While teaching through the Gospel of Mark, I've found it increasingly difficult to dismiss the significant role deliverance from demon posession/obsession plays in the in-breaking of God's kingdom. Jesus drives out demons (1:34,39; 5:8; 7:29; 9:25), the disciples drive out demons (6:13), outsiders drive out demons (9:38), in fact, all who believe in Jesus will be driving out demons (16:17)! But when was the last time that you or I drove out a demon?
In our modern, enlightenment-influenced age, I fear we are quick to diagnose "troubled" people as having a host of psychological and/or neurological disorders, but slow (if at all) at attributing anything to demonic influences. Why is that? Is it because we are much more a man or woman of science than we care to admit? Is it because of unfortunate abuses we have witnessed in years past? Is it because we're embarassed to believe in demonic activity anymore? Or is it because we've become far too sophisticated for such primative notions as demons and the like?
That said, it's an uncomfortable thought -- minimizing, trivializing, or alegorizing the demonic encounters in the Gospels. Am I alone in this, or have you found yourself thinking the same?