“He hath a demon, and is mad; why hear ye him?” (John 10:20ASV)
Thus spake the audience upon listening to Jesus teaching about himself, his power, and his impending death.
BORING RESEARCH NOTE: I had to go all the way to American Standard to find this, since King Jimmy says “he hath a devil.” 1550 Stephanus says δαιμονιον, that’s daimonion, which Babylon.com translates as “demon.” I admit, I had to plug the word “demon” in and go backwards and got δαιμονιο. Several other translations including ESV use “demon.”
I wrote about how I and others might possibly suffer under torment from spiritual forces and wanted to be clear. Just know, I believe that some things have medical and chemical origins and are treatable or even curable with modern medicines and technologies. But there’s also a spectrum of demonic activities. Get out your mockery smirks and laughter if you haven’t already. I actually believe in demonic influence, from the seemingly innocuous ouija boards and tarot cards, to the more obvious out of control insane maniacs, and everything in between.
They’re not going to jump out at you and go “BOOGALLYBOOGALLYBOO!!” wearing their red long-johns and tails, and poke at you with their pitchforks.
Things in between might be the spiritually blind guy who thinks the voices in his head telling him to do bad things that he listens to and does them, are his own thoughts and motivations, and well they may be, but they may also be demonic, because that’s kind of subtle. Don’t listen to this one, but it might be, more dramatically, the voice in your head telling you you’re worthless, you’re useless, nobody loves you, why don’t you just go kill yourself. Yeah I’ve heard that one before. It might be that the slow, cultural slide that lately feels more like a roller coaster on the downslope spiral, is steered by demonic forces too. You can’t prove it’s not, because again, it’s subtle and slow. It might be the cause of disease, or my fucking mood swings, or your night terrors. It might be the cause of bullying. (Or, a bully might just be an ass hole, and it’s probably that, because if bullying is motivated by a demon the bully might be excused, I’d prefer to reserve judgement.)
It’s just my opinion, but I believe that ignorance, fear, confusion and doubt are more the Devil’s playgrounds than idle hands ever were. People are ignorant and we call them wise, people are evil and we call them good, because they say things we want to believe even if we know in our hearts they aren’t true. Are you, little you, afraid and just putting on a show of bravery so convincing you almost believe yourself? Are you, logical you, sure of your logical conclusions because you trust incorrect premises? Are you so certain of what you believe, because people you thought were good taught you that, that you’re willing to bet your life on it?
Jesus was said to have cast out demons and healed the sick and raised the dead. He was also said to have taught about an eternal heaven and an eternal punishment (call it hell or whatever you like). And I believe that Jesus was real and really did the things his followers taught that he did, or why would they all have died martyrs, tortured, maintaining to their death that what they were saying was the truth, and they had seen it with their own eyes. If Jesus was real, it logically follows there must be real spiritual entities, angels, demons, the whole lot, and they must not be scary fairy tales to try to make kids behave.
We listen to fools every day. Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 say the fool denies the existence of God. If we disbelieve God, why should we believe the Bible? We listen to the fool serving up bullshit cocktails, and we drink that shit in and then spout it like it was our own vision of the truth, but it’s a lie.
Here’s Isaiah 5, but I’d call your attention to Isaiah 5:20:
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
We’ve been listening to the liars so long our minds are twisted; our eyes see the darkness and think it’s high noon, and our own hearts even lie to us because we want to believe what we’re doing is all right, and then, if there is a God, and if there is a heaven, surely He’ll let us in. The Christ-followers say he’s a god of love, right? Sure, but there are even liars who claim the title “Christian.” Who’s real? If the whole Bible is a lie, why let my words influence your opinion? Because in the back of your mind you think it’s either entirely true, or a fucking holy masterpiece of a lie. If you only like bits and scraps of it because you can twist it to say something you like better than what you know the rest of it says, you’re deceiving yourself.
We’re to the point that we’re now telling ourselves to be proud of ourselves for our actions and behaviour choices that we know spit in the face of God, because, we say, “there is no God, so I must be my own god, let all pleasure and serve me.” But if there is a God, then our talk is proof that we are fools, and, if there is a God, He calls for humility. Jesus came as a servant, and to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. Atone means “to repay.” I’m either going to turn you all into Bible scholars, or you’re going to verify to the authorities that I’m a first class crackpot.
If our ignorance (which is bliss, by the way, if it’s the truth) is deep, how deep is our fear and confusion? There are so many voices out there proclaiming their truth, or is it their ignorance of true truth, which one should you believe? Some people literally believe Jesus died on a cross and came back to life and ascended into heaven, after teaching a religion of repentance leading to peace and truth and love. And then there are evidently self-proclaimed Christ followers who lie? How do we decipher the truth from that? A certain other faith that says on the tails side of the coin, “we are a religion of peace,” and on the heads side, they’re chopping off the heads of the infidels who don’t believe what they believe and won’t recant their faith? Which one is true there? A certain other faith worships gods that look like monsters. Another worships the spirits of their dead ancestors. And another worships a dead guy they don’t claim raised himself from the dead. And another worships science as proof that nothing is spiritual, everything is chemical.
The Bible says God gives us the opposite of a spirit of fear. The Bible says God is not a God of confusion. Which tells me, when I’m feeling fear, it’s not from God’s spirit. When I’m feeling confused, it’s not something God started. And I am going to look in the Bible for the answers I need. It’s a big book, it might take a while for me to figure it out, but I’ll try to make the best sense of it that I can, and hope and pray that I’ll be able to understand it how God wants me to understand it. There are, as promised, lusty scoffers. There are, as promised, already people who are asking when Jesus is coming back as he promised, already ridiculing his followers for their idiotic belief. There are, as promised, lunatics claiming to be Jesus, or something like him. And people are following those people. Nothing in there is sounding false to me so far. Even the thing about the earthquakes and famine is happening right on my news feed. Most recently, in Kent, England, really? It makes it hard for me NOT to believe.
I’ll pick Christ, although I’ll admit a lot of his followers seem to be a little wacko. Myself included among the wackos. Good luck and I hope you find The Truth. In spite of my de[on]mons.
All this belief in it and I still love my rock & roll, metal, jazz, and classical (some said Mozart had to either have, or be, a demon to write like he did). ::Deon turns up the volume on his Metallica::