Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I realized yesterday that, with Halloween coming, I had written a post entitled "Evil". I decided, more out of a sense of fun than anything else, to do some other similarly themes kinds of things until this Saturday.

I am old enough to remember when The Exorcist was scary. To be honest, the first time I saw it, some (although not all) of the scenes really scared the shit out of me. The sounds from the attic early on, especially; my parents' house has a big attic and while it was never really scary, forever after I would wonder whether I would hear sounds portending something horrible from up above.

My view of the movie, and its subject matter, has changed drastically over time. I guess I really didn't think much about the topic - demon possession - until I was a bit older. After studying theology and all, though, I have to ask a question: Why would they bother? Furthermore, I have to wonder about the Roman Catholic view of exorcism, at least as presented in the movie.

It seems to me that declaring the name of Christ would be enough to banish the demon back to whatever circle of hell it usually occupies. Or are demons more powerful than the Second Person of the Trinity?

While I'm at it, why are demons, and evil things in general, very often offered up to audiences as erudite, refined, well-educated, just kind of short-tempered with weak stomachs and silly ideas about what might be considered blasphemous (Linda Blair projective vomiting pea soup on the priest isn't scary, it's just kind of gross; the whole masturbating with a crucifix is actually disturbing, although not in a theological sense)? Does that mean that well-mannered, educated humans are actually demons in disguise? Stephen King pulled the same trick in the novel Salem's Lot (the original TV movie version had the vampire Barlow more a Nosferatu-type of creature, rather than dandyfied Euro-trash like the book). Just because a demon, or a vampire, or whatever evil creature we may be referencing, has been alive a long time doesn't mean it is intelligent. Isn't it possible there are demons who are as stupid as stumps, and that stupidity is reflected in their speech?

In all, while it has provided fodder for one moderately scary movie, as a possible paranormal event, I just don't accept the idea that there are metaphysical creatures from hell just itching to "take over" us human beings. Considering the horrors that we human beings routinely visit upon one another without the direct intervention of such alleged creatures or events, I for one would want to ask a person who claims to be possessed, "Wasn't Rwanda evil enough for you?"

Virtual Tin Cup

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