Thursday, 10 January 2008
Tis a typical scene from the TV series, "The Exorcist": The woman (Strangely, for reasons best known to scriptwriters, most demon-possessed victims are invariably women) is tied to the bed post. The priest, at the footed end of the bed, recites religious or biblical incantations, while the bound-up woman writhes and moans in an inhuman, beastly voice, spewing profanities, blasphemies and finally, a green, viscous fluid in the direction of the offending priest.
Exorcisms: Religious rituals meant to dispel, "exorcise" and eradicate supposedly devious, vicious and ultimately invisible entities from human bodies. It is an ancient practice, prevalent across a myriad of cultures and continents.
Ask any well-respected, credible psychiatrist, and he or she will explain that most supposed "demon-possessed" victims are really victims of clinical psychiatric and mental disorders, and a prescription of medication and well-advised psychiatric follow-ups will do a great deal in alleviating, if not curing these ill-conceived concoctions of the supernatural kind. Schizophrenics, for example, can hear voices in their heads, hallucinate about non-existent objects or entities and cannot differentiate fiction from reality; other mental disorders can cause mental patients to behave in ways so erratic and abnormal that superstitious people are apt to attribute them to an attack from evil, unseen entities.
While Science is still lagging somewhat in terms of mapping out the exact mechanisms behind mental disorders, continuous research into the functions of our brains have given us no reason to suspect a supernatural notion behind mental disorders: Like any other organs, our brains are simply never "designed": It is a product of millions of years of simian evolution, and like our ape counterparts, we are just as susceptible to mental and physical impairment as our evolutionary cousins.
The Vatican, however, is hell-bent on buckling Medical Science: For reasons only the pockets of greedy, opulent churches will know, hordes of God squads have been sent out to "deal" with alleged demonic possessions, all under the name of waging a war with Satan, the alleged archetypal angel-turned demon.
Pope's exorcist squads will wage war on Satan
by Nich Pisa, Daily Mail
The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism. Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult. They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness." Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession. The initiative was revealed by 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican "exorcistinchief," to the online Catholic news service Petrus. "Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," he said. "Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a properly trained exorcist.
Turning Back The Clock: Rejecting Science and Reason for Witch Hunts and Superstition
Like the witch hunts of old, the Vatican is adamant when it comes to kick-starting lynchings of this sort, although it must be said that Satanism and Pagans have often bore the blunt of alleged child sacrifices and other macabre acts, which actually paled in comparison to what the Vatican could do in their heyday: Mass annihilation of flowering cultures, from the Cathars in France to the decimation of the Mexican and other north American tribes in the subsequent colonialization of the New World (a blame which was laid solely on secular authorities, despite the fact that mass burnings and coerced conversions were carried out with the blessings of Vatican friars and explicitly requested by the Church).
As a religious skeptic and a bonafide atheist, I tend to smell a rat when the Pope starts brandying anti-science propaganda that, given a modern era such as ours, should be considered a stupid, pious joke rather than a statement that should be taken seriously (Who, except the Catholics and the occasional Muslim who burns cars and flags when the Pope speaks ill of Islam, bothers to listen to that old fuck anyway???).
A lethal combination of priestly pedophilia, bad press and falling tithes may have something to do with this, and while the Vatican has always have priests trained to conduct exorcisms, such a prominent support for such an archaic act truly defies common sense.
The insipid idea that mentally-ill people be unnecessarily subjected to Godly abuse and untested exorcisms is not only an unnecessary waste of money in the form of hiring the impotent priest, exorcism methods, such as dunking a victim's face into water in an attempt to drive out an alleged demon or spirit, can endanger the lives of people who are actually seeking for a cure.
Just as we no longer seek the aid of priests to cure our physical diseases, we should not depend on priests and shamans to cure or alleviate mental problems. If anything else, the Vatican should concentrate on eradicating their own vermin in their backyards, instead of poking their offending noses into the realms of Science.
"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy."