Exorcism as a superstition

The addressing of supposed invisible spirits with a command to depart, binding them to obey by the invocation of a sanctified name, is the act of exorcism as known to the Western world. Exorcism is still provided for in rites of Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and the Orthodox Churches, and is known in a variety of forms in the major and minor religions and sects. In cases of supposed demonic possession a priest or lay exorcist may be summoned. Exorcism is a ceremony preparatory to baptism in the Catholic ritual, hence hundreds of millions of people have been involuntarily exorcised shortly after birth, and are later largely unaware that such an event occurred in their lives.
Demonic possession and exorcism are both characteristic of the darkness of the human mind: dark because understanding of its disorders is difficult, such as in the case of non-existent spirit possession but real mental affliction; and also because of the clinging to superstition and the inability to reason. The acts of the exorcist may conceal some applied psychology that may be effective against hysteria; but they are totally ineffective for psychoses, therefore recourse to an exorcist is an obstacle to proper medical treatment. Exorcists and witch doctors are encountered in primitive societies where they wield sufficient influence to cause resistance to vaccinations, modern clinics, family planning, education, and other aspects of development.
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