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Demons and The Devil

By austinrohm ~

When I stopped turning a blind eye to all the problems with the Bible and Christianity and started applying the same skepticism that I applied toward other religions, the usual response that I got from Christians was, 
“You are under spiritual attack! The devil is whispering in your ear. These doubts are all lies!”
Oddly enough, other religions use the devil as an excuse too when members start questioning their religion. It’s also the devil when you start questioning the doctrines of the church you go to. Where do these questions and doubts come from? From a place of honest inquiry and desire to know the truth? Or are spirits and ghosts telling you that your faith and holy book is irrational?

You have yet to demonstrate that demons and the devil exist. When people attempt to prove this, they always have stories lined up about “demonic oppression.” When pressed for these stories, they usually come back to the source of
  1. Someone had scary dreams or sleep paralysis.
  2. The person was “lost” at the time, but was conveniently was under the influence of hallucinating drugs.
  3. They knew of someone who got possessed, which more than likely had a mental disease. I had someone who worked at a mental facility say “it’s interesting how all these ‘demon possessed’ people seem to improve after medication.” 
  4. They will attribute arbitrary life experiences to demons: just like they do to God. Most have perfectly natural explanations. (We all know that one lady who blames demons for everything!)
In Mark 9:17-27, there is a story about a supposed demonic possession in the Bible. One main aspect of Jesus’ ministry was casting out demons. Demon possession, so it seems, was a relatively common occurrence in those days. Demon possession was also super common in the hundreds and of years after that. There were so many reports of possessions and exorcists that you will lose count of them! Oddly enough, reports of demon possession started to dwindle as our understanding of mental illness increased.

It seems rather odd that the descriptions of the demon possession in the Bible seem to fit with someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. 

Thought: Why does the occurrence of demonic possessions seem to decrease with our ability to scientifically investigate? 

Demon possessed people were a dime a dozen back in the day, but when is the last time you encountered someone who you knew was demon possessed? I can’t think of a time.

It might be stated that demons don’t act in that way any more. Instead of frothing at the mouth, the demons have “revised” their manifestations to being vague things like: 
  • I feel spiritual oppression, 
  • I am having doubts, 
  • I have a desire to sin, 
  • I am interested in why evolution makes sense, 
  • I am starting to notice problems in the Bible.
These things must be demonic oppression! Or do they have to be? It seems that every vivid supernatural event that has occurred took place in the distant past, safe from any sort of inspection or test to prove authenticity. What we see today is always toned down, a lot more vague, and requires a lot more imagination to be true: a mere shadow of what is described in the Bible. If “the supernatural” is real, it seems to be manifesting itself in a way which is fully consistent with completely natural occurrences. Instead of a possessed person flailing on the ground, a possessed person now just “denies God,” or “makes convincing lies about the Bible,” or “sings songs about the devil.” Demon possession is simply just not really brought up in church anymore. Why is this? Is it because there is no good way to determine if a person is possessed or not? What is the difference between demon possession and demonic oppression? How do we even tell if someone is being oppressed?

Isn’t it remarkable that nearly every proposed encounter with the devil or demons occurs when consciousness or perception is altered? Seemingly, every time some gets “spiritually attacked,” it’s either while they are in and out of sleep, messing with drugs, or it’s dark outside. You really never hear stories of someone seeing demons walking down the street in the middle of the day while in their right mind. What’s the deal?

Are the demons afraid of photons?

Can demons access your brains to put scary images there?

Are demons scared of meds that makes a crazy person sane?

Do demons attack when someone does hallucinogenic drugs?

What’s more likely: the previous thoughts, or that demons and the devil are figments of our imagination. This would be consistent on why certain people have “spiritual experiences” and other just don’t have any. It’s as simple as: some people are mentally prone to have these hallucinations/ dreams, and others are not.

Lastly, the devil and demons and hell are all very powerful tools that are utilized by religion to keep people from questioning their beliefs.

What happens when a person starts to question the Bible? There is an automatic accusation that demons or the devil are involved. A “seducing Spirit” is used to explain doubts of Christianity.

One of the reasons I am no longer a Christian is the double standard that is set for other religions. They are able to recognize the false aspects of another religion, but justify the SAME exact aspect that is also found in Christianity. They are able to recognize child indoctrination in other religions, but it becomes “Training up a child in the way he should go” when Christians indoctrinate their children. Atrocities and murders committed by Muslims and Catholics are automatic proof of the falsehood of that religion, but atrocities and murders committed by the Israelites in the name of God is okay because “God has good reasons for it that we may not understand.”

Regarding doubting and questioning beliefs, the double standard continues. When a Muslim or Mormon starts to question their beliefs, the Christian cheers them on! “Yes! Keep doubting! Keep searching for problems in the Book of Mormon! You will find that it is false!!” The Mormons will bemoan the fact that another Mormon is “questioning the truth.” The other Mormons say: It MUST be that the devil or demons are putting lies in his head!

However when a Christian starts doubting the Bible, the tables are turned: “No! Don’t doubt! Don’t keep questioning! Don’t keep searching for problems in the Bible! The devil is tempting you! Don’t fall for it!” It is the same exact threat Mormons and Muslims use.

Literally every religion or cult uses the unfounded threat of the devil and demons to scare members that are questioning the religion. We know for certain that, in fact, no devil or demons are tempting ANYONE to leave Mormonism. It is Mormons just trying to justify why anyone would leave what they perceive as “The Truth.” We can see, clearly, that demons and the devil is just a scare tactic that is used to keep -otherwise reasonable and rational people- believing an irrational religion.

The blinders come on when Christians use the same exact tactics to keep members believing their religion. Now questioning and doubting are bad things.

An objection might be made that “The devil is a mime: he mimics the truth, but changes it just enough to where people believe lies instead of truth.”

This sounds great to reassure someone in their already-held belief, but the observer outside of that belief can see this excuse was just pulled out of their rear end with no evidence whatsoever! They also see that other religions use this excuse as to why Christianity is similar to THEIR religion. According to them, the devil influenced Christianity. What mechanism do we have to determine who is right? It appears we have no such reliable mechanism: it just comes down to each group finger pointing at the other, and claiming the other group is being used by the devil. The casual observer who does not hold either belief can clearly see that the similarities between the two beliefs are because the two beliefs are just both adapted and modified versions of another similar religion. It is no secret that all religions are influenced by, and borrow from, nearby religions: Christianity included. Each newer belief branches off from an older, previously held belief. It is no surprise when two closely related religions have similarities and differences. No “deception of the Devil” reason is needed.

The devil works in mysterious ways indeed. It appears there is no good reason to worry that a literal devil is out there running around trying to deceive people. It appears the only way in which demons manifest themselves - after science has destroyed the myth of going crazy due to demon possession - is just tempting people to leave their religion, or tempting people to sin.

The way the devil and demons behave in the modern day is indiscernible from how the world would appear with no demons and no devil.

The automatic counter would be: “Aha! You see, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he does not exist.”

“The greatest trick the leprechauns pulled is convincing the world they do not exist.” — austinrohmHowever, we have no way to tell the difference between a Devil who just wants to remain hidden and appears hidden, and a Devil that just does not exist. Both would appear exactly the same. I could say: “The greatest trick the leprechauns pulled is convincing the world they do not exist.” I could use the same reasoning for leprechauns as a Christian does the for the Devil: yet both have the same caliber of evidence.

Stop letting other Christians intimidate you with unprovable threats of mythical creatures such as demons. Demons are no more real than a centaur or unicorn. The moment you stop fearing demons is the moment you notice that things in life- like unfortunate circumstances, losses in the family, cars breaking down, night terrors, bad dreams, thoughts of self-harm, and other aspects life - are just that: life. Life happens to all of us. And better to go talk with a professional who can actually HELP you with these issues than ask for prayer for the demons to stop op pressing you.

There are no demons; there is no such thing as The Devil. There is no spells, magic, curses, possessions, or demonic oppression. Giving up these beliefs is super odd at first, but give it time. When enough time passes, and you view life through a demon-less perspective, the idea of scary invisible monsters meddling with your life becomes a little far-fetched, and frankly absurd.

Time to toss these ideas in the same trash can as we put superstition, fairies, and leprechauns in long ago. Time to stop being afraid of demons and devils that just simply do not exist.