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HolyGround >> Demon casting in the gospels


10/23/11 8:39 PM
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DyingBreed
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You can't argue intellectually what can only be spiritually discerned folks :) Phone Post
10/24/11 9:45 AM
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Demitrius Barbito
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 I copied this from a webpage. It's a good explanation:

  1. Satan can’t cast out Satan; if he were divided against himself his house could not stand (vv. 23-26). In other words, the accusation that Jesus uses Satan’s power to fight Satan is absurd on its face.
  2. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and take his property without first binding the strong man (v. 27).

Notice his use of house in both points. What’s clear is that Satan’s house is in trouble: he’s losing his kingdom, his influence. Jesus says the house isn’t crumbling because of an attack from the inside (point 1); instead, someone is coming in from the outside, binding the owner of the house, and taking his stuff (point 2). Jesus is saying, “I’ve bound the strong man.”

This interpretation makes the best sense of the situation: Jesus isn’t being asked how to cast out a demon; he’s being challenged on the authority by which he casts out demons. In response, he says in effect, “My power most assuredly doesn’t come from Satan. In fact, I’ve overpowered Satan, defeated him, and I’m bringing his whole house down.”



10/24/11 2:28 PM
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Ridgeback
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  Prof.

As I am sure you know, the history of science begins with theists who believe the creator made an orderly universe.  This comes from a combination of Jerusalem and Athens in terms of the history of thought, and those two forces uniquely came together in the religion known as Christianity.  The Jews took the spirits out of matter, with their scriptures calling the heavenly bodies mere lamps in the sky rather than gods and godesses.  

I think you are being dishonest about how first century Jews and Christians viewed supernaturalism.  I don't know of any early Christians who claimed the world was without order and that spiritual powers simply explained all the events of the world.  When Joseph finds his betrothed is with child, he doesnt' explain "it was demons" like your historically ignorant caricature would have us believe.  He simply assumes that she was with another man and comes up with a game plan to deal with those facts.  It is only the intervention of an angel in the narrative that changes his course of action and convinces him that something beyond mere natural explanations (his default assumption) was at work.  Chronological snoberry is the belief that you are smarter and have better ideas because you appeared later in history.  Considering the broad brush with which you paint all the humans that came before your own day the description seems apt.  Nevermind that some people today look first for a natural explanation and some people today are heavily prone to superstition in everyday events.  Nevermind that as people leave traditional religion behind they are more prone to superstition.  Is it possible that superstition and the belief in an orderly universe that behaves in predictable patterns have been side-by-side beliefs in human history rather than your fanciful belief that everybody was merely supersitious untile Carl Sagan was born?

---

It is hilarious to me that you are referring to "your Post-modernism" as if it was some pet club I was part of.  The term is simply used to describe where thought is today.  Most of the leaders in this current stage of human thought are atheists.  I find it odd that you seem to be unaware of some of the biggest names in atheism in terms of reading their works and understanding their arguments.  My point was there is something in post-modern thought that represents a pretty radical shift from the 19th century logical positivism you seem to subscribe to.  And I am sure you understood my point that you were criticizing how people in the past viewed the world while you are yet standing on an island over 200 years old and which has been  thoroughly discredited in those 200 years.  The whole point is that it is comical for you to be judging the past as archaic while apparently showing no sign that you are aware of most of the conversations of your own day in intelectual circles and repeating what was considered the truth a couple centuries back.  

-

On dogma.  You seem not to understand what the definition of dogma is or how it works in Christianity.  You are taking one definition of dogma that has only recently developed in the language and sticking in unto the more traditional definition.  This is the equivalent of reading from 19th century texts and thinking that when a person claims "it was a gay party" they mean it was "party for homosexuals."   

What is sad about all of this is you see to be unaware that actually belief in demons is not included in the dogmas of Christianity.  There is no mention of them in the Creed.  A Christian is perfectly free to call the belief in the demonic superstition of the past or merely a nice metaphor for the ways that humanity goes wrong.  In fact, I have a 7th century text in which a Christian saint claims that Satan is not a real being, but rather a picture for what happens to humanity as it drifts from the truth.  Your ignorance of what you attack is once again demonstrated in your posts.  I suggest you avail yoursel of an Oxford English Dictionary so you can see how words have more than one meaning and develop over time.  Then I recommend you read the works of Harvard historian Jarislov Pelikan so you can better understand how Christian doctrine works and what is meant by "dogma" in the historical context.

The point about finding your own answers regarding demon possession is that you show no sign of having actually studied the subject whatsoever.  You have simply dismissed the idea out of hand.  You aren't required to study anything before you dismiss it, but then you must admit that you have simply made an a priori assumption that  a phenonmenon isn't real because it defies your dogmatic assumption of naturalism, which is not scientifically verified but only assumed.  So long as you admit that we will be fine.  But of course you are pretending that developments in our understanding of biology have settled the matter so you don't need to study it or evaluate it.  Talk about blind acceptance of authority and dogma.  
 
10/24/11 2:44 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Well it certainly isn't the low bar set by the Biblical God, that's for sure. Thankfully most of us have moved above that bar long ago, having ignored his many ridiculous, immoral ideas and commands.

Realizing our desires, on which our happiness and well being is grounded, depends on being able to recognize reality. In that sense, my optimism concerns a desire for ways of recognizing reality.

Modes of believing that poorly equip us to recognize reality 
are not a source of optimism.

Prof.

The "Biblical God" isn't really one thing since the early Christians viewed revelation as unfolding.  Since you are horribly ignorant of history, you probably don't know that early Christians debated whether to keep the OT scriptures since many of the depictions of God appeared to be out of sync with the life and teachings of Jesus.  The OT was retained because they knew they would read it in a particular way, seeing spiritual allegory in those passages.  This is why for early Christians the life of Jesus was the measure by which to approach the OT scriptures.  So when they saw a God interested in the plight of the poor and in justice for the oppressed they saw Jesus there, but when they saw things that appeared to push violence and genocide they read such passages allegorically and certainly didn't take them as some kind of moral injunctions (neither to modern Jews).  As per usual, your understanding of Christianity seems to be limited to what American fundamentalists understand Christianity to be.  I guess you simply won't move beyond this since studying a more traditional Christianity would be too much work (I get that you don't read any history).

Christianity gives me a very realistic view of reality and people.  It tells me that the world was made good, but it is a fallen world.  Hence an explanation for seeing so much beauty in the world, but a beauty marred by a great deal of evil an ugliness. It even explains why I would feel like a stranger among that ugliness and why I could see human death and sickness and disease as a real tragedy rather than simply business as usual in the universe.  Your rants against the OT God are all Christians rants you know.  After all, you embrace Christian morality as you are a product of a Christian culture.  

Another way that Christianity explains reality is in the doctrine of Original Sin.  This is the view that humans were made good, with a particular potential, but that they have squandered that potential and fallen far short of it.  Hence the reason that humans muck up everything they have their hands on.  All of the civilizations of history fell due to human failure.  All relationships are marred by this element of humanity.  A man could be in Paradise, but he is broken so he abuses alcohol and beats his wife and children and engages in the destruction of his own life.  What is the naturalistic explanation for this?  Not the behavior, but rather this notion that we developed in a natural system yet we have this odd belief that we should rise above it and could be much better than we are.  What would make an animal rise higher than its own level?  

Let us say that we all live by stories.  This is the narrative view of reality.  If our stories are good, and correspond well with reality, then we will get good results.  Life will turn out as we would have expected because the stories we live by say so.  I agree that living by the right stories is very important, but I see no sign that living by the stories of the 19 century have panned out.  The utopian dreams of that century were shot to hell in the next one.  The belief that science would answer all questions simply doesn't follow.  Science answers some very important questions very well of course, but it makes other mysteries bigger.  As many of the existentialists of the last century have pointed out, we learn more and more about the universe scientifically, but we seem more and more to have no idea who or what we are.  Why are there so many schools of psychiatry considering the explanatory powers of science?  I find the story that includes scientism to be completely unsatisfactory.

And for the record, the thing that made demonic possession real to me was reading from those people who have been involved in exorcisms, many of them starting out as skeptical doubters before that experience.  As I noted, the belief isn't required in Christianity.  But I respect the person Jesus and he simply took it for granted that there were powers at work in the world that didn't explain natural events like you think they say they did, but which appeared to be yet another complicating factor of human existence.

If a person claims that fairies in his garden told him to kill his family and he does, the issue isn't the existence of fairies like you pretend it is.  
10/27/11 10:10 PM
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Ridgeback
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 For the record, the early Christians distinguished between different maladies of the soul and taught therapies designed to cure people of all kinds of issues from depression to addictions to negative thoughts.  A lot of people tend to assume that first century Jews and Christians had no awareness of the regularity of nature and simply thought everything that happened was magical or supernatural.  This only betrays ignorance of the time.  The fact that the FIRST thing Joseph assumes is that Mary was with another man means he was no different from any modern person.  Anyway, the point is that mental illness wasn't simply chalked up to demonic possession automatically.  When a person had superhuman strength, spoke in languages he never learned, and revealed intimate details of a person's life he could never know that tended to make people think something else was going on, which is the same thing that happens today among the small minority of people who perform exorcisms.  
10/28/11 9:42 AM
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dabigchet
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i have to say, rb, you are the only one who offered a reasonable explanation. that explanation being that there were more possessions then (interested in the distinction between demonization and possession if anyone wants to offer one). that's pretty clear cut, direct response and i appreciate it. i would have to wonder though if jesus was going to curtail satan's possessing superpowers, why only go 90%? that seems pretty cruel to some toddler in bolivia being possessed right now. isn't jesus responsible for those possessions?

i also find it interesting that you mention superhuman strength, speaking languages not learned (xenoglossy) and revealing intimate details a person could never have known. you do realize that even today all three of those are STILL (sometimes commonly) misreported? most of the time they are not attributed to possession. i don't understand that mentality of someone who would be highly skeptical of a detailed second hand account of a mother lifting a car above her head to save her trapped child, or a psychic legitimately giving a "real" reading, or a woman coming out of a coma speaking another language, but would accept the same sort of accounts in a tale of an exorcism.
10/28/11 12:40 PM
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Ridgeback
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dabigchet - i have to say, rb, you are the only one who offered a reasonable explanation. that explanation being that there were more possessions then (interested in the distinction between demonization and possession if anyone wants to offer one). that's pretty clear cut, direct response and i appreciate it. i would have to wonder though if jesus was going to curtail satan's possessing superpowers, why only go 90%? that seems pretty cruel to some toddler in bolivia being possessed right now. isn't jesus responsible for those possessions?

i also find it interesting that you mention superhuman strength, speaking languages not learned (xenoglossy) and revealing intimate details a person could never have known. you do realize that even today all three of those are STILL (sometimes commonly) misreported? most of the time they are not attributed to possession. i don't understand that mentality of someone who would be highly skeptical of a detailed second hand account of a mother lifting a car above her head to save her trapped child, or a psychic legitimately giving a "real" reading, or a woman coming out of a coma speaking another language, but would accept the same sort of accounts in a tale of an exorcism.

 Again, why would God allow evil for a time?  Because it gives more people the opportunity to exist and be free moral agents.  A better question than why not stop it right away would be why let it happen at all.  In other words, why even create beings that are tied to matter and capable of freely choosing to reject God and each other when it is known this will lead to terrible suffering, much of which will be pointless.  

Yes, there are cases of people with superhuman strength.  I know of no accounts of people speaking coherent foreign languages they were never exposed to out of the blue, but if that really happened it would be pretty amazing with or without any thoughts about demons.  I don't know of any cases of psychics saying things like "such and such a woman sucked your dick on the beach in Atlantic City when you were 17" which is the kinds of things blurted out by the patients at exorcisms.   Like everything else, the exorcists would say you have to have discernment.  No modern Catholic exorcist is going to try exorcisms without exhausting all other "medical" explanations.  As was depicted in the movie the Exorcist (not entirely accurate but a good flick) it is often the psychiatrists who come to a priest when they are out of ideas since from a scientific point of view it has been demonstrated to help some people in some cases.  You could certainly argue it is all in their heads and the elaborate ritual is just a way to cure them of their mental illness, but the point is it works.

I don't accept all accounts of exorcism or demonic possession by any means.  I have to evaluate each one.  I look at the motives and sanity of the exorcist.  I look at the details of each case.  What the person does and how he behaves.  As Augustine once noted, the abuse of something doesn't negate its legitimate existence.  I think all of these things wind up being  a mixture of fakery and the wrong diagnosis and then, rarely, the real deal.  Among the desert fathers of Christianity it was the virtue of discernment that was held in highest regard.  A person without discernment can do great spiritual harm.  I have no doubt that many run of the mill mental illness were wrongly attributed to demons and that some people have even died due to exorcisms that were carried out by hucksters.  These people will all have to answer to God for their spiritual abuse.
11/4/11 8:56 AM
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dabigchet
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Ridgeback - 
 Again, why would God allow evil for a time?  Because it gives more people the opportunity to exist and be free moral agents.  A better question than why not stop it right away would be why let it happen at all.  In other words, why even create beings that are tied to matter and capable of freely choosing to reject God and each other when it is known this will lead to terrible suffering, much of which will be pointless.


what is interesting is not god allowing or not allowing evil, but god actually adjusting the level of evil allowed. that is fascinating to me. fine tuning it. i wonder if god will ever turn the knob again?

Yes, there are cases of people with superhuman strength.  I know of no accounts of people speaking coherent foreign languages they were never exposed to out of the blue, but if that really happened it would be pretty amazing with or without any thoughts about demons.  I don't know of any cases of psychics saying things like "such and such a woman sucked your dick on the beach in Atlantic City when you were 17" which is the kinds of things blurted out by the patients at exorcisms.   Like everything else, the exorcists would say you have to have discernment.  No modern Catholic exorcist is going to try exorcisms without exhausting all other "medical" explanations.  As was depicted in the movie the Exorcist (not entirely accurate but a good flick) it is often the psychiatrists who come to a priest when they are out of ideas since from a scientific point of view it has been demonstrated to help some people in some cases.  You could certainly argue it is all in their heads and the elaborate ritual is just a way to cure them of their mental illness, but the point is it works.

I don't accept all accounts of exorcism or demonic possession by any means.  I have to evaluate each one.  I look at the motives and sanity of the exorcist.  I look at the details of each case.  What the person does and how he behaves.  As Augustine once noted, the abuse of something doesn't negate its legitimate existence.  I think all of these things wind up being  a mixture of fakery and the wrong diagnosis and then, rarely, the real deal.  Among the desert fathers of Christianity it was the virtue of discernment that was held in highest regard.  A person without discernment can do great spiritual harm.  I have no doubt that many run of the mill mental illness were wrongly attributed to demons and that some people have even died due to exorcisms that were carried out by hucksters.  These people will all have to answer to God for their spiritual abuse.


there are those cases that have been investigated thoroughly enough to understand the actual cause and those that haven't. claims of a supposed spiritual cause have no more of a free pass than those of aliens or homeopathy or any other woo woo. if you DID hear a case of a person claiming a psychic said exactly "such and such a woman sucked your dick on the beach in Atlantic City when you were 17" you would likely dismiss it, as would i. i am 100% certain that people relay psychic encounters as if they had that level of precision. you accept the account of a priest as a 100% reliable witness giving a 100% accurate replaying of events (even though there is no such thing) because of your preferential view of priests.

it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that catholics are going to exhaust all medical avenues before seeking an exorcism. every single miracle certified by the vatican in my time has been based on dubious medicine and misdiagnoses. sometimes laughably so. we are talking at the highest level in the most public instances (john paul II and mother teresa's miracles, for example). if the vatican is willing to be so flippant with science (a simple parkinson's misdiagnosis) in such cases, who is to say that they are going to be so thorough with exorcisms? well, YOU are, of course because you want to believe they are true, just like you want to believe that 2000 years ago, there were demon possessed kids around every corner.

in both cases, the far more likely reality is that there weren't so many (or any, really) demonically possessed people then, just as the few now are not possessed either. over time, the quantity of behaviors, diseases and disorders that we attribute to demons becomes reduced, as we learn more about how the mind and body works. people who deny that are stuck in this goofy "its still real to me dammit!" defense.
11/4/11 4:20 PM
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PastorJosh
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I have personally cast out nearly 20 demons in my ministry. I have names, game plans, hierarchical structures, events, locations, methods, meanings and more. God has seen fit to use me in this for many years, and if I may be of service to anyone, please feel free to prayerfully message me privately. This is NOT a personal advertisement. Simply willing to help.

Keep in mind: I submit fully to the authority of the written Word of God. Theology is very important here. Hell exists. Phone Post
11/4/11 4:31 PM
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dabigchet
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Well, I guess that settles it. Phone Post
11/4/11 5:42 PM
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prof
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PastorJosh - I have personally cast out nearly 20 demons in my ministry. I have names, game plans, hierarchical structures, events, locations, methods, meanings and more. God has seen fit to use me in this for many years, and if I may be of service to anyone, please feel free to prayerfully message me privately. This is NOT a personal advertisement. Simply willing to help. <br><br>Keep in mind: I submit fully to the authority of the written Word of God. Theology is very important here. Hell exists. <img src="/images/phone/apple.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>


I'm sure it is personally gratifying for you to be able to have the power to cast out demons. Well done.

My ex-neighbor believed she had the power to rid houses of evil spirits. Luckily, the mysterious world of quantum physics, and how it related to the spirit world, allowed her to do this very generous service over the phone. Didn't even have to visit the house!

Thank goodness people are around with the amazing powers to keep our world safer.

Prof.
11/4/11 7:33 PM
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PastorJosh
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prof -
PastorJosh - I have personally cast out nearly 20 demons in my ministry. I have names, game plans, hierarchical structures, events, locations, methods, meanings and more. God has seen fit to use me in this for many years, and if I may be of service to anyone, please feel free to prayerfully message me privately. This is NOT a personal advertisement. Simply willing to help. <br><br>Keep in mind: I submit fully to the authority of the written Word of God. Theology is very important here. Hell exists. <img src="/images/phone/apple.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>


I'm sure it is personally gratifying for you to be able to have the power to cast out demons. Well done.

My ex-neighbor believed she had the power to rid houses of evil spirits. Luckily, the mysterious world of quantum physics, and how it related to the spirit world, allowed her to do this very generous service over the phone. Didn't even have to visit the house!

Thank goodness people are around with the amazing powers to keep our world safer.

Prof.
Mock all you want. I'm not here to care one bit if my answer satisfies your criticisms. Simply trying to help those who are genuinely afflicted.

Oh, and I don't have to "believe" it for it to be true. If it's true, it's true. YOU sit there in your smug ignorance when a 13-year old teenage girl's voice drops to a demonic male's voice, eyes turn straight black and begin to float and curse the name of Jesus Christ right in front of your eyes. Would you care to diagnose that as a "mental disorder" to the medical community? As I said, mock me all you want. I couldn't care less. I'm simply trying to help. Phone Post
11/4/11 10:16 PM
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prof
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I remember there was a famous 20/20 news special that showed an exorcism of a young girl. The priest involved had said he'd witnessed all sorts of amazing things happen during his exorcisms, including levitating objects (and people, I believe).

What happened when the cameras were there? A young girl dropped her voice. Writhed around spouting evil-sounding stuff. Nothing at all that could not be explained naturally.
And...surprise, surprise...nothing levitated.

Funny how the supernatural seems so shy about ever actually proving it's existence in any verifiable manner, especially when news cameras are rolling. But then, it's hard to capture people's imagination on video.

So, if by "float" you mean you saw someone levitating miraculously...no...of course I don't believe you.

I understand YOU believe in what you do, and I don't doubt your good intentions.

But at the same time, ultimately, I don't think miss-attributing what are likely mental problems to non-existent magic beings is a step in the right direction for anyone.

Prof

11/5/11 8:42 AM
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PastorJosh
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As I said before, you can reason it away if
you try hard and deny truth right in front of the human eye, but if there's one thing that is characteristic of ALL DEMONIC ACTIVITY, it's this: their hatred for Jesus Christ. Is that coincidence? Even an atheistic scientist would have to admit that if a pattern is displayed CONSISTENTLY, 100% of the time, you know what they call that? A law. Guess what? That's not medical. That's not biological. That's not evolution. That's nothing but 100% spiritual. Phone Post
11/5/11 10:58 AM
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Ali
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Now there's something scientific law-like about your 20 demoncastings? Maybe. Confirmation bias is the first thing.

Selection bias and suggestibility next.

In psychology and politics both being "chosen by God" is almost always an outward sign of long-established trouble.
11/5/11 12:12 PM
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Lahi
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Not a subject I care to get into a whole lot. I believe as Christians we are called not to think about this stuff too much, not to dwell on it, certainly not to become fascinated by it (as many of us seem to do using God as an excuse).

I don't feel a burden to argue or convince people about this stuff. I have warned friends who didn't believe in any kind of evil supernatural, but were thinking of experimenting with it to test it for whatever reason. I will say its one of those things that if you are around you won't doubt.
11/5/11 12:15 PM
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Lahi
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I'll add that I've worked psych, and I've seen people who were straight up psych cases with some of the sypmtoms prof talked about. I don't doubt that happens, and of course we need to be serious in treating mental health issues for what they are.
11/5/11 12:18 PM
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THE CACTUS KID
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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Ephesians 6:12
11/5/11 2:08 PM
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prof
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PastorJosh - As I said before, you can reason it away if<br>you try hard and deny truth right in front of the human eye, but if there's one thing that is characteristic of ALL DEMONIC ACTIVITY, it's this: their hatred for Jesus Christ. Is that coincidence? Even an atheistic scientist would have to admit that if a pattern is displayed CONSISTENTLY, 100% of the time, you know what they call that? A law. Guess what? That's not medical. That's not biological. That's not evolution. That's nothing but 100% spiritual. <img src="/images/phone/apple.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>


Unfortunately, that is a ludicrous and ignorant claim.
Are you not aware that demon possession features in many different cultures and religions, for instance among the various shamanistic cultures around the world, through history?

These were not Christian cultures and no you did NOT have demons hating on Christ. The demons are vengeful spirits, animal spirits, mischievous spirits, ancestor spirits, ancient spirits...the list goes on and on, with all manner of different motivations and behaviors by the spirits for possession (some are even "helpful").

My God..open a book on anthropology and shamanism why don't you to open your eyes to just how vast and varied are the varieties of spiritual beliefs.

You are clearly operating from within an extremely blinkered Christian box. But, as usual, beliefs in things like demon possession thrives on ignorance, so it's hardly a surprise to see strong affirmations of demon possession come hand in hand with other ignorant claims.

Prof.


11/5/11 6:25 PM
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PastorJosh
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You're completely, utterly wrong and you have demonstrated clearly that not only are you completely ignorant of the spiritual world, but that you do not know the God of the Bible one single solitary bit. Absolutely sad but very, very predictable. Phone Post
11/5/11 8:13 PM
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Ali
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nyah nyah poo poo tah tah.
11/6/11 12:12 AM
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prof
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Well it's clear I simply made up the idea of shamanism and demon possession in non-Christian cultures. What was I thinking?

My apologies for doubting you, PastorJosh.

Prof.

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