Teenage ‘Demon Hunters’ bad for Christianity's image

If you haven’t heard about it until now, let me bring you up to speed: There are teenage “demon hunters” right here in Arizona.

Yes, that’s right.

They’ve been covered by various news outlets and have even appeared on the Anderson Cooper show.

The teenage “exorcists” are three girls between 17 and 20 years old who, alongside the Rev. Bob Larson, perform exorcisms in order to “help” people.

In fact, with Easter this past Sunday, ABC News Channel 15 did a short story on the holiday plans of the group.

If you think this is exactly what Christianity doesn’t need the holiest day of the year, we’d be in concurrence.

Let me explain to you why a crude publicity stunt such as this will not only turn people away from the rich traditions of religion, but instead will harden their hearts toward anything of spiritual value.

A simple Google search of Rev. Larson takes you to his website, boblarsen.org, where you can take a “demon test” to see whether or not you are, in fact, possessed. Seems fair, right?

But wait, there’s a catch. It costs $9.95 to take this online demon test.

Would a legitimate Reverend who is genuinely concerned about the spiritual well-being of his fellow man charge money to take an online demon test? No.

In fact, the entire website feels like a scam, with another part of the homepage telling the reader to “learn how to become an exorcist online.” Give me a break.

This is not even a question of whether or not demons actually exist and can possess someone (though it seems ridiculous). It becomes a question of whether a 17-year-old girl has the spiritual authority to cast out a demon from someone. They don’t. These are teenage girls.

Furthermore, where in the Bible does it tell Christians what to look for when casting out a demon?

I’ve read the entire Bible, every book, and nowhere in the Old or New Testament does Christ give his followers a passage — even a chapter — about what to look for in order to tell whether or not a person is possessed by a demon. Weird, because the girls claim there are “tell-tale” signs a person is possessed.

I didn’t write this column to criticize you if you believe demons exist. I didn’t write this column to criticize Christianity. I wrote this column to show you exactly why I think so many people despise Christianity, as well as all things religious.

Instead of ridiculously training teenage girls to cast out demons, why not train them to simply love the world with compassionate, selfless love, the way that Christ is interpreted to have loved it.

And no, that doesn’t mean charging money for an online demon test.

Reach this columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu

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