Friday, 26 January 2018

The reality of demons - is it crazy to believe, or to disbelieve?

The answer depends on whether you take 'normal' to be the world of public discourse in The West over the past century or so; or the other billions of people who live elsewhere, and lived in earlier eras.

Some people who have believed in demons were indeed psychotic - a tiny minority. By contrast, viewed biologically, many/ most of the people who disbelieve in demons are actively and aggressively deluded about many basic and important matters of common sense and human consensus - and are engaged in grossly biologically-maladaptive behaviour (e.g. they avoid reproduction.)

On this basis, to disbelieve in the reality of demons is a sign of being objectively crazy; although not by itself conclusive evidence.

The primary question is whether demons are real - whether they actually exist?

If you are a Christian, that question is pretty much answered for you; since demons are regarded as true in scripture, church tradition and official doctrine - although you would probably want/ need to confirm this for yourself by revelation and/ or direct knowledge.

As is usual in this world; there is broad agreement that demons are real, but a great deal of dispute about what they are. 'Evil spirits' - or spirits of evil intent... probably that is as far as consensus goes. Detailed understanding of demons will depend on the metaphysical assumptions of a specific theology.  

A further question - unclear to modern Westerners - is what function demons perform, or might perform, in our thinking; the matter of what demons are necessary (or useful, or wise) to explain? Why do we need to acknowledge the reality of demons?

I can think of at least two important reasons. The first is that demons are assumed to be immortal - or at least much longer-lived than Men; and this can explain long-term strategic trends towards evil, purposive extending over many human generations.

By contrast, evil humans are often extremely short-termist and selfish; making it unusual for there to be long-term cooperation among evil humans to pursue evil objectives.

Secondly there is the actual nature of evil. Demons are engaged in spiritual warfare over the fate of Men; that is, they seek the damnation of Men - they seek that Men will, by choice, reject the offer of salvation and the chance to dwell in Heaven in immortal and resurrected form.

This is a different aim from human evil (except insofar as Men are serving the demonic agenda); because Men typically engage in material, not spiritual warfare; and seek material, not spiritual gain - they seek money, sexual gratification, power, worldly prestige and so forth.

Recognising that there is a spiritual war ongoing in the world can (it seems to me) make simple sense when it comes to understanding the apparent contradictions in evil as we observe it in the world. (An example is here.) 

Finally, and only at this later stage, is the question of whether some specific demon is active doing some specific and identifiable thing in question: Is Dr X currently possessed-by a demon and serving as a mere-mouthpiece? Is Mrs Y consciously serving the demonic agenda, as she understands it? Is Committee Z being duped by demons? etc.

We would seldom if ever expect to be sure about such specific matters; even as we acknowledge their possibility.

But we need to be able and prepared to make a judgement; to decide and act on the decision - sometimes and under certain conditions; the decision that Yes: this is probably what is happening, here and now.


MultiplayerMario64 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Clifford said...

I appreciate this post, for whatever reason I have been thinking about this very matter (demons, not something I usually spare any attention for), and this post and a recent one you wrote on Eternal Life have collided in my head in a way that I think is worth sharing.
What we know about the devil, and demons, is (at a minimum):
They are malevolent and eternally living spiritual beings
They are powerful and very intelligent
They do not have bodies, but wish to possess the bodies that God has gifted to humans
What we usually think about them, however, amounts to the idea that they are impossibly stupid. They are reputed to be involved in an eternally fruitless struggle against God – who is Omnipotent – and must know that they are destined to lose, from an opportunity cost perspective one would think that they would be the first to obey to get the goodies associated with God. But they don’t.
Creating human misery is fun and all, and prompting humans to willfully choose to be damned is perhaps an interesting pursuit, but what is the long game? What is in it for them?
What is their plan?
Here it is:
The devil, and demons, are deprived of bodies, and this is a kind of torture for them. Bodies are God’s greatest gift, and they represent a higher level of power and organization than mere spiritual existence. Of course, there are yet higher levels of organization (families, Godhood) that God intends to gift to the faithful, but we have at least achieved embodiment – something denied to the devil and his angels. They crave embodiment.
So, what they are doing is: optioning on human embodiment (our ability to manipulate material creation, our brains, our culture and technology) with the end not only of damning us, which is fine, but also of using us to create endlessly living, endlessly healthy, youthful and soulless (or readily possess-able) bodies for them to inhabit. They aim to use us to incarnate them.
Then their plan – a plan to create a material simulacrum of heaven, what Christians would call “hell” – will be complete. This will permit the devils to craft an ersatz “eternal life” with the qualities that they hope for (an eternal duration of physical existence in relative health to experience pain and pleasure, dominate and torture, and perhaps [they fancy] create “order and beauty” as they deem it) without the more crucial features of actual Eternal Life which are:
Eternal family
Eternal relationships of interdependent and indwelling love
Eternal increase
This means that the demons are likely fostering some aspects of material human culture with the end of enslaving us (for real) and building hell (for real); this is why the emphasis in the Satanic media on AI, transhumanism, life extending technology, the rush to find other inhabitable planets, etc; while at the same time degrading human capacity to reproduce, actively expanding sexual immorality including child and same sex sexual preferences. This is what the Demons have been doing for countless human generations. They want to build hell, and they are doing it.
I would suspect then that the end will not come (because it does not suit them) until the demons can incarnate fully.
And that is why there will be a final battle. Because their plan is working.
Mark Clifford

Bruce Charlton said...

@Mark - Thanks for the comment.

Eric - said...

Whether they literally exist or not - evil activity that corresponds to "demonic" states exist. Personally I don't think the demons are out there more than within us. Perhaps a Jungian thing to say. If they exist, I don't believe we can see them out there, more than they can possess us inwardly and out. Evil operates by twisting us so we believe it actually doesn't exist.In that sense, we are really deep in the mud, since people are no longer even open to realize God and evil. In the middle ages, when people were more spiritually receptive, perhaps the reality of demons were much more acute. I even think burning witches had some substance to it (of course inconceivable for the modern mind). Feminists for example, are clearly modern witches to my mind. In the end, every Christian must be extremely alert against these dark forces (which are real, but denied and reduced to psychological phenomenons). The modern world is reductionistic and therefore fails to animate full reality so the world actually becomes an interesting, living place.

jaynie said...

Well within an interesting essay, this thought of yours particularly struck me:

“I can think of at least two important reasons. The first is that demons are assumed to be immortal - or at least much longer-lived than Men; and this can explain long-term strategic trends towards evil, purposive extending over many human generations.”

Long term trends towards evil, yes. Also, though perhaps, long term ramifications of evil. Evil perpetuated for immediate results, but with the added ‘benefit’ of disrupting souls in future generations. Sins of the father corrupting the souls of their sons. This idea, startling to me, puts a deeper meaning of evil onto the two World Wars and to the holocaust. While these were mind bendingly evil at the time, the long term consequence on the soul and will to live and create life, of the following generation of European men and women, has been overwhelming bad, evil. So sad.