And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. (Matthew 17.14-20)
Do you believe in spirits and demons? When you’re ill, do you visit the nearest exorcist or do you take yourself off to the doctor or hospital? Of course, most Christians (but by no means all) have more faith in the medical profession than they do in the wingnuts who’d tell them their ailment was the result of demonic activity and command the demon to leave in the name of Jesus.
Why? Because, even Christians know, in spite of what they might tell you, what causes disease and illness. They know what cures them too; and it has nothing to do with Jesus. ‘The Son of God’ is among the wingnuts when it comes to believing unclean spirits are at the root of human ailments and behaviour (Mark 5.1-8; Matthew 8.28-34; Matthew 12.43-45; Luke 4.33-36; Luke 8.29 etc.)
In spite of the fact there’s absolutely no evidence that demons exist, Jesus thought that invisible supernatural creatures were responsible for conditions like epilepsy. Like everyone at the time he thought that if these unclean spirits could be driven out, then the condition would be ‘cured’. Some follow in his misguided footsteps today; the Catholic church has an entire coven of exorcists, and charlatans like the Reverend Bob Larson make a living driving out the demons of pride, lust, homosexuality and greed from stooges and the gullible (except of course they don’t.)
If you’re a Christian, you should believe in demons and unholy spirits; you believe everything Jesus uttered was true, don’t you?
Of course, Jesus was a product of the pre-scientific era in which he lived; his ignorance might be excusable if it wasn’t offered up as God’s Truth. All that Jesus’ belief in devils and unclean spirits demonstrates is that he was very much a man of his time – evidence, if more were needed, that he wasn’t remotely divine. Unless, of course, the God he also believed in was as ignorant of the causes of illness and human behaviour as he was.
But next time you’re unwell, Christian, or you’re feeling a mite greedy or lustful, don’t go to the doctor’s. Don’t even ask the Lord for forgiveness. Have a little faith and, in the name of Jesus, command that hell-spawned demon within you to leave. See how that works out for you.
Update: New this week in ‘It Can All Be Blamed On Demons’:
Right-wing American broadcaster, Bryan Fischer, claims unarmed black teenager killed by cop was in fact possessed by a ‘homicidal demon’.
Tele-evangelist Pat Robertson asserts playing Dungeons and Dragons leads to demon possession.
Thank you, Lord, for your endorsement of fantasist rubbish like this.