Have you heard that some demonic attacks have been reported in a mission school in Uganda? Yes, indeed that is the case. The report says that for three days some screaming and uncoordinated noise by the students led to a panic in the school. The noise made students flee the school premises and the school authorities attributed this unusual incident to symptoms of demonic possession. Yes, demonic possession of African students in this 21st century.
Both the school head teacher and the diocesan secretary for education have actually confirmed that the students were possessed en masse by assorted demons. They said that a prayer team which was dispatched to the school had brought the situation under control. I am not sure what this actually means. Did they chase the demons away? For me, it is embarrassing that school authorities could openly make such a claim in this era and age. Some people might say: What do you expect? After all, it is a mission school. That is not the case. Such claims abound in many schools across the region. I mean what are demons doing in schools, of all places? Why are students possessed in school, not on the streets or at their homes? Are there demons in the first place?
Personally, I think that students and in fact the entire school are indeed experiencing a real demonic attack. But not the form of diabolical assault you may be imagining.
In this case, the demons are not whatever the school heads and managers have imputed to be responsible for the ‘screaming’ and ‘noise’. No, not at all. The demons are not spiritual. They are human. In fact, the demons are the school authorities themselves who have equated the unusual behaviors of students to symptoms of demonic possession. The real demons are those who have betrayed the very essence of a school – education and reasoned inquiry. They are teachers in the school who are leading the students into ignorance and darkness.
May I ask: Who told the managers of the school that screaming by panic-stricken students was caused by the devil? What is the connection between the noise which students made and Satan? Who told them that they are demonic, not human? The real demons are those who are suspecting a teacher in the school of being behind the attacks. The real demons are not whatever caused the noise but members of the prayer team and those who dispatched them to the school.
I mean, what is a prayer team doing in a school? Is the school now a church? I am aware this is a mission school. Even at that, is there no separation between mission school and mission church? Demons like gods are imaginary entities and should have no place in the way we address problems particularly in our schools. What has prayer got to do with what is obviously symptoms of mass hysteria?
The ‘real demonic attack’ in this school is not whatever happened to the students but the deployment of a prayer strategy to tackle what is clearly a commonsensical problem. It is the assault on the culture of research and scholarship, the disdain and disregard for critical thinking and scientific temper. The real demonic assault is getting students who should be questioning and challenging claims of demon or evil spirit to begin to believe and take these fantasies as facts.