Exorcism and Possession

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Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:41 am

This is something that has been discussed several times but seems to decend very quickly into abuse. The question I am asking is what is the relationship between what was traditionally understood as demon possession and current theories about mental health. Here are some options:
1. Demon possession is real and everything or nearly everything that we now see as a mental health problem is the work of demons.
2. Demon possession is not real. It is the way prople used to explain mental health issues before they understood how these things really work.
3. The two types of language, the language of demonology and the language of mental health are complimentary ways of talking about the same phenomena
4. Both Demons and mental health issues exist but they are distinct phenomena and should not be confused
5. Both exist and there is some overlap but also some instances which are purely or primarily one or the other.
Comments?
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Chapabel » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:31 am

I would agree with #4. I fully believe demon possession is a real issue. I also believe mental heath issues are real as well. There are chemical imbalances in the brain and injuries, as we are seeing in NFL players with concussions. The proper diagnoses is required to treat either.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby sayak » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:16 pm

I will agree with (2). There is no scientific evidence of a non-physical soul within a person, even less a demonic soul hijacking that soul.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:20 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:This is something that has been discussed several times but seems to decend very quickly into abuse. The question I am asking is what is the relationship between what was traditionally understood as demon possession and current theories about mental health. Here are some options:
3. The two types of language, the language of demonology and the language of mental health are complimentary ways of talking about the same phenomena
5. Both exist and there is some overlap but also some instances which are purely or primarily one or the other.
Comments?

I would go with a combination of 3 and 5, and I would add I don't believe there can ever be any objective means to distinguish the two. What I think objective evidence will show is that a belief that demons exist and that possession happens will positively correlate with occurrence of cases where this seems to be happening. This is due to the simple fact that mental illness often expresses itself according to the religious beliefs available. There is no reason to believe that actual demon possession would advertise itself as such like we see in popular movies. I include 3 because there are definitely two levels of reality involved and spiritual phenomena with a physical manifestation are therefore going to have both explanations for each of these aspects of reality.
Last edited by mitchellmckain on Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Aaron » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:27 pm

I am more in line with Mitch on this. A little bit of 3 and mostly 5.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Aaron » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:31 pm

sayak wrote:I will agree with (2). There is no scientific evidence of a non-physical soul within a person, even less a demonic soul hijacking that soul.

At the risk of being written off as crazy a very good friend of mine says he sees angels and demons and I believe him. So does his mother and apparently some of his children. I realize this doesn't qualify as scientific evidence, but surely if someone saw a spiritual being as he does it would count as evidence of some kind.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby sayak » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:07 pm

Not scientific evidence surely? Does your friend see it with his eyes? Because whatever the eyes can see, a video camera can record too, and hence falls within things that can be observed systematically. On the other hand if his/her did not see it (i.e. no image of an external object fell into the retina), then it (at best) was solely an impression created inside the visual centers of the brain. Then it more difficult to tell whether it was an image created by the brain itself (a vivid dream/hallucination) or it was triggered somehow from a transcendental level that exists. How to differentiate?
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Rian » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:55 pm

sayak wrote:Not scientific evidence surely? Does your friend see it with his eyes? Because whatever the eyes can see, a video camera can record too, and hence falls within things that can be observed systematically.

What about if it's something like how dogs can hear things that we can't? Our ears can "hear" certain frequencies, and dogs' ears can hear a different range. What if these people's eyes are just able to see a larger range somehow, that other people's eyes (and video cameras) can't pick up?

Just a thought that popped into my head ...
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Razor » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:40 pm

Rian wrote:
sayak wrote:Not scientific evidence surely? Does your friend see it with his eyes? Because whatever the eyes can see, a video camera can record too, and hence falls within things that can be observed systematically.

What about if it's something like how dogs can hear things that we can't? Our ears can "hear" certain frequencies, and dogs' ears can hear a different range. What if these people's eyes are just able to see a larger range somehow, that other people's eyes (and video cameras) can't pick up?

Just a thought that popped into my head ...

The human retina has a limited input spectrum

dogs just have better hearing than us. Nothing supernatural sorry
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Aaron » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:01 pm

sayak wrote:Not scientific evidence surely? Does your friend see it with his eyes? Because whatever the eyes can see, a video camera can record too, and hence falls within things that can be observed systematically. On the other hand if his/her did not see it (i.e. no image of an external object fell into the retina), then it (at best) was solely an impression created inside the visual centers of the brain. Then it more difficult to tell whether it was an image created by the brain itself (a vivid dream/hallucination) or it was triggered somehow from a transcendental level that exists. How to differentiate?

I don't think a video camera would work, I've been with him and asked if he was seeing anything and he said yes. I couldn't see anything. From what I understand he sees things almost constantly. The only reason I even bring it up is because he's a good friend, I believe him because I know his character. He has never acted like he was special around me, he doesn't talk about it openly, he doesn't use it to manipulate people, if you saw him you'd just think he was a regular normal guy, it seems like something he mostly keeps between him and God, and he has told me many stories which are hard to explain any other way than that he is actually seeing things that we can't. And of course it also helps that I believe that there really are angels and demons.
Last edited by Aaron on Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:04 pm

Chapabel wrote:I would agree with #4. I fully believe demon possession is a real issue. I also believe mental heath issues are real as well. There are chemical imbalances in the brain and injuries, as we are seeing in NFL players with concussions. The proper diagnoses is required to treat either.

Are you suggesting that all mental health problems have physical causes? This is interesting because then you and Sayak may be on the same page to some extent. Although I am not sure if Sayak's physicalism would stretch as far as saying that if there is no non-physical soul mental health problems must have physical causes and therefore physical solutions that is what your post seems to imply. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby sayak » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:42 pm

Aaron wrote:
sayak wrote:Not scientific evidence surely? Does your friend see it with his eyes? Because whatever the eyes can see, a video camera can record too, and hence falls within things that can be observed systematically. On the other hand if his/her did not see it (i.e. no image of an external object fell into the retina), then it (at best) was solely an impression created inside the visual centers of the brain. Then it more difficult to tell whether it was an image created by the brain itself (a vivid dream/hallucination) or it was triggered somehow from a transcendental level that exists. How to differentiate?

I don't think a video camera would work, I've been with him and asked if he was seeing anything and he said yes. I couldn't see anything. From what I understand he sees things almost constantly. The only reason I even bring it up is because he's a good friend, I believe him because I know his character. He has never acted like he was special around me, he doesn't talk about it openly, he doesn't use it to manipulate people, if you saw him you'd just think he was a regular normal guy, it seems like something he mostly keeps between him and God, and he has told me many stories which are hard to explain any other way than that he is actually seeing things that we can't. And of course it also helps that I believe that there really are angels and demons.


People who have religious visions exist, and they are not all making it up obviously. The question is what to make of it as its clear that they are not coming from the eyes and emerge spontaneously within the brain somehow.I think at the very least it can be tested if the visual cortex is active in a way that is consistent with seeing such images. I think (but I do not know for sure) there are significant differences in how the brain gets activated when one is seeing a real thing out there, vs when one is simply having a vivid imagination, vs having a strong hallucination. There could be a fourth category associated with religious visions that may be separate from all three. Or it may club in one of the classes. While I am skeptical, I think it is worthwhile to know if some people's consciousness do have the ability to interact with other levels of existence. The difficulty is creating good tests to show this.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby sayak » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:54 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
Chapabel wrote:I would agree with #4. I fully believe demon possession is a real issue. I also believe mental heath issues are real as well. There are chemical imbalances in the brain and injuries, as we are seeing in NFL players with concussions. The proper diagnoses is required to treat either.

Are you suggesting that all mental health problems have physical causes? This is interesting because then you and Sayak may be on the same page to some extent. Although I am not sure if Sayak's physicalism would stretch as far as saying that if there is no non-physical soul mental health problems must have physical causes and therefore physical solutions that is what your post seems to imply. Correct me if I am wrong.


I do not believe demons exist. But if that frame of explaining what is happening to oneself provides most meaning to the person and if psychological support is couched in the language of exorcism purely because it benefits the patient, I will be okay with it. The person is more important than anything else, always.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby humanguy » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:04 pm

Option 2 for me, because I have yet to see any reason to think otherwise, and I see no benefit in thinking that demons play a role in mental illnesses. Surely no one thinks that way anymore, other than, perhaps, the members of ISIL.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Rian » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:09 am

Razor wrote:
Rian wrote:
sayak wrote:Not scientific evidence surely? Does your friend see it with his eyes? Because whatever the eyes can see, a video camera can record too, and hence falls within things that can be observed systematically.

What about if it's something like how dogs can hear things that we can't? Our ears can "hear" certain frequencies, and dogs' ears can hear a different range. What if these people's eyes are just able to see a larger range somehow, that other people's eyes (and video cameras) can't pick up?

Just a thought that popped into my head ...

The human retina has a limited input spectrum

dogs just have better hearing than us. Nothing supernatural sorry

Sayak, what do you think?

(remember, I'm saying "something like" how dogs hear "more" than we do - IOW, just a rough idea)
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