The Devil in Me September 11, 2007

The Devil in Me

If you missed This American Life over the weekend, the overall theme was “The Devil in Me.” It was about “people trying to exorcize their inner demons.”

The third act was worth hearing.

It features Dave Dickerson, who for a long while, was a member of a Charismatic Christian church (the faith healing, speaking-in-tongue types). He never saw an actual demon despite all the stories he’d heard from others. But he believed.

His last year of college, he took a class that was about the paranormal. The professor allowed believers in UFOs and psychic mediums to speak to the class as well as the naysayers.

It was the psychic medium who worried Dickerson. She would allow herself to get possessed? Then Satan would be talking to us, Dickerson thought.

What would he do?

He prayed to Jesus. A lot.

The medium came to class. She was “connected” to the spiritual world.

At one point, she began “channeling the spirit” of King David.

Now, Dickerson was excited. He was a Bible scholar, and King David was the supposed author of the Psalms, and Dickerson had a question he had always been meaning to ask him…

Listen to the story to find out what happens next 🙂

The relevant part begins at the 46:20 mark.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Bible, Christian, Fundamentalist, Pentacostal[/tags]

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  • When I was going through partial hospitalization program, I knew a few people who insisted that they had had personal contact with angels and demons. When vetting this out, I realized that this was their ~sane~ aspect, that when they felt their disease, they lost their faith.

    I feel that the demons and the angels were of their imaginations. I have met — before and since — people who did not appear to suffer from a mood disorder or schizophrenia who believed in these critters.

    When I heard the story of the medium and her assistant, running the “lecture” like a sideshow, I thought of these people I have known. The belief functions as a kind of comfort. And if you challenged it in them, they did not drop the belief as Dickerson did, but found some fantastic way to continue to justify holding them.

    It’s not so easy as to introduce a doubt, the moral of the story goes. You have to provide methadone for this opiate of the people.

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