Essay / Theology

Cosmetic Surgery and Exorcisms

Recently, a hairdresser was arrested for performing cosmetic surgery on several “patients.” When this happens, the results are usually disastrous. Do fraudulent “surgeries” mean there are no legitimate cosmetic surgeries? Of course not.

Recently, a man and woman were caught trying to exorcise a demon from a little child in Arizona. The police found the three covered in blood inside a barricaded bedroom. The man died upon arrest. Do fraudulent, ignorant “exorcisms” imply that demons aren’t real and all exorcisms are bogus? You do the math.

A vast literature supports the reality of demons, and three criteria have been developed for distinguishing demonization from mere psychological trauma: (1) the universal presence of certain symptoms, including satisfaction of biblical criteria, along with responsiveness to the name of Jesus, all of which take place uniformly throughout the world, including cultures that know nothing about the Bible or Jesus; (2) the presence of supernatural power evidenced by such phenomena as moving material objects; (3) the revelation by the demon of detailed, private and embarrassing information about the exorcist in front of others that no human could have known.

These phenomena occur widely. In fact, in a recent alumni publication of the university at which I teach, the cover story featured faculty members—intellectually sophisticated professors with doctorates from top institutions—who have experienced such demonic phenomena. During an exorcism, one professor saw metal objects fly across the room. Another professor has seen this very sort of phenomena in his own condominium in conjunction with a demonized person moving in next door. During another exorcism, a different professor experienced the sort of embarrassment mentioned above. A demon accused him in front of the entire prayer team of specific sins that were detailed, including time and location. I know of others who have seen the same thing.

The fraudulent, crazy exorcisms are the only ones that get reported in the press, but don’t be fooled. The real thing is very different from the bogus ones.

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