Religion, exorcisms and parapsychology

08 Jun
Religion, exorcisms and parapsychology

"Hey! It was hot today and I'm thirsty! Being a cat is hard work!!"

(1 – sorry if the formatting is fucked up.  *shrugs* computers.  2 – sorry it’s so long! LOL) So, we’ve been in a scary mood lately, and watching a  lot of  scary movies.  The other day, we decided to hit up a local movie rental place and I found a couple Unsolved Mysteries.  We thought it was like, a few of the actual episodes.  Turns out it’s the scariest ghost mysteries.  lol

Now.  While I’ve not talked much about my religion and/or spiritual beliefs, I make no bones about it.  I am pagan.  Thus, my beliefs can tend to run to a bit of the spiritual, mystic.  So yes, I believe in spirits (read: ghosts.) I believe that you can do things to welcome more into your life, or keep them away.  I believe in both good and malevolent spirits.  I believe in things like astral projection, tarot cards (read: so totally *not* fortune telling ), magick, spells, faeries and dragons.  All of those things I believe in, and many more.

Now, that’s not to say that my way is right.  It’s right for me, but it’s not right for @the_sub_mission, @lostmaverick or D for that matter.  The kitty is atheist while D is agnostic.  Lostmaverick is Catholic.  D is agnostic because while he believes there is something out there, he doesn’t know who/what it/they is/are.  Or, for that matter, if as humans, we are even able to perceive deity.  But as, in this lifetime, I’ve never died I don’t know what happens.  I know what I believe happens, but I don’t know for sure.  We could have the Catholics purgatory and heaven and hell, we could have absolutely nothing or maybe we are reincarnated right away.

Why am I pagan?  Because it feels right to me.  I find other religions to be too limiting for me.  But I have no right to dictate what you believe.  You are not me, and I am not you.  As such, we have very different spiritual needs, wants and inclinations.  We each of us, need different things from our religion.  Or, lack thereof.  Some find that they get nothing from religion, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

So, tonight’s disk of Unsolved Mysteries included a segment on exorcisms.  Being pagan, an not unwilling to identify as a witch, if the situation is appropriate, I believe in some paranormal.  While sometimes things really are weather balloons, methane expulsions or houses settling, I believe that others truly are displaced spirits or energy (read: chi, qi, mana) movements.  I also believed that they are used as a scapegoat way too often.  You do something bad and “the devil made me do it” or “I was possessed!”  That’s exactly why so often when someone does something dumb, they are asked by someone “what possessed you to do that!?” The two things are interconnected.

Anyway, back to Unsolved Mysteries.  You had your 2 groups of people, the ones for exorcisms, the ones against exorcisms.  Now, I find possessions and exorcisms to be absolutely fascinating, from an anthropological and spiritual point of view.  I’m of mixed feelings as to whether or not I truly believe someone can be possessed by malevolent spirits.  Perhaps it has to do with my views and experiences and beliefs on the steps you can take regarding these beings.  I can say that I’ve never been possessed.  If I randomly start yelling it’s generally due to me being surprised … or drunk. LOL  So very many, if not a majority, of the symptoms of possession are also symptoms of schizophrenia.

On that same note.  If a person truly, genuinely believes s/he is possessed, no amount of medical intervention will do anything.  It’s like the placebo affect.  If I believe that I have  disease x, and if I also believe that pill xy will take care of it, even if it’s a sugar pill it will ease some, if not all of the symptoms.  As such, if someone, schizophrenic nor not, truly believes they are possessed and they need an exorcism, that exorcism will indeed ease their symptoms.  Perhaps they need more than one session, but all it would be is alternative treatment.

Psychologists employ many different therapies for people.  They can include hypnosis, simply talking, exorcises like journaling, sometimes medication, and many other therapies.  Why is exorcism shunned then?  All it is is an alternative (albeit extreme) treatment.  Well, it’s religious.  And religion can’t be proven scientifically.  Then again so many other things can’t either.  Either way, if the patient experiences relief from it, what’s the harm?

The psychologist that was against exorcisms stated that they can actually harm the patient.  But never said how.  He did mention that it flat doesn’t work ‘cuz some people have to have more than one session, and others, after saying it’s totally worked, have a relapse or two.  But I’d like to see any other condition where you don’t need ongoing treatment (read: lifetime AA meetings, lifetime pill popping, etc).

Anyway, I said all that to say that I get so irritated and dumb-founded how educated people can dismiss something out of hand, just because it’s not their cup of tea.  It’s so short sided and egotistical.  “If I don’t like it, no one else should either!” Really people? Grow up!

(( psst – thanks to @the_sub_mission for telling me I’d copied and pasted this twice! LOL ))

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4 responses to “Religion, exorcisms and parapsychology

  1. redvinylkitty

    June 8, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    Actually, exorcisms CAN be harmful. I saw a special once on Catholic churches who are exorcising gay teenage boys because they are telling them that demons are the cause of their being gay. Not only that, but they SHOWED the exorcisms, and they were *brutal*. They were punching, kicking, and screaming at the poor kid. Mind you, the kid was only 16 years old! All for “being gay”! They finally stopped the exorcism when he physically *vomited*. Sounds more like abuse to me. Both mental AND physical. After they showed the exorcism, they had the priest who performed it come out and talk about how he does this ALL the time, to minors, and how it was what was needed to banish homosexuality.

    I’m not saying *all* exorcisms are like that, but there are an aweful lot like that going around, every day! I’m all for religion if that is what suits you (and you’re not converty about it), but some parts of religion do need a re-work.

    • Jessie Beth

      June 8, 2010 at 3:40 PM

      Good gods. Part of me is in the “are you shitting me??” reaction to that, but after about 3.5 seconds I’m really not surprised at all. In that context, doing something like that is so wrong there isn’t a word to quite describe it. Sometimes when I see/hear/read about shit like that going on I need to re-check just what century we’re in.

      And yes. Abuse is all it is. Nothing more than an excuse for people to have power trips. Abuse. Pure and simple.

      • redvinylkitty

        June 8, 2010 at 4:29 PM

        For sure! I’m sure there are some exorcisms that aren’t harmful, but yeah, churches perform ones just like the one I mentioned every day. It’s just sad and wrong. :((

  2. lostmaverick

    June 8, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    *sigh* Yes, unfortunately exorcisms of people who just happen to be different (gay, pagen, different minded) have happened in the past , and do happen occasionally even now 😦 It makes all of us Catholics look bad and it doesn’t help that the Vatican often turns a blind eye to such things. One day soon, I hope, things like this will be addressed and finally put to rest so that the Church can focus on what is most importantt: helping others.


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