Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Spirit of the Thing

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Decades ago, I thought that I could use occult methods and still be a Bible-believing Christian. My mental image was almost comic book, where I would be using "good" magic against the forces of evil, complete with eerie glows and bolts of force emitting from my hands (Amos 3.3 NKJV). (If this had happened in modern times, I would probably have had a Harry Potter image of myself.) I had several errors going on in my naïve mind. One error was basic wishful thinking; I wanted certain things to be true, despite the Bible's admonitions against magic and occult practices (Deut. 18.9-12a, Isaiah 9.19-20, Jer. 27.9-10). There was no distinction between "white" and "black" magic, all was forbidden and condemned. I justified my opinions because I believed that the Old Testament does not apply to Christians. Of course, I ignored the fact that those warnings were there for a deeper reason that to just keep Israel separate from the other nations; those practices are detestable to God.

Also, I conveniently neglected the New Testament passages where occult practices were condemned as well as being abandoned by converts to the faith (Rev. 22.14-15, Acts 13.6-12, Acts 19.19-20, Gal. 5.20-21). Self-justification is a powerful thing because it is difficult for the Word of God to penetrate a determined, foolish mindset. (More about what the Bible has to say regarding the occult is here.) Instead of obedience to what God has said in his Word, I had something better: My opinions.

Funny how I refused to have Ouija boards, though. Go figure.

There was a time when I foolishly thought that I could use magic on the side of good. Then I learned about how foolish that idea really was.
Ouija board (modified) / FreeImages / zaid zolkiffli
I read many things and was ready to self-initiate. No joining a group for me, because I had unique views with my mix of good intentions, lame theology, opinions, excuses and wishful thinking. It came up in conversation, and a co-worker made a simple comment that rang in my ears: "Get a Christian perspective".

So I did. I think I picked up several books on the subject in the Christian section tucked away in the back at the local bookseller. The one that I fondly remember is Demons in the World Today, by Merrill F. Unger. Unfortunately, it is out of print, but Biblical Demonology appears to be a suitable replacement.
I stopped my activities in occult exploration, boxed up all the books I had and took them outside.

Fortunately, I was alone in the house, so my activities could not be argued or questioned. It was a cold winter's night. We lived on the outskirts of a small town, and the back yard was rather spacious. I walked on the crusted snow, dragging my box of occult books. A bit of gasoline, a shovel, matches, dreadful feelings of being watched. Flame on! I burned the books. Neighbor dogs were making some very odd barkings and whinings while this was going on; I half expected to see some thing charging out of the woods behind the property at me. And I seem to recall singing spiritual songs, too.

There is a void that needs to be filled when something is removed. The co-worker who recommended that I get a Christian perspective happened to call after I had done my deed and pointed this fact out to me. So, I got back into the Word and good spiritual teachings.

I have been wanting to share a scaled-down version of my occult experience. No, nothing sensational, no glowing eyes in the dark or demonic voices. But I suspect that those would have happened if I had continued on my path.

Now I have something else to share with you. Uh, you're not busy, are you? Anyway, there is an interesting article on whether or not ghosts are real, and what they may actually be. Let me start you off:
For centuries people have claimed interactions with entities that appear to be supernatural in nature. The seeming reality of the experience often has a transforming effect, even to the extent that the experience itself becomes a new kind of worldview filter. For example, today people claim interactions with alleged aliens and even abduction experiences at their hands.
If an interdimensional (as in, it looks as if it suddenly emerged out of nowhere) entity suddenly appears at the foot of someone’s bed in the middle of the night and claims that it is from the Pleiades cluster, then on most occasions the person will believe that its claims are true. The belief in the experience often changes their views about the big picture issues of life, such as “Where did we come from?” and “Where are we going when we die?” So, because of the experience, they are also given over to the larger claims of the entity that may include tales that the alien benefactors were originally humankind’s creators; that they have been overseeing our evolution for millennia; and that in the end they will redeem and restore the human species and the Earth to some kind of utopian paradise. In short, most experiencers undergo a kind of religious transformation or ‘awakening’ and many researchers believe that this is the actual purpose of the deceptive entities.
Click here to read the rest of "Are Ghosts Real?", here. I recommend that you also read the follow-up feedback and response, here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Resource: Logic, Atheism, the Gospel and More



This edition touches on several topics, including evolution, the importance of Genesis, atheism and logic. But more importantly, it dealt with how Christians should present the gospel message, and what kind of foundation we should have.

Sunday, October 14, 2012 was an interesting day for me. I was invited ("invited" as in, "hounded the guys until they gave in") to be on the "Evidence 4 Faith" radio show/podcast. Host Keith Kendrix was away, and Kirk Hastings was filling in. It was my first live guest spot on a radio show, not including call-in shows. (Before that, I was involved in a three-part  podcast for Theopologetics, but that was recorded and not a live broadcast.) I was hesitant a few times, not wanting to steamroll over Kirk — it's not my show. And I had a dry throat problem on occasion.

Perchance they wish to have me on again, there are some items that I would like to expand upon. The next time should be better.

If you find this material helpful, I hope you will pass it along to your friends. You can listen to the show on the site, linked above, or download the MP3 at this link.