This is one of those “what-ifs” that I like to ponder. I admit it doesn’t have an actual point other than as an exercise in imagination.
There’s a line, one of my favorites, that comes from Baudelaire, “One of the artifices of Satan is, to induce men to believe that he does not exist: another, perhaps equally fatal, is to make them fancy that he is obliged to stand quietly by, and not to meddle with them…” It wasn’t a new idea when he wrote it and it’s been repeated in various ways since then. The idea is that an enemy gets to do whatever he wants when no one knows he’s even there. What I’ve pondered is – what if it’s true. What if there is some force that makes men crazy that we just aren’t aware of?
“It is a phenomenon that is on the rise throughout the world: The number of cases of demonic possession – and demands for priests to carry out exorcism – is, according to multiple sources, soaring.” That much is true. I can think of many reasons other than actual demonic possession for this: drug use, stress, lessening of social interaction, desire for attention on social media, actual mental illness, autism, fakes, etc. Or the simple fact that, “Last year, speaking to priests attending a Vatican course on confession, the Pope said confessors “should not hesitate” to refer penitents who are suffering from “genuine spiritual disturbances” to exorcist.”
But I like to ponder sometimes that what-if. What if it was real? “Dr Gallagher believes that demons have been observing human beings since the beginning of time. “They’re very, very smart.” Smart, but non-corporeal. Of course if we don’t want to imagine the what-ifs it is easy to poke holes in Doctor Gallagher’s theories on possession by demons when we read, “Dr Gallagher made it clear that he has discerned possession only in cases where it was already suspected.”
When I read that it makes me suspect that the good doctor suffers from confirmation bias.
That’s the problem with things like demonic possession, any evidence we have is all suspect. There’s no demon-detector. Videos can be faked. Parents and loved ones can be fooled. Priests want to be useful. Psychologists let their own biases get in the way. I was about to write “Unless a demon comes right out and tells us he’s there we can’t know…” but then I realized that demons have come out and told us and we still don’t know if they are real demons or fake demons. Delusions. deluded, or demonic.
Do I think they are real?
But let’s actually think about it rather than just dismiss it, because that’s more fun!
First is the actual religious demon. What exactly are they? They are mentioned in the bible. Jesus casts them out. They know him and seem to be a bit afraid of him but obey him without hesitation. They want a body. In the bible they are so desirous of having one that rather than be without they go into pigs. When they are in a body the person goes nuts. However, the bible itself isn’t very clear on just where they come from other than to say they are fallen angels. Mormonism says they are the spirits of the third of the host of heaven that followed Satan and thus didn’t get a body. Scientology views them a bit differently and says they are aliens that cause all sorts of havoc with people’s lives.
It seems that all those theories have demons coming from someplace other than earth. The word “extraterrestrial” is most commonly associated with aliens from other planets like little green men and all. However, it really just means something of or from outside the earth or its atmosphere. That doesn’t mean aliens really. It could mean us too if we came from outside the earth.
What would be in it for demons?
The idea of them not having a body but wanting one seems the most plausible. They don’t seem to have the ability to take over the world do much else than bother people some. So it seems they are in it for just the experience of feeling the corporeal world. We get to touch stuff, but they don’t.
If they were real then that would actually change everything.
If there ever was proof it would turn religion and science on its head. But the interesting thing is, it would turn religion into science. Proof would pass the thing of faith into a thing of reality that could be quantified and determined. Once faith becomes knowledge it’s no longer faith. Science would have to admit that there was something to religion all along and religion would have to admit that what they’ve been believing in isn’t supernatural but natural.
It is a phenomenon that is on the rise throughout the world: The number of cases of demonic possession – and demands for priests to carry out exorcisms – is, according to multiple sources, soaring. Medical science remains sceptical. However, a Princeton-and-Yale-educated mainstream psychiatrist believes