Fishing and Hooking a Great White Shark

 

A quote from an essay written by Mark Judge titled The Devil and Man at Harvard and published in Real Clear Religion, May 09, 2014.

Then he said something that, although perhaps not so artfully phrased, I never forgot. “That kid went fishing in the spiritual realm,” he said, “and he caught a Great White.”

Years ago, my wife and I attended our son’s university freshman orientation day and helped him move into his dorm. Towards the end of the day, we took a walk around the campus and the old main street just outside the campus.

On the wall of one store there was spray painted ‘We cannot be certain of anything.’ I suppose that a philosophical tagger is a step-up from the anarchist screed ‘[Expletive] the Man.’ The owner of the store was probably not as impressed as I was with the philosophical tag. My reply to the tagger’s message would be, if we cannot be certain of anything then at the very least, we can be certain of being uncertain. Alas, I wasn’t carrying any spray paint.

There are so many things that we don’t know. Direct observation is demanded by some scientists and others engage in thought experiments. Positing multiple dimensions and we must have cousins in the universe are all well and good, but there can be consequences.

As far as the search for alien life, the philosopher in me asks, how can we be sure that aliens out in the great expanse are as willing to share the universe as we are. We have enough difficulty sharing our own world with ourselves as it is.

We do have a manifestation of the unknown closer to home.

From Mark Judge’s essay:

But perhaps I’m dismissing the black mass too easily. While William Blatty’s insights in The Exorcist are profound, there’s also something to be said for not being stupid enough to mess around with things that you shouldn’t. When I was in Catholic high school one of my teachers was Fr. John Nicola, a priest and exorcist who had consulted on the film.

A lot of the cases Fr. Nicola was involved in began when an otherwise smarter person decided to explore something occult or evil: a Ouija Board, “death metal” music, drugs, pornography — or a black mass. One day in class Fr. Nicola played us a tape of a person who was demonically possessed. When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think. I was so rattled after class that I couldn’t sleep that night. My older brother, a night owl, came into my room. I told him I was a bit freaked out by Nicola’s class, which he had also taken. He asked me if Nicola had played “the tape,” and I said yes. I then asked my brother what had caused the kid from The Exorcist to come to such a terrible pass. My brother said that the kid had started out just fooling around with a Ouija board.

There are times when the hunter becomes the hunted.

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  1. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    So much on spiritual warfare. I read the story of Saul and the medium the other day and am intending on talking to my kids about it.

    It isn’t that it is fake that it is forbidden. It works. These are things we simply should not mess with.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated. 

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Kira Davis published this over at RedState today. “Wretched, Indeed.

     

    • #3
  4. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    We were children, my best friend Cindy and I were, when she got a Ouija Board for Christmas.  We “played” with it, asking it nutty questions as children.  I swear it moved without us barely touching the arrow.   Many years later in my twenties,  I met a girl who worked in a fancy department store in cosmetics.  She told me she also used the Ouija Board and began to bleed, after seeing the face of the devil, and had her period, non-stop for months.  No doctor could find anything irregular.  She felt sick a lot.

    I went to a “party” of young women when I was in my twenties – it was just a friendly get-together but there was a “medium” invited to read our “Aura”.  She took each of us into a room and proceeded to “read” us. Nothing she told me ever came true – it was total BULL.  But I believe the girl from the department store, and what I saw as a child with my friend.

    She’s coming to visit – I am going to ask her if she remembers that.  She’s a staunch Christian today.

    • #4
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    We were children, my best friend Cindy and I were, when she got a Ouija Board for Christmas. We “played” with it, asking it nutty questions as children. I swear it moved without us barely touching the arrow. Many years later in my twenties, I met a girl who worked in a fancy department store in cosmetics. She told me she also used the Ouija Board and began to bleed, after seeing the face of the devil, and had her period, non-stop for months. No doctor could find anything irregular. She felt sick a lot.

    I went to a “party” of young women when I was in my twenties – it was just a friendly get-together but there was a “medium” invited to read our “Aura”. She took each of us into a room and proceeded to “read” us. Nothing she told me ever came true – it was total BULL. But I believe the girl from the department store, and what I saw as a child with my friend.

    She’s coming to visit – I am going to ask her if she remembers that. She’s a staunch Christian today.

    Childhood’s End.

    • #5
  6. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    When UFOs fly by Earth do You think the aliens lock Their doors?

    • #6
  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    When UFOs fly by Earth do You think the aliens lock Their doors?

    I find myself repeating this a lot lately: it’s a good thing I’m not God, because I would have smote us a long time ago. 

    Aliens should lock their doors. They don’t want to catch whatever it is we’ve got.

    • #7
  8. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated.

    And the plot thickened when curiosity turned into a virtue.

    • #8
  9. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated.

    And the plot thickened when curiosity turned into a virtue.

    There’s curiosity, and then there’s curiosity.

    Don’t y’all make me get all Augustine up in here.

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated.

    And the plot thickened when curiosity turned into a virtue.

    There’s curiosity, and then there’s curiosity.

    Don’t y’all make me get all Augustine up in here.

    Why not? I’m curious to know about the different types of curiosity. 

    • #10
  11. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated.

    And the plot thickened when curiosity turned into a virtue.

    There’s curiosity, and then there’s curiosity.

    Don’t y’all make me get all Augustine up in here.

    I’m interested. (Almost said curious…)

    • #11
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated.

    And the plot thickened when curiosity turned into a virtue.

    There’s curiosity, and then there’s curiosity.

    Don’t y’all make me get all Augustine up in here.

    Why not? I’m curious to know about the different types of curiosity.

    Only because it’s more work for me.

    Curiosity–like Picard in ST: TNG and Curious George in the cartoon–is fine. I.e., looking for wisdom is fine.

    The sin of curiositas is not fine.  Curiositas is the character flaw of Curious George in the books.  It’s what RushBabe49 was presumably talking about.  It’s curiosity that loses all prudence.  It’s idle curiosity, vain curiosity, or  a pursuit of forbidden knowledge or knowledge we can’t have without doing some harm.

    It’s the curiosity of “What would [woman I’m not married to] look like naked?”  Or the curiosity of trying to know what only G-d is able to know.  Or of trying to understand what I’m not able to understand yet even if it’s something I ought to understand later when I’m more mature.  Or the fascination with death and suffering–“Someone got cut in half in a car accident?  I wanna see!”

    • #12
  13. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    When UFOs fly by Earth do You think the aliens lock Their doors?

    They are too busy laughing. 

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The sin of curiositas is not fine.  Curiositas is the character flaw of Curious George in the books.  It’s what RushBabe49 was presumably talking about.  It’s curiosity that loses all prudence.  It’s idle curiosity, vain curiosity, or  a pursuit of forbidden knowledge or knowledge we can’t have without doing some harm.

    It’s the curiosity of “What would [woman I’m not married to] look like naked?”  Or the curiosity of trying to know what only G-d is able to know.  Or of trying to understand what I’m not able to understand yet even if it’s something I ought to understand later when I’m more mature.  Or the fascination with death and suffering–“Someone got cut in half in a car accident?  I wanna see!”

    Eve in Genesis is tempted because the forbidden fruit is:
    –pleasing for food,
    –pleasing to the eyes,
    –and desirable for gaining wisdom.

    John in one of his letters refers to:
    –the lust of the flesh,
    –the pride of life,
    –and the lust of the eyes.

    Jesus in the desert is tempted by:
    –bread he’s not supposed to eat just now,
    –power he’s not supposed to have just now,
    –and testing G-d.

    The Augustinian likes to think those are all different descriptions of the same three sins.  They correspond nicely to the three parts of the soul in Plato’s Republic.  Still, if they easily correspond to one another without any mismatching, I don’t think I can explain how. I always get confused by the eyes in the different formulations.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Human nature requires everything that is forbidden to be investigated.

    And the plot thickened when curiosity turned into a virtue.

    There’s curiosity, and then there’s curiosity.

    Don’t y’all make me get all Augustine up in here.

    Why not? I’m curious to know about the different types of curiosity.

    Only because it’s more work for me.

    Curiosity–like Picard in ST: TNG and Curious George in the cartoon–is fine. I.e., looking for wisdom is fine.

    The sin of curiositas is not fine. Curiositas is the character flaw of Curious George in the books. It’s what RushBabe49 was presumably talking about. It’s curiosity that loses all prudence. It’s idle curiosity, vain curiosity, or a pursuit of forbidden knowledge or knowledge we can’t have without doing some harm.

    It’s the curiosity of “What would [woman I’m not married to] look like naked?” Or the curiosity of trying to know what only G-d is able to know. Or of trying to understand what I’m not able to understand yet even if it’s something I ought to understand later when I’m more mature. Or the fascination with death and suffering–“Someone got cut in half in a car accident? I wanna see!”

    That helps. Thank you. 

    • #15
  16. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    • #16
  17. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    Correct.

    • #17
  18. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    Correct.

    Kinda odd. 

    • #18
  19. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    I’m not sure I understand the question — or its motivation. “Promote” it? As in a sales pitch?

    • #19
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    I’m not sure I understand the question — or its motivation. “Promote” it? As in a sales pitch?

    Of course, it depends on what we mean by the church promoting it all times. There’s probably always some mouth of the church doing it, whether we’re asking about Rome specifically or something broader.

    Even that priest who made the YouTube trilogy about the guinea pigs driving Lego machines and defeating Doctor Trouble–even that guy took a turn promoting the evidence.

    • #20
  21. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    I’m not sure I understand the question — or its motivation. “Promote” it? As in a sales pitch?

    Of course, it depends on what we mean by the church promoting it all times. There’s probably always some mouth of the church doing it, whether we’re asking about Rome specifically or something broader.

    Even that priest who made the YouTube trilogy about the guinea pigs driving Lego machines and defeating Doctor Trouble–even that guy took a turn promoting the evidence.

    Yeah, that’s why I’m asking. What does it mean for the church to “promote” demonic possession?

    I suspect Henry is a hard-bitten skeptic and he thinks if demonic possession was a real thing, he’d be seeing exorcists interviewed on the nightly news. And maybe video. . . or it didn’t happen.

     

    • #21
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Yeah, that’s why I’m asking. What does it mean for the church to “promote” demonic possession?

    I suspect Henry is a hard-bitten skeptic and he thinks if demonic possession was a real thing, he’d be seeing exorcists interviewed on the nightly news. And maybe video. . . or it didn’t happen.

    I think he means promote the evidence.

    Interestingly, he himself just made a darn good case that a Satanic spirit animates powerful cultural forces.

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Yeah, that’s why I’m asking. What does it mean for the church to “promote” demonic possession?

    I suspect Henry is a hard-bitten skeptic and he thinks if demonic possession was a real thing, he’d be seeing exorcists interviewed on the nightly news. And maybe video. . . or it didn’t happen.

    I think he means promote the evidence.

    Interestingly, he himself just made a darn good case that a Satanic spirit animates powerful cultural forces.

    Agreed. 

    I think the Church doesn’t talk about the evidence openly precisely because of vulnerable people’s risky and unhealthy fascination with the occult and demons. Exorcists are well trained to discern when people have mental health issues or are suffering under terrible circumstances versus those under demonic oppression or demonic possession. They’re very careful, and still, some of them are said to perform nearly a thousand exorcisms per year. 

    • #23
  24. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    I think you run into issues of people demanding proof and that runs into privacy and discretion issues.

    The church has promoted the knowledge of the existence of demons for eons. It is only in our pursuit of empiricism and rationality that we refuse to acknowledge its existence and the church isn’t as invested in “seeing is believing” as the rest of the world claims to be.

    • #24
  25. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I met a fellow who was present for the Mt. Ranier exorcism that inspired Blatty’s novel.  He was a very unassuming guy who said the bishop knew he was a daily communicant, a former Marine (and a large man), and asked him to go along as muscle in case it was needed.  He never disclosed any details to his friends and family but simply indicated it was mind-blowing.  A mutual acquaintance told me that his post-exorcism instructions were to not disclose details because that would more likely serve a diabolic purpose to instill fear.  You only have to tell a Marine once.  

    My understanding is that Russel Crowe has been tapped to play Fr. Nicola in a biopic of the exorcist’s life and career.  The film is due out in 2024. Should be interesting.

     

    • #25
  26. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    Possession is rare, especially in cases that involve physical manifestations such as:

    Speaking ancient languages, levitation, increases in physical strength, or having specific knowledge of things and events that they couldn’t possibly know.

    The Church requires a medical examination to rule out physical or mental illness to include illicit drug use.

    • #26
  27. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: When you hear a sixteen-year-old girl cursing in Aramaic and in a voice that sounds like a wounded bear, it makes you think.

    So there is actual evidence of demonic possession and the Church doesn’t promote it at all times?

    I think you run into issues of people demanding proof and that runs into privacy and discretion issues.

    The church has promoted the knowledge of the existence of demons for eons. It is only in our pursuit of empiricism and rationality that we refuse to acknowledge its existence and the church isn’t as invested in “seeing is believing” as the rest of the world claims to be.

    Well, empiricism is pretty hard to beat in terms of revealing reality.

    I think a deeper issue is that the Spiritual Universe does not follow uniform laws.  It is based on the personal actions of independent agents.  It is much closer to sociology or psychology than any physical science.  It is entirely possible a person could use a Ouija board and not have anything untoward happen, much as a woman could walk home at 1AM through North Lawndale in Chicago without incident.   

    If someone wanted to make a thorough scientific investigation of demon, they would have a lot of problems.   A demon does not need to make itself evident, and is extremely poorly understood.  I’d imagine you  could record information of the possessed victim like EEG or a fMRI, draw blood samples, etc.  Record the area of an exorcism in multiple wavelengths.    I’m not sure what you would find.  This also means you would need lots of subjects.

    Since the church normally insists on a medical examination prior to the exorcism, I think this kind of study is not impossible.  The question is whether it would reveal anything useful.   A demon, fundamentally, is a being of phenomenal power and deception.

    • #27
  28. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    Since the church normally insists on a medical examination prior to the exorcism, I think this kind of study is not impossible.  The question is whether it would reveal anything useful.   A demon, fundamentally, is a being of phenomenal power and deception.

    I think the church only rules out rather than rules in demons using medical examinations. Maybe that gets to your point.

    • #28
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Yeah, that’s why I’m asking. What does it mean for the church to “promote” demonic possession?

    I suspect Henry is a hard-bitten skeptic and he thinks if demonic possession was a real thing, he’d be seeing exorcists interviewed on the nightly news. And maybe video. . . or it didn’t happen.

    I think he means promote the evidence.

    Interestingly, he himself just made a darn good case that a Satanic spirit animates powerful cultural forces.

    Humans are more than capable of doing evil themselves. Satan is a useful metaphor even if he isn’t literally real. Lots of things are like that. 

    • #29
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Well, empiricism is pretty hard to beat in terms of revealing reality.

    I think a deeper issue is that the Spiritual Universe does not follow uniform laws.  It is based on the personal actions of independent agents.  It is much closer to sociology or psychology than any physical science. 

    Amen!

    William James and Lewis talk about this stuff a bit too.

    I don’t know that they said it any better than you though.

    • #30
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