Exorcism
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24-11-2011, 08:39 AM
Exorcism
Hello everyone!

It's my first post and I am sorry it's not about introducing myself to this community.

Today I was discussing with my teacher about me being an atheist, religion and she asked me about exorcism - how do I, as an atheist, explain something that comes from god and can't be explained otherwise. To be honest I didn't know how to answer, I simply told that I can't explain it, but saying that it's something supernatural is irrational. Unfortunately I couldn't plant that "seed of doubt" in her ("there is a god, can't explain it but I feel it" thingy..). Unfortunately most of the class agreed with her and it looks like they think that she "won" this discussion.

So my question to you is what do you think about exorcism, is there a way to explain it or is it really unexplainable? What arguments should I use next time a question like this shows up in discussion?
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24-11-2011, 09:13 AM
RE: Exorcism
I don't get it. How is exorcism even explainable other than lunacy? Is it something you do in biology class, bring in the possessed little girl, strap her to the table, have the padre sprinkle her with holy water?

How does this class define UFOs? God? Wave - particle duality? God? How many licks to the center of a tootsie pop? God?

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24-11-2011, 09:14 AM
RE: Exorcism
Well, I made a mistake in my first post and somehow I am not able to edit it. This whole thing is more about being possessed by demon, not about the process of exorcism. So, are possessions explainable in any reasonable way?
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24-11-2011, 09:37 AM
RE: Exorcism
Even Pastor Erxomai used to be pretty skeptical about demonic possession. I once witnessed an exorcism in person. I knew that the person being prayed for. I knew they were not mentally ill. I also was pretty sure they didn't have a demon (this was me coming from a very religious place). At first the Demon Killer asked a bunch of questions about this person's background. Turned out he had a grandfather who MIGHT have been a Freemason. Well this is sign number one that you may have a demon in you. The Demon Killer pressed for more answers to ridiculous questions. More and more pressure until the subject answered questions posed to him as if he had a demon. Miraculously the Freemason demon was cast out by the miracle of using the magic name of Jesus.

My observations about the creepy event:
The subject was not "crazy."
The subject was not possessed by a demon.
The subject was under a lot of social pressure to feel like he must be a possessed pariah, and there was great emotional release when it was over. Praise be to God.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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24-11-2011, 09:45 AM
RE: Exorcism
Also can anyone confirm that there were not many exorcisms done before the 'The Exorcist' movie?
What I personally think is that we do not have full knowledge about human's body, his brain, his mind, so we can't really be sure that 'possession' isn't mental ilness.
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24-11-2011, 10:09 AM
RE: Exorcism
(24-11-2011 09:45 AM)imralav Wrote:  Also can anyone confirm that there were not many exorcisms done before the 'The Exorcist' movie?
What I personally think is that we do not have full knowledge about human's body, his brain, his mind, so we can't really be sure that 'possession' isn't mental ilness.

Actually, we do have enough knowledge to know that possession is either mental illness (in the form of Dissociative Disorder, aka. Multiple Personality Disorder) or delusion. A simple search of the interwebs will lead you to the information you need. But essentially, you can use the same reason with your teacher or anyone else that you would use to point out why there is no God. If there is no God, then there certainly aren't demons or any other "supernatural" beings.

And exorcisms pre-date the movie by around 2000 years, at least. Jesus cast out demons, er, I mean worked with those who had mental illness and sent his Holy Spirit to give his followers the ability to conduct exorcisms in his name.

As an aside, The Exorcist was such a tabu movie as a kid that even as an adult I couldn't bring myself to watch it. Now as an atheist, I look forward to watching the whole thing, now knowing there's nothing to possess me except me.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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24-11-2011, 12:22 PM
RE: Exorcism
I am aware of the fact that exorcism isn't something new. What I meant is that I've read somewhere that right after The Exorcist some kind of "fashion" for exorcism started. Not sure if I should trust that.

What's worth noticing is that, even if something can't be explained at this moment (generally speaking, not exactly on the possession topic) it doesn't mean that some supernatural being was the cause.
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24-11-2011, 12:47 PM
RE: Exorcism
Ah, good point, Imralav. It would be interesting to see if there was a spike in "exorcisms" because of that movie. It certainly moved the subject into popular culture like never before. However, when you look at the Pentecostals of the early 1900's and snake handlers in Appalachian America, it was certainly a focus for some groups already. You could even argue the Witch Trials in Salem and the Inquisition were somewhat linked to the idea of exorcism. They just used corporal methods to remove the demonic influences, rather than relying on prayer and fasting, which is what Jesus taught to do before removing demons in his name. But it wouldn't surprise me if some study showed a correlation to the movie and the amount of exorcisms that followed.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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24-11-2011, 01:50 PM
RE: Exorcism
Lets not forget that a lot of recorded exorcisms after autopsy were actually the cause of death. To those who died obviously. And some of those same victims showed signs of having had epilepsy. If you are unfamiliar with epilepsy one of the symptoms happens to be seizures. These seizures are rated by degree. It has been presented that many of the exorcisms could have been avoided if only the subjects had been tested for epilepsy.

There is likely not such a thing as demons or demonic possession. It is not to be ruled out completely but while science continues to develop and answer the questions we used to attribute to supernatural answers, we can continue to push them farther back. Using reason and logic we can certainly come to conclusions, but we will never do that without asking questions. There is nothing to learn unless we are willing to.

By the way Erxomai, I looked up your name. Very clever. I wonder how many of us will find what it is referring to? Have you done an explain yourself post yet?

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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24-11-2011, 02:13 PM
RE: Exorcism
Witchcraft is primitive psychology and covers all of these aspects. What was once possession is now mental illness or temporary insanity as a function of will. Demonic possession assumes facts not in evidence - extant demons - therefore is inadmissible. Case closed. Wink

Although The Last Exorcist was a pretty cool flick.

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