thinktoomuch.net

Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything

thinktoomuch.net header image 2

Demons & Shofar

November 15th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 56 Comments

I don’t believe in literal, physical demons… In fact, I bet even those that believe in demons, don’t believe they’re actually made of stuff, of atoms, for example. People that believe in demons typically believe in a “spiritual realm”, in which these “spiritual things” happen. What is this “spiritual realm”? And supposing such a realm exists, how does it influence the physical realm?

Sketching out my views

The “spiritual” side of humanity is, to me, something about a way of life, a way of being in this world. Something I don’t want to go into in this post. I will just resort to hoping that everyone would agree the interface between the “spiritual” side of humanity and the real, physical side of it, is in the mind.

Shofarians might believe that the “spiritual realm” is something completely independent of the mind: if we were all “mindless” matter, there would still be a spiritual realm. I don’t believe that. I believe the spiritual side of humanity is dependent upon the mind and its experiences, beliefs, and perspectives of the world… I believe that demons are in the mind, a construct of the mind. And so I agree that they can influence the person that believes in them. Beliefs can influence behaviour, as well as how observations are interpreted.

Consider for example the history and current research about pain, from the description of a course by a Dr Sean Mackay:

Pain is a universal human experience. Ancient civilizations attributed pain to demons and curses, the Middle Ages began to see evidence that pain is involved with the brain and nervous system, and Leonardo da Vinci developed the idea that the spinal cord transmits sensations to the brain. Today, Dr. Sean Mackey, who leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Stanford, carries that torch forward with groundbreaking studies in functional neuroimaging of pain. One study in particular that he will discuss involves the use of real time learned brain control which offers the promise of changing the abnormal pathology in the brain of patients with chronic pain.

I’ve also heard (hearsay, [citation needed]) that people used to believe the “mind”, that thing which has thoughts and pulls the “strings” of the body, existed in the forms of spirits dwelling in the empty regions of the head, in the cavities. Or what about the things that were considered as taking place in the heart, an idea that lives on in our metaphorical language? We have since learned that this is not the case, having learned that the brain controls these functions and processes the signals from our senses.

Does this take away anything of the beauty and truths that can be found in scripture from two thousand years ago? No, I don’t think so. The stories in the Bible are, to me, primarily about “profound truths”, not about science. (The Bible is not a science textbook.) We might have much more knowledge these days, we might have evolved a radically different culture, but in terms of being human, we are really no different from the ancients. Similarly, the profound truths have not changed. (Yes, something of a logical fallacy, because I have that by definition: those that change aren’t profound truths! ;) ) The value of the stories is found in what they mean and what they stand for.

Real Live Preacher made a video clip titled Reading the Bible #6 (Demons & the 1st Century Worldview) as part of his series on How to Read the Bible wherein he provided advice to those interested in doing so. His take on demons, for those that are interested:

Moving on…

The Power of Demons

So, in one sense, I don’t “believe in demons”. However, in another sense, if working with a broad enough ontology, I’d be happy to agree that they exist — in the sense that a “demon” is a concept which has a tangible influence. As mentioned above. (Does “love” exist? It is a concept… not a physical entity.) As I mentioned, and as RLP seems to touch on in his clip, having a belief in demons is what gives the “demon” power. You find what you look for…

Thus, I think that by not believing in demons, they no longer bother you. For “conservative” Christians, that should be achievable by believing that Jesus “defeated them all”? Alternatively, pick up a good dose of skepticism or have more of a “modern scientific worldview”. To repeat myself: I sincerely believe the best way to exorcise demons is simply to stop believing in them, or if you are too fearful of that, by focusing on the positive and letting it drown out the negative: apathy towards demons.

So now you should have a good idea of how I see things…

Implications for Shofar’s PR

Many of my posts attempt to explain conflicting cultures to one another. This post is one of those. I believe I’ve sketched out not only my own beliefs, but that these beliefs adequately represent those of the majority my non-Shofarian friends, or even the general belief of the majority of the fragment of humanity that had the privilege to get a modern education. (Because yes, we’re all privileged.)

This section attempts to explain the implications of these beliefs for the way the world sees Shofar and similar churches. I ask that Shofarians understand this section in that light, as an opportunity to understand some of the criticism and concern that is directed towards the organisation you’ve chosen to entrust your spirituality to…

With regards to Fred’s letter and press release about the recent streaker and pepper-spraying incident, a number of my friends agree that streakers were being childish, irresponsible or criminal, but their alarm at the news was mostly towards how Fred May responded to it in that letter and press release, about how he dragged demons and conspiracy theories into it. One friend wrote, and I’m translating to (imperfect) English:

Wow I’m out of touch with what these people believe. These days I pretty much feel “live and let live”, but these kinds of ideas just seem so unhealthy

Shofarians, understood in the light of how we view these things, can you understand why we’re worried about it? Francois Malan (oh, I know two Francois Malan’s, this one is not in Shofar and is currently doing a PhD in the Netherlands) is somewhat more outspoken, and wrote the following (in Afrikaans, translation below):

Ek sien Shofar as ‘n middeleeuse (“dark ages”) denkskool en sekte, wat geen plek het in ‘n verligte samelewing nie. Hul praktyke val in presies dieselfde kategorie as aanbidding van toordokters. Al die gepraat van “intercessors” en “demone” is absoluut verwyderd van enige rasionaliteit en logika, asook van kritiese en vrye denke – juis die waardes wat ‘n universiteit nastreef. Hul brood en botter bestaan uit “conspiracy theories”, half-waarhede, en in die ergste gevalle leuens.

Hierdie studente het waarskynlik ook ‘n ernstige probleem met Shofar, maar met hul poging om hul minagting vir die kerk te wys, gekoppel aan kinderagtige en onverantwoordelike ekshibisionisme, het hulle vir Shofar ‘n groot guns bewys. Die studente het krimineel opgetree, en moet gestraf word. Niks kan hul gedrag regverdig nie, en was in uiters swak styl. Maar Shofar behoort, volgens my, nie deur die Universiteit ondersteun te word nie. Hulle is onder ons grondwet vry om hul geloof te beoefen, maar as daar enige sprake is van “okkulte aktiwiteite op kampus” dan is húlle die vernaamste oortreders.

Ek voel sterk hieroor…

My translation:

I see Shofar as a medieval school-of-thought and sect, which has no place in an enlightened society. Their practises fall in exactly the same category as the worship of witch doctors. All the talk of “intercessors” and “demons” is absolutely removed from any rationality or logic, as well as from critical and free thinking — exactly the values that a university strives towards. Their bread-and-butter consists of conspiracy theories, half-truths, and in the worst cases lies.

These students [the streakers] probably also have a serious problem with Shofar, but with their attempt to show their contempt for the church, in conjunction with their childish and irresponsible exhibitionism, did Shofar a huge favour. The students acted criminally, and must be punished. Nothing can justify their behaviour, and it was in really bad taste. But Shofar should, in my opinion, not be supported by the University. Under our constitution, they are free to practice their faith, but if there is any talk of “occult activity on campus”, then they are the primary transgressors.

I feel strongly about this…

Shofarians, can you understand Francois’ reaction? Can you understand that, from the perspective explained above, if we were to say that demons and the occult exists, in the sense that believing in it creates it and gives it power, then yes, we would agree there are indeed demons in Stellenbosch… however, more importantly, we would then be forced to conclude that:

it was Fred May that brought them to our town.

Can you see how that conclusion is reached? Can you understand why we would feel that way? Aren’t you also antagonistic towards people that you believe brought demons to your home town?

Categories: Shofar
Tags: ·

56 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I’m not quite happy with this post, but let’s see if it might spawn some interesting and civil conversations.

    I think the best way to avoid destroying any potential for conversing, is to approach it with the baseline assumption that you won’t make any difference to the other side’s beliefs, and rather explain along the lines of “Oh? You believe that? That’s interesting. Well, personally I think it’s like this for this reason, and am skeptical of that interpretation because of such-and-such.

    Um…

    I’m too verbose, aren’t I?

  • 2 Stefan // Nov 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for phrasing these thoughts so succinctly. It’s a tricky concept to explain, and I realise the post may offend: but maybe the time has come to put these thoughts on the table, honestly, without fear of being demonised.

  • 3 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I’m too verbose, aren’t I?

    Hugo, we’re going to have to save up and get you to a course on succintness… ;-)

    Can you understand that, from the perspective explained above, if we were to say that demons and the occult exists, in the sense that believing in it creates it and gives it power, then yes, we would agree there are indeed demons in Stellenbosch

    Sigh. No. I disagree. If you believe in demons, you are believing in an untruth. A non-reality. A fiction. Granted that fiction has a tremendous power over humanity, the point is, with a little education, and a little skepticism, and a little compassion, it doesn’t have to.

  • 4 Werner // Nov 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I would like to post something really insightful, but I fear that I might be a little out of my league here. However, I will try my best so that I can get my concerns across concerning demons and their existence.

    Lets start with the assumption that demons are not real. I would like to know what negative effect belief in demons ( that are not real ) can have in a person’s life, if any.

    Let me explain. Say person X has some bad qualities that they can identify, but not necessarily get rid of. Drinking, stealing, lying or whatever you can think of that causes serious trauma in such a person’s life. Now a demon believer comes along and claims that these bad qualities are easily uprooted by just going for a quick session of deliverance. Demons are causing you to do this, its not you, they might say. They speak to the demons, they flee before the name of God and bob’s your uncle. Now if our assumption holds true and person X did not really get any healing, how long before this person realizes that they have been under a placebo effect and tip them into a deeper state of despair. The dangerous kind.

    To reiterate, given the assumption that demons don’t exist would deliverance from them cause more harm than good? I would like to know what you guys think of this.

  • 5 Linda // Nov 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Hugo, you said

    As I mentioned, and as RLP seems to touch on in his clip, having a belief in demons is what gives the “demon” power. You find what you look for…

    Would that also apply to belief in God? Is the power of God is in the “belief?” So when the Bible refers to unbelief as sin (and if ‘sin’ is assumed to be merely the lack of God), then I would have to conclude that our belief in God is what makes God present in our lives. (yes? no?)

    I don’t know… I always try to look at the other side of the spectrum… remember the “opposite truths?” ;-)

  • 6 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Understood, @Kenneth.

    The statement I made was really just “if A, then B”. You’re disagreeing with A, asserting “not A”, but you’re not disagreeing with the statement as a whole (if A, then B). The statement as a whole is thus still true. (‘Scuse the computer-scientist in me being pedantic about logic.)

    For the rest, I tried to phrase things in such a way as to try and keep a discussion open, to encourage open dialogue with those that believe differently.

    @Werner: I agree. If we find a demon-believer to chat with, we could modify the question though. First, look for something that they would agree can be attributed to natural causes, then develop the question around that. So whether demons exist or not, “what happens when something that has a natural cause is mistaken for a demon?” The conversation can then go in the direction of which things are best to assume has a natural cause, and which things not. And how would one test that? Then explore the boundaries of what cases they do believe it actively harmful to start with the assumption that it is natural.

    I think in a common-denominator case, exploring the boundaries, the grey area, “when A?”, is a way to encourage thinking about the matter when dealing with the black-and-white question of “A or not A” will shut it down.

    But the number of people we will be able to have an open conversation with probably just decreased, me having just explained that angle. On the other hand, having explained it might encourage some people to go explore that boundary on their own, without having actually taken part in that conversation here…

  • 7 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    @Kenneth, another glance at the extract makes me realise the intended “if A, then B” logic in my head is not represented in that single sentence, thus not particularly clear. (I.e. it’s perfectly fair, computer-science-logic wise, to isolate statements by sentence.) The main thought is “if A, then we conclude Fred brought these demons to Stellenbosch”, rather than the softer “if A, then there are demons in Stellenbosch” – which seems a bit tautological. Though, if it were phrased as “if belief in demons is considered to create demons, then Stellenbosch is one of the places where this creation-event has taken place”, you might be more inclined to agree (given it’s an “if A, then B” statement)?

  • 8 Hugo // Nov 15, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    @Linda, yes… I think I would agree, in the sense that taking up a belief in God is pretty much a prerequisite to having that way of life have an influence on you. It would be the kind of perspective that would have Kenneth point out “that means it isn’t real“…

    Not wanting to go into a big discussion about God right now, I can’t quickly explain my views on the differences of “unbelief as sin” between those within a theistic worldview and those without, but if you are curious and haven’t already read it, I could refer you to an old post of mine that I think captures the essence of my perspectives on it. It ponders the psalm beginning with The fool says in his heart, “There is no God”.

  • 9 Werner // Nov 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Hugo said:

    I think in a common-denominator case, exploring the boundaries, the grey area, “when A?”, is a way to encourage thinking about the matter when dealing with the black-and-white question of “A or not A” will shut it down.

    This is exactly what I was thinking. Your modified approach is also a very interesting one. However, if they throw something like epilepsy on the table and state that its idiopathic one might be in a bit of trouble. There is your boundary case right there.

    With regards to your main question on this post:

    What is this “spiritual realm”? And supposing such a realm exists, how does it influence the physical realm?

    Would it not be nice if Fred himself could answer that question for us. Maybe he even has already. Go listen to his latest sermon titled “The Watchman Continued” at 30:32 ~ 31:32. Maybe you can thin slice something out of that.

  • 10 miller // Nov 16, 2008 at 12:05 am

    A few small disagreements:

    Similarly, the profound truths have not changed. (Yes, something of a logical fallacy, because I have that by definition: those that change aren’t profound truths! ;) )

    But I think all “profound truths” necessarily change, at the very least when the human race goes extinct. Then none of them will exist anymore. (Oh, wow, I sound really morbid… :) )

    Also, I really disagree with RLP when he nearly says schizophrenia wouldn’t exist if we didn’t believe in them. Of course it would exist, though we wouldn’t necessarily have a name for it. (Also, schizophrenia isn’t what I would call an emotional illness).

    If I may imply an analogy, the pepper-spraying streakers, too, would have existed whether Fred May expected them to or not. However, the Shofar definitely would have had a different experience of it if they didn’t believe in demons. It’s not the whole world out to get them, it’s just some idiotic and malicious individuals.

  • 11 Die piesangverkoper // Nov 16, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Dis altyd vir my interessant om te vra wat Christene bedoel as hulle sê God/engele/demone is nie ‘n fisiese realiteit nie.

    Ek vermoed hulle bedoel gewoonlik dat al hierdie dinge wel ‘n fisiese werklikheid is, maar net so effens meer vaagegerig, soos ‘n rokie wat van ‘n wierookstokkie opstyg, wat ook uit atome bestaan, maar nie heeltemal so stoflik is nie.

    Wanneer mens Shofar-tipes konfronteer met die implikasies dat God/engele/demone/die Heilige Gees dalk uit iets heeltemal anders as stoflike atome opgebou is (uit gedagtes byvoorbeeld, of uit verbeelding) dan meen hulle jy laster of jy is ‘n ateis. Dit ondanks die feit dat hulle weekliks die nie-stoflike aard van die geesteswêreld bely.

    Luister na hul taal oor demone – demone beklee sekere plekke in tyd en ruimte, hulle reis deur die lug, ens. alles taal waarin jy van stoflike dinge praat.

  • 12 Hugo // Nov 17, 2008 at 8:42 am

    @miller, yea, if all humans were gone, who’d be left to assign “meaning” to things?

    I agree, I was a little bit disappointed at RLP’s choice of schizophrenia. Might be more interesting to ponder ADHD, OCD, depression… anorexia? Was there anorexia a few hundred years ago? I kinda doubt it. Hmm… anyway, moving on.

  • 13 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 17, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    To reiterate, given the assumption that demons don’t exist would deliverance from them cause more harm than good? I would like to know what you guys think of this.

    What about if they had never been exposed to the far more questionable assumption that demons exist in the first place.

    Piesangverkoper raises a good point. To Shofarians, these things are taught as real, and in their day-to-day interactions with others doubtless some will act as if they were real. BUT, if these demons interact with reality, then they are not of some higher plane: they will be made of atoms, move through time and space etc. etc. Which means that they will be subject to scientific inquiry, and can be shown to exist. OR, they are substanceless and don’t interact with reality, in which case, they cannot affect us, even if they do exist. Either the one argument holds, or the other: they can’t have it both ways.

  • 14 Werner // Nov 17, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    What about if they had never been exposed to the far more questionable assumption that demons exist in the first place.

    Off course I agree with you on this, but I chose not to take that approach because it feels to much like a direct assault. Rather; I was hoping to come from the angle where you can make someone think about what harm they could be inflicting if they have it wrong. Christians who are honest with themselves would probably think about this, I hope. The Christians that lie to themselves about what they really feel is right, are drones IMO and I cannot see what much help anyone can be to them.

  • 15 Hugo // Nov 17, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    @Kenneth, the philosophical position you hold is known as materialism. Not everyone holds that position, and we’re here trying to communicate with those that don’t.

  • 16 Hugo // Nov 17, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    @Kenneth, the key will be this: for blog posts in the Science category, we talk science. Any science, all science, mainstream science, Lah-reality in all its glory. For posts in the Shofar category, however, we’re talking communication with people with different beliefs, requiring an empathic mindset: approaching the conversation from as much of an awareness of how “the other side” thinks and feels about things. Something like that.

    OK, I’ll make the next post a science-related one, just for you. ;) (You were curious what angle I would take on it, it’s time I break the (old?) news on my blog.)

  • 17 Kenneth Oberlander // Nov 18, 2008 at 8:39 am

    For posts in the Shofar category, however, we’re talking communication with people with different beliefs, requiring an empathic mindset

    From my experience, I can understand that using my style of argumentation doesn’t always work (cue understatement of the year award). However, there will still be people “on the other side” that are amenable to this way of arguing. I understand that your more empathic approach will probably reach the most folks, but I don’t think that Lah-argumentation should be absent from Meh-type posts…I’ve mentioned this before, but combined approaches will almost certainly be more effective.

    And why would you want to confine this type of philosophy to sciency-type questions? I’d say the world can use a little more logic and evidence in an abundance of other fields.

  • 18 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 10:23 am

    @Kenneth: Fair enough. I’ll see what I can do. The idea is certainly to have some Lah in all posts… I’ll work on not having too little of it.

    What do you think about this particular post, do you feel there was too little Lah?

    Not that I would change it, there’s a particular market I was aiming it at. Among others, I’d love it if this post could help people that would like to stand up but often feel themselves silenced by the fear of the “demon” that the demonisers would place on them should they speak out. The sentiment touched on in Stefan’s comment #2. (I seriously doubt Stefan has that problem, he’s rather reflecting on the general vibe in town?)

    To help out in cases like that, it needs to be carefully worded, softly spoken, and yet still firm. Something that people can comfortably forward, to aid “mutual understanding”, without being aggressive or on the attack. That’s usually the reason my posts get so long, to provide the necessary context to help avoid reading something into it that wasn’t meant to be there. I seem to find it too challenging to achieve the same thing (or do better) with fewer words.

    There are indeed a couple of rather specific stereotypes that I also work hard to avoid. But in all things, moderation and balance.

  • 19 Die piesangverkoper // Nov 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Dan moet mens ook byvoeg dat Paulus geskryf het van “die magte in die lug” so daar was definitief ‘n tydruimtelike aspek aan die demone in sy gedagtes. Ook die waarvan Jesus vertel het wat so om die aarde sou reis. So die Bybel beskou demone wel as stoflik. Die Bybelskrywers het waarskynlik geen konsepsie gehad van die onderskeiding materieel/nie-materieel, hulle was ‘n prewetenskaplike samelewing.

  • 20 Hugo // Nov 19, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Hey piesangverkoper. Toe ek nou besef jy’s dié piesangverkoper, toe verander die kommentaar wat ek wou skryf heeltemal. Maak dit my ‘n slegte persoon, dat ek jou kommentaar in ‘n slegter lig beskou het voor ek besef het jy’s hý?

    Maar dis ook die verskil wat ‘n padjie-saam-stap maak. Daai konteks. Dié piesangverkoper. Goed om jou weer raak te loop! Um, en welkom terug, alhoewel, wie’s ek om te praat…

  • 21 Al Lovejoy // Feb 14, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Hi H

    Nice topic … on track and very civilized so far, I promise to keep it that way. What did you say … gentle, yet firm or some such…?

    This is one of those delicate and very deeply misunderstood theological subjects in Christianity, which because it is so deeply misunderstood, truly needs to be handled with care. And I say so because, in my experience – I have seen people badly hurt, both emotionally and psychologically though this man and his wife in particular, as well as their organisation’s stalwart “disciples” as a direct result of these highly manipulative misunderstandings which are expressed as subsequent spiritual abuse. I have also had opportunity to closely observe other various proponents of these misunderstandings beyond this organisation, all at first hand and after swallowing my rising bile, actually felt very strongly during each occasion to remove myself mentally and physically and slowly separated myself from that abuse by comparing them to Christ and what Scripture taught me directly from His ministry and in due course made my own exegete conclusions as to Scriptural truths held in context to contemporary realities. I also discovered from Scripture the abusive cause/effect patterns in these “ministry” methodologies – as well as the type of person drawn to this kind of control over vulnerable and quite honestly easily excitable and in the end, sadly … actually self-deluded people.

    Personally, both as an atheist and later a Christian believer – I had two “dream” experiences which I cannot adequately explain but I have never ever been susceptible to possession by “demons”. It is my firm contention from Scripture coupled to my own inexact conclusions as to why I was allowed those experiences, and, having long witnessed men who play psychological games with the idea of satanic forces inside the church – that no Christian is susceptible to “demons”, regardless of the problems in their lives emotionally, the terrible mistakes we all sometimes make, adversity in this world or otherwise. By that I mean, even if anyone actually tried, really tried. Scripture say so. And I might add: You as a believer should never, ever allow anyone to tell you different or ever allow yourself to be made susceptible through auto-suggestion and reinforcement, because you have the power to do exactly that. Hurt yourself and other people. It happened to friends of mine who were in this organisation and some of them ended up in mental institutions – and there was nothing evil possessing any of them except a common thread of deep emotional scarring, which they tried to cure by applying the things this man and his wife said and when it failed to “work”, they dealt with them by conjuring up passive-aggressive yet very threatening “prophesies” of God’s rejection and “discerned demons” that had apparently infested them, to scare them back into line no doubt … and with almost fatal results.

    Hugo, just for the record – it seems quite clear that your head is firmly screwed on right, especially concerning this kind of thing. Thanks again for the topic, this is what I asked you for as a topic in terms of pure unadulterated spiritual abuse, although I only just read it – and I’m here because I don’t want any more people to hurt themselves by listening to and believing things that they shouldn’t.

    There is a lyric by a nineties techno band I saw back then called Faithless that resonates here. It goes: “If you place a thing in the centre of your life that lacks the power to nourish, it will eventually poison everything that you are and destroy you. As simple a thing as an idea or a perspective of yourself or the world. No one can be the source of your content, it lies within, in the centre…”

    First off, and also @ the other persistent “atheist” bloggers apparently “evangelising” Science here … my personal opinion: It is impossible to disprove someone else’s subjective experience and like all Christians who share in this our subjective experience – I was once a fellow atheist like yourselves until a single, private and utterly subjective act on my part opened the parameters of what I now consider a badly guarded and quite honestly, a mostly reactionary way of thinking for me. I knew just enough of Scripture, as an atheist, to detest it for a whole disorganised box of various reasons, mostly to do with the dismal actions, hypocrisy and blatant Scriptural misinterpretations of “Christians”, many which have been encountered, reencountered and more often than not, misunderstood and plagiarised right here under the guise of “quote-mining” by other currently reactionary and very antagonistic atheists and fundamentalists … derailing topics and loggerheading away.

    After I opened myself up to personal zeitgeist, I remained a mathematician and a theoretical and technical computer scientist. So, it is not the extremely elastic boundaries of Science or the validity of Scripture that you will have to disprove for me or any other believer and theologian like me – if you wish, with integrity … to claim a rightful place and mandate to engage in a serious debate concerning topics surrounding faith and Christ like this one. As an atheist I came to experience our Father’s love through faith in the teachings of Christ as a subjective reality beyond objective science, and now understand the known universe to be a mere tactile expression of His will… way, way above and beyond our common or personal will, which is subject to its laws, and His love has, does and always will watch over us from within … the very reason why we can reflect it outwardly and actually even attempt to deny it – And I discovered this ontological, existential reality by means of a secluded, simple and very deeply sincere act of prayer. I must add that in every instance where I have made what appears to be a dog mess of my life or have been desperate for truthful answers – it is the only rational act that has returned reason, purpose and meaning to me … from within.

    My DNA’s age is approximately sixty thousand years old; and evolutionary scarring and slight mutations notwithstanding, it is still identical to my original scientific donor – “Adam”, whom it is suspected originated from North East Africa. Science has no idea where my DNA suddenly came from … Yet, and it nearly died out from an unexpected mini ice-age, probably caused by a large meteorite hitting our planet in possibly the Gulf of Mexico around twelve thousand years ago and plunging it into a long winter darkness that covered a frozen solid wasteland, where only certain creatures survived the rare oxygen and ice. – And for the record, our planet is millions and millions of years old. Older than the light reaching it from a billion light years away. As old as any other matter in the universe. My DNA nearly died out again through drowning, when the melting ice over thousands of years caused ocean levels to rise until the Mediterranean Sea broached the Bosphorus Strait, creating a cataclysmic geological event, which flash-flooded the entire low lying region beyond and measurably dropped the world’s ocean levels. It utterly destroyed the lowest lying, most fertile and densely populated ecosystem on Earth. A veritable “Eden” of sorts, surrounding a huge inland fresh water lake … immediately killing everything in its terrible path and creating the Black Sea, the most poisonous large body of water on our planet, in which nothing lives below a certain depth, not even bacteria – and while hurlting down into the Bosphorus Gorge it also created roaring thunder calculated to be heard six hundred kilometres away – and so many megatons of water exploded into the atmosphere from the force of the ocean tearing into the earth’s crust and gouging the strait, that the pressure it created shot it right up into the jet-stream and upset weather patterns on a global scale causing massive torrential rains, wide scale flooding, continent-killer mega-tsunamis and destroyer hurricanes and tornados – for over a year. The most devastating natural disaster in all of man’s collective pre-history and it is suspected, it also wiped out all of the lost civilisations of the world’s collective knowledge; skills and technological secrets – instantly and almost completely obliterated all of mankind globally, utterly devastating the entire animal and plant kingdom. In its apocalyptic wake man returned to being a nomadic hunter-gather as the world recovered slowly until primitive agricultural societies slowly started re-emerging and with these came mythical songs, poems and the verbal tradition returned – to keep common pre-history alive until the carriers of my DNA rediscovered encoding symbols as a means of transmitting thoughts and ideas through time, around six thousand years ago … or something like that …

    We have no arguments concerning evolution and natural selection; I can read and write and actually See the world I find myself in with my own two eyes – Scripture says so too.

    I will engage all and any atheist in some other forum of your choice, where you can set about intelligently and scientifically disproving my Father’s eternal, unconditional and invisible love, but, I suspect that to remain true to the inflexible rules of empiricism, such an intellectual quest can only logically lead its sincere proponent, (a former foetus) who never would have survived to conduct the experiment without this intangible human life force stronger than the instinct to self-preservation – to eventually recreate and conduct my own entirely subjective, yet timelessly simple experiment. Summed up: It is only our Father who can confirm or deny His love for us as a fact, ergo only you can poll Him for the data you need before formulating any kind of conclusive statement concerning my claim that through faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ in Scripture, this same Christ has shown me that this is an irrefutable choice which our Father has always chosen to make beyond our will or actions.

    Remembering of course … currently non-believing friend … if you decide to pray with the intention of gathering evidence to prove me wrong – that no one responds to being used as an intellectual pawn or being objectified with … dare I say it – Grace? I think the standard is probably no response at all, should one launch a mere trifling attempt – which as a caveat to claiming the non-existence of my Father as based merely on His perceived personal silence, simply means the experimental question wasn’t polite, phrased coherently or it wasn’t even a question but a demand. I tried all the above in a host of different prayer experiments over the years without any noticeable success or reaction. Every once in a while I still find myself: “please God, don’t let …” – purely old habit kicking my own butt because I forgot to … but still, in my experience: God does not accede to my demands inasmuch as He was unthreatened by my rejection, felt swayed by my greed, shared in my personal vendettas, moved to act by my laziness, prepared to give ONLY me ALL the next Lotto numbers or even remotely willing to drag me kicking and screaming from my chosen happy religious self-ignorance, materialism and gospel idolatry – because, in my opinion – it is probably in our ultimate best interests that the Author and Finisher of our faith remains silent and simply watches over us and disciplines us by waiting while we teach ourselves to stop being addicted to greed, abandon our selfish comfort zones, quit trying to manipulate each other for reason, purpose and meaning and rather watch Christ and follow Him in Scripture, praying properly with thanks … while listening …

    And to really love and watch over our family and friends through thick and polony skin without rubbing it in with religion.

    People see Him within us … or they don’t.

    However, no ounce of literary malice, sweaty didactics …. or schadenfreude, this thread is not about the heady business of senselessly debating folks who militantly withhold praying from the heart, or actually taking the time to search all of the Scriptures properly – it is about us who do, and addressing the issue of those among us who don’t really seem to belong – because, as Scripture ironically warned thousands of years ago – these type of people will always extract Biblical reasons for separatism and use it to bring ugly distortions to beautiful simple truths … and always to gather to themselves “disciples” to pander to their own singular egotistical and material lusts at the expense of a subset of others. There is always something rigid and controlling about them – and here in this thread I will approach discussing this without overtly resorting to blunt hostility like Christ did in confrontations with similar men … or said schadenfreude … unravelling the horny topic of demons! Daemons actually, from the Greek word in Scripture, which brought us this deeply misunderstood, highly misused and most improper noun.

    I will start with personal experiences and begin with manic street preachers because from Acts 8:9-24 … all the way to: “Faith Like Potatoes, Holy Spirit at Loftus Versveld Miracle DVD – only R100.00!!!” and on to last Sunday – the Spirit sent to us by the Father and Whom Christ promised would lead us into all truth – has been sought after by “middlemen” like these …. to put up for sale. The products they pander and all the money from their “sales” and “collections” in this “Holy Spirit” business prove it.

    ARE DEMONS REAL?

    A while ago there was a white man who used to come into Stellenbosch on Saturday mornings, from Somerset West I think … in a Kombi with a bunch of white teenage boys. They would then surround him and play guitars under his “leading” as he moved them from place to place preaching furiously at the folks on the sidewalks and outside pavement cafes in the tourist part of town. I watched them a few times silently as did a few other amused people. The more people ignored them, the more he primed the attention of the kids surrounding him and hacked Scripture at the passers-by even louder and more aggressively for response. The last time I saw them was one Saturday outside Mugg & Bean. I decided to handle it differently and rode up on my bicycle and laughed my head off at him while shaking my head sadly at the kids. Wrong response. It broke his spell on them and made him utterly furious, so much for the heart of an evangelist, and unable to swallow his own medicine – they marched off in confusion instead. I finished buying breakfast and found that he had them regrouped outside another café up the road and did the same thing – this time I clapped my hands. Never saw him in town again. My wife came home one Saturday last year crying with laughter. I don’t know if it was the same guy but she reckons someone tried the same thing in the shop’s mall, only this time a bunch of students were trailing them and also banging away on guitars but … singing Nirvana covers. Also had the guy in the centre of attention utterly furious.

    I was once inadvertently taken to a house where a “meeting” was taking place. At the centre, and china – he never ever let you forget he was at the centre – “making sure ONLY God gets ALL the glory” was a small, clearly very Afrikaans man who had suffered some sort of religious identity crises because he had relabelled himself with a Hebrew Zionist name, not that he was an Israeli Sabra, Jewish or had survived Hitler’s death camps. He insisted on loud, lengthy and very repetitive “praise and worship”, which meant he told the teenagers present at that meeting what two verse songs to sing ad nauseum, kept snapping their attention back to him because “ONLY God is worthy of ALL the glory!!!” if he suspected they were lagging in their devotion and undivided attention, grabbed them and physically dragged them around if he got the feeling they were giving God (apathetic) glory by not manically Israeli dancing like he was and generally constantly reinforcing for them that ANY non-imitative response to his cues, was a direct rejection of God Himself. I handled all of about ten sickening minutes until he tried to paw me too and left – thereby rejecting “God” of course…

    I have always been led by my Father, and, as He promised, He has never left me nor forsaken me, even when I rejected Him and myself, because when I did that I discovered his Grace to us and how He pursues us with His unconditional love – and when you discover that, you begin to let His love flood inside you without any shadow of fear – and therein is all His Glory in Christ Jesus. He loves us whether we recognise it or not, whether we think we are worthy of it or not. Even when we allow ourselves to be convinced that we have some means of losing His love and he has never tried to force me or push me into anything – so when I am confronted by someone who does that to me now, I know it’s only a warped human ego’s demands for religious self-validation and one actually trying to steal something Sacred that does not belong to that person because it belongs to God and God alone – ALREADY. That is why, to take it for themselves – they need to use the Bible to threaten His apparent rejection or promise His “blessings”. It is quite impossible to “give ONLY God ALL the Glory” – it is His already in Christ. We cannot make God respond to us, we respond to Him as we open ourselves up to Him in faith through His teachings and commands. It is my life in Him, and His life in me and we, who believe, share this in Him … aways, and that has nothing to do with entertainment and “Holy Spirit” showmen.

    And therein lay the microsm and exactly how this other man with his “church” as a multimedia business and all his demonic teachings and occult ramblings managed to get a foothold and thrive to some extent amongst first-years on Stellenbosch campus during apartheid.

    Take a racially embittered man with a big political chip on his shoulder, a deep need for wider religious validation and a seriously aggrieved sense of personal financial entitlement. Outwardly he presents a controlled and smooth urbane veneer and cultivates an overly mellifluous manner of speaking. He comes to a town like Stellenbosch and actually attends a renewal church a few times where God is doing miraculous things never ever seen before among the faithful, something which flies in the face of his declarations of “dead religion and racism”.

    He attempts to surround himself with the black, coloured and white – recognised elders and ordained pastors who are leading that renewal church – by stating that he has a God given agenda that supersedes theirs, something that not one of them discern and they politely refuse to hand over their church or be brought to buy his cause financially. Something he openly admits to, and, if one is to understand his public statements correctly – was “satanically inspired opposition”, according to his version … although the question of being far out of God’s will by failing to hijack mature men of God leading a renewal church has never been adequately broached, because any kind of critical question ever asked of him has usually been spin-doctored into boilerplate racism, while he fiddles the purse-strings of adolescent white angst. His singular cause, while identical to the small white man’s bluntly imposed cues in “giving ALL the glory to God” – is coupled to “Luciferology”, fighting “demons” and “Satanists”, the step up to ubermensch and megahero, which kryptonite (like this post) notwithstanding – he and he alone identified in a community of Christians believers – whom he refused to be a part of remember and these “Satanists” were/are still apparently running rife in Stellenbosch. Listen carefully to all the previous public and recent press statements he has made, even verbosely labelling one of the oldest Matie hostels … a source from whence “occult rituals” and “Freemasonry” have sprung forth to “violate him sexually” in 2008.

    Back in the early nineties, he bitterly abandons the renewal church who refused to appoint him as the new head pastor and has no actual job, or the recognised theological education and ordination to get a legitimate one as a pastor or … even as a lay minister in any other congregation in the church of Stellenbosch, and he refuses to submit to being a mere member under the leadership of any other ordained minister of any other congregation of the Church of Stellenbosch, so … as he states himself – he begins to street preach on campus (“success by imitation” as he later describes it) – using the verbal techniques and sloganisms of mega-rich televangelist heroes of his, thereby attracting a few youngsters he manages to prime (like the little pseudo-Israeli who tried to paw me – into “ONLY giving God ALL the glory”) in “praise and worship” … after which he “led” them into “discipleship”.

    By this he actually means he coerced them under his roof with stories of blatant and endless self-aggrandisement couched as riveting “testimonies”. All tall tales of miracles like “raising the dead”, “healing” terminal cancer patients, casting out “demons”, establishing his exclusive relationship with God – his middlemanship that was crucial to hearing God’s voice because the “Holy Spirit” had chosen him to reveal God – over and over, auto-suggestion, auto-suggestion, auto-suggestion … mostly to not so subtly establish and validate his constant and unproven Third Party claims of being a uniquely “anointed” leader, called to “amass wealth” and “lead a revival that will sweep through Africa like fire” and counting on their youth, naiveté and excitability in repeating it all over campus … de facto, de facto, it’s a god given fact. Propaganda Goebbels style. The whole organisation was built on this auto-suggestive technique – de facto. The reinforced public lies of one bitter, materially grasping man, with very little actual love in his heart for the Bride of Christ in Stellenbosch, just what he can extract from a certain part of it in terms of money and personal attention.

    ARE HIS DEMONS REAL???

    He carefully keeps the students enthralled, baldly using apartheid angst to twist the knife into the piggy bank, constantly running down the rest of the Church of Stellenbosch from his pulpit, possibly to try buy resentment and outsell those congregations as a mega-pastor and sheep steal – especially the Roman Catholics who are big and old enough to sell his most visceral of conspiracy theories that graphically feature underground sex orgies and satanic rituals with sacrificed illegitimate babies from those orgies … shouted out no kidding … and always … but always … the N.G. Kerk, and with his wife – doubly making sure “disciples” stay firmly in line by privately “counselling” and “prophesying” over them. Direct one-on-one emotional manipulation sessions to root out their weaknesses and get a handle on their self-esteem, then to carefully “share” this data, which means to use their most embarrassing secrets as common gossip among the “inner-circle” … employing among other things, other public Third Party “prophesies”, uttered by them, and designed to control their inter-personal relationships and keep them on the back toes of their self-worth – simply by being singled out for special warm attention dressed up as the Holy Spirit’s, and back in the pulpit – pounding and pounding out his ad hoc extra-biblical doctrines. He procures outside validation eventually, not in Stellebosch, but gets underwriting for his business by gaining affiliation to the IFCC’s paper creed, and after adding a few of his own amendments – made it into a contractual paper document, which new “disciples” must agree to and sign … ceding him and his leadership certain means and degrees of control over their lives but only after being tested by paying for and completing his “Foundations” … without wrong questions.

    Obviously, from Scripture’s point of view, the Book of Life, which my Father wrote – just isn’t enough for these folks, and while they like to use John’s Revelation for scare tactics … it might bode the writer’s of these paper creeds and contracts to read the very, very last part of the very last chapter.

    They back it all up and justify it with decontextualised and dire biblical threats like “Behold the goodness and SEVERTIY of God!!!”. Something that takes all the warm sunshine out of his closed door “prophesies” – aimed at dissenters in the organisation. Those who dare to confront him or ask the wrong questions – no … they, and here I am among those who were so numbered – are beaten with warlike Scriptures, “handed over to Satan” or “Cursed by God” – alone usually, and out of the common congregation’s sight and knowledge, and without any outside defence or spokesperson and then labelled … “Jezebel spirits” to the “inner-circle” but more publicly they get cut off or sweetly threatened by the “inner circle”, barred access to meetings by the “ushers”/bouncers, sent nasty messages through suddenly ex-close friends and in turn coldly ostracised by his stalwart “disciples” for “backsliding” and being in “rebellion to …”.

    Of course right in the middle of all this semi-silent ugliness are the weekly almost endless “praise and worship” sessions, utterly critical to “giving ONLY God ALL the glory” … as if God suffered from an autistic disorder, which demands and needs being clapped, chanted, danced and sung at with waving hands – over and over like some stone or TV idol – and is only moved at all by weekly goldfish repetition and senseless noise. The narcissism that he sells and threatens is God’s, to the point of employing young men who think nothing of assaulting a lone woman – is clearly his own greed, political bitterness, social insecurity and subsequent religious megalomania – and this is all that his “disciples” are able to agree to on paper, physically enforce in their meetings and then attempt to obediently sell – “Soulwinning” for him.

    DOES HE MAKE HIS DEMONS REAL???

    I worship my Father now and with my life. By communing and praying each day to have the privilege of taking His love to someone and having my eyes open when they cross my path, and sarcasm intended – hint, hint: It does not come from asking anyone what is going to happen when they die, because no one knows until they are dead. Doing that to family, friends or strangers is just very childish manipulation trying to hook into a common primal fear for validation. If you don’t want to be someone’s friend, don’t even pretend to like them for God’s sake somehow and never ever pretend to love them “with the Love of the Lord” – you don’t ever fool God and you sure as rats don’t fool the person in front of you. I’m not being nasty – you only make them close themselves and cause God’s name to be more of a curse when you piss that person off. If you really look hard, I mean hard at yourself – you are responding to fears programmed into you, which never existed … before, if you look harder … my Father took away all my fears and physically lead me through the Shadow of Death to teach me the things I am teaching here.

    Then, finally we come to the closed-door “Intercession” and “Spiritual Warfare” sessions, which I am going to describe at length later – and all these things begin to slowly but surely take over these young people’s lives, exactly like those teenagers in the street making an anti-social spectacle of themselves, solely to insulate and create space for a hatless, cowardly and bitter man with a religious chip on his shoulder … to shout at people he actually resents and use them and crude Biblical threats or vague material bribes to do his thing. And still have the audacity to call it effective evangelism. And seriously expects to be “blessed” with their money for it.

    The youngsters this other man on Stellenbosch campus surrounded himself with, ultimately for their money too, but also to similarly insulate himself from any kind of objective outsider scrutiny by other legitimately educated and ordained Stellenbosch ministers, while he dodged (and is still dodging) “initial misgivings in the community” and sought that wider adoring validation through programming many more paying student “disciples” over the years – who, soon after joining the organisation began to argue his flavour and manipulative breed of religious cause by practising and “imitating” his own techniques with classmates, lecturers, strangers, best friends and their families, to “Soulwin” ostensibly … BUT when it doesn’t “work” and they are confronted with irritation, anger or spurned and rejected – the auto-suggestive programming kicks in and instead of it being their own clumsy rudeness or self-estrangement – it becomes a confirmation to these “disciples” that from their “anointed” pastor’s perspective, and, EXACTLY as he warned them – their perceived antagonists are soooo “in disobedience”, “lost” or in “rebellion” and the only people whom they have to commiserate with are the organisation’s laager of other embattled “disciples” suffering the same things in a sad martyrdom with him.

    Or better yet, as the story in SL magazine went last year: If you don’t want to kowtow to the darker dictates of their organisation and its leadership and flatly refuse to join them, even after being stalked – “you have a demon”. Can you begin to imagine what happens to any of these young and inexperienced people who dare to “reject God” and speak out from the inside against him and his wife or leadership – who then get accused of being riddled with “demons” from all sides … ever hear of a place called Groendakkies? Stikland? Falkenberg? Er … psychasm intended?

    The Pharisees of Christ’s time also preached, blamed and empowered “demons” in people’s lives psychologically. Labelled people with real neurological disorders “demon” possessed, shunning them and accused Christ of using “demon” powers to heal those sick patients of His and breaking the Law by doing it on the Sabbath and also by telling them God had forgiven their sins – and note that they too practised outward religious separatism, the very root meaning of their priestly sect’s nom … “to separate be separated from”. They too, together with the Sadducees – had found real commercial value by selling the grace found in the Law of the Old Covenant for hard cold cash, yet they prided their clique on being mega holy and spiritual, very much like the student “disciples” of this man with their “submission” and “maturity” castes … and yet Christ labelled them extortionists like I have done and a host of other things I won’t repeat.

    The “disciples” of this man and his wife will tell you, and entirely without candour: that compared to their pastor – the other churches and Christians, who don’t belong to their organisation or refuse to be its “disciples” – just don’t want “to have a real relationship with a living God”, or to be “radical” enough in “giving ONLY God ALL the glory”… and they can’t help it that they found likeminded people who actually do and have chosen to want to be with them. Remember, separatism around a single ego’s needs and assimilating it’s wants among the “disciples” and new acolytes and dressing it up as taking “the whole gospel to the whole world” is what makes a religious business like this tick, even though the “disciples”, will swear high, low and actually believe – it is not what they are doing … yet they still use his threats and techniques to try and hijack the self-esteem or primal fears of their marks – family, partners, friends, strangers … to “Soulwin” like he does – without even being aware of the subliminal programming attached to their own pockets and self-worth. It’s simple – Mommy won’t love you if you don’t eat your peas … because mommy knows what’s best for you.

    ARE PEAS DEMONIC???

    More substantially for him of course and outside of “Soulwinning” – is eating their peas through being obedient by not “Robbing God” with their cash, which is collected via the hand-picked and salaried “inner-circle”, who surround this man currently – enforce his will, manage his “security” in meetings, Sell his multimedia products and administer his signature creeds – probably to keep a rough census of the transitory congregation’s “cash gifts for blessings” – since, while they label themselves “Pastor” – none of them seem to list recognised theological degrees either, only commercial ones.

    Remember, Scripture promises that through faith in Jesus Christ’s Word, the Spirit of God will lead me into all truth, so why does anyone need to sign extra-Biblical paper creeds, when we who have faith in Him – have been given the Word and the mind of Christ by our Father? Immutable Scriptural reasons why a Christian cannot be “possessed by demons” either. And these other “pastors” and money counters practise his identical techniques and enforce, yes actually physically enforce his will, using the muscle of utterly loyal student “disciples”.

    For the “disciples” of this organisation to “Soulwin” and “raise the bar like Jesus” is the most tangible way to “giving ONLY God ALL the glory” … currently at 20% of their “available funds” but let’s get back to the “demons”, not cruder parasitism. All bareheaded street preachers seem to thoroughly despise those they preach at, but the hat is always, and I mean always out … ironically towards those they resent most … simply because each person who stops to watch and toss a few coins at him, validates his self-righteousness and proves to him – he is right.

    Do not stand in public place and on the street corners … and do not cast away your pearls … says Christ.

    My first bad experience was many, many years ago when I attended a meeting where a man held a “Holy Spirit Healing Crusade”. What I saw there shocked me, deeply shocked me, because I had no idea spiritual abuse of that nature even existed until then.

    Our Father is not like that … to anyone.

    In my next post, here in this thread – I am going to describe in detail, an “exorcism” I attended and this man Fred May – presided over and orchestrated in the early days of his organisation…and you decide

  • 22 Hugo // Feb 14, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Hey Al!

    Many sections there I really enjoyed reading. E.g.:

    I don’t know if it was the same guy but she reckons someone tried the same thing in the shop’s mall, only this time a bunch of students were trailing them and also banging away on guitars but … singing Nirvana covers

    *grin*, lovely story! ;)

    Of course there are bits I also have disagreements with, but I’m sure you’d expect no less. That’s beside the point though.

    Nice topic … on track and very civilized so far, I promise to keep it that way. What did you say … gentle, yet firm or some such…?

    ;) Now that’s one thing I, with all due respect, think you’re not particularly good at. So I certainly appreciate any effort in that direction.

    In order to further illustrate my own hypocrisy at myself — I thought of pointing out much of your comment does digress far from the main topic of the post above, but here I’m digressing even further — a thought I’ve got in mind:

    If you are able to be much more concise and reduce your word-count significantly, there’s an absurd and long debate that I’d enjoy adding your opinion to. I *don’t* recommend you read the debate, it’s just “yet another” of those debates about what “the gospel” is, with two arguing for a classical “American evangelical” outlook (as I’d call it, whatever the best label for it is).

    I’ve pretty much backed down, I don’t have the time for that one. What I would love to have access to, is a concise version of your summary/view of the gospel, in less than … 500 words?, ideally complete with Bible verses about the poor and the downtrodden, etc… I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. ;) Actually, I don’t think this is a good use of time, so I don’t mean to be *requesting* this from you, but if you felt so inclined to provide such a summary, in the light of your inclination to do lots of writing/teaching, I’d happily paste it into the “debate”, just so that “it is heard”. (Even if I might not agree on all points, it certainly will be a piece I respect and I believe deserves being heard.) Beyond that, with regards to that debate, I do feel “shake the dust off your feet and move on” seems like smart advice, smarter than continuing with such kinds of argument.

    FWIW.

    As verbose as your writing is, and as much as it irks me that it too easily comes across as a personal attack, and the negative impressions that phrases such as “actually self-deluded people” leave (remember: I’m thinking from the context of how this will be perceived by Shofarians, in particular, the people I love that are currently “members”…), I’m actually still looking forward to read your “next post”.

  • 23 dinkvry // Feb 15, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Hello, new reader here…

    Would like to say Hello…

    and point out that…

    I fear Shofar’s influence as much as the next rational person. They recently started having their congregations across the street from where I live. This comes as an inconvenience to me as I used to treasure sleeping in on Sunday mornings. No longer as I am now awakened by Shofar’s praise and worship band warming up with their super duper melodramatic worship songs. Argh, it drives me crazy. Now I get up early on Sundays, and have my own little praise and worship of the music I love.

    Regardless, I would like to address…

    Re: Mr Lovejoy

    You are a good writer sir. I enjoy your criticism of Shofar, and I must admit, I find your writing to be quite sensational, like a Soap Opera; you always picking at the evil man and his evil wife and their inner circle of evil ones with a stronghold over the youth of Stellenbosch etc… It’s good stuff. And I don’t mean that condescendingly. You can get quite personal, understandably so, as from what I understand, you have been deeply hurt by them (him), just as they have hurt others. Shofar have swallowed some of my friends too, and spat some out again. Unfortunately, some are still stuck in the belly of the beast. Personally I have trouble seeing how people can fall for such cheap tricks, but then again, some people are lost in their lives and they seek meaning. Shofar seems to offer some kind of ‘meaning’. It makes sense that so many have flocked there. But I find it deeply troubling/troublesome, and ultimately, very sad. Therefore I’m glad for your vendetta against Shofar, sometimes I just wish you would present your views in a more sensible manner, rather than being on the offensive the whole time. You get so personal. Surely there must be some other angle you can take. I don’t know. Do what you must…

    Also looking forward to the Tale of the Exorcism :-)

    p.s I prefer to remain anonymous for now. I’m not so crazy about the name I’ve chosen, please don’t hold me to it.

  • 24 Hugo // Feb 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Hey dinkvry! Welcome. Feel free to pick any name. I’d like to encourage you to enter your real email address though, I’ll be the only one seeing it. If, however, you want to remain completely anonymous from me as well, that’s fine. Glad to have you here!

  • 25 drinkvry // Feb 16, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Sure, that is fine. I will likely lurk most of the time, but if i do have something irrelevant to say, i will make sure to do so at an inappropriate time :D

    re: exorcisms

    they are puzzling and very real to me. we had a minister in the family who told tales of people being possessed by demons. it was the scariest thing i could imagine*. the premise of an exorcism it seems is in manipulating the spirit in order to leave the host. at least that’s what i can tell from the movies and the few documentaries i’ve seen on the subject. i joke about it because it helps maintain sanity in this often cruel and crazy world. i am interested to hear about the account, Mr Lovejoy, not just as a cheap thrill, but because people need to read and hear about it.

    also, if i may ask, the exorcism performed by Fred May, was it based on older handed down practices or did he just go in there and create his own voodoo? What kind of handbook did he use to consult? Who or what does he consult? Himself, the Bible? God?

    It’s God, isn’t it.

    *Good way to conquer demons is by playing Diablo

  • 26 Al Lovejoy // Feb 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    The Gospel from Scripture in less than …
    All night.

    Still nothing. Empty nets. Like my soul inside. Flickering and almost disappearing like that small fire on the shore out there.

    Like, if my soul was a tiny light, a flickering little distant flame like that fire … it might go out completely … because there is so little in there now.

    I know nothing. That much I know is true.

    And yet … when He was with us, something lit up inside me, in all of us! And it seemed that I did … know. It really seemed I did. Even the one who is no longer here did the things He showed us, with the untouchables … we touched and healed. We attracted Their hate. I tried to tell Him and warn him and then He called me a slave to my fears and told me what would happen.

    My empty oaths.

    I am more than stupid, and exactly as He said … It crowed.

    Three times it crowed.

    Three times.

    And three times I said … I never knew Him.

    The fruit of my empty oaths.

    A slave to my fears. The Slavemaster of my fears wants to sift me like wheat. That is what He told me.

    And He never lies.

    I looked in his eyes and when He called me to Him – I walked on this same water. And I would have drowned if He hadn’t pulled me out … when I looked away. He told me to cast my line and pull in our supper and find that gold coin to slake Their law of Temple Tax.

    We saw Him take a few fish, give thanks, break them with those small loaves and somehow we … us, not Him … We fed a multitude … the biggest multitude of poor and desperate people I have ever seen outside of the Holy City. He just kept dividing it and dividing it.

    I thought I started to know.

    He did it twice and I still didn’t know. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand.

    Then with the blind man, He stopped me, rebuked me and showed me how wrong I was to reject that wretch because the man had almost nothing except his cries of desperation … and I thought I had all His trust and friendship.

    And that day with those poor, miserable children. I saw dirty beggars and little scumy sticky fingered thieves … that day … that Day … I saw in His eyes that I had come close to upsetting Him. And then He showed me we are all His children, and that it takes nothing more than a cup of this water we are sailing on … stirred with that special kind of acceptance of His, that untiring way of His with all people and hold the cup to their little lips.

    He told me to start with them. Told all of us to start with them if we truly wanted to be like Him to Our Father. And I didn’t understand then and I don’t think I do now. If I could weep for my ignorance … I would overfill this lake

    I’m not depressed … it’s the truth. I really do know nothing … without Him, I’m a fishless fisherman.

    I denied Him whom I need most. More than all things.

    I denied Him Who said to all he healed: Fear not.

    I denied Him for fear.

    All that is left, is for me to remember everything. As much as I can … every moment I was with Him. Every word that He spoke. Walk with Him in my mind, hear his Voice, his jokes … and listen. Especially for my mistakes. But, because I know nothing … most of them still I don’t understand. It was like He spoke wonderful mysteries, bigger than my mind bent to nets and weather and my oldest fear.

    Going home with nets as empty as this night.

    He calmed this water to mirror another moon … like it is right now … when all we thought we were trapped in a raging storm that would have swallowed us. And then joked with us all afterwards. I know nothing … except being a sailor. And, yet – He has re-taught me everything I have ever learned out here on the waters, the ways of the seasons and His way with the fish … the unknown mysteries of the wind. And we saw with our eyes and heard His mere words … waters and winds obey Him. He taught us that it all subject to the will and love of Our Father. And He came to bring us to Him.

    But … now … here … I, we … are fishless.

    A beautiful night, and a moon to mourn at. And no catch. No bright jingling coins in the market and not even small fry to eat and slake our own mortal hungers. Am I to beggar myself and my men.

    His men. We’ve been through too much. He called us brothers and washed our feet.

    He told me He was going to make me a fisher of men … and I weep inside … here I am, with my empty nets and the echoes of denial from a mindless rooster, awakened by the thirsty cries for violence and the fearful, thrilled buzzing faceless anger of a mob. The fear of being hurt like Him, rejected like Him … ki—

    And I ran … and ran … and ran away.

    I crawled back to the empty grave … the empty grave? Why aren’t the guards dead? Why did they abandon their post? Why run – if they would die for running anyway?

    What did they run from?

    And … I saw it with my own two eyes. The empty vault … the shelf, and the … unwrapped … graveclothes. Like an empty cocoon of a moth in a tree.

    He was gone.

    Maybe it was the guilt, but it seems … truly seems I have seen Him … again. But to speak of that. If … any of us … no, I cannot.

    I cannot.

    John saw Him die.

    He won’t talk about it much. Just keeps mumbling to himself about seeing the soldier’s spear go in … and the blood and water. His mother and the woman Mary … they saw Him die too. And yet they saw the empty tomb and spoke of angelic beings.

    He died and He is gone … and it is my own sense of failure holding onto this confusion in my mind.

    Those times after I looked in the grave. Those times when, I thought …

    It seemed like He was right there … right there!!!

    And then He was not.

    Even Thomas!!!

    If I could find Him again … if only I could find Him again. Maybe I can seek … maybe …

    The dawn is coming, the wind is going to change and we must abandon our night’s work.

    The men heed my commands, spread the sails and we bear homewards using the small fire on the shore as a beacon. It is almost dead, except for the dim red light of the glowing coals.

    Someone is out there … early like us … maybe he had better fishing.

    Suddenly a person hails us from the shore … his voice carries clearly across the flat night water. It is the firemaker, and he asks us how our night has been going? I tell him we have not fared well, nothing in our nets. He hails back and suggests I cast my nets from the other side of the boat!

    It is His voice … His voice!!!

    And He calls across the water and calls to us … to come and eat with Him … He has prepared food.

    And without thinking … I scream the orders to furl sails, cast in the nets and I tear off my clothes … dive overboard … and swim with everything I have towards Him…

    John 21 (Hugo, you will forgive me for reverting to form as a writer I hope.)

  • 27 dinkpyp // Feb 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on that sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

  • 28 Blue // Apr 20, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Dear All,

    I have not read all the comments, but I have read the main post. Apologies if I am off the point here.

    I am not a fanatic Christian, and I do not always lead my life as I should, but I do believe in God. I have only heard about Shofar (I understand it is a church).

    About 6 years ago I would have agreed with the writer of the post. It is only logical and for an educated rational lawyer like me it makes sense. However, 6 years ago something happened to me that through rationality, science, and everything else out the door. I have never been a devoted christian, and cant say that I am now, which is not something that I am proud of. But what I can say is that I know that God exists and I know (not believe) that demons exist.

    I can understand that people can believe because what they were for instance taught in a church. But to know is a different story. It cannot come from the mind if you are just minding your own business, not even going to church, more interested in work and partying over the weekends, and then all of a sudden, bam, these things come into your life. To cut a long story short, my girlfriend at the time was attacked by demons. We lived together so I experienced it first hand. Undfortunately there is no scientific explanation for things falling over in the bedroom when the attacks were at there worst. All I can say is that I saw evil and I have never prayed so much in my entire life. I belief in God through the whole ordeal has been strengthened, how can I not believe in Him if He has shown me the devil?

  • 29 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    But to know is a different story.

    With all due respect to your experience, have you considered the possibility of a more rational explanation?

    Not that I would know what it is, considering what you have told us. I am just wondering if you are rejecting other ideas off the bat.

    And why specifically God/Satan? Why not Loki, or Set, or any of the other trickster gods out there?

    I belief in God through the whole ordeal has been strengthened, how can I not believe in Him if He has shown me the devil?

    This is a rather…erm…unpleasant thing for god to do? Why not just manifest himself directly? It would have been a far more pleasant, and probably more life-changing experience. Why get that lackey satan involved? Last I heard, they weren’t exactly on speaking terms… ;-)

    I’m not saying you didn’t experience something. I’m just trying to understand what it is…

  • 30 Hugo // Apr 20, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Hey Blue! Thanks for stopping by! Interesting comment.

    Would you say it is fair for me (us?) to continue believing there aren’t demons, given that we’ve not had that experience? Do you think it matters much whether we believe demons exist or not?

    With regards to what Kenneth contributed, I’d have to concur and suggest that the way you interpret the events was informed by your faith, your religious community, aka your “church” in the non-building-you-visit-Sundays sense. Because I doubt that which you experienced included an entity saying “hi, I’m a demon! I serve the devil”? I’m also not meaning to say you’re wrong here, I’m just pointing out how your interpretation or understanding of the event, of what transpired, was still informed by your cultural context…? (Those believing in ghosts might describe “things falling over in the bedroom” as the work of a poltergeist… though yes, that’s presented as one event during the “attacks”, so I, also, don’t have the full picture.)

    I’ve had a friend tell me about an experience/encounter with a demon before. It was some time ago, so I didn’t ask what I would like to ask these days. What I’d be very interested in finding, is a first-hand account of an experience like that, believing it to be the work of demons… but still able to tell the story the way a skeptic would. E.g. “I believe I saw a demon at work. If a skeptical scientist were present, that believed it wasn’t a demon, I think he’d describe the event as follows: …”

    I don’t know if that is possible though, if someone really believes what they saw was a demon, I think it becomes extremely hard for them to try and describe such a vivid experience from the perspective of a skeptic. “How could anyone not see this this way?” So maybe what I should rather be looking for, is that kind of situation where a skeptic/scientist is present. Though, how often does that happen…

    Recap of my primary question: do you think it matters much whether we believe demons exist or not?

  • 31 Werner // Apr 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Interestingly enough I had a good friend tell me with an encounter with something that he described as a demon. It was something, which he labeled demon.

    I wanted to believe him, but somewhere inside me I still knew that I doubted. Moreover, since I am starting to mingle with the Christian crowd you get to hear more and more stories ( testimonies). I still doubted. :(

    Somewhere around new years I “saw” what I believed to be a demon possessing someone in another vehicle behind me. I have seen this person before in class. Apart from a funny dialect that I “lip” read from inside my vehicle, I have no conclusive proof other for anybody else. This thing was speaking though him, contorting the persons face in a way that I cannot describe. This is unfortunate.

    When I saw it though, I instantaneously knew it was one. What was interesting for me is that it was not because of what I saw, but what I felt. I just instantaneously felt that this I have never experience before. Truly an unexpected event. Minding my own business. Not looking or thinking about demons at all.

    Since then I have been much more open about the existence of demons ( you can say I believe in them, but its more a case of I know they exist… ) things have changed for me. It is like you get to see more of these kind of things once you open up yourself to it. It is sad, cause that does not help the “unbeliever”.

    Just thought I’d add that….

  • 32 Werner // Apr 20, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I am hectic tired excuse all the typo’s in the above post…

  • 33 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 21, 2009 at 8:39 am

    @Werner:

    Somewhere around new years I “saw” what I believed to be a demon possessing someone in another vehicle behind me. I have seen this person before in class. Apart from a funny dialect that I “lip” read from inside my vehicle, I have no conclusive proof other for anybody else. This thing was speaking though him, contorting the persons face in a way that I cannot describe. This is unfortunate.

    Surely there are other possibilities. Acting? Foreigner? Epilepsy? Schizophrenia? And again, if you had never heard of the concept of demon, how would you have interpreted this incident?

    It is precisely the “I just know” aspect of incidents like this that make me most suspicious. To me, what you are saying is: “My interpretation of the experience is declared a blanket certainty, by fiat, because I just know“; you are dismissing even the chance of there being a natural, and understandable, explanation for what you have experienced.

    I am not saying there is such an explanation! What I’m saying is that, without some attempt to look at such things rationally, then we will never have an explanation. To me, I would love to see someone approach such an incident as follows: I have never experienced something like this before. Can I trust what I have seen? Are there other factors that might have influenced or coloured my viewpoint? Did someone else experience this? How did that persons experience differ from mine? Etc. etc.

    From my viewpoint, an “I just know!” is a non-answer. It removes the incident from ever being investigated, in a manner similar to the creationist “God did it”. By answering everything, it explains nothing.

    Sorry if this comes over a bit judgemental, Werner. I wasn’t aiming at you specifically. I felt the need to vent!

  • 34 Werner // Apr 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

    @Kennith

    Surely there are other possibilities. Acting? Foreigner? Epilepsy? Schizophrenia? And again, if you had never heard of the concept of demon, how would you have interpreted this incident?

    Off course I agree. That incident milled in my head for a while, going over it several times in my head. All I can say is, what I saw was “strange” to me. A few weeks later it so happened that I saw a couple videos of people manifesting while being delivered from evil spirits, and the expressions and language they used matched exactly what I saw. These combined changed my outlook on evil spirits.

    I also agree with your subsequent argument, given the premise that I am trying to convert someone to believe in demons. That however, is not the case. I struggled to believe in demons too, therefore can understand that someone else is in that position now. I will not judge.

    Just like the blue, this encounter strengthened my belief in the spiritual realm, and I feel ashamed that it took a real encounter with an evil spirit to help me cross that barrier.

    A few months ago a would have dissed the current current me in the same manner. Go town with me, I saw what I saw and nothing can take that away from me.

  • 35 Hugo // Apr 21, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Back in school, I had a friend that wondered about the spiritual realm. Doubted its existence. So he was looking to test it by seeking an out-of-body experience. Or something similar. (And somewhere the thought along the lines of “if Satan is more keen on providing spiritual-realm “superpowers”/experience than God, maybe I should ask Satan instead? Easier way to learn the spiritual-realm isn’t all a lie…?” came up. Might have only been in my head that the thought got cast in terms of those terms, I don’t think he was so much influenced by certain forms of American evangelicalism or whatever it was, than I was.) (And no, I never did hear of him succeed in his endeavours. But we did kinda lose contact.)

    Anyway, Swiss scientists were able to reproduce the out-of-body experience in a lab:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6960612.stm

    Though I’m sure that’s not what he had in mind. ;-) That one’s rather another “score for science” illustrating the naturalness of the experience they recreated.

    Anyway, back to the demons… where did you see these videos, if I may ask? (Whose videos were they?)

  • 36 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    A few weeks later it so happened that I saw a couple videos of people manifesting while being delivered from evil spirits, and the expressions and language they used matched exactly what I saw. These combined changed my outlook on evil spirits.

    Again I ask, why are you allowing demon possession as the only possibility here? That is exactly why I mention things such as schizophrenia and epilepsy. As Hugo mentioned, it is possible to induce very weird behaviours (i.e. outside the norm of day-to-day behaviour) in humans simply be stimulating certain areas of the brain electrically. This arises not as a result of demon possession, but as a by-product of the way our brains are wired. Not knowing more about your incident than what you have revealed, I would still like to know if you have considered these possibilities.

  • 37 Werner // Apr 21, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    @ Hugo

    Interesting story. That was an interesting tactic, or rather !dangerous!.

    The video’s I refer to are mostly the ones that deal with people who deliberately invited these things in (via satanic ritual for example). I saw them at a seminar ( non-shofar, but with lots of shofarians ) by this plattelandse tannie. The seminar is about deliverance and satanism and evil spirits. Jam packed, 3 day course that I would think you would find interesting. ( Next one is in october at stellies ) To bad I could not get my hands on those vids. Since the people that the video’s were taken of only agreed that she could show them I think and she is trying to keep her promise.

    Sometimes the tannie would record some footage of the encounter, usually with the help of an innocent bystander with a cellphone or something. I gathered this was mostly because her deliverances that resulted in hectic manifestations (as not all do) was kind of ad hoc. It seemed that way. She has been doing this for 17 years.

    To connect with Kenneth’s comment: The striking thing about all the different footage we saw, and what I saw, is that they all correlate to a certain degree. In other words, the manifestations all look the same, even though they were at different times and different places with different people. You can then argue that all these people might have seen a movie such as “The exorcist” and copy and pasted what they saw there. I would respond with: “Off course it is entirely possible”. But if you see the footage, you will quickly turn from such an argument. The weird language, the facial contortions, the body making these weird twisting motions are to impossible to fake so exactly between people, unless they really really conspired to get that affect. I seriously doubt that to be the case.

    What I saw was not nearly that dramatic, but still difficult to explain. Because Kennith asked, I will try to explain what I saw:

    It was late afternoon, I stopped at a red light (dorp/R44) facing the sun that was sitting low. This meant that the visibility through my rear view mirror in the car behind me was very clear. I saw this person that I recognized in a vehicle behind me. It was a pleasantly surprised.

    Then, all of a sudden, his face went in a mad state and he spoke ( I could not hear but see his lips ). So what is so special about that? Well. Its the way he spoke. Its like he barked out the “words”. I say “words” because it looked more like he was choking or trying to get something out of his system. So maybe he was choking?

    Then after about 5 seconds or so it would stop. His face would go back to normal and my impression was that he was unaware of what just happened. He seemed oblivious. Then like 5 seconds later the cycle would restart. Barking words, with a mad contorted face. He looked really angry.

    So the light went green. I turned left and he went left as well. I drove very slow so that he would pull up along side me (it was double lane). He did so, I matched his speed and observed. The cycle was still ongoing. He then turned off at the Boord Spar turnoff where I went straight, was on my way to the gym.

    All and all I think I saw about 6-8 cycles. I was fairly confused about what I saw. This is because I spoke to this person once before, and he seemed notably harmless. He looked VERY angry in the vehicle.

    I considered many things. He drove an old bakkie ( truck? ) which only had a drivers and a passanger seat. So that ruled out that he was very angry at someone at the back that I could not see. Also I don’t remember seeing any cellphone and the car was old enough to rule out hands free. But he might have had a hands free device on the dash, from the side it did not look that way. Also the cycle was to predictable to be considered a “dialog”.

    What I saw bothered me for a long time and for long I was still kind of doubting that I saw a real demon manifesting, but I distinctly remember that everything inside of me shouted demon when I saw the very first second of the first cycle. That is what was remarkable to me, because I have never had that kind of response inside of me before towards an individual.

    So that is my story, If you doubt it, I have no problem with that. I think most people are scared to give their testimony because it could be blow out of the water so easily by a skilled debater. That is probably because we can’t really prove anything. But maybe if there are many stories people would start to think twice about just dismissing demons.

  • 38 Hugo // Apr 23, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Thanks for sharing your account! First some notes from this-skeptic-here, then some thoughts/questions on general strategy/approach with regards to co-existence/participation of this kind of diversity on this site/community…

    You mentioned:

    The striking thing about all the different footage we saw, and what I saw, is that they all correlate to a certain degree. In other words, the manifestations all look the same, even though they were at different times and different places with different people.

    You provide some thoughts about this:

    You can then argue that all these people might have seen a movie such as “The exorcist” and copy and pasted what they saw there. I would respond with: “Off course it is entirely possible”. But if you see the footage, you will quickly turn from such an argument. The weird language, the facial contortions, the body making these weird twisting motions are to impossible to fake so exactly between people, unless they really really conspired to get that affect. I seriously doubt that to be the case.

    I would like to add some other thoughts as to the similarities… How many examples did she show? You say she’s been doing this for 17 years, there could be some significant selection-bias going on: she selects which clips she shows, for best effect. The clips are then surely not an unbiased scientifically rigorous representation of the typical case…

    Also:

    The video’s I refer to are mostly the ones that deal with people who deliberately invited these things in (via satanic ritual for example).

    Which they may be learning about from more or less the same kind of sources, even if they haven’t all watched The Exorcist.

    Jam packed, 3 day course that I would think you would find interesting. ( Next one is in october at stellies )

    I’ll be down in SA in October briefly. Unfortunately I won’t fit something like that in. (And I don’t know if anyone else is crazy enough to share my curiosity about such courses. ;) )

    Right, now about the interesting predicament we find ourselves in here. The kind of predicament/puzzle I enjoy working on and trying to “solve”:

    I’m sure you appreciate, based on your references to your prior views on the matter, that I still don’t believe in “literal” demons. (I stand by my post above.) Ah, first a *very* quick digression into the path I walked with respect to… um… “demonology”:

    My first meeting with such ideas was probably at the hands of David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz, of “The Cross and the Switchblade” and “Run Baby Run” fame. That was at a young age. Those thoughts stuck in my mind for a few years, hidden in some corner. It came back to the forefront when I happened upon… I think “Rebecca Brown M.D.”‘s “Spiritual Warfare”. I read less than a chapter, I think, then I decided “screw this”, and chucked it out of my mind. Brief return of openness to the possibility during my brief Shofar stint, but when that was over, I’ve got some pretty strong conclusions about the matter. Open-minded as a scientist should be: open to convincing evidence. But pretty certain, from my perspective anyway, that I won’t find such convincing evidence, enough so that I’m not even interested in looking for such evidence. If I went to that seminar, it would be to view it from a psychological/anthropological perspective, to understand how it works. So that’s my basic background. No offence to your experience or the videos you’ve seen and consider to be convincing evidence, you know opinions differ. And that I haven’t seen those videos.

    To continue then… bear in mind, I’m very neutral as I write this, unemotional, jotting down impartial neutral thoughts observed from a distance. Just saying, as I sometimes worry people read “passion” into dispassionate words and ideas, and I think it is the passion that offends people? So…

    I stand by this post of mine. I do consider demon-belief to be a harmful belief. As a harmful belief, I wish it would die out. In order for it to die out, I’d want to not propagate stories about it. That’s one side of my thinking, one aspect of my motivation. From that perspective, I would not want to play host to a whole slew of personal testimonies (which from a scientific perspective is only “anecdotal evidence” anyway – science has discovered the germ theory of disease, and understands psychology much better now, and weather patterns, laws of physics, etc. The gaps that used to be filled by demons have vanished within the context of things science has investigated). In fact, it would even feel immoral for me to do so, as by hosting the testimonies, I’m allowing the memes some additional avenues to continue spreading. I’m sure you can understand and appreciate how this conclusion is reached, based on how you thought about demons prior to your experience and attending the seminar.

    On the other hand, I also want to, explicitly, encourage an openness here, to try and foster a community atmosphere where people share what they believe without fear of verbal abuse etc. I wish we could live in greater openness, within the context of a diverse community. I would want everyone to be able to have conversations similar to this, where two people can disagree “vehemently” about certain things, even demon-belief, but still come together, move beyond differences (which can remain a point of disagreement that is re-emphasized continually, it need not be ignored), but *still* find common ground, and work together on the things everyone finds important… Tough, eh? Fairytale I’m painting? Yea, that’s me.

    So how does one accomplish these two incompatible things at the same time? What strategy can we use to deal with such challenges? …any ideas? I don’t really have any good ones with regards to this particular case, but I still find it worthwhile to grapple with the challenges, based on how it shapes further thought and approaches to similar problems. I probably won’t dwell much on demons, emphasizing other more positive things. Like the interesting things science has discovered, and how science works, and why it comes to the conclusions it came to. (Age of the Earth & evolution, for example.)

    A quick re-cap on Rebecca Brown, who played her Medical-Doctor credentials in search of more respect for her views:

    In 1984, Brown’s medical license was revoked by the issuing state of Indiana. The licensing board ruled that on numerous occasions she had “knowingly and intentionally misdiagnosed her patients”, blaming their illnesses on “demons, devils, and evil spirits.” A secular board-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed her as suffering from “acute personality disorders including demonic delusions and/or paranoid schizophrenia” and observed her injecting herself with unknown substances. The board also found that she had over-medicated her patients and administered improper treatments; as well as failed to properly document their treatment.

    The 1984 medical board findings from the state of Indiana identified Elaine as Edna Elaine Moses (aka Elaine Moses, aka Elaine Bailey), one of Brown’s patients, and charged that Brown had misdiagnosed her with leukaemia and inappropriately treated her with large doses of Demerol and Phenobarbital. Elaine had to be hospitalized for detoxification of the controlled substances Bailey had given her.

    And…

    Personal Freedom Outreach, a counter-cult Christian organization concluded both Elaine (ex-Satanist and associate) and Dr. Brown’s stories were false, based upon the above evidence coupled with many inconsistencies between the books, and their teaching tapes and testimonies.

    In short, I declare a bias, with reasons like those presented above: I don’t trust these people. I don’t trust that “tannie” either.

    (Source: Wikipedia, which I checked after I found some info on her from other Christian websites.)

  • 39 Hugo // Apr 23, 2009 at 12:21 am

    What curiosity this discussion has raised in me, is to take a look at what scientific studies have been done on the matter in the past. I remain curious about the phenomenon, and would have enjoyed investigating it if I had endless amounts of time. But yea, you know. I hope you take the previous comment in the light it was intended, that we understand each other well enough.

    If you are interested in more of a scientific work on related matters, I’d point you at Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”. (The book’s emphasis is more on alien-belief actually.) I also felt it was pretty good at explaining science as well, in the first couple of chapters. And if you choose to take a look, I’ll also happily point you at a “critical” review of it, for additional balance. (Critical from “fellow scientist perspective”, I don’t mean “young-earth believer critical of Sagan” kind of criticism now. ;) )

    May your days be demon-free, at least!

  • 40 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 23, 2009 at 8:52 am

    @Werner

    Then, all of a sudden, his face went in a mad state and he spoke ( I could not hear but see his lips ). So what is so special about that? Well. Its the way he spoke. Its like he barked out the “words”. I say “words” because it looked more like he was choking or trying to get something out of his system. So maybe he was choking?

    What about road rage? I know very nice, decent people who turn into Hitler when they are behind the wheel. Perhaps the “barking” was swearing?

    The striking thing about all the different footage we saw, and what I saw, is that they all correlate to a certain degree. In other words, the manifestations all look the same, even though they were at different times and different places with different people.

    Or you could argue that encouraging a particular state of high emotional intensity in humans via such rituals activates or misfires the same underlying neural pathways, and induces a state similar to epilepsy, or revelation, or glossolalia (speaking in tongues). In other words, because we share the underlying neural wiring, all humans will respond in similar ways to similar stimuli.

    The weird language, the facial contortions, the body making these weird twisting motions are to impossible to fake so exactly between people, unless they really really conspired to get that affect. I seriously doubt that to be the case.

    Again, this might be a real, and entirely normal, response of the human brain under those particular stimuli, which would adequately explain the similarities. Our brains aren’t perfect! They can be tricked into a number of weird mental states by different external causes.

    Sometimes the tannie would record some footage of the encounter, usually with the help of an innocent bystander with a cellphone or something.

    You do realise that this tannie would win a Noble Prize if she has managed to explain the existence of demons unequivocably to the scientific world? Why doesn’t she show this evidence to psychologists, or other scientists who work on the brain? Why does she only show this to believers?

  • 41 Werner // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    @Hugo

    I would like to add some other thoughts as to the similarities… How many examples did she show? You say she’s been doing this for 17 years, there could be some significant selection-bias going on: she selects which clips she shows, for best effect. The clips are then surely not an unbiased scientifically rigorous representation of the typical case…

    Entirely possibly, but the selection bias was selecting those cases that would produce the most impact on audiences. She had many stories, sometimes people just faint or burp or something minor like that. Those videos she obviously did not show as I doubt those events were even recorded.

    No offence to your experience or the videos you’ve seen and consider to be convincing evidence, you know opinions differ. And that I haven’t seen those videos.

    No problem. I just like to mention that I don’t view my experiences as empirical proof. It’s different. It’s like it helps me to believe in the spiritual realm. Obviously I am not convinced by proof, as I have none. It’s different.

    I’m sure you can understand and appreciate how this conclusion is reached, based on how you thought about demons prior to your experience and attending the seminar.

    Off course I can ;) But if you had a strong case against the spiritual realm you would not need to take it down ;) You could use it as an example of how crazy people can get. I don’t mind either way. I saw what I saw and I cannot explain what I saw in any other way. It’s like predicting a black hole’s (spiritual) existence by observing the gravitational tug (manifestations/testimonies) on surrounding stars. I am sure you can appreciate that, because that kind of thinking has led to much discovery :D

    I would want everyone to be able to have conversations similar to this, where two people can disagree “vehemently” about certain things, even demon-belief, but still come together, move beyond differences (which can remain a point of disagreement that is re-emphasized continually, it need not be ignored), but *still* find common ground, and work together on the things everyone finds important… Tough, eh? Fairytale I’m painting? Yea, that’s me.

    I agree. I wish this too. I am not here to brainwash anybody, just to share thoughts and experiences.

    With regards to Dr Brown, that is a sad story and I am sure there are many more like that. You posted the other day in your mini feed those parents who let their child die instead of allowing medical treatment. Very sad stories, and I would agree that mis interpreting or “understanding” the spiritual realm is EXTREMELY dangerous.

    In the end though a good friend of mine said it best: “People justify what they buy”. It’s not my intention to convince anyone.

    @Kenneth
    The barking could have been swearing. He could also just have come from a fight with someone and be swearing to himself. Entirely possible. That is why I said it is unfortunate that is a “you have to be there” kind of thing. It is just not the impression I got.

    As for your last comment:

    You do realise that this tannie would win a Noble Prize if she has managed to explain the existence of demons unequivocably to the scientific world? Why doesn’t she show this evidence to psychologists, or other scientists who work on the brain? Why does she only show this to believers?

    I have asked that question many times too. I guess the answer I got to was that she is not interested in going into long debates with people about it. Also, after attending the course, I realized that looking at those video’s without the proper “prepping” would just be pointless.

    Every video had a hectic before and after story or context that she is very familiar with. Just posting the video’s would to injustice to those people sufferings. ( Posting them on youtube like some kind of freaks ). If those stories were spread by word of mouth you would get a distortion, maybe even the devil distorting them to distort the truth? ( dum dum dum )

    Personally I would really have liked to get my hands on those video’s, I have searched many youtube vids for simular footage to what I saw, but all the vids that I could find on youtube were not the same. The youtube vids do not share this common pattern among themselves, or with hers.

    Just remember that I do not view my stories as proof, but as enough to convince me that the spiritual realm does exist. ( because I combine that with anecdotal faith healing stories and other miracles etc. etc etc. )

  • 42 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    @Werner

    No problem. I just like to mention that I don’t view my experiences as empirical proof. It’s different. It’s like it helps me to believe in the spiritual realm. Obviously I am not convinced by proof, as I have none. It’s different.

    In what way? Do you accept this explanation because you want it to be true?

    Just remember that I do not view my stories as proof, but as enough to convince me that the spiritual realm does exist. ( because I combine that with anecdotal faith healing stories and other miracles etc. etc etc. )

    Okay. Would you agree that if there are natural (let’s say psychological) explanations for what you have experienced, then your experiences do not imply the existence of a spiritual realm?

    Are you not setting the bar for evidence of this spiritual realm unnecessarily low?

    In case you’re offended: I’m not attacking your experience. I genuinely believe that you experienced something. What I am challenging is your interpretation of this experience.

  • 43 Werner // Apr 23, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    In what way? Do you accept this explanation because you want it to be true?

    I did not want it to be true, I wanted to be sure!. I only drew my conclusion much later on.

    Okay. Would you agree that if there are natural (let’s say psychological) explanations for what you have experienced, then your experiences do not imply the existence of a spiritual realm?

    Yes. But you make the assumption that psychosis is not induced from the spiritual realm. Something that cannot be proved, I believed, by science.

    Are you not setting the bar for evidence of this spiritual realm unnecessarily low?

    For me its enough, for everybody else… probably.

    And it is your right to challenge my interpretation, my challenge is to convey my experience in such a manner that you might agree with my interpretation. That is not easy. There are so many inputs (experiences/stories/…) that lead to that conclusion. I still believe that I would not have drawn the same conclusions if I was not born again. Reflecting over my old life, non of the inputs that I used to draw my conclusion came from my old life. I find that very sad.

  • 44 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Yes. But you make the assumption that psychosis is not induced from the spiritual realm.

    Well, it depends how you define “spiritual realm”. If you define it as something outside the material, then it cannot interact with the material realm i.e. induce psychoses, by definition. If you define it otherwise, then you lay the spiritual realm open to investigation via the scientific method, because it has effects on real, honest-to-goodness material things i.e. brains.

    Moreover, psychoses can be traced back to material causes such as genetic predisposition, neural misfiring etc. etc. So if the spiritual realm interferes, we should indeed be able to observe, and predict, its effects.

    Something that cannot be proved, I believed, by science.

    It cannot be disproved, sure. I offer you Russell’s Teapot as an example of why I don’t find this particular argument convincing…

  • 45 Werner // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I agree it’s a silly argument that did make me cringe as I typed it.

    Again I would like to point out though that you (or science) might be more than willing to believe that black hole’s exist, not because it can be measured ,looked at, predicted and measured directly, but because you can measure it’s affects on the honest-to-goodness material things around them. Black holes interact with their surrounding material via these so called gravitons, an unknown interaction science cannot explain. Yet that missing link does not stop science from “proving” black holes exist. Clearly they exist because things around them “go crazy” (stars that orbit nothing is crazy)

    Now I suggest that the same argument holds when it comes to the spiritual realm. It affects the physical realm (the brain?, behavior? decisions?) by unknown means (analogous to those elusive gravitons) which we (believers) don’t understand, but things do go crazy all around us sometimes.

    Yet I believe because the spiritual is so much more intimidating to the human mind it tends outright reject its existence, by hammering away on the fact that the spiritual cannot be observed and predicted directly.

    Prediction means that the predictor can be viewed to be a more “superior” state of being. The spiritual realm might be the only field that threatens to take this “superiority” away from the human mind, something that the human mind does not like. It wants to be the begin all and end all. I still think this is why there is such a controversy about it, that plus Hugo’s point of view that messing with something that is not understood can be very harmful. Something that I happen to agree with. (if I interpret Hugo correctly ;)

  • 46 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Again I would like to point out though that you (or science) might be more than willing to believe that black hole’s exist, not because it can be measured ,looked at, predicted and measured directly, but because you can measure it’s affects on the honest-to-goodness material things around them.

    This doesn’t follow. A very large number of scientific conclusions are based on evidence that is indirect. No-one has ever seen an electron! Nor has anyone ever seen a living Archaeopteryx. We infer existence of these things via their effects on other things, i.e. indirect evidence. That doesn’t affect the truth value of those conclusions.

    Black holes interact with their surrounding material via these so called gravitons, an unknown interaction science cannot explain.

    Again, untrue. Gravitons, if they exist, are predicted to have very specific properties that mediate their interactions with other particles. They are not an unknown interaction. They are a predicted outcome of an otherwise very strongly-supported theory.

    Not to mention, that black holes are predicted outcomes of the theory of general relativity, whilst gravitons are predicted by quantum field theory. The two are well-known not to mesh.

    Yet that missing link does not stop science from “proving” black holes exist.

    Urgh. Science doesn’t prove. It cannot. It disproves hypotheses by evaluating them against the evidence. Our current black hole hypothesis explains the behaviour of certain phenomena better than any other hypothesis. Thus it is provisionally accepted as being true, until a more refined picture comes along.

    Now I suggest that the same argument holds when it comes to the spiritual realm.

    Direct or indirect, the effects can still be measurable. This makes it amenable to the scientific method.

    Yet I believe because the spiritual is so much more intimidating to the human mind it tends outright reject its existence,

    Hmmm…I would say this is exactly backwards. The material world is so unlike what we would like it to be, that the human mind tends outright to reject its reality.

    Prediction means that the predictor can be viewed to be a more “superior” state of being.

    I don’t understand what you are trying to say here. A prediction is only as good as the fit of that prediction to the evidence.

    messing with something that is not understood can be very harmful.

    If we, as a species, had not messed with stuff that we didn’t understand, then you and I would
    (a) not be using computers
    (b) not be using electricity
    (c) not be using fire
    (d) most probably have died young from disease, malnourishment or predation somewhere on the African savannah
    (e) most probably not have existed at all, due to our parents/grandparents/great-grandparents etc. having died from (d)

  • 47 Werner // Apr 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Help me out here, this is getting messy but in the end it always comes down to these kind details. I fail to see how one of my arguments is faulty. Surely some of them are, I am not a logical robot, but lets focus on one so that I can learn how my logic is unsound.

    Black holes interact with their surrounding material via these so called gravitons, an unknown interaction science cannot explain.

    Premise 1:
    It is believed black holes interact with its surroundings via gravitons. ( which we blanket term as gravity )
    Premise 2:
    Gravitons are an unknown interaction
    Conclusion:
    If science supports the existence of black holes given the fact that not everything about its indirect interaction/observation is understood, science can also support spirituality in the same way. (or at least be open to it until disproved)

    Then you say my argument is invalid:

    Again, untrue.

    So either my premises are untrue, or my logic is unsound.

    Premise 1:
    Your response does not mention anything about this. So I assume you agree with this premise.

    Premise 2: (Gravitons are a unknown interaction)
    Your response addresses this premise by stating that it is false, mooting my conclusion. “They are not an unknown interaction. “

    “Gravitons, if they exist, are predicted…” – how is something thats existence is questioned/predicted not an unknown in the true sense of the word? Partly known (because of predictions) sure, but fully known?

    Sure my conclusion is reaching, but still I try my best to explain things using scientific analogies. Not trying to prove anything but to show that there can be some form of compassion towards people who believe in the spiritual.

    Urgh. Science doesn’t prove. It cannot. It disproves hypotheses by evaluating them against the evidence. Our current black hole hypothesis explains the behaviour of certain phenomena better than any other hypothesis. Thus it is provisionally accepted as being true, until a more refined picture comes along.

    Ok I understand. My thought though is that it comes down to who can produce the best “refined” picture. Again that word picture … science always wins because believers in spirituality cannot produce this, not even on an abstract level. It is difficult. But I want you to notice how your choice of words reveal what your subconscious is really looking for. Something tangible.

    I hear your statement about messing with unknown things. (b) Maybe good for the human race, not so good for that first person that got shocked to death. (b) Maybe good for the human race, until we deplete the earth’s resources and we are pushed into an existence that cannot support so many human beings on earth at the same time? (electicity helps to feed the people, either by heating food or keeping it cold or running machines that produce hundreds of cans of beans per day… )

    Subjectively we are not connecting here ;) Terrible subject to argue about :D

  • 48 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    @Werner
    I’m going to split my response up into two posts, otherwise I’m going to wear out the scroll wheel on my mouse!

    Black holes interact with their surrounding material via these so called gravitons, an unknown interaction science cannot explain.

    No, science can explain this. The problem is whether the current explanation (i.e. the Standard Model of particle physics) does explain this. From what I’ve read, it is extremely difficult to confirm whether the graviton exists, because (a) some of its characteristics contradict general relativity and (b) it requires incredibly high energy levels, beyond our current capacity to generate, in order to observe the effects of this particle.

    Premise 1:
    It is believed black holes interact with its surroundings via gravitons. ( which we blanket term as gravity )

    I’m not a physicist by any manner of means, but, as I understand it, black holes are currently described by general relativity, a theory that does not predict gravitons at all. Gravity can either be understood as a bending of space-time (General relativity), or as gravitons (quantum physics). The problem is, both theories are incomplete and currently inconsistent with one another.

    Premise 2:
    Gravitons are an unknown interaction

    Well, as I tried to point out, gravitons are not unknown, in that we know what their characteristics should be, if the Standard Model is correct.

    Conclusion:
    If science supports the existence of black holes given the fact that not everything about its indirect interaction/observation is understood, science can also support spirituality in the same way. (or at least be open to it until disproved)

    Again, I offer you Russells Teapot. Gravitons are a viable hypothesis because they are predicted by an incredibly powerful, incredibly accurate theory that is supported by loads of evidence. Spirituality…first, you would have to define it. Second, you would have to provide evidence that is consistent with that definition. Third, your hypothesis would have to be compared to other hypotheses, and explain the evidence better than they do.

    So, I would say your premises are unsound in this case.

    Not trying to prove anything but to show that there can be some form of compassion towards people who believe in the spiritual.

    I have a lot of compassion for people who believe in the spiritual. I just don’t have a lot of compassion for that belief ;-) .

  • 49 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 24, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Again that word picture … science always wins because believers in spirituality cannot produce this, not even on an abstract level.

    Have you considered reasons for why this is the case?

    But I want you to notice how your choice of words reveal what your subconscious is really looking for. Something tangible.

    I wouldn’t say it is my subconscious ;-) . My conscious mind is the one doing the searching! If you are referring to a subconscious search for meaning (I’m not clear from the context what you mean here), that is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    (b) Maybe good for the human race, not so good for that first person that got shocked to death.

    (a) You are assuming the first person to experiment with electricity got shocked to death. Is this necessarily true?
    (b) The human race is composed of people. Each one of them has experienced good as a result of someone else’s experiments into electricity. I would count that as a net plus.

    Maybe good for the human race, until we deplete the earth’s resources and we are pushed into an existence that cannot support so many human beings on earth at the same time? (electicity helps to feed the people, either by heating food or keeping it cold or running machines that produce hundreds of cans of beans per day… )

    Agreed. However, how do we know that we are depleting the earth’s resources?
    Through science.

    How can we prevent or mitigate this outcome?
    Through science.

    The concepts of carrying capacity of the environment, awareness of climate change, sustainable resource use, recycling, contraception…all some of the benefits of the scientific method!

    I fear I have gone off topic…oh well…

    Subjectively we are not connecting here ;) Terrible subject to argue about :D

    Heh! I’m enjoying the conversation, for what its worth.

  • 50 Werner // Apr 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    hehe, yea offtopic indeed.

    I agree with your “Through science” statements ;) I always laugh when a pastor disses “academics” from the pulpit when he is holding in his hand a cordless microphone so that the people can hear his argument. My mind always finds that terribly ironic.

    Fun times!

  • 51 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Werner, just came across this:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/2009_01.html
    Somewhat off-topic, but interesting nonetheless!

  • 52 Werner // Apr 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Ha! Interesting indeed! That touches on some of the things we discussed here.

    Good stuff

  • 53 Blue // May 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Dear All,

    Kenneth, after what happened, these things manifested regularly in my then girlfriend, something similar to what Hugo was explaining, and even speaking through her, and pronounced that he or they were sent by satan, and I used to pray ALOT during that time, and ONLY when I prayed for her to God, and when she was conscious and herself, with her, would these things leave her/us alone. That is where my belief comes from.

    Hugo, I am not here to convince you, having such an experience I now see in a positive light, because I am fortunate to know and to have seen that these things do exist. And I can say that with conviction. I actually admire people who have never had any experience such as this, who believe in God and are faithful to him, because for a rationale and inquisitive mind, that would be very difficult. We need proof. Well I am lucky I found my proof.

  • 54 Kenneth Oberlander // May 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    @Blue
    I’m sorry to hear about those incidents. They must have been traumatic.

    That said, has your previous girlfriend been to see a psychiatrist? It would be truly terrible if this does have a psychological explanation, and she is not treated for it.

  • 55 Peter // Apr 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You are confused when you said “demon exist in your mind. ” Demon could be in your mind when they possessed you but demon cannot be your mind. Demons are fallen spirit like angels who are
    spirits in heaven.
    Most people, encluding Christians up to this day do not even understand what is their human constitution. Most people believe like the pagans do, that a man or woman is made up of Soul, Spirit and body. This is not so. Similarly Demons or devils are spirits
    Satan took with him from heaven 6000 years ago. They came to earth after being forced out of heaven and they took man hostage
    to bid their time and destruction. They are real and they are here. The naked eye cannot see spirit.
    They tempt man every day, they steal, kill and destroy in the words of YAHSHUA HaMASHIYACH, Not Jesus. Jesus exist from the 1700 AD.

  • 56 kagiso // Oct 19, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    im sorry, but did Jesus not cast out demons?

    ive had fights with these demons in my dreams and sometimes wen im awake God literally lifts the vail of the spiritual world so that i can see what followed me home from the cllub or something,a nd how i should pray against it.

    why are people so blind? in the tiime of Jesus people got possessed my demons, manifested because of demons, deliberately hurt themselves because of the demons that were in them.a nd you know sometimes God uses the simplest way to get rid of them. he uses those simple ways NOT SO THAT WE APPEAR STUPID(because its not for the world) but to improve our faith in our God.

    before i came to south africa i had this thing that used to always just be by the corner of my room. this big void of darkness and it scared me alot! one time i prayed about it, and literally God said “pray that you have power’s like tb joshua (african prophet in nigeria) so that the light of the holy spirit may shine” and you know what, IT SOUNDED RIDICULOUS!!! but i wanted this thing gone because it scared me, so i closed my eyes, in the dark(constantly feeling somethin moving around me) and prayed for exactly wat God said i shud pray for.

    after i was worked up from prayer, my hands were warm. i went to go stand in front of the thing and i shared, very fiercely, saying “i shine the light of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus i shine the light of the holy spirit!” and i kid you not, that thing STARTED RISING UP. then i could see my wall actually start to show as it started rising up and left through the window. it took a while, and a lot of strength(thanks God :p) but eventually i got it all out by doing this and he said “put the bible by the window so that it doesnt come back”…i was in no state to hesitate because the first instructions workd! i took my bible, ran to the window, and placed it there.

    i said “yo! that was weird..” i texted my dad to come to my room, ebcause i felt someone had to know about this! he came and i told him all about it, and how i had these invisible spiritual powers in my hand, and instructions and all that stuff. he smiled amusingly, then after i exhausted all my zeal he said…”kagiso, you are a very smart girl. very intelligent! i cant believe you could get yourself fooled by all this Jesus and God what what!” my atheist dad spent 3hours in the a.m- laughing at my face, ridiculing my experience and telling me that the very God that just helped me out, doesn’t exists, and neither do spirits and demons.

    that was because the experience was not meant for him, it was meant for me- and my faith in God, and nurturing its growth. its the same thing as wen God told moses to SPEAK TO THE STONE do you know how absurd that sounds? ad because of his lack of faith, moses ended up hitting it twice, instead of speaking. many times Jesus said “you of little faith”

    after tahtn, atleast 18 other demon and spirit encounters happened where i had to do some really simple and weird but powerful things, that worked because i ddnt follow with logic- i followed with faith.

    reason why so many people in this life will die without ever experienceing an intimate relationship with God, and ever experience the power of faith, is casue there lives are too busy making a “bag-pack God” and approaching everthing with logic…killing their faith.

    God is a God of faith. He has always been. from Genesis! for example: in the beginning when God said “let there be light” dd he see the light? or dd he have to believe in it first? logic would have said “woah its so dark, we need liight” God did- he spoke- and there was light. what is faith again?” the absence of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”

    i think people should really go back and reflect on their relationship with God. based on some of the comments, a lot of you still have a lot of wholes clogged up with your own will of “comfortable” rather than the will of God, that calls you as MORE THAN A CONQUEROR. you are still in the worlds mind where only priest or special people can fight with demons to save their lives or the lives of others- and by thinking that i can outspokenly say YOU DONT UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR YOU AT THE CROSS and you dont understand the magnitude of God’s love not just for christians, but also for the demonicly possessed non-believers.

    after that, i thanked God, and went to sleep- completely misplacing all the rubbish my dad said, because God is beyond the understanding of men.

Leave a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>