[Image from here]
Science vs. superstition. Reason vs. Roman Catholic theology. The battle continues.
There are not enough exorcists in the Roman church, so the RC bishops are in process of conducting a two-day "how-to" workshop in Baltimore on the rite of exorcism.
At the end of the second decade of the second millennium, there remain people all over the world who believe in "demons," and demon-possession. They further believe that these demons who might decide to "possess" certain humans, can be exorcised through a series of magical words and actions.
But you must be properly trained so that you can identify a real demon possession as opposed to say, just plain craziness. You also need to learn the exact magic words and when to say them as well as the proper magic actions, such as blowing into the victims face and making the sign of the cross.
It is essentially a problem of evil - spiritual evil, saith the good prelates of Romanism.
Unfortunately for the bishops, science has failed to demonstrate the reality of "demons" or demon possession. Magical words and magical actions remain just that - magic, and thus silly and stupid, no matter what the words or the actions.
Evil is certainly a reality if evil be defined as that which reduces the value of a human life or that which increases unhappiness and pain. Psychology has known for years that some people seem to lack a conscience or any feeling of empathy for their fellow humans and act accordingly. Others may have a conscience and thus know the difference between what most of us agree is right and wrong but simply don't give a damn.
Then there is institutional evil as expressed today in a world where capitalism has run amok as corporatism, where everything not contributing to the bottom line is suppressed and/or eliminated.
Governments can also be evil if they exist only to perpetuate themselves and their power. Thus, the clear statements of today's Republican leaders in which they have promised that for the next two years they will work only for the political demise of Barack Obama in 2012 can only be classified as evil.
And religion - perhaps the greatest source of evil in the history of the human race! Religion - the cause of more war, misery, pain, hatred, destruction, and just plain evil than any other source.
Consider the institution with which we started - the Roman Catholic Church which is worried about non-existent demons and magical rites to exorcise said non-existent demons while 1) continuing evil practices to the detriment of millions of lives around the world, e.g. disallowed condoms which could prevent the spread of AIDS; berating homosexuals and disavowing gay rights while the Roman church itself is comprised of 25-50% gay priests; denying women a rightful place in the church because of misguided, indeed false legends regarding priesthood in the early church, among many other things, and 2) failing to deal adequately with the problem of pedophilia amongst the leaders of the Roman church by refusing to even discuss the widespread parameters of the problem or discipline properly those pedophiles who have ruined thousands of lives down through the years.
Pedophilia in the Roman church is an unspeakable evil; incomprehensible; undeniable. It is so evil that it effectively destroys forever the Roman Church as any kind of moral voice in the world. Anything the Roman church says about right and wrong can no longer be taken with any seriousness. The Roman church is forever tainted by institutional evil, which continues even now.
If there were an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god who was also a loving god by human standards, he or she would have struck down the Roman church and turned it into a heap of burning rubble before it got started. He or she would never have allowed it to continue for over 2,000 years as one of the world's major repositories of evil, and continue today to obscure and avoid the real evil within its walls by pointing at fantastical and mythological demons and carrying out the pretense of casting out these "demons" with magical chants and signs and actions.