Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Crucified nun dies in 'exorcism' (BBC News)

In my last blog I talked about the need to avoid category confusion - answering a question with the wrong type of thinking. Here's a good example of what happens when this confusion is not avoided. According to BBC News, a Romanian nun has died in a convent after she was tied to a cross with a towel stuffed down her throat (to muffle the noise she was making) and left alone for three days. Why? Because her priest believed she was possessed by demons. In fact, the woman suffered from schizophrenia. We know a lot more about schizophrenia these days and one thing we know for sure is that it is not demon possession. This priest, who has been 'accused of orhestrating the crime', by confusing categories (ie, answering a scientific question with a religious answer), may be found guilty of killing someone on the basis of religious beliefs. The outcome has been rationalised as God having 'performed a miracle for her, finally Irina is delivered from evil'. It is understandable that DeGregori, in his article, bemoans the continuing presence of ideologically driven extreme religion in the world! As thinking Christians, we need to avoid contributing to this sort of thing by not confusing our categories!

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