“And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’” Acts 19:15
This post is the ninth in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:
Harmful Effect #9: People choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during exorcisms.
There is not one example in the Bible of anyone being choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during an exorcism. (unless are counted the seven sons of Sceva who were beaten by a demon-possessed man during a failed attempt at exorcism) There is no biblical prescription to choke, starve, poison, or beat anyone to death during the course of an exorcism. In fact, there is no prescription for exorcism procedures at all, except perhaps Jesus’ observation that some evil spirits can only be removed through prayer.
I understand that the Roman Catholic Church does have official exorcism procedures. I do not know if they include the practices of choking, starving, poisoning, and beating (I doubt they do). I do know that their procedures are not found in scripture since, as I noted above, no such procedures are prescribed in scripture. In any case, I do not consider the Roman Catholic Church to be an organization that operates within the parameters of biblical doctrines. It’s apostate, pagan in nature, and superstitious.
Lastly, the author of this list of “harmful effects of Christianity” list did not bother to provide actual examples of violent exorcisms that resulted in death. Even if we grant that such exorcisms have occurred, I think it’s fair to note that anyone who is presumed to be demon-possessed is likely either severely mentally ill or actually demon-possessed. It’s hardly unreasonably to suspect that such a person would engage in violence himself or come to a violent end.
Such an end isn’t a “harmful effect of Christianity” but rather an unfortunate reality of life. Christians should keep in mind that Jesus came so that we might have more abundant life. We should also keep in mind that, when demons crossed Jesus’ path in scripture, they always seemed to know exactly who he was. Jesus is the Son of the Most High God and He did leave his church with the power to face the demons influencing this world.
In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:
Harmful Effect #10. Genital mutilation of babies endorsed by religious texts.
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
**I do not consider the Roman Catholic Church to be a Christian one. It is an apostate entity with many false doctrines. It is certainly culturally Christian, however, and does affirm primary Christian doctrines.