Russell and Duenes

There’s no evidence for demons: a response

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Thank you to those of you who responded to my initial query about the existence of demons. Here’s how I would begin to formulate an answer to someone who argues that there’s no evidence for demons.

Let’s go back to basics. Do we have good grounds for believing that the material, physical universe is all that exists? The answer to this is a resounding “no.” I could go into all the arguments, but suffice it to say that it is irrational to believe that the universe just popped into existence out of nothing, or to believe that the space-time universe has always existed. But even if the material universe is all there is, it would then follow that all reason, logic, thinking, consciousness, will, etc is an illusion. These things cannot exist in a purely material universe. All that can exist in a material universe is, to put it simply, matter in motion. So, if we dispense with the unreasonable disbelief in non-physical realities, we are now open to the possibility that such immaterial realities exist. These immaterial realities would include things such as God himself, angels, a devil, demons and souls/ minds. There is no a priori reason for denying demons’ existence.

Thus having shown that it is only rational to believe in immaterial realities, the question arises as to whether one should believe in demons specifically. My argument would then run thus: Jesus Christ believed in demons. Jesus Christ is God on the basis of his self-identification as God, his resurrection from the dead to furnish proof that he’s God, and the unified testimony of his closest followers and friends that indeed they had seen him risen from the dead, just as he had predicted. Certainly there are other interpretations of Jesus, but this is the most reasonable and plausible. Now, if Jesus has the authority of God himself, and has authenticated this authority by rising from the dead as a historical fact, then we are morally and intellectually obligated to take Jesus’ view of reality. Jesus believed in demons, and therefore, so should we. I would be prepared to give a much lengthier defense of this line of reasoning.

Now, what of the experiential question? What of those who say, “Medicine heals people that in Jesus’ time would have been thought to be demon-possessed?” First of all, Christians are not prepared to argue that every human sickness or every earthly catastrophe is directly caused by demonic activity. Sin has entered the world and God’s judgment falls upon this cursed universe every day, with final judgment to come. People get sick for reasons other than demonic activity. Second, what we find when we look at the world as it really is and not how we want it to be, is that “modern medicine” has not come even close to healing all of the physical and mental sicknesses that afflict mankind. This should be obvious to even the casual observer. There are people right now taking cocktails of medicines from everything to schizophrenia to bipolar disorder to depression to you name it, and they are not only not being helped, but are getting worse. This is not to say that modern medicine has not been tremendously helpful. I would not want to live without it. But even the early Christians could not have believed that every sickness and malady was the result of demonic activity in particular. All I’m trying to say is that modern medicine has not, indeed cannot, answer the question as to the existence of demons. There is too much human activity that falls outside the parameters of biochemistry. Again, more could be said, and no doubt has been by others. But this would be my general line of argument in favor of believing in demons. I’d love to have others weigh in.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

December 12, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Posted in Duenes, Philosophy, Theology

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