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One of the ways that human society manages to compartmentalize atrocities is to create external, mythical creatures that embody ‘evil’. In many religions, these creatures are termed “demons” and can be found in holy texts from around the world. Is there any proof of their existence?

No. There isn’t. In most cases “demons” are just a term for certain ailments that were not known at, say, the writing of the old testament. Jesus didn’t drive out any demons, a more correct translation to a modern setting would be that Jesus cured illness.

However, belief in demons is extremely common and pretty much a given in a religious setting. However, given how demonstrably false a belief in demons is, it is a concern that we may be ruled over by people who are swayed by this idea. Their very decision making can be affected by the idea that a malicious, evil, demonic force is trying to undo their work and access and control their thoughts.

People who try to say to someone that their belief in demons is misled may also be seen as somehow collaborating with demons. You might also see an individual rise in anger when their belief in demons is questioned. These are also (unsurprisingly) symptoms of a delusional disorder and can form part of psychosis. This is where you might start to understand why it is important we understand what our leaders truly believe.

If they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or even Hindu, do they believe an invisible powerful force (sometimes called “demons”) is the reason behind bad things happening? Is belief in demons a religious right or a common mass delusion that helps us, as humans, cope with the darker acts of mankind and nature in general?

It is one thing for us to pass off mentions of demons, however, the belief in demons causes real-world suffering. Those who suffer mental illnesses right through to those in the LGBTIQ community can often be accused of “having demons”. There still exist today Christian (and other religious) reprogramming sessions known as “Conversion Therapy” and the key reason these exist is because of false belief in demons.

Conversion therapy is the practice of taking gay, transgender and other individuals not seen as ‘normal’ by, say a church or religious group and basically making them straight. This will often include praying over a subject as well as performing real-life exorcisms (which are delusions in and of themselves). Leaders who share a belief in demons may not support this barbaric abuse but they are condoning it when they share in the same delusional beliefs in demons.

Beliefs in demons are also an easy way for a leader to ignore genuine criticism and concern with their leadership. Christian churches have been doing this for decades as they faced a huge public backlash and a collapse in attendees due to child abuse. Any attack on the church, such as an accusation of child abuse, could be seen as being inspired by a demon or “Satan” was fighting against the church.

There is of course no Satan fighting against the church. It is an imaginary enemy used to improve social cohesion in religious communities. It is important that religious people and religious organisations are continually educated and brought into the future. Demons are not real, and no, there are no evil spirits trying to get you.

Of course, in saying that, there are plenty of people doing evil things out there that are more of a worry than imaginary demons.

Let’s pray for leaders with rational minds and giving hearts. Not ones that rely on fear and fairy tales.

(P.S Release Satan.)