Demons and the Consequences of Feeding Children’s Fears

So, demons. I've written on this topic before, but it's been a while, and when I last wrote on this topic my children were too small to be scared of the dark. When I was a girl, I was taught that demons were real. My dad used to pray a "hedge of protection" around our house, to keep the demons out. My parents told me that there's an invisible world all around us, in which angels and demons are at war, constantly.At one point when I was girl, another woman in my parents' Bible study group … [Read more...]


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When Demons Are Real

I'm sure by now nearly every one of you has heard about Arkansas state representative Justin Harris's decision to "rehome" his two adopted daughters with a man who then sexually abused them. Most of you have probably heard, too, about the impetus for Justin's decision---that he believed the girls were possessed by demons. Justin called in specialists to conduct an exorcism and kept the girls separated because he believed they could communicate telepathically.I might very well think this s … [Read more...]


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“Daddy, Is the Devil Real?” A Response

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me a post from a blog on the progressive Christian channel and asked for my opinion. The post is called Daddy, is the Devil Real? The author, Morgan Guyton, explains that the devil came up during scary story telling with his sons, and that his five-year-old asked if the devil was real, and that he said yes, which very much concerned his son. Guyton explains his belief as follows:  I really do believe that somebody’s out there who’s behind the world’s evil. People r … [Read more...]


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Christian Homeschool Girl. Teenage Exorcist.

So, I was initially sure this was satire. I grew up believing in demons and believing that people could be possessed by demons and that Christians could cast out demons, but I certainly didn't travel the world performing exorcisms. Guess what? It's not satire. A trio of Christian homeschoolers from Scottsdale, Arizona, have taken up an unusual extracurricular activity on top of their academic studies---they perform exorcisms! Brynne Larson, 17, Tess Scherkenback, 17, and SavannahScherkenback, … [Read more...]


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Narnia and Tolkien, Yes. Harry Potter, No.

Reader Alexandra McKay recently posed a question. You say that your upbringing contained both Narnia and Tolkien, but that Harry Potter was not just considered Satanic, the books themselves were even believed to harbour demons. Why is it that fundamentalists hate Harry Potter so much, but not Tolkien? Both present magic as morally neutral, usable for good or evil, and only by certain people. Is it because the wizards in Harry Potter are mortal humans, while magic in Tolkien is used only by … [Read more...]


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Evil and Demons and Sin, Oh My!

By now you have surely heard of Liza Long's article, I Am Adam Lanza's Mother. In it Long talks about the difficulties of dealing with her mentally ill teenager, of searching for answers, and of the need for better systems of mental healthcare.I will admit to being a bit ambivalent about Long's article. Like her, I feel very strongly that we need find better ways of approaching and handling mental health issues in this country. However, Adam Lanza's mother is dead and unable to tell her … [Read more...]


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Fear and the Fundamentalist Child

Today is Halloween. Sally is giddy with excitement. I'm taking her trick-or-treating this evening, and she's been asking every day for a month now if it is "Halloween Day." Bobby will be going too, his first Halloween, in the matching outfit Sally picked for him. The thing is, I remember experiencing Halloween as a child raised on the border between evangelicalism and fundamentalism. I loved wearing a costume and attending our church's Harvest Fest, but I also believed that Halloween was Satan's … [Read more...]


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