Demonic Paranoia as Undiagnosed Culture Shock

In commenting on Alan Hirsch's blog today I made the following claim:

It is my contention that much of what passes for spiritual warfare these days is better interpreted as undiagnosed culture shock.

There is a diagram at SNU that illustrates the culture shock problem nicely. Take a look and tell me what you think. Do you see the link?

6 thoughts on “Demonic Paranoia as Undiagnosed Culture Shock

  1. I agree, Matt. And beyond this is the tendency, particularly in evangelicals among new religions and alternative spiritualities, is to expect this uneasiness and defensive reactionary response to become the norm for how one feels, understands, and translates actions in regards to these same spiritualities.


  2. Hmmm, taking Christians to MindBodySpirit Festivals… and them going into demonic attack…
    It really shows how much Christianity really doesn’t know where it is, so keep misinterpreting ‘Creation.’ It seems to remain a really strange place for the faithful.
    Still in the desert fighting the pagans… when will this cycle come to its conclusion?


  3. I don’t know. But I would add that this phenomena is not unique to Christians. Many of the symptoms listed in the graph are also exhibited by completely unchurched non-Christians entering churches for the first time. I have witnessed Pagan responses to Christianity which are equally marked by paranoia and scapegoating, and again the bigger the culture gap the more evident it usually is.
    The important thing is to (1) recognise culture shock as a real phenomena and (2) recognise that in a pluralistic society cultural distance can operate independantly of geographical distance.


  4. Hi Matt,
    Interesting post, interesting links, especially to the matrix at
    But concerning culture shock and demonic paranoia: about 20 years ago I was walking through the streets of Singapore on a Sunday morning after church with a friend. We were both from South Africa, both attending a course on evangelism at the Haggai Institute.
    We were attracted by loud noises and banging of gongs from a Chinese temple across the street, and so we wandered in, rather curious. There were people milling about and we asked one of them what was happening, and he explained that it was the goddess’s birthday. She seemed to do rather well out of it – in the inmost room there was a shaved pig and a shaved sheep and a lot of fruit and flowers.
    We wandered out again, and discussed it as we walked down the street. We were noth glad of the opportunity of witnessing a religious ceremony very different from our own culture, but both felt there was something not quite right about it. Demonic, if you like. A bit futher on we wandered into a mosque, a quite famous one. There was no one there, since it was not Friday, and there was an atmosphere of great silence and peace.
    We were both struck by the great contrast between the raucous idolatry of the temple, and the cool iconoclasm of the mosque.
    We got back to the Institute and talked about it to the housekeept, who was Singaporean and ethnic Chinese. We said it was hard to describe how we felt about visiting the temple. She said, “It’s spooky, isn’t it?”
    Oh, and I had a couple of books I had bought and read avidly: Culture
    shock: Singapore
    and Culture shock: Thailand.


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