Demons and metaphysics
"Why, then, does a soul, dwelling in the house of her subtle body, defile that glorious dwelling with vile and lowly thoughts, break its noble furnishings with chains of matter and of the ego, and invite keres and hateful demons to dwell within its walls? Knows she not that the thoughts of her mind pass not away, nor vanish into air? Knows she not that every thought of greed, of hate, of lust, of
anger is a scar upon her subtle body? Sees she not that she surrounds herself with hateful things that are the forms of her thoughts?" -- The Clear Recital (ECE)
As a Pentecostal, the concepts of spiritual warfare and demons were common features of the preaching and practices. To many Pentecostals and Charismatics, every aspect of the world has been somehow influenced by demonic oppressions -- everywhere they look, they point out to a demon.
But the progressive and liberal faith communities hear of demons and they would automatically deride and dismiss such an idea as being "superstitious" and "fearmongering." In the meanwhile, many who are part of liberal churches and those who are "spiritual but not religious" carelessly and recklessly get into occult and spiritualism.
For too long, the New Thought movement has uncritically accepted a cheapened perversion of universalism that posits that "all paths lead to God." In so doing, the New Thought communities have, without discernment, embraced a variety of questionable New Age teachings, spiritism, and witchcraft.
Even though, according to the New Thought and Universalist thexlogies, there is only one power and presence that is God and that the finished work of grace is perfect, this lack of spiritual discernment has led to a proliferation of problematic practices among the New Thought congregations and believers.
The "evil spirit," "unclean spirit," and the demons (as variously called in the Christian Bible) are real even though they are not, like in a Zoroastrian-influenced Christian doctrine, some kind of demigod that is God's near-equal who plays some sort of cosmic game of good versus evil.
How then should we understand the demons from a New Thought perspective? Should they still be taken seriously?
Ruby Nelson, author of The Door of Everything, calls it a sub-creation of surface minds. Thoughts do not die. Thoughts survive the physical lives of their originating thinkers. The Clear Recital states, "Thoughts of the mind neither pass away nor vanish into the air. For every thought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you." Indeed, the Clear Recital passage quoted at the top of this article indicates that demons are inextricably linked to "lowly and vile" thought-forms. Because thoughts affect our behaviors, as well as our mental and physical health, the casting out of demons often was associated with the acts of healing in the New Testament.
In most obvious forms, we still benefit from thoughts of Aristotle and Plato. The thoughts of creative masters such as Beethoven and Shakespeare still speak to us through their works. Thoughts of Karl Marx still influence political and academic worlds.
In the not-so-obvious forms, thoughts left behind by deceased humans linger about and infiltrate (and indoctrinate) the living humans and their societies -- some positively, some negatively.
The practice of spiritualism and witchcraft often fails to properly screen out the sources of such disembodied thought-forms, giving them a benefit of incarnation through the practitioners of such practices. This is something that should not be dismissed as superstitious, nor is something that should be dabbled with.
As students of New Thought, we ought to be firmly convinced that there are only one power and one presence who is the ultimate source of all knowledge, wisdom, and supply; that we require no middlemen, be they called "angels," "spirits," or "ancestors." At the very least, spiritism distracts us from the fundamental truth that informs the New Thought thexlogy. Therefore, a spirit of witchcraft has no place in our spiritual life.