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Friday, March 25, 2005


Someone recommended a book about Satan manifested on earth to me. I didn't have the heart to tell her the book looked like a trashy pulp novel published by a vanity press, and instead asked about it. It was written by an M.D. whose husband got . . . what's the word? infiltrated? overcome? inhabited? by the devil.

This woman (who recommended the book) had her own personal story about--aha! there's the word--demon possession. In her church, a man turned to evil ways (like drinking) when something hard happened to him (losing a loved one, I think). That probably happened over some time, but when she was with him, his countenance suddenly changed. He started glaring and talking with a deep voice.

She started praying with him, holding his hands. He struggled with her, and tried to rip his hands from her grip. She asked who he was, and he answered with a name that was not the man's human name. (She told me what he said, and it wasn't a name that corresponded to any nickname of Satan's I had ever heard. It sounded very sci-fi, though.) More praying, more "devil, I command you to leave this man," and this woman got out her holy oil. She threw it on the man. He started screaming and tore his shirt off like the oil caught it on fire. At that point, his body lifted up in the air and flew against a wall. This woman said he left a backprint in the wall that still remains as a witness to what happened. (Not clear if it was an indentation due to the force with which he hit the wall, or a stain from the oil.)

At any rate, if I read that as a story, I'm not sure I'd believe it. But I respect the woman who had the experience, and I can't not believe her. In general, I believe people who believe. I believe it for them.

I don't know what to think. It's so far removed from what I believe. It makes me even wonder what I believe, since I've never bothered to hammer out the details of my beliefs. Tim calls me a "deist," and I like the sound of it: someone who believes in a higher power or god but adheres to no dogma, and believes ritual exists to comfort people, not to praise that power.

But honestly, I am in awe of Tim's connection to the spiritual world, so I bob along aimlessly, agreeing with any label he gives me. Not until he calls me, say, a Satanist, would I probably stop and say, "hey wait a minute--those aren't my beliefs." And I am envious of the strength of his beliefs, but it doesn't necessarily spur me on to articulate my own.

But going back to the demon possession. My view of the world doesn't include a physical manifestion of Satan. I don't even think I believe that there is a devil. To me, evil is human. Evil is weakness. But because weakness is part of humanity, I think it's all ultimately forgiveable. Sad, tragic, but in the end, understandable and forgiveable.


Blogger Skeezix said...

LE, wow. I am so glad you relayed that story. For some reason I find it hard to believe that someone would be possessed by the devil (just because I don't believe that sort of thing) and yet I totally believe in ghosts and haunted houses.

That is kind of odd. Maybe I am possessed by the devil and don't know it. Come over and throw some holy oil on me, if you don't have holy oil you could just throw some olive oil on me and see what happens.

3:19 PM  

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