Email: Exercising Exorcism (19.6.2020)

I do not think exorcisms are real, and so I do not think they can fail. However, I know that some people think exorcism are real, and they think this because they subscribe to a certain type of religious belief which accommodates and encourages such practices. I would include this as being within the diversity of culture, and pre-modern in nature. Spirit-possession is nonsense and does not exist objectively. It is a purely subjective experience mistakenly assumed to be objective. The person possessed is the author of their own daemons the dimensions of which are provided by Church theology. Such people are conditioned to think that their subjective pretensions are objectively ‘real’, and that when a priest provides the appropriate antidote – the internal generation of ‘spirits’ is to cease – or not in the case of a failed exorcism. I have seen fictional exorcisms on TV, and I have observed video footage of supposedly real exorcism. When it is not simple cultural conditioning at work, it is almost always mental illness in effect. Your point is that there is something I am not seeing, and that this ‘something’ is the reality of exorcism. I understand your point, but my counter-point is that ‘real’ exorcisms do not exist (even if you think they do), and that you must allow for mental illness and cultural conditioning even if you believe exorcism are objectively ‘real’ (and not created by the sufferer themselves). As I do not believe in the Judeo-Christian interpretation of reality, I am not culturally conditioned to see daemons enter an individual’s mind and body and generate all kinds of evil behaviour. Furthermore, I see no special significance of ‘men in dresses’ wafting incense around and shouting ‘The power of Christ compels you!’ I am explaining my view and I am not attacking your view. Indeed, I allow your view entirely, but my tolerance and acceptance should not imply ‘agreement’. It is not just a matter of historical materialism – my cultural view does not allow for the Judeo-Christian perspective. It is foreign and external to me, even though I appreciate and am familiar with certain elements of it that interface with my Buddhist upbringing.  

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