Friday, March 14, 2008

Satan - Do you believe he exist?

There was a song by 'Blood Sweat and tears' in the 70's that has a line in the lyrics that goes something like this. “….I swear there ain’t no heaven and I pray there ain’t no hell….”

Satan wonders the world, seeking the ruin of souls, as the saying goes and his usual motive operandi is to entice, to appear that what is Sin is anything but.

Then there are times when he rears his ugly head in a manner most obvious. One may think of Hollywood’s attempt to portray this in movies like ‘Poltergeist’ or even scarier ‘The Exorcist’.

Here’s an article out of ‘New Oxford Review – February’ that brings home a recent case in point.

Amid widespread confusion and skepticism about the subject, the chief goal of this article is to document a contemporary and clear-cut case of demonic possession. Even those who doubt such a phenomenon exists may find the following example rather persuasive. For clergy, or indeed anyone involved in the spiritual or psychological care of others, it is equally critical, however, to recognize the many and infinitely more common "counterfeits" (i.e., false assignations) of demonic influence or attack as well.

This need for caution and precision is especially important at a time when untrained laymen or, worse, public ministries may unfortunately mislead or even exploit the faithful in this area. One has only to turn on a television to witness obvious abuses -- for instance, tele­vangelists' dunning their audience for cash as they conduct exhibitionist ceremonies before large assemblies of the overly credulous. Sharp distinctions -- long known to traditional theologians, but now often ignored -- need to be drawn.

Possession is only one and not the most common type of demonic attack. Possession is very rare, though not as exceedingly so as many imagine. So-called "oppression," or "infestation," is less rare, though hardly frequent either, and sometimes more difficult to discern accurately.1 For our purposes here, a truly "possessed" individual exhibits so massive and unequivocal an assault that we will use it as the paradigmatic example of a genuine demonic attack. This case will be contrasted not to the many lesser degrees of demonic assault, but rather to the varied kinds of purported demonic involvement -- often psychotic conditions -- that turn out to have a purely natural explanation.2 These states should be more widely recognized as such by religious practitioners. This need is especially great among the many laymen now in deliverance ministries, a rapidly growing worldwide phenomenon.3

The Case of a Modern-Day Demoniac
To show, first, that the devil, however rarely, may indeed "attack" by possessing an individual, I present here a detailed summary of a present-day demonic possession. It is truly an obvious example of a genuine attack, at least to an objective observer.

Each case of possession (as well as oppression) is, in one sense, unique. What makes this example especially singular -- but also particularly and powerfully convincing -- is that the woman involved not only exhibited, in a highly dramatic fashion, the classic signs of possession but, having been an avowed and prominent Satanist in her life, also seemed to display "special occult powers" even outside her trance states, not infrequently in a quite open manner to anyone who came in close contact with her.

All the facts presented here are true and verifiable by the multiple and highly credible individuals involved in her care. For reasons of confidentiality, we will identify our subject with a pseudonym (she agreed to have her story published if she were not identified), and little incidental material is included.

"Julia" is a middle-aged, self-supporting Caucasian woman who lives in the U.S. She first approached her local clergy on her own, and was soon referred to an official priest-exorcist (who collaborated on this article) to explore getting help. She herself was quite convinced from the start that she was being "attacked" in some way by a demon or Satan. During the course of her lengthy and thorough evaluation, she was eventually seen by this writer, a board-certified academic psychiatrist, who was asked to provide a medical and psychiatric opinion.

Julia revealed a long, disturbing history of involvement with explicitly Satanic groups (an obvious, historical antecedent to her then-present condition and to her accompanying "psychic" abilities, as they might be characterized). Though raised a Catholic, she no longer practiced the Faith. But, with considerable ambivalence, she stated she might need the Catholic Rite of Exorcism.

Julia was not the typical type of individual who frequently importunes the Church for help but who is really in need of psychiatric or other medical intervention. She was in no way psychotic; in fact, she was consistently logical, highly intelligent, and even quite engaging at times, despite her obvious turmoil.

Periodically, in our presence, Julia would go into a trance state of a recurring nature. Mentally troubled individuals often "dissociate,"4 but Julia's trances were accompanied by an unusual phenomenon: Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts, and scatological language, phrases like "Leave her alone, you idiot," "She's ours," "Leave, you imbecile priest," or just "Leave." The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia's own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these "trances," or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred.

When Julia came out of these trances, she strongly professed no recollection of these remarks or of having said anything at all. An experienced psychiatrist might well conclude that we were probably, therefore, dealing with a dissociated personality or, more precisely, even Dissociative Identity Disorder (elaborated on later). What quickly made this understandable hypothesis implausible, however, were several other peculiar though obviously related phenomena, but a sampling of which is covered here.

Because of the complexity of this case, we assembled a team to assist. At varying points, this group comprised several qualified mental-health personnel, at least four Catholic priests, a deacon and his wife, two nuns (both nurses, one psychiatric), and several lay volunteers. We made a number of phone calls to arrange gathering together to help Julia. Julia herself was not in on these phone discussions; she was far from the area at the time. Astonishingly, Julia's "other" voice -- again sometimes deep, sometimes high pitched -- would actually interrupt the telephone conversations and somehow come in over the phone line! The voice(s) would espouse the same messages: "Leave her alone," "Leave, you idiots," "Get away from her," "She's ours." Julia, again, said later that she was unaware of any such conversation. And yet this speech was heard distinctly by several of the team on a number of occasions.


Sometimes it takes the 'obvious' to slap us back to reality. It could be something as simple as viewing those red lights in our rear view miror as we get pulled over for speeding, to make us realize we are driving stupidly, recklessly, dangerously. We seem to drive a little more cautiously, at least for a short time, before we proceed to revert back to our old deadly driving ways. Next time (God forebit) it may lead to a fender bender...or worse.

This is why I decided to post this. Not for the gratification of viewing a scary movie or for posting a bizzare read where once we're done we then go on to the next news article or post. I did it to hopefully snap one to attention, a cold shower reminder that Evil is out there in his subtle ways and not so subtle ways.

We see it in the news everyday. With stories of the New York Govenor, the ongoing war, the murder of our Bishops, even in our elections with Abortion, and all the social issues.

Our souls are eternal, and in this Lenten season it's good to be reminded of our need to care for them. The readings of the Temptation in the desert, the raising of Lazerus, as they lead to Holy Week and the Passion.

We have hope though. We know the outcome. We know who wins.

We have Christ and the Resurrection on Easter!

We can share in his glory, if we keep our wits about us... and fight the good fight.

Additonal articles:

The Death of Satan - First Things

Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?

...I'll add more later


No comments:

Post a Comment