D is for . . .

DEMONOLOGY

I don’t believe in demons. (Actually, I do.)

As I understand the world of Jesus—first-century Palestine—demons were a dime a dozen. Illness? It’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 “demons” or evil spirits in Hebrew traditions, and how many there were in Persian “cosmology.”* 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 don’t worry about bloodsuckers stalking me on my morning walk.

But we all know demons, don’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. Doesn’t one of the silly “legends” about vampires indicate there will be no image in a mirror? Hey, I see myself in the mirror! I’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 “demon” to others.

*Of course, you may have your own vaguely remembered professor or pastor or other revered expert who said something completely different, but let’s not quibble over broad generalities and scholars who are all convinced they are correct.

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