Secular, skeptical and religiously liberal groups and individuals have long given up
any belief in Satan, his demons, demon possession as a cause of mental and physical
illness, and the need for exorcism. Few pay any attention to these topics today. Most
regard alleged demonic possession as actually being caused by:
If a person is convinced that they have been
possessed by a demon or by Satan, then an exorcism may well release them from
the belief. In the same way, a person who believes that they are being harmed by
an evil curse can sometimes find relief by going to a practitioner who claims to
be able to lift curses.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, many mental health therapists and
counselors were using Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT) to
attempt to uncover what they believed to be repressed "memories" -- typically of
childhood sexual abuse. It was only after many years that most observers
determined that these "memories" were of events that never happened. Some RMT
therapists went further and diagnosed Multiple
Personality Disorder/ Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD/DID) in their patients. The
clients were believed to have brains which were occupied by two or more distinct
personalities. Some attributed the cause of MPD/DID to indwelling demons.
However, most mental health professionals remained unconvinced of the
existence of MPD/DID. They regarded it as an iatrogenic disorder - an artificial
problem generated by the physician or therapist. Today, very few therapists
still believe in the reality of RMT or MPD/DID. It has largely vanished from the
therapeutic scene. With its disappearance, the belief in indwelling demons
Hollywood has made a long series of Grade B horror movies on evil spirits, and even a
few feature films, such as The Amityville Horror, Carrie, The Devil in Miss Jones
(XXX film), The Exorcist, Ghost Busters, Gremlins, Halloween, The Night
Child, The Omen, Poltergeist, and Rosemary's Baby. 2
They continue to make movies promoting an imaginary form of Satan worship that was created
by the church over 500 years ago.
Kids still enjoy being scared by evil spirits, "Witches," skeletons,
haunted houses, ghosts, etc. at Halloween. But most "believe" in these entities
in the same way that they believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny - as an amusing
and harmless fable from a pre-scientific age.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Exorcisms," an entry in The Skeptic's Dictionary at: http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/
"The Exorcist made me do it!- Possession films of the 1970's," at: http://users.aol.com/
Copyright © 1998 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants
on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2005-JUN-05
Author: B.A. Robinson