In other words, you can’t provide the expected example. And, of course, you do realize that, as an ex-theology professor, I thoroughly explored the alleged exceptions you cite as the basis for making my claim. And no, you have not even close to my challenge to explain how you have not falsified Jesus’ kingdom verification. Stay tuned for my post on how modern pastors fundamentally fail to grasp the experience-based nature of the Gospel. And yes, my Harvard professors would be sympathetic to my case, as their glowing report on my dissertation on the gift of prophecy illustrates.
It’s neat that you want to push back against we skeptics “who fundamentally fail to grasp the Gospel” like you do, and that you just want us to trust that you are more “thorough” than every other scholar.
But whether you “expected” them or not, Davo and I both repeatedly provided numerous examples that plainly falsified your claim of no belief in demons & exorcisms before Jesus, to most of which you again offer no response at all. Indeed, as far as I can see, no case was presented for your unique view on this bare claim.
I will gladly leave it to others to evaluate our competing cases concerning the presence of ancient beliefs in demons, etc, or the lack thereof.
No, I asked you for just one example and you couldn’t provide it, an example of possession by absolutely evil demonic entites inspired by Satan. Your examples are irrelevant because the issue of pre-Christian belief in demons is not disputed; nor is the reality of spirit expulsion. Readers who have followed our debate will note that you have no good answer to the charge that you refute Jesus’ view of what demonstrates the bestowal of God’s kingdom on us. Stay tuned to my relevant thread on overlooked basis of the Gospel.
Berserk - could you write a sentence or two that delineate the difference between you and Bob on this? I’m kinda losing the thread. Be as clear as you can, I’m old…
Your bold challenge WAS answered and your subsequent silence in the face of solid and valid evidence DEAFENING!!
Well, here’s my take on this whole topic. And my questions:
There are psychiatrists, who help the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches - diagnosis cases of mental illness. Like that at As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession.. They do find cases, that don’t fit into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. So they turn them over, to the church bishops and priests. So what happens with cases, that don’t fit into traditional mental disorders? And to further complicate matters, medical doctors also rule out organic disease. What do we do with these diagnoses?
What about the cases where shamans and spiritual experts…diagnose cases of spiritual possession…from the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Tibetan, Hindu, Taoist, and Islamic traditions? Where they have decades of spiritual training and centuries of tradition?
Now I WON’T say things like:
- These theologians from XYZ church or university (i.e. Theologian Tweety Dee and Professor Tweety Dumb), say demons are fairy tales because…
- I watched this evidence video, from the Theosophical Society - with the PhD degree holders there.
But I’m asking questions folks should be asking - and answering…like those in my first two bullet points.
So if Moses is an idiom it resonates with me that Jesus is too an idiom for,
The love and mercy of God the Jews were searching for in the OT
the compassion of God
the salvation of God
the door to Heaven
the kingdom of Heaven
the pathway through the Valley of Darkness
the 12 disciples an idiom for the 12 tribes of Israel
good conquering evil
the meaning of life
man’s inhumanity to man
man’s contempt for God
all of the above
none of the above
Friend, I’m utterly lost on the coherency of your ‘intellectual’ argument. As I kept summarizing, you first asserted, "You can NOT argue that Jesus reflected his time about exorcism and demons,. Because on the contrary, there were NO EXAMPLES of exorcisms of demons in the Ancient Near East prior to Jesus."
I responded that historians and N.T. scholars agree that examples are ample that 1st century Near East folk widely believed in demons & exorcism, and thus Davo and I documented numerous accounts of “EXAMPLES of exorcisms of demons in the Ancient Near East prior to Jesus.” And you repeated your denials.
NOW!!! you agree that these phenomena prior to Jesus are “not disputed”!!! But that was the entire point of my reams of rejoinder!!! Thus I am grateful for your clear affirmation of that.
The issue that divides us is the legitimacy of demythologizing Jesus by claiming His belief in evil demons sent by Satan to possess people is a culturally based error that renders Jesus delusional. This ploy undermines Jesus’ teaching on the arrival of the kingdom of God and thus amounts to a rejection of His core teaching.
(1) For Jesus, His exorcisms demonstrate that "the kingdom of God has come upon you (Luke 11:20; Matthew 12:28).
In ancient Mesopotamia, all sickness was attributed to spirits. So their exorcisms are crude medical cures, not exorcisms of demons sent by Satan. As already noted, Matthew distinguishes lunacy from possession (4:24). The verb for lunacy literally means “moonstruck” and tha Latin “luna” (“moon”) is the root of the English word lunatic.
In short, in my view, Bob and Qaz have falsified Jesus’ teaching on exorcisms and Satan by demythologizing His concept of the demonic and have not honestly investigated and taken into account modern evidence for the reality of the demonic.
(2) He explains His disciples exorcism success by referring to His vision, “I saw Satan fall like lightning (Luke 10:18),” Is Jesus’ vision a delusion?
(3) Jesus views His ministry as establishing that Satan has already been judged (John 16:11) and, more importantly, teaches that “the Prince of this world” will be cast out when Jesus is crucified (12:31-32). Thus, the reality of Satan is an essential element of the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion.
(4) Yet the implementation of this victory will be gradual and awaits its climactic conclusion. So the world is still in the power of Satan (“the Evil One”–1 John 5:19) and Satan retains his lofty status as "the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
(4) The posted YouTube video demonstrates the reality of demonic possession and exorcism. Furniture is moved or toppled by an unseen hand. Faces are scratched in patterns of 3 to mimic the Trinity. A foul Sulphur-like odor fills the room. Evil apparitions are seen–and shown in the video! Objects owned by the victims dematerialize and relocate to a boarded-up area under the stairs, and so, were not physically relocated there.
I can also cite my own family’s experience with possession. When my cousin was just 3, he was possessed in a waiting car by a demon the moment the demon was exorcized by my uncle inside a house. My cousin’s eyes rolled up until only the whites were visible and he screamed incessantly as his parents pled for deliverance on the drive home. My cousin, now a psychiatrist, says he recalls a vision of being cradled in Jesus’ protective arms during this ordeal. As a teenager, my brother (now a physician) was directed by God to go to a distant location and perform an exorcism. The name of the possessed young man was provided by God and a gentle touch caused the victim to fall prostrate, writhing like a serpent, until he was delivered and expressed his gratitude to my brother. The son of a parishioner of mine became an opioid addict. When this teenager went to a horror movie, he became demonically oppressed. Lights appeared in the dark in his closet and blankets were ripped from his bed by an unseen hand! The exorcism was successful. These cases cannot be dismissed as mere psychopathology. Neither can the “water bombing” from the ceiling and the fires started by mere temper tantrums witnesses by my exorcist professor colleague during my years as a Theology professor.
(5) I have conceived of possession and exorcism the way Jesus does–i. e. as possession by an absolutely evil demon sent by Satan and expulsion of that demon. There are no Jewish examples of this phenomena prior to Jesus’ era. Bob’s challenge based on Josephus’s reference to Solomon is no exception. There is no evidence that Solomon was ever an exorcist. Solomon’s authorship is attached to the Psalms of Solomon, Wisdom of Solomon, Odes of Solomon, all of which were likely composed during or after the first century BC. So Josephus’s report is likely similarly traceable to Solomon mythology invented during the era when Solomon’s name gets wrongly attached to various Jewish works.
Can you find the video on YouTube and paste the YouTube URL? I see you made a post to a Bing URL, which didn’t work for me (maybe because of demons ). If you want me to watch a video, find it on YouTube and paste the URL here.
Berzerk, I appreciate you helping us grasp why affirming demons is so vital for you. But I honestly don’t see how anything in your wide-ranging response here to what I just clarified addresses, much less refutes, the argument I presented. In all my experience with exorcists, it’s apparent to me that intelligent people present at these events diagnose and interpret others and these subjective experiences quite differently.
It’s fine for you to argue that embracing the ancient view of demonology is at the heart of appreciating Jesus’ message. But if you’ve dipped into N.T. scholarship, you surely know that most serious students (including Catholic Christians) don’t at all draw the same conclusion and applications that you do here.
It appears to me that your only relevant contention here is that one cannot have any faith in Jesus and his ministry if one doesn’t embrace your particular interpretation of the nature of demons and the power of evil. I acknowledge evil and repeatedly explained to you what I affirm about Jesus, God’s kingdom, and his deliverance ministry. But I don’t see where you engage what I said, only that you repeat your assertion that I’m not allowed to believe what I believe, and constantly going back to your insistence that I refuted that there were no other examples of people doing exorcisms prior to Jesus. Nothing that leads me not to love our Lord.
qaz. the video is reposted here for your viewing:
yep, I think I’m starting to believe…
Davo to Berserk!
Wow… two wholly fools — safety in numbers
qaz, right video, but, oddly, it starts in the middle. Try to locate the same video by googling
Exorcism documentary." I’m sorry; I don’t understand why this happens.
@berserk I watched the first two parts. I’m not convinced. Is the third any more compelling?
qaz, this just in–no one cares that you find the video unconvincing; a rational seeker would offer reasons for skepticism. And a rational person would let the video make its case by watching it till the end to see its best evidence. Duh!
The video is convincing. I think demonic influence comes in degrees that can lead to possession. I still think it’s all ego.