New on AlterNet: Catholicism’s Demonic Revival

My latest column is up on AlterNet, Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan? In it, I sum up the Harvard Black Mass fracas and place it in a wider context, showing how Pope Francis and the Catholic church are pushing a major revival of belief in the demonic. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:

The Harvard Satanist fracas shows the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic church and its spokesmen. In their battle against the contraception mandate, they’ve made religious liberty their watchword, arguing that a believer’s right to follow the tenets of his faith is sacrosanct and must never be infringed, even if it causes harm or inconvenience to others. But when it comes to a belief system that the church doesn’t like, they claim, two-faced, that those beliefs can and should be stifled and their practice barred.

The other, more surprising thing it shows is how unreformed this faith still is. Catholic apologists claim theirs is a rational religion shaped by the light of philosophy, but scratch the surface and you’ll find that the ancient, superstitious fear of the dark is very much alive. Several hundred years after the scientific revolution, the church still subscribes to the belief that the cosmos is swarming with evil spirits, ready to harm human beings who attract their attention.

Continue reading on AlterNet…

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Korey Peters

    Why do I read the comments on AlterNet? I should know better. Utterly depressing.

    Regardless, thanks for your work, Adam.

  • Adam Lee

    Never read the comments! Unless they’re the comments on this site, of course, since all my commenters are delightful and witty conversationalists.

  • Nathaniel

    Hey I resemble that remark!

  • Ani J. Sharmin

    Thanks for writing this, Adam. I find this wavering between a symbolic belief and literal belief in certain elements of religion really fascinating. So many of the arguments for the benign nature of religion depend on accepting that the metaphorical interpretation is the one widely believed in.

    I felt inclined to quote Milton:
    “The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.”
    (John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 254-5)

    On the Pope’s actions, it reminds me of something I’ve said before: that people seem to grade/evaluate the Roman Catholic Church on a curve, praising some nice statements made, even if lots of harmful things are continuing.

    Also, this part of your article

    Harvard’s president, whose actual name is Drew Faust, announced she’d be attending a Catholic-organized protest against the black mass.

    made me literally laugh out loud.