When Exorcisms Don’t Work

exorcism

The Cologne Cathedral in Rhine, Germany. Construction began in 1248.

The paranormal is a woefully neglected realm in modern Christianity. Despite so many attempts to mainstream the faith, or to manipulate it so it’s more palatable to non-believers, providing information on the unseen world is an afterthought. This is perhaps more detrimental than we might think. In the mad rush to conform the faith to what the world dictates, perhaps we have overlooked even the most basic element. Our world contains an unseen world that is just as real and just as influential as the seen world.

We can turn on the television and see paranormal documentaries, investigations, and victim accounts by the tens every week. While it does bring about awareness to a subject that needs it, one secondary product isn’t so positive. We have an entire generation of armchair spiritualists.

 

Armchair Spirituality

In the world of armchair spirituality, the paranormal is essentially a toy. It’s something that exists for entertainment. It is a titillating aspect of the universe that surly conforms to our whims, just as faith is supposed to, according to society. If you have a problem, you gather a group of friends or social peers, burn some sage or hold a séance, and the issue is solved. In this imaginary world, the beings that exist in the supernatural world are rational, kind, and often just misunderstood. In reality, this kind of disregard and naiveté can make the problem far worse.

Fortunately, there are still paranormal experts who hold a healthy respect and emphasize the need for qualified advice when dealing with the paranormal. It is important to keep in mind that even when you ask a proper spiritual councilor for advice, it isn’t a guarantee of relief.

The most common ritual practiced in Christianity to eliminate dangerous or highly negative spirits, or demons, is that of exorcism. An exorcism is a last resort because it requires such resources, not only from the church, but also from everyone involved.

Here are several reasons and considerations that should be understood about exorcisms:

 

An Exorcism must be conducted by a Qualified Individual.

Exorcisms will not work if they aren’t performed correctly. There were some situations (as noted below) where even Christ’s disciples could not exorcise the demon.

 

Do Not Burn Sage

If you are facing a situation serious enough to warrant considering an exorcism, a little sage will not help. If that were all that was needed, most people would cleanse their home every time they cooked breakfast sausage or Thanksgiving stuffing.

Do not invite paranormal investigators into your home unless you know them. Far too many paranormal groups today are only minimally invested  and see it as more for entertainment. They don’t know what they’re doing and can make any issues in the home much worse.

 

Exorcisms Can’t Be Performed out of Hate or Fear

Hate and fear are both tools used by the adversary. An exorcism is performed out of love for the victim and the family. The primary goal is to bring peace and relief to the household affected. You can’t fight that kind of battle using the same tools as the adversary, without empowering the adversary even more.

 

Not all Exorcisms are the Same

Lastly, Christ noted that not all spirits could be dealt with in the same manner. Just as no situation involving a demonic spirit will be exactly like any other, any exorcism should likewise be tailored. The perfect example is mentioned in Matthew 17:14-21.

 

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

 

Conviction

conviction

Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, England. The old structure was founded in the 7th Century.

This term is most common for its legal ramifications. In simple terms, a conviction is a successful prosecution in a court of law. When you are convicted, the court has decided you are indeed guilty for the crime you’ve been accused of committing.

In spiritual terms, “conviction” carries much of the same meaning. This is used to describe an innate sense of guilt or culpability. Both non-believers, and former believers, can endure these feelings of guilt or negativity when reminded of their current spiritual state.

Many seemingly intelligent people go into irrational fits of rage when faced with anything religious, be it a message or simply a religious icon. One thing is certain, any glimpse or hint of the spiritual sends them into an outright panic. Many of these same individuals can develop what appears to be outright hysteria just from glimpsing a plaque of the Ten Commandments.

One recent example of this is the irrational and unwarranted backlash is regarding a film titled God’s Not Dead.

Note: This is not a film review and does not contain spoilers (but many of the reviews do). Likewise, it is not an endorsement for the film which none at the Scholar of Christ has viewed. It is cited exclusively because of the tone and animosity in the reviews at the IMDB website.

The reviews are perfect examples of rampant spiritual conviction.

First and foremost, the title is God’s Not Dead, which alone implies the film will be about the belief in God. This also implies it is written by those who believe in God. We can read such a title, and know with relative certainty it will be a spiritual movie related to Christianity, as the title does not use Allah, Vishnu, or Buddha. We do not assume it is a film about terrorists, natural disasters, secret agents, fraternity exploits, ghosts, vampires, or the drama surrounding lost loves. Evidently, the title said something altogether different for many of those viewers.

The irate reviews are typical, citing everything from, “they’re using a straw man argument,” to “it’s religious propaganda!” It is no surprise at all because desperate people (who’ve taken Debate 101) usually try to throw around miscellaneous logical fallacy accusations to the point that any opposition is unable to reply in any way. This is, in essence, a “cheating” technique used to silence opposition.

This is to be expected when people face a “God” who is not the modern, celebrity version. Those in the secular world today want God to be a politically correct conformist.  Religion is a hobby, not practiced for any other reason than to make one feel good about oneself. They don’t want to acknowledge any faith that might have commandments or guidelines. Many people today don’t even like to read God’s word, instead they envision a god who bends and bows to their arbitrary whims.

Christians have been portrayed as everything from stupid, to downright evil, for decades, and yet when a movie emerges that reverses the roles, many go ballistic for no other reason than the production has broken the status quo. They were convicted by watching the film, and their often-bizarre reaction is proof. In most of the reviews, the usual movie qualities aren’t reviewed at all. Not the acting, writing, script, effects, setting, or production, it was simply the message that went against the grain of what is typical.