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Monday, December 10, 2012

Is Satan For Real?



My readers will perhaps recall my post about my experience with an "evil presence". I'd like to say something more about this subject. (I would also like to list my posts under subject title, but I'm very stupid when it comes to computers and I don't know how to do it!). 

In my son’s eyes, the practice of exorcism is a medieval aberration. And yet, the contemporary psychiatrist Doc. Scott Peck made a distinction between demonic possession and schizophrenia. Of course he’s a Christian, therefore, in the atheist’s opinion, he believes in fairy tales. But what if his religious background allows him to perceive a hidden reality that the atheist, in his limited horizon, cannot see? When such serious problems are at stake, every possibility should be considered.
I’m watching my son walking back and forth like a tiger in a cage, condemning irrational beliefs and praising logic. Only yesterday he was a boy full of wonder who lived in a fantasy world. If I mentally put side by side my vivid memory of the boy and the young man of today, I don’t recognize them as the same person, but I love them both. This probably happen to a lot of parents, and it’s one of the mysteries of the world we live in. It’s hard to believe that our children, our loved ones, and even the young version of ourselves are gone forever.
My point is that if we look closer we can detect a supra-natural component in the context of our everyday lives. What’s wrong with exploring possibilities, even if fantastic? What’s wrong with giving credit to our feelings, even if they belong to a different level of perception? Are we putting our mental sanity at risk by doing that? I don’t think so. I think we are simply trying to look at reality from a broader perspective.

Satan can be a funny business if one doesn’t see him as a threat. When I was a little girl I dreamed of the devil twice. The first time he was hiding under a table. I lifted the table-cloth and there he was, nothing but a huge, red, grinning face complete with black horns. I think I screamed for quite some time after I woke up. My mother had to pick me up and carry me around the house to show me that there was no demon crouched under any piece of furniture.
In the second dream it didn’t look like the devil at all, but I knew it was him. It was hiding behind a curtain. I pulled it aside and I saw a rather funny creature entirely made of cobalt blue bones. Don't get me wrong, it wasn’t a skeleton. Those bones seemed to have been put together at random, as if to assemble a marionette. It was clumsy but in a terrifying way. There was no cranium, just a bouquet of small blue bones. I wonder, is that how one looks after having spent some time in the furnace?
Of course the Catholic Church believes in demonic possession. I think that there are both good and evil forces in our world. We should do our best to bring out the good, and one way to do it is to find meaning to our lives.                  

Msgr. Luigi  Giussani wrote in The Religious Sense that man responds to reason’s need for meaning. He said that if we didn’t take the world around us for granted, we would be amazed at its beauty and complexity. If we were to come out of our mother’s womb with an adult perception of the reality we would be in awe, not only of nature but also of human accomplishments. We would be astonished, incredulous, and we would know that this incredible world is not a meaningless place.

The human race can’t be headed nowhere. This statement doesn’t come out of fear, but out of  wonder. It is a reasonable response to our big questions. Acknowledging the reality of the  Mystery is reasonable, not irrational, because the very world we live in and our very selves are signs of this mystery. God is the most immediate implication of self- consciousness. Even the most passionate atheist must admit that we have an intuition of the Beyond. Whether we are afraid of death or not, we all perceive ourselves as part of something eternal. Chances are that we may be right.