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Exorcism phenomenon

  1. Jul 20, 2011 #1
    Folks,

    I watched a movie called 'the rite' with Hopkins. I am intrigued to know what atheists think of this phenomenon.

    How do they explain the phenomena of speaking a different tongue, precognition, physical violence assuming that the victim has been medically cleared of paranoia dementia etc?

    Cheers
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2011 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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    Re: Exorcism

    You're going to have to clarify and provide references to what you are talking about. Do you mean speaking another language or speaking in tongues? What evidence do you have of precognition? Why is physical violence something you consider paranormal?

    Please note that this forum is not a "atheists vs believers" site. This is a place for scientific inquiry and discussion. If you would like to discuss a phenomenon you will need to provide references, evidence and ask concise questions.
     
  4. Jul 20, 2011 #3

    enigma

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    Re: Exorcism

    Movies aren't real.

    Even if they're 'based on' true events, that still leaves tremendous wiggle room for the writers, directors, and actors to embellish.

    Show me a person who was evaluated and deemed to be sane when acting like they're possessed and we'll talk.
     
  5. Jul 29, 2011 #4

    FlexGunship

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    Re: Exorcism

    As an atheist, I think I can speak for all of us when I say: "Atheists acknowledge the phenomenon of movie viewing."

    • No need to explain speaking in different tongues: if it's a real language, it can be learned. If it's not, then anyone can speak gibberish.
    • No need to explain precognition because it hasn't been demonstrated in a reliable and repeatable manner. Anecdotal or statistical anomaly.

    Why would physical violence need to be explained? It's surprisingly common. Oddly, uninstigated physical violence is actually PART of the diagnosis for many psychoses. So it's a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg problem here.

    "He's physically violent."
    "He may have some form of mental or emotional disorder."
    "No...?"

    Unless you're presupposing that the person is mentally sound there seems to be no reason to eliminate the possibility of some for of psychosis... possibly brought on by trying to learn another language or attempting to predict the future.
     
  6. Jul 31, 2011 #5

    HallsofIvy

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    Re: Exorcism

    I think that, by "physical violence", bugatti79 was referring to "stigmata"- bleeding, bruises, or other physical damage not actually caused by physical violence.
     
  7. Jul 31, 2011 #6

    Pengwuino

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    Re: Exorcism

    It's a movie.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2011 #7

    FlexGunship

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    Re: Exorcism

    Maybe, but if that's what bugatti meant, then he did a poor job of conveying this information. In fact, he contrasts the idea of physical violence and mental illness which seems to further the idea that a mentally ill person might act violently. If he's implying a tendency to act inwardly violent (i.e. self-mutilation), then I'd point him towards the millions of self mutilators which show no outward signs of diagnosable mental illness except for their tendency towards self-mutilation.

    I'm unaware of any credible claims of stigmata, and a brief exercise of Google didn't turn up anything other than crackpot sites. I guess I'll ask for sources? Bugatti, do you have any sources to provide (given that a movie isn't sufficient).

    *Side note: Bugatti, if you're in the business of believing movies, I'd like to sell you an underground giant-transforming-robot-proof survival bunker. In case you haven't heard, Apollo 11 turned up some evidence that there is an eons-old robot war being fought on our doorstep. I'd like to know what atheists think of that!
     
  9. Aug 4, 2011 #8

    Evo

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    Re: Exorcism

    Not to mention that stigmata having to do with the crucifixion is anatomically incorrect, proving it is psychosomatic (the stigmata people have blood in the places they've seen in medieval paintings). It is now known that people crucified during the time of Jesus would have been nailed through the wrists, not the hands, and through the heel, not the tops of the feet.
     
  10. Aug 5, 2011 #9

    FlexGunship

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    Re: Exorcism

    You would think that Jesus would remember where those nails went pretty gosh darned well.

     
  11. Aug 6, 2011 #10

    Chronos

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    Re: Exorcism

    You ever watch one of those TV preachers head slappin the devil out of their flocks? Do they sound more like an ancient prophet overturning temple tables, or, a farm animal having a stroke in a canoe?
     
  12. Apr 27, 2012 #11
    Re: Exorcism

    I had so much interest in this subject years ago, and how it could be possibly explained in the light of science by multiple personality disorder and other similar psychological diseases. However, I still don't know if there's an explanation for why some people who're believed to be possessed by evil entities, start behaving uncontrollably when a scripture of some kind is being read on them? I remember that I downloaded a scientific research explaining why, but I didn't have the opportunity to read it.

    In my region, where all people are officially Muslims, most of them believe in this phenomenon as a devil taking control of a victim's body. The victim is taken to an exorcist, who uses the َQuran to exorcise. When he starts doing so, the victim screams and acts uncontrollably. When I was a young boy, I attended an exorcism session, where a group of people sit in a circular form while an exorcist reads verses of the Quran on them. A lot of the attendants started acting crazily in a few minutes since he started reading. Interestingly, I felt nauseous and shortness of breath at that time.

    See this video for an exorcism session:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzv39wii5aU
     
  13. Apr 27, 2012 #12

    Ryan_m_b

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    Re: Exorcism

    Bingo. I'm sure that if you took a Muslim person who was "possessed" would not act like that if the Pope read a bible at him, or a witch burnt some leaves.
     
  14. Apr 27, 2012 #13

    Evo

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    Re: Exorcism

    It's called the "power of suggestion". They believe they're posessed, so they believe reading from a book on the religion they believe in will work. Getting caught up in the excitement from a crowd is a mild form of what is called "mass hysteria", again a form of the "power of suggestion".
     
  15. Apr 28, 2012 #14
    Re: Exorcism

    Do I sense sarcasm here? but yeah, when I was a young boy who wasn't able to read scientific papers on this subject at that time, I believed in the supernatural explanation of this phenomenon. However, on a side note, I must say that Islamic teachings aren't necessarily teaching that a devil can take over a human being. It's something that's debatable between different educated minds in Islam. Anyway, I won't go any further on this because it's not our subject.

    If I attended an exorcism session again, would I possibly feel nauseous especially since I have become aware of the possible natural explanations behind this phenomenon? would I suffer from mass hysteria?
     
  16. Apr 28, 2012 #15

    Evo

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    Re: Exorcism

    Why are you asking me? I didn't say anything about your nausea. I was referring to your comment on the other people acting crazy.
     
  17. Apr 28, 2012 #16
    Re: Exorcism

    Yes, I know, but given that I felt nauseous and shortness of breath at that time, therefore by the definition of mass hysteria, I was possibly suffering from the same thing. So, do you think that I would possibly feel the same symptoms if I attended an exorcism session again after I have become aware of the the possible natural explanations? someone told me that he and his friend, when they were schoolchildren, spread a rumor that there's a ghost in the bathroom of the school. After the rumor spread everywhere in the school, other students reported that they saw a ghost in the bath, and they became so scared, until the school closed for some time. If this is really the case, then it's a very effective tool for physiological war especially with the presence of media.

    I must say, I haven't read on mass hysteria before, but it surely is interesting. I just have read a few pages on the Dancing Plague that occurred in France in 1518, and that's one of the weirdest things I have read for some time.
     
  18. Apr 30, 2012 #17
    Re: Exorcism

    There's a chance the feeling of nausea is caused by the method of chanting of the exorcist.

    I once saw a practitioner of the Wiccan religion on TV perform a blessing ritual over a globe (representing the earth). She warbled her voice in the most strangely powerful way when she said the prayer that I found myself with tears streaming down my face.

    I also saw an Indian (Native American) ritual chant once, where the leader gave a little talk about how, in the old days, the chanters knew how to draw people into the ritual with carefully studied vocal effects.

    Intuitively we all know such a thing is possible: we know people with especially soothing voices and people with especially grating voices. Modern day actors are a clear example of people who diligently study and practice ways of effecting emotional responses with their voices. Then there's the classic military drill sargent whose voice is always calculated to intimidate, and command obedience.

    Generally speaking, whenever someone adopts an unnatural sounding vocal pattern like chanting, it's bound to have an emotional effect, positive, negative, even humorous.

    That's something to consider.
     
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