The True History of ExorcismThe fact is that exorcism as known in the west is a peculiar and highly contradictory development of Christian doctrine. They can't live with it and they can't live without it. Many people lose sight of the fact that Christ was a Jew and that Christian theology is firmly based on the Jewish Holy Books. These do not portray Satan as an autonomous devil. They portray him first as any adversary or hurdle to national unity. Then as an Angel who God uses to punish people for their wrongdoings.
At the time when the Hebrews were cast out of Israel and were in the 'wilderness' their religion was an eclectic blend of Ancient Hebrew Lore and pagan beliefs influenced by Sumerian and Babylonian pantheism whose societies they had mixed with. With no country available to them the Hebrew Nation relied on its religious tenets to coalesce their people, just as they do today, all over the world; as a mark of nationhood.
But their religion was insufficiently distinct from the various pagan beliefs which surrounded the near and middle east. It was to polarise this difference that the Ten commandments were invented which emphasised the monotheistic uniqueness of Judaism. We all remember how in Exodus Moses came down from mount Sinai and lambasted the Hebrews there for worshipping false idols, giving strict instructions to break with the pagan links from before.
But this was when Judaism was a minority sect which wanted to isolate itself from the rest in order to perpetuate the state of Israel. Whilst 'in the wilderness' things didn't look too good for the nation of Israel and the regular hereditary priesthoods were challenged by radical newcomers who created a schism (just like the Sunni - Shiite division in Islam) when a number of new Judaic sects were inaugurated to break the monopoly of the hereditary priests. Chief amongst these were the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Pharisees. In order to gain authority amongst the people these new sects amplified the Eschatology (end-time) of the Judaic Holy Books, which had previously been scant, into a firm mythology which featured the idea of redemption and eternal life. To increase their influence another component part of their philosophy was the idea of a Messiah who would appear just before the end of the world was nigh in order to lead pious Jews to eternal life.
Jesus grew up and developed within this dramatic new current of religious FUNDAMENTALISM and he is said to have favoured the teachings of the Pharisees. Either way the monopoly of the old Hebrew Priest Castes was broken and the Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes etc, (The original Fundamentalists) could begin their radical interpretations of the Holy Books.
Thus there was developed the idea that people who were pious who would be chosen for resurrection and people who were impious in Jewish ways would not be chosen and burn in hell for eternity as punishment. According to them Satan was always waiting in the wings to tempt people from the path of righteousness (viz the Temptation of Jesus - 'get thee behind me satan') into paganity, immorality 'or worse'.
Of course someone had to distinguish between the pious and impious and chief amongst these were the new fundamentalist priests, the most famous of which was John The Baptist who regularly held exorcism ceremonies to cleanse people of their sins (i.e. satan). This power-play for control of Judaism caused continuous internecine squabbles and eventually when Jesus came along the new religion of Christianity broke away and rewrote the holy books in it's own image, paying particular attention to the necessity for exorcism.
Several hundred years later in an attempt to formalise control over the end-time paranoia which the fundamentalists had created, a demonology was developed which formalised an exorcism squad within Christianity at a very early date.
Exorcists formed one of the four minor orders of the Church. It was Their reputation which helped spread the new faith wrote Justin Martyr in the 2nd century A.D. As time went on the number of 'devils' which could inhabit a person went into the extreme. Hundreds were claimed in some cases and by the renaissance this atavistic and anti-social idea had become an art-form in which hundreds of treatises were published instructing priests how to identify anyone who was possessed and how to exorcise them. This literature reads like some Hammer Horror movie in the horrific and disgusting steps which were taken against so-called witches.
Often women were victimised as an excuse for extreme sadism by priests who were already sexually repressed and frustrated.
It is estimated that 13 million people were tortured and put to death throughout Europe during The Burning Times in the most insane ways, including being skinned alive, having lumps of flesh torn from them, having Red Hot Irons pushed into their viscera, having their feet and legs crushed, having molten lead poured into their mouths etc.,
So many and varied were the sickening atrocities meted out to innocent people in this way by supposedly pious Christians that their victims willingly admitted whatever tales their inquisitors accused them of in an attempt to get to the stake more quickly and stop the unbearable torture.
In this way the Christian church justified these extreme atrocities of exorcism and the signed confessions were confirmation that the torture was necessary in order to get at the 'truth' and save the soul of the tortured.
This historic perspective is clearly and dutifully recorded in every respect in the annals of the Church. It is impossible for anyone with a seat in Theology and Religious studies not to know about it. So the question is, why did Hoskins turn a blind eye when he was making his programme?
The Christian teachings surrounding possession and exorcism have been very much played down in the Western World during the past few centuries whilst rational scientific thought has held sway but because of expedient politics, the chattering Bishops and greedy Media Moguls who de-sensitise the population to the effects via their tardy images, Exorcism is flourishing again in Britain today. Self-appointed Witch-finder Generals (evangelical pastors) are gearing up to physically abuse children and adults in a completely unnecessary bout of mind-bending torture which will increase the level of mental illness in the population by leaps and bounds.Ends:
Copyright John Freedom, Summer 2010
Christians Still In a State of Denial
Dr Joe Aldred, secretary of Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs, told OBV that he was not downplaying the problem that Dispatches had drawn attention to. He said:
“The vast majority of African churches in the UK do not subscribe to these practices. What angers me about the Dispatches programme is the way in which they – having highlighted a worthy problem that needs to be tackled – implied that this practice is representative of the 4000 African churches in the UK.”
Dr Aldred highlights that,
Review of Witch-Child
A BBC2 Investigation Into How Young Children are Being Abused and Tortured in Christian Exorcism Ceremonies
Broadcast April 4, 2006, BBC2
This was a courageous piece of reporting by Richard Hoskins with some highly emotional images including the cutting of little children's stomachs with razor blades to 'let the demons out'. It would have been a breath of fresh-air in a debate poisoned by prejudice had it not been hamstrung from the start with an entirely incorrect premise. It was the fundamentalist Christians who were beating, abusing, torturing and killing children as a by-product of their belief in possession and this had nothing whatsoever to do with the native African religious belief system.
It didn't help that the term 'witchcraft' was used confusingly throughout the programme to describe several totally different things (the act of Sorcery, a belief in animism and the cause of possession) The compulsion to in some way relate this abuse to 'witchcraft' was a clear symptom of prejudice and this made it impossible for the programme makers to get at the truth.
Hoskins programme focussed on the abuse of children in exorcisms and conveyed the message that there was a problem in the exorcisms of children who had been accused of involvement in 'Witchcraft' but this is misleading. In fact there is a problem in the exorcism of ANYONE; children or adults , accused of involvement in Witchcraft by Christian Evangelists. This difference is crucial in that it immediately highlights the real nub of the problem, which is the casual use of exorcism by Christian evangelical churches and not ( as the government's recent Stobart report concluded) a belief by Africans in 'witchcraft'.
It is not Witchcraft which is the cause of the abuse, witchcraft is the justification used by fundamentalist Christians to abuse the children. Thus by stepping back one pace away from the stereotypes forced upon this problem by the clique of believers in Ritual Abuse ( who have consistently disinformed the debate over the past two decades) the truth of the matter can be seen; the rampant wave of exorcisms afflicting West Africa and London are simply part of the Witch-hunts regularly created by Christian extremists.
An Increase In Proselytism Not PantheismThis most recent bout was caused by the hysteria of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth which was exported from America to the UK in 1989 by missionary activists from the same groups who are now abusing children in exorcisms in Africa and London.
It is not Africa or its native beliefs which is the problem. It is the growing power, influence and irrationality of free-style Christian evangelists, BLACK AND WHITE, for similar situations are occurring throughout the world. One must remember that only TWO clear cases of 'Child Abuse Through Exorcism' have occurred in the U.K. At least ten times that number have occurred in the U.S.A. (in predominantly white Churches). The reason why the London cases have been given so much prominence to the exclusion of the overall view, is that the Satan Hunters in Social Services have linked them with the 'celebrated' Thames Torso case.
Richard Hoskins' conclusion approached this idea and then rationalised it by suggesting that the self-styled African evangelists were mis-using the tenets of Christianity to pander to the primitive superstitions of uneducated black immigrants who were being lead to abuse their children due to their state of anxiety at having to come to terms with cultural differences in Britain. Thus letting mainstream Christianity off the hook. When he visited the Congo he reinforced that idea by suggesting that two decades of civil war, the plague of AIDS and a breakdown of law and order there meant that the population were in a continual state of paranoia and this fed the belief in the existence of witches, evil-doers etc., He was absolutely right, and it is just this mix of fear which Christian agitators have used throughout history to seize the moral high-ground and bias the political system to favour their biblical views. But what has that got to do with 'Witchcraft'?
Another Burning Times
All Hoskins had to do for confirmation was to look back into European history into what British Pagans term 'The Burning Times' where a combination of social deprivation and the march of the Black Death in the 13th century was responsible (according to Norman Cohen in his classic work 'Europe's Inner Demons') for igniting senseless witch-hunts all over Europe where innocent people, INCLUDING CHILDREN, were sucked into a system of torture and mass execution by Christian Witch-Hunters. The same social mechanisms which are occurring now in West Africa and in London. And just as in the 13C, 14C and 15C the authorities allowed the abuse, torture and killing of innocent adults and children to continue because they were culturally blind to the fact that it was Christians which were perpetrating these horrors, not 'Witches'.
How Children Are Manipulated by Funamentalists
All a Christian evangelist has to do is to claim that Witchcraft is involved and he can act pretty much as he likes whilst the police rush around elsewhere looking for rampant satanists. Children have of course, ALWAYS been used as star turns in witchcraft trials because they are, amenable and have inventive imaginations; easily 'confirming' the prejudices of their inquisitors without properly understanding the ramifications of the questions.
The Infamous Salem Witch Hunts in New England were created by just such a happening. Inventive children in a fundamentalist puritan colony giving vent to their imaginations and implicating innocent people as 'witches'.
In more recent times the same thing happened in the Orkney and Rochdale cases in the early 1990s where Inquisitors from the local Social Services manipulated the testimony of kids to implicate dozens of innocent people.
Why can't people see this happening? It can only be explained away by the incessant need of some to confirm their worst fears. Fears which have been indoctrinated into them by other Christians when they were very young and unable to properly discern. So the wheel of prejudice turns; and in Hoskins programme it turned one more revolution.
Tribal Religions Not Guilty
It became clear as the programme continued that the problem with the children who were abused had nothing to do with a native belief in Sorcery or Witchcraft. The only people Hoskins' interviewed who seemed to have a clue as to what was really going on were the Witch-Doctors he went to visit to ask about the native religion of the Congo. They articulately explained that 'kindocki witchcraft' was rare and that their treatment for it was herbal in nature. Their cosmology did not allow for 'exorcisms' of the type these child victims were suffering. Then they told Hoskins straight that the problem was caused by interloping Christian Missionaries who over the past decade had been taking advantage of the rampant fear generated by the disastrous political turmoil and violence in the Congo.
Was it really that simple? Well, yes, but Hoskins, hamstrung by his original prejudices that it was some primitive atavistic belief in the Congolese native Culture which had hi-jacked Christianity, obviously couldn't see the wood from the trees. Instead of now looking at the Tenets of Christianity itself, he continued to unthinkingly absolve the larger Christian belief of blame whilst seeking to find a 'reason' why African Evangelists had come to adopt this terrible technique.
But how could he make such a mistake? Hoskins is a visiting senior research fellow in Theology and Religious Studies at Kings College, London. Surely he would know that the belief that devils stalk humanity and possess human beings in order to create evil is a FUNDAMENTAL tenet of Christianity. In fact it was one of the main differences which allowed Christianity to split with Judaism and create a niche for itself in the days of Jesus.
Since the 17th century with the ascendancy of science this idea of independent devils existing all around us has fallen out of favour with the educated classes and seems quite irrational, but millions of Christians still believe and are taught consistently by their fundamentalist pastors that possession is real and exorcism necessary. Of course it's all superstitious nonsense anyway, but if one wants to track the history of its use the CRUCIAL thing to remember is that Christianity's theologians have ruled all spirits or demons come under God's rule. Spirits exist to tempt man. God put them there to do that. The purpose of exorcism is to bring the parishioner back to centre, it hasn't anything to do with the possession of his body by an animistic devil from an ancient African religion. Even in the mad bad days of the Burning Times ecclesiastical courts were careful to ensure that people tried of witchcraft were made to admit to having consciously trafficked with satan to do mischief (to avoid them using the 'a demon possessed me and I couldn't help myself' defence which would have compromised the accepted Christian tenets on the issue).
An additional error was that the programme featured solely the situation in the Congo and missed the fact that this kind of irrational evangelical activity is going on throughout Africa where DIFFERENT tribal religions exist. Obviously all can't be responsible. There are areas with tribal religions where exorcism is not happening. It is only happening in certain areas where Christian fundamentalism is on the rampage. What is the common denominator? The common denominator is not witchcraft, it is not Africa, it is not children. The Common Denominator is the teachings of Christianity about exorcism.
Evangelists have worked hard in Africa, India, Indonesia and Polynesia to discredit and displace the existing pagan beliefs for hundreds of years. The way Christian beliefs have influenced the local tribal religions can be seen clearly in the South American Religion of Santeria and the Carribean beliefs of voodoo where West African symbolism has melded with Catholic ideas and iconography.
Thus if we accept Hoskins' premise that native Africans believe in the existence of a myriad of demons waiting to ambush children they got it from the continuous missionaryism which has afflicted the Dark Continent NOT from their native tribal religions who have somehow been dragged into this because of one misjudged case which set the Metropolitan Police on a wild goose-chase in 2001.
History Repeats Itself
We don't have to enter into a historic tale of how pious intolerant Christians murdered, killed, enforced, enslaved and generally tortured half the world during the so-called 'age of exploration' but from the exploits of Cortes in the genocide of Mexico to the myriad of modern day missions in Africa which are constantly supplied with resources and influence by the Assemblies of God Christian Network, and others, in the U.S.A. it is clear that indigenous African spiritual beliefs and their exponents have been constantly under attack by intolerant religionists using racist propaganda for hundreds of years.
The modern bloody conflict in West Africa between Marxism (atheism) and Christianity is the next phase of this 'spiritual battle' just as the conflict in the middle east has, as it's root, the provocation of fundamentalist Christians (Bush et al) and Fundamentalist Moslems.
Thus it is singularly unfair to blame the old tribal religions of Africa for Christian's having generated a climate in which adults and children are continuously accused of being infected with the Devil.
It is incorrect to blame indigenous shamanistic religions for the fear put into the minds of parishioners by Christian fundamentalist Pastors.
It is racist to infer that the roots of the evil actions of Christian evangelists in abusing children in exorcisms has been caused by 'savage' tribal beliefs of native people.
The blame lies entirely with Christianity.... and those people in positions of influence who turn a blind eye and fail to bring them to justice because they are prejudicially displaced towards Christianity themselves.
When the very same fundamentalist activists made the same accusations in 1989 and began the modern Satanic Abuse Hysteria, the SAFF said, right at the start, that there was no such thing as Satanic Abuse and that the invented accusations so beloved of the tabloids were simply the warmongering strategies of evangelicals who were intent on activating hidden fears in the population in order to gain control of the mass mind.
We pointed out a planned 'conspiracy' amongst high-ranking, well-funded U.S. fundamentalist churches to take over the moral debate and we warned in 1989 that one of their intentions was to spread discord and enmity between nominal Christians and Moslems, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists etc., When Bush (a believer in end-time, and creationism, a promoter of biblical ideas which consider all other faiths counterfeit) got into power we prophesied that he would start another Christian crusade. And Iraq is the result.
Enlivened by the example of their president the fundamentalists have spent the last few years expanding their power base in foreign lands; setting brother against brother, mother against son, father against daughter. Even the Father of South Africa, Nelson Mandela himself became a born again Christian and opened doors for their number. The result is an ideological conflict in African countries between Moslems and Christians; Marxist-atheists, and Christians, and a free-for-all religious mania which has resulted in evangelical churches becoming big-business.
Unless these churches continuously find 'evidence' of the existence of Satan, they will loose followers to another, less picky, evangelical church. Thus, in hypersensitive mode, these manic people scour their communities for 'kindocki' in order to justify their existence and then use any foul method of torture to convince their congregations or their victims, that they are 'possessed'.
That the British Government, The British Press and the British Police are too hide-bound to see all this happening is testimony to how easy it is for unscrupulous christian agitators to manipulate history.
'He who controls the past, controls the future'
No Richard Hoskins, your programme failed to pinpoint the truth behind these abuses and because of that other children will undoubtedly suffer.
John Freedom, Mortlake July 2006
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