Why We Should Reject the Demonic Possession Narrative

Over in the Catholic section of Patheos, Fr. Dwight Longenecker explores the idea that James Holmes, responsible for 12 deaths in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting that happened last week, may have been demonically possessed. According to Longenecker, "demonic infestation is a rare, strange and terrible psycho-spiritual affliction" that "maybe" afflicted Holmes."What makes a mild mannered, promising young scientist decide to arm himself to the teeth, walk into a suburban movie theater and start killing innocent people at random?" What a tempting idea, that an external evil took control of Holmes and instigated his actions. That it was an embodiment of Evil itself that guided … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom: Once More, With Feeling

Today, a federal judge in Nebraska threw out a lawsuit against the Obama Administration's proposed rules on contraception coverage. The reason was two-fold: some of the plaintiffs lacked standing because they are already exempted from the rule, and the law hasn't been implemented yet, so there's no proof that it would actually infringe on the religious freedom of institutions that oppose contraception. "...although the Rule that lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ complaint establishes a definitive, final definition of "religious employer," ... [it] is currently undergoing a process of amendment to accommodate these organizations. The plaintiffs face no direct and immediate harm, and one ca … [Read more...]

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.Damien Echols of the now-freed West Memphis 3 discusses his interest in the art of tattooing, and the ink "talismans" he designed, for the Needles & Sins tattoo blog. Quote: "This one is for success in all ventures. And that's what it says around it in the Theban alphabet; it's also nicknamed the Witches' Alphabet. And inside is my name and the word "success" entwined." Echols' interest in the occult and Witchcraft was used against him in court during a time of moral p … [Read more...]

Watching Tennis (A Short Essay on Religious Conversion)

Some people love watching the sport of tennis, but I am not one of them. This should in no way reflect on that no-doubt fine sport, the talented people who play it, and the fans of said talented athletes. I'm sure it's a deficiency on my part, nobody's perfect, right? Similarly, I just can't get too worked up over the ongoing theist-atheist tennis match, the way some read so much meaning into every "point" scored by each side, how "heroes" and "villains" are created, how "experts" in the commentary box try to explain how one point was more devastating than another point, or how one player's career is on the decline. Worst of all is when a prominent player on one "team" decides to switch … [Read more...]