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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious practices and basic data


Demonic possession, demonic oppression,
deliverance ministries, and exorcisms

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bullet"Certain rash people have asserted that, just as there are no mice where there are no cats, so no one is possessed where there are no exorcists." Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. 1
bullet"...the gate to the carnal self is five-fold: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. A demon can come in through any of the five gates by tempting the guard at the door. If the guard allows the demon in then the demon has authority to move about freely. You gave him this authority by giving up your free will to stand and rebuke the temptation." Chris Ward. 2

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Christianity has historically taught that Satan and his hordes of demons roam about the world attempting to harm, harass, and destroy humans. There are many dozens of passages in the Christian Scriptures that describe the belief that demons can indwell or possess a human being and cause them to behave strangely. Much mental and physical illness was attributed to this origin during the 1st century CE. A major part of the Gospel message concerns Jesus' healing ministry of exorcism. He is recorded as having cured numerous sick people by banishing one or more demons from their body. In one memorable incident, he transferred a thousand demonic spirits from one person to a herd of pigs.

There is no consensus in North America about the existence of indwelling evil spirits, and effectiveness of exorcism:

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Topics covered in this section:

bulletBible passages about possession and exorcism
bulletBeliefs and practices of:
bulletRoman Catholics,

bulletConservative Protestants

bulletSkeptics, Secularists, and religious liberals
bulletBeliefs and practices of some isolated groups:
bulletA West African / Fundamentalist Christian syncretistic religion in the UK

bulletAn exorcism / crucifixion / ritual murder in an isolated Romanian Orthodox convent
bulletOther information:
bulletIs possession and exorcism still valid today?
bulletDemonic possession, demonic oppression, and Schizophrenia
bulletRecent events in the media

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References used:

  1. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, "Aphorisms." Book review at:
  2. Chris Ward, "Can a Christian be demon possessed?," (1999), at:

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Copyright © 1998 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-JAN-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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