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March 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Meet America's top exorcist, the inspiration for 'The Rite'

Editor's Note: This story comes from a new CNN Special, "Stories Reporter," with Tom Foreman which features an in-depth look at the news of the day.

By Tom Foreman, CNN

The sun was shining on the Santa Cruz Mountains. The freeway from the San Francisco airport to San Jose was still buzzing in my ears when I stepped into the parking lot of an unassuming church and the most famous exorcist in America walked up.

“Hello, I’m Father Gary Thomas.”  At 57 years old, he has an easy smile, an abiding love for the Giants and strong convictions about the nature of evil.

"You believe there is a devil?"  I ask him as we settle in at a small, beautiful chapel near the church.

“Yes.”

“You believe that this devil acts upon people?”

“Correct.”

He says it with the certainty that I reserve for answers to questions like, “Did you bring your lunch?” but that’s no surprise.  He has faced skeptics many times and never more than now, because his life and training as an exorcist in Rome are the inspiration behind the Hollywood film "The Rite."

Father Gary Thomas at the premier of 'The Rite'

Indeed, at the premiere, as the cameras swirled around the star, Anthony Hopkins, Thomas walked the red carpet alongside him.  This movie, like salvation, is something the priest believes in.

“First of all,” he says, “it was very emotional for me.  I found some of those scenes very riveting.  I found some of them very profound.  They’re very accurate.  That’s what I’ve seen in real life.”

That’s saying something.  "The Rite" is chock-full of heaving, cursing, ranting characters, who, according to the screenplay, are possessed by Satan, people who one moment seem fine and the next are raging against all that is holy.

And yet, Thomas says people who fear that very fate come to him constantly.  “Well, often times they’ll begin the conversation with ‘Father, I need an exorcism.’  And my answer back to them is, ‘I don’t do them on demand.’”

But he does think a lot more of them need to be done.  It is all part of a push by the Vatican to make more exorcists available to the faithful.  Some in the Catholic Church believe the world is facing a rising tide of demonic activity, particularly in America, where millions are moving away from traditional faiths and looking for alternatives.

"A lot of folks dabble in the occult, or they will be involved in practices that … classical Christianity at least would consider to be idolatrous.  People can get themselves involved in Wicca, or people will go see some sort of fortune-teller, or people will go to a séance, or they can go and they can learn how to channel spirits. …"

A vision of politician Christine O’Donnell fills my head and I interrupt.  “But a lot of people would tell you up front, ‘I’m just playing around.’”

“Right.  Absolutely.  And it’s not,” he says, noting that those who feel adrift from the church and from others of faith are more likely to be drawn in.  “Demons are always looking for human beings who have broken relationships.”

Simply put, Thomas believes just as surely as a person can summon God through prayer, through other rituals, the devil can be called, too.

Father Thomas, left, and Tom Foreman

Thomas says an exorcism usually takes from 45 minutes to two hours and involves reciting prayers, reading scriptures and using sacramental objects such as crucifixes and holy water.  Of course, that’s like saying surgery involves a knife and some sponges.

It is vastly more complicated.  Before the rite is even considered, there must be psychological testing by professionals, extended consultations and questions about drug and alcohol addiction.

Thomas says fully 80% of the people he meets claiming demonic possession have actually suffered some kind of abuse.  An exorcism, he says, is the last step in a long process.

“I have a particular situation now,” he says, “where I think this particular person is suffering from a very unique psychological disorder, but she’s also been exposed to satanic cults, and I want to make sure that what we’re dealing with … is satanic or if it is psychological.”

Even when an exorcism is prescribed, it often must be repeated.  Judging from Thomas' comments, it takes something of a trained eye to decide whether it is even working.

Father Thomas and Anthony Hopkins at the premier of 'The Rite.'

The movie, to be frank, complicates this whole discussion.  Not "The Rite."  Thomas says he likes that one, and found Anthony Hopkins a “delightful” man.

But rather the movie from 1973.  "The Exorcist" captured America's imagination about demons taking over a person’s body and profoundly shaped the public's perceptions about the process of throwing those devils out.  It was lurid, violent and unforgettable.

It was also based on a real exorcism in Washington, which was far less dramatic than the film.  Thomas will tell you emphatically there are no spinning heads, spewing pea soup or levitating bodies.

But he has seen manifestations of possession.  "Sometimes the person's head will begin to move in very rigid ways.  Sometimes their eyes will roll.  Sometimes there will be epileptic-like seizures," Thomas said.  "Occasionally people will take on kind of a body language of a serpentine look, and they'll begin to stick their tongue out and use their tongue in ways that would look snake-like, and they'll coil up in a snake-like position."

“And these are things that you have seen in real life?” I ask.

"I have seen that," he said with a wry smile.

I’ve seen it, too.  A few years ago I went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to report on a Protestant exorcist who was holding a session in a hotel meeting room.  Several dozen people filed in while, no kidding, "The Devil Inside" by INXS played on a stereo system.

Suffice to say, there were plenty of eye-rolling, seizure-like eruptions in the crowd as people cried out and the exorcist confronted them, pressing his Bible against their heads, and demanding that their demons reveal their names.

We talked to some of the participants before and after, talked to the exorcist, too. For all their heartfelt expressions of belief, I can’t help but ask Thomas the same thing I asked that night: Couldn’t all these folks just be acting?

"I don't think they're acting out in a conscious sense,” he says, “because many times … they don't remember the experience itself.”

What’s more, he says, occasionally the person will do something that defies explanation.  "Sometimes the person will begin to speak in a language in which they have no competency in.”

Meaning, for example, someone who knows no German might start speaking precisely and accurately in that language.  Thomas says he has witnessed that, too.

I stopped by the Pew Center in Washington, where some of the best research on religion is done, to ask about all this.  Allison Pond is a charming young researcher who kindly sat me down before delivering some startling news: A Pew survey found more than one in 10 Americans have witnessed an exorcism, and when you narrow it down to Pentecostals it’s about one in three.

“Forty percent of Americans said they completely believe angels and demons are active in the world,” she told me, “with 28% telling us they mostly believe this."

That is the kind of information that needs more than a priestly explanation, so I roamed over to Georgetown University to talk to Ori Soltes, a theologian.  The problem, he says, is that we can’t know for sure what people mean when they say they’ve seen an exorcism.  Was it a formal ceremony?  A personal revelation?  A changed way of life?

Still, he has no doubt that claims of demonic meddling are high, because, after all, the year 2000 rolled around less than a dozen years ago, and at every millennium fears of the devil’s influence rise.

"My sense is that we are still in the backwash from the millennium,” he says, “but then you know ... events have helped to proliferate that:  9/11,  the war in Iraq.  And now as we approach 2012, suddenly everyone is very interested in the Mayan calendar and how we interpret the idea that the apocalypse is coming in December of 2012 at the time of equinox ... all that sort of stuff.”

So maybe it’s no wonder that Thomas is getting calls for exorcisms from not only Catholics, but also from followers of other faiths.

"How often?" I ask.

"I would say probably one out of 10."

Thomas says there are about 50 Catholic exorcists in the United States, and that’s not nearly enough.  He’d like to see one exorcist in every parish.  But until that day, he does not mind explaining over and over what exorcisms are really all about.

“It's a healing ministry.  It's not hocus pocus.  It's not smoke and mirrors.  It's not magic. But I think if we don't respond to people who come in their very troubling moments, I think it diminishes us as a church."

Despite all that Hollywood has done to mythologize exorcisms, he still believes in the power of this rite, a power born not of fear, but of faith.

CNN's Eric Marrapodi and Katie Ross contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Devil • Mass • Movies • Vatican

soundoff (1,247 Responses)
  1. Anna

    The Exorcist wasn't scary..

    March 7, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  2. Bob Rock

    I have some bricks from Brooklyn Bridge to sell you. The real stuff! $100.00/piece of brick! Anybody interested out there? If so, just PayPal the money to: BrooklynBridgeBricks@gmail.com. I will have it out in the mail in no time!

    March 7, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  3. Luis Wu

    How utterly stupid. It amazes me that in this day and age, people still believe in such ignorant nonsense.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  4. jbird

    There is no devil, or hell; merely people who have disconnected from their spiritual origins!

    March 7, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  5. Hypatia

    These so-called 'exocists' have done nothing but exascerbate and violate the mentally-ill with their 'voodoo rituals' that border on extreme violence and sadism. This man deserves to be in prison.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • SadieSadie

      Did you even read the article?

      March 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  6. Scott

    Some of you folks laugh at this article but be forewarned it is real. However the devil wants you to laugh because it only encourages him to know that you're on his side, not God's and that is all he needs to bring you to Hell. While you're alive, you have the chance to be saved through Christ. Once you die, that chance is over. John 3:16.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • JoJo

      Ha Ha Ha!

      March 7, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge? Idiot.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • ILoveJesus

      Scott, Agreed! For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness! For those of you that do not believe that Satan exists, you are his most beloved on earth.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • DavidMichael

      Who created the Devil? God, so god being all knowing, knew what Satan would do before Satan was created, so therefore; God wanted Satan to do as he did. God is the maker of evil.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Nicole

      David...I am sorry you feel the way that you do. As a Christian, God has provided me with wonderful joys in my life and has never once made me feel as if I wasn't worthy of his love. At times, I have strayed away from God and I know it was Satan causing me to do so. One of the greatest lines I've ever heard in a movie was, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

      Satan WANTS you to believe he isn't there...that he isn't real and all of this talk is complete nonsense. However, Satan is real and he will do whatever he can to pull you into him. At times, I've often felt that he has me in his grasp, but I've always turned to God and asked him to save me from the despair and darkness that the Devil has created...and he always has.

      God can provide you with the most amazing life...one filled with happiness, joy, and elation. I know you'll read this and say "who cares?" or tell me I'm an idiot...and that's your opinion. But Satan is real and he works in the trickiest of ways. God is not evil, nor does he create evil. Free will is what creates evil.

      March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Nicole

      You said: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

      God seems to be trying to emulate Satan's trick... LOL

      You said: "At times, I've often felt that he has me in his grasp, but I've always turned to God and asked him to save me from the despair and darkness that the Devil has created...and he always has."

      That feeling is in your brain. Just like when you pray and you feel the baby Jesus in your heart. You are delusional.

      You said: "God is not evil, nor does he create evil. Free will is what creates evil."

      If your god is omniscient (all knowing), then free will is an illusion. If god has a plan for each of us and there is scripture saying He does, then free will does not exist. If the predictions made in he bible came true or are to come true, then events and actions must be predetermined.

      Even if we disallow god's omniscience, free will does not explain floods, disease, birth defects, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., that god either causes or allows.

      You say, "God is not evil."

      Hmmm...

      It is said: "By your fruit you will be known."

      Let's look at your god's "fruit".

      God directly or at His insistence, murdered men, women and children including babies. This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God killed every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah and his family, because man was wicked. Afterwards, He decides He won't kill everything again, because man's heart is evil from his youth. This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God had a man believe he was going to sacrifice his son to Him. Do you know how traumatic that would be for a father and his son?
      If you had the power would you do this? Would you be so insecure? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      There was a man who loved God. God made a bet with Satan that even if the man were tortured, his Possessions taken, and his children killed, he would still love God and never curse Him. God won the bet.
      Would you do that? Would you kill a man's children for a bet? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God sent a bear to kill a group of children, because they had teased one of His prophets.
      Did the children deserve to die, because they teased a bald man? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God allowed a man to sacrifice his daughter to Him, for giving the man a victory in battle. Human sacrifice! This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God created a place He can send people to be burned for all eternity. Could a god who is not evil do this?

      If a puppy wet on the floor, would you hold it over a burner? Even for a second?

      I call Jesus, Himself as a witness!

      Jesus had this to say:
      Matthew 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
      Luke 6:43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

      1. A god who is not evil, can't do evil things!
      This is established, by Jesus's testimony.

      2. The Christian god is guilty of horrid crimes against humans
      Evidenced by the atrocities recorded in the bible

      3. Therefore, god is evil, because He bears bad fruit

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • John

      @Nicole If free will creates evil, then god did create evil, because according to the Bible god gave us all free will. So Scott is correct.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  7. Zebula

    Wow, hard to believe this is the 21st century.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Mark

      Yeah, we get it already....it's the 21st century!!!

      I must have missed the part though where God changed...

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Sybaris

      Actually it's still quite common in poorly educated rural communities.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Mark

      Sybaris...

      What's still common in rural communities?? That it's the 21st century? That God changed?

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  8. Mudd

    When I was an ant I could not imagine the ways of men. Now that I'm a man, I imagine I know everything. Right? Just like Mr. David Johnson.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  9. Woody

    My laptop was possessed for two years. I talked to a priest about it. He told me to overwrite Vista with Windows 7 and, Hallelujah!!!, that got rid of the demon. I think there's a lot of demonic possession going on in Redmond, Washington.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  10. Tallulah13

    Of course this guy believes all this nonsense. This is how he makes himself feel important. Without the devil, he'd be just another schmo in a silly collar.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  11. Amalia Sheran Sharm

    Perhaps CNN can interview the Tooth Fairy next.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  12. Sybaris

    I wonder how much the church gets paid to do an exorcism?

    It'll be too long before the world is rid of religion.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Chad

      Exorcisms are free. They are about faith and not about profit. You pay on Sundays when they pass around the plate instead.

      March 7, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Normon

      About 45 indulgences, why do you ask?

      March 7, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • DavidMichael

      3 12 year old boys and 2 13 year old sounds fairly typical for payment

      March 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  13. David Johnson

    Oh, my deluded believers! There is no devil. No demons of any sort. Nothing under your beds. If there were, I would tell you.
    There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

    Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

    You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

    You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

    You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?
    You believe Satan can read? Yes?

    Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

    Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

    So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

    These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

    What's funny, is that believers bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
    Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

    But, fundies never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

    Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.

    But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning.

    If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice.
    If the predictions of the bible concerning Satan and the end times are true, then all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment of these predictions, are predetermined.

    Fundies do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

    Cheers!

    March 7, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Tom C

      Hey David –

      I really appreciate all your hard work to discredit Christianity. It has gotten me into the Word a lot more and really strengthened my faith. Thanks, and keep up the hard work!

      March 7, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Zebula

      Hey Tom, there's a place called the 21st century and there's plenty of room for you here. Why don't you join us?

      March 7, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Tom C

      Hey Zebula –

      I suppose you are suggesting the bible is outdate, written by men thousands of years ago and doesn't apply to the 21st century?

      March 7, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Mark

      @ Tom C...

      A-men Tom. Me too. And DJ's ignorance shows through more and more every time.

      One question though DJ. Do you ever type anything original, or just reguritate the same nonsense over and over? You've already written this in several other posts.

      Consider: You believe God is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe God is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the Bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. No. I believe he's vastly MORE intelligent than any man or woman.
      You believe Satan can read? Yes, at least as well as you DJ.

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against God? Yep! He knows he's going to lose in the end!! Duh!!

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know God was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Apparently NOT. Didn't stop Lucifer from trying in the beginning...did it?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels (Yes).

      God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think (Nope).

      It's called PRIDE......Geez you make it sound completely impossible and improbable that someone would do something stupid even while knowing the outcome before the beginning. Heck, human beings do stupid stuff like that all the time. It's not unheard of.

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Absolutely. Christians have to be the dumbest people on Earth.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Margie

      Much like you, Satan has a big ego. He doesn't believe he will suffer defeat. I am just thankful he doesn't write posts as long as yours.

      Have a blessed day!

      March 7, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Mark

      1 Corinthians 1:21...
      "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its "wisdom" did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached (the Gospel) to save those who believe (in Christ)".

      Yeah, Christians sure are "dumb".

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • sowgoodseeds

      I dabbled in the occult and got more than I bargained for. I'm a believer now, and do my best to keep my sights set on JC. He keeps me out of trouble and keeps my heart light. He doesn't require that I know the answers,so I don't pretend I do. But He also doesn't mind it when I question things I don't understand. For example, I believe evolution occurred but I also believe that there was a Garden of Eden. How can this be, you ask? I don't know. I don't have to know.

      Lighten up, everyone. This isn't about being right or wrong. It's about all of our best interests. Relax, cause We Don't Need...No More Trouble. Even Bob Marley was a believer, and that's all I need to know.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • HeavenSent

      David, my mistake. I submitted my answers to your questions in the wrong post. LOOK up.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Tom C

      I am not really addressing the already deluded. I am attempting to show people, who are on the fence, that believers are suffering from delusion. That their beliefs are foolish. I want to point out reality and truth to them, before they drink the Kool Aid.

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom C, sowgoodseeds, I'm with you. Although I've been reading the Bible since my early teens and knew what was written, there is nothing like facing evil face to face and surviving their wrath to bring a person closer to Jesus. Although my life (as I knew it) was destroyed by egos creating evil in my life, the blessings were/are that I'm closer to God than ever. For that, am more than humble for these experiences to heighten my love for Jesus. God only tests the righteous. Now, I understand His meaning.

      Peace.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      David Johnson, non-believers can't prove that God doesn't exist. You own your beliefs and they do not prove anything. It only makes your soul in danger of permanent destruction.

      God Bless your soul.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • DavidMichael

      Heavensent You can't prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, blessed be Him, doesn't exist. Explain to me why you believe that a library of books known as the Bible can contain so many contradictions and you ignore/compartmentalize them? Was man created first then animals or were animals created then man, since both version are contained within the Book of Genesis?

      If god is all-knowing, why would he create Satan knowing the horrors he would create? God must be the creator of all that is evil based simply on that fact, as well as the creator of hell. Oddly enough, neither the devil nor hell are Jewish concepts but post N.T. inventions.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark

      You said: "It's called PRIDE......Geez you make it sound completely impossible and improbable that someone would do something stupid even while knowing the outcome before the beginning. Heck, human beings do stupid stuff like that all the time. It's not unheard of."

      First, you need to look up the words "completely impossible" and "improbable".

      Let's see..."I make it sound completely impossible and improbable that someone would do something stupid even while knowing the outcome before the beginning"

      Humans cannot know the future. They cannot know the outcome of any venture. They can assign probabilities to different outcomes. But that is not the same as knowing the future. If you know the future, there is no possibility of another outcome.

      You said, talking about Satan: "I believe he's vastly MORE intelligent than any man or woman."

      Hmm... Humans might do stupid things, but my expectations would be greater, for your vastly more intelligent being. LOL

      If god is omniscient, He has total knowledge. He knows everything, past present and future. There is nothing for god to learn.
      If god is omnipotent, He is almighty. He has unlimited power. He cannot be bested.

      A fallen angel would know that god possessed these attributes. Satan would know, that any rebellion could not be successful.

      This is just a myth. A fairy tale. Pure fiction. It might work if god was not all knowing and not all powerful. Even a prideful fallen angel would be humbled in the presence of an all knowing, almighty being.

      You did not address my other arguments:

      If god is omniscient, if the future can be known, then Satan is only doing what he must do. What he has been destined to do.

      Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him, and Judas would betray Him. Peter and Judas had no choice but to perform the roles they were destined to play. Judas was not evil.

      "this man [Christ Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23a NASB).

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      You said: " non-believers can't prove that God doesn't exist."

      Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist.

      Extraordinary claims, requires extraordinary evidence – Carl Sagan

      No one can prove a negative. I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable.

      I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. Never actually proving there is no god, but close enough for arguments sake. A preponderance of the evidence if you will.

      One of the most compelling to me, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      The Christian god is said to be: Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent.

      Why would the Christian god leave room for confusion? If He exists, wouldn't He want everyone, or most everyone, to know He exists and is the one true god? There are many biblical verses that would say this is true.

      1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be more obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true god.

      2. The Christian God's existence is not, in fact, as obvious as we would expect, if he existed.
      This fact is evidenced by all the different religions, plus us nasty atheists.

      3. Therefore, the Christian God does not exist.

      In the same vein as the above, notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 38,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they understand the wants of Jesus/god.

      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible.

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god does not exist.

      Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled.
      We don't need to postulate what isn't necessary.

      If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?

      I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes, but my explanation fails when I include an all loving god in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.

      1. If the Christian god is all good, He would want to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      2. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be able to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      3. Yet, evil persists.

      Therefore, Either the Christian god does not care, or He does not exist.

      The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.
      If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.

      1. If god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.

      2. If god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.

      3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another. The Christian god cannot exist.

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the germs that have caused and are causing so much death and suffering for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and the tapeworm. The worm that bores into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist.

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the germs and the parasites that have caused so much human misery.

      If the Creation Story is not true, then there was no original sin.

      No original sin, then no need for a redeemer.

      No redeemer, then the Christians need a new heart throb.

      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible. God is a myth.
      LOL, which is why the fundies fight so hard against evolution.

      If God created the Universe, which Christians say must have been created, then who or what created God?

      Christians say god is present now. So, just for grins and giggles, let's pretend for a moment that god suddenly no longer exists.

      Let's speculate. What would the world look like if god, suddenly was gone?

      Would there be horrible diseases that caused death and suffering? Would there be wars? Crime? Hurricanes and tornadoes, earthquakes and famine? Parasites that maim and cause suffering?

      But wait! We have these things now! And god is said to be with us.

      Verily I say unto you, there is no difference between god with us, and god absent from us.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.

      Cheers!
      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • morpheus

      @Dave Johnson~ why do you keep saying what God should do and shouldn't do? Its really disturbing to think that you know it all that you can say how God should act. Its fine to say how another human being should act but to speak of God as you or we are on the same level is CRAZY.. For everything that you know, you really still know nothing.. all you have is a bunch of questions. You say for believers to use their brain but all your points are question, which eludes me to believe that you want God to prove himself to you.

      March 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  14. Topkitty

    You know, I was talking to Bigfoot and Santa just the other day and.....

    March 7, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • HeavenSent

      David Johnson

      Oh, my deluded believers! There is no devil. No demons of any sort. Nothing under your beds. If there were, I would tell you.

      Thank you David Johnson. You don’t believe. We do.

      There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?
      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

      Answer: Satan was God’s favorite angel that possessed not only high intelligence, he was given the works by God. His PRIDE caused his downfall. Satan can quote scriptures better than any human, he always puts a twist to it to go against God’s truth. Therefore, he knows scriptures. So what? His sin of Pride blinds him and he believes he will win against God. Period.

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      Answer: The sin of Pride blinds the person, or angel(s) in this case.
      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      Answer: Too late for them to repent. God has spoken. I’m sure they wished they didn’t rebel, but they did, it’s a done deal for their going to the eternal flames, blotted out for eternity. That’s why they try so hard to get human children of God’s to follow them. They don’t want to go alone.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      Answer: Sheesh, it’s too late. Satan and the rest of the fallen angels did what they did, now they are in chains in Heaven, only their spirits come to earth, then at the end, the angel Michael releases them so they can come to earth.

      What's funny, is that believers bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      Answer: He is I AM. Those are just some human examples to explain His being.

      But, fundies never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.

      Answer: True.

      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning.

      Answer: True. God knows, humans that believe and read His truth know. Humans that do not read and understand His truth, don’t. Free will. Life is God’s test. God is giving everyone a second chance to love and follow Him. That’s why believers tell non-believers to start believing because it’s never too late for God’s human children.

      If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice.

      Answer: Your point is?

      If the predictions of the bible concerning Satan and the end times are true, then all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment of these predictions, are predetermined.

      Answer: Your point is?

      Fundies do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

      Answer: We keep telling you His truth. You choose not to believe us or His writings in the Bible.

      God Bless you.

      Amen.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      You said: Sheesh, it’s too late. Satan and the rest of the fallen angels did what they did, now they are in chains in Heaven, only their spirits come to earth, then at the end, the angel Michael releases them so they can come to earth."

      Your story does not hold up:

      If all things are predestined, then Judas was not guilty of anything. He did what he was predestined to do, even before he was born. If the future can be known, then it is immutable. It cannot be changed. Christians say God is omniscient. He knows the future.
      Satan and his minions are guiltless. They to, did what was ordained for them to do. They had no choice.

      I said:
      What's funny, is that believers bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      Your Answer: "He is I AM. Those are just some human examples to explain His being."

      My response:
      No, those are attributes – a property or characteristic. Like, I have blue eyes. Christians assign those properties to their god.

      Explanation of His being would be: How god came to exist. Examples are: God is self-existent. God was made up by man.

      You can't simply dismiss these attributes, because they are uncomfortable. LOL

      I said:
      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning.

      Your Answer: "True. God knows, humans that believe and read His truth know. Humans that do not read and understand His truth, don’t. Free will. Life is God’s test. God is giving everyone a second chance to love and follow Him. That’s why believers tell non-believers to start believing because it’s never too late for God’s human children."

      My response:
      If god is omniscient, if the future can be known, then the future is set. It is immutable. It cannot be changed. There can be no free will. People are born who god knows will one day burn in hell. It is their destiny. The fact that biblical predictions can be made, gives further evidence for predestination. For a prediction to come true, all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment, must be predetermined.

      I said:
      If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice.

      Your Answer: "Your point is?"

      My response:
      Just like Judas and Satan, each human would also be locked into their destinies. Some to be saved. Others damned.

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  15. Esther Reinholt

    I guess no one here ever had an expierience that they couldn't explain by natural means. As a child, I grew up in a house in the Midwest that had very unsual things going on.

    The house was over a hundred years old, and had been maintained and passed down thru the family. It was a nice home, with a big wrap around porch. I was born in that house. When I was about 6 years old, I was playing out in the yard, adjacent to where the porch surrounded the side/back of the house. I saw a lady, over by the garden, bent over and it looked as if she was trying to plant something. I didn't recognize her, and started walking that way, and she disappered.
    That scared me and I ran in to tell my mother, but of course, she told me it was my imagination.
    Shortly after that, my Grandmother who lived with us, came in the house, and told my mother that she saw some woman standing near the garden, and called to her, bt that she literally seemed to have vanished before her eyes! It was in the same spot that I saw her.

    No more was said about it, for awhile, Then, my aunt and uncle came to spend a weekend in the summer. My uncle was a man that was not given to ghosts or things of that nature, In other words, he was very logical.

    One night he got up to use the bathroom, which was down a longish hallway, at the end. He approached the doorway to the bathroom, and it was closed, So, he lightly knocked on the door, and at that point, heard the toilet flush. He waited and no one came out, so he kncked again, and asked "anyone in there"? No response. He opened the door slowly, only to find the bathroom completely, empty! Afater he was done, he proceeded back to the bedroom, and when he got halfway down the hall, he again heard the toilet flush, and the door slammed shut. It was a warm summer night, and not even a breeze was blowing.

    I found out later, he was not the first to have that happen, up on that third flooor, which was not used much, in the ove section of the house. It had extra rooms and was used forcompany and such.

    Over my years, many things happened in that house.

    I do believe that things of a supernatural nature happen in life. I don't know if anyone here ever saw the doc-umentary tv show, called A Haunting in Georgia?

    Take a look if you can find it online. You may want to reconsider your thinking. There are many people from all walks of life, that have had these things happen. All can't be hallucinatiing or imagining things.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Nonimus

      "All can't be hallucinatiing or imagining things."
      Why not? Not saying they are, but what's the reasoning for why they all "can't be"?

      March 7, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I witnessed several divine interventions. The last one was a few years ago. I was a passenger in the vehicle, it was 6 or more lanes. We were in the 3rd from the fast lane. There was another 3 or 4 lanes to our left. I was watching the Truck in two lanes over from my left. The lane to directly to my left was being driven by a woman driving a mini-van filled with (7 or 8) children. The woman didn't pay attention and swerved to her left to cross the other lanes to get off the exit ramp. Her swerving should have been hit by the truck in that lane. Instead, she went right through the truck, through the other cars in the lanes to the exit ramp. The truck should have smashed the van like a pan cake. Instead, this women made her way to the exit safely without realizing the danger she was in. I looked at the driver of the truck to the left lane next to us, and he was sweating bullets because he couldn't believe the accident didn't take place. I just blessed my self and smiled at the truck driver as he still was sweating bullets.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Epidi

      I understand what you are saying, and have had some experiences myself, led me to do a bit of ghosthunting today. Having said that, however, exorcism as in the article, isn't trying to get rid of a ghost. A ghost is a human or animal spirit. Demons are not. Neither are Angels. If one is of the Pagan persuasion as I am, they are called Elementals, etc. Most leave us alone but some take pleasure in tormenting or frightening us. Even a human spirit may find it fun to frighten us (if they are mean enough to do so). But they cannot possess us. With our permission we can channel them and lend them our energy but I don't recommend it. It's like a box of choclates, you never know what you're gonna get, and it could be dangerous for the layperson. Ouija boards that people play with as a parlor game makes me cringe. Without any protective precautions taken, they open a portal in a thinnning of the veil between us and "them" and then when they are done, instead of closing it, they just throw the Ouija board back in the box! If something then comes through and attaches itself to them, they run to their preist shouting that a demon's after them instead of banishing it back and closing a portal they had no business opening in the first place.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Nonimus

      @HeavenSent,
      "Instead, she went right through the truck, through the other cars in the lanes to the exit ramp."
      Do you mean, "between the truck and other cars" or actually physically passed through the same space?

      March 7, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Epidi,
      So are you saying the priest is wrong, because demons are elementals and don't "possess" people?
      Cool. A debate on the what or which imaginary things can take control of which people. Also, don't Ouija boards only open the self-closing type of veils?

      March 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Esther: I haven't personally, but I know people who have. Some are of questionable mental character. But I don't completely dismiss them either. I think until some of it is actually docu-mented, it is hard to believe in such occurrences.

      @HeavenSent: Having read others of your posts, I am disinclined to believe anything you have to say.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  16. Reality

    To assist new commentators, a once-a-week WARNING for new commentators:

    • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

    And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.

    "Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
    1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
    --–
    bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
    Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
    – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
    s-ex
    c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
    sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
    ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
    t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
    an-al......ban-al
    sh-it
    fu-ck...
    who-re
    tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
    pr-ick
    sl-ut
    c-lit
    va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
    hor-ny
    ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
    nip-ple
    po-rn
    c-ock
    nig-ger
    cu-nt
    b-itch
    ra-pe
    jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
    p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
    o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
    Sna-tch
    soft-ware
    Ja-panese
    Span-king
    hoo-ters
    There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.
    -–
    okay words that you might not expect to be filtered....!!!
    beaver
    penis
    ass
    crap
    damn
    anal
    anus
    sphincter
    testicles
    testes
    pubic
    boob
    --

    Here's a word to add to the banned list: co-co-on
    whether it's c-oc, or co-on, this is ridiculous."

    March 7, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • The Truth

      Good post as usual Reality. Keep posting this under HeavenSent's posts as he/she is so delusional and borderline schizophrenic that he/she thinks his/her posts are being singled out by CNN ModSquadders who don't want his/her posts to be visible to the rest of us. This is despite both you and I and others making him/her aware of this soft-ware numerous times.

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Aeromechanic.

      I'll bet you have a helmet made of aluminum foil.

      Seriously? Is this all you have to do? Wow!

      March 7, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • XWngLady

      ne-gr0 is another one. I guess its an attempt to avoid the n word....Also, you can't ask anyone if they have consumed their doctor recommended dose of phar-ma-ceu-ticals today either.

      March 7, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • HeavenSent

      The truth, ditto to you. If I re-wrote what you wrote about me, it wouldn't be posted. Only, yours and other non-believers insults get posted when the control freaks are viewing the postings. I sent 3 different versions of my writings, the last one with hyphens separating the words, and it still didn't get posted. I know the posts that aren't being posted. You don't, but you and others insist that it's my doing, not those that refuse (control freaks) to have my writings posting. When the other mods are watching that allow freedom of speech, my writings get posted.

      March 7, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Magic

      HeavenSent,

      So, you think there is a designated moderator, hovering over a computer screen, just lying in wait for a post from you... that they catch it the instant you hit "Post", and zap it? Your ego is waaaaay too big.

      I have seen numerous personally denigrating posts from you which get through just fine.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • The Truth

      ******@Aeromechanic....I'll bet you have a helmet made of aluminum foil. Seriously? Is this all you have to do? Wow!********

      A thimble would fit your head like a sombrero. Yet another comment with nothing of substance to add. Seriously? Is this all you have to do? Wow! Thanks for playing.

      Cheers.

      March 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • The Truth

      ************@HeavenSent: The truth, ditto to you. If I re-wrote what you wrote about me, it wouldn't be posted. Only, yours and other non-believers insults get posted when the control freaks are viewing the postings.**********

      Does everyone see how delusional this person is??? If he/she re-writes exactly the same thing I wrote, it wouldn't be posted? LMAO

      Christians, do your fellow Christian a favor and tell him/her that he/she is delusional and ask him/her to get medical help.

      **********I sent 3 different versions of my writings, the last one with hyphens separating the words, and it still didn't get posted. I know the posts that aren't being posted. You don't, but you and others insist that it's my doing, not those that refuse (control freaks) to have my writings posting. When the other mods are watching that allow freedom of speech, my writings get posted.***********

      THERE ARE NO OTHER MODS WATCHING!!!!! It is a computer soft-ware program!!!!!!!!

      Talk about tin foil hats... I've explained this ad nauseam. Others have done the same. As I offered elsewhere, post what you want to say somewhere else, send me or someone else the link and either I or them can post it for you because there is no conspiracy.... it is a MENTAL DELUSION in your head. It isn't real.

      It is not healthy for you to hold these delusions.

      Peace.

      March 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • The Truth

      *********@Magic: HeavenSent, So, you think there is a designated moderator, hovering over a computer screen, just lying in wait for a post from you... that they catch it the instant you hit "Post", and zap it? Your ego is waaaaay too big.*********

      LOL... his ego isn't too big (OK, well it is), but rather he/she has zero logic skills in order to recognize what a rational person such as yourself just laid out regarding instantaneous zapping.

      *********I have seen numerous personally denigrating posts from you which get through just fine.*********

      Yes, I have seen plenty of these "Christian" posts from him/her as well. Must have been the "Christian-Friendly Mods" working at those particular times. LMAO

      Cheers!

      March 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  17. Reality

    Casting out demons in the ancient world was equivalent to eliminating a fever. (G. Ludemann, Jesus After 2000 Years). Could it be that JB and Jesus found a natural occurring aspirin? Ahh, the magic of first century healers and witch doctors!!!

    Then there is this observation:

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead, expelled devils etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • gerald

      "Most contemporary NT experts "

      You keep throwing this around as if you have polled all of the NT experts. Give me the facts and figures. I would say you could make the following statement "most Jesus seminar "experts"" but the fact of the matter is that few of them are actually even Christian.

      March 7, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • gerald

      And again these "experts" you are talking about are trying to make money selling books.

      March 7, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • smj

      I am guessing then you are an atheist? I am just curious. Do you believe Jesus was insane? Are you deliberately making the statements to be controversial.

      March 7, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Frogist

      @gerald: Always the default everone who doesn't support your ideas is only out there for the money? I'd love it if someone could go back and count how many posts of yours has this line in it. But I guess it's a convenient dismissal, rather than examining what those in opposition have to say.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • John

      @Gerald Really there trying to make money selling books. Oral Roberts claimed in 1988 that if he did not raise $8M by march 31 of that year god would kill him. After the Bakker's fall from grace with the PTL club Jerry Falwell took over and claimed he would not beg for money on the air. Well he came on the air and begged for money and was able to raise $20M. Not to mention they are raising this money from the poor and uneducated. Steeling in the name of Jesus. It is big business in the this country that is why it will never stop. To much money to be had from the poor and ignorant hoping to claim a place in heaven. It really makes me anger, so I spend a lot of time talking trash about religion. Believers your being duped, I was a believer once, but came to my senses and had the good grace to get out. You should do like wise it is very freeing experience.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  18. RdclCntrst

    When I worked at a psychiatric hospital, I had dozens of patients who exhibited the "classic" signs of possession as described above by Fr. Thomas. Sometimes they expressed fear that they would need to undergo exorcism. In every case in which I was involved, they didn't need exorcism, they needed years of psychotherapy that is always intense and very difficult. So while I personally wouldn't categorically state that possession does or doesn't exist, my experience tells me that people who behave in these ways are more in need of a specially-trained mental health professional than they are in need of a specially-trained priest.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Aeromechanic.

      And yet some are helped by an exorcism even if their problems are psychological in nature. So in a way they have "healed" themselves through faith. Whats wrong with that? It's a hell of a lot cheaper.

      March 7, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Margie

      You say these people "they needed years of psychotherapy that is always intense and very difficult". Did you follow them through the years to know what the outcome was for each person you deemed to be in need of "years of psychotherapy"?

      March 7, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Frogist

      @Aeromechanic: Maybe they were not healed, but just appeased by having their fantasy be fulfilled.
      @Margie: That's basically the same as asking you, if you followed all the possession stories through the years to the ends of their lives to see whether exorcism worked or not. At least the nurse can say she saw that science had significant answers to the problems these people had. What use is it resorting to the supernatural when there are just plain boring natural explanations to be had?

      March 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  19. doctore0

    Exorcism is nothing but pure delusional insane madness.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • XWngLady

      I'm sure that some people who were faced with the necessity to have one performed would wholeheartedly disagree.

      March 7, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Herb (12th Apostle)

      Theism is nothing but pure delusional insane madness.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Davidloc

      @XWngLady Yes exactly like when a mother is told by god to kill their own children. Do you even think before you write or speak ?

      March 7, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Delsin

      Do you deny the possibility of 'the mother' hearing any voices? Or just that if she heard a voice, it clearly wasn't God telling her to kill her children. IE, some demon getting off on twisting the Isaac story around?

      March 7, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Frogist

      @Delsin: Deny the possibility? No. Deny the probability, yes. Absolutely. It is infinitely more likely that she has had a mental break, or is a sociopath, or is just lying to save herself.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Shahrin

      well said

      March 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  20. The Truth

    I know Father Thomas personally. I have had dinner with him on multiple occasions. He is a VERY nice man and when I knew him, he appeared to be quite sane. It has been years since I've last spoken with him.

    Now with that said, what he is saying here is downright frightening.... he wants to see an exorcist in every parish?!? Really? For what? So that the delusional people in each parish can find a sense of relief when the CC comes a runnin' with an exorcist to cast out their self-created demons??? Having an exorcist in each parish will just help to add more delusion to the faithful (which would of course benefit the CC as a whole as a means of psychologically wrestling their believers further under their proverbial thumb).

    The CC would be much better to have a licensed psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist in each parish.

    BTW... they couldn't even spell "Exorcist" (not Excorcist) correctly in the headline here on CNN. Classic.

    Peace.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • Aeromechanic.

      Correct though you may be, when someone feels the need to point out spelling errors all it does is let the rest of know how small of a person you really are.

      March 7, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • HeavenSent

      When people read, comprehend, then apply Jesus' spiritual teachings to their lives they produce righteous decisions to their output of thinking/beliefs, writings and actions. Which is what Christians refer to as Godly.

      When people do not/or refuse to read, comprehend and apply Jesus' teachings to their lives they CAN produce unrighteous decisions to their thinking/beliefs, writings, actions producing either righteous or unrighteous actions. The unrighteous actions are what Christians refer to as Evil (or satan). Of course, if a person produces a righteous outcome without benefit of Jesus teachings, Christians feel that we are blessed that this person(s) made the righteous decision.

      Amen.

      March 7, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Jeremy

      Hogwash. These people are mental & delusional but most assuradly not possessed. The devil is not real, it is a fairy tale.
      When will we as humans stop debating this nonsense?

      March 7, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Spoke

      Jeremy: "When will we as humans stop debating this nonsense?"

      I think that hatred of others and disrespect of their beliefs is a big part of it. If you react in a hateful and disrespectful way towards what people believe and think, they're going to cling to those beliefs to avoid the negativity being tossed at them.

      In short, people like you, Jeremy, are the reason such things perpetuate.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • AHAHA

      Spoke-tell that to the majority of Christians who are quick to hate Muslims and other religions....tell that to the Christians who still falsely believe that America was founded on Christianity--tell that to allthe Christians who are still in denial about Pedophile running around in the Catholic church--Christians are as silly as they come

      March 7, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Magic

      Spoke,

      "...they're going to cling to those beliefs to avoid the negativity being tossed at them."

      Perhaps some people do react with... heels dug in, fingers in ears and, "la la la la la, I bleeve, I bleeve", but what would you suggest? Is ignoring them, humoring them, and confirming their nonsensical thinking by silence effective?... thereby allowing (even encouraging) them to pass laws and public policies, based on superst!tion, which affect us all.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Truth: Did Fr Thomas ever speak to you about his experiences with exorcisms? He seems pretty open about that stuff now. I would think he would be just as open back then. I agree with you that this needing an exorcist in every parrish seems excessive, not to mention dangerous.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • neoritter

      AHHA – classic, argue about stereotyping by then using stereotyping. Oh and throw in a little bit of your own ones as well. Real solid argument you have there.

      Magic – there's a difference between being respectful and being a troll. A respectful debate allows for all parties to agree to a conclusion. A disrespectful and in some cases insulting one leads to some parties out right rejecting your opinions and other parties disregarding them for belief that they are biased. Including language in debates that make the makes the other side seem stupid, dumb, ignorant, or mentally unstable (whether true or untrue) invalidates your argument. For professed logical and rational thinkers to fill their opinions with logical fallacies renders any argument suspect.

      If you don't want laws that you think are wrong to be passed, fine. Argue why the law is unlawful and go on. But do not throw a proposed law out simply on the merits that a theist proposed it. It's illogical.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • neoritter

      @Frogist – Excessive? Maybe. Dangerous? I fail to see how. The Catholic Church and exorcists have reiterated so many times that before they do the rite the person has been tested by doctors and psychologists to rule out some sort of physical or mental illness (whether it may be an illness that no one has discovered or coined/cured is moot). He says it in the article right there. 80% are turned away because they are found to have an actual mental illness relating to abuse or drugs. At the point that they get involved the danger is no greater than a doctor caring for a person.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Frogist

      @neoritter: It is more often than not dangerous to indulge a person in their delusions. And considering how very wrong the religious have been previously with "diagnosing" demonic possession, it seems altogether a bad idea to encourage this practice rather than recommending the 20% to further medical study. Study to find an answer, instead of giving up and claiming demons did it.

      March 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • The Truth

      ********@Aeromechanic. Correct though you may be, when someone feels the need to point out spelling errors all it does is let the rest of know how small of a person you really are.********

      LOL... really? Is that your brilliant light bulb moment? Way to bring something of substance to the table! They fixed the error, so obviously they felt the spelling error wasn't acceptable either.

      The fact that you took the time to make that comment with nothing else to add shows the rest of us how small of a person you really are. Thanks for playing.

      Cheers.

      March 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • The Truth

      ******@Frogist: Truth: Did Fr Thomas ever speak to you about his experiences with exorcisms? He seems pretty open about that stuff now. I would think he would be just as open back then.******

      Hi Frogist, I had no idea at the time that he was involved with this. I knew him many years ago when he was much younger. So I'm not sure if he was involved with it then and I didn't know about it or if he delved into this realm later on in his life.

      He was the type of guy that young children liked, teens liked and adults liked equally. He was just a "regular" guy with a great sense of humor.

      ******I agree with you that this needing an exorcist in every parrish seems excessive, not to mention dangerous.******

      Agreed.

      Peace!
      8)

      March 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Shahrin

      you took the words right out of my mouth...2nd paragraph is what i thought as well

      March 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • EchoBeta

      if they do this i want burnings back to

      March 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • John

      @HeavenSent I am going to ask you a question. It has been asked before by others and never answered completely. Make moral statement or do moral act that you can do as a believer that I am unable to do as a non-believer.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • The Truth

      *****John: "I am going to ask you a question. It has been asked before by others and never answered completely. Make moral statement or do moral act that you can do as a believer that I am unable to do as a non-believer." *********

      LOL.... the sound of crickets in here is almost deafening. 8)

      March 9, 2011 at 4:22 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.