Or at least, between religion and woo-woo?
A couple of weeks ago I blogged on Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. He was calling for the BBC to be biased in favour of Christianity and to give unopposed air time to Christian voices, accusing secularists of being “Christophobic” and wishing to “close off every voice and contribution other than their own.” He later claimed that reason “leads to terror and oppression.”
This post isn’t about O’Connor. This is about his personal exorcist, Father Jeremy Davies . . . though I suppose, given O’Connor’s stance on reason, it makes sense that he would have a “personal exorcist.” Davies has joined the flea circus of apologist tomes published as a backlash against the “new atheists” with a new book, Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice, in which (according to the National Secular Society) he maintains that
the “spirits inspiring atheism” were those who “hate God.” [. . .] Father Davies writes that Satan has blinded secular humanists from seeing the “dehumanising effects of contraception and abortion and IVF (in vitro fertilisation), of homosexual ‘marriages,’ of human cloning and the vivisection of human embryos in scientific research.
“The result, he said, was that Europe was drifting into a dangerous state of apostasy whereby “only (through) a genuine personal decision for Christ and the church can someone separate himself from it.”
Davies also blames atheism for “perversions” such as homosexuality and extra-marital sex. He condemns atheism, blasphemy, attacks on the Church and “resisting God’s grace” as “rebellions against God”; but, just to prove that he doesn’t go in for that woo-woo nonsense, he also warns against yoga and massages, which the former doctor regards as equally demonic as seances, astrology and acupuncture. Fortune-tellers and mediums are bad, he claims, because attempts to contact the spirits of the dead are “direct invitations to the devil which he readily accepts.”
As the good Father and official exorcist in the Diocese of Westminster reminds us, “Sanity depends on our relationship to reality.”
Richard Dawkins: rationalist Satanist
We non-theists will be interested to learn that Father Davies sees woo/the occult and science/atheism as two sides of the same coin:
Father Davies’ strongest condemnation, however, was reserved for the pride of modern atheistic scientists. “Pride is the specific trait of Satan,” he said. “There are two kinds of Satanism: ‘occultic,’ in which Satan is worshiped as a person; and what is said to be even more terrible and certainly is even more deceived, ‘rationalist,’ in which Satan is regarded as an impersonal force or symbol and the glory belongs to the Satanists. How close to rationalist Satanism, without realising it, is atheistic scientism – the hubris of science going beyond its proper sphere and moral boundaries – the tree of knowledge presently spreading its branches throughout our Western culture, which is rapidly becoming that of the whole world,” he said.
Have a good weekend, readers. I’m off to read me some Beelzebub.