Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Jesus Project - Part Two

During the course of my readings of the Gospels to find teachings of Jesus that had some validity for me, I also could not help but make certain observations about the Gospels themselves.

One thing that struck me in particular when reading about Jesus’ peregrinations throughout Judea and Galilee was the numbers of demons that he is reported to have encountered. In Matthew 8:14, Jesus is staying at the house of Peter and “many who were demon possessed were brought to him.” A little further on, in Matthew 8:28-32, Jesus encounters two demon possessed men in the region of the Gaderenes. In Matthew 9:32-33, a demon possessed man is brought to Jesus and another demon-possessed man is brought to him in Matthew 12:22, though it seems to be a repeat of Matthew 9:32-33. Another demon encounter is described in Luke 4:33-34. There are other examples, but I think you get the point.

For a land that is supposed to be God’s Holy Land, it seems that there were an awful lot of demons roaming the countryside. In Mark 3:14, Jesus even gives his disciples “authority to drive out demons.” Apparently, there were more demons than even HE could handle! Heck, the Galilee must have been the demon capital of the world, if the Gospels are really to be believed.

Of course, this begs the question, if Christians believe that the Gospels are true stories and the Holy Land was infested with demon possessed people, then why isn’t the land filled with demon possessed people today? Or are we to believe that Palestinian suicide bombers are really possessed by demons rather than by a cold blooded and callous certainty that they are striking a blow for their cause regardless of how many innocent Israeli civilian lives they destroy?

Other Christians will probably say that the people described in the Gospels as being possessed by demons really suffered from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and that Jesus was really healing these mental illnesses. The people who suffered from these mental disorders were believed by their contemporaries to be possessed by demons because these disorders were not medically diagnosed during the time of Jesus. This then begs the question as to why Jesus is not quoted in the Gospels as telling his followers that people reportedly suffering from demon possession in fact had psychiatric problems. After all, if Jesus was really the son of the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator of the Universe, surely he must have known this to be the case. Imagine how many skeptics today could have been convinced that Jesus really was divine if Jesus was quoted in the Gospels educating his disciples about schizophrenia. Instead, we are treated to parables about how the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed.

5 comments:

None333333 said...

Very good post.

My current understanding (as a Christian) is that there is a spirit realm populated by malevolent entities (lets call them electromagnetic energy fields)

Although some people can be "possessed", others are merely afflicted.

Actually I have heard from missionaries that in third world countries they have encountered many people who appear to be possessed in the classic biblical sense.

I think that malevolent spirits can work though the brain to cause mental illness - these electromagnetic fields can cause the centers in the brain that produce hallucinations and mood swings to malfunction.

Now my theory on prayer is that it generates a powerful vibration that attacks and breaks up the energy fields caused by the malevolent spirits.

Sounds like a crazy theory but it kind of makes sense to me in a way.

Tommy said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting MQM.

Absent independent corroboration, I would argue that the missionaries are either making up stories of demon-possession or are exaggerating what they saw. After all, it is possible for a missionary to lie, isn't it? They are human beings too.

As Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Brion said...

Why does the son of the all-knowing, all-powerful not know about medicine or technology that would have been useful at the time. Instead civilization would have to wait centuries before MAN discovered such things a vaccinations and electricity.

All-known.... just not all-giving.

I really feel sorry for the churchies.

Anonymous said...

Jesus is real and so are demons. If you want to find out just hang out in a place where death has occured.."through the darkness we will find light at the end of the tunnel." I was an athiest before I encountered these horrible demons. This is true very true is all I can say. I thank Jesus for saving me every day.

Tommy said...

Hey Anonymous, there are some guys with white coats looking for you.