Intelligent People take Demonic Possession Seriously?
For many people today, the idea of demonic possession sounds preposterous and is better explained by psychological categories of mental illness. But for Christians who take the Bible seriously, demonic possession is not something that can be easily dismissed. The gospels, which contain the bulk of information about Jesus, contain numerous references to it. And if the gospels are wrong with respect to demonic possession, it casts doubt upon their historical reliability in general.
The skepticism that many people feel toward demonic possession was shared by Matt Baglio when he learned of the Roman Catholic Church offering a new course in exorcism. The course was offered in Rome and part of an effort on behalf of the Catholic Church to place an exorcist in every diocese in the world. Curious, Baglio decided to attend the course and ended up meeting Father Gary Thomas, a priest from California. Over many months, Baglio enjoyed full access to Father Gary, and what he learned during this time seriously challenged his skepticism. The journey that Baglio took is described in his book, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist.
Those who come from a naturalistic worldview will undoubtedly find Baglio’s account unconvincing. If a person does not accept the existence of God and of human souls, the idea of other disembodied spirits, such as angels and demons, will seem silly. And if demons do not exist then the idea of demonic possession will be utterly ludicrous. But for those who acknowledge the existence of God and human souls, demonic possession will not seem so far-fetched. Baglio’s work will then, in turn, serve as an eye-opening account of the spiritual realm that exists around all of us.
Matt Baglio, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, 1st ed (New York: Doubleday, 2009).