Are you sick of this topic yet? I know I keep saying this is the last post, but I have read a wonderful book on demonology and it has helped further clarify my thoughts on the subject of Reiki (see earlier posts here, here, here and here) and the possible influence of demons.
The book is Satan Cast Out by Frederick S. Leahy. There is another book on demonology that I have begun to read and in contrast with that one I can say that Leahy’s volume does a wonderful job of explaining the role of Satan in our world as presented in the Bible. It is actually a very encouraging book for Christians to read. It is not overly long and I enjoyed Leahy’s style as well. It is not the simplest writing and one who has not much familiarity with the Bible and Christian doctrine might find it hard going.
For instance, practitioners of Christian Reiki often say that they heal through channeling the power of angels. Here is what Leahy says about the role of angels:
“Their intervention is occasional and exceptional, and only as they are expressly commanded by God. In no sense do angels come between us and God. Like the miracles, angelic appearances usually mark God’s entrance upon fresh epochs and unfoldings of His redemptive purpose.” (p.19)
In other words, we should not look for the activity of angels on a regular basis here and now. Furthermore, he says that “the forces of darkness frequently pose as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14)” (p.90; see also p. 122).
One big argument for Reiki is “If it does good (i.e. healing people and making them feel close to God), how can it be bad?” Leahy says,
“The nature of a demon is that he succeeds in disguising the demonic side of himself and gives an impression of acting for the general good, so that you do not question his qualities.” (p.54)
And regarding healing specifically:
“Missionary accounts show that this particular phenomenon is by no means rare; and neither, for that matter, is the healing of the sick by means of demonic agencies.” (p.80)
There is a clear answer to Reiki here: healings are no proof of goodness; even the demons heal people when it serves their greater purposes. Leahy warns against just this sort of argument when he says that one must nit allow “one’s doctrine to be determined by phenomena” (p.166).
Reiki make a big deal of the fact that anyone can do it because it is really the spiritual power behind the person that heals. The practitioner is just a conduit. But Leahy points out that God does not negate people’s individuality; demons do:
“Certainly [the Holy Spirit’s] indwelling is in sharp contrast to demon possession in that His gracious presence and influence enhance the human personality . . . whereas demon-possession unmans its subject, reducing him to a hollow, shameful travesty of what man was meant to be.” (p.104)
Leahy’s book also helped me better understand the difference between demon possession as we often see it in the Bible (think a man foaming at the mouth that Jesus heals) and what may be going on n Reiki. He introduces (to me; I am sure it is not a new idea) the idea of voluntary versus involuntary possession. The latter is what we often think of, the person who has lost control because the demon is now in charge. But in voluntary possession, the person asks the demon in and works with the demon. They need not and indeed probably do not, seem to be out of control or raving lunatics in any way. Voluntary possession is also called having a familiar spirit, a practice which is clearly condemned in the Bible. This sounds a lot more like what is happening with those who practice Reiki though there is still the possibility that those who undergo Reiki would be affected by evil spirits involuntarily. Furthermore, it is in voluntary possession that we often see the demons healing people “sometimes with phenomenal results” (p.128).
I had said in an earlier post that the fact that those doing Reiki ask spirits in worries me very much. In involuntary possession, one need not ask the spirits in, but in voluntary possession it seems like this is often how it begins. Leahy says,
“It is only when the person willingly seeks to become an agent of the demon, as in spiritism and magic, that the spirit may be termed ‘familiar.’In such cases there is full cooperation between the demon and the agent. We must, therefore, distinguish between voluntary possession and involuntary possession.” (p.88)
And later on the subject of asking demons in:
“The oft expressed view that spirits cannot possess a person without invitation is clearly contradicted by the Biblical evidence. This is not to deny that any form of invitation is exceedingly dangerous.” (p.94)
In conclusion, I would highly recommend Leahy’s book for anyone who has cause to look further into these issues. In my particular case, being confronted with Reiki, I was struck by just how much his observations and descriptions of demon activity seemed to describe Reiki specifically even though it was presumably a practice unknown to him personally. Leahy also provides an answer to one major argument proposed by practitioners of Reiki, that Reiki cannot be bad if it does good. Leahy shows that this is not the case and that demons often deceive people by seeming to do miraculous and good things, healings specifically, while their ultimate goal is still to oppose God and His people.