Saturday, November 13, 2010

Being Falsely Attuned

Ophelia Benson has spotlighted an instance in which an official in the Catholic Church blithely concedes that among the world's "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,"* of consequence, "we deal with angels and demons" alongside, you know, some that demonstrably exist. I found this bit especially interesting:

[H]e said that there could eventually be a rising demand for exorcism because of the influx of Hispanic and African Catholics to the United States. People from those cultures, he said, are more attuned to the experience of the supernatural.
Why, a sensible person might ask, would such correlations hold true (if they do)? It's odd enough to think the demons disproportionately target nominal Catholics -- at very least it's an assertion that needs some supporting argumentation and evidence -- but odder still that under The Church's system of changeless verities, those "attuned to the experience of the supernatural" tend to get entangled with demons more frequently.

At the risk of rank heresy, I would say that any correlation between attunement to the supernatural and rates of possession in a population can be explained by everyday selection bias. That is, people prone to such memes as "demons possess people regularly" will tend to interpret emotional and physical problems as instances of otherworldly interventions that The Church, rather than counselors, therapists, psychologists, doctors, or others versed in aspects of reality, are best positioned to address.

I welcome newcomers from places where idiotic typologies and antiquated folklore control interpretations of reality. I hope they will embrace the reality-based view of the world in which the USA, at its best, embraces, and drop the bullshit that rode along in their baggage.

* Milton would vomit with rage if at the slightest association with his work and popery. It sucks to be you, John Milton!

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