I See Demon Worshipers

"More vomit! Damn it, I need more vomit!"

Actually, before I get to this post about people who believe in demonic possession, I have a very simple question. If you believe in demons, isn't that almost akin to worshiping them? After all, we do refer to believers as God-fearing people. Anyway, I've been meaning to post this description of the casting out of demons from Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting With Jesus (italics mine; "Brother Mike" refers to the author's brother):

After the worship service, I approach Brother Mike about exorcism: "I gotta ask you, Brother Mike," I said, "do you cast out demons often?"

I must say here that one of the biggest quandaries in writing this book is that people trust me not to make fools of them. Brother Mike talks straight and is never evasive. It's the trust of a brother.

"I've encountered demons no more than six times in my life," he said. "I've only had a couple of direct casting-out experiences. But I think there are a lot more demons around that we do not recognize. Remember the maniac of Gadarenes? The guy in the Bible who was running around naked in the graveyard with two thousand demons in him? He's in the Bible twice: Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26. Jesus cast the demons into a herd of swine. My most recent casting-out was in a young man twenty years old. His dad had come to me and said he thought his son was demon possessed. The boy was involved in drugs and sex. Drug dealers are sorcerers, part of Satan's power of the air now ruling here on earth to a large extent. Revelation 8 shows the connection."

"What do you do? Lay on hands or what?"

"We use scripture read aloud. Particularly those scriptures on the blood of Christ. The Devil hates the blood of Christ, and God promised the power in the blood. This young man said he could actually lie in bed and feel his girlfriend in his arms even though she wasn't there. He liked wild music, drink, and drugs. He talked to me for two hours, and all the time he had this dark look about him, So I looked into his eyes and said: 'I think you are demon possessed, Do you think you are? Do you think you have demons?' He said yes. I told him, 'Then you cannot get victory.'"

"Hell, little brother. What does a demon do when you try to cast him out?"

"Well, these demons never talked back to me, though sometimes they do. We started to pray, and the boy got up and ran, I pinned him to the door, and he started to growl at me just like a wild dog. And so here's what I did: I just plead the blood. The name of Christ has power, and the blood is where the real power is, After he calmed down a little, we sat him back in the chair, and his dad went to get two other preachers. We surrounded the boy and began to pray. He growled and tried again to run. We held him down in the chair for about twenty minutes or so, all three of us praying at the same time. We prayed loud. When you are fighting a spiritual battle like that, it gets real loud. Finally he went limp, and I think that is when the demon left. After that he was exhausted. He later got saved. That was several years ago, and he's still in the church."

"After an ordeal like that, I'll bet he is!"

Brother Mike tells me that Satan has an invisible army of demons doing his bidding and that every demon is different. He says demons will take up residence in a house and stay there for years.

"Me and Preacher [the church's founder] and two other guys cleared demons out of my son's father-in-law's house. Demons were exposing themselves to my son's father-in-law [who is, incidentally, a well-placed U.S. government administrator]. A black form with red eyes actually came into the room and stood over the bed. It scared the wife and kids to death. We got out the Book of Hebrews, chapters 9 and 10, where it talks about the blood and the victory. We went into every room and it commanded the demons to leave in the name of Christ. We asked them to reveal themselves. We called them cowards in the face of God. They never came back."

"Geesh! The Baptist church has certainly gotten livelier since the days when I went to church."

I often make light here of millions of Americans whose magical thinking about the Bible resembles Dungeons and Dragons more than religious contemplation. I have to. It helps me deal with the fact that my own family believes in demons.

This is a really lame sounding exorcism. Where's the head-rotating and the buckets of vomit? Only a little growling? This is the whiniest demon EVAH!

On a more serious note, blaming one's own failings on metaphysical termites ("demons will take up residence in a house and stay there for years") is a recipe for societal infantilism. It used to be that when a young guy was screwing around, someone pulled him aside and told him to grow up and get his shit together. The point, he was responsible for his own mess. This 'demon-blaming' is hyper-salvationist irresponsibility, with a touch of D&D thrown in. Once the 'demon' is gone, you're no longer responsible. Here are some examples of how this could be misused:

I didn't cheat on my wife, a demon made me do it.

I didn't steal, a demon made me do it.

I didn't invade the wrong fucking country, a demon made me do it. (Wait a minute...)

Funny how this never seems to apply to some of the most desperate groups, like poor, single mothers*. I guess poor, single mothers, even though they are perhaps the most powerless group in the U.S. but who are also somehow the Root Cause of All Social Problems** (except for the teachers' unions), are also possessed. Nope. For them, no demons--they need to take more personal responsibility for their actions. Funny, how only the 'right' people are possessed....

Oh, I almost forgot, there's one more troubling thing about this: people still believe in demons. This puts all of the arguments on ScienceBlogs about framing into a rather depressing context....

*Although wouldn't it be kewl if the demon got her pregnant?

**Except for TEH GAY.

Update: Brian, at Primordial Blog, tells us of his former life as an exorcist.

More like this

It's been five months since I first started Your Friday Dose of Woo. I started it on a whim, after wondering if I should have a Friday feature, as so many other ScienceBloggers do (Friday Cephalopod, Friday Sprog Blogging, The Friday Fermentable, among others). In those five months, this thing has…
"The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes. These activities include: Sex with demons Orgies between animals and humans Animal and human sacrifices Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood Rape and molestation…
Ah, the day after Thanksgiving. I had wondered whether I would have the wherewithal to actually come up with yet another installment of this blog's usual Friday feature. After all, too much food can lead to a decrement in brain function that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to come up…
Well now…if you've had a hankerin' to torture, abuse, and do who knows what else to people at your whim, here's what you do: move on down to Texas and set up a religion. The Texas Supreme Court just ruled on a case in which a young woman was subjected to extreme distress and restraint during a…

It's the Flip Wilson defense...

"The devil made me do it!"

Plead the blood? Has he tried alternatives, say the serum of Christ? Or the cerebrospinal fluid, the gastric juices, the bile, the spit, the snot, the piss of Christ? He really should study this rather than blindly sticking to blood simply because that was the first one anyone ever tried. Additional research might turn up other devil repellants -- perhaps garlic, cilantro, or hot peppers -- you know, something actually on hand (and useful anyway).

There do seem to be two schools of christianity. The god beggars suck up to the sky fairy and favor asskissing while the devil dodgers, believing demons are after them, like in a knockdown fight with the odds heavily in their own favor.

What bothers me the most about exorcism is that once the victim is seen as possessed, the 'fix' can run to by-any-means-necessary, which too often leads to death. You'll note there has never been a possession of a prizefighter or a wiseguy. Only the small and weak get targeted.

It's kind of humiliating to admit now, but I was exactly like the people in that story up until about five years ago. I started off as a teenager, helping hold down the squirming, thrashing victims while the elders prayed. Eventually I moved on to conducting my own exorcisms (and yes they did get pretty loud).

I don't believe in it now, but it seemed very real at the time. Of course, it helped if the victims really believed that they were possessed, because they would inevitably play along and make a good show of it: kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now that I no longer believe in demons I can't imagine what "possessed" me to do such a thing.

I don't hang in those circles. Could someone please explain what "plead the blood" means?

By Tegumai Bopsul… (not verified) on 06 Sep 2007 #permalink

To "plead the blood" simply means to claim the blood of Christ as either a protection from the demonic or as a weapon with which to conduct spiritual warfare.

Just mentioning "the blood of Jesus" is usually enough to send the demons into an impotent rage.

By the way, this has inspired me to write a more detailed post about my experiences with this topic on my blog. It should be up in an hour or so if anyone is interested.

I wonder how many of these people, if they've heard the story about the airport mechanics sacrificing a goat to ensure a good, safe repair, would remark on how foolish and superstitious those mechanics are.

Brings to mind a line from the song 'God thinks' by Voltaire - I hate people who blame the Devil for their own shortcomings.
Appropriate, and a great song.

Disclaimer: I do not actually believe in demon possession (or demons) except possibly in the case of the PCR machine in my lab which refuses to amplify my template.

Alright, this is likely to get me flamed or something, but actually, from a religious perspective, claiming demon-possession does NOT in fact get you off the hook (well, at least not if your religion is internally consistent and let's just say for the sake of argument that it is in this case). Because if you were a good, righteous, upstanding, deeply spiritual person, the demon should not be able to possess you. The demon possesses you because you are weak in your faith. Therefore, whatever happens after you become possessed IS your fault because if you were the kind of person you are supposed to be, then you wouldn't have been possessed in the first place.

Poor, single, pregnant mothers cannot be possessed by demons because the Virgin Mary is watching over them (she's sympathetic in that area). ;)

Who do you think is in charge of the UN and CFR its the antichrist

By gooney bird (not verified) on 08 Sep 2007 #permalink

ok well i don't think this is very factual at all. sorry but i am a hardcore christian and i have friends who actually have seen demons and had them cast out before. and somethimes there is more than just noise and growling.

my church is pretty modern and we believe that God gives certain gifts to people like prophecy and all of that junk. so get the facts straigh hun. these things are happening and just because you don't believe in them doesn't make it any less real.

so i guess if you didn't believe in gravity you'd still die if you jumped off a building now wouldn't you.

k thanks.

Having a gift that allows one to glimpse into the spiritual plane, and an acknowledgment of it, is certainly not the same as demon worship. Movies are movies and earthly intellect has nothing to do with spiritual enlightenment. This site is certainly proof of that. Good luck with all the bio-nanoing you can conjure, but the seen and unseen spiritual world exists. The funny thing is, one day you'll have no choice but to realize it.

fuck you

By ssssssssss (not verified) on 23 Jul 2010 #permalink