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Exorcism
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Posted 12/29/06 , edited 12/29/06
OK, many of us have seen films such as the Exorcist and Constantine, dealing with exorcism, but does anyone know much about this topic or have any personal experience? I know I don't.

There have been religion and faith threads before, with people arguing one way or the other, but this thread can be considered a case study on exorcism. We can zoom in on particulars in in order to understand the whole better. Some people say that there are demons and that they fight them. This is a strong claim worth investigating and should have some evidence for it if what these exorcists say is the case.

I suppose there are roughly three possiblities, 1) the practice of exorcism and what goes with it is real and is like a particular faith states it is, 2) it is supernatural at least to some extent, but not as a particular faith lays it out, and 3) completely unreal in the sense that it is just hallucinations or mental illnesses, and so on. Much seems to need to be explained nonetheless.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exorcism
Head Roman Catholic exorcist (has beef with harry potter): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriele_Amorth
2 Interview with exorcists: http://www.medjugorje.org/framorth1.htm
http://www.signandsight.com/features/530.html
Watch at your own risk: http://youtube.com/results?search_query=Exorcism&search=Search
Demonologist, David Constantine's site: http://www.phantasmpsiresearch.com/Demonic.htm
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Posted 12/29/06
This is indeed a very interesting topic.
I have personally never had a brush with the real thing.
I think that if demons really can possess humans then exorcism is probably a good thing but we really can't know if it's true. At least not untill we cross to the other side (i mean die). So i guess that if it is looked at as something that can free a human's soul from demons its a good thing.
However, it can be very dangerous. I mean just consider the countless cases of children suffering from epilepsia and the like being killed by an exorcism because their parents are too "religious" to go to the doctor.
I don't really have a strong oppinion on the matter. I would go either way.
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Posted 12/29/06
It is possible that anyone can be possessed by something supernatural but not everyone can effectively perform an exorcism. Just because you can utter the name of Jesus or God, it doesn't mean that you can do so.
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Posted 12/29/06
hm...exorcism...not something...i...want to talk about...at the moment...
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Posted 12/29/06
Personally I don't buy into the supernatural and those people look rediculous on youtube. Faking it, I'd say.
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Posted 12/29/06
I think there are evil things out there so it's possible. Of course I beleive in Aliens so...I don't know. I guess since I beleive in different dimentions and stuff like that I think it would be possible but I think that humans are pretty evil themselves.
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Posted 12/29/06
^ yes totally agree.. people are evil themselves. but most exorcism ive seen are fake... theres actually one religion that i know that use it to lure people in.. its just stupid.
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Posted 12/29/06
Yeah a lot of exorcisms are fake and they end up doing horrible things to people.
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Posted 12/29/06
~ Edited ~

I think possession might be real but some people are often tricked into believing they're possessed.People are often tricked into many things now adays and the exorcisms could be just the same.But, there's so many people who think they're possessed and seek for an exorcist for help instead of going to the doctor's .

However, maybe the Subconcious Mind has a big part to play in this sort of thing. I hear the Subconcious Mind is capable of creating alot of issues ( That's something else I believe in ). :P

Who knows people ? I know I don't.0=

I try to stay as open-minded as possible to find a sensible and satisfying conclusion but I could try harder, like doing research of my own.o0


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Posted 12/29/06
I think that there are demons who can posses people, I think sometimes people can be possesed without even knowing it. but the vast majority of exorcisms to me seem fake.
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31 / M / New York
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Posted 12/29/06
I believe in the supernatural but I don't believe in exorcisms. From the research that I've done I see no link between the Religously founded practice of Exorcism and the Paranormal or supernatural. I'm a firm believer in ghosts but I don't believe a Priest waiving around a cross and sprinkling water that was blessed by a Child Molestor is going to do anything about it.

(Sorry if that last line was harsh, I'm sick 2day. )
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Posted 12/29/06
A lot of Supers (supernaturalists) here, but thats not really a surprise. Try to give some more reasoning on why you believe what you do, rather then just stating your beliefs please, so we might actually be able to get somewhere.

I'm trying to find some skeptical stuff, but its difficult as this topic is not often considered seriously by scientists.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_possession

Book review: http://www.csicop.org/si/2003-01/exorcism.html
"When Cuneo asked Peck in a phone interview whether he thought that exorcism would someday become the serious subject of scientific investigation, Peck expresses doubt for absolutely shocking reasons. He is not pessimistic due to the fact that there is no credible evidence for the reality of demonic possession. Instead he asserts—in the tradition of a dime-a-dozen pseudoscientist rather than a trained psychiatrist—that the “country’s intellectual and religious elites,” are to blame, including “the leadership of the American Catholic Church,” who “have seemed determined to keep the door shut.”"

"Cuneo does emphasize one conclusion that all skeptics will gladly embrace. The Holy Army of priests, ministers, and laity who do battle with demons vying against God for the souls of men itself benefits from the power of one subtle creature which unquestionably influences the hearts and opinions of millions: American mass media. Without Hollywood, ABC, or Malachi Martin’s publisher, the exorcism business would never have gotten off the ground. While Cuneo may in some cases be slow to condemn what is scientifically damnable, I believe that no skeptic’s library on occult or supernatural claims would be complete without American Exorcist. Cuneo has done quality research on all level and from many angles. He opens the door for readers into a strange but amazing world, where people fervently believe that Satan and his minions are at work in a struggle that is simultaneously personal and cosmic. He also does an excellent job tracking the media’s role in popular belief, and he is refreshingly scathing in pointing out those who see religious beliefs as a means to pop fame."
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31 / M / New York
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Posted 12/29/06
Interesting. Anne Rice made me feel that same way in "Memnoch the Devil." Which BTW is a great read. Part of the Vampire Chronicles but deals more with the battle between god and the devil.

I don't see many exorcisms...or possessions for that matter. It just seems to me that if someone says they're 'possessed by a demon' they're lying. Either they know exactly what they're saying and they're trying to get away with things under the excuse of being 'possessed'. Or they want attention. I've never heard of a ghost seriously residing in someones body. Someones house? yes. Graveyards. Ok. But enough to change that persons personality??? I don't think so.. Of course I could be wrong, hey I hope I'm wrong. I just want to see it with my own eyes.
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Posted 12/29/06
I really don't buy it, I mean these ideas about exorcisms and demons were around before Psychology existed (I'm sure there were "psychologists" before the term existed but you know what I mean)
Imagine what people thought in the Middle Ages when they saw a person who had seizures or schizophrenia? what is the easiest "answer"? A demon or something supernatural. We humans imagine a lot of things, especially when we hit an intellectual wall because our current knowledge is limited so we cannot comprehend it, but we also have a limited imagination. Why do you think the popular ideas about what aliens look like are so lame? (standing up right, with two eyes in front and even five fingers...come on give me a break)
Same thing with Stigmata, as soon as some scientists started saying that the nails were located on the wrists and not in the palms, that same year people who "had" stigmata all of a sudden had their wounds in the wrists, kind of strange don't you think? considering that previous cases had their wounds in the palms.

There is the possibility that these things exists but I think is very small and very different from what popular culture and people who use this to get money portray.
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Posted 12/29/06
http://www.meta-religion.com/Psychiatry/Demonic_possesion/are_they_demons.htm

Here is a distinction between 3 versions of exorcism made by the head of the Roman Catholic exorcists, "one in which an object (such as your house or car) is exorcised, another performed at every baptism in which the devil formally is renounced, and finally the type in which demons are cast from the body of a victim. Although Amorth takes care to determine whether a victim truly is possessed or simply suffering from a mental condition he says, "An unnecessary exorcism never hurt anybody."" Clearly not true about not hurting anybody if you check out the 2nd link bellow.

A good line from the article: "Who, after all, is performing these ceremonies? Have we not learned from modern psychiatry that mental illness is not caused by demonic possession? Or was C.S. Lewis correct in saying, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was in convincing the world he didn't exist"?"

More resources, read the first one at least:
http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-01/i-files.html
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/exorcist-rituals.html
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/exorcist.html
http://www.csicop.org/list/listarchive/msg00110.html
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