"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Conversation Killer . . .

Ross Douthat once said the most shocking thing you can say to an atheist/agnostic is not that you believe in God, but rather, that you believe in demons. On his weblog, he uses the thought to introduce three books on the subject.

M.Scott Peck wrote two of them. He broached the idea in People of the Lie, his study of evil. The second is his final book A Glimpse of the Devil. I was so fascinated by People I had to pick up longtime Vatican insider Malachi Martin's book Hostage of the Devil, which absolutely makes the worst bedtime reading imaginable. Martin's accounts of real-life exorcisms are anything but Hollywood.

Peck's early account was far less graphic, but still chilling. He apparently decided to study exorcisms scientifically from his perch as a psychiatrist. The new book is the result. If anyone has read it, I'd be interested in feedback. I'm going to give in to the impulse to buy it soon.

2 comments:

Tlaloc said...

I'm not sure why professing belief in one aspect of a religion would shock more than another. Nor does it seem odd that those of a particular faith find ways to attribute their afflictions to sources consistent with that faith.

Anonymous said...

As per response by: Tlaloc

Professing belief in one aspect of a religion over another can indeed to be a shock to some, especially when comparing the comfortable and abstract idea of a transcendent "force", easily dismissed, to it's supposed antithesis: a being seeking ill will specific to the reader. Such a being, possibly corporeal, is not as easily ignored. Your second comment, at least in relation to your possible inclusion of M. Scott Peck, is incorrect in that his initial intent was not to support any theological hypothesis. Just the opposite was true. Initially, he intended on debunking the notion of possession but was soon unable to deny his own findings. The reason the books in question have even been written is because of his current condition of health and his advanced years. He frankly doesn't care what people think anymore. We may at least consider the idea that on a daily basis we look into the eyes of humans and spirits alike.