Leaving aside the how, the if, the theology not to mention defining what a demon is to begin with, the concept of demonic possession removes responsibility. "It's not him, it's the demon!" All they have to do is convince a priest (in the comparative sense, not necessarily Catholic) and BAM, they are forgiven and do not have to accept the consequences. Meanwhile, society at large doesn't have to face the issues that may have contributed to someone striking out. "Demons" exist outside of human control, therefore "demonic" action is beyond anything poor little humans can do.

"Demonic possession" is a cop out, and that has nothing to do with if the "demon" is "real."

Pre-Christianity, dæmons were spirits and not necessarily (or usually) harmful or malevolent. In other faiths, Benin vodun for example, possession is not bad, but it does mean giving up free will to the spirit for a time. Even some forms of Christianity embrace a version of it. That's where we get the words ecstatic and ecstasy.

This is just something else where you have no practical experience and you're "working" from a patchwork of what you've read from gods-know-what sources. You don't know enough to pose a danger (even to yourself), but in your quest to be mysterious you've latched on a way that perpetuates victimhood, excuses responsibility, and places some human action outside of anything that can be corrected by "normal" humans. That just annoys me.


And that is another reason why "demon possession" annoys me. No matter how hard I try to leave out the psychological, cultural, magickal, and theological aspects, those things always end up being part of the conversation. Here's the brief version.

Unless you are part of a culture that actively practices possession, the chances of you being possessed "just because" are vanishingly small. As in ninety-nine point something something or other percent against. Most exceptions create their own monsters in their own minds and souls. Which unfortunately is way too easy. I call it the Law Of Monsters, Beware the horrors you bring.The people who claim otherwise are usually looking for attention and power. If you're a decent person by the standards of your culture, you're reasonably protected from "intruders." Even more so if you are devout.

Despite Hollywood and the clamorings of certain ministers and hucksters, most Americans can't tell you what a demon is or even if spirits are real or not. If there is evidence, chances are it's created by the humans perceiving it. We just don't have the cultural tools to recognize them, much less tell if they are beneficial or not. And if you know your Bible enough to know that the whole War in Heaven isn't part of the cannon and was copy-pasted from other faiths, then the idea of fallen angels trying to destroy mankind just doesn't hold water. Holy or otherwise.

I'm not "defending" the demons. I'm pointing out that you don't know if they exist, if demon is an accurate name, what their motivations are, and what they can and cannot do. Moreover, you don't really need to know.

It's a pretty good bet that anyone talking about "demonic possession" is trying to scare you or scam you. Especially if it's just part of casual conversation.


See, this is why I don't usually get into "demonic possession" in a regular blog discussion. It comes down to politics, specifically whose theology is going to be used as THE standard.

I'm telling you how other cultures (and some American subcultures) view spirits and possession. I'm also deliberately telling people that messing with "demons" is a bad idea unless you have the cultural background and preparation. And I'm saying that almost everyone is protected as long as they follow the rules of their culture. It takes deliberate steps and certain choices to remove that protection.

And yes, I'm telling you that almost all claims of "demonic possession" in America and probably most of Europe are bunk.

I believe spirits are real. If you like I can even explain the difference between an egregore and an elemental and a remanent. I can even debate their objective vs. their subjective existence. Evil opens up a warehouse of cases of cans of worms that nobody is going to agree on. That's where politics and the theology get in the way of the practicality, especially if there is more than one faith involved.

I can't tell you how many times in the last year or so I've had this discussion. So I am putting it up here for reference.

Way too many people are into religion for the politics. They want to control the Other Guy. They don't want their ideas and actions questioned.

Demonic possession is not about politics or world events.