Reading through the NT for the first time as a skeptic has been an eye opening experience. And although my observations at this point are admittedly naive, I'd like to share another one and hear what you think.
I always thought (and was taught) that the description of Jesus curing people by "driving out demons" was simply allegorical. The word "demons" in this context was merely meant to denote the illnesses because modern medical terms hadn't yet been developed. However, in Matthew 8, Mark 5 and Luke 8, Jesus is said to have first talked to and then driven out demons into a herd of pigs (which subsequently jumped off a cliff). This was apparently witnessed by the pig's caretakers, who went back to town to spread the word.
What am I to make of this?
1. If Jesus really did just cure the men of their bacterial/viral/psychological or whatever disease, then what the heck infected those pigs?
2. If there really were demons in Jesus's time, then why did they stop causing illnesses as we began to understand "other" causes of disease? And why did Jesus give the demons what they asked for in this case, causing the death of 2,000 pigs?
I'm not hiding the fact that, for me at least, I think this story is total hogwash. (Pardon the pun.) I'm just beginning to understand the depth of the deception in my early bible instruction and the amazingly complex series of hoops necessary for free-thinking Christians to jump through in order to maintain their beliefs.