In a post last month I speculated on why demons did not attack everybody, all of the time - all-out.
And one conclusion (or suggestion) was that it hurts demons when they attacked and are repulsed; therefore they greatly prefer indirect and deniable assaults; and will only go all-out when confident of victory.
In other words: demons try to avoid being undeniably-defeated; because this causes them intense and personal suffering.
On further reflection - this seems to have the ring of truth; since for demons suffering is an absolute thing. When a demon suffers, there is nothing-else in his existence: suffering is total.
A demon lives for his own gratification - therefore when he suffers there is no 'long-term' benefit, nothing to be learned from the experience: so that demonic suffering is absolute in a way that is alien to a Christian.
Of course, demonic powers seek pleasure - the pleasures of sin. Yet these pleasure are temporary and partial, compared with absolute nature of suffering and the desire to avoid it.
Presumably, when tempting a soul to become a demon; the pleasures of gratifying his favourite sins are emphasized. But evil feeds upon itself, and it seems likely that after a while committed demons become more-and-more negatively-motivated.
The demon then lives mainly to avoid suffering, much more than to experience pleasure - because demonic suffering is so much more complete and overwhelming than the (always transitory and less-then-fully-satisfying) gratifications of pleasure.
This waxing of negative-motivation as evil develops, can be seen in the demonically-inspired Leftist movement - which began as utopian - claiming to build Heaven-on-earth; but has now become (with the birdemic-peck and climate-warmism) almost wholly negative and avoidant.
Modern Leftism is nearly-all about opposing and avoiding some (supposed) suffering; it is hardly-at-all about offering any positive satisfaction or pleasure.
Or the sexual revolution - which began with promises of untrammeled and non-responsible promiscuity with anybody you 'fancied'. But has ended in the inverted evils of the transagenda (with its mutilation, poisoning and official-grooming of children); this being 'justified' by the need to avoid and reduce human suffering!
In sum: demons have no courage; because they have no reason to be courageous.
They may be forced to do things they would rather not do by the threat of greater suffering. But even in their boldness they are suffering-avoidant: fearing the certain retribution of their demonic masters more than the threat of what Men may do to them.
(This progressive domination of demonic evil by negative avoidance of personal pain is neatly illustrated in the course of CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast.)
Yet Men may do much to hurt demons.
And what can be done to hurt Them can be inferred as the opposite of how demons themselves behave, and the opposite of the behaviours they encourage and enforce upon those Men who have given themselves to the service of evil: Men such as the institutional leadership class of The West.
The demons suffer, immediately and strongly, when their temptations are decisively rejected; when their assaults are thrown-back. Therefore, timidity makes them creep forward towards wickedness - one deniable-increment at a time; trying to avoid their covert evil-motivation being noticed, discerned, exposed - then rejected.
The demonic hatred of clarity and honesty is 'visceral' - clarity and honesty caused demons actual pain.
Therefore demons delight to cloud every issue with complexity and 'nuance'; they delight in paradox and ambiguity; a state of fearful perplexity, confusion and dread - is their ideal.
Demonic horror arises when their activities are seen clearly, and when even their baby-steps towards evil are immediately called and exposed. When their devious policies are rapidly recognized, repulsed, mocked - this causes actual and extreme, over-whelming, suffering.
When elaborately deceptive demonic plans are instantly seen-through and cast into oblivion... this is more than merely frustrating - it is a cause of total agony for the Beings involved.
So, we may begin to see what we should do, and what we should avoid, in our dealings.
It is wise to avoid getting enmeshed in the demonic agenda in any way; demons love to debate, endlessly, on their own ground.
Do not compromise or be 'strategic' with evil: what They hate most, what is most effective - is also the least 'sophisticated' response.
Keep it simple, keep it lucid, be concise; do Not try to meet evil half-way...
What is probably best, what likely causes most rapid and extreme harm to Them; is a childishly-direct response to what is childishly-obvious to the Christian discerning spirit.
As so often; we are called-upon to choose a 'return' to child-like simplicity - but consciously, deliberately, as mature adults.
As so often; the highest knowledge is a rediscovery of 'the obvious'.
This is a superb post. All we need to defeat evil is courage and truthfulness. It's a mistake to engage the enemy on his own ground by trying to explain or justify or debate what we know to be true. That will just lead us into the complexities that, as you point out, he loves because it confuses and obfuscates. There is a saying that mind can argue for any position but truth can only be known. The enemy loves to argue because arguments resolve nothing but can be used to justify anything.
@William - Thanks!
That is why Christians are urged to inwardly recite the Jesus Prayer constantly, until it is as natural as breathing:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
AK - The Jesus Prayer has value, but no automatic and habitual saying of words can have the spiritual power of conscious and deliberate choice.
The original Proud One loves to engage us on the level of our pride by way of doubtful disputation.
I'm reminded of Christ's succinct reply to the convoluted test question on who's wife will she be in the resurrection...
1. You don't know Scripture nor God's power
2. No marriage on heaven anyway
3. People aren't dead anyway
4. "You are quite wrong" (mic drop!)
"Remember that courage is a virtue, and therefore demons have it not."
- Fred Saberhagen, "Empire of the East"
The scene is of battle, where manifested demons shrink from attacking when one of the defenders has shown the ability to hurt them. Another character wonders why the demons don't all join together and attack as one, since they would clearly overwhelm the human forces. This is the answer his mentor gives.
Bruce, have you ever researched Blessed Mary of Jesus in Agreda? She has left an amazing account of the Blessed Virgin Mary's life. I ask because demons play a huge role and Mary - the BVM - explains much of what we need to know about the power - and lack of it - that demons have and how they are allow to use it.
I would be interested in you opinion if you are familiar. At least look up the connection between Mary of Agreda and Texas...
This makes sense. Demons attack people in subtle ways by influencing thoughts and desires, as you've said. And your advice here is useful in shielding one's self from such supernatural attacks.
If somebody fails to do this and they allow this negative influence to grow in their mind, the demons can actually begin to influence the material world through that person, which is something they could not do otherwise. Now you're dealing with a external material manifestation of the same phenomenon. In such case, the technique for dealing with and defending against such possessed people remains the same, and in my experience has been proven to be quite effective, when I've remembered to do this.
I do a lot of ridiculous things, and one of them is regularly podering the movie Time Bandits directed by Terry Gilliam.
Your post brought a scene from it to mind: the henchmen of the Supreme Evil Guy get excited by the idea of being killed by him. As in, it would be a reward, a good thing. The movie is a comedy and the scene is very funny but it always struck me as very meaningful.
I'll also note the henchmen's names are "Robert" abd "Benson". Robert Benson having written a book about the reign of the Anti-christ called Lord of the World.
This should be shouted from the rooftops. I'm reminded of my now 93 year old aunt who throughout her life stood firm in Christ. Though highly articulate she always responded in the manner Dr Charlton describes. Clear, simple statements of biblical truth drawn from scripture. During my atheist years I thought her a simpleton, which I now know to be an inverted truth.
@ Ann K Regarding the Jesus Prayer as practiced by the Eastern Orthodox my understanding is that you are not to practice it like that without spiritual direction because you can drive yourself actually mad. Which makes sense, repetitive behavior can be a symptom of some types of mental illness as I understand it,
In an interview I saw online, Father Merosne, a Catholic Priest from Haiti, spoke of an exorcism he performed on a girl. While they sang a song of Mary around her, the demonic voice said, "Why are you so mean? Do not call on this woman! I have one broken leg already, this will break my other!" (The girl did not have a broken leg, but sometimes she would try to run away and fall over as if one leg were disabled.)
So, a demon can be a cry-bully apparently.
@MD - I do not think that is true - at least not mainstream in EO. The Way of the Pilgrim, for example, suggests quite differently. Also, there is essentially no genuine spiritual direction nowadays (says Father Seraphim Rose, and others), so anything which *requires* it would be impossible.
The problem with the Jesus Prayer is not that it is too powerful to use unsupervised; but that it simply does not work - at least not in the way that it once did in the context of a fully-Christian society and an earlier kind of human consciousness (a consciousness where words and things were not separated).
@ap - When the provenance of information about demons becomes so tenuous as YouTube videos - it is not reliable. All such needs seriously to be tested by intuitive discernment.
If demons are spiritual vampires, then perhaps a failed assault on a human being's soul actually costs them inner vitality, sanity even, such that they are in danger of wandering and thirsting through a wasteland for decades or centuries afterward. A feverish, delirious nightmare that never ends and never makes sense, a narcissist with no narcissistic supply, a self-appointed god with no worshippers.
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