Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Boring question #41: If there is no after life how can there be haunted buildings and demon possession?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26783points) June 11th, 2011

If there is no afterlife, there is no concept of heaven and hell so there can be no angels and no demons, so those who are believed possessed, and the exorcisms use to drive out the invading spirit is doing what? Maybe these so-called possessed people are really just mentally ill. Then why can a simple exorcism cure them of their mental illness when shrinks can’t? Can being a member of clergy of a made up religion gives you more power over mental illness than a learned shrink with letters after their name and years of college?

I am opened eared, in a straightforward manner tell me how that is logically possible?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You’re asking for logical possibilities to illogical situations and beliefs rather than facts. Your premise is that there is no afterlife, but those who hold some belief about ghosts and spirits don’t agree with that premise.

Your statement about psychiatrists vs. priests also does not follow; exorcism does not cure mental illness. Those who believe in exorcism do not find the situation one of mental illness, but of demon/spirit possession of a person. Leave mental illness to psychiatrists, and possession to priests.

Ladymia69's avatar

It has nothing to do with “life after death”, “demons”, etc. It’s all in the mind. The mind is a powerful, mysterious, and terrifying entity. Far scarier to me than any other hypothetical speculation (those all come from the mind as well.)

crisw's avatar

“why can a simple exorcism cure them of their mental illness when shrinks can’t? ”

Prove that they can. You’re making a big assumption.

CaptainHarley's avatar

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet

Ladymia69's avatar

@zenvelo Leave mental illness to psychiatrists, and possession to priests.

You’re acting like those two states of mind don’t come from the same place. Possession is a sign of mental illness, and mental illness is a sort of possession.

Berserker's avatar

Most people who don’t believe in the afterlife also don’t believe in ghosts, as many who believe in demons think that psychology is bullshit. You’re mixing up stuff in an odd way. I’ve never heard of a successful exorcism on a mental patient. Where does that come from?
But no, I don’t really believe that a person of high religious order is more efficient than a shrink in making someone ’‘better’’, despite how much faith they have. And if they do, they must be a pretty damn good mindflayer. lol dungeons&dragons (I’m also not championing psychology, if that’s what some thought)

As to your question itself…sorry, got side tracked…well, we’d first have to establish if there really are haunted buildings and demon possessions to begin with, at least, as defined. I remember seeing a ’‘haunting’’ photograph on the net with a written history about a ghost; and seeing that very same photograph on another site about a ’‘time skip’’ phenomena. (where the past and the present times mix together for a few seconds and supply ’‘sightings’’) So, the same weird picture attributed to two different things…my point is, we don’t know if ghosts and crap exist, and can’t use that as a barometer for something else that’s as equally unexplained, or not known about.
Imma have to go with @Ladymia69 on this one though. The mind is a powerful thing, and a freaky one at that. From what I personally understand of mine. Not much, but still. We create a lot of shit to try and explain other shit we don’t get.

Blondesjon's avatar

Simple fact of life #15 – Dead is dead. Get over it and live each day like it fucking matters.

Berserker's avatar

That reminds me of that cool Fergie song. Live each day as if it may become your last.

You won’t be hot forever, but you’ll be dead for a damn long time lol.

roundsquare's avatar

I don’t know if any of the facts you stated are true, but if they are, then its possible that a position in the clergy has such a powerful psychological effect that it cures the mental illness.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

First off, lets get back on tract. For the purpose of the question, all that exist is here and now, there is no after life. With that premise in mind, that is where you should launch your explanation.

@zenvelo Your premise is that there is no afterlife, but those who hold some belief about ghosts and spirits don’t agree with that premise. Any belief like that has no legs in this question. For the sake of the question the moment you die you vanish into wherever, if you believe you will or not.

Your statement about psychiatrists vs. priests also does not follow; exorcism does not cure mental illness. Those who believe in exorcism do not find the situation one of mental illness, but of demon/spirit possession of a person. It is if you put yourself in the spirit of the question. If someone believes their loved one or person they know is possessed that would mean by a evil spirit or demon, which in the spirit of this question do not exist. Which would mean that this possession is in their head, IE. a mental illness. So if the person who was going through this possession is rid of the affliction by the holy men (of a faith or religion that is all in their heads and not real) then in the spirit of this question they did for the person with the possession/mental illness what a shrink could not so.

@Ladymia69 In the spirit of the question, you summarize that those who see ghost concocted the vision from their psyche. And could that not be classified as having a mental illness? Just as if one thought they were made of iron and not simply possessed?

@crisw Prove that they can. You’re making a big assumption. IN the spirit of this question they logically can. However, if you know within the confines of the question something different, please elucidate.

@Symbeline I’ve never heard of a successful exorcism on a mental patient. Where does that come from? In the spirit and context of this question where would the possession come from? For the sake of this question the only life force that exist is us here and now, once you die it goes wherever; there is no life after here. Being that is the case for this question a person being possessed or having an exorcism performed on them have to be mentally ill as to why they are not acting normal or normal enough people don’t think they need help.

I remember seeing a ’‘haunting’’ photograph on the net with a written history about a ghost Lets go with that in the context of this question. What would the latent images be? Because once a person dies in the context of this question their life force (which outside the question would be a soul) just goes “bloop” and is gone. So what are they seeing?

we don’t know if ghosts and crap exist, and can’t use that as a barometer for something else that’s as equally unexplained, or not known about._* How can you have ghost if there is no left over life or soul of a person to create it? For the sake of this question, it would be impossible. If there is a ghost, what is it, if not a mental illness inside someone’s head?

For the e sake of the question clergy is no better or worse than a self-help guru nothing more.

Berserker's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Well it doesn’t matter where said hypothetical possession comes from. What matters is what it actually is, no? According to what we know and apply, anyways.

Plucky's avatar

If one does not believe in the afterlife…then one won’t believe in ghosts, hauntings and exorcism. If one does not believe in those things…then, obviously, they would believe that the others (that do believe) are mentally ill and/or highly suggestive.

I’m finding the logic in your question um ..confusing.

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central If there is no afterlife, there are no ghosts, no religion, no demons or possession, and no need for priests. So what’s your question?

roundsquare's avatar

@PluckyDog @zenvelo The question can basically be read as this: Assume there is no afterlife. But, there are still people who act possessed by ghosts/demons/etc… Some of these people are cured by priests doing what they call an exorcism even after they fail to be cured by psychiatrists. How can this be (again, sticking with the assumption there is no afterlife). As far as I can tell, there are only three possible answers:
1) The priest, in doing the “exorcism” has a psychological impact.
2) The assumption that there is no afterlife must be a false assumption. I.e. there is an afterlife and the fact that exorcisms cure these people is proof.
3) Its not true that these priests are able to cure people that psychiatrists can’t.

mattbrowne's avatar

Haunted buildings are a metaphor for bad plumbing.

Demon possession is an outdated non-scientific term for psychosis or other severe mental disorders.

GladysMensch's avatar

Placebo effect. A highly religious, yet otherwise sane person may believe they have been possessed. In such cases, that person will also believe that a priest can exorcise demon/s.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@roundsquare Now we are getting the concept; can’t see why it is so hard to see. 1) The priest, in doing the “exorcism” has a psychological impact. I agree, I believe I alluded to that in the question which most seem to have missed, The question is ”how do they do it?” For the sake of the question priest, rabbis, Cardinals, etc are on the same plane as a self-help guru. This possession has nothing to do with actual spirits invading the body, thus it has to be by scientific logic a mental or neurological illness. How does a self-help guru cure an afflicted person of a mental or neurological illness when doctors and shrinks can’t? I want to here an explanation logically saying how that can be, in the frame work of there is nothing beyond the time we are spending here right now. So far, no one has come close.

2) The assumption that there is no afterlife must be a false assumption. I.e. there is an afterlife and the fact that exorcisms cure these people is proof. That would be plausible for the this world we are in now, but for the sake of the question it isn’t, because the possession would logically have to be a mental illness. No one has yet come up with anything else it can be, they are hung up on the clergy and them being better or knowing more than the shrink.

@mattbrowne Haunted buildings are a metaphor for bad plumbing. If the place people believe to be haunted has no plumbing, such as an abandon aircraft hanger, barn, tomb, railroad car, etc. Those who believe they see something there are looking at what? If more than one person see the “ghost”, phantom, or whatever, what do they see?

Demon possession is an outdated non-scientific term for psychosis or other severe mental disorders. What is it that the self-help people (clergy in the context of this question) doing to cure these people of their severe mental disorder that doctors and shrinks cannot? A plausible if not probable explanation within the confines of the question would be nice. Just a few details; they do ‘A’, then they do ‘B’, etc. how hard is that?

@GladysMensch Following what you said in the context of the question sane people act bizarrely because they believe they are possessed but not really possessed. The only one they believe can cure them is clergy, which is why the exorcism works to cure them of demons that are not real. If the demon possession is no realer than someone believing they were Santa Clause, within this question, why wouldn’t an exorcism work on people who believed they were someone else, or those believing they were possessed have a higher ability to allow themselves to be cured?

roundsquare's avatar

“why wouldn’t an exorcism work on people who believed they were someone else, or those believing they were possessed have a higher ability to allow themselves to be cured?”

It might help to look into what caused these people to believe they were possessed. One possibility (and this is just an example) is that they, for some reason, need attention. By acting possessed, they know people, at least the clergy, will pay attention to them. This is all subconscious, but if this is actually true, they won’t let themselves feel cured until a priest does an exorcism.

Plucky's avatar

How do they do it? Easy. Like I said, highly suggestive ..or as others said, placebo.

Whomever believes they are possessed, and believes in the priest’s powers of exorcism, will obviously be cured in that manner (because they believe it). The cure in itself doesn’t have to be real ..it can be perceived as real by the person needing help (whether it actually helps them or not). For some people, it’s psychologically easier to blame abnormal behaviour on a demon than on a mental disorder/illness (like a scapegoat).

An exorcism wouldn’t work on someone else, who does not believe because, well, they do not believe that they are possessed. Just as getting help from a psychologist wouldn’t really help someone who believes they are possessed (because they do not believe they have a mental illness; therefore, they will not be open to that type of help).
It seems like you are trying to make a simple question into a complex one ..when it does not need to be. The answer is very obvious to me.

This has nothing to do with psychologists or priests. It has everything to do with the possessed/mentally ill person’s beliefs and perceptions (whether or not they believe they are possessed or mentally ill).

dantheman88's avatar

In the end this is a matter of faith. People can reason all day long for why heaven and hell is real or not, but in the end it’s up to what you choose believing…

mattbrowne's avatar

“Some scientists have proposed sleep paralysis as an explanation for alien abductions and ghostly encounters. A study by Susan Blackmore and Marcus Cox of the University of the West of England supports the suggestion that reports of alien abductions are related to sleep paralysis rather than to temporal lobe lability.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

Berserker's avatar

@mattbrowne I’ve read this before. I wouldn’t be surprised. In the middle ages, people used to attribute nocturnal paralysis to demon possession, hauntings, incubi, vampires and the like.

kitszu's avatar

Oh boy. How the hell do I phrase this?

The “Afterlife”, is the concept.

Heaven and Hell are some versions of that concept.

And yes, being a member of the clergy of a made up religion can make your influence on a mentally ill person stronger than that of a brilliant and well trained psychologist.

We can start with the concept of Folie a deux (“a madness shared by two”) and expand it with _Folie a plusieurs _ (“a madness shared by many”).

“link“http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/2010/08/why-psychotic-patients-with-religious.html:

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@kitszu The “Afterlife”, is the concept.
Heaven and Hell are some versions of that concept.
If the afterlife, Heaven and Hell concepts, would not there be a lot of other things people hold as truth be jujst as much a concept or theory?

kitszu's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central “If the afterlife, Heaven and Hell concepts, would not there be a lot of other things people hold as truth be jujst as much a concept or theory?”

Let’s start with you keeping your words out of my mouth.

Secondly, what? I’m not being bitchy with this question, I seriously am not understanding what you’re asking me. And I do want to want to understand.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@kitszu Let’s start with you keeping your words out of my mouth First off, it it appears i am trying to put words into your mouth, I am not.

Secondly, what? I’m not being bitchy with this question, I seriously am not understanding what you’re asking me. And I do want to want to understand. I don’t ask of people who are being bitchy, you had a comment I felt needed expanding or needed to be elucidated more.

What I am asking is if the afterlife is more of a concept, or seen tnat way, a lot of what science believes is a theory since they never really seen a Black Hole, less found one where they sent in a probe and retrieved data from it, etc. Men made up the science by what they believe they see even if there is no difinitive way they can prove any of it. If there is a concrete “I can feel it under my fingers” way I haven’t heard of please share.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther