Exorcism and Possession

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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Razor » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:47 am

The deduction of 35% efficacy is legitimate- it is due to the blind portion of the test.

Consider this- if the medical pill and sugar pill had the same effectiveness, would it be reasonable to conclude that the active ingredient in the medicine was having no effect?
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby spongebob » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:27 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:
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?


I'll throw my hat in this ring, but I don't plan to do much debating on the subject because, as you point out, there tends to be a lot of harshness and when the subject of demon possession is on the table there really isn't much to talk about because there's zero objective evidence that demons or possession exist at all.

#2, although I would stop short of saying we really know how things work. As I said, I reject the notion that actual supernatural demons exist and will continue to do so until there is real evidence to support such a thing. #3 can certainly be valid, though only in a metaphorical or philosophical way, not a medical way. I know from personal experience that mental health problems are not always caused by physical trauma or damage. Emotional instability can be caused by something as mundane as a sudden change in one's lifestyle or circumstances, like a break up or loss of a job. This is documented, of course. So no physical damage is necessary, though its obvious that physical damage can cause it as well. I can say that dramatic emotional/mental changes can occur from a person who experiences an inspirational or enlightening event because that has happened to me. But there's no reason to conclude that this was due to something supernatural and I consider that to be selling human beings short when people claim that.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby spongebob » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:51 am

Something related to this point I just heard about on a podcast is that some ghost hunter has just developed a new "ghost detection device" and claims it's 100% accurate. Of course how can that ever be determined? What is the standard? I view this demon possession thing the same way. How could anyone claim to know when someone is demon possessed? What's the litmus test and what is that measured by? Is there a person or object somewhere that is objectively determined to be possessed by a demon? This is the reason I can't accept demon possession as real.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:46 pm

spongebob wrote:I'll throw my hat in this ring, but I don't plan to do much debating on the subject because, as you point out, there tends to be a lot of harshness and when the subject of demon possession is on the table there really isn't much to talk about because there's zero objective evidence that demons or possession exist at all.

There is evidence, centuries of examples and case studies almost from the beginning of modern psychology - Freud and Jung both wrote on demonology. So the question is not whether evidence exists it is whether there are other better explanations for that evidence.
#2, although I would stop short of saying we really know how things work. As I said, I reject the notion that actual supernatural demons exist and will continue to do so until there is real evidence to support such a thing.

I don't like the term supernatural. I would see non-material realities as being part of the cosmos and in that sense natural. If you are a materialist then anything that appears to be non-material, such as the operation of the human mind, must have an ultimate material explanation but since as you say we don't really know how things work this is more an assumption than a hypothesis.
#3 can certainly be valid, though only in a metaphorical or philosophical way, not a medical way.

A lot of the terminology used in mental health is metaphorical or philosophical, mystical even. Ther term mental health is itself a metaphor, and concepts like 'unconcious mind' 'organismic actualisation process' 'self' and so on are medical only because people choose to call them that.
I know from personal experience that mental health problems are not always caused by physical trauma or damage. Emotional instability can be caused by something as mundane as a sudden change in one's lifestyle or circumstances, like a break up or loss of a job. This is documented, of course.

I would say triggered not caused, the causes seem to go deeper. A good example is that for decades now the US millitary has been trying to predict and exclude those likely to suffer from combat trauma and yet we simply don't know why the same circumstances will effect one person one way and not another.
So no physical damage is necessary, though its obvious that physical damage can cause it as well. I can say that dramatic emotional/mental changes can occur from a person who experiences an inspirational or enlightening event because that has happened to me. But there's no reason to conclude that this was due to something supernatural and I consider that to be selling human beings short when people claim that.

As I said I don't find that term supernatural at all helpful.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby tirtlegrrl » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:07 pm

spongebob wrote:Something related to this point I just heard about on a podcast is that some ghost hunter has just developed a new "ghost detection device" and claims it's 100% accurate. Of course how can that ever be determined? What is the standard? I view this demon possession thing the same way. How could anyone claim to know when someone is demon possessed? What's the litmus test and what is that measured by? Is there a person or object somewhere that is objectively determined to be possessed by a demon? This is the reason I can't accept demon possession as real.


That's kind of how I feel about it too. My dad has claimed to have seen demons but he's also undergone a lot of brain trauma through drug use and physical mishaps. So at least in his case, "actual demons" is pretty far down on the list of believable explanations for his experience, especially when the sightings have reliably coincided with consumption of certain medications.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby spongebob » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:27 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:There is evidence, centuries of examples and case studies almost from the beginning of modern psychology - Freud and Jung both wrote on demonology. So the question is not whether evidence exists it is whether there are other better explanations for that evidence.


So just because Freud and Jung "wrote" about demons, that's evidence they actually exist? What is this "evidence"? It is objective? Can it be independently repeated? Is there a testable model that explains it? I think the word you meant to use here is "myth".

I don't like the term supernatural. I would see non-material realities as being part of the cosmos and in that sense natural. If you are a materialist then anything that appears to be non-material, such as the operation of the human mind, must have an ultimate material explanation but since as you say we don't really know how things work this is more an assumption than a hypothesis.


Well, if you are defining "demons" as a part of the material universe, then I would suggest someone get to work on a model.

I would say triggered not caused, the causes seem to go deeper. A good example is that for decades now the US millitary has been trying to predict and exclude those likely to suffer from combat trauma and yet we simply don't know why the same circumstances will effect one person one way and not another.


The answer to that is pretty obvious; people are different. Specifying the precise difference is the difficult part.

As I said I don't find that term supernatural at all helpful.


That's because you aren't defining "demon" as from a spiritual dimension.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:47 pm

spongebob wrote:That's because you aren't defining "demon" as from a spiritual dimension.

Incorrect!

spongebob wrote:
I don't like the term supernatural. I would see non-material realities as being part of the cosmos and in that sense natural. If you are a materialist then anything that appears to be non-material, such as the operation of the human mind, must have an ultimate material explanation but since as you say we don't really know how things work this is more an assumption than a hypothesis.


Well, if you are defining "demons" as a part of the material universe, then I would suggest someone get to work on a model.

Total misdirection. MW clearly sees demons as non-material, but doesn't like the word "supernatural" for much the same reasons I do not like it. We believe God created the laws of nature. And thus this weird terminology would make the laws of nature themselves supernatural.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:42 am

spongebob wrote:So just because Freud and Jung "wrote" about demons, that's evidence they actually exist? What is this "evidence"? It is objective? Can it be independently repeated? Is there a testable model that explains it? I think the word you meant to use here is "myth".

No. It is the material in the various case studies that stands as evidence and not the interpretation placed on those experiences. If you want to know what the evidence is then read the studies; there are certain patterns of behaviour for example which are observable and in that sense objective. There are very few testable models in psychology and in any science no model is testable tothe extent that no other explanation is possible which is what you seem to me to be asking for. A myth as Robert Graves pointed out is a verbal iconograph, a way of symbolising something in language and I would agree that a lot of the language in demomology is mythical in this sense.
Well, if you are defining "demons" as a part of the material universe, then I would suggest someone get to work on a model.

I would see them as part of the natural universe but not neccessarily part of the material universe,having the same kind of noetic status as numbers or archetypes.
I would say triggered not caused, the causes seem to go deeper. A good example is that for decades now the US millitary has been trying to predict and exclude those likely to suffer from combat trauma and yet we simply don't know why the same circumstances will effect one person one way and not another.


The answer to that is pretty obvious; people are different. Specifying the precise difference is the difficult part.

That's not so much an answer as a repetition of the question. I am asking why people respond differently and you reply because they are different, which begs the question 'what makes them different?' Specificaly are there experiences prior ro trauma that make some people more prone to suffering long term damage by it?
That's because you aren't defining "demon" as from a spiritual dimension.

I'm not sure what you mean by spiritual dimension.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:45 am

tirtlegrrl wrote:That's kind of how I feel about it too. My dad has claimed to have seen demons but he's also undergone a lot of brain trauma through drug use and physical mishaps. So at least in his case, "actual demons" is pretty far down on the list of believable explanations for his experience, especially when the sightings have reliably coincided with consumption of certain medications.

I had a friend who had repeated halucinations as a teenagerwhich we think stemmed from a large overdose. Before he became a Christian he saw aliens and afterwards he saw demons. But the fact that he saw aliens tells me nothing about whether there are aliens.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby tirtlegrrl » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:19 am

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
tirtlegrrl wrote:That's kind of how I feel about it too. My dad has claimed to have seen demons but he's also undergone a lot of brain trauma through drug use and physical mishaps. So at least in his case, "actual demons" is pretty far down on the list of believable explanations for his experience, especially when the sightings have reliably coincided with consumption of certain medications.

I had a friend who had repeated halucinations as a teenagerwhich we think stemmed from a large overdose. Before he became a Christian he saw aliens and afterwards he saw demons. But the fact that he saw aliens tells me nothing about whether there are aliens.


That is very interesting!

So really what I'm wondering is in what context and at what descriptive level the language of demonology is appropriate. Colloquially and within the context of art and literature I think it's great. My husband and I make jokes in the kitchen about making sacrifices to the taco gods. There's something satisfying about ascribing agenticity to things. But is that how I should talk to my dad about his experiences? What about at the doctor's office? Diagnosis: demons. Cure: ?? When should we use the language of agency, and when is a mechanistic view more effective? That people see demons/angels/aliens/whatever is indisputable--but what's the best way to talk about it, and if you DON'T want to see said beings, how do you do that? Does it make sense to talk about demons as having independent existence and power when the most effective prophylactic is not endless prayers or wearing amulets but avoiding head trauma?
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:47 am

tirtlegrrl wrote:That is very interesting!

So really what I'm wondering is in what context and at what descriptive level the language of demonology is appropriate. Colloquially and within the context of art and literature I think it's great. My husband and I make jokes in the kitchen about making sacrifices to the taco gods. There's something satisfying about ascribing agenticity to things. But is that how I should talk to my dad about his experiences? What about at the doctor's office? Diagnosis: demons. Cure: ?? When should we use the language of agency, and when is a mechanistic view more effective? That people see demons/angels/aliens/whatever is indisputable--but what's the best way to talk about it, and if you DON'T want to see said beings, how do you do that? Does it make sense to talk about demons as having independent existence and power when the most effective prophylactic is not endless prayers or wearing amulets but avoiding head trauma?

That's a good question. A friend of mine who was diagnosed as schizophrenic used to interpret what was happening in demonic terms. I said I can understand why you interpret it that way can you understand why I think this is a part of your illness; he said he could. And I was not dismissive about the idea of it being demonic but I did not just accept his interpretation either, so we could agree to differ. I don't think either a mechanistic view or a traditional concept of agency is fully adequate. Rather I think there are deep and compelling forces within us that we can learn to counter by a process of becoming more aware. As for how we talk about it in general I would say in terms of what it means to the person, usually fairly gently, avoid metaphysics and stick to phenomenology. If I ever encountered what appeared to be a case of possession I would defer to my bishop if the person wanted that kind of help.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby tirtlegrrl » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:36 am

Moonwood, I saw this Onion article this morning and thought of you. :-D

"New Study Finds Therapy, Antidepressants Equally Effective At Monetizing Depression"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-st ... -ef,38026/
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:09 pm

tirtlegrrl wrote:Moonwood, I saw this Onion article this morning and thought of you. :-D

"New Study Finds Therapy, Antidepressants Equally Effective At Monetizing Depression"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-st ... -ef,38026/

Very cynical.
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby Rian » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:14 pm

Love the Onion!

This line was especially funny : "The study concluded that when both approaches are combined, financial results are likely to be reached far more quickly than with one method alone."

But clinical depression is really a tough issue ... :(
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Re: Exorcism and Possession

Postby tirtlegrrl » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:15 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
tirtlegrrl wrote:Moonwood, I saw this Onion article this morning and thought of you. :-D

"New Study Finds Therapy, Antidepressants Equally Effective At Monetizing Depression"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-st ... -ef,38026/

Very cynical.


Yeah, don't read too much of The Onion. It crushes the spirit.
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