* Yesterday a man in North Carolina went on a killing spree at a nursing home.
* Last week another man went on a murder rampage in Alabama.
* A man in Austria imprisons his own daughter in his basement for 24 years, raping her repeatedly and fathering 7 children over that time (His wife claims she knew nothing).
* A 17 year old boy guns down his former classmates at a school in Germany . . .
* A student kills over 30 at Virginia Tech . . .
* A mother drowns her 4 children in the bathtub . . .
* A man enters an Amish school in Pennsylvania and murders 5 little girls . . .
What kind of people do these things? What could possibly be going on inside of their heads to think that doing things like this makes any sort of sense?
The Book of Mark is the shortest – and probably the least “popular” – of the four Gospels. It contains only 16 chapters. That’s not a lot of real estate to write down everything you would want future generations to know about the life of Jesus.
So it’s interesting to me that the author would devote fully one half of one of those precious 16 chapters to relate a story about an encounter that Jesus had with a man possessed by a group of demons that called themselves “Legion”.
Why devote so much space to this single encounter with this one particular demoniac? I have to believe the author did it because the encounter left such a profound impact on those who witnessed it. Could we, for instance, describe 9/11 in one or two sentences? Probably not. We would devote some additional time to relate what happened on that particular day.
I think that’s what happened with Legion. Although the Bible is full of demons and demon possessions, the magnitude of the encounter with Legion apparently stood well apart from the rest.
We don’t believe in demons anymore, do we? Even Christians don’t really take them seriously. We still use some of the catch-phrases that have been handed down to us through the years. We say things like “He's struggling with his demons” when we talk about addictions & vices, and we frequently still wonder “What possessed you to do such a thing?”. But let’s face it, nobody saying those things is seriously talking about demons or possession. We don’t believe in those things anymore.
Because our modern world has explained those things away. People are not possessed by demons; that’s silly. We know now that they have “chemical imbalances” and are “mentally disturbed”. Scientists have researched these things for us.
We have psychopaths, sociopaths, psychotics, and neurotics. People suffer from anger complexes and bi-polar disorders and chronic depression and suicidal tendencies. We have split-personalities, multiple personalities, full-blown schizophrenics and the terminally insane.
Not a demon in the bunch!
Funny that we should believe what these scientists tell us without a second thought, because these are also the same people who tell us that there is no God either. The logic is easy to see. I mean, if God doesn’t exists, you certainly can’t have a bunch of demons running around. That would be kind of like telling people that automobiles don’t exist and then having to try and explain what all of the gas stations are for.
Curious too that although our venerable scientific community has now “explained away” all of these conditions with fancy names & diagnoses, they still have no idea why any of them occur in the first place, why they affect some people but not others, what is really going on inside of these people’s heads, or how to cure any of them.
Does that really sound any less ridiculous than the thought of demons?
Maybe that’s the real issue here; that we just don’t like the thought of demons, so we are more than ready to accept any other explanation that appears to put a sense of control in our hands. After all, an unseen, malevolent demon that can possess our minds and manipulate our actions is a whole lot scarier to think about than a sterile, clinical diagnosis.
I don’t know much, but I know this: Ignoring something because we don’t want it to be true doesn’t make it go away. Maybe we shouldn’t be quite so quick to relegate demons to the rubbish pile of myth and superstition. Maybe, just maybe, we should give them a little more thought.
Meanwhile . . .
* Yesterday in Massachusetts, a man stabbed his 17 year old sister to death and then decapitated his 5 year old sister before being shot to death by police . . .
* A Kansas man binds, tortures, and kills 10 people over a twenty year period . . .
* A sleeping passenger on a bus in Canada is stabbed to death, beheaded, and partially consumed . . .