Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Because Demons are Contagious!

After a making a handful of reasonable statements pointing out the silliness of young-earth creationism, Pat Robertson is back to his old form. According to the popular evangelist, in addition to picking up demons at the thrift store, you can also inherit them from ancestors who dabbled in "witchcraft or tarot cards or psychic things." It's not clear from standard Christian theology why this would be the case, but then the whole fundamentalist concept of demons is pretty weird in the first place - and that's coming from me, a ceremonial magician who does work with spirits.

In an email, a viewer named Dianne told the TV preacher that her son had “painful shock-waves thru his body” that originated in his stomach while she was praying for him and calling on “the name of JESUS.”

“My son said it felt like something hit him very hard in the stomach,” the mother wrote. “I know this is not of God. He is a Christian. Can Christians be attacked by demons?” Instead of recommending that the mother seek medical attention, Robertson said that the boy could be “oppressed or possessed by demons.”

“You need to get somebody with you who understands the spiritual dimension and doing spiritual warfare,” he continued. “If I were you, I would look back in your family. What in your family — do you have anybody involved in the occult, somebody in witchcraft or tarot cards or psychic things?”

This is the most dangerous sort of fundamentalist nonsense, ascribing spiritual remedies for physical medical conditions. This might be something like the adrenal glands activating in response to stress or anxiety, which does feel like the symptoms described, but it could also be a much more serious condition that should be checked out by a doctor before concluding that it's due to demons and must be addressed spiritually rather than medically. The former is pretty damn unlikely, unless the symptoms are primarily psychosomatic. Only an actual doctor can determine that, not a television evangelist with no medical training.

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Nerd said...

Kierkegaard defines "the demonic" as volitional energy which is directed backwards, against the person's own self, aiming at unsatisfaction. We might call that a "reaction formation" in psychoanalysis.

In TCM and 5 Element theory, there are things called "Internal and External Dragons," Gui demons and also "aggressive energy." There are different schools of thought on this, and the treatment thereof. It's not touched upon in regular classes, but if you have teachers that come from a family lineage, you can often get some lore. QiGong masters will sometimes tell you things as well.

"The opinions that accept the Demons or those that view Demons as construction of an ill person have both in common that the person suffers from a loss of the Spirit Essences and/or Blood."

Generally, what makes a person susceptible to this sort of influence is a depletion of spirit/yang qi, essence and/or blood. It's considered to be more serious than just a regular shen disharmony.

Worsley gave protocals in his work on 5E theory.


You could also probably treat this sort of thing with essential oils. Some of the protocals to indicate rather strong needling techniques, however I think you could get some good results with oils, if you had the right ones on the right spots. You'd use shiatsu techniques instead of needles.

Scott Stenwick said...

If that's the sort of thing the fundamentalists were really talking about, I'd find it a lot less ridiculous. But their idea seems to be that "demons" are sentient, independent beings that run away the minute you say the name Jesus. It's flat-out wrong on more than one level.

I practice Qigong myself and have no aversion to energy healing and so forth, but at the same time it's no substitute for regular medical treatment. That's what I find dangerous - that Pat is discouraging the mother from seeking medical attention.

I expect that energy healing, essential oils, and acupuncture could help the son, but as I see it there are some potentially serious conditions that they should rule out before going that route.