Growing up, I was taught that there was no possibility that there was actual extraterrestrial life out there, because God created the earth special and sent Christ to die for us in particular. The whole center of everything, the whole point, is our human existence here on the earth. In that context, extraterrestrial life makes no sense.
However. I was taught that alien appearances were actually demons pretending to be aliens and appearing to people. Why? So that when the rapture happened the Antichrist would be able to convince those left behind that the whole thing was just an alien abduction, and thus keep them from realizing the truth, that the God of the Bible was real and they need to repent and turn to Jesus for salvation.
The result was that I was afraid of aliens. After all, I believed that an alien sighting was an actual possibility, and that those aliens were demonic in origin. When I was about twelve I checked out some books from the library about aliens, and read and read. For a little while I was honestly scared of nighttime, scared to go outside after dark, and very, very afraid that I might see an alien, a demon in disguise.
I was also taught that non-Christian religions were actually founded by demons (for example, a demon, not an angel, appeared to Mohammed), and that modern pagans worship demons and actually obtain power from them. Because of this, I was afraid of those practicing Wicca and other pagan traditions, believing as I did that they had real power to cause harm, power they obtained from demons.
I was taught that every moment of every day we are surrounded by demons and angels, invisible to our eyes, engaged in warfare with each other. Even as demons tempted us to do evil, angels strove to protect us from harm. We lived our lives, I believed, in the midst of daily spiritual warfare.
Reading Frank Peretti didn’t help. Here’s Amazon’s description of his This Present Darkness, which I read around 12 or 13:
This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti, is among the classic novels of the Christian thriller genre. First published in 1986, Peretti’s book set a suspenseful standard in spiritual warfare story-telling that has rarely been met by his contemporaries. Set in the apparently innocent small town of Ashton, This Present Darkness follows an intrepid born-again Christian preacher and newspaper reporter as they unearth a New Age plot to take over the local community and eventually the entire world. Nearly every page of the book describes sulfur-breathing, black-winged, slobbering demons battling with tall, handsome, angelic warriors on a level of reality that is just beyond the senses. However, Christian believers and New Age demon-worshippers are able to influence unseen clashes between good and evil by the power of prayer. Peretti’s violent descriptions of exorcisms are especially vivid: “There were fifteen [demons], packed into Carmen’s body like crawling, superimposed maggots, boiling, writhing, a tangle of hideous arms, legs, talons, and heads.” This book is not for the squeamish. But for page-turning spiritual suspense, it’s hard to beat.
I believed that angels protected the homes of believers, but that aliens might be let in by something as simple as ungodly music, ungodly books, or ungodly thoughts. For this reason my parents carefully screened the music entering the house and didn’t allow books like Harry Potter to be brought inside even by a visitor. I knew that our home was supposed to be protected, but I was afraid that a stray thought might let a demon in.
To explain this further, here’s a quote you won’t want to miss from Michael Pearl’s “Pornography: Road to Hell:”
But the most destructive thing about your sin is the effect in has on your children. We live in a spirit world of both righteous and fallen angels. We are surrounded by evil spirits seeking the moral destruction of every human soul. The children of godly parents are protected from unclean spirits by being under their moral umbrella. But when a father gives his mind over to wicked lusts, he removes the hedge of protection around his family and invites impure devils into his home. Wishing them away will avail nothing. Any prayers you pray for their safety are negated the moment you open the pages of a pornographic book or glare at an electronic image. When you tune in to electronic pornography you have established a two-way link with the spiritual underworld. When you lie in bed at night and conjure up wicked images, the devils won’t stop with your mind; they will gleefully rush into the bedrooms of your children and assault their little souls and bodies. Evil thoughts will come to their minds – thoughts you have been thinking that are telegraphed to them by the devils. Your defenseless children will be taken captive, and you are the one that threw the gate open to the enemy.
This post is a bit of a ramble, I’m afraid. For all that I was sure in Christ, I as an evangelical also believed that Satan temporarily has some power and jurisdiction over the earth, and that his demons could and did cause harm and wreck havoc. Even as I knew that I could defeat a demon by merely using the name of Jesus, I was still inwardly frightened of their Satanic power. When I stopped believing in demons, or in Satan, or in God, the world suddenly seemed a much lighter and less clouded place. After all, all that’s around us is air, not demons and angels locked in mortal combat.
What demon stories do you have?