February 27, 2013

Right Answer, Wrong Reason – Try Again

Remember in school, when you’d have to “show your work” to get full credit for an answer? Usually it was in math class, but the same principle applies wherever. I think the theory behind teachers doing that was to keep people from cheating, but it also serves the important purpose of assuring that people get the right answers for the right reasons. Random guesses pulled out of one’s ass may produce a right answer now and then, but not with any consistency.

Consider the following, in which a confused young woman contacts a television show and asks for advice from its sage host:
I buy a lot of clothes and other items at Goodwill and other secondhand shops. Recently my mom told me that I need to pray over the items, bind familiar spirits, and bless the items before I bring them into the house. Is my mother correct? Can demons attach themselves to material items?
The elderly host provided the correct answer, which is “no.” However, said host was Pat Robertson, pontificating on his TV show, so his reasoning is a bit off:
Can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes. But I don’t think every sweater you get from Goodwill has demons in it. [Laughs.] But in a sense, your mother’s just being super cautious so hey, it isn’t gonna hurt you any to rebuke any spirits that happen to have attached themselves to those clothes.
*Bzzzt* Sorry, Pat, but thanks for playing. The correct reasoning, of course, is that demons don’t exist and thus can no more attach themselves to things than leprechauns or jackalopes. Not that I’d expect any better from Pat. He’s failed Reality 101 for decades now.

And while Pat’s right that it certainly won’t do the caller any damage to “rebuke any spirits” of her secondhand clothes – whatever the hell that means – she will be wasting time and mental energy she might better spend in other pursuits. Not to mention that living in fear of superstitious nonsense is hardly a good way to go through life.

I might suggest she read a book about how the world around her really works, but I suspect she might think it was infested with demons, too.

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