Bruce Wilson makes a case that almost 2/3rds of young adults buy into demon possession. He attributes this rise, in part, to incestuous amplification. I would add that mainstream entertainment is also increasingly dominated by stories of witches, werewolves, vampires and demons.
The Pew survey also showed that a whopping 85 percent of those "nones", Americans with no specific religious affiliation - who comprise almost twenty percent of the overall population - nonetheless had spiritual or supernatural beliefs and, as the October 2012 Public Policy Polling survey (link to PDF of survey results) revealed, that included belief in the reality of demons.
While only 44% of Americans over 65 years of age surveyed by PPP believed in demon possession, 57% of Americans 47-65 did and, among the youngest group surveyed, Americans 18-29, 63% believed in demon possession. The demographic trend line seems obvious.
Now, in our thoroughly modern era according to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation --a nonprofit which fights for the freedom-of-worship and freedom-of-belief rights of United States military personnel-- literature associating Jews with the devil is being distributed by military chaplains, on United States military bases and naval ships.
Over the last year I've read countless opinion pieces, some from thinkers I deeply respect, lamenting an alleged rising irrationality on the American right and in the Republican Party.
Despite the alleged trend, a popular counter-narrative claims that rational thinking - non-supernaturally-based modes of thought - is simultaneously increasing among Americans in general.
But that may not be true at all; if you believe that your fellow citizens are becoming more rational you may be victim of a nasty phenomenon called incestuous amplification.
In short, incestuous amplification is a feedback loop in which propaganda (or bad information) is taken as truth (good information). The result is that people caught in this amplification loop become increasingly detached from reality or make faulty decisions because their underlying beliefs have become corrupted by the incestuous amplification process.
This is happening both on the American left and right, only in different ways.
Man ... the war never ends, does it?
Standing on the outside looking in so to speak, your US shocks me over & over again........
Hell, I live here and I'M SHOCKED!
Oh that is the picture from Sleepy Hollow - that new show is doing well - now we know why. Most are superstitious and believe in that nonsense.
I am dismayed that so many people believe in demons. Surveys of USA voters by Public Policy Poling and Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in 2012, found:
Of USA voters who believe in demon possession by age:
65 years and over, 44%
47-65 years of age, 57%
30-46 years of age, No data given
18-29 years of age, 63%
Of USA voters who believe in demon possession by party affiliation:
Democrat: 49 %
Independent: 55 %.
Such beliefs are not declining among the US population generally; "they are growing"
The article recites hysteria episodes of the past, they continue into this present day. When there is turmoil, chaos, and conflict, it seems that the human mind resorts to the old "hijacking of the amygdalae" and turns to irrational thinking and behavior. This matter is serious, indeed. When we most need rational, critical thinking, some turn to fear and demons to explain reality instead of looking at the underlying problems to find solutions that last.
Scary! (Not the demons; the belief in them, and the finding that that's shared by an overwhelming majority of the "nones".)
The statement about the nones is a little misleading. That category includes a lot of people who believe in a vague Christian god but don't consider themselves to belong to any particular denomination and don't attend church. It isn't particularly surprising that a lot of those believe in demon possession.
Anyway, that 85% is spiritual beliefs in general. I've encountered quite a few non-theists who believe in other silly things, like psychic powers. I'm surprised that it's as high as 85%, but I would have expected maybe 50% or so.
I have had hallucinations before; i.e. sensing my mother's presence when I was preparing her memorial dinner; or having a sense of utter peace and tranquility envelope me when I am in the garden; or watching my great-grandchild at the crowning event at birth; or the feeling of appreciation when I awoke from surgery surrounded by loved ones. I felt something like ecstasy on those occasions.
None of these come from external influences, they all generate inside of me. To attribute these kinds of experiences to angels or whatever, is just plain foolishness.
My repetitious nightmares that occur when I am in some kind of deep trouble always turn out to be positive because I interpret them as alerts that I need, or an option to try, but of which I am not conscious. The readings of Tarot or Ouija boards come from my own thinking, not some magic. I don't believe in such devices ... except as a way to begin to think outside my experience and do some creative thinking. Imagination too often gets tied up in tradition or habit, closing off ingenuity.