I just wanted to briefly add my voice to the chorus of those who thought Laurie Goodstein’s NTY article on the revival of exorcism in the Catholic Church was silly. I mean, is this news? PZ Myers made a thorough frisking of it here, so I won’t go into it. His point is summed up thus:
In any other subject, if someone made a specific claim like that, I’d expect a good journalist to ask, “how do you know that?” and try to track down a credible source for such a claim about an individual. When the subject is the Devil, though, anything goes. You can say any ol’ crazy thing about Satan, and the reporter will dutifully write it down and publish it without ever stopping for a moment to wonder, “Hey, is my source just making shit up?”
Ooga-booga, ol’ Satan is back to haunt us in the pages of the New York Times. I would expect this kind of silliness from the Osservatore Romano or even Corriere della Sera because I’m aware that the Italian media bend over backwards to accomodate the Church, regardless of the ridiculous nonsense its mouthpieces are spewing, in wholly uncritical fashion. We’re talking about expelling demons, for chrissakes!
Here’s the kind of thing that makes me laugh:
“The ordinary work of the Devil is temptation,” he said, “and the ordinary response is a good spiritual life, observing the sacraments and praying. The Devil doesn’t normally possess someone who is leading a good spiritual life.”
That’s the last paragraph of Goodstein’s article. Straightfaced. Let’s say it loud and say it proud, “THERE IS NO DEVIL. THERE IS NO GOD. IT’S ONLY PEOPLE MAKING SHIT UP. WE ALL KNOW THIS. NOW LET’S STOP PRETENDING AND GROW THE FUCK UP.”
I feel better. Enjoy your weekend.