From “The Demon Haunted World” By: Carl Sagan Presentation by: Benn Stancil, Cynthia Herenden, Chad Winegar, and Darcy Delph
Demons were thought to exist throughout the ancient world • “Thought of as natural rather than supernatural beings” • Plato, Socrates and many other scholars believed in demons • “Demon” is Greek for “knowledge” • Not all demons were thought to be evil
Christian church believed that pagan beliefs “consisted of the worship of demons and men, both misconstrued as gods” • Demons thought to be immortal but have the same characteristic flaws as man • Thought to have no redeeming features • Purpose is for the destruction of man • Believed to be “fallen angels” or devils
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:14) • “These animals exist in our own life, which is full of passions, for they are present abundantly in the passions, and their dwelling place is that of matter, as is their rank and degree. For this reason they are also subject to passions and fettered to them. -Michael Psellus c. 11th century
Names and characters of demons changed little from Hesiod period through the Crusades • Remained the same throughout different cultures, time periods and even the world Possibly came from the moon…
Pope Innocent VIII • Bull of 1484: people were having sex with demons and this would cause bad things • Led to accusations, torture, and execution or “witches” all over Europe • Mostly women and girls • Inquisitors: Henry Kramer/James Sprenger • Punished abominations to save souls from eternal damnation • Malleus Maleficarum “Hammer of Witches” • Accusation=Verification
Accused • Tortured-often confessed • People began to believe this was for real • Those who said otherwise were punished • No rights, alibis, witnesses, or evidence • Reason for accusation ignored • Revenge • Jealousy • Greed • Inquisitors got property • The family had to pay everything • Prickers
Accused • Strong erotic and misogynist elements • Duh! Sexually repressed, male-dominant society, inquisitors were from the class of nominally celibate priests • Trials • Quality and quantity of orgasm during the copulation with the demon • Shaved pubic hair and examined genitalia to look for “devil’s marks”
Modern Times • Burning witches has declined • Thought to be children’s stories • However, still out there • exorcisms • >50% of Americans believe in the Devil • crazed and violent behavior=demonic, • pandemonium “all demons”
Aliens=Demons? • Sexually obsessive • Nonhuman • Live in the sky • Can walk through walls • Communicate telepathically • Perform breeding experiments on human • “Shared delusion based on common brain wiring and chemistry”
Demons and Religion • Based on early Christian Tradition, many famous historical figures were said to have been “fathered” by demons-including: • Plato, Alexander the Great, Augustus and Martin Luther • Various religions have described supernatural occurrences, • Ex. St. Teresa of Avila reported a vivid sexual encounter with an angel of light -
Examples of the SupernaturalPast and Present • In 1695-teenager Anne Jeffries found on floor, claimed to have been abducted by “fairies”, and carried to a castle in the sky and seduced. • In a 1982 book, The Terror that comes in the Night: An Experience Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Tradition, a man experiences visits from mysterious figures • Would the figures be described differently if the events had occurred more recently, in a time in which alien abductions were more common?
Famous Passages concerning Religion and the Supernatural • From, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, author Edward Gibbons described the balance between credulity and skepticism • “They felt or fancied, that on every side they were incessantly assaulted by demons, comforted by visions, instructed by prophecy, and surprisingly delivered from danger, sickness and from death itself, but the supplications of the church…” • “…the air which they breathed was peopled with invisible enemies…innumerable demons”
Religion, Demons and History • King of England-James I, wrote a book on demons-Daemonologie, in 1597 • Namesake of “King James” version of the Bible • By 1628 was a skeptic himself; adolescents were discovered to be “faking demonic possession”
Supernatural Then and Now • Enthusiasts point out historical parallels; • “aliens have always been visiting us…in earlier times we recognized them as gods, demons, fairies, or spirits, only now do we understand that its aliens who’ve been diddling us all these millennia.”
Current beliefs of the supernatural • Contemporary sect of religion, “Raelians”, believe that gods or God come to Earth in UFO’s • Describe aliens as “angels” or “emissaries of God” • Some still think they are demons
UFOs and Religion • UFOs are the embodiment of the devil. • “demonic manifestations” • UFO sightings are premonitions for “end-times” • “I think they are demons…part of the Satanic plot.” • Bible: “great signs from Heaven” in the last days
UFOs and Religion • Some Christians – UFOs cannot exist • “…it never leaves us without an answer. The Bible nowhere explicitly affirms or negates intelligent extraterrestrial life.” • Many other Christian sects are open-minded and do not have a definitive opinion on UFOs.
UFOs Today • UFO stories are created to satisfy “religious longings.” • “Dressed in scientific jargon, their immense powers ‘explained’ by superficially scientific terminology, the gods and demons of old come down from heaven to haunt us…” • “Only the extraterrestrial outer trappings are new.”
Why UFOs? • UFOs are a natural extension of the demons that we once believed in. • When we ‘knew’ gods came to Earth, we saw demons and incubi; when extraterrestrials are accepted, we see UFOs. • UFOs are a result of our culture. • “we…incorporate cultural norms and make them our own.”
Why UFOs? • Aliens are a major subject of movies, TV shows, and novels. • People are now thinking about UFOs, so UFO stories emerge. • “In contrast, we hear very little about incubi, elves, and fairies. Where have they all gone?” • Further evidence for culture: UFO stories are mostly from North America; European aliens look and act differently.
Problems with Aliens • The aliens described are similar to what is seen in movies: “disproportionately large head and eyes, undeveloped facial features, no visible eyebrows and genitals, and smooth gray skin.” • Also, aliens are not creative or original. • “Not a single being presented in all these accounts is as astonishing as a cockatoo would be if you had never before beheld a bird.