Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Why Exorcism of Demons and Evil Spirits should be made illegal

Medical Science does not recognise possession or exorcism.

This is not, though some say it is, about being afraid of encouraging people with say depression who hear some devil or spirit telling them to kill somebody perhaps their child that the message really did come from some entity capable of possessing them.  A demon can be inside you and do nothing but audibly tell you to do evil.  Depression is no barrier to possession nor is psychosis.  So the person does not know where any message comes from.  That is where the danger is.  A person does not need to be able to prove where the voice comes from in order to act on it.  We are made to listen to voices.  But talk of demons gives the voice a better chance of being seen as possibly a real voice.  The person may act on the order perhaps to prevent the demon maybe taking reprisal on her or him for disobedience.

Psychiatry holds that mental disorder must be only diagnosed if there is a condition that is causing an important level of upset or dysfunction.  If you were speaking in tongues and this was disturbing you would be regarded as needing a clinical diagnosis and professional help.

It does find there is illness present in possessed people but denies this should be assumed to be demons or that the possession is real.  The American Psychiatric  Association says,

Possession-form identities in dissociative identity disorder typically manifest as behaviors that appear as if a “spirit,” supernatural being, or outside person has taken control, such that the individual begins speaking or acting in a distinctly different manner. For example, an individual’s behavior may give the appearance that her identity has been replaced by the “ghost” of a girl who committed suicide in the same community years before, speaking and acting as though she were still alive. Or an individual may be “taken over” by a demon or deity, resulting in profound impairment, and demanding that the individual or a relative be punished for a past act, followed by more subtle periods of identity alteration (2013, 293)

Speaking in tongues is regarded as culturally acceptable and relatively harmless which is why bizarre behaviour alone is not enough for a diagnosis.

But it is obvious though that such activities could be a sign of future problems or be part of the potential for creating them.

Demonic possession is not a recognised mental illness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not recognise possession by demons as medical diagnosis. It is not therefore a recognised psychiatric disorder. However there is a form of delusion called demonomania or demonopathy in which people think they are demons possessing a body. They mistake themselves for the demons. Those who suffer this illness have dissociative identity disorder. Around 30% of sufferers have demonomania or demonopathy. In possession, the person often claims to be the demon and acts accordingly.

There are no peer reviewed medical articles or journals that advocate exorcism.

Diagnosis is a problem - many people with mental illness have been mistakenly diagnosed as possessed. Some exorcists admit they are not sure if the person is mentally ill or possessed and still proceed with an exorcism. It is accepted that you can be mentally ill and possessed at the same time. Diagnosis in medicine based on what symptoms the person reports and are observed by others only if there is no way to get hard evidence - such as in a poor country. With exorcism, the diagnosis is based purely on what the victims and their friends or family say. Those people are rarely educated the right way or unbiased - they are not great witnesses. And as they will get away with it, they feel they can lie and exaggerate. And if people fear a demon in their midst their imagination will run away with them. Exorcisms were far more common in the past because people did not have the tools for diagnosing anything properly never mind possession or a need for an exorcism. Overall, the belief has hurt and harmed. There is tremendous pressure on people who realise that a family member is not really possessed to say nothing against any exorcisms that are performed on her or him - they don't want to look like insane fanatics and fools who are responsible for what the family member is suffering as a result of belief in possession and exorcism.

If psychiatry is unable to find out what is wrong with the person, that does not prove that the person is possessed. Arguments such as, "I don't know what is wrong therefore it is probably a demon", show that you want to believe the person is possessed - you want to use the victim to make a religious point. No decent or sane psychiatrist would approve of exorcism or facilitate it.

Some possessed people have been diagnosed as mentally ill. Their possession is considered to be a separate issue from their illness. Where can the line be drawn? It is hard enough to do that without bringing demons and the supernatural into it.   Individuals with a known history of diagnosed psychotic and psychiatric symptoms will still be subjected to exorcism if the priest and the Catholic doctor decides that her or his problems are down to some force other than the illness.

When many parts of the world legally prohibit the teaching of creationism as if it were a scientific theory in schools (it is banned in England and Wales for example) it is mind-boggling how schools can be allowed to teach that demons possess people and exorcism evicts them.

It is possible to recognise possession but not exorcism.  They can both be rejected on principle.  Medical professionals recognise neither.  It is even possible to regard exorcism as valid if there is no possession if positive outcomes can be validated but even that route is rejected definitively.

Listing reasons for a legal ban and criminalisation

Exorcism, a series of rites that supposedly put demons out of possessed people, needs to be banned legally because:

# It is a religious guess not a medical fact that the person is possessed.

# Though Jesus said anybody can exorcise even a person who is not a proper follower, priests and clergymen reserve this power to themselves. Catholics think other religions that exorcise cannot do it at all and the victim is either not possessed or the demon never meant to stay.  Most possessed people get better anyway.  The alleged victim is just used to bolster religious egos.
 
# If God and Jesus and prayer remove demons then you should not need exorcists and cannot prove that they ever get a demon out. What if the demon left because a friend prayed for the victim? If that happens the exorcist will say the exorcism did it! The exorcist may not even know the friend prayed. It is more like the exorcism "works" by convincing a troubled person that she has a demon and when she believes that she starts to believe that the exorcism gets it out and has succeeded. But that does not deal with the underlying problem but the symptom.

# The practices involved include physical abuse eg using holy water to make the "demon" scream in agony and abuse the "victim's" body. It is simply guessed that the screamer is not the victim but the demon but whose body is made to feel pain and whose mouth is letting the scream out?

# The practices involved include verbal abuse. The demon is called everything under the sun such as evil and abomination and monster and treated as something there is no hope of dialoging with. The demon is never told to try and be nice and leave the person alone. It is assumed it does not have a better nature and cannot have. If the demon is really the person suffering a mental illness and not a real spirit then the person is being abused and made even worse. You will fear a bad person who cannot change more than one that can.

# Exorcists admitted to John Thavis writer of The Vatican Prophecies that they have to be as conniving and clever and cunning as the demons in order to trick them to leave the person. That does not sound like exorcism truly is a holy ritual. It is like the medieval black magic rituals which were full of holy prayers and hypocrisy.

# Evidence during the rite that in some way it is the victim who suffers from the abuse and the holy water is ignored. A demon supposedly said according to the book The Vatican Prophecies by John Thavis that when the body is sprinkled with the holy water that, "I'd rather have dog piss thrown on me than holy water". Why does the demon speak as if to hurt the body is to hurt it? Not all demons react when the holy water is sprinkled which raises the question, "Does it really do anything at all? Is it just a form of madness we are dealing with not evil spirits?" If something supernatural is going on, then why can't you think its a form of supernatural madness and not a demon? Suppose that is what it is and not a demon! Thinking it is a demon and treating it as such only reinforces the madness.

# The exorcist will look for the name of the demon which supposedly gives him power over it. That is pure superstition as real spirit will not need a name. And there is no reason why a demon cannot tell its name if it has one! It would make no difference. There is no logic in the notion that having a demon's name means you have the demon in your power or God's power. If there were, then if you are using God's power to exorcise then why is it not enough if God knows the name? And there is no way of being sure that are being told the truth when the demon tells his name. The demon will not tell if it will mean it can be ejected. And once the name is got, the demon can still persist. The Vatican Prophecies by John Thavis says exorcists believe that the demon must be bullied and forced to tell its name for once it does that it loses its power. That doctrine proves that exorcism is an occult ritual. It is magic. It leads to the dangerous notion that you can manipulate and bully demons. Jesus dealt with the Gerasene man who was reportedly possessed. He asked the demon the name and it said its name was Legion. Jesus was a magician not a man of God if that story is true and his motive was to get power over the demon. He was not using God's power to evict the demon but getting it to ruin its own power.

# Some exorcisms go on for decades. Some victims are given exorcisms frequently. It is not very effective for many. If exorcism is superstition and demons are imaginary, you would expect some people to get better anyway. There is nothing remarkable about that.

#The exorcist will directly talk to the demon or the Devil during the exorcism because Jesus did that. Some new rites have the exorcist praying to God to help. Logic says that if exorcism works, then it works through prayer (assuming prayer works at all!). There is something wrong if rites that address the demon get it out and rites that ask God to remove the demon do not. If God is pure love then you would expect the reverse to be the case.
 
# Many exorcisms are performed in secret to avoid ridicule and media attention which endangers the allegedly possessed. The exorcist is protected by this secrecy if he is just a charlatan with a screw loose.

# Legally permitting it is giving religious people special treatment, special rights, because of their faith in exorcism and demons. They get away with distressing and tormenting the allegedly possessed who imagine that the demon goes berserk during the exorcism. The abuses that take place during exorcism would not be tolerated in any other field. Some atheists believe in memes - ideas that are like computer viruses and infect your mind such as religion. An atheist would not be allowed to upset a victim of possession by religious memes through administering a secular exorcism.

# In some dioceses, you sign a form before you are exorcised thus taking responsibility on yourself. Then the Church will not be able to be sued if you end up more damaged or even dead over its rituals.

#Some believers think the mental illness in some people is the demon's work and others think possession is just a metaphor for mental illness and thus that Jesus did not really try to put real demons out.  Those who think possession in the Bible means psychiatric disorders should be doing Jesus style exorcisms in mental hospitals.  They are not and they do not tell psychiatrists do to try it.  They need exorcism for being such hypocrites and liars!!

# It is odd that very evil people are not asked to undergo exorcism - it only happens when people act deranged. This is because vulnerable people are targeted by religion for its own ends and because evil people are often too smart to be fooled by religion. Surely if a person was possessed they would be acting evil rather than deranged!

# Exorcism is fanaticism as is proven by the Church's opposition to Freudianism and Jungianism and modern psychiatry because of its stress on learning to love yourself so that you can use this learning to love others. The Church claims to co-operate with psychiatry in order to determine if a case may require an exorcist. How can it when it does not even really believe in psychiatry? It claims an infallibility for itself that it does not imagine any medical discipline to have.

# Unlike medicine which is carefully regulated, each religion invents its own rules about exorcism. It is irresponsible to put mental treatment in the hands of non-professionals as is done when the exorcist steps in. Exorcism tends to be private which increases the chance of abuse and harm. It prevents regulation.

# Consent to exorcism raises problems. The demon is thought to simulate the person so if the person objects to exorcism it will be assumed it is the demon talking. Thus the person will be ignored and exorcised against her or his will.

# Nobody can prove it is a demon at work - if anything paranormal is happening could it be a psychic illness? Treating it as a demon will worsen the problem. If people have psychic ability, then perhaps the entity is part of them. Perhaps the demon is an artificial personality created in the subconscious by psychological and psychic forces. To abuse the demon is to abuse the person. Also, if the problem is the subconscious then merely to assume that it is a real demon at work and to treat the person accordingly is abuse.

# People with mental health problems may suffer because of belief in demons. If you doubt your sanity, imagine how upsetting it will be if you start to feel you are possessed. Even going to Mass and hearing the readings from the gospel about Jesus' exorcism can put this terrible suggestion in your mind.

# Exorcisms sometimes cause a violent reaction in the person - how can you know that it is a demon doing this and not the ritual or the person's delusion that they have a demon?

# Exorcists believe that somebody cursed the victim or the victim invited the demons in. You need proof before you can say things like that. Exorcism endorses the slander of accusing somebody - even if the identity is unknown - without proof that anybody was to blame.

# Where do you draw the line with belief in possession and exorcism? You write a poison pen letter. Why not say your pen was possessed and wrote that letter? What about the dangerous doctrine of Cen? Cen is when the spirit of a dead person steals your body and pretends to be you. It can lead to a child being put to death for his father's crimes.

# Exorcism can be a very long process bringing great trauma and worry to the victim and her or his family and friends and it does not always succeed. Often a demon is allegedly put out and when the person seems possessed again it is insisted that the demon was put out and returned. That claim is a cop-out. Exorcists cannot be trusted no matter how kindly they seem to be. Fortune-tellers are great charmers too. Would the fear of a "demon" coming back really be worth getting over a "possession"?

# When the demon "returns" the victim is typically blamed not the exorcist. Jesus predictably is never blamed!  The belief among exorcists that demons do not possess unless they were sent to you by enemies or invited in is judgemental.

# Exorcists sometimes believe in beating up the victim to get the demon out. Some who believe that the person and not just the body is taken over rationalise this abuse.

# Your mere belief in possession or exorcism is enabling those who carry out extreme and cruel forms of exorcism. Promoting a religion that believes in exorcism is enabling it too. And so is giving that religion money.

# Exorcists claim to be performing an act of love for the victim - real love is based on evidence what is best for the person. It is not based on the guess that demons exist and that demons possess the person. It is not based on the guess that some demons though naughty might actually be tolerable. Though Christendom claims to love its neighbour by not accusing without proof it is happy to accuse demons without proof. Those who do not have the guts to hate and abuse the people around them like to target fantasy entities such as demons and fairies and ghosts instead. The bad side of human nature will always out. People regarded as good love God because they think he hurts others and protects them - thus they find peace in the misery of others. People need demons to hate and curse. It unleashes the bad energy they would unleash on other people otherwise. Exorcism is based on the principle: It is okay for me to take beliefs very seriously when there is little or no suitable evidence in their favour. Where do you draw the line with a principle like that? Real love respects principles for principles serve not only truth but us as well.

# Exorcists deny that you need extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims - but surely they should put more emphasis on evidence that a case of possession is not authentic before deciding that it is? Even the most ardent believer has to confess that there must be cases of possession or miracles which are fraudulent or deceptive but which were never found out or may never be. You never really know 100% if something is supernatural. Many have faked possession usually to get attention. You cannot be as sure that a demon is in a person and to be blamed for what she or he does, as you are that Hitler was evil. And you need to be - accusing on insufficient evidence says something about you.

# Some victims seem to recover after exorcism by the placebo effect. This effect can be achieved other ways without exorcism. Friendly doctors who listen to their patients are the best catalyst for the placebo effect. Exorcism is about ritual and scary. Any talking or friendliness happens outside of it. The placebo effect in exorcism can backfire - the person might get worse if not better. Doctors telling a white lie to trigger the placebo effect is nothing compared to exorcism which is a big issue and presupposes a whole world view. It is a religious placebo effect not a medical one and should not be tolerated.

# Exorcists believe that though demons will possess people, they much prefer tempting people to sin. This leads to the evil notion that if temptation comes from a supernatural source then there is nothing we can do about it. Why encourage X to avoid temptation if temptation is not coming from within her or him?

# Matthew 7:15-20 has Jesus stating clearly that good fruits are unmistakeable. An exorcism that takes time to work is hardly an unmistakable sign from God and a good fruit. Jesus said the false prophets do enough good to pass for sheep but they cannot get grapes from thorns - their followers might be fine people but just not good enough. Catholic exorcisms are not delightful and imply that God prolongs the agony. They are marks of a false religion.

# This says it all: “There are priests who carry out exorcisms on their mobile phones. That’s possible thanks to Jesus,” Cardinal Ernest Simoni.

Ban exorcism legally and strike off any doctor or medical professional who suggests or tolerates it or facilitates it. It is a form of abusive superstition.