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Why Do Exorcisms Only Occur Among Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, and Fundamentalists?

Don Gabriele Amorth, exorcist in the diocese of Rome, who died in 2016. Photograph: Giulio Napolitano/AFP/Getty Images

Call your local Presbyterian or Episcopalian clergyperson and ask them how often they have conducted an exorcism on one of the members of their congregation. Ever??

Then call your local Pentecostal minister. Ask him or her the same question. I bet you will get a very different answer. Why is that?

A public university education is the best cure for (belief in) demons and demonic possession!

My father was a fundamentalist Baptist pastor. One day when I was ten or eleven years old he performed an “exorcism” in his church office while I was listening outside the door. The woman he was “exorcising” was a working class single mother with a high school education with a lot of financial and emotional issues.

I listened to my father talk to the “demon” which “possessed” her. It had a deep voice and was very angry at the world and at God. Was it a male voice or just the woman’s own voice, attempting to speak like a man? Looking back, it could have been either. But now that I am older and more educated, I am certain it was the woman’s voice, attempting to talk like a man.

That is the issue with all these alleged cases of demon possession: The claims can always be explained naturally. No demon-possessed person has ever levitated from the middle of Times Square or any other public square. No demon has ever popped into the nightly news broadcast or caused the news anchor’s pen and papers to levitate in front of the camera. Demons just don’t seem to like video recording devices! In a world where almost every person on the planet has a camera phone, demons and their laws of physics defying activities are never recorded.

These off-camera demonic events almost always occur in private or in the presence of believers (who never seem to have their smart phones operating). Why is that? (And no, Randal Rauser, PhD, we don’t need a formal study to know that this is the case.)

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PhD Claims to Have Encountered a Demon

How I Learned to Be Happy By Finally Letting the Demon Inside Me Take  Control — Sherman Ave

Gary: Why is it that demons only appear to people who believe in them?

Randal Rauser, PhD seminary instructor, Baptist apologist, former Pentecostal: What is your evidence in support of the claim that “demons only appear to people who believe in them”?

Gary: Do a google search on the subject. If you do an internet search, you will find that it is almost exclusively the case that people who claim to have encountered a demon were raised as children to believe in such beings. In fact, in the United States, if one does a google search on the topic of demon possession, one will find that the overwhelming majority of people who claim to have had an experience with demons are Pentecostals/fundamentalists.

How odd that devout 21st century Episcopalians and Presbyterians rarely if ever claim to have had an encounter with demons, but Pentecostals seem to see them on every street corner.

Rauser: If you don’t have evidence to support the claim that “demons only appear to people who believe in them” then don’t make it.

Gary: Don’t be ridiculous.

Belief in demons is dangerous. Shame on you as an educator for peddling such superstitious nonsense. Such belief is responsible for the persecution, torture, and death of tens of thousands of people throughout history, and even today. Check this out from a recent scientific article:

“Along with a handful of Vatican-sanctioned exorcists, there are hundreds of self-styled exorcists around the world. After attending 50 exorcisms during research for his book, Michael Cuneo states that he never saw anything supernatural or unexplainable: No levitation or spinning heads or demonic scratch marks suddenly appearing on anyone’s faces, but many emotionally troubled people on both sides of the ritual.

While most people enjoy a scary movie, belief in the literal reality of demons and of the efficacy of exorcism can have deadly consequences. In 2003, an autistic 8-year-old boy in Milwaukee, Wis., was killed during an exorcism by church members who blamed an invading demon for his disability; in 2005 a young nun in Romania died at the hands of a priest during an exorcism after being bound to a cross, gagged, and left for days without food or water in an effort to expel demons. And on Christmas Day 2010 in London, England, a 14-year-old boy named Kristy Bamu was beaten and drowned to death by relatives trying to exorcise an evil spirit from the boy.”

Source: https://www.livescience.com…

Randall, you grew up as a child in a fundamentalist, working-class (limited education), superstitious denomination (Pentecostalism). If you had grown up in an upper middle class Anglican or Presbyterian home, the odds of a “demonic experience” would be extremely low. Check with your local Anglican priest or Presbyterian minister how often he has performed an exorcism. Probably never. Then check out how often the local Pentecostal preacher has performed an exorcism. Weekly??? Why the huge difference?? Come on, Randall, use that educated brain of yours. You don’t need a double blind study to see the true cause of “demon sightings”.

Your brain has been programmed for demons since you were a toddler, just like a child growing up in the Serengeti has been programmed to think “lion” when he hears rustling in the grass.

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How Many Hours Must One Study the Evidence for the Resurrection to Reject This Claim? Answer: Not One Second

The Resurrection of the Dead ⋆

Fact: Science has never confirmed one single event which has defied the laws of physics. Therefore, as an educated person living in the twenty-first century, I can ignore all claims which defy the laws of physics.

It is true that the fact that science has never confirmed a single laws-of-physics defying event does not prove that these events have never occurred. But the probability that these events have occurred, and science has missed them, is so low I do not need to bother considering them.

–In the tens of thousands of years of human existence, human virgins have never given birth to babies without the participation of a human male. Never.

–In the tens of thousands of years of human existence, brain dead human corpses never come back to life. Never.

So when someone claims that ONE time in human history, thousands of years ago, these two events which never happen happened, I can discount and ignore these claims without spending five seconds investigating the alleged evidence for these claims.

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Can One Dismiss a World Religion’s Supernatural Claims Without In-Depth Knowledge of Those Claims? Yep!

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“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

—Stephen F Roberts

Randal Rauser, sophisticated (he has a PhD) Christian apologist:

[T]here is a glaring problem here: Roberts himself has clearly not carefully canvassed the thought-worlds, communal praxis, and evidential basis of the countless world religions. If he had, he would never have said anything as inane as “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” The fact is that distinct adherents to different religions all have distinct levels of intelligence and knowledge about their religious perspective and the supporting evidence for it, a distinct range of experiences and intuitions, and a distinct range of exposure to alternative views.

The real problem, of course, is that Roberts engages in a little game of self-deception by limiting the field of players to those who espouse specific “religions” by some particular socially constructed definition of “religion”. In fact, the real issue is not about religions per se but rather about worldviews, and the epistemic humility to recognize that one’s dismissal of worldviews other than one’s own is always limited by one’s own epistemic horizons. And in the case of Roberts, those horizons are limited indeed.

Gary:

What the esteemed Dr. Rauser is really saying is that because Mr. Roberts has not done an in-depth study of every worldview on the planet, he has no grounds for dismissing anyone else’s worldview. Is that realistic?? Is that rational??

I don’t think so.

I don’t need to do an in-depth study of tarot card readers and psychics to dismiss their claims with not a second’s consideration. I just have to use my university educated brain and critical thinking skills to dismiss their claims as superstitious, ignorant nonsense.

I don’t need to do an in-depth study of Mormonism to dismiss, with not a second’s consideration, the claim that a guy in the nineteenth century named Joseph received a message on golden plates from a celestial being named Moroni. I just have to use my university educated brain and critical thinking skills to dismiss this claim as superstitious, ignorant nonsense.

I don’t need to do an in-depth study of Islam to dismiss, with not a second’s consideration, the claim that a guy in the seventh century named Mohammad received a message from a celestial being named Gabriel and later rode a winged horse into outer space (heaven). I just have to use my university educated brain and critical thinking skills to dismiss this claim as superstitious, ignorant nonsense.

And lastly, I don’t need to do an in-depth study of Christianity to dismiss, with not a second’s consideration, claims that include: a first century virgin being impregnated without the assistance of a male human; a man who can walk on water, turn water into wine; heal the blind; raise the dead; raise himself from the dead; and finally, levitate from the top of a mountain into outer space. I just have to use my university educated brain and critical thinking skills to dismiss this claim, too, as superstitious, ignorant nonsense.

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No, You Don’t Need a PhD in Biblical Studies to Deconvert from Christianity

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Christian Apologist: Gary, you left Christianity because you were poorly educated in the Faith and because you think like a fundamentalist. If you had invested the time to properly educate yourself, reading quality books by the many highly educated Christian scholars and theologians, you would see and comprehend the profound intricacies and complexities of the Christian Scriptures. You would see very clearly that Christianity is true. You would not have deconverted. (You are ignorant and stupid!)

Gary: How funny. That is exactly what Muslim and Mormon apologists say to their “apostates”! Check it out:

And here is a short clip of an ex-Mormon describing similar attacks by Mormons:

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When Jesus Said, “Ask Anything and I Will Do It”, He Didn’t Mean Anything

If ye shall ask anything in my name, I... - Benny Hinn Ministries | Facebook

I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  —Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 18.19).

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.  –Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21.22).

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. –Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 11.24).

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. –Jesus of Nazareth (John 14.13).

I say to you, whatever you ask from the Father, He will give it to you in My name. –Jesus of Nazareth (John 16.23).

Christian: [In regards to the above passages] 1) Did Jesus really say it? 2) Is there a standing qualifier someplace you are not looking at?

in John 16 he says: (John 16:1-4) The reason for Jesus’ warning: certain persecution.

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”

That is not consistent with saying ask anything and it will be done. Turns out that passage is not spoken to all believers but specifically to the Apostles about Jesus leaving. The thing about God will give them what they ask applies to the end time and perhaps to the millennial kingdom.

verse 22 “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

Any time you throw out a bunch of verses without exegesis you over simplifying, We have to assume Jesus didn’t mean stuff like: Ok God, I ask for a million dollars to appear before me!

Gary: Jesus is (allegedly) quoted, by multiple Gospel authors, stating that if a believer asks for ANYTHING/WHATSOEVER in his name, he will do it. I realize that Christians have many different “harmonizations” (exegesis) to explain why Jesus didn’t mean to say what he clearly said, but to any neutral observer, that is BS.

It would be more credible to claim that Jesus never made these statements (what sane human being would?); that these statements were legendary; or were inventions of the Evangelists. But if we cannot trust the Gospel authors to correctly record very simple statements as these, why should we trust any statements in their work?

We have to assume Jesus didn’t mean stuff like, “Ok God, I ask for a million dollars to appear before me!”

Maybe. If we assume that Jesus didn’t really mean “anything” or “whatsoever” but meant “some things, when it is my will” that might be true. But why then say “anything” without qualifying it? That seems like something a snake oil salesman would do, not a perfect, just and loving god.

And what about the millions of devout Christians who request healing for themselves or others, and the healing never occurs? What is the excuse for Jesus not answering these prayers? “Not his will?” BS! And if “anything” is limited to something that is not greedy or selfish, praying that the starving children in Africa get some food seems to meet that criteria. But yet, 17,000 children under the age of five, each and every day, die of starvation. Why doesn’t Jesus answer these prayers???

I think there are only three options to explain these passages: Jesus was either misquoted, delusional, or lying.

And if Jesus was misquoted, our Bibles are not worth the paper they are printed on, except as fascinating examples of first century superstitious literature. They can in no way be trusted as historically reliable biographies in regards to the life, words, and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Unanswered Prayer is Evidence of Jesus Christ’s Non-Existence

RIP (Rest in Peace) Sayings and Quotes | Rest in peace quotes, Prayer for  peace, Rest in peace

One does not need to debate the evidence for the alleged Resurrection to know with certainty that Jesus of Nazareth was not a god, and certainly not the creator god of the universe. This god/man (allegedly) made the following statements which any six year old can see are clear statements that if a believer asks for ANYTHING, in faith, it will be done.

I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18.19).

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (Matthew 21.22).

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11.24).

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14.13).

I say to you, whatever you ask from the Father, He will give it to you in My name. (John 16.23).

Jesus was wrong. Jesus was not a god. Jesus does not merit your worship and praise. He is dead. Let the man rest in peace.

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Dear Christians: Please Admit that Answered Prayer is Not Good Evidence for the Existence of Your God

Does God exist? | GotQuestions.org

Christian: I think you are missing a couple of crucial points. Prayer is based on the will of another. It is a request and if the one being entreated does not wish to answer then he won’t. So the hit rate for prayer can’t be taken as proof or disproof. Prayer is not primarily about asking for things. It’s effect cannot be judged by that criteria. Prayer is hanging out with God.

Gary: So you would then agree that answered prayer is not good evidence for your god’s existence.

Edexcel Believing in God Revision
In other words: Whatever happens, God did it. Why not just accept that events occur by chance?

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Prayer is a Slot Machine

How Does a Slot Machine Work? - Pissed Off Geek

Christian: You assert prayer doesn’t work but that depends upon what you expect from it. It’s not an automatic machine that works every time. Your assertions are groundless. God is real and he can’t lose.

Gary: You are correct. Prayer is not an automatic machine. Prayer is a slot machine. You “win” just often enough to keep you pulling the handle. And that is why human beings have been praying to gods for thousands upon thousands of years. Prayers to Zeus, Ra, and Jupiter were “answered” just often enough to keep the masses praying to them (and obeying/giving money to their priests).

The truth is, I cannot prove that prayer does not work and you cannot prove that it does.

God is real and he cant lose.

Which god? Jesus of Nazareth?? 2,000 year old, contested, alleged, eyewitness testimony of ghost sightings is NOT good evidence that a first century peasant is the creator of the universe. But as we both know, your belief (like that of most Christians) in this ancient tale is primarily based on your intense emotions; intense emotions perpetuated daily when you perceive that you communicate with this invisible person with magical powers.

Listen carefully: Dead people stay dead. Invisible people are not real. You are operating under a very comforting, very pleasant, but very false delusion, my friend. Come into the light of reason and non-superstitious thinking.

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