Religious people, those who truly believe or claim to believe, can be classified into almost as many different categories as there are religions, and there are quite a large number of religions out there – and the list continues to grow. But for the sake of brevity, I will classify the devout into two basic groups, as described below:
The first group includes those who lack the most basic level of common sense. These are people who lead otherwise normal lives but for some reason fail to realize, or simply refuse to admit that religions, all religions, are nothing but man’s invention; relics of our ignorant and barbaric past. Understandably, these people’s beliefs are difficult to break for they are needy, weak-minded individuals who need a crutch to make it through life. This group also includes people who fear that if they don’t believe, and in fact God does exist, that they may be punished, and so they “believe” just in case. This is all well and good. These people attend their place of worship once in a while, maybe on “special” religious holidays, or even on a regular basis. They participate in whatever silly rituals their particular faith practices, then go about their daily lives. No harm done. Perfectly ridiculous but perfectly harmless I suppose. This group, which includes adherents of religions across the globe, probably accounts for upwards of 90% of the world’s faithful.
Then we have that “other” 10% or so. These are people who are total fanatics and take their beliefs to another level. They may be mentally ill or have been indoctrinated to believe such absurdities that they are actually a menace to their society. Suicide bombers must be considered the most radical of all people in this group as they destroy not only their lives but also the lives of others for the sake of their beliefs. These are people who have been poisoned by their faith and are basically insane.
But one doesn’t have to be such a radical to still be considered a nut-job, at least not in my view. For example, the man pictured below and those who believe in exorcisms, Virgin or Jesus sightings, faith healing, etc, while not dangerous, are still on the verge of lunacy in my book. Case in point: this article deals with people possessed by the devil. In it, this priest actually states that a particular woman “… would have levitated had she not been restrained.” Really? How convenient that she was restrained! How can individuals be gullible to the point that they believe this kind of nonsense? And how is it that 99.99% of people across the globe no longer believe in fallacies such as “rain dances” that actually bring about rain, yet there are millions, even tens of millions, who believe in exorcisms and the like? Do we humans simply exchange one superstition for the next?
A million years of human evolution and we still haven’t rid ourselves of superstitious beliefs instilled during the infancy of our species. Maybe what some scientists have theorized is true, maybe there is actually what is referred to as a “God-gene” in our DNA. Either way, the ignorance of the masses is something to behold… TGO
Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press
MANILA (AFP) – A blood-curdling scream echoes through the Roman Catholic chapel in Manila as Father Jose Francisco Syquia says a prayer of exorcism over a Satanic cult member believed to be possessed by the devil.
“It’s very painful,” the woman cries in an unearthly voice, her body contorting in an attempt to break free from the tight grasp of Syquia’s assistants. After a few minutes she falls silent, her limp body exhausted.
The case is among hundreds documented on video and kept by Syquia, who heads the Manila Archdiocese’s Office of Exorcism — the only one that exists in the Catholic nation of 94 million people.
“She would have levitated had she not been restrained,” Syquia said of the woman in the video, portions of which were shown to AFP during a rare interview at his office in the basement of a seminary in Manila.
Syquia believes he is in the frontline of the battle between good and evil on earth.
“There is a great dramatic increase of possessions right now,” said the 44-year-old priest. “More and more the demons are gaining a foothold into this society.”
While non-believers often joke about the devil, and demonic possessions are trivialised by Hollywood, Syquia insisted the torment suffered by those he had healed was real.
“I have seen scratches suddenly appearing on their skin, of inverted crosses on the forehead. These persons would be conscious at the time, and they tell me its like razor cutting from the inside of the skin,” he said.
Demons could manifest themselves in many ways and could enter the human soul through occult and New Age teachings that were becoming increasingly popular in the general community, Syquia said.
The Catholic Church’s exorcism ministry has throughout history tended to operate under a cloud of controversy and secrecy.
Syquia said a conspiracy of silence had permeated the church in the past, with its leaders wary of being branded as medieval as modern science tended to classify possessions as medical conditions.
But Pope Benedict XVI had recently issued fresh guidelines encouraging more exorcisms and for the church to be more open about the issue, he said.
There are about 10 Filipino priests authorised to perform exorcisms in the Philippines, but only Syquia has a fully operational office that is backed by a staff of eight, including a lawyer and psychologists.
In his office, a bookshelf is stacked with tomes on the paranormal, while a glass-encased cabinet contains his tools for spiritual warfare — his vestments, holy water, the crucifix, and a saint’s holy relic.
The most potent among his weapons is a copy of the Roman Ritual for Exorcism, a compilation of prayers used by all the saints to expel and defeat demons through generations.
A figurine of St Michael the Archangel trampling Lucifer sits on a shelf, a graphic reminder of his extraordinary job.
Syquia was ordained only 11 years ago, after he had already obtained a degree in psychology at one of the Philippines’ leading Catholic universities.
The second of four sons of a former diplomat, he said he left a comfortable life in one of Manila’s exclusive, gated communities and employment in a family-owned business after he heard God’s call to serve the church.
Growing up in a modern household, he and his four brothers did not believe in possessions — which were made famous in the 1970s Hollywood film “The Exorcist”.
But Syquia said he had always been fascinated by paranormal activities and devoured entire books on the subject.
After he was ordained in 2000, Syquia said he was posted at a Manila church where, outside its premises, occult practitioners — including spirit mediums, oracles and faith healers — also thrived.
His first case came when a man singled him out from a group of priests and asked for deliverance after confessing that he had been deep into occult practices.
How the man knew his name was a mystery to Syquia, although he said deep in his heart he knew — just a week earlier he had begun studying a book on exorcism that he had bought long ago.
Syquia sought guidance from the the local bishop, who promptly granted him the authority to carry out an exorcism guided by his knowledge of psychology.
“I realised God was leading me to this path. I have treated hundreds and hundreds of cases since then,” he said.
Syquia recalled an accomplished female doctor who said she was befriended by demons that had appeared to her as benign dwarfs that showered her with good luck in the form of financial rewards.
Her troubles began when she decided to return to the Catholic Church and offer all her blessings to God.
Soon after, the demons took over her body for hours at a time, while unexplained paranormal activity began terrorizing members of her family, Syquia said.
“When the time came to bless her with holy water a voice that wasn’t hers shouted for us to stop,” he said.
“What really scared me was that this was the first time that I saw something very alien in her eyes. I was looking at something else. It was totally evil.”
The voice taunted Syquia and told him to return to his mansion and rich family, personal details that were unknown to those in the room, he said.
“We will never leave her,” the demon said, according to Syquia.
Syquia said a barrage of prayers eventually forced the demon out, with the woman now a good friend and church volunteer.
“With God by your side, you can do no wrong,” he said.