The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Friday, April 13, 2012

No, He Does Not Need A Stupid Exorcism

CBC is reporting that an exorcist was being sought for a potential case of demonic possession. You know, I really wish that news anchors could have a "facepalm" gesture for stories like this. Let's follow the timeline:
According to church officials, a priest was called to a Saskatoon home by a woman who said her uncle showed signs of being possessed by the devil.
So we have established that the niece is a religious person who actually believes that some guy in a dress with no counseling training might be able to help her emotionally disturbed uncle. Alrighty.
At the home, the priest encountered a shirtless middle-aged man, slouched on a couch and holding his head in his hands.
So the priest showed up to Scarborough(or insert local edge-of-town, hicksville, big-hair, stripmall township of which people make fun)! Ba dum dum!
The man had used a sharp instrument to carve the word Hell on his chest.
Ok, so now we're into self-abusive, crazy behavior that betrays the individual's need for professional counseling. He's crying out for help and all he gets is a deluded priest with a cross who is going to reinforce the delusions and "treat" them by blessing him. Awesome. I'm invested in this story; what happens next?
When the priest entered the room, the man spoke in the third person, saying "He belongs to me. Get out of here," using a strange voice.
It's weird that something basically straight out of the movie, The Exorcist is actually being seen in a "possessed" person, isn't it? No? It's not? Oh, I stand corrected.
The priest told CBC News that he had never seen anything like this and was concerned enough to call police, for safety reasons.
Pat on the back due to the priest here as he at least had the common sense to call the police. It's a small pat, but hey, it's a pat nonetheless.
He said he then blessed the man, saying he belonged to the good side, to Jesus. With that, the man's voice returned to normal for a short time...The unusual voice returned when police arrived, and the priest continued to bless the man until he resumed a more normal composure.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, right? The only thing the priest could do was bless the guy. What else was there? Checkers? The man losing his shit is obviously a religious fella, so perhaps reassuring him that Jesus had him on the "cool list" was a positive move, but it still seems like that is playing into the delusions, doesn't it? It's like a person who says they've been abducted by UFOs joining a "support group" of others who have been "likewise abducted" so they can share their stories and spiral downward into a world of fantasy and craziness. Watch this clip from Penn & Teller's Bullshit - the CRAZY starts at 54 seconds, "support" group at 6 min, 25 secs:
Bishop Don Bolen explained that the ritual of exorcism is a very structured exercise. He said it was not clear if the Saskatoon man was possessed or experiencing a mental breakdown.
As Samuel L. Jackson said in Pulp Fiction, "Oh, well allow me to retort!" He was having a mental breakdown. I can say this with confidence because being "possessed" isn't fucking real. Pretty straightforward, really.

Did the cat drink the milk from the saucer on the floor, or was it the Blue Milk Fairy who comes through the glass in the kitchen window and slurp it up with her magic lucite straw?'s a mystery, I guess we'll never know!
"I would think there are perhaps more stories about exorcisms in Hollywood than there are on the ground," Bolen said. "But the Catholic Church teaches that there is a force of darkness, and that God is stronger than that darkness."
You'd guess that there are more in Hollywood? Holy hell, this Bolen fella needs a reality check, stat.
Church leaders in Saskatoon have been considering whether Saskatoon needs a trained exorcist.
Let me save the people of Saskatoon a little bit of their hard-earned money: NO! You do not need a goddamn exorcist. That's like asking if the city of Saskatoon needs a sabre-tooth tiger wrangler. For fuck's sake....
Anglican priest Colin Clay, who has worked with Bisztyo (a Catholic priest with "exorcism training" who retired), told CBC News the topic of exorcism touches on questions that go back centuries.

The issues revolve around the nature of evil and how to respond to people who claim they have the devil in them.
Again, I'll give a succinct answer: If someone claims to have the "devil in them", you get them professional counseling. You don't bring them to some guy who thinks there's an invisible all-loving man in the sky and another freak living in the core of the Earth who makes you bad. Sometimes treating "fire with fire" is a really bad idea.
"The churches have to respond," Clay said. "And they'll either do it by saying — some churches will say — 'Well that's the devil, and the devil is at work in the world and we've got to deal with it,' or the churches will say, 'Well there's certainly evil in the world, whether there's an actual Satan or devil, there's certainly evil in the world, and it has a terrible effect on people's lives,' and so we've got to respond to it."
*Sigh* Yes, there's evil; no, there's no devil. The way you deal with evil is you either kill it (the person), you throw their ass in jail, or you get them professional counseling (are you seeing a theme here yet, religious folks?). At no point in the response-tree of dealing with evil or crazy are priests involved. At all. Ever. You serve no purpose other than the most basic of social tasks (marriages for people who believe in your nonsense, funerals for people who believe in your nonsense, weekly talks to people who believe in your nonsense). Please, leave the serious tasks to people who have put in the time to actually know what the fuck it is they're doing.
"I take evil very, very seriously," Clay said. "I take the effect that it has on people very seriously, but I don't think that there's any quick fix. The word exorcism worries me a little bit, because it's been given a Hollywood sort of flavour to it, and it's not as simple as that. You don't just say you've got the devil, I'm going to drive it out."
No, YOU don't do anything. YOU just stick to your basics and leave the mental breakdowns and chest carvings to the professionals, please. Clay is right that there are no quick fixes, but no part of that long journey to recovery involves dealing with some quack in a dress talking about their Sky-Daddy who's going to beat up the other bad Daddy-Down-There.

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2 Barbaric Yawps:

At 13/4/12 7:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude. True story. I was just reading this in my RSS feed and thought that this was from a different blog/author than Skeptic Mike. So I was fucking blown away that this other guy had fucking called a spade a spade.

Then I realized that I'm a little drunk and that actually this was you. So while this was an awesome post, I totally thought is was coming from this asshole in my hometown of Charlotte, NC and I was so psyched.

Anyway- that people still believe in demonic possession is a mystery to me. Great read.

At 13/4/12 7:37 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Ha! Thanks and that's totally hilarious! I may have to grab a few drinks later myself :)


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