Thursday, May 3, 2012


My article from this week's Algona Upper Des Moines about demonic activity through technology:

Q:  Can Satan use electronic devices, such as computers or televisions to tempt humans?  Would a demon come to someone through one of these devices?  What you would recommend to someone who thinks this is happening?  Could this really be the case, or might they be hallucinating?

The topic of demonic activity is one that we in the United States often disregard, but there are real beings—both good and evil—in spiritual realms.  Scripture is quite clear that the demonic world is real and that it is not something to take lightly. In fact, the Bible even attributes such things as false religions (1 Corinthians 10) and false doctrine (1 Timothy 4) as actually being the work of demons, done for the purpose of misleading people in regard to spiritual things.

The most important thing to remember when speaking of demons is what their purpose is--to lead people away from trusting in Jesus. Sometimes they do this deliberately and obviously, such as by tempting a person to curse God or commit sin. On other occasions, they might work more deceptively in quite the opposite manner--by leading a person to be moral or religious, but to rely on their morality or religiosity instead of the sacrifice of Jesus to receive God's blessing.   

Additionally, we often mischaracterize how a demon might appear.  Because demons intend to deceive their victims, not merely scare them, and because they desire to do spiritual, not physical harm, it is highly unlikely that one will ever encounter an oozing, screeching, visible being such as those portrayed in many supernatural dramas on television.  Instead, one may only observe the temptation or false idea itself without detecting the demon which inspired it.  In any case, it may at times be very clear that spiritual forces of evil are at work, while at others, they may be quite invisible, subtle, and deceptive.

Regarding the specific case of digital communication being the medium for demonic activity, I would not rule it out, but I imagine the mechanism is slightly different than many would imagine.  So, for example, it seems unlikely that a demon would possess a digital device or communicate directly with a person through it. However, it is highly likely that a demon would tempt a person to misuse a digital device in a way that would lead people away from Jesus.

An excellent example of this would be internet pornography or similarly inappropriate digital conversations. These would be perfect illustrations of the sort of thing a demonic force would love to have a person become entrenched in, and I have heard anecdotal evidence that many (men especially) have experienced demonic encounters that are directly or indirectly connected to habitual inappropriate uses of the internet. Obviously, this is just one of many ways in which they might tempt a person to sin by misusing technology, and the particular temptation might vary from person to person, manifesting in things such as habitual electronic gambling or neglect of one’s duties as a parent or employee in favor of wasteful internet use.

To summarize, it is entirely possible that a demon would use the TV, internet, or other forms of technology as a means to lead a person into something that will serve as an obstacle between them and Jesus. The best way to discern what one is experiencing in a particular circumstance would be to find a competent, Biblical, and trustworthy pastor in order to describe the problem in detail and seek his guidance.  Because situations like this are so individual that no generic response will be able to do justice to the situation, personally involved pastoral care is the best resource.

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