we start then pretending and saying that nuclear weapons are a myth for that helps people to feel happier. Those people are still getting the wrong treatment. They would be better off with the right treatment no matter what they think or feel. They are still being cheated.
 
Exorcism may seem to help a few. But most people have to endure it time and time again. Is the torture worth the release? They have to decide. Exorcists claim that it sometimes takes decades to get a demon out of a person. That to me shows the rite of exorcism is not very effective. The victim is tormented for years by false hope and a scary ritual that reinforces their belief in the power of the demons. The exorcists care more about expressing and promoting Catholic doctrine by their practices than the victim.
 
Amorth is performing exorcisms which can encourage people who are suffering mentally to suffer far more because they have started to think they are possessed because of the wonder tales of nutters like him. The shocking figure of 70,000 + certainly implies that this is what is happening.

Why would there be so many demons possessing people in Christ's day when Amorth only has met 100? Why didn't the demons keep out of Jesus' way? There is something contrived about it all. They either were on the same side as him meaning he was evil or the gospels were lying. He put the demons in them perhaps to get attention by pretending to cast them out when they merely intended to leave anyway. Or the demons only wanted to possess people in order to promote Christ.

 

Religion judges possessed people as somehow having invited demons in.  What about possessed children or troubled young people?  Possession victims cannot give informed consent so how come they end up possessed? God is more to blame even than Satan.  The invitation thing means the Church can blame the victim if a demon just won't shift.  They can argue that the person may not really want rid of the demon at all which is why the prayers seem unable to eject the demon.  That would be a very cruel insinuation and it means the Church is taking advantage of the fact that many sick people do seem to get better anyway.  When a person with severe emotional problems stops claiming to be possessed the Church exploits that person as a triumph if it has performed an exorcism on her or him. 

 

If exorcisms are so good why are they invariably conducted in the person's presence?  They should work if the exorcists are on the other side of the world.  They are just brainwashing the victim.

 

Possession is a crazy belief and strikes at the heart of what a person is.  You are you and if there is a demon it is not real.

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