‘Was there really demon possession at the time of Jesus?’

‘Was there really demon possession at the time of Jesus?’

When we read about evil, such as demon possession, like the Gerasene demoniac, what can we take out of such incidents and apply to today’s world?

Recently I have had to make a long journey in my car. Rather than waste the time, I decided to listen to David Suchet narrating the four Gospels (something I often do, but generally just one Gospel at a time).

One of the incidents that appears in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is the story of the Gerasene Demoniac. Each time I heard the account there were questions I wanted to ask about demon possession; questions which I am now going to address.

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About Experiencing the Divine - Matthew Fox

About Experiencing the Divine - Matthew Fox

Carl Jung said that “the main purpose of organized religion is to prevent persons from having an experience of God.”

A number of years ago I was being interviewed on Dutch television by a young (about 40 years old), bright, dynamic and professional man who had done his homework. Immediately after the interview ended and the bright stage lights had been turned off, he leaned over and said to me: “I am dying to ask you a question that I did not want to ask on air–Do you Americans actually believe that people can still experience God?”

Obviously this question hit me hard—otherwise I would not have remembered it all these years. I suspect behind it is the near collapse of religious practice in Europe where in Germany about 5-6% of the population practice their Lutheran faith; in England about 6% of Anglicans; in France about 6% of Catholics, etc. etc. And in America the numbers are in free fall as well though they started at a more elevated place. Having just returned from lecturing in Ireland, there the numbers have fallen from 95% Roman Catholics practicing fifteen years ago to 14% today.

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