Do angels and demons affect your life

Exorcism, demons and ghosts - Don't paint the devil on the wall!

Did you knock on your door again this year, the ghosts, witches and monsters that wreak havoc on Halloween night? What is harmless fun for the little ones once a year can have permanent negative effects on people - at least that's what Dr. Helmut Jaschke, Karlsruhe theologian and therapist convinced. He was one of the speakers who gave a lecture on “Angels and Demons” of the Catholic Theological Faculty about demons and “possession” in a therapeutic context on the day of the study. In the surgical interview he points out the attraction and dangers of the demon cult.

OP:Mr. Jaschke, what exactly are demons?
Jaschke: There are different definitions of demons. In the theological context, demons are demons. Most of the time, they are defined as spirit beings who were good before but then fell to earth because they sinned. In popular belief, on the other hand, it is assumed that everything that is scary, that cannot be explained, is due to certain invisible forces that exist around us. From a psychological perspective, one does not speak of demons, but rather of "compulsions", by which people feel so controlled that they are no longer themselves. Compulsion is so much in her hand that it determines her life. The best example are addictions.

OP:Where does the belief in demons come from?
Jaschke: I cannot tell you a year of origin, but I can tell you that it is a universal phenomenon. Ever since we started dealing with religion and religious history, it has been everywhere. Especially in many primitive - in the sense of "original" - religions, where necromancy is often the order of the day. Apparently it belongs to the human being that in certain states - especially when he is very afraid - this fear is personalized according to the motto: "It does not come from me, it is more powerful than me, so it has to be somewhere outside of me exist."

Satan cult as a protest
OP:Many films and TV series deal with ghosts and demons - I think of "Buffy" or "The Exorcist" - and apparently a lot of interest. Why do you think demons are so popular?
Jaschke: On the one hand, it is certainly related to the fact that the evil, the negative and the uncanny seem to fascinate people more than the opposite. That's why I believe that films that deal with gigantic opposing positions such as good and bad are particularly popular. In addition, evocations of the ghosts and especially the cult of Satan, into which young people often let themselves be drawn, were forbidden for a long time. We are shaped by a Christian culture that has strongly condemned and rejected the cult of Satan. I think this form of protest against centuries of influence has a tremendous appeal.

OP:In addition to your teaching activities at the University of Karlsruhe, you have completed a therapeutic training and have been advising people in crisis situations for many years. As a therapist, do you believe that dealing with and dealing with demons and spirits can harm people?
Jaschke: Yes, I am sure of that. How I interpret certain things always has an effect on me. What influences me in my feeling and thinking are not the realities themselves, but the realities as I interpret them, what meaning I give them. If someone is convinced and believes that they are possessed by a demon or the devil, it inevitably affects their life. Years ago I had a young woman who, as a child, always told her grandmother a lot about the devil and hell. Later, when she got into a life crisis, she was convinced that the fears that suddenly appeared had to do with the devil and that she too would become the devil for others. That scared her tremendously.

OP:To what extent is obsession still a reality in the therapeutic context today?
Jaschke: I don't like the term "obsession". This literally paints the devil on the wall. If you look at the word in its original sense, namely “to be occupied by something”, that means obsession, then I, as a psychologist, can definitely agree. Time and again I deal with people who suffer from compulsions and feel controlled by them. It is our task to free people as best we can and to give them back their humanity and dignity. But I can only accompany those who are willing to ask themselves where this state of affairs comes from and how it can change it.

OP:When we talk about demons we also have to address the issue of exorcism, i.e. the casting out of a demon or the devil. How do you feel about it?
Jaschke: To this day there are instructions for exorcists in the Catholic Church. It is still assumed that there are demons that can occupy humans. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with practices like intercessory prayer. But if, as in the most recently revised manual for exorcism, it is still said that one should address the demon with “drive out” or something like that, then from today's point of view this is anachronistic. It is high time that something like this disappeared from it. Because that is exactly what produces what it wants to fight. If I tell a person that you have the devil in you, then that creates a psychic reality, then this creates what I later fight against. That is fateful and tragic. The point is that people are freed from such things.

by Ruth Korte