Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Demons are Trying to Turn You Gay

You know, like Stephen Colbert's baby carrots. According to Christian author Contessa Adams demons are coming for your sexual orientation. These foul creatures launch their attacks in the form of nightmares and erotic dreams and apparently have some sort of vested interest in turning people gay. So far nobody has come up with an adequate explanation of what cultivating gayness does for demons, even in an occult or magical sense, but many Christians like Adams are convinced that they are at it nonetheless. This belief is at the root of a number of harmful practices, such as performing exorcisms on gay people in hopes of turning them straight. The idea that maybe these nightmares and erotic dreams are just nightmares and erotic dreams never really seems to be considered plausible among these folks, though attributing them to supernatural forces strikes them as completely reasonable.

These spiritual rapists, as Adams describes them in her book, Consequences, often prey on people by performing sexual acts through nightmares and erotic dreams. Some people become so dependent upon these demonic experiences that they actually look forward to them. "Anybody that has been attacked by them will tell you ... they're worried [that] they could not find that pleasure with mortal people," says Adams, who claims she was once possessed by sexual demons.

The two most identifiable sexual demons are the incubus, which is a male sexual demon that traditionally assaults women, and the succubus, which is a female sexual demon that assaults men. Sometimes they also lure people into homosexual behavior. Adams notes that one evangelist, whose name she would not divulge, was so troubled by the sexual pleasure the succubus gave her that she even contemplated suicide. Adams says the succubus spirit that used to attack her confused her so much that she contemplated becoming a lesbian.

While Adams is correct that tales of sexual demons do exist in folklore, their relation to gayness appears to be a completely new development. In the middle ages, it was believed that female demons attacked males and male demons attacked females - so the phenomenon was considered demonic, but not gay. Modern conservative Christians, though, seem so terrified of gayness that they connect it with everything they find unspeakably evil or even just kind of gross, from soy milk to demonic possession. The Bible does describe (male, not female) homosexuality as an abomination in Leviticus, though to be fair it uses the same term for eating shellfish. So are shrimp inhabited by demons as well?

In fact, neuroscientists have pretty much worked out the dynamics of "demonic attack" and have concluded that there is a natural explanation for them - a phenomenon called sleep paralysis. The basic mechanism is that some people's brains do not transition cleanly from sleeping to being awake. The condition is related to sleep apnea, in which the throat partially closes and restricts air flow during sleep, though it's not yet clear whether some sort of causal link is present either way. The result of sleep paralysis is that an individual may feel awake but unable to move while elements of dreaming are still going on, and as the dream experience unfolds in a state close to waking consciousness it often is remembered vividly. Not all such dreams are erotic, but those that are probably gave rise to idea of demons such as incubi and succubi.

Adams also offers a strange tip for avoiding demonic attack - tidiness. Apparently demons are repelled by a house that is in order and, I suppose, attracted to clutter. So does that mean the folks behind the Hoarders television series need to add exorcists to the team?

Adams believes the most valuable tool against these sexual demons is based on Matthew 12:44, which speaks of when a demon is cast out and then looks to return, but finds the house is clean, swept and in order. People must have their houses in order so that a demon can no longer gain entrance, Adams says. It is a part of the reprogramming process that takes place when an individual submits his or her life to God.

This idea also provides a convenient tool by which people can be judged according to how messy their house is. In addition, it suggests a rationale for engaging in boring, repetitive tasks such as cleaning rather than, say, reflecting on how ridiculous the idea is that one is likely to be turned gay by a demon.

I do understand that given their worldview many conservative Christians who are gay or bisexual find their orientation troubling, but as I see it the problem there lies with the idea that homosexuality is considered an absolute anathema. From a scriptural standpoint, one would think that if gay people were such a big problem Jesus might have said something about them in the Gospels. In fact, he does not. He did, however, talk a lot about helping the poor and avoiding materialism - two injunctions that many conservative Christians freely ignore while they're busy obsessing about the gays.

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Hypnovatos said...

Despite all that this author writes about, I do not fault her for her views or take on it all... UP until that part about a clean house. For the love of all that is Holy, how can someone read that quote in the bible and take it literally to the point of saying you have to physically clean your physical home to prevent demons. Does it not even enter into her rubbish filled head that MAYBE, the author(s) were referring to your spiritual home? Let us say one procrastinates, once that person finally defeats the "demon" that gets its kicks from causing you to be late for everything, getting everything sorted out in your head and spirit that caused you to always be lazy and not want to tackle the things head on is LIKELY to be more helpful than washing your dishes and dusting the top of the bookcase. Just sayin...
Now... if she takes that literally, how can i take the rest of her argument serious? The lady doth protest too much, me thinks, in regards to demons causing ppl to have gay dreams... Just saying...

Morgan Eckstein said...

Most of the gay men I know are much better housekeepers than I am...therefore, one is tempted to argue that neatness is a sign of demon possession. *wink*

Hypnovatos said...

@Morgan: badass argument!

Scott Stenwick said...

@Morgan: Maybe it works both ways.

Once a gay demon takes possession of someone with a messy home, it amps up the housecleaning in order to keep the straight demons away so it can have the possessed individual all to itself. After all, if we read the incubus/succubus folklore as written, gay demons are almost certainly a minority just like gay people are. The last thing a gay demon would want is for a straight one to come in and challenge it over a host.

Of course, that explanation assumes both gay and straight demons are repelled by an absence of clutter. However, from the author's perspective I would expect that to be a reasonable assumption given that the Matthew quote makes no mention of the particular demon's sexual orientation.

Or maybe sexual orientation is simply biological and hoarders are just suffering from untreated mental illness. But those rational, reasonable scientific explanations are just so dull...