Ax-Wielding Father Vanquishes the Devil, Who is His Son

What do you do when your teenage son turns into a devil (as they do)? For 51-year-old Gary Sherrill (seen below), the answer involved something darker than a mere exorcism.

A Phoenix man killed his 13-year-old son with an ax because he thought the boy was a demon, police said Wednesday.

The suspect, 51-year-old Gary Sherrill, confessed to murdering his son, David, on Tuesday afternoon because he was afraid of him, Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos said in a press release.

“(He) stated he was scared of his son and believed his son was a demon and was going to eat him,” Martos said.

Sherrill has been charged with first-degree murder.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • lonbo

    So… Gary is out of the running for father of the year?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    i’m sure mental illness played a large role in his actions. but gosh, talk about religion not helping the situation. so sad for the child.

  • $925105

    I suppose fundies will say that he was merely expressing his freedom of religion and his son David has no right of freedom from religion. No doubt if we disagree that this shouldn’t be allowed we’d be denounced as militant Atheists who should just shut up and respect his beliefs that his son is a demon and should be murdered with an axe.

  • RodHoffman

    Now don’t be insulting. The number of Christians, even fundies, who would condone this, is virtually nil.

  • $925105

    Except there is this little bible story about god telling a father to execute his own son to demonstrate his faith which the father faithfully sets out to do.

  • Castilliano

    And don’t forget the father who killed his daughter as an offering to Yahweh. No last minute save there.

  • $925105

    Then there’s Lot who wanted to throw his daughters to a mob to be gang raped.

  • WalterWhite007

    Then they aren’t ‘true’ christians. The bible condones the death penalty for children that talk back. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
    Stoning is probably more painful that a quick chop with an axe but either one gets the job done as required by the christians’ bible.

  • UnePetiteAnana

    Do we *know* the man is a Christian or even has a religious belief at all? We can somewhat assume this, but the article doesn’t definitively say so. I’m sure the story is developing and we may find out later.

  • dats3

    Sounds like he may have been on drugs.

  • Bob Jase

    The opium of the masses?

  • UnePetiteAnana

    This was my thought – especially since this is such a heinous crime, and then he invited the police in.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    More like he needed to be on drugs.

  • Artor

    He believes in demons. That suggests some religious belief, and considering that he’s from Phoenix, it’s very likely Xianity.

  • UnePetiteAnana

    Ehhh, a lot of people use the word “demon” to mean several different things, and the use of the word tends to pop up a lot of places. Maybe he read a fictional book with a description of a “demon” in it, and during his psychosis hallucinated the demon into being (of course this would be a hallucination, not a reality).

    I don’t know that we can just assume the man believes in demons … in the sense of what Christianity defines demons.

  • Artor

    Yes, it’s a distant possibility that this guy might be something other than Xian. Do you really think it’s likely? He might be Zoroastrian, or Drune. Maybe he’s a Jainist like Hemant’s upbringing. What do you think are the chances of any of these options being correct?

  • UnePetiteAnana

    Buddhists, Jews (as in practicing Judaism), and Muslims believe in forms of demons. I’m pretty sure the average “devil-worshipper” believes in demons, too. So, you can present stupid examples of far-out-there-almost-non-existant examples of religion, but there *are* plenty of other options that this man could be part of. Really, you’re just assuming and you know what happens when you assume!

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Yeah, no. Jews do not believe in demons. Try again.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Uh, last I checked, Judaism contained a quite rich demonology. It’s not by any means a central or required tenet of Judaism like it is in Christianity, but even sources like the Babylonian Talmud describe demons and “demon princes” and suchlike, and they proliferate in Jewish folklore. Apocalyptic and mystery sects were kinda obsessed with wayward angels (Nephilim, etc.), prefiguring the Christian conception of demons as fallen angels.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Folklore, sure. As known folklore even at the time though. They aren’t anything like Christian demons and they aren’t even seen as real, but just … things in fairy tales. Like ogres or orcs, that everyone knows aren’t really real.

    So yes, you are correct. But at the same time, you aren’t because UnePetiteAnna is trying to imply that demons are a common religious phenomenon and thus Gary Sherrill wasn’t necessarily Christian. A Jewish person in the depths of a psychotic break just isn’t likely to see demons as a manifestation of religious fears.

  • cyb pauli

    He believes in demons at least. Maybe he’s SBNR.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    This is sad for the boy, for his family and friends, and it is also sad for Mr. Sherrill, who has a fairly good chance of regaining enough of his sanity to realize what he has done, and then will have to live with the guilt and horror while probably incarcerated for the rest of his life.

  • Jason Adams

    Not a chance. He probably sleeps pretty soundly at night because he acted righteously. Besides, all he has to do is say “I did it for you Jesus” while performing the requisite mental masturbation that is also known as prayer.

  • paulalovescats

    I don’t think this counts. This must be schizophrenia, and for some reason, schizophrenics attribute the voices to some supernatural being. He needs to die anyway.

  • unclemike
  • RodHoffman

    I’m not sure this article belongs on this site. This man obviously was mentally ill – just because his delusions took on “religious” iconography, doesn’t mean religion played any part in his illness; had he never heard of demons, it’s likely his paranoia would have just taken on another form. If this story is supposed to somehow further discredit religion, then this article certainly doesn’t belong here.

  • Art_Vandelay

    had he never heard of demons, it’s likely his paranoia would have just taken on another form

    You don’t know that and even if it did, perhaps that form wouldn’t manifest itself into swinging an ax at his son because he though he had a demon in him. People not swinging axes at their kids is a better thing than people swinging axes at their kids 100% of the time.

  • RodHoffman

    I’ll grant you that last point… However, I have to disagree with your first. Do axes have some special religious significance? I still fail to see how religion is at fault in this tragic story.

  • Art_Vandelay

    It’s not necessarily religion…just belief in the irrational in general. A proper dose of skepticism could have helped here. I have no idea where he got the idea that demons are real but I can almost certainly tell you that he didn’t surround himself around a lot of people that challenged his idea that demons are real.

  • mikedave

    Skepticism implies rationality, this guy was obviously not rational. Religion my be a form of metal illness (debatable) but it is clearly not this form of metal illness.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Believing in demonic possession very likely comes from religion but how do you know that this guy has a mental disease? Christianity for one promotes the idea that child blood sacrifice is virtuous. How do you know that this guy just doesn’t really believe it? Is it crazier to think a demon lives inside your kid than to think a cracker turns into the flesh of a 2000 year old zombie? Do you just assume that Catholics have a mental disease?

  • Jason Adams

    I can’t speak for mikedave, but I am absolutely certain that Catholics suffer from mental disease and delusions.

  • Pofarmer

    Very devout Catholics. Almost certainly. The leadership encourages it.

  • TCC

    Religion my be a form of metal illness (debatable) but it is clearly not this form of metal illness.

    Someone’s been listening to too much Quiet Riot.

  • smrnda

    If the guy was mentally ill, then skepticism or rationality on his part is going to do nothing about hallucinations of demons, or anything else. The whole problem is the person’s brain isn’t working.

    Now, if you are delusional and your delusions take on forms that other people believe in (demons, conspiracy theories) and you surround yourself with these people, it’ll probably make it worse, but even ordinary things can become delusion-triggering if you’re mentally ill and delusional.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Yes…I agree with you 100%. We certainly need to help people with mental illnesses first but in the meantime it would also be nice if we didn’t foster an environment around them that makes it completely commonplace for there to be evil monsters sent from hell all over the place. Especially for people that suffer from hallucinations.

  • Jason Adams

    Since this is America, and roughly 70% of the population identify themselves as “Christian,” it is a safe assumption that he gained his irrational belief in “demons” from the “Holy” bible.

  • smrnda

    I thought I’d add this comment, as a person who has had hallucinations but who is an atheist. Your hallucinations take on whatever forms that seem to fit whatever you happen to think about.

  • A3Kr0n

    Religion is a form of mental illness. Oh, I’m sorry, there’s a religious exemption at the end of the definition of “Delusion”.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Most religious people don’t think their children are possessed by demons. I think it’s useful to make a distinction between “untrue things most people believe” and “untrue things that one uniquely believes” otherwise the word ‘delusion’ has no value.

  • cyb pauli

    I think the word delusion has a lot of value even when the nonsense exception for religion is removed.

  • Greg G.

    Most people in general don’t think their children are possessed by demons. But if a non-religious person starts believing in demon possession, it’s a symptom of delusion. If a religious person starts to believe in demon possession, it’s a symptom that they are becoming more religious and the first symptom that they are ill imay be when somebody dies.

    I don’t know if that applies in this case but it seems to have happened before.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Religious fervor is similar enough (or the same as) to clinical delusion that it can mask symptoms? Ya, I think I’d buy that. Had a relative where at least other family members dismissed what to many of us were clear signs of mental illness. They just chalked it up to her Love of Jesus.

  • Jason Sullivan

    Untrue is untrue no matter how many people believe it. No additional distinction needed.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    That’s not true.

  • Jason Sullivan

    Please explain.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I guarantee that every one of us currently believes something that is untrue. That doesn’t make us delusional, it makes us wrong about that thing. If there’s no distinction, then we’re all delusional.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper

    “Delusional” isn’t a global attribute, though. It’s not as though one is delusion about everything, or nothing.

    One can have a delusion about how attractive one’s self is… while not being delusional about the quality of one’s car.

    So while we’re not all delusional, we are all delusional about specific things… and when it comes to the ego, it’s arguable that some amount of delusion is healthy.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    So what’s the difference between delusion and wrong?

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper

    So what’s the difference between delusion and wrong?

    Whether you believe it.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    While I believe that 1+1=3 I am both wrong and deluded. When I believe that 1+1=2 I am both not-wrong and not-deluded. I fail to see the distinction.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper

    While I believe that 1+1=3 I am both wrong and deluded. When I believe that 1+1=2 I am both not-wrong and not-deluded. I fail to see the distinction

    Because on the second example you are right. Your example is incorrect. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    If you’re working on a thermodynamics problem, and the answer you get doesn’t match the answer in the back of the book… and you realize your answer is wrong… you’re just wrong.

    If you you believe you are right despite the answer given by the back of the book, and by the professor showing you precisely where you error was, etc, then you’re both wrong, and delusional about it.

    Here, I’ll make this simple for you:

    * Wrong with belief you’re right = Delusional
    * Wrong without belief that you’re right = Not delusional
    * Right with belief that you’re right = Not delusional

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    So it comes down to how demonstrable the truth is? It’s possible to be wrong about things where the truth isn’t so demonstrable.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper

    Yes it is. Those are delusions too. Unfalsifiability isn’t a loophole for delusion.

    Asserting something as true that isn’t demonstrated as true makes you wrong.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    ok, I’m going to try reflecting. I think what you’re saying through all of this is:

    wrong is wrong
    delusion is continuing to believe in the wrong when the correct has been shown/demonstrated

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper

    That’s an example, but not a requirement. The wrongness being demonstrated makes it more apparent/severe.

    But Merriam-Webster put it succinctly. It’s believing something that’s wrong.

    We just seem to be starting with usages of the word that are at different ends of the spectrum. Frankly, that’s what I care about – whether someone’s beliefs are correct.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    One way might be to put it is that delusion is “persisting in error”. The problem is we do not have access to perfectly reliably knowledge. Knowledge is a web of belief and justification where the strengths of belief and degrees of justification vary quite widely over the entire domain. Persisting in what the sources one has access to declare an error is not the same thing, necessarily, as persisting in error. Sometimes everyone, and all accumulated knowledge, is simply wrong, and the error persisted because the social structure that gatekeeps the knowledge did not handle the particular type of error in an effective manner.

    A person can rationally believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong; indeed, asserting such is the only time that knowledge is expanded. Sometimes your teacher, and your friend, and the answer key to your textbook, and Wikipedia are all wrong. Is it smart to bet on? Perhaps not. Most people who challenge settled knowledge turn out to be actually wrong; we might call such people deluded. A few who do so revolutionize our world; were they deluded before they were validated?

    The missing element is the attachment to the being rightness that separates the deluded from the merely eccentric. Everyone has eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of belief; delusion requires a derangement in how one reacts to challenges to those beliefs, when a person becomes insensitive to the viewpoints of others in asserting the belief, heedless of the material consequences in acting upon it, sure beyond all possible appeal that it is correct.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Maybe we can at least all agree that

    Saying he’s been “the best mayor this city has ever had,” Toronto’s Rob Ford on Thursday filed the paperwork to seek re-election in October.

    Rob Ford is delusional.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/01/02/259114714/as-promised-toronto-mayor-rob-ford-files-for-re-election

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    Then religion IS a delusion, as the truth of no-god is indisputable when one looks at the evidence.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Most beliefs are not binary; they have an intensity. It ranges from an inkling to a gut feeling to perhaps to pretty sure to sure enough to base my life around to sure enough to give my life to affirm.

    Most beliefs have falsifiable and unfalsifiable elements. The degree to which it is reasonable for a belief to be responsive to evidence hinges in part upon whether the structure of the belief is based on evidence to begin with. Sometimes it is impossible to demonstrate a truth, or provide a persuasive falsification of a proposition, but that does not perforce mean that it is, respectively, rational or irrational to continue believing said proposition.

    Different intensities correspond with different likely and/or reasonable behaviors being respondent to that belief. I am really quite sure in normal arithmetic that 1+1 == 2; if the fundamental theorem of arithmetic turns out to be globally untrue, it would be quite a shock. We wager quite a lot of our world on that theorem being true, including matters of life and death. That’s not the same as believing that cats are superior pets to dogs or that one’s partner is faithfully monogamous or that eggs are a healthy food.

    Delusion requires a more fundamental disorder of forming and revisiting opinions than merely having false beliefs. It requires a commitment of emotion and certainty out of proportion with at least one (and usually all three) of the following: the falsifiability of the belief, the strength of the available evidence, the relative impact of being wrong as opposed to being right.

  • Jason Sullivan

    I agree with that. Believing something is true when it is not is not delusional unless there is indisputable evidence suggesting otherwise. To me your statement sounded like you were trying to make a distinction between 1 person believing in something untrue and multiple people believing in something untrue. Believing in demons for example. No distinction needed there

  • Psychotic Atheist

    Most people don’t believe Jesus Christ is a God born of a virgin as a man. Can we continue calling that a delusion?

    On the other hand, believing that the government is uniquely interested in you and is following you and inserting thoughts into your mind (or extracting them) is not a unique delusion, thousands, perhaps millions have it. Is this now a religion rather than a delusion?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    It’s not about the total numbers, it’s the source of your belief. It is considered reasonable (not delusional) to believe generally the same thing as your community/peers.

    If everyone tells you Santa is real, you’re not delusional for believing in Santa. You’re wrong, but there’s a reasonable explanation for your belief.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper


    de·lu·sion
    noun di-ˈlü-zhən, dē-
    : a belief that is not true : a false idea
    : a false idea or belief that is caused by mental illness

    I don’t think you have the right word.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I would call “a belief that is not true : a false idea” ‘necessary but not sufficient’.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper

    Necessary but not sufficient for what? The common usage of the word?

  • Bob Jase

    But those that do, and there are several each year at least, have the religious right to execute/exorcise their children?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Based only on my memory of cases and not hard stats, it seems the courts are coming down on the side of ‘no’. Although many archaic laws still exist on the books, I don’t recall a lot of parents getting away with religious loopholes lately.

    The same isn’t true for education unfortunately. And I’m not sure about vaccines- seem to be loopholes there as well.

  • UnePetiteAnana

    No, “religion” is not a form of mental illness, as defined by professional psychiatrists in the DSM. Also, “e.g.” stands for “for example” whereas “i.e.” stands for “that is” – and semantics in this case is indeed very important.

    You’re pushing a definition of the word delusion that meets your standards, which is incorrect.

  • A3Kr0n

    I read the DSM definition of delusion yesterday, and I think it’s very telling that there needs to be a religious exemption to the term. Why on Earth would anybody think that is needed?

  • smrnda

    I suspect this is because religious people will get all offended *unless there is that exemption.* Kind of how beating kids is child abuse, unless somehow you do it for religious reasons, or if I want to refuse to disclose info to the IRS I’m a criminal, unless I’m a religion, or if I have a *personal individual* moral objection to something I can go get screwed in many cases but the law will bend over backwards for *sincerely held religious belief.* It’s hegemony in action.

  • stillinthecloset

    Without the religious aspect, would his paranoia have taken another form? We can’t be sure that it would have; the emotional trauma of his beliefs may have been the very thing that pushed him over the edge. Which is why I believe this post does belong on this blog.

  • Art_Vandelay

    This is why people that promote and foster an environment where it’s morally virtuous to believe irrational things are terrible human beings. They never consider that this shit has real consequences. People like the Pope and Scalia love to talk about evil and demons so much but they’re the real evil. What would a guy like the Pope say about this? “Oh he should given us money so that we could perform a proper exorcism.” Nope. Wrong answer and until you find the right answer, some of the blood is on your hands.

  • Jason Adams

    You’re a little off the mark. You see, it’s obvious that this guy wasn’t a REAL Christian. A REAL Christian would have prayed the demon out of the child. Only a crazy person would use an axe to exorcise a demon instead of the Holy Scripture.

  • AlexP

    You cannot claim to know what a REAL christian would do, as there are so many examples of fuckstains like this piece of shit doing exactly the same thing. Heard of parents drowning children because they thought they were devils? Yep, I have. Plenty of ‘REAL christians’ kill all the time. Maybe you’re just uncomfortable with the fact that irrational thought leads to moronic action like this.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I think Jason is just doing a little No True Scotsman schtick.

  • WalterWhite007

    Crazy and christian are somewhat synonymous…..both are deluded and in denial of some realities.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    If only he’d read his bible, this could have been averted. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy_21:18-21&version=KJV (assuming the elders of the city aren’t as delusional as this guy)

  • Christopher Griswold

    That is for naughty kids. This was demon possession. Mark 5 says all you need do is tell it to GTFO in the name of Christ.

  • Bob Jase

    When the demon possesses his cellmate he’s going to really be sorry.

  • CryoFly

    With a supreme court judge who has seen the devil [ or devils depending on whether he is monodevilistic or polydevilistic] , I believe this guy has a favorable case, if he can take it all the way to the SC.

    Cheers and Happy New Year to all !

  • cyb pauli

    As a society, we accept the insanity of religious belief as normal and acceptable, something to be promoted. If this man saw a demon possessing his son, bent on eating him, why shouldn’t he kill his son? Most people in my country believe in an all powerful deity. If that deity appears and tells somebody to kill, as they believe he has done in the past, why shouldn’t they do it? The might and justice of this deity (as stated by their belief system) is more potent than that of the state. The state can’t give eternal life, the state can’t give eternal punishment. Nobody can tell me why it’s reasonable for someone who truly believes in this nonsense NOT to kill (or whatever). The “reasonable” theists can’t explain why I shouldn’t take this man’s claim that his son was possessed by a demon as legitimate, without compromising their own expectation of respect. Seeing demons is “true for him” isnt it? Isn’t it just “another way of knowing”?

  • Bad_homonym

    I think we need to keep a close eye on “Dr” Chaps Gordon Klingenshmidt! That guy sees demons everywhere!

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Assuming that this action was the product of mental illness (which seems likely, but isn’t certain), I think it simply demonstrates that a certain kind of violent psychosis manifests itself with the sufferer experiencing hallucinations that are rooted in their culture. If an atheist had this affliction, it might be man-eating aliens. People from other cultural backgrounds would experience different bogeymen.

    We all have “demons” built into our psyches. Religion only provides one source. Illness many bring them to the forefront.

    I don’t think this man’s religion was directly at fault- maybe not at all. My question is whether he attended church, with a pastor and community that enabled his latent mental illness, or if this came from somewhere else entirely.

  • UnePetiteAnana

    As a Christian, and someone who deals with anxiety and depression, I wouldn’t think his religion would have enabled this mental illness (assuming he has a mental illness) unless he was attending an ultra-conservative church or was a scientologist … or something. I wasn’t completely discouraged from taking medication when I began experiencing anxiety but I knew my church’s IFB stance on it and was ashamed that I was taking it.

    I completely agree that everyone has a form of “demon” – the word demon can be associated with and mean many different things.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I wasn’t suggesting that the religion itself enabled the behavior, but rather was asking if his pastor and church community did so. For instance, did he tell his pastor he thought his son was Satan, and receive advice to pray, rather than to seek professional medical help?

  • UnePetiteAnana

    That’s what I meant, sorry if that didn’t come across well. That’s why I used my own personal example of suffering from dep/anx in my past ultra-fundy baptist church and their stance on treating mental illness.

    Anyway, I’m curious of the same.

  • bearclover

    What is an IFB stance?

  • UnePetiteAnana

    IFB stands for “independent fundamental baptist”; if you can imagine it, IFB churches are more conservative than most southern baptist churches (google “Frank Garlock” or Bob Jones University).

    Anyway, the IFB position on mental illness is that no one needs medication, you just need God.

  • Pitabred

    I don’t think religion created his demons, but I think it gave it a form he wanted to attack. Magical thought runs deep.

  • smrnda

    Yes, I was an artificial intelligence researcher, and my delusions involved intelligent computers contacting me via phone and email, asking me either to do things or supply them with crowd-sourced data. Delusions take the forms of whatever thoughts might be in your mind, only in extreme forms.

  • Jeff

    Talking as if there is a connection between his actions and religion is not correct. It is possible to be religious AND bat-shit crazy, it is also possible to be NON-religious and bat-shit crazy. Mental illness does not occur solely in the minds of theists.

  • Pitabred

    Religion gives the conduit, the justifications. If you’re taught that demons are real, your brain starts malfunctioning and you’ll act as if they are. You never get taught that ghosts/demons/other bullshit is real, and you have a lot higher chance of recognizing your own issues and dealing with them better.

  • Anymouse

    > you have a lot higher chance of recognizing your own issues and dealing with them better.
    [citation needed]

  • Pitabred
  • Gehennah

    In addition, and I know this is only anecdotal, but a girl I know is also a schizophrenic. She is completely aware that she is, and has been on meds for it, but even when she is off of her meds (she had some issues where she had to be taken off of them for a while, not sure why) and during that time she’d stay with family or with friends (including myself). And she’d see things, and hear things, and she’d be able to rationalize what was real and what wasn’t for the most part, except one time when I walked into the room and she had been talking to my wife even though she was at work at the time.

    I know she is an atheist, not sure of her upbringing though, and she’s a fairly rational person. I’d think that she’d really need to be to be able to figure out which of her senses were working normally and which were being messed with.

  • Jeff

    Yes, the problem with your statement is there are people who see “demons” who have not been exposed to religion, or who are atheists. You need to be careful about causation and correlation. I fully understand your point…but again, it would only take one individual missing the religion exposure suffering “demons”, and your base statement because questionable.

  • Pitabred

    So you’re asserting that the concept of demons is not a religious one? I’m not saying that people don’t have mental illnesses. That they take the form of demons infesting people is, in my mind, the same reason that all aliens are short with big bug eyes and in flying saucers. That’s what captured the public consciousness, and the people who insist they’ve been abducted all seem to have the same visions of aliens. I see no reason that would not also apply to religious concepts.

  • quasibaka

    My 2¢ :
    The Movies showing exorcisms and horror movies where the brave hero goes and kills the evil possessed guy(you have to decapitate them or they won’t really die) , while the skeptical (read ignorant) guys get killed off first.
    These movies promote such myths and make them seem more ‘real’ to average Mr.Redneck-Fundie .
    Being in the company of such people makes you feel like you’re crazy .
    Eg: My friend stopped inviting me to horror-movie-nights after a few episodes . I slept off during ‘Paranormal activity’ , started laughing during another ,etc.
    What is absurd to me is Scary to them .

    Voltaire :
    “Anyone who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities”

  • MN Atheist

    My guess is the dad is mentally ill…not overly religious. Paranoid schizophrenia often causes this type of delusion. And they have a tendency to see the devil in people.

  • Christopher R Weiss

    However, religious themes are common among schizophrenics.

  • MN Atheist

    Yes many of them have religious delusions. My point was that he did it because he was crazy, not because he was religious. Crap like this happens everyday…maybe not axe murders…but crap.

  • Christopher R Weiss

    I think it goes further than that. I believe religion feeds more delusions than other themes.

  • https://nowebsite.nolink.com Destroyer of Lies

    This Evil Dad is interestingly freaky, although I can hardly imagine the Pope, nor even the most twisted Fundie preacher encouraging him to kill and eat his own son. Conversely, I doubt that he really needed a pre-fabricated bogey-man in order to justify his actions, being so mentally FUBAR as he is – crazy people truly invent their own world, rules, gods, and devils! I don’t say this in defense of Christians (hardly), who really are evil when they control society, but they very interestingly don’t have to be crazy to be so evil! The cruel torture and burnings at the stake of the Spanish Inquisition, and the American witch trials which resulted in the hanging deaths of teenage girls were all carried out by people who were perfectly sane – and this is what makes the social influence of Christians such a menace!

    My opinion is unqualified, but you may want to read Sam Harris’s “The Moral Landscape” and interpret for yourself what he has to say on the societal warping of religion.