The last post – on Luther and his view on changelings – should have a short appendix. An appendix that goes back to the Bible.
What made Luther so convinced that the unfortunate child should be drowned in the river? Demons did that, we could say.
Perhaps you noticed that already, if you had read your Bible carefully. No demons in the Old Testament. There’s Satan, however, I admit that. We’ll have a chat on him once. But – no demons. No one in the Old Testament was possessed by demons, consequently no one tried to cast them out. Don’t try to find them, or to read them into the text. No, those “sons of God” (Genesis 6:2), whoever they were, were not demons. Perhaps they had some sex with “daughters of humans”. But they did not possess them, if you read the text as is. Neither the “evil spirit from God” that came upon King Saul (1 Samuel 18:10) was a demon (see some in depth comment upon that obscure verse).
And, voila, the moment you turn the pages of the New Testament – the world is filled with demons. Jesus casts them out abundantly, the apostles continue with chasing them out, but they are everywhere. The world becomes a huge demonic resort. What a giant change – just within a few centuries between the two Testaments.
Of course, the first problem one believer (I’m not the one) may face is a matter of coherence. How come, he or she could ask, that demons almost all of a sudden appeared on the pages of the Christian Bible? Like it or not, but that was due to the Jewish encounter with Greek and Roman civilization, in which demons (daimonion is a Greek word) were all around – although they were not considered evil. All these demons in the New Testament are not, in a word, a product of Satan, but of a certain culture.
The second problem is simply experiential. Do you see so many demons around us as New Testament declares? Nope. Be sincere, don’t try to tamper with reality. You see demons in some scary movies, you hear about them in some sermons, but you do not see them in reality. But, according to the Gospels, encounter with demons should be a regular part of your quotidian life. Are they? If you answer is “yes”, take another pill and think it over.
And there is a huge moral problem. That’s really big issue to me. Once you “see” demons, everything is possible. Evil demons serve as an excuse for our own evil practice. We chase witches, we kill the intellectually disabled, just like our venerable Luther was about to do that. Why did they burn young women on the stake? Because they were demon possessed. Why did Luther want to drown a 12yr old “changeling”? Because it was a demon. Just say that magic word and you can kill anyone.
Demons are, in my view, the most horrible and immoral invention of religion. They are precursors of Holocaust and all other unimaginable crimes against humanity. They are the crime – every other crime becomes an easy thing to do. When God is on your side and the demons are against you, you are free to be more evil than Satan.
Think about this mate, before demons of religion possess your soul.