I donâ€™t believe in demons. (Actually, I do.)
As I understand the world of Jesusâ€”first-century Palestineâ€”demons were a dime a dozen. Illness? Itâ€™s a demon. One person murders another? Maybe one or both were demon possessed. In that time, hugely influenced by numerous faith traditions, demons and demonology helped answer hard questions. I remember one seminary professor mentioning how few references there were to â€œdemonsâ€ or evil spirits in Hebrew traditions, and how many there were in Persian â€œcosmology.â€* Every faith tradition becomes influenced by others.
Contemporary medicine helps us understand that seizures have nothing to do with evil intentions and much to do with a treatable illness. And, with appreciation for the entertainment value of BREAKING DAWN or TRUE BLOOD (and other cinematic, and darn good looking, demons and vampires), I donâ€™t worry about bloodsuckers stalking me on my morning walk.
But we all know demons, donâ€™t we? Make up your own list, but mine will include the interior whisper of envy whenever I compare myself to another. Or the convenience of labeling someone as politically or religiously different (thus, more dimwitted) than me.
Beware. There be demons. Doesnâ€™t one of the silly â€œlegendsâ€ about vampires indicate there will be no image in a mirror? Hey, I see myself in the mirror! Iâ€™m okay! But sometimes when I look, I also hear that whisper of envy or remember how I often I labeled strangers, and therefore became a â€œdemonâ€ to others.
*Of course, you may have your own vaguely remembered professor or pastor or other revered expert who said something completely different, but letâ€™s not quibble over broad generalities and scholars who are all convinced they are correct.