The idea of ideas as demons is no new idea. I borrowed it from the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and he brought it with him to his work from his Russian Orthodox Christian faith. I just finished his book, Devils today, and I've pasted in here a dream the main character has at the end of his book Crime and Punishment, when he is sick in a Siberian Prison Camp. It is important to note that the character Raskolnikov was a coldblooded thrill-killer, who had been raised by a good mother in church. He is presented as a young man who is overtaken with strange ideas after he leaves home, and only realizes the extent to which he has been infested with the insane after he is in a prison camp.
Raskolnikov's Devil Dream from the Prison Infirmary in Siberia
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"...he was feverish and delirious. He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia. All were to be destroyed except a very few chosen. Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will. Men attacked by them became at once mad and furious.
But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible. Whole villages, whole towns and peoples went mad from the infection. All were excited and did not understand one another. Each thought that he alone had the truth and was wretched looking at the others, beat himself on the breast, wept, and wrung his hands.
They did not know how to judge and could not agree what to consider evil and what good; they did not know whom to blame, whom to justify. Men killed each other in a sort of senseless spite. They gathered together in armies against one another, but even on the march the armies would begin attacking each other, the ranks would be broken and the soldiers would fall on each other, stabbing and cutting, biting and devouring each other.
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The alarm bell was ringing all day long in the towns; men rushed together, but why they were summoned and who was summoning them no one knew. The most ordinary trades were abandoned, because everyone proposed his own ideas, his own improvements, and they could not agree. The land too was abandoned.
Men met in groups, agreed on something, swore to keep together, but at once began on something quite different from what they had proposed. They accused one another, fought and killed each other. There were conflagrations and famine. All men and all things were involved in destruction. The plague spread and moved further and further.
Only a few men could be saved in the whole world. They were a pure chosen people, destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth, but no one had seen these men, no one had heard their words and their voices. -Dostoyevsky, Fyodor (2001-03-01). Crime and Punishment (pp. 608-609). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers... fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:2-5
"It was not you who ate the idea, but the idea that ate you." -Pyotr Verkhovensky in Devils, by Dostoyevsky
While ideas often seem to be located regionally, at least at first, they can and do spread across wide geographic areas. Humanism, for example, is the idea of thinking, acting, believing, and treating people in ways that feel good to their humanness and physical being. In fact, the idea sounds good to us, is appealing to us because the focus is on man first, rather than the true Christian focus that puts God first. Humanism says that man needs to take care of number one first... himself. He will be no good to anyone else if he isn't good to himself. And, if anyone fails to respect his basic need to see to his own basic needs first, then he is right in abandoning and "unloving" those people, excluding and locking all who are unworthy out of his life. In other words, it is in every man's best interest to look after his own self-interest. This is a different philosophy than what we find in the pages of the Bible, and most especially in the New Testament, where self-sacrifice is often taught in the idea of putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself last.
His idea of ideas as demons is present in all his books to some extent. But, the dream I included above came at the end of Crime and Punishment, which was published in 1866, and yet it became the actual plot of the later book Devils, which wasn't published until 1871. It's also interesting that Devils was based on a true story of a revolutionary group of 5 men who end of killing one of their own group, while another member commits suicide and takes the blame for the murder in his suicide note. They have been 'bedeviled' with ideas that ate at them until they are even destroying their own selves, much like the swine in the story of the miracle Jesus performed when He cast the devils out of the man, and they begged to go into the swine, causing them to run madly downhill and kill themselves. Originally, the title was translated into English as "Demons," but later translators realized that Dostoyevsky was referring more to the ideas of the men than the men themselves. The word demons seemed to brand the revolutionaries as devils, instead of pointing correctly to their ideology as the satanic manifestation that it was.
I have embedded my review of the book on Good Reads down below. Also, I have labeled some of the "little devils" on this page in red with some of the "isms" that we find polluting Christianity today. (Note that the green text is all quoted from Dostoyevsky's work, and the black print is my own, while the blue is Scripture.) I'd like to leave you with a question. What ideas have eaten your own personal views? To find that answer, make a list of 5 of your basic beliefs about God, man, marriage, sexuality, clothing, work, society, crime, government, and faith. Then read the Bible... the whole thing. Any place you find a part of Scripture that disagrees with your own personal views, there are the devils in your faith.