21/7/2005

Pig Demons of the Bermuda Triangle

Filed under: — Bravus @ 8:42 am

Great title for a really bad movie, no? A guy on another forum claims, in great seriousness, that the demons Jesus cast out of a possessed man and into a herd of pigs, who subsequently lemminged off a cliff into the sea, in the Bible1 are currently imprisoned in the Bermuda Triangle (hence its reputation, presumably), and will be unleashed at the end of time to wreak havoc in the world. Any doubts about this theory are energetically rejected with the claim that the doubter fails to fully understand Revelation chapters 8 and 9.

It saddens and worries me, but talking with more and more Christians, I’m coming to the conclusion that the Bible is rich, large and complex enough that it is possible to project virtually any belief system onto it and find the proof texts to support it. Does that mean all interpretations or belief systems are equal? I don’t believe so, but it does make it hard for anyone with any bent at all toward critical thinking to be willing to maintain that a certain single interpretation is the One True and Correct One.

Coming to the Bible – and to other sacred texts from other traditions, and to the world and teachers and preachers – with a humility that recognises that all of us understand a tiny fraction of what there is to understand is, I hope, a first step toward dialogue and mutual understanding, rather than (best case) vociferously arguing about or (worst case) killing people for seeing things differently to the way we do.

A lot of my good friends have taken this issue and decided that all Biblical interpretations have an equal value, and that value is zero. I haven’t chosen to go that way, because I believe that the Bible does teach (among a hge variety of other things) the concept of loving others and trying to serve them – a concept that might just save humanity from itself. I recognise that Jesus is not the only one who taught this, and that there are instructions to love one another in other religious traditions, and ethical approaches to serving humankind that arise from atheistic assumptions. I still claim that a spiritual dimension to life is valuable… but the demon pigs of the Bermuda Triangle remind me to avoid getting dogmatic about it.

Mark 5:1-13
1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.