Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Doorways to Demonic Possession

Various renditions of the above image have been going around the Internet for the last few days. It's a page from a tract that some Christian group was distributing at the most recent Comic-Con. It lists the usual things that conservative Christians preach against - magical practices, drugs, rock music, and religions other than Christianity. But it adds a few others that are just bizarre.
  • Cyberpunk Culture: I have no idea how one would get the idea that hacking computers is antithetical to Christianity. It must be all those quotes in the Bible explaining the sinfulness of bypassing firewalls. I can see it if you're talking about hacking in order to steal or something like that, but otherwise?
  • Meditation: These people are aware that there's a Christian contemplative tradition, right, and that monastic Christians have meditated for more than a thousand years? Meditation as a practice is not confined to Eastern religions and weird cults.
  • Vegetarianism: One of the interesting things about vegetarianism is that many Jews have discovered it makes keeping Kosher a whole lot easier - that is, conforming to the Biblical laws that conservative Christians say they love so much. But I guess now that's not part of God's plan?
  • Levitation: So if I levitate I open myself up to demonic possession? Phew! I guess it's a good thing that I've never been able to do it. Those people who can are just asking for trouble.
  • Alt "comix": So as long as I read corporate approved mainstream comics I'm okay? That's good to know. I guess God wants to make sure the big comic distributors can make their profit margins.
  • Skull & Bones: Granted, the Skull and Bones Society probably falls into the same category as Freemasonry or "Illuminati Groups" (whatever those are). But given how few people are invited to join and how rich they have to be I highly doubt anyone reading this tract is in any danger of being tapped.
  • Burning Man: I suppose the demons must just like the heat.
  • Goth Culture: So demons live in Victorian clothing? Seriously? I suppose a lot of Goths are into other things on this list, but I find it hard to see how Goth style by itself is demonic. Because it's black? Also, a lot of Goths wear crosses. Go figure.
Some commenters have suggested that this tract might be a parody, and I have to say I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be the case. If not, though, the group that produced this needs to follow the injunction that started off the whole fundamentalist movement - to read their Bibles. There's nothing in the text about drugs or music or games. All that stuff got tacked on relatively recently, probably because people were out there enjoying them too much.

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edgaralgernon said...

ummm "Raves & XTC" so how does listening to XTC lead to demonic possession? They do mean the band right? :-)

Scott Stenwick said...

Heh. Maybe, maybe not. But if they mean the band it falls under rock music and if they mean the drug I suppose it can be grouped with the other drugs. Of course, the Bible says nothing about either.

Scott Stenwick said...

I also just noticed another glaring omission. Atheism is not on the list! So does that mean being an atheist is okay as long as you don't listen to rock music or play Dungeons & Dragons?

Frater VL said...

Damn...thanks for enlighten us; now I will have to throw away all my Xbox and WII games; besides my Iron Maiden CDs, but shhhh...don't tell them I'm a magician...

Pallas Renatus said...

I love how "Skull & Bones" is included, as if that's something one just casually walks into.

Scott Stenwick said...

I know! You have to go to Yale, be very rich, and only then do you have a chance at getting in.

Maybe this particular group is trying to highlight that it doesn't like George W. Bush, since he was a Skull and Bones member who also was popular with conservative Christians. That's about the only reason I can think of that they might have decided it was significant enough to include on the list.

Then again, "Trilateralism" is on the list too and it's not like you can just walk in off the street and join the Trilateral Commission. So maybe it's just the work of someone who's fundamentally confused about the membership of those organizations.

Rob said...

By cyberpunk I think they've confused it with steampunk, or anything with the word punk in it. Although it's much smaller, it's like the Goth community, in that a significant number of its membership tends to be Pagan or interested in occult labeled subjects.

This sort of stuff tends to be written by certain extremist protestant groups. These same groups don't consider Roman-Catholicism or the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches to be real Christians and often label these groups as demonic, and these are the sorts of groups where you might find monastic meditation.

As for alt comix, there's were a lot of anti-christian ones way back in the seventies. Today the major publishers have taken to competing with the indies, many with adult only imprints, and a lot of the same writers and artists move between the major imprints and independent or small press work. I don't think there is such a thing as alternative comics anymore.

What I can't figure is how Renfair didn't make the list.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yeah, by those criteria Renfair totally belongs on the list.

If it's steampunk they're thinking of, maybe it really is just that demons reside in Victorian clothing. Go figure. I'll have to try dressing up for an evocation sometime and see if my manifestations improve. ;-)

kmart said...

I think you all are missing the point here. Although I think this pamphlet is a spoof, it sheds light on an otherwise serious matter. A shaky thought life is the doorway to possession, the means is just a blanket that shields the true intention. By the way, judgmentalism and excuses is a product of pride, the first sin, and the most prevalent in society. Need an example? Re-read your posts. I myself was Wiccan for 8 years until I was delivered from my blindness. By the way, meditation really means to murmur to oneself, not sit quietly while you watch your thoughts pass by. Thats nothingness, the exact opposite of productivity. I hope that you will have your blinders removed and adopt a more beneficial thought life. Thank you for your time.

Scott Stenwick said...

Well, all the neuroscience research I've seen indicates that according to objective measures a "shaky thought life" is exactly what meditation prevents. Note also that many Christians meditate too - there's a whole contemplative tradition associated with Christian thought that has been shown to be just as effective as any of the Eastern methods for producing those results.

Meditation DOES involve sitting quietly and observing your thoughts. I suppose you can redefine it all you want, but Hindu, Buddhist, and contemplative Christian teachers will all disagree with you. What you're talking about is some sort of "pop culture" idea of meditation that is at best a distortion of the real thing. I suppose working with your mind is not "productive" in the conventional sense, but research has also shown that meditation probably improves overall productivity by increasing mental health and reducing stress. And even if it didn't, since when is "productivity" the only goal in life?

Other than that, calling me judgmental because I'm judgmental of the judgmentalism of others is pretty much a complete waste of time. I could just as easily call you on your judgmentalism toward what you're perceiving as my judgementalism - but that really wouldn't get us anywhere and is just plain silly.

Mainly, the whole point of this article is that I simply fail to see how, for example, superficial fashion trends like Goth and Steampunk have anything to do with spirituality or mental health or "shaky thoughts" or whatever. I remain convinced that there's nothing inherently evil or dangerous about dressing up.

Scoobie Davis said...

It's a viral marketing ploy to promote the movie Ivy League Exorcist: the Bobby Jindal Story