Tag Archives: evil

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.

 

What is Evil?

evil

Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy, France. Constructed around 1077.

Evil is a subject most people don’t like to consider, but it’s a valid concern in the Christian life. Much of popular culture in the world around us regards any attention to the presence of evil as somehow detrimental. An awareness of evil is “antiquated” or the product of fear. Do such inattention, indifference, and apathy render the negativity harmless? Or does it actually allow the force to gain strength and spread?

 

Context

Our entire universe is a compilation of opposites. For light, there is darkness. Gravity surrounds objects, while the vast emptiness of space lacks any gravitational pull. Since we do have so many positive elements to the universe, kindness, selflessness, and empathy, it’s only logical for there to be an opposite, which would be the force of evil.

When a government detects a threat, they investigate. It doesn’t matter what type of threat it is, a simple verbal “bomb threat” will be investigated and pursued as aggressively and as thoroughly as an actual explosion. Does this make that government one of cowardice for maintaining a proactive position? Would such a government be unreasonable or “hysterical” for seeking intelligence on an adversary? Not at all.

The same principal applies to people and such forces as evil. In the theater of battle, you fight an enemy with knowledge and strategy just as much as any physical force or brute strength. The Christian’s fight may not be against a flesh-and-blood adversary, but it is indeed a battle.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12

Just as the lines separating good and evil have become blurred through time, we see the lines blurred in modern media. The only way to fight evil is via Christianity, but Christianity has become the villainous force, as seen in so many films and television series. There’s no such thing as “evil,” just religious fanaticism.

We can blame modern society for such a shift, but in reality, it’s to be expected. A typical serial killer enjoys the fear and panic he creates, but he doesn’t actually want to be apprehended. A serial theif may enjoy thwarting modern commercial or residential security systems, but doesn’t want to be jailed. Similarly, evil does not want to be noticed. It prefers subtly and reinforces the notion that humans are the only source of evil in the universe. It reassures that there is no such thing as a devil, demons, or negativity beyond the human element. It can’t spread and infect among those who anticipate it, or who see what it is.

 

What is Evil?

In our vastly secular Western world, the concept of evil beings or their destruction may seem like fodder for a cheesy film. Unfortunately, this contemporary notion leaves a sizable portion of the population simply vulnerable to such forces.

Evil is not cartoon red devils or staged theatrics from horror films. It isn’t even human defiance or excess, although both can play a part. Evil is destruction, confusion, chaos, and fear. Above even those qualities, it is insatiable, a parasitic infection that will stop at nothing to locate new hosts to destroy.

There are vengeful spirits in many parts of Asia called “hungry ghosts.” They are said to be the spirits of the departed who died in extreme want of food, money, or something else. According to their lore, these spiritual beings have lost all sense of earthly reason or whatever humanity they once held. Now, they exist only to consume. The consumption, however, is never-ending, just as sin and evil. Both are never-ending hungers and both only have the capacity to spread. Why does evil target humans? Because angels aren’t in the flesh, although evil does tempt angels as it did during Lot’s time*. Angelic beings are not subject to the same weaknesses creatures are who live in the flesh.

* “And they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.'” -Genesis 19:5

Evil can only spread because it can’t be fulfilled, satiated, or appeased. It will never know contentment or gratification. It can only spread its malcontent to as many as possible.

 

Conclusion:

Evil is a spiritual parasite that can only be warded off via awareness and knowledge. In opposition to popular assumption, Christians do not fear evil and have no reason to. They’re simply more aware of it. Awareness does not give negativity power, ignorance does. Ignoring evil doesn’t remove its power any more than ignoring a virus removes its capacity to infect. The evil in the world existed long before any of us were born and has had no regard for what we did or didn’t believe at any point.

Lastly, evil is not about the individual. The human race has an arrogant and self-centered perception of evil. It’s a force that wants you to embrace sin, not solely because it’s immoral or against scripture, but because the embrace will destroy others through your actions or choices.

For example, the force would want a man in a bar to overindulge, but not just to get him intoxicated. Because he’s driving home and will hit a minivan filled with people. The tragedy resulting from that collision will follow the van occupants for the rest of their lives, as well as land the drunkard in prison. In this scenario, a number of lives have already been terminally devastated by a single form of sin that only lasted a few hours.

It would want a wife to engage in an extramarital affair, not solely because it’s immoral, but because it would destroy her spouse and children. Her children will grow up in a broken home and suffer the traumatic effects of that instability for decades. Two out of three will see chronic divorces in adulthood and one of the three will become a substance abuser.

There’s very little we do, in regards to sin, that will not affect others, and often it’s many others. Evil is indeed a parasite, but it holds very little threat to those who know its purpose and its presence.