In my column from Jan. 10, I reviewed M. Scott Peck’s book, “The Road Less Traveled.” Now, I want to touch on another of his books, “People of the Lie, The Hope for Healing Human Evil.” I just finished re-reading it.
To make his books captivating, Peck shares stories of his life and his experience with patients. One example of human evil he describes is the story of a 15-year-old boy named Bobby, who was brought in for psychiatric treatment for depression after he stole a car.
Bobby’s brother killed himself with a 22-caliber rifle the previous year. After talking to the boy, Peck discovered that Bobby’s parents had gifted him the same 22 rifle for Christmas. The parents defended their decision and saw nothing wrong with this gift, believing that all young boys would love to own a gun.
Peck describes three different theological models of evil in this bestseller from 1983. The first, nondualism, is where evil is simply the other side of the coin. “For life, there must be death; for growth, decay; for creation, destruction.”
He labels the second model integrated dualism. In this example, God allows evil in life as part of our free will. “God has to permit us the option of the wrong choice.”
The last model, that of traditional Christianity, he calls “diabolic dualism.” He explains evil in this model as “being not of God’s creation but a ghastly cancer beyond his control.”
Having a logical mind, I am always looking for affirmation of God to strengthen my faith. Examples I have shared through this column in the last couple of years include the miracles of our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 7. 2022) and evidence of the divine in Gower, Mo. (June 7, 2023).
Confirmation of the devil — in my opinion — can also show us that God is real.
Satan is described in the Bible as the “Father of Lies” John 8:44. Perhaps the biggest lie that Lucifer facilitates is that there is no such thing as God.
He uses his minions in higher education to spread this falsehood to college students.
Chapter 5 of Peck’s book is entitled “Of Possession and Exorcism.” Peck admits that early on in his career, he saw examples of human evil, but he did not believe in the devil’s existence.
Peck sought out and participated in two successful exorcisms to learn more for his book. Exorcist Fr. Dan Reehil, in an interview on Fox News Digital, said, “Exorcism is a specific form of prayer that the Catholic Church uses against the power of the devil.”
“The vast majority of cases described in literature are those of possession by minor demons,” Peck said. “These two (exorcisms) were highly unusual in that both were cases of Satanic possession. I now know Satan is real. I have met it.”
Peck describes one meeting: “The patient suddenly resembled a writhing snake of great strength, viciously attempting to bite the team members. More frightening than the writhing body, however, was the face. The eyes were hooded with lazy reptilian torpor - except when the reptile darted out in attack, at which moment the eyes would open wide with blazing hatred.”
In his experience with these exorcisms, Peck reinforces the fact that the devil lies at every turn and that it cannot understand love.
Fr. Vincent Lampert, a member of the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 750 priests and their helpers worldwide, has also witnessed people “foaming at the mouth, growling and snarling.”
In an interview with Fox News Fr. Lampert described the signs that a demon has possessed a person. Some speak with “a very deep and authoritative voice,” he said, and their “complexion” can also change, becoming darker. He also said that he has seen the eyes of a person possessed “turn green” and their “pupils become like a serpent.”
Perhaps the most famous exorcism was the true story of a young teenage boy, Roland Doe, from Maryland. The 1971 book, “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty, was made into a movie in 1973.
There is an old prayer from the Catholic Church that is again being used by the faithful in these troubled times — the prayer to Saint Michael.
“Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all of the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen”