The idea of spiritual attack is found in most religious and spiritual traditions where ridding oneself of negative behavior and attitudes is important to one’s sense of well being and salvation.
Spiritual attack is also found in traditions sharing the belief that evil may cause misfortune, distress and physical or psychological illness.
In Roman Catholicism, for instance, we find a lengthy exorcism prayer aimed to “repulse the attacks and deceits of the devil.” A shorter prayer to St. Michael illustrates this well:
St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits that wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Most religions and religious persons probably interpret the idea of spiritual attack through their own cultural filters, arriving at beliefs that are just as man-made as actual.
And some people go to great lengths to convince us that we’d do well to purchase certain beads or charms to ward off evil.
But the overall idea of spiritual attack remains important, especially when viewed scientifically instead of dogmatically. It’s important because it presents an alternative to the reductive notion, forwarded by the likes of Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, 1976; The God Delusion, 2006), that living beings are nothing more than a bag of electrically charged chemicals.
By way of analogy, just because ancient astronomers got a lot of things wrong while viewing the night skies, those errors didn’t dissuade others from developing better observational techniques and making progress in categorizing and explaining various astronomical phenomena. And so it is, one could say, with observing and understanding the spiritual realm. For those able to feel, “discern” (a popular Christian buzzword) or perhaps see its reality, there’s likely much room left for improvement in terms of reducing the personal interpretive biases that can arise from prefabricated religious beliefs, worldviews, etc.
» Obsession, Occam’s Razor, Possession, Shaman, Shamanism, Spirit
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