Finally, a Modern Exorcism Guide …

Compiled based on a survey taken of the top 170 North American exorcists.  A link to the PDF file is provided.

Christians have been casting out “unclean spirits” since Jesus dispatched the 12 disciples throughout Israel (Matt. 10). But how do deliverance ministers deal with demons in North America today? A recent study by Michael Mohr, an Ohio pastor, and Kenneth D. Royal, an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky, found that today’s self-professed exorcists don’t see it as special or complicated. That is, most believe any mature Christian can cast out demons, and that no special items—water, oil, or crucifixes—are needed beyond the authority of Jesus’ name.

Considering how what was originally considered demonic possession is overwhelmingly – if not exclusively – explained by either mental illness like schizophrenia or a post-facto exaggeration of events to make them more consistent with an ideology that would support their existence to begin with, I think the “driving out of demons” may in fact be a little more complicated than the religious world might have us believe.  We might also want to keep in mind that the same passage that discusses the ability of the faithful to cast out demons also went on to claim that they would also be able to drink deadly poisons and handle serpents with no ill effects.

Stuff like that usually doesn’t end too well.  Just ask Pastor Mack Wolford. And then we have the great side commentary from the “big names” in the field:

“Dealing with spiritual/emotional ‘garbage’ first is more important than dealing with the ‘rats.’ I’ve clocked well over 2,000 deliverances, and this approach weakens the demons so casting them out is usually quite easy. Demons are ‘the little problem.’ ”

– Charles Kraft, author, Christianity with Power

Strange how dealing with other, more clinically relevant psychological issues first can help make the “casting out the demons” part much easier.

“God is bringing deliverance to the forefront again because he wants us to do it right this time—with love, credibility, and being biblically sound. Jesus spent about one-third of his public ministry casting out demons. Our ministry should be no different today.”

– Bill Sudduth, International Society of Deliverance Ministers

Thinking that the Christian ministry should be no different today ignores the tremendous strides we’ve made in the field of psychology and medicine, and treating cases of severe mental illness as we did back then can – and will – have deadly consequences.  If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

“For a group of people who rarely, if ever, have contact with one another, what exorcists from a wide variety of religious traditions share in common is astonishing. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is actually leading we who serve the Lord through this ministry.”

– David W. Appleby, president, Spiritual Interventions, Inc.

Wow, I agree.  For a group of people who all read the same holy book to hold two or three beliefs in common among themselves is statistically impossible, and can only be explained by God.  Or by such blind belief that you’re unwilling to account for any other more realistic possibilities.  But mostly God.

Here are my favorite parts of the survey:

I have the demonized person or guardian sign a consent form. (69% 11% 5% 15%)

How in the hell is this supposed to work?

“By the power of Christ, I compel thee, demon, to release your hold on this member of the faithful!  And also please sign this consent form.  Just a legal check in the box … you know how it is.”

ES MUNDUS EXCREMENTI ET SCORTUM OBSCENUS VILIS!!  INTERFICE TE COCHLEARE ET VESCERE BRACIS MEI – oh, umm … sure.  Blue or black ink, right?”

“That’s fine.  Well, it looks like everything is in order.  Thanks for understanding.”

“No problem.  UTINAM LOGICA FALSA TUAM PHILOSOPHIAM TOTAM SUFFODIANT!  ET CETERA!!

If all else fails, whack them over the head with the bell and set the room on fire with the candles. Keep the cross and bible around if you need extra fuel.  You never know.

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6 Responses to Finally, a Modern Exorcism Guide …

  1. Demons aren't real, right??? says:

    “Considering how what was originally considered demonic possession is overwhelmingly – if not exclusively – explained by either mental illness like schizophrenia or a post-facto exaggeration of events to make them more consistent with an ideology that would support their existence to begin with”…

    Wow, where did you get this information? Thousands of exorcisms have been recorded in which all the problems of the possessed were solved by deliverance in Jesus’ name. Nowhere in any of these accounts was a psychological or medical visit or counseling necessary. In fact, there are countless instances in which scientific approaches have categorically failed, and exorcisms, as a last resort were 100% successful. Sounds to me as though the blogger is a typical skeptical atheist who knows very little on the subject.

    • Yes, you got me. I’m nothing more than a “typical skeptical atheist”. You say that as if it’s a bad thing, but it means that I demand extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims … as opposed to blindly buying into a collection of half-baked stories that involve a handful of people supposedly wielding the power of an omnipotent being like a club against someone He apparently should have been watching a little more closely to begin with.

      You say: Thousands of exorcisms have been recorded in which all the problems of the possessed were solved by deliverance in Jesus’ name.

      Show me. Where’s the proof? Keep in mind it’s a little harder than just handing over YouTube videos and anecdotes. Hell, I can dig up a dozen vidoes with that fraudulent “faith healer” Benny Hinn, who makes a living smacking people on the head and curing them of all sorts of alleged “afflictions”. That doesn’t prove anything. The problem is actually providing empirical evidence that these possessed individuals – who were supposedly cured by Jesus – were sick to begin with. If they weren’t just acting, then it’s entirely possible that for those who responded to hearing Jesus’ name, they may have actually been genuine. This would still give no evidence of the existence of anything divine, but of only the power of belief.

      You also say, “Nowhere in any of these accounts was a psychological or medical visit or counseling necessary.” In other words, the people involved didn’t try to find a real explanation, only one that they knew how to respond to. That’s the problem you encounter when religion attempts to handle things best left to doctors and psychologists. It’s as I said: when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The religious world has exhibited a pretty shameful grasp of scientific concepts – just look at evangelicals and their understanding of evolution or big bang cosmology. Or how about Catholics and hormonal contraception? It’s sad. So, whenever I hear of any group of “holy men’ arriving to the conclusion that someone is possessed by a demon, the chances are much greater that they just gave up on looking for the real answer.

      I would personally love to see some of these thousands of accounts and how they were determined to not be the result of any sort of mental or physiological disorder but the result actual, verifiable demonic possession. But how was this determined? What medical professionals were involved? Were these individuals admitted to hospitals? Did they have PET scans? MRIs? EEGs? What bloodwork was done? What scientific approaches were used by the people involved? How did they “categorically fail”? If there are “countless” instances, as you claim, have the results been published in peer reviewed journals like the New England Journal of Medicine? Nature? Anything by the American Psychological Association? Acta Neurologica? Anything?

      If you can show me any, that would be a start. I strongly suspect you’ll find none; I didn’t. Until such a time, the only evidence we have are stories that fall outside of any collective acknowledgment and review. They may sound compelling on the surface, but nothing more.

      • Joe says:

        Until you go through it yourself, like I did.

      • Wildduckcluster says:

        “…I demand extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims…”

        I simply demand ANY (0.0001%) proof for the aforementioned (god/spirits/prayer…) claims. Unfortunately, in the reality-based world i live in, there is no such evidence of an invisible entity in the sky; zero proof prayer works in any way; zero proof of angels/demons, & etc… Ad Nauseam…

        Your friendly anti-theistic atheist,
        Wildduckcluster

  2. Pingback: The Real Dangers of Superstition and Faith | Crimes Against Divinity

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