August 28, 2010

The False Tag-line of the Last Exorcism

I've been looking into expanding my writing and subject matter, so for that reason this article was first published as The False Tag-line of the Last Exorcism on Technorati. The articles there are a little shorter, but I thought it was another good outlet to do a slightly different type of writing, while still maintaining an intellectual and skeptical subject matter. Thanks for putting up with that.

The new movie The Last Exorcism has the tag line, "The bible is filled with Demons, if you believe in God than you believe in the Devil." This is an interesting argument that a lot of people would make, but I disagree with.

As usual there are a few things I have to detail before I get into arguing why that isn't the case. For the sake of this discussion I'm going to use the strictly Christian biblical sense of God, the devil, demons and demonic possession. Now I think that there is enough contradiction within the biblical belief of these terms to really create the reasonable ability to say that belief in the bible doesn't mean belief in a Devil or in demonic possession.

It might have been noticed that I have linked the idea of the Devil to demons and demonic possession and it could seem like I am shifting the argument to a different meaning than the tag line of the movie intended, but that is not the case. The tag line is trying to create the premise to make an Exorcism believable, due to the biblical belief in God and the Devil, so that doesn't change the meaning of what is being argued.

The main point of contention I have is that God is omnipotent and can do whatever he likes. Job 1:6-2:10  demonstrates that standard and so does Matthew 19:26. In the book of Job it is God who is in control the whole time, and Satan does his bidding (aka follows God's plan), while in Matthew it is declared by Jesus that, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

This creates a situation where everything is subject to God's plan or mercy, so if a person was to think that God's plan didn't involve demons or Satan they wouldn't have to exist.  This opens up the existence of demons and Satan to be testable in empirical ways, to look for God's plan ourselves. So the existence of Satan and demons, while shown to exist in the past in different biblical texts, is still contingent on what you think God's plan is, because God, the all powerful, could have banished them from existence. To say that belief in God necessitates belief in the Devil or demons is to deny Gods omnipotence over the universe.  

The best way to see if Demons or Satan still exist is to look for solid evidence of their existence, and so far I haven't came across anything that could reasonably be referred to as real evidence. Through the lack of evidence and the unknown nature of the inter workings of Gods plan, the tag line for The Last Exorcism is false. A person can believe in God and still should be skeptical about the existence of demons and Satan.


  1. Hrrmm..well I wasn't impressed with the reception that this post received. I tried to create a situation where even a biblical literalist would have reason to be skeptical of the existence of things like spirits or demons, but I'm not sure if that idea came across as well as I intended. I'll have to attempt it again in a different fashion.

  2. Satan exists in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. This is where Jesus returns and the "Rapture" happens then the tribulation comes and eventually Satan is thrown into the bottomless pit for a thousand years. After a thousand years he's released for a Time before he is destroyed. It is also when everyone is judged by their time on Earth.

  3. I appreciate the time spent in commenting and providing additional information on Satan, but I don't think the grasp of God's omnipotence was understood...God has the power to make anything different, thus even in Satan exists in other writings in the bible he could be 'disappeared' until needed to move the plot, like a bad sidekick in an action movie.

    This possibility makes it so one doesn't have to believe in persistent presence if demons to believe in god, the two can be separated.