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June 24, 2008


I don't know about angels, but demons like Dick Cheney are sure active in the world.

if "elitist" means "not the dumbest mthrfckr in the room", i'll be an elitist!

While this percentage may believe that angels and demons are at work in the world, what is the percentage that feels that if their neighbor talks to communicates with angels or demons, they're nuts. Its easy to say these things in the abstract, but do you want a VP that says that he knows the devil was possessing his girlfriend?

Don't make the mistake of thinking just because two people share a rough cosmology they share political and/or religious attitudes. That statistic tells you nothing about how people with a more mystical / mythological mindset will react to Jindal.

However, this particular tidbit from the actual Pew report (pdf) is depressing.

That tidbit can only be depressing to an observer who assumes that belief in world-active demons and angels demonstrates that believers are misinformed.

As usual, the liberal-elitist Will to Educate manifests itself as a sneer.

I'm with Rick on this one. If anything, I'm encouraged by the number being below 70%, considering that last I saw, only about 15% saw themselves as non-believers, and that was the highest number in the history of the poll. So if you're telling me that roughly twice the number of non-believers don't believe in angels and demons interacting with humans, I think that's a step forward.

I also think that there is a big difference between believing "that angels and demons are active in the world" (my own mother would agree to that, just because she would like it to be true that God sends down angels to work in our favor)and a demon took over a friend of mine's body. That isn't exactly the "It's A Wonderful Life Story" that I know and love.

Well, around the same percentage of the U.S. believe in extraterrestrials, but that didn't seem to help Kucinich too much.

We dumb. Dumb as hell.

My name is John Constantine... whoa

Namoldis do not believe in angels or demons. Angels and demons are for the idoloters. But we do enjoy our obedient harems and turkey pot pies.

May peace be upon you;

Hmmm, I think this "sneer" is an idiosyncratic American (western civilization roots) phenomenon, emanating from all quarters, political, spiritual and all else.

A scientist may very well disprove the existence of demons and angels, but if you want to hear real sneering, put that scientist in a room with other scientists with competing theories proving the non-existence of said d's and a's.

One or more of them will head for the bar afterward to "exorcise his or her demons", given the stress of the sneering.

Conversely, if you want sneering from what passes for the religious quarter these days, read Mr. Dobson's dismissal of Obama's view of the Bible and the Constitution in today's papers.

Americans believe two things: many roads lead to the truth AND my road is better than your road, in fact, we're closing your road and you WILL, if you know what is good for you, walk on my road, pilgrim.

It's in our nature.

I have demons and angels. My view is that they are metaphors which let me name them and either deal with them or run screaming in the other direction.

I construct a narrative. "Demons" and "angels" are words on which I hang the narrative.

My only fequirement is that the narrative is interesting. If not --- time to get a new narrative, he daydreamed.

Then again, who knows?

Not I. Nor me.

Sometimes I could use a good exorcism.

P.S. I think there is something to the idea that "science", or maybe it is "scientism", lines up the facticity of the world and empties it of mystery (yes, I know scientists are never at a loss for mystery; I'm talking attitude here) and maybe ineffable metaphorical meaning.

I find it equally interesting that what passes for religion in America does exactly the same thing. It takes perfectly beautiful metaphors and calls them facts, ruining them to my mind.

I like a mystery that can't be solved. I'm in it for the wonder. There's a reason "my dear Watson" would doze off between Holmes' cases: There was nothing left to stay awake for.


I'm getting a little sleepy my own self.

If I'm in love, the last thing I want to hear is that "love" is a series of response-triggering chemicals spurting in my brain, or feeble electrical currents actuating my synapses.

Though that in and of itself is a mystery, hopefully, wrapped in a pastrami sandwich, because now I'm hungry.


angels and demons are active in the world

Also, vampires. And let us not forget unicorns!

Now I have "fequirements".

O.K. I'm awake again. What does that mean?

Speaking of meaning, Bill, what or who is "Namoldis"?

"obedient harums and turkey pot pies."

There is something to be said for keeping things simple, but I've forgotten what it is.


Namoldi is an abbreviation for the North American Muslims of Latter Day Imams. It’s a bunch of guys who are tired of being nagged at by our wives.

In addition to turning out demons from their earthly hosts, Jindal attacks John Rawls for his "adoption of normative principles without acknowledging the necessity of underlying justification."

Well, there are Mad Demon and Brat from the Pit both with connections to a jolly Angel-I-know*. They are quite active in this world.
Btw, neither unicorns nor vampires violate any law of nature by themselves, so true scientists will not deny their potential existence in principle.

*in a permanent rivalry with Nostra Senora de Ciccone to save some 3rd World souls.

I have no problem with believing that angels and demons are active in this world. Back when I was Christian, I believe this. I mean, why wouldn't they be?

To my mind, the big, big leap is when you think not just that they are active, and maybe that there are some things (e.g., the Holocaust) that you suppose are pretty likely to have been assisted by a malign power if anything is, but that you can start identifying the influence of angels or demons on a regular basis.

It's like the difference between thinking that there is, normally, some alternative open to each of us which is what God wants us to do, and thinking that we can reliably identify this, in the case not just of our own choices but of others' choices. The first pretty much follows from belief in a personal God. Thinking that it's sometimes possible to figure out what God wants you to do, if not with certainty than with some sort of justification (e.g., that you think he would want you to help the starving person right in front of you), is also not that problematic. But thinking you can actually speak for him, reliably, is another story entirely -- and one that Christians should see as heretical and a manifestation of the sin of presumption.

68 percent supposedly believe it, but I can't use it to beat that murder strong is that belief?

I have no problem with believing that angels and demons are active in this world. Back when I was Christian, I believe this. I mean, why wouldn't they be?

Be . . . cause they don't exist? Is this a trick question?

It’s a bunch of guys who are tired of being nagged at by our wives.

Perhaps they should consider divorce.

Sorry; I meant: suppose you think that there are angels and/or demons: why wouldn't they be doing things?

Obviously, since I do not believe in God anymore, I don't believe in angels and demons either.

i think what hilzoy is saying is that it's not that much of a jump once you believe in god (and that seems right to me). the logic of both is arguably inextricably linked

but, that strikes me not so much as strengthening the case for angels/demons but weakening the case for god. more precisely, it weakens the argument that our human brains are able to perceive the existence of (and describe) spiritual entities. i mean, once you agree that there are things that can't be perceived, there's no limit on what shape those forms could take

True. But also: it's not that odd to think that there could be all sorts of beings around, and if you accept the Bible (not necessarily as literal truth), you have some reason to think that angels and demons are among them.

But it's a big jump from believing that very general statement, and believing something like: not only do I take it on faith that there are angels and demons, but I believe myself capable of detecting their influence, and saying with some degree of certainty that specific events or actions were caused by them.

It's like the difference between thinking (a) odds are there is another intelligent race of beings somewhere in the universe, and (b) I can say with confidence that specific events in my life were caused by extraterrestrials.

Namoldis do not believe in angels or demons.

I realize that "Namoldis" are a figment of Bill's vivid imagination, but for the record, Islam recognizes angels and a lesser form of spiritual being known as jinn. Whether an individual Muslim believes in them or not is a different question.

Interestingly, humans can apparently marry jini if they wish, although it's not considered lawful by all religious authorities.

Perhaps they should consider divorce.

Not possible, because then they would have to iron their own shirts.

Thanks -

There is a certain egotism to believe that a powerful demon could inhabit a person and it would not be intelligent enough to avoid detection by you, the one person in the room that could perform an exorcism. And if you believed that they were generally smart enough to avoid detection, how could you trust dealing with anyone, demons could be anywhere, trying to manipulate the situation. When the whole thing goes personal (ie. my girlfriend is possessed), it becomes vastly more far fetched.

While my parents were both practising Christians, this aspect was never something that they bought into.

Gee, if Thullen has something to say, I oughta too. He of course will deny that he’s said anything, but despite my cooperative nature, contrarian to the core as I am, I don’t buy it, lacking the appropriate currency.

Jindal is quite the interesting character, as divergent from the norm in his own way as much as Obama is; maybe even more so. Enormously bright and capable, successful in contrary circumstances; and then there’s his exorcism.

At times in my now distant past such stories were a familiar part of daily discourse. So I can see his story as a self-consistent narrative, not distant from ordinary life.
So his exorcism story, while disturbing, doesn’t disturb me by reference to dealing with demons. In addition, C.S. Lewis’s That hideous Strength set a paradigm in my mind that remains there to this day. The Devil, demons and angels, were all at the root of a titanic struggle for Humanity.
Such notions in fact energized the most demanding, intense, and satisfying debate, for we who spoke and those who listened, of my lifetime. (My understanding of the moment at the time was also strongly colored by the debate between Ransom and Satan’s surrogate in Perelandra) It was conducted carefully, in a measured collegial manner, contrary to the images I may have conjured.

What disturbs me in particular in Jindal’s story is four men holding a woman down while (IIRC) Jindal stood over her; and his obvious failure to recognize what such an image represents.

Beyond that, there is no warrant, in the Gospel stories Jindal looks to for inspiration, for advocating such tactics.

Hoping not to appall anyone. We are all rightly and sufficiently appalled as is.

There's a little bit of distance between belief in angels and demons, and violating the explicit policies of one's own denomination in order to carry out an exorcism, too.

Well, I believe that seven-in-ten Americans have some sort of demon that could do with being exorcised…

I have a couple that are in dire need of a little exorcise, or at the least, they need to get out of the house once a week. A little private time for me and the wife don’t you know…

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