Thursday, May 31, 2012

Babies, Bathwater and the New Age

The New Age movement is one of the great enigmas of our time. You won't find hardly anyone willing to defend it or define themselves as a "New Ager," and yet the movement has slowly and quietly (some would say insidiously) changed the culture at large, for better and worse.

I didn't know there even was such a thing until Shirley McLaine brought it into the mainstream with the 1986 TV movie of her autohagiography, Out on a Limb. Of course, I'd been heavily immersed in the movement prior to that but what I thought I was involved with was an underground and vaguely outlaw occult movement that itinerant Deadheads were introducing lost and bored punk rockers to in the mid-80s.

It seemed to be a rich and loamy mission field-- the first wave of hardcore punk had fallen apart, giving rise to Nazi punk, thrash metal and nihilist grunge. None of the energy or optimism of the early 80s was left in the movement, as a great darkness had descended over the scene. A lot of punks were gagging for an antidote.

There were certain precedents in Post-Punk, particularly the British bands (Killing Joke, Comsat Angels, Coil, Current 93, etc) who toyed with the kind of post-hippie occultism that would have such a decisive impact on Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and the rest of 80s British Invasion, but I would definitely credit the 80s renaissance of The Grateful Dead for the clandestine spread of the "New Age" ideas in the counterculture at large.

None of us had any idea that there was a "New Age" movement already at work, particularly in the American West, and very few would want anything to do with such a touchy-feelie, post-hippie kind of thing if we did. The 70s occult underground-- centered around hotspots like Manhattan's Magickal Childe-- was a better fit.

It must be said that the 1984 film Repo Man does an amazing-- almost prophetic --job in capturing this weird conjunction between disaffected punks and aging hippie mystics, especially considering that such a thing was completely unrecognized at the time.

The admixture of themes like late-period Cold War paranoia, Fundamentalist brainwashing, working class collapse, UFOlogy and Synchronicity are thick and gooey layers of radioactive icing on this dense, thorny layer cake.

There were other streams feeding into this as well, also tangentially related to The Dead; the personal computer and hacker scene, the nascent Cyberpunk scene (William Gibson's Sprawl books are as much about alt.spirituality as they are about tech), the vogue for outlaw physics championed by people like Jack Sarfatti and Saul Paul Sirag and then-fashionable deep ecology movement signaled that the New Age wasn't hostile to science (especially weird science), it embraced it.

Old counterculture icons like Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson enjoyed new interest in their work. The Burning Man movement arose during this time and caught on like, um, wildfire, capturing the unconscious impulses of a new generational counterculture.

Of course, then Shirley MacLaine put a stop to all of that- or most of that-- almost immediately and the New Age became the almost-exclusive province of declawed neo-hippies and a certain breed of middle-aged housewife who became the New Age equivalent of Dana Carvey's Church Lady.

Whitley Streiber's Communion steered what was left of the counterculture New Age into the New Ufology and Grunge- the dreariest and most negative microculture vying for dominance in the late 80s rode to victory on the back of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and left nothing but teenage rubble in its wake.

The Tech boom of the early 90s leeched away the Cyberpunk crowd with the promise of Silicon Valley riches. Cyberpunk bible Mondo 2000 tried to create the "New Edge"-- essentially gathering up the same elements of the New Age counterculture-- but that effort was bled dry by the new Gold Rush and the increasing power and prominence of the Neo-Theosophist faction that had taken control of the New Age movement in the wake of the unparalleled popularity of Shirley MacLaine's and JZ Knight's books, as well as The Celestine Prophecy and later, The Secret.

The mighty Religious Industrial Complex didn't sit by idly and watch of this go down with bemused befuddlement- it saw this new counterculture as a serious challenge to its power, influence and financial security.

The Christian Right went into a full-blown meltdown over the New Age, with writers tearing themselves away en masse from their airport men's room perches, peepshow stalls and favorite rest stop clearings to man the typewriters and word processors in defense of the Faith of their Fathers. They were goaded on by an obsessive harpie from Michigan who saw the New Age as nothing less than the work of Beelzebub himself, and who'd been shrieking about the movement to anyone who'd listen since the 70s. Nobody much listens anymore, but she's still shrieking.

The importance of the anti-New Age agenda was impressed upon the shills in the Conspiracy underground as well. Soon, intel dupes like Bill Cooper and Serge Monast were warning of the "New Age One World Religion," an self-contradicting impossibility given that the movement was by definition fractured, decentralized and creedless; the old cat-herding bit, in other words. At the same time Cooper and Monast were tapping out their screeds with aching forefingers, their handlers were creating the real one world religions; Fundamentalism, both Christian and Islamic.

Which is not to say that the New Age movement itself is blameless, and was not infiltrated and used for nefarious purposes, one of which was the testing ground for MK techniques that were subsequently exported to the Megachurches. At every turn ideas that took root in the New Age movement were appropriated and mainstreamed, an inevitability in a movement that lacked any kind of structure to guarantee simple quality control, never mind control of intellectual property.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet

At every turn, bad actors appeared to peddle crypto-authoritarianism and create dangerous cults which sucked away people's self-will almost as quickly as it drained their savings accounts.

Again, the fingerprints of secret gov't creepie-crawlies can be found everywhere you look. The looming shadow of Theosophy darkened the movement, or at least the unsavory legates of Blavatsky like Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Alice Bailey (the former was infinitely more dangerous and powerful than the latter, but served the ultra-right agenda, so the conspiratainers were told to leave her alone).

Indeed, for many people the movement was known more for the hucksters and charlatans that used the open source aspect of the New Age-- which the old hippie idealists saw as a strength and necessity-- as a license to loot and plunder. I don't have to name names here; I'm sure you all have your favorite examples.

And there were/are a lot of foundational ideals in the movement that drove people away: misguided, "we are the world" Globalist cheerleading, knee-jerk ecumenism ("all paths lead to the Source"), contentless spirituality ("It's all energy"), a kid-in-a-candy-store approach to ancient symbol systems, the aforementioned neo-Theosophical authoritarianism, and a troubling insensitivity to human suffering ("You have cancer because that's the path you chose.")

But with the New Age you almost have to see it as an impulse (or a loose confederation, at best) than an actual movement. The various subsects usually had little in common and only interacted at expos and conventions, if at all. Adherents usually didn't describe themselves as "New Agers," that was a pejorative thrust upon them by the media.

And indeed, the New Age as a concept soon gave way to endlessly subdividing factions: the self-improvement movement (which grew out of the human potential movement), neopagans, Goddess-worshipping feminist separatists, Chaos magicians, neo-traditionalists, and on and on. For all intents and purposes, the New Age is simply a marketing catchphrase, the section at Barnes and Noble where I find the books I want to read (very few of which have anything to do with Oprah or Shirley MacLaine, of course).

And several important and meaningful ideas were brought into the mainstream via the New Age movement. Which is not to say there isn't fraud and abuse and irritation galore to bemoan, but that's the cost of living in an open society.

Health Awareness: "Health food" and organic food was once cloistered away in dingy hippie co-ops, now it can be found in supermarkets. Junk food profiteers are still in business but under pressures they didn't have to face before the rise of the New Age movement.

Vegetarians and vegans were once seen as the equivalent of devil-worshippers; now they are simply part of a menu of lifestyle choices. Exercise is now seen as desirable activity and not just a chore. Smoking is no longer socially acceptable. It hasn't always been pretty or painless, but this is in large part the legacy of the New Age movement.

Alternative History: Books like The Da Vinci Code and The Last Templar mainstreamed alt.history in a fictional context (often to the extreme annoyance of some alt.historians), but the New Age market helped make bestsellers of books like Fingerprints of the Gods. Orthodox historians still laugh it off but are finding themselves with a smaller amen corner every year.

For all its faults, the success of Ancient Aliens has gotten people talking about a subject that was quashed by the Religious Right.

Détente between Science and Spirit: The Establishment-- particularly their little media toadies-- seems heavily invested in driving a wedge between science and religion these days, despite the fact that the Vatican has totally changed its tune on science (including on evolution) and that many of the scientists and engineers doing the heavy lifting these days were raised in conservative Asian religions and have no trouble reconciling their faith with their work.

What is being put forth by the media is fundamentalist scientism and fundamentalist religion. It's a false dichotomy that is being deliberately whipped up to cause trouble and sow dissension.

At its best, the New Age movement had no time for any of that. No less a luminary than JZ "Ramtha" Knight unleashed the What the Bleep do We Know quantum physics primers, for whatever they're worth (I haven't seen them in their entirety). Call it "woo" if you must, but don't say they're anti-science just because you disagree.

Alt-UFOlogy: I'm always stunned by how simple-minded the debunker set are when it comes to UFOs. To them, they have to be spacecraft from another solar system or some joker is igniting cow farts. This shouldn't be a surprise-- none of the debunkers I've come across seem terribly bright (even if some are indeed booksmart) and they spend most of their time talking to each other, reinforcing the feedback loops.

Regular readers of this blog know I'm not big on the ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis) and that I believe a careful study of the UFO phenomenon through history (and prehistory) reveals something that acts more like an espionage program than the work of curious, labcoat-wearing alien Margaret Meads.

Nick Redfern's new book suggests that a lot of UFOs are in fact beings, which makes me want to go back and rewatch all those "sentient orb" episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

There's no shortage of messianic UFoology in New Age circles, but the blurring of the boundaries that the New Age once chased after also gave voice to Alt.Ufology, particularly the work of people like John Keel and Jacques Vallee (indeed, the old East West bookstore had a big UFO section, where I first saw Passport to Magonia). And of course, ancient astronauts are a given in the alt.research community that grew out of the old New Age movement.

Psi Research:
As with UFOlogy, I don't much go for the clairvoyance-on-demand myth peddled by professional "psychics", all too common in New Age circles. And it's a good thing, too; you think surveillance is out of control now, just imagine if there was an army of mind readers keeping tabs on everyone. It would be intolerable. I know we're constantly hearing how mind-reading machines are right around the corner, but I think it's a pretty big corner we're talking about- they've been "right around the corner" as long as I can remember.

I do think there is interesting work to be done in psi research, the kind of stuff folks like Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake have done. I'm not entirely sure how useful laboratory experiments are, since I think this potential taps into a non-reptilian aspect of the brain and tends to be inhibited by the hostile conditions you'd find in a lab.

There are any number of useful and important tasks the human mind performs that can't be summoned on-demand, so any laboratory experiment that doesn't confirm psi is merely proving that psi doesn't flourish in such a contrived and artificial environment.

But making the leap that psi doesn't exist based on laboratory experiments (we'll leave aside what dens of fraud and deceit labs-- especially corporate labs-- often are) is kind of like showing a gay male naked pictures of James Randi, PZ Myers, and Penn Jillette and declaring homosexuality doesn't exist when they inevitably fail to achieve an erection.

Positive Thinking: This one gets a bad rap these days, but was a central tenet of human potential. We are bombarded with negativity-- now more than ever before-- and there's no question it has a deleterious effect on our psyches, our health and our souls. The adolescent quest for "Cool" that grips our society (as well as the adrenaline rush you get from fearporn) makes positive thinking anathema; it's far more fashionable to be grim, defeatist and miserable. It's much easier, too.

However, positive and negative thinking are self-fulfilling and a society that embraces negativity is a society destined for failure, just as a society that embraces nihilism (which is what the Skeptics and nu atheists are really offering). Certainly the corporate embrace of people like Tony Robbins and before him Norman Vincent Peale has understandably soured people on positive thinking, but I'm not really sure how much longer we can sustain ourselves with the negative thinking monkey on our backs.

I've never believed in "Cool"; "Cool" is cowardly and shallow, in my estimation. A human being is cool when they are dead. I believe in being hot-blooded, passionate and lusty.

There are other positive effects the New Age has had: a new appreciation for the Sacred Feminine, a more relaxed approach to office environments, a new engagement for men in child rearing and the household, a more holistic to environmentalism.

There are also any number of undesirable effects as well; the nanny state approach to health, a tendency to religious hysteria regarding environmental issues, institutionalized political correctness. But the movement has been remarkably effective in changing society in its own image, for better or worse.

I don't believe in the "New Age"- it's one of those linear approaches to human events that assumes that everything is progressing in a straight line to a utopian future. And the movement itself was co-opted before some of you were even born, giving rise to what is often an insufferable and denatured new kind of Puritanism. I think it tends to a kind of reflexive androphobia that robs it of dynamism and balance.

But it did open things up and create a space where new ideas weren't seen as inherently threatening and in that regard it's had a positive effect on society. Plus, there's that handy section at Barnes and Noble to take into account...


  1. Hey Chris,

    Good point you brought up. I can say one thing for sure, this new age movement is in my observation not exclusive in fact every one is part of it including the "non-newage" people.

    I think this is a resurfacing of the old blending with the new and trying to synthesize its own identity. Just like the occupy wall street movement it has no direction (head) and it has no tangibility except theories and ideas which can overwhelm every one including myself. That's why I've noticed a new trend including in myself where people are abandoning the new age movement wagon. Yea it was fun when we were all ignorant but now its getting repetitive, stale and boring. If you've watched most of the interviews and video's people are regurgitating what is in the internet to other people. its so obvious.

    The illuminati this and the illuminati that. The bilderberg this and the bilderberg that. But if you do ur own research u'll realize that the world needs direction otherwise there won't be progress and the lazy people out there just have to understand that.

    For example Science and space channel would put up cutting edge documentaries on the cable and these new age "philosophers" would pick it up, re aggregate it and distribute it to the rest of "us" as something they've discovered and use the old formula of adding it with their theories.

    Science is pure and its much more of a beacon and a floating life boat than the "pulling theories out of thin air" information.

    I mean when we look at the novels and movies that talk about utopian societies like the movie Equilibrium, 1984, Brave New World, The Island etc what we come to is that "peace, ideal worlds" are static and have no dynamic life and are stale like a still pond. I believe we are humanity are on the right path. We have our vice, and our virtue and that makes us who we are. I don't think there is anything else to it than that.

    This new age movement that resurfaced due to the medium of internet will again go back to slumber just like the hippie era. Its all a cycle. People are tired of its lies and money looters.

    Nice Blog,


  2. I take note of the the idea that UFOs are thought by Redfern, in some cases, to be beings in and of themselves. This has been my belief for some time. Lights in the sky and morphing things would fit this category pretty well. I agree with your observations but have a very obvious question. How did this happen, when we both know that the religious, fanatic, right was firmly in control during it's infancy?

  3. Chris...

    Per your quote:

    I would definitely credit the 80s renaissance of The Grateful Dead for the clandestine spread of the "New Age" ideas in the counterculture at large.

    True to an extent, but the DeadHeads of the 80s were a pretty "snarky" bunch. They're snarkyness was typified by bumper stickers of the era, such as "shit happens" and "Reagan knew".
     They didn't rely on dogma or doctrine because their prophet was a living man (Jerry). They were fueled by gnosis, in it's truest sense and as a result were too weird for "mainstream new age".

  4. Sometimes I feel like "new age" is to "the occult" what "hipsters" are to "punk rock". Y' know what I mean?

  5. Am one of those people that got launched into alternative "whatever" inquiry by Fingerprints of the Gods back in '96. In the late 90s I bought some various books like Book of Enoch, etc. Amongst those was a book on the Nag Hammadi Gnostic writings by Elaine Pagel. Well, for whatever reason I ignored the Gnostic stuff for another decade. However, one day I just went and grabbed it off the shelf and pretty soon had consumed numerous books on the Gnostics and Hermetics.

    When you read the stuff that a lot of the New Age sites are saying, their so-called theology and cosmology overlaps heavily with the Gnostic/Hermetics stuff.

    So did the New Agers start tapping into that ancient well even before the re-discovery of Gnostic thought (Nag Hammadi texts) became mainstreamed starting in 1979 with Pagel's book?

    Also, for us that started getting hit all of a sudden with paranormal experiences, the New Age circles are where all that gets talked about, dealt with, and accepted.

    Not really saying anything specific here, but just pointing those things out.

  6. A great “new age” field guide, published by Whole Earth Catalog in 1989 is The Fringes of Reason… a hilarious yet thoughtful look at the movement… “nothing is so sacred that it cannot be made fun of.”

  7. rogerv,

    I hear ur point man, but what gets to me is that dry theory is very airy and just makes things boring in the long run and stale.

    I also have had paranormal experience during the "awakening" episode of my life. So the new age world started to give reason to these experiences for me but soon i've realized it was just a boat and that the journey need some other vehicle.

    In my opinion the new age stuff including this blog is just a abstract vehicle that will broaden the mind but i've encountered a problem and that it robs the creativity of experience in our life. It hijacks the regular "present" moment and plunges us in to realms that are very unstable and even dead ends.

    It is my experience so far!! that life is the ultimate and what ever we do with it is the real meaning. Every other channeling or books from the desert or enlighten light beings are just burned embers that we get fascinated by. The true enlightenment is life in its present experienced according to the individual without the "cliche's and dogmas" or spiritualism or wat not.


  8. Chris,

    First time I encountered New Age was at a Windham Hill concert at the Majestic Theater in Dallas TX in 1984. I was taken with a friend whose parents were aging hippies fer sher. I fell asleep at the concert, and used their music for that purpose for the rest of the 80s. A lot of their artists were arty versions of Dead jams, I think. I happened to start college in the San Francisco Bay area in 1985, and while I was hardly an insightful sensitive, I always felt that New Age anchored onto the continent at Big Sur and flourished wherever the Pacific fog bank penetrated. The fog was new age, a mixing of cold water and hot air, like mysticism and quantum mechanics. The Golden Gate, the whole thing, not just the bridge, was the embodiment of new age to me. The symbolism of the bridge linking opposing views, it's color, the incredible energy of the current flowing through it, the sound and smell of that place, all brought together the mixture of mysticism, science, meditation, environmentalism that was New Age to me. While I acknowledge the puritanical, politically correct vacuity that came in the 1990s, I never saw it as the same as that energy you got from the beautiful, spare, and lonely spaces of that Pacific coast, where all kinds of ideas came in on the currents, and where there was space to see all kinds of curious things in the night.

  9. You mentioned veganism in your essay. I was curious if you were vegan as I just went vegan several months ago. Rather than being hard to do I am now at the point where the idea of meat disgusts me. Of course the right wing conspiritainment pant-pissers will consider me a satanist trying to convert their children to the evils of a plant based diet. I've actually heard Alan Watt on Alex Jones' show as well as AJ himself claim the Illuminati are trying to push a vegan diet on the world. Of course, to say something so idiotic is to ignore the Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, and Taco Bell and Dairy industry ads one is inundated with on an hourly basis. That is the real brainwashing, yet the likes of Alan Watt will say the few people who go against the grain are the ones trying to brainwash. Talk about projection.

  10. I was planning on having a go at becoming a UFO but something warned me off it and I haven't tried again yet.

    I can see how many U.F.O.'s are in fact beings. I think the U.F.O. I saw when I was on my way to work in Ibiza town was a being, and I saw that through a telescope.

    I don't think all U.F.O.'s are beings, how can they be when there are also government owned flying objects / spacecraft etc. I know someone who said they saw a U.F.O that was at least a couple of miles wide, now that would be a big being!

    Thanks for the explanation as to what New Age is, I had know idea.

    Talk about people cashing in have you seen this...

    Lucid dreaming: Rise of a nocturnal hobby

  11. In re-reading Chris's blog posting where he documents some of the Fundamentalist Christian polemics against the New Age:

    The Secret War Against the New Age: Doctrine and Libel

    I find their libels tend to read like a xerox copy of the screeds the early church fathers levied against Gnostic Christian "heretics":

    Early church father, Irenaeus, mid 2nd century:

    "Let those who blaspheme the [do] the Valentinians and all the falsely so-called Gnostics, be recognized as agents of Satan by all who worship God. Through their agency Satan even now...has been seen to speak against God, that God who has prepared eternal fire for every kind of apostasy."

    Yeah, the old "agents of Satan" motif. Was a good blood libel tactic 1900 years ago. And worked extremely well on toward the extermination of the Cathars. Why shouldn't it work against the New Agers?

    So the ancient Christian Gnostics not only have some commonality of theological/cosmological ideas here and there with the contemporary New Agers, the reaction elicited from the fundamentalist religious orthodoxy is much the same then as it is now. The reaction of the Roman Church to the Cathars is even more directly comparable of the modern situation of the polemic churchmen vis a vis the New Age rainbows and crystals crowd.

  12. Here's a link to help explain why and how I would try and become a UFO...

  13. I watched the film Peter Pan with my boys recently and it made me think of how beings are said to be UFOs.

    Towards the end of the film Captain Hook discovers Peter's secret - how to fly. It involves thinking happy thoughts and some fairy dust. It's even got the other worlds element. It's a story thats often used for Xmas panto's in England but I suspect it's known worldwide. It's worth watching the film and then reading that link from crystalinks, if you don't already get what I'm saying.

  14. Hey Chris,

    This is a great post about a complex topic. I'm playing fast and loose with some already slippery definitions here, but I've always thought that 'New Age' thinking is usually at its best when it aligns itself closely to the complex mechanics and resonances of artistic expression.

    I mean to say, interdependancy, poetic logic, mirroring, foreshadowing, etc, are all aspects of artistic expression and would therefore seem to be integral to mysticism also - which, after all, is basically the universe expressing itself artistically (i.e. non-local or non-linear thematic expression).

    But when New Agers fall into the trap of creating spiritual hierarchies, or saying "metaphysics is like THIS, and no other way" I think that's when it becomes as dogmatic or frivolous as any organised religion.

    People have often referred to me as a New Ager, because I discuss Love and Compassion, and have an interest in crystals, etc. Although they usually concede that I'm a very 'grounded', 'intelligent' and 'persuasive' New Ager, I guess I'm still ripe for derision.

    But the hilarious thing is that if I omit my more fringe interests and simply discuss my love of art, literature, psychology and history people seem to think I'm an incredibly bright and lucid 'scientific mind'. Huh...go figure.

    These days I really don't give a shit what term people use to describe me. I'm just trying to do as much important work as I can in my own little way, and hopefully my small contribution will somehow add to the overall spiritual uplift of my peers. If that seems woo or New Age to certain folks, then they can just go Namaste themselves.


  15. Shirley Maclaine was/is an MK-Ultra mind controlled victim. Poor woman. There are so many of them in the new age movement. There is a "channeler" in Chicago named "Diandra" who along with her 35 years younger boyfriend "Batavia" (real name not known, he refuses to tell their followers)have a website called "Inward journey." They are both mind control victims playing the part of "psychic" and "manager." They are in the illuminati. Diandra wrote a book titled "A new day is dawning." An occult researcher named Jordan Maxwell says that the phrase "the dawn of a new day" is a code for the New World Government (NWO) world government. Beware!!

  16. Former New Age Astrologer Finds New Purpose, Warns Against the Occult

    As Halloween approaches and the public’s attention turns toward the world of the paranormal and “spirits,” one SES (Southern Evangelical Seminary) graduate (class of 2011), a former astrologer, uses what she learned at SES to help Christians defend against New Age beliefs and to educate those flirting with the paranormal.

    "I had no interest in being a Christian at all, and no one witnessed to me," Marcia said, thinking back a few decades to the height of her spiritual quest.

    Marcia studied Eastern religion in college where she began researching the life of Gandhi. Hinduism intrigued her, and with no firm faith foundation—her dad was agnostic, her mother a nominal Christian—she found herself wanting to practice something. She was also developing an interest in the paranormal.

    After college, Marcia got involved in a couple of Buddhist groups that taught her meditation, marking her entrance into the New Age. It wasn't long before she enrolled in classes on psychic development and astrology.

    "Those courses really pulled me into it, big time," she said.

    Marcia became a certified astrologer and served as president of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society. Marcia would collect birth data and plug it into a chart calculating the position of the sun, moon and planets relative to a person's birth place and time. Marcia then interpreted the chart, advising the client on job goals, relationship issues, strengths and past influences.

    After a while, Marcia started feeling compelled to go to church again, but ignored it—for months.

    "I wanted to get rid of it," she said, and even wondered if the feeling had to do with unfinished business from a past life. Eventually, she visited a church, but with plans to leave early. When the service began, everyone stood as a boy carried a cross down the aisle.

    "As he passed me, I felt this love falling down on me," Marcia said. "It was like there was a personal God who was telling me He loved me."

  17. Moved to tears, she stayed through the whole service, then went back the next Sunday, and the next. She joined a Sunday school class, but didn't see any conflict with retaining her Buddhist beliefs. Just a few weeks after stepping foot in church, "I started getting this impression that God did not like astrology." A few weeks after that, Marcia felt God was telling her to give it up. But two more events reinforced her discomfort.

    Marcia visited her chiropractor, who was into witchcraft. As Marcia lay on the table, the woman said she was starting a coven and wanted Marcia to be the astrologer. Marcia suddenly felt a weight on her and graciously declined.

    Shortly after, at an Astrological Society open house, Marsha was lecturing on zodiac signs. "While I was talking, I felt this very strong urge to say, 'We shouldn't be here.' ... I had to stifle it."

    Finally, the night before Thanksgiving, Marcia told her rector what was happening. He took out a Bible and shared God's warnings against practicing divination. But without astrology, Marcia thought, "What was my life about?"

    Marcia started reading the Bible every night, beginning in Matthew 1. "As I read, I started sensing that there was something very pure about the words." By Dec. 21, she was in Matthew 8, reading how Jesus calmed the storm. "Where is your faith?" Jesus asks the disciples.
    The story grabbed her. "God just opened my eyes. I suddenly realized who Jesus was. ... I had to have Him as a Savior." She asked Him to be part of her life right then, and "as soon as I did that, I knew I was a different person." Marcia remembers telling a co-worker about it and found out later that he and his young adult group at church had been praying for her for a year.
    When she heard there was a seminary that focused on answering objections like those she encountered in the New Age and in the occult, she enrolled.
    "My ministry is mainly how do you respond to the New Age?" That's what drew her to SES—its emphasis on how to defend biblical Christianity.

    From the very first course, she began using what she was learning at SES as she talked to Christians curious about New Age ideas or to people who were already enmeshed in it. She's able to share why those ideas don't align with the Bible.

  18. “With so many people mixing religions and leaving the church, you're bound to come across someone who's not a Christian, and you need to be ready,” Marcia said. She recalls reading the paper on the subway once when a woman nearby asked to borrow the horoscope section. Marcia took the opportunity to tell her why it wasn't a good idea to read them, and then shared the Gospel with her.

    "The fact that it doesn't appear to be evil is the very danger of it," she said.
    "The evil of the occult shouldn't be sensationalized, but not underplayed or dismissed either," she said. In the Bible, talk of the occult is linked to worship of false gods. "God has very strong words on it; therefore, it's not something to play around with (Deut. 18:10-12; Gal. 5:20)."
    “What about Halloween?” is a question she is often asked. She tells people that Halloween tends to “glorify darkness” and to nurture fascination with evil. She also points out, however, that “Christians should follow their consciences.”

    Southern Evangelical Seminary ranked the Best General Apologetics Graduate Program by, since 1992 Southern Evangelical Seminary has provided a synthesis of sound philosophy, classical apologetics, and a cohesive theology based on the inerrant Word of God in order to equip Christians to persuasively share their faith in a secular world.

  19. Doreen Virtue, Popular New Age Author, Becomes Christian & Renounces New Age Movement

    By Steven Bancarz

    As a former New Ager myself, this was exciting to see. Doreen Virtue is a former author that has written roughly 40 New Age books and has produced over a dozen “card decks” used for intuitive readings. She has been featured in the past on Oprah, CNN, and The View, and is literally a staple author in any New Ager’s bookshelf.

    She is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures ever involved in the New Age, and she has recently given her life to Jesus, been baptized, and renounced the New Age movement. She now considers herself a “born-again Christian” on her website. This radical change started when she had a vision of Jesus in church on January 7th, 2017 and was finalized by her baptism a month later.

    Upbringing and background

    Doreen grew up in a home with Christian values, but the churches she was raised in didn’t hold traditional orthodox beliefs. As she explains, “Since I was a child, I’ve loved Jesus. And I’ve been reading the Bible since I was a child also. But I had a really different viewpoint of Jesus growing up. You see, I was raised in the New Thought churches of Unity and Christian Science…When I was growing up I read the Bible, and I would read the positive things of the Bible only because that is what the focus was on.”

    With this loose background in Christianity, she began to take interest in psychology, getting her M.A. in counseling psychology and doctorate in the philosophy of psychology, and practicing as a registered psychotherapist. She started into the New Age movement when she was invited to speak at the Whole Life expo in 1995. Here, she was introduced to incense and crystals and reiki for the first time.

    This opened up a whole new world of interest, and she began taking classes and actively studying New Age subjects. Her favorite subjects of interest were medium- ship and psychic development, which she began to practice and incorporate into her work.

    In the same year, she had an experience where she believes an angel told her to scream, scaring away people who were about to carjack her before they were able to. We see a lot of these stories around the world come from both Christians and non-Christians, of supernatural interventions by what seem to be angels. This led her to research more about angels, and as someone who had a predisposition to supernatural experiences from a young age, her fascination with the New Age and angels continued to lead her down a path of practicing divination involving ‘angels’.

  20. What was her view on Jesus during this time when she was involved in the New Age movement? For most people in the New Age movement, the view of Jesus is watered down. Bible verses are cherry-picked from to fashion a politically correct Christ who embraces all faiths. Jesus is not the exclusive Son of God and only means of salvation, but just another ‘prophet’ and ‘teacher’ here to show us a universal path to enlightenment. Sin means nothing, the cross means nothing, and the death and resurrection of Jesus ultimately means nothing. This was certainly true for Doreen.

    “Some people said that ‘No, Jesus is the equivalent of Buddha and Krishna and other Ascended Master.’ So this is the direction that I started to see Jesus in.”

    When Jesus began to draw her

    Things began to change for her in 2015 when she began to do research for her “Loving Words from Jesus” card deck, which would contain Bible verses on the cards. To find out what Jesus really said, she started to read the Gospels front to back and really analyze the words of Jesus.

    “My view of Jesus is that he was this warm cuddly bear with no edges, and of course I knew about him tipping the tables in the temple, but to me he was someone who went around espousing verses like ‘ask and it shall be given’, which he did, but there is so much more to Jesus…I went through the Gospels, and I was really surprised with what I read…Here is what I read that was my wake-up call. In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus says ‘Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.’

    When I read that, I thought “Well that’s not very teddy-bear like.” And then I read the same thing again in the synoptic Gospel of Luke in Luke 9:26, “If anyone is ashamed and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in His glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”

    This ended up convicting her of being inconsistent of her view of Christ, and gave her a new appreciation for the person of Jesus. She began to go to church, fellowship with other Christians, and volunteer with them, but she still had a foot in the New Age movement as a practicing psychic.


  21. Her experience with Jesus

    On January 7th of this year, Doreen had an experience with Jesus while in a church service. A fellow volunteer was leaving the church and was receiving acknowledgement from the priest at the front of the church. As she was staring in her direction, Jesus appeared to her:

    “And as I was looking at her, all of a sudden the scene changed. She disappeared, the church disappeared, all of the people disappeared, and there was Jesus right in front of me, standing there. Well, floating really. And He was glowing, and He was glowing so brightly…it was this glow all around Him and especially from his heart, and the glow was this candle-like color, and this smile on his face.

    And he was looking at me, but it wasn’t a sense of me personally like my ego, it was a sense of everyone that included me, and when I saw him it was a whole different experience than I had ever had in seeing the angels or in any of the work I had done. This was the most three dimensional experience I have ever seen.

    And I was blown back in my chair. I don’t know how long it lasted, but all I know is that when he showed up a few things became my knowledge. I went from believing to knowing that He is real, that he knows who I am, who knows who everyone is. Not in a judging way, but in a compassionate ‘I-hope-that-you’ll-do-the-mission’ type of way.


    And there was this knowingness to really amplify my studies and also to share what I was learning with others.”

    What has changed since then

    The Bible tells us that we will know a tree by its fruit. It says in the book of James that faith without works is a dead faith, and that such a faith is useless and cannot save us. Real saving faith is always followed up with works of repentance as the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ. The Bible tells us we will see evidence of salvation.

    She addresses this in her testimony video. People have asked her, “How do you know you saw the REAL Jesus?”

    “The Word tells us that by their fruits you shall know them, and after seeing Jesus I was completely changed. I started to read the Bible even more. I started to volunteer at the church even more. And I started to give up things that were against the Bible like mediumship, fortune telling, which is predicting.



    She has told Hay House Publishing that she wants the royalties she has been receiving from her old tarot cards to go to their charity, and that she will be taking her name off them in about a year.

    She also shared with them that she can no longer write about anything that isn’t scriptural, wants to take the Ascended Masters books and cards out of print, and will only be writing Christian themed material from here on out. From publishing dozens of New Age works to refusing to receive royalties and produce anything that is not Christian is a huge shift, especially of an author of this size.

    “God says we can only serve one master, God or money, and I trust that God will serve my needs.”

    Mediumship, divination, and ‘predictions’ are things of the past for her. She now prays with people instead of giving them readings. She is downsizing and simplying her lifestyle to be obedient with Scripture and because her financial situation has changed as a result of this experience with Jesus.


    Moving forward

    Since her baptism, she has been working on a book called Mornings With The Lord which is a daily devotional reading with an encouraging thought for the day from Scripture. She has been incorporating the Bible into the messages she produces on social media, and is taking a God-based Bible-based approach to her work.

    Her emphasis is on the loving, compassionate, non-judgmental hand that the Lord is extending to sinners calling them into relationship with Him. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17

    She closed of her testimony video with a prayer of salvation for those listening:

    “Dear Jesus of Nazareth, (and we say that to make sure it’s the real Jesus because there are masquerading beings trying to pretend they’re Jesus.) Dear Jesus of Nazareth, I ask you to come into my heart, and save me. Save me from all these situations Lord, and help me to save others with your help. I ask that you come to me Lord and be my Lord and Savior. Help me to know what the right path is for my life. Bring the Holy Spirit to me Lord as my teacher, as my wayshower, as my comforter, and my advocate. Help me to know what my spiritual gifts are, and how to best use them to serve the Lord, to serve peace, to serve God’s divine love.”

  23. Jesus – Was He God?

    Many times Jesus referred to His own deity, both directly and indirectly. Although Jesus confirmed that He was the Messiah (Mark 14:62,63), He did not use the term Messiah to refer to Himself, perhaps to differentiate His deity from the widespread expectation of a human Messiah. Jesus used the terms “Son of Man” and “Son of God” often. Both referred to His divine nature (Daniel 7:13,14; Matthew 26:63,64). Jesus also used the specific words I am (Ego eimi in Greek, Ani bu in Hebrew) on several occasions (e.g., John 8:56-58). God used these same words to describe Himself to Moses. Jesus also states specifically that He and God are “one” (John 10:30), meaning, the same substance, nature and essence. (Greek word: homoosious, translated: "of the same substance.”

    And Jesus clearly indicated He had authority over issues controlled only by God, such as forgiveness of sin (Mark 2:5-10), the timeless power of His words (Matthew 24:35), and reception of glory (John 17:5). Perhaps as significant was Jesus’ acceptance of worship (Luke 5:8; John 20:28). The intense monotheistic foundation of the Jews would absolutely forbid any worship of anything but the one true God. Overall analysis of Jesus’ life, His compassionate miracles, His perfect lifestyle, and His love, indicate that His claims alone are trustworthy, and perhaps the strongest evidence of His divinity.

    Did Other People Consider Jesus to Be God?

    The disciples clearly came to view Jesus as God in human flesh, and they worshiped Him as such (Luke 5:8; John 20:28). Certainly, the witnessing of the resurrection and the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5) provided irrefutable evidence to them. New Testament writers and early Christian writing define Jesus to be God … our Lord … here on earth (1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Timothy 2:5).

    Is There Other Evidence of Deity?

    Many people say that Jesus’ miracles are evidence of deity. But miracles have been recorded as being performed by other individuals (in the Bible and elsewhere). The Bible states that perfect fulfillment of prophecy proves God’s intervention (Deuteronomy 18:21,22). The odds of all Old Testament prophecies about Jesus coming true in any one man is beyond statistical possibility without divine intervention. And Jesus prophesied with perfect accuracy regarding such things as the precise timing of His death, the detailed manner of His death, His resurrection, and His later appearance in Galilee. Prophetic perfection combined with a claim to be God verifies Jesus’ deity.

    Why Do People Reject Jesus?

    The evidence regarding Jesus is so overwhelming that it seems incredible that many people still reject Him. After all, the promises of inner peace and joy on earth and eternal life in heaven are not bad promises … and they’re easy and free. Rejection of the Messiah, however, should not be surprising. It was often prophesied (Isaiah 53:1-3; Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42-46; Luke 16:19-31).

    Ignorance – Perhaps the greatest reason for nonbelief in Jesus is ignorance. Most people take far too little time to investigate their religious beliefs. As a result, world opinion often becomes the basis for the most important issue in life. Views about Jesus may come from a family belief, friends, or a dominant church in the community. People sometimes think a church is teaching biblical Christianity when it’s not. We are individually responsible for comparing teaching to the Bible. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the reason is, if you are wrong. Nor does sincerity matter. As history has shown too often, people can be very sincere, yet sincerely wrong.

  24. Apathy – Many times people have a false sense of security that God will take care of everyone. This idea is sometimes accompanied with the thought that hell doesn’t exist, or that God will send everyone who “tries to be good” to heaven anyway. The Bible reveals that God’s promises are reserved for His people, and there are many reasons why others “don’t hear” (Matthew 13:11-43). The reality and horror of hell is clearly stated, including the narrow path to get to heaven, which is available to all (Matthew 7:13).

    Fear – Some people fear that becoming a Christian means “giving up fun” or living a strange, secluded life without friends. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we must start a dull life and turn away from having parties with other people. It says the opposite. The Bible promises that knowing Jesus will let us live life to the fullest (John 10:10). And not only will such freedom draw us to have fun with friends, the Bible says even the angels in heaven throw a party when we accept Jesus as Lord (Luke 15:10).

    Tradition – This reason for rejecting Jesus is often the strongest. But we are each accountable for our own actions. Even society doesn’t send parents to jail for their children’s crimes. Jesus knew He would, at times, cause people to break away from traditional family beliefs (Matthew 10:21,22).

    Some people think that believing in Jesus and being good are the secret to heaven. The Bible says otherwise. It says that religion, speaking in Jesus’ name, and being good are of no value if Jesus doesn’t know us (see Mathew 7:21-23). Knowing Jesus is more than just a belief about Jesus. It means repenting and accepting Jesus’ sacrifice and His claims to be God.

    Jesus Shows God’s Love for Us

    We are all separated from God by imperfection. Even the most righteous people have had unholy thoughts considered sinful by God (see Matthew 5:28). Since God is perfect and holy, His requirement for an eternal, heavenly relationship with Him is perfection that no human can ever offer. So God provided an alternative method to rejoin us with Himself through one perfect sacrifice, forgiving all of our imperfections. The only way for God to have such a perfect sacrifice was for God to fulfill it Himself. By sending His Spirit into Mary (Luke 1:35), God essentially came to earth in human form as Jesus, to be sacrificed and who His love for mankind (see John 3:16). To fully appreciate God’s love, we need to be aware of the excruciating pain and humility Jesus willingly suffered for many who hated (or now hate) Him.

    Rejecting Jesus Shows Our Disdain for God

    Jesus can be rejected in two ways: 1) by a decision to reject Him or 2) by simply not accepting Him. Knowing about Jesus, even believing the gospel story, is not accepting Him nor showing love for God. Even demons and Satan believe the gospel (see Mark 5:6-17). Love for God means acceptance of Jesus. It means turning our lives completely to Him for guidance. The Greek word used in the Bible for “believe” (as in John 3:16) is pisteuo, which literallly means to trust, or have faith in. This means more than intellectual knowledge. Imagine the disdain we show God by not accepting His very precious and loving sacrifice.

    God’s Unaccepted Gift?

    Imagine sending your only child to deliver a gift to show forgiveness to an adversary. Imagine knowing that your child would die painfully while delivering it. Now suppose that person never opened the gift, never accepting forgiveness. Would you choose to be with him forever?

    Acceptance or Rejection Is for Eternity

    The Bible frequently reveals God’s judgment. This does not conflict with God’s love and forgiveness, most emphatically shown through the sacrifice of His Son. But it does reveal that God is just. In the end, the Bible clearly states that there will be a separation of those who trusted Jesus as God, and those who didn’t. This separation is forever (see Luke 13:23-30; Revelation 20:12-15).

  25. How do we know the Bible is accurate?

    First, the integrity of original biblical manuscripts has been demonstrated by the vast number of manuscripts, precisely copied during the time of eyewitnesses and verified as unchanged by the Dead Sea Scrolls. Secondly, archaeology has shown complete consistency with what we know as the history of the world. Third, hundreds of ancient prophecies contained in the Bible and showing 100 percent accuracy indicate divine guidance and accuracy. And finally, the Bible is 100 percent consistent with established facts of science … corroborated by many of the finest scientists in the world today.

    Why do some people claim the Bible has contradictions?

    After hundreds of years of challenge, the accuracy of the Bible has stood the test of time. Common types of misunderstandings include:

    1. Details that once seemed to contradict science or archaeology. Often our information is too limited to know that the Bible is right. For many years, scholars believed the earth was flat, while the Bible indicated a spherical shape. Likewise, critics scoffed at the mention of the early Hittites, or cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, all thought to be nonexistent, yet verified as fact today. Scientist have recently “proven” Einstein’s definition of the universe (consistent with the Bible), which has superseded Newton’s more limited view. The list goes on and on. As archaeology and science learn more, the Bible is verified and has yet to be proven wrong.

    2. Different accounts by different authors. Details contained in different Gospels may at first seem contradictory. However, the accounts simply report events from different vantage points. For example, Matthew records that Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” went to the tomb. Mark records Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of James, and Salome as going to the tomb. Luke records “the women,” and John records Mary Magdalene. Are the reports contradictory? No. Different people report different facts. Placed side by side, they just give a more complete picture of what happened.

    The Chronological Visit to the Tomb.

    The three women went to the tomb, saw a “young man” who told them of the resurrection and also told them to go tell the disciples. They left and returned with Peter and John, who viewed the tomb. The disciples then “returned home” and the women stayed. At that time, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

    Like witnesses to an event today, when all testimony is pieced together, it makes perfect sense and a more complete picture is given.

    The Bible extensively reviews heaven, hell, Satan, angels, and demons in many of its 66 books. Surveys show that many more people believe in heaven than in hell. Some nonbiblical religions even deny that hell exists. Yet, Jesus actually spoke more about hell than about heaven. So it would not be wise to ignore hell. Jesus’ parable in Luke 16:19-31 gives us a very poignant warning regarding heaven and hell.

    It would seem wonderful if there was only a path to heaven with no hell. Not surprisingly, false prophets attempting to design a religion for man’s desires try to do away with hell, or convince man that he is God. The Bible is specific concerning the path to heaven, and indicates that other paths lead to hell.


  26. How Do We Know What Religion is Right?
    No religion is “right” in and of itself. The Bible is about man’s relationship with God, the right way and the wrong way. Any religion that is totally consistent with the Bible’s teaching is right. Any with teaching that is counter to the Bible is wrong.

    So the reliability of the Bible as a guideline is vital. As indicated, the original biblical manuscripts are a miracle in and of themselves. Evidence of reliability, includes: (1) and explosion of credible, corroborative writing, (2) verifiable at the time by eyewitnesses, (3) with eyewitnesses dying for testimony they could affirm to be true, and (4) with many other people, able to know historical facts, also dying for the same beliefs. If the New Testament is true, then the Old Testament is also broadly verified by Jesus (Luke 16:16,17) by over 700 cross-references, by the Dead Sea Scrolls evidence, and by “mathematical proof” of hundreds of prophecies.

    A problem arises when man starts changing or adding to the Bible. Several things would indicate that such inspiration is not from God. First, the Bible commands us not to add to, delete, or change it (Revelation 22:18,19). Secondly, Jesus verified it would not change (Luke 16:17). And third, why would a perfect God change His original, perfect Word? The Bible is very clear that the path to heaven is defined as Christs:

    John 14:6-9 Matthew 27:51-53 John 3:16 Ephesians 2:8
    Acts 4:12 Colossians 1:15-23 John 6:48-58 Hebrews 10:26-31

    Avoiding false gods – The Bible warns against the following false gods:
     A god that is not a single God of the universe (having no peers – including man) is not the God of the
    Bible (1 Timothy 2:5; Isaiah 44:6).
     A god not manifest as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is not the God of the Bible
    (Luke 12:8-10; John 1:1,2,14; Acts 5:3,4).
     A god that does not proclaim Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrifice for redemption of those committing
    themselves to Him, is not the God of the Bible (Matthew 27:51-53; Mark 14:24; John 6:48-58; Acts
    4:12; Colossians 1:15-23).

    How Can We Ensure the Right Relationship to Go to Heaven?

    When Jesus said not all who use His name will enter heaven (Matthew 7:21-23), He was referring to people who think using Christ’s name along with rituals and rules is the key to heaven. A relationship with God is not based on rituals or rules. It’s based on grace, forgiveness, and the right relationship.

    How to Have a Personal Relationship with God

    1. Believe that God exists and that He came to earth in the human form of Jesus Christ (John 3:16;
    Romans 10:9).
    2. Accepts God’s free forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ephesians
    2:8-10; 1:7,8).
    3. Switch to God’s plan for life (1 Peter 1:21-23; Ephesians 2:1-5).
    4. Express a desire for Christ to be Director of your life (Matthew 7:21-27; 1 John 4:15).

    People who sincerely take the preceding steps automatically become members of God’s family of believers. A new world of freedom and strength is then available through prayer and obedience to God’s will. New believers also can build their relationship with God by taking the following steps:

     Find a Bible-based church that you like, and attend regularly.
     Try to set aside some time each day to pray and read the Bible.
     Locate other Christians to spend time with on a regular basis.

  27. Science and the Bible: Cosmos and Creator

    By Mark Eastman, M.D.

    They have been called the two greatest questions that face mankind: Does God exist, and if He does, what is His nature? Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, the answer to these questions have been sought by examining the nature of the universe and its life forms.

    The Cosmos

    When Albert Einstein published the first of his relativity theories in 1905, he shocked the physics community with a staggering new view of space, time, matter and energy. Though he did not know it at the time, his theories provide dramatic insights into the attributes of the Creator of the cosmos.

    Among other things, what Einstein’s theories revealed was that the flow of time and the structure of space were relative to the velocity, mass and acceleration of the observers. That is, their observed values were not fixed: they were relative.

    For thousands of years, scientists and philosophers believed that time was nothing more than an abstract notion, conceived in the minds of men, and used to describe the change seen in the physical world. Time, it was believed, was not a thing, it was a mental contrivance. Einstein showed that this was wrong. Time, Einstein showed, was “plastic.” That is, it is a physical property of the universe, and that the observed rate that time flows depends on the physical conditions present at the measuring device.

    Several years after Einstein’s theories were published, astronomer Willem de Sitter found a mathematical error in Einstein’s equations. When corrected, he found a startling mathematical prediction buried within his equations: The universe was finite! Space-time, matter, and energy had a beginning.

    In his book, It’s About Time, popular author and physicist Paul Davies remarks on this incredible discovery.

    Modern scientific cosmology in the most ambitious enterprise of all to
    emerge from Einstein’s work. When scientists began to explore the
    implications of Einstein’s time for the universe as a whole, they made
    one of the most important discoveries in the history of human thought:
    that time, and hence all physical reality, must have had a definite origin
    in the past. If time is flexible and mutable, as Einstein demonstrated, then
    tt is possible for time to come into existence, and also to pass away again;
    there can be a beginning and an end of time. (Paul Davies, It’s About Time,
    Touchstone Books/Simon and Schuster, 1995, pg. 17.)


  28. The Skeptic

    I recently had an opportunity to speak on the origin of life at a major public university in Southern California. In attendance were a number of professors who are self-described agnostics. During the question period, one of the professors admitted that the evidence is compelling that the universe was indeed finite. He said that while he could not believe in God (because he couldn’t see Him, or study Him scientifically) he said he did believe that someday scientists would discover a law that would explain the origin and order of the universe and its life forms.

    After pointing out that he had just expressed faith, the belief in things unseen, but hoped for, I asked him if he believed that the laws of physics, which work in our space-time domain, also had a beginning. He was forced to concede that they did because they would have no place to act before the space-time domain existed.

    The final blow came when I asked him if he then believed that some “law” of physics could explain the origin of the laws of physics! He saw the point: The laws of physics cannot be the cause of the laws of physics! The cause of the universe and its laws must be independent of the space-time domain, exactly as the Bible claimed 3,500 years earlier!

    Apostle Paul’s statement regarding the attributes of God being discerned by an examination of the nature of the universe is quite staggering, considering the state of scientific knowledge in the first century A.D. At that time it was commonly believed that the universe was eternal. In the face of that commonly held bias, the Bible clearly taught that the universe was finite, and the Creator is independent of time and space, exactly as 20th century cosmology suggests.

    In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth… Genesis 1:1
    …God, (v.9) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not
    according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace
    which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
    2 Timothy 1:8-9

    …in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before
    time began. Titus 1:2

    The finiteness of space-time not only points to a Creator who is independent of the cosmos, but it also gives us insight into the minimum resume of such a Being.


  29. The Uncaused Cause

    In my discussion with the agnostic professors, I asked them to give me the caveat, for the sake of my next argument, that God did indeed exist. They agreed. I then asked them what would be the minimum “resume” of such a Being. Remarkably, they were quite insightful in their deductions. They quickly recognized that such a Being would not only have to be independent of space-time, but must also be incredibly powerful, incredibly intelligent and able to act unencumbered, simultaneously inside and outside the time domain. Remarkably, without recognizing it, they had described the resume of the Creator as revealed in the Biblical text!

    Among other things, the law of cause and effect asserts that a cause is always greater than its effect. Applied to the cosmos it means that the Creator must be more powerful than all the energy stored in all the stars in all the galaxies in the entire universe. Physicists believe that there are at least 1080 particles in the universe. Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2 indicates that the energy stored in the mass of the universe is equal to the mass times the speed of light squared! From this perspective, the Creator must be an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. This very attribute is credited to God throughout the Bible’s text.

    Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy
    great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for
    thee. Jeremiah 32:17

    Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard
    for me? Jeremiah 32:27

    In my discussion with the professors even they admitted that all the chemists, molecular biologists and physicists in the world combined have been unable to create a DNA molecule from raw elements: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, etc. Moreover, molecular biologists admit that living cells are metabolic machines which are vastly more complicated than any machine made by mankind. They agreed in principle that the nature of these cellular “machines” would require a Being possessing unfathomable intelligence. Such a Being would be, from our limited perspective, an all-knowing, omniscient Creator. Throughout the Bible’s text God is described in such terms. For example, in Jeremiah 1:5, God’s omniscience is illustrated in his foreknowledge of the prophet even before he was born:

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I
    sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

    The infinite knowledge of God is proclaimed in 1 John 3:20 and in Psalm 147:5:

    For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows
    all things 1 John 3:20

    Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite.
    Psalm 147:5

    Finally, if our space-time domain is the direct creation of God, then once he created the cosmos, in order to organize and uphold the galaxies, solar systems and its life forms, the Creator must be able to act simultaneously, inside and outside the space time domain. This attribute we call omnipresence. This too is an attribute that is ascribed to God throughout the Bible’s text.

    Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,”And not a God afar off? Can
    anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the
    LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD. Jeremiah 23:23-24

    For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in
    the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

  30. Why believe in Christianity over all other religions?

    By Matt Slick

    Critics often ask why Christianity is any better than any other religion in the world. After all, of all the religions that exist, how can it be that only Christianity is true? If God exists, why can't God use different religions? Don't all paths lead to God? Skeptics ask these kinds of questions all the time; and, unfortunately, few Christians have the answers. Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate why Christianity is true and all other religious systems are false, I've prepared the follow list of reasons for Christianity's superiority.

    There are such things as absolute truths

    If truth is relative, then the statement that truth is relative is an absolute truth and would be a self-defeating statement by proving that truth is not relative. But, if truth is absolute, then the statement "truth is absolute" is true and not self-defeating. It is true that truth exists. It is true that truth will not contradict itself as we have just seen. In fact, it is absolutely true that you are reading this paper.

    If we can see that there is such a thing as truth in the world, then we could also see that there can be spiritual truth as well. It is not absurd to believe in spiritual absolutes anymore than physical or logical absolutes. Even the statement that all religions lead to God is a statement held to be a spiritual absolute by many people. This simply demonstrates that people do believe in spiritual truth. Why? Because truth exists. However, not all that is believed to be true actually is true. Furthermore, all belief systems cannot be true since they often contradict each other in profound ways--and truth is not self-contradictory.

    Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true.

    Mormonism teaches that there are many gods in existence and that you can become a god. Christianity teaches that there is only one God and that you cannot become a god. Islam teaches that Jesus is not God in flesh where Christianity does. Jesus cannot be both God and not God at the same time. Some religions teach that we reincarnate while others do not. Some teach there is a hell, and others do not. They cannot all be true. If they cannot all be true, it cannot be true that all religions lead to God. Furthermore, it means that some religions are, at the very least, false in their claims to reveal the true God (or gods). Remember, truth does not contradict itself. If God exists, He will not institute mutually exclusive and contradictory belief systems in an attempt to get people to believe in Him. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that there can be an absolute spiritual truth and that not all systems can be true regardless of whether or not they claim to be true. There must be more than a mere claim.


  31. Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus

    Though there are other religions that have prophecies in them, none are 100% accurate as is the Bible; and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds. The Old Testament was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet, the Old Testament prophesied many things about Jesus. This is undoubtedly evidence of divine influence upon the Bible.

    Please consider some of the many prophecies of Jesus in the following chart.

    Prophecy Old Testament Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment
    Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14
    Matt. 1:18, 25

    Born at Bethlehem Micah 5:2
    Matt. 2:1

    He would be preceded by a Messenger Isaiah 40:3
    Matt. 3:1-2

    Rejected by His own people Isaiah 53:3
    John 7:5; 7:48

    Betrayed by a close friend Isaiah 41:9
    John 13:26-30

    His side pierced Zech. 12:10
    John 19:34

    Crucifixion Psalm 22:1
    Psalm 22:11-18
    Luke 23:33;
    John 19:23-24

    Resurrection of Christ Psalm 16:10
    Acts 13:34-37

    Fulfillment of prophecy can have different explanations. Some state that the NT was written and altered to make it look like Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy (but there is no evidence of that). Others state that the prophecies are so vague that they don't count (but many of the prophecies are not vague at all). Of course, it is possible that God inspired the writers and Jesus, who is God in flesh, fulfilled these prophecies as a further demonstration of the validity of Christianity.


  32. The Claims and Deeds of Christ

    Christianity claims to be authored by God. Of course, merely making such a claim does not make it true. Anyone can make claims; but, backing up those claims is entirely different. Jesus used the Divine Name for Himself (John 8:58)--the same Divine Name used by God when Moses asked God what His name was in (Exodus 3:14). Jesus said that He could do whatever He saw God the Father do (John 5:19), and He claimed to be one with the God the Father (John 10:30; 10:38). Likewise, the disciples also called Him God (John 1:1, 14; John 10:27; Col. 2:9). By default, if Jesus is God in flesh, then whatever He said and did would be true. Since Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can find God without Him (John 14:6), His words become incredibly important.

    Again, making a claim is one thing. Backing it up is another. Did Jesus also back up His fantastic words with miraculous deeds? Yes, He did.

    • Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:6-10).
    • Jesus cast out demons (Matt. 8:28-32; 15:22-28).
    • Jesus healed lepers (Matt. 8:3; Luke 17:14).
    • Jesus healed diseases (Matt. 4:23, 24; Luke 6:17-19)
    • Jesus healed the paralytic (Mark 2:3-12).
    • Jesus raised the dead (Matt. 9:25; John 11:43-44).
    • Jesus restored sight to the blind (Matt. 9:27-30; John 9:1-7).
    • Jesus restored cured deafness (Mark 7:32-35).
    • Jesus fed the multitude (Matt. 14:15-21; Matt. 15:32-38).
    • Jesus walked on water (Matt. 14:25-27).
    • Jesus calmed a storm with a command (Matt. 8:22-27; Mark 4:39).
    • Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:39; John 20:27).
    • Jesus appeared to disciples after resurrection (John 20:19).

    The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us. Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons: One, because what He said and did agrees with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do.

  33. Christ's resurrection

    Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important. Without the resurrection our faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:14). It was Jesus' resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all that Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh, the Savior.

    No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then risen three days later to appear to many many people. This resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind.

    Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead, etc. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Why trust anyone else? Why trust anyone who can be held by physical death when we have a Messiah who is greater than death itself?


    Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, or anything else? It is because there are absolute truths--because only in Christianity is there accurate fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness' documents (gospels), so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions--all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth.

    Either Jesus is true and all other religions are false, or other religions are true and Jesus is false. There are no other options. I choose to follow the risen Lord Jesus.


    William Albright (1891 – 1971). Once a director of the School of Oriental Research at Johns Hopkins University, William Albright wrote more than 800 books and articles, mostly on the validity of biblical manuscripts. He is best known for his work in confirming the authenticity of the Old Testament, and especially the authentication of the Dead Sea scrolls.

    Albright also researched and confirmed the dating of the writings of the New Testament. His conclusion was that there was “no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80.” Early in his professional life, Albright had some doubts about the validity of biblical claims about Jesus. These, however, were answered conclusively in favor of the authenticity of the Bible as he conducted his research.

    Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916). Sir William Ramsay was, arguably the greatest archaeologist of his day. He had rejected much of the written New Testament account and was determined to prove it false based on other writings of the day that contradicted the Bible. Ramsay believed that the books of Luke and Acts were actually written in about A.D. 150 and therefore did not bear the authenticity that first-century document would. His archaeological journeys took him to 32 countries, 44 cities, and 9 islands. Throughout some 15 years of intensive study, he concluded that “Luke is a historian of the first rank, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

    What Critics Thought
    • There was no Roman census (as indicated in Luke 2:1).

    What Ramsay Discovered: There was a Roman census every 14 years, beginning with Emperor Augustus.

    • Quirinius was not governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth (as indicated in Luke 2:2).
    What Ramsay Discovered: Quirinius was governor of Syria in about 7 B.C.

  35. • People did not have to return to their ancestral home (as indicated in Luke 2:3).
    What Ramsay Discovered: People did have to return to their home city, verified by an ancient Egyptian papyrus giving directions for conducting a census.

    • The existence of the treasurer of the city of Corinth, Erastus (Romans 16:23), was incorrect.
    What Ramsay Discovered: A city pavement in Corinth bearing the inscription “Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense.”

    • Luke’s reference to Gallio as proconsul of Achaia was wrong (Acts 18:12).
    What Ramsay Discovered: The Delphi inscription that reads, “As Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul of Achaia.”

    Time and time again Ramsay’s search to find evidence that Luke’s writing was in error turned up evidence that it was, in fact, accurate. As a result, Sir William Ramsay eventually converted to Christianity proclaimed Luke as “one of the greatest historians” of all time.

    Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) Greenleaf, (former Atheist), one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, and a world-renowned expert on evidence, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen. Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity.

  36. Ralph Muncaster, (former atheist) in his book: Examine the Evidence, presents extensive evidence to validate the truth-claims of Christianity. He provides compelling arguments from science, biblical prophecy, history, and archaeology. This former skeptic points out that of all religions and philosophies on earth, only one, Christianity is verifiable and testable.

    1,456 hours of Sunday school and church turned Ralph Muncaster into a hard-core atheist. Then he was challenged to honestly investigate the Bible and the facts of modern science. He was stunned. Fact after fact, from biology, history, archaeology, physics, lined up with the Bible’s account!

    The Bible Itself Argues Against the Possibility of Its Corruption

    The charge that the Bible has been corrupted, contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. After all, in Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.” In the New Testament Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

    The Almighty God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.

  37. Positive Defense of the Christian Perspective

    The Trustworthiness of the New Testament

    1 The New Testament has better manuscript evidence than any other ancient book.

    a. There are over 5,000 New Testament manuscripts and portions of manuscripts. By comparison, the majority of classical works have less than 20 manuscripts.

    b. The dates of the New Testament manuscripts are close to the original writings. One Gospel fragment (Ryland’s) dates about 25 years after the Gospel of John and most of the New Testament (Chester Beatty and Bodmer Papyri) from 50-150 years after the originals. Most classical works date from 700 – 1400 years after the originals.

    c. None of the canonical New Testament is lost or missing. By comparison, 107 of Livy’s 142 books of history have been lost and about one half of Tacitus’ 30 books of Annals and Histories is missing.
    2. Good arguments can be given that each of the Gospels was either written by an eyewitness, or significantly influenced by firsthand testimony, as recognized by many contemporary scholars.
    3. Even without proving eyewitness authorship, the Gospels measure up well by normal historical standards used in ancient historiography.
    4. The Gospel are trustworthy sources, as explained by A.M. Hunter
    a. These Christian authors, like their Jewish counterparts, were careful to preserve traditional material.
    b. The Gospels are close to eyewitness sources.
    c. The Gospel authors were honest reporters.
    d. The picture of Jesus presented in the four Gospels is virtually the same (see Archibald M. Hunter, Bible and Gospel, pp. 32-37).
    5. The Gospels and Acts exhibit a specific interest in reporting historical facts, not mythology. This is especially the case when the life of Jesus is reported.
    6. Contemporary historians frequently opposed the application of radical criticism to New Testament studies. According to A.N. Sherwin-White and Michael Grant, such attacks fail at a number of crucial points (see A.N. Sherman-White, Roman Society, pp. 186-193; Grant, Jesus: An Historian Review, pp. 179-184, 199-201).
    a. Numerous ancient works exhibit intentions and methodologies similar to that of the New Testament authors, and yet these ancient works are well accredited as historical works.
    b. There are no ancient writings in the category that radical critics place the Gospels.
    c. New Testament books such as Acts have been largely confirmed by external test of historicity.

  38. 7. The Gospel and Acts were recognized as inspired books almost immediately after being written (see J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers).
    a. 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7 and refers to it as “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Rome (about AD 95) speaks of the “Gospel” and quotes portions found in all three synoptic Gospels, referring to them as the words of Jesus (Corinthians 13,46).
    c. Ignatius (Smyrnaeans 3) and Polycarp (Philippians 2, 7), both writing about AD 115, refer to verses in the synoptic Gospels as the words of Christ.
    8. Paul’s epistles were also recognized as inspired Scripture almost immediately after being written.
    a. 2 Peter 3:15-16 calls Paul’s epistles “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Roman (Corinthians 47), Ignatius (Ephesians 10; to Polycarp 5), and Polycarp (Philippians 1,3-4, 6) all refer to Paul’s writings as inspired.

    B. The Historicity of Jesus

    1. The trustworthy Gospels (A above) exhibit much interest in the historical Jesus and give accurate accounts of his life, death, and resurrection.
    2. Numerous pre- and extra biblical sources record much ancient testimony concerning Jesus within 125 years after his death.
    a. Early Christian creeds that pre-date the New Testament, as well as the historical facts that virtually all critical scholars admit, provide an extremely strong case for the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    b. Archaeology contributes a few finds that illuminate and provide background for Jesus’ career, such as the crucifixion victims investigated by archaeologist Vasilius Tzaferis, “Jewish Tombs At and Near Giv’at ha- Mivtar,” Israel Exploration Journal 20 (1970), pp. 38-59.

    Also the Shroud of Turin (Historically proclaimed to be the actual burial garment of Jesus). See Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin (New York: Doubleday, 1978, also see John Heller, Report on the Shroud of Turin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), especially chapters 12-14.

    d. Secular historians (e.g. Cornelius Tacitus, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas), government officials (e.g. Piny the Younger, Emperor Trajan), religious works (e.g. The Talmud, Toledoth Jesu, and other sources report many details about Jesus from non-Christian viewpoints.
    e. Ancient Christian sources preserve a number of historical statements about Jesus (e.g. Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin Martyr).

  39. 4. To reject Jesus’ miracles a priori is to ignore correct inductive procedure where all the facts are investigated before a decision is made.
    5. To reject Jesus’ doctrinal teachings a priori as valid for today is to pick and choose portions of the Gospels. Further, If Jesus was raised from the dead, there is, at a minimum, some implied significance for Jesus’ teachings, as well.
    6. Without a significant historical basis in the life of Jesus, Christianity would have had no impetus for its origins.
    7. Jesus died on the cross, as indicated by several facts.
    a. The nature of crucifixion, including the discovery of Yohanan’s skeleton, reveals both the nature and assurance of death by this method.
    b. The explanation of Jesus’ heart wound indicates that it would have killed him even if he had been alive.
    c. The death of Jesus is the most recorded event in ancient, non-Christian history.
    d. The trustworthy Gospels give accurate accounts of Jesus’ death.
    8. After his death, Jesus was raised bodily and appeared to his followers.
    a. Naturalistic hypothesis that have sought to explain in normal terms the supernatural element of Jesus’ resurrection have failed to do so, chiefly because they are refuted by the known historical data. Several other reasons also indicate this failure.
    b. There are numerous positive evidences for the resurrection that indicate that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many of those who followed him.
    c. A case for the resurrection can be built by using only those minimal facts that are clearly established by the historical method. On a smaller scale, these facts can refute the alternative hypotheses and provide the best evidences for the resurrection.
    d. The Shroud of Turin may supply some additional scientific evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.
    9. Jesus’ message was not changed by Paul or by other followers.
    a. In both the synoptics, as well as in John, Jesus claimed to be deity. Often this was done by his words, such as his claims to be Son of God and Son of Man (c.f. Mark 2:10-11; 10:45; 13:32; 14:36). At other times he showed his deity by his actions, such as forgiven sin, fulfilling Old Testament messianic prophecy and by claiming authority much greater than that of the Jewish leaders (see Mark 2:1-12; Matthew 5;20-48; cf. Isaiah 9:6-7).
    b. Numerous pre-Pauline creeds such as Philippians 2:6-11, Romans 1:3-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23, and many from the book of Acts designate Jesus by the loftiest titles, thereby indicating the early teaching of his deity. These show further that this doctrine definitely did not originate with Paul.
    c. Neither Jesus nor Paul taught that Christianity was a new religion. Both held that Christianity was a fulfillment of Judaism (see Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:16-17; Romans 10:4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17).

  40. d. Jesus’ central teaching of the Kingdom of God and its entrance requirements of faith in his person and teachings in found in all four Gospels (c.f. Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 18:3-6; Luke 18:28-30; John 1:10-13) and in Paul’s epistles (c.f. Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
    f. Paul was known as the apostle to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15;16; 22:21; Romans 11:13-14). Not only did Jesus command his disciples to take the gospel to the Gentiles (see Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; John 10:16; Acts 1:8), but this was actually a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, not a new doctrine (see Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 19:18-25 for two examples).
    g. Since Jesus literally rose from the dead, any verification of the truthfulness of his teachings would even extend to Paul’s message and writings, since they are in agreement with the Gospels at these points.
    10. Jesus was not an international traveler during his “silent years” or after his death.
    a. There is no viable historical evidence for such international ventures.
    b. The swoon theory fails and is rejected by critical scholars.
    c. These endeavors almost always involved a long trail of illogic and incredibly mysterious connections.

    C. Miracle-claims

    1. Although many would place miracle-claims completely in the realm of faith, such is to ignore their possibly objective theistic and historical nature.
    a. If it is taught that miraculous events have occurred in history, as in the case with New Testament miracle-claims, then at least the objective, historical side of such a claim can be investigated. In other words, if it actually happened, at least the portion of the event that touched the space-time world can potentially be examined.
    b. In the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus is not only the central tenet Christianity, but it is asserted that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then faith in actually in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-20). Paul even supports his point that Jesus was raised by citing eyewitnesses, historical testimony to this fact (vv. 5-8). Under these circumstances, one could hardly claim that objective, factual interests in the resurrection are foreign to the New Testament.
    c. This objection also commits errors that are associated with the “leap of faith.” If carried to its logical conclusion, it provides no objective basis for faith, including any reasons why faith should be exercised at all. As such, it is difficult to distinguish between belief and credulity.
    2. Alternative theories that have been proposed to account for Jesus’ resurrection on naturalistic grounds have failed to account for the known historical facts.

  41. 3. There are many strong historical reasons to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.
    a. The disciples’ experiences
    b. The transformation of the disciples into bold witnesses
    c. The empty tomb
    d. The resurrection of Jesus was the very center of the apostolic message.
    e. The Jewish leaders could not disprove their message.
    f. The very existence and growth of the church.
    g. In this resurrected physical body Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of his disciples on twelve different occasions over a forty-day period and conversed with them (see Luke 24:13-49, 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, Acts 1:4-8, Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:24-31).
    This was the greatest of all miracles since the creation itself, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus indeed is God, as He had claimed to be.

    D. Predictive Prophecies

    Consider the following predictions made centuries in advanced that Jesus would be:
    1. born of a woman (Genesis 3:15; cf. Galatians 4:4);
    2. born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; cf. Matthew 1:21);

    3. “cut off” (die) 483 years after the declaration to reconstruct the city of Jerusalem in 444 B.C. (Daniel 9:24);

    4. of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3 and 22:18; cf. Mathew 1:1);

    5. of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10, cf. Luke 3:23);

    6. of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12; cf. Matthew 1:1);

    7. born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; cf. Matthew 2:1);

    8. anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; cf. Mattthew 3:16-17);

    9. that Jesus would performed miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; cf. Matthew 9:35);

    10. would cleanse the temple (Malachi 3:1; cf. Matthew 21:12);

    11. would be rejected by Jews (Psalms 118:22; cf. 1 Peter 2:7);

    12. die a humiliating death (Psalms 22; cf. Matthew 9:35);

    13. that he would rise from the dead (Psalm 2:7 and 16:10; cf. Acts 2:31)

    14. ascended into heaven (Psalm 68:8; cf. Acts 1:9);

    15. and sit at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; cf. Hebrew 1:3).

    It is important to understand that these prophecies were written hundreds of years before Christ was born. No one could have been reading the trends of the times or just making intelligent guesses, like the “prophecies” we see in the checkout line at the supermarket.


    The Bible and the Occult:
    Witchcraft, Wizards, Wicca, Sorcery, Magic, Spiritualism, Paganism, and Psychics

    The occult is increasingly accepted. We frequently hear about sorcery, witchcraft, magic, Wicca, Satanism, wizards, mediums, fortune-tellers, spiritualism, psychics, and paganism. The New Age Movement popularizes all these. What does the Bible say about them? Should a Christian practice divination, necromancy, soothsaying, enchantments, spiritism, augury, and other aspects of the occult? Can pagan practices be harmonized with Christianity?

    The religious significance of the occult
    Sometimes people wonder whether or not various aspects of the occult are religious in nature or should be of concern to Christians. Consider these quotations regarding witchcraft:

    For many, Witchcraft is more than just a religion…it’s a way of life ... When witchcraft is practised [sic] as a religion, it is called by the Old English term for witch, Wicca. This term is used to counter all the negative stereotypes that society has given witchcraft. Wicca is primarily a religion that worships nature, and sees all creation as sacred. ... Wicca also worships both a male and female deity, a female Goddess and a male God, who had together created the world and everything in it. ... Spells ... [are] ... rituals and prayers that are conducted in witchcraft to ask for divine help in a certain aspect of life. - Quoted from witchcraft [dot] com [dot] au
    Witchcraft is a pagan religion. Pagan religions worship multiple deities rather than a single god. Paganism is one of the oldest religions and includes all religions that are not Christian, Muslim or Jewish, meaning Paganism includes the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and American Indian religions as well as all other nature-oriented religions. ...
    Wicca, a modern Pagan religion that worships the Earth and nature ... The central Wiccan theme is, “if it does no harm, do your own will”-from

    So witchcraft is practiced by many as a religion. Many other aspects of the occult are admittedly religious in nature.

    The purpose of this study is to example what the Bible says about occult practices. Whether or not the practitioners admit the religious aspects, we will see that all aspects of the occult should be of concern to Christians.

    Bible Teaching about These Supernatural Powers

    Witchcraft, sorcery, etc., are condemned without qualification in both the Old and New Testaments.

    Deuteronomy 18:9-14 — Every aspect of the occult is here itemized and forbidden as an “abomination.” Specifically forbidden are: one who practices “witchcraft” (NKJV; “divination”

  43. — ASV; KJV) or a “sorcerer” (NKJV and ASV; “witch” — KJV), or a “spiritist” (NKJV; “wizard” — ASV, KJV).
    Leviticus 19:31 — Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits (“wizards” — ASV, KJV); do not seek after them, to be defiled by them (NKJV).
    Leviticus 20:6 — And the person who turns after mediums and familiar spirits (“wizards” — ASV, KJV), to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. (NKJV)

    Leviticus 20:27 — A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has a familiar spirit (“wizard” — ASV, KJV), shall surely be put to death (NKJV).

    Revelation 21:8 — But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

    Revelation 22:15 — But outside [heaven] are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

    Acts 13:8-10 — Elymas the sorcerer tried to keep Sergius Paulus from accepting the gospel. Paul rebuked him saying: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?”
    Note that the Bible does not distinguish whether the witchcraft is intended to achieve a beneficial goal or a harmful one. It is all inherently wrong because it is an appeal to a forbidden source of power.
    [2 Chron. 33:6; 2 Kings 9:22; Ex. 22:18; 1 Sam. 15:23; Mic. 5:12; Nahum 3:4; Jer. 27:9; Mal. 3:5; Isa. 2:6; 2 Kings. 21:6; 23:24; Isa. 19:3]

    Specific powers of witchcraft and sorcery are named and condemned.

    Exodus 7:11,22; 8:7 — Using their “enchantments,” Pharaoh’s magicians tried to duplicate the miracles done by Moses and Aaron. “Enchantments” refer to the ceremonies or rituals sorcerers and magicians use to accomplish their ends: incantations, spells, magic words (“hocus-pocus”), wearing of charms (amulets), etc.

    As the witchcraft website says: “Spells are used by Wiccans, and are a series of rituals and prayers that are conducted in witchcraft to ask for divine help in a certain aspect of life.” But God forbids them all.

    Deuteronomy 18:10 also mentions these “enchantments” as part of that which is forbidden (“enchanters” — ASV, KJV).

    Isaiah 8:19,20 - When they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? ... To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
    “Whisper and mutter” refers to the incantations and spells of magicians. These words are supposed to give the user power to induce the spirit beings to accomplish the desired result. If you know the words, you can lead the spirit to do your bidding.

    Note that God’s objection is that such practices are a failure to seek after the true God.
    Galatians 5:20,21 — Those who will not inherit the kingdom of God include those who practice “sorcery” (“witchcraft” — KJV). This includes the occult in general, but refers especially to the use of drugs and potions brewed by witches in their cauldrons, etc. (Movies and books often

  44. refer to the witches’ books of spells and recipes for potions, etc. “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...”)

    God condemns, not only the whole practice of the occult, but also the specific methods, rituals, and mumbo-jumbo words used.
    [Lev. 19:26; 2 Kings 17:17; Isa. 47:9,12; Jer. 27:9; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6; Isa. 3:20; Rev. 9:21]

    Witches and sorcerers cannot duplicate the powers and miracles God did through inspired men.
    The Bible often warns us to avoid being deceived by lying wonders [2 Thess. 2:9; Matt. 24:24; Deut. 13:1-5]. Many Bible events involved confrontations between those who did true miracles from God and those who practiced forms of sorcery or magic.

    Exodus 7-9; read 8:18,19 — Pharaoh’s magicians and sorcerers tried to duplicate the signs and plagues God caused through Moses and Aaron (7:11,22; 8:7,8,18; 9:11). For a while they seemed to succeed, but soon they failed and admitted Moses had the power of God.

    Daniel 1:20 — In all matters of wisdom and understanding the king found Daniel and his friends ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers.

    Daniel 2:1-13,27,28 — None of the magicians in Babylon could tell the king his dream and interpret it. But by the power of God, Daniel could both state and interpret the dream accurately [cf. 4:7,9]. Later he likewise interpreted the handwriting on the wall that predicted the downfall of Belshazzar (5:7,11). [Cf. Gen. 41:8,24]

    Acts 8:9-13 — When Simon used sorcery to amaze the Samaritans, they believed he had great power from God. But when Philip preached Jesus and did true miracles by the power of God, both the people and Simon himself believed and were converted [cf. vv 5-7].
    Acts 13:6-11 — Elymas the sorcerer was powerless to resist the superior power God worked through Paul.

    I do not know whether the power of sorcerers can be explained through trickery, which pretends supernatural power but can really be explained naturally, or whether Satan really does possess some supernatural power. But what is sure is that Satan can never duplicate God’s true miracles. By comparing sorcery to the miracles of the Bible, we have proof witchcraft is inferior, so we should not put our faith in it.

    Witchcraft, magic, etc., are the occult substitutes for Bible miracles. Where God has done miracles for His people, believers in the occult seek supernatural works by means of spells, incantations, etc. that appeal to other spirit powers.

    As stated on the witchcraft website:
    Wicca also worships both a male and female deity, a female Goddess and a male God, who had together created the world and everything in it. ... Spells are used by Wiccans, and are a series of rituals and prayers that are conducted in witchcraft to ask for divine help in a certain aspect of life.

    While many in the occult may not think they are appealing to gods, nevertheless God forbids all such because it is an appeal to supernatural powers other than His. God will never allow His people to follow that which counterfeits His true works.
    [Isaiah 47:9,12-14; 1 Kings 18; Acts 16:16; 19:13ff]

  45. Conclusion

    Why is God so opposed to the occult?

    Witchcraft and every aspect of the occult are plainly condemned by God. But why? Because they are a counterfeit substitute for the power of God.
    Remember the statements quoted in our introduction:
    Wicca is primarily a religion that worships nature, and sees all creation as sacred. ... Wicca also worships both a male and female deity, a female Goddess and a male God, who had together created the world and everything in it. ... Spells are used by Wiccans, and are a series of rituals and prayers that are conducted in witchcraft to ask for divine help in a certain aspect of life.

    Witchcraft is a pagan religion. Pagan religions worship multiple deities rather than a single god.
    Whether or not they acknowledge it (as in these quotations), occult practitioners serve gods other than the God of the Bible. They appeal to other spirit powers to provide “divine help,” which they ought to trust in God to provide.

    They “worship and serve the creature (‘nature,’ ‘all creation’), rather than the Creator” - Romans 1:25.

    People who need supernatural power, should turn to the one true, living Creator.
    * God has done great miracles to prove His power. Magic is the occult counterfeit for miracles. It is an attempt to achieve supernatural events by spirit power other than that of God. [Isaiah 8:19,20]

    * God has revealed His will and predicted the future in prophecy. Divination is the occult counterfeit for prophecy. It is an attempt to obtain supernatural knowledge by spirit powers other than the power of God.

    Colossians 2:8-10 — Christians are complete in Christ. We have all the supernatural knowledge from God that we need and all He will ever give in the Scriptures(2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:3). We have the record of miracles to confirm that message (John 20:30,31). God meets our daily needs in answer to prayer(Philippians 4:6,7). To turn to the occult is to belittle our completeness in Christ and to seek supernatural help somewhere other than in God.
    Acts 19:18-20 — When God’s word prevails in the lives of people today, they renounce their involvement in magic or sorcery. They remove and destroy all aspects of it in their lives.
    The gospel of Christ cannot coexist with the occult in our lives. Either the occult will drive out faithfulness to Christ, leading to eternal condemnation, or else the gospel will drive out the occult, leading to salvation. Are you involved in the occult, or are you a faithful servant of God?

    To see the evidence that the Bible and the gospel of Jesus are the true revelation of religion, see our article on that subject on our Bible Instruction web site at

  46. My involvement in the occult

    by Matt Slick

    As a Christian researcher and defender of the faith, I delve into many areas of the occult, world religions, and Christian-based cults. From the Christian perspective, all non-Christian religions are false and are ultimately demonically inspired. But being false does not mean that they have no power. The devil is active and powerful, and he uses people to accomplish his desires. So, the problem is knowing whether the power that comes from various religious systems is good or bad. Of course, as Christians, we would state that all things that are filtered through a false system are ultimately bad.

    The reason I am divulging this information about my past is that I know there is a spiritual world out there. The question is whether or not what we contact is good or bad. I present the following as my experience in the occult before I was saved. It is verification that those who seek to contact that which is unholy will ultimately find it.

    When I was a teenager, before I was a Christian, I was intrigued by spiritual issues. Christianity meant nothing to me. In fact, my younger brother who had been a Christian for a number of years, was constantly witnessing to me. I distinctly remember threatening him physically if he did not stop bothering me with this Christianity stuff. I was more interested in my attempts to contact the dead and to see things in the spiritual realm. I wanted results, and the perceived droning of Christianity "morality and rules" did nothing but get in the way of my personal desires regarding spiritual pursuits. So, into the darkness I went.

    My high school friends and I began to dabble with necromancy (contacting the dead), séances, Ouija boards, pendulums, table tilting, astral projection, and other such practices. We got results. What I'm going to tell you is true. I am not exaggerating anything nor making any of this up. The reason I'm disclosing my involvement is not to draw attention to it but to convince people that it is real and that it is dangerous. You see, with success in the occult comes darkness. And I am forced to ask a question. What does Wicca come in contact with, the God and goddess manifestations or something else?

  47. Before I was born, my mother would have dreams about a man coming to her. He would be dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up to about his elbows. He wore black pants and black shoes and sometimes a short brimmed hat. This dream would be so upsetting to my mother that she would wake up. She then would sit in bed and look at the wall across from her and watch as the man materialized through the wall, approached the bed, and stared at her. She was so disturbed by this that she would wake up my father who could never see him but would go turn the light on at which time this figure would disappear. Now, you might conclude that my mother was seeing things or on medication or something like that. The problem with this is that the dreams occurred over a two-year period. My mother's IQ was genius level, and she was extremely rational in everything she tackled (She passed away in 2004). This figure would follow her from house to house since my father was in the military and had moved several times during the two-year period.

    After I was born, my mother said that one night she had the dream again. As usual, the dream woke her up, and she waited in bed for him to materialize. He did. At this time, he went over to where I was lying in the crib and stood half in the wall and half out of it--looking down at me. My mother told me that there was something different about that visitation, but she did not know what it was. She nudged my father who got up and turned on the light. The figure disappeared. Soon after that, he stopped appearing altogether. As a young man, I never told anyone about these "visions" my mother had because I thought it would be too "weird" and embarrassing and that my friends might think my mother was strange.

    Later, when I was 17 years old and just beginning my involvement in the occult, I was trying astral projection. This is a practice where a person attempts to have his spirit leave his body and travel around. Now, I was never able to achieve that, but I was able to get various results including very strong sensations of movement, lifting, floating, and sometimes vertigo. Nevertheless, I was never able to fully succeed, and when I told one of my occult-delving buddies about it, he said that he was able to do it regularly. My doubts were increasing, so I offered him a challenge. I asked him to astral project over to my bedroom that evening and to take a look at my desk. On the desk I would arrange a series of pencils and pens and books in a certain pattern and then the next day when we were going to high school, he could tell me what he had seen after he astral projected over to my house. He said that it wouldn't be a problem at all.

    That night I arranged my desk and went to bed. The next morning my friend and I were heading off to school, and I asked him if he was able to astral project over to my place and look at my desk. He told me he could not do it. Initially, I scoffed. But then he told the reason why. He said that as he was astral projecting towards my house, a man dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt with rolled up sleeves, black pants, black shoes, and a black hat would not let them enter. To say the least, since I had not told him about my mother's visitations, I was dumbfounded.

  48. Deeper into the Occult

    The fact that my friend told me something he could not have known about was very intriguing. We were encouraged, and he and I and two other friends began to delve further into the occult. I remember very clearly one night when all of us were together in a room, waiting for the spirits to manifest (I will not disclose how we did this). My three friends and I would see lights moving around in the air. This got me further interested, and so I tried to invite spirits to come in contact with me. At first, nothing happened. But, I began to notice things like seeing a blue aura around someone, dreaming the same thing one of my friends would dream, hearing voices in the night when no one was around, etc. I also remember very clearly the more we got involved, the more I was interested in dark things. I distinctly remember getting posters of demonic creatures and hanging them up in my room and thinking that they were "cool." Skulls became interesting as well. Then, I started listening to heavy metal music that was definitely "dark" in its overtones. I also found more and more resistance to things of Christianity.

    Finally, one night a friend of mine and I were in my room trying to contact the dead. We both watched as a ball of blue light materialized in a corner near the floor and began to grow in size. We watched it change its form and took the shape of a man in a crouching position. This man had a cape on and his back was to us. He stood, and as he began to rise, he turned to face us. Right when he had fully faced us, he disappeared and in place of him a yellow cross materialized in midair. Even as I write this now, I can still see it in my mind's eye. It was beautiful. It glowed and lit the room up and had that same blue color emanating as an aura around it that had comprised the color of the "man." Then the cross moved. It did not accelerate. Instead, from a non-moving position, it was suddenly moving at a constant velocity until it was right in front of us where it immediately stopped without decelerating. It then hovered right before us, glowing, and lighting up my entire room. This manifestation was so profound that it scared my friend and me, and we immediately left. We did not know what to do. We talked to some people who were involved in the occult, and even they said that it was bad. We needed to stop.

    That experience and the others spooked me enough for me to begin reconsidering everything that I was doing. After all, my friend and I had seen something very profound and very real. We were not drinking and weren't doing drugs (to this day I have never done any drugs at all). But, the good news is that shortly after that time, the Lord saved me in a very real and dramatic way, and I turned from all my occult activities.

  49. Some people will not believe that these things occurred. If you don't believe me, that's up to you. But as the Lord is my witness, it happened. I bring this up because I know that there is a spiritual world out there, and the people in Wicca will be able to contact spiritual forces. The question is, what are they? How do they know if they are good or bad?

    Those in Wicca are unwittingly contacting demonic forces, and because of that, they gain a form of power. But, that power has a cost. The cost is darkness. I remember very clearly the anti-Christian attitude that gradually grew in me the further into darkness I went. I also remember the fascination with things of darkness such as skulls, pentagrams, the darkness of night, and a general defiant attitude. The more I got involved with that, the more these things increased. There is definitely a spiritual connection with the author of the power behind the occult. Likewise, there is definitely a power that comes from the true and living God, Jesus Christ. He has far more strength, clarity, and truth than anything Wicca can offer. Though the occult is real, God is, too, and the only safeguard against the enemy is salvation in Jesus Christ.

    About The Author
    Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.



    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry


    The Bible is a book unlike any other book. It is a compilation of 66 different books written by more than 40 different authors, over a period of 1,500 years, on three different continents, in three different languages.

    Over and over the authors of the Bible claim to be recording events and writing words inspired by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16). And of course, the Bible reveals to us very plainly…

    • God exists
    • What He is like
    • And what His will is for our lives

    SKEPTIC: “Charlie, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bible is true.”

    You're right. But don't misunderstand me. I'm not asking you to believe the Bible "because it says so." I want you to believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible is historically reliable and divinely inspired. I'm talking about:

    • Its hundreds of fulfilled prophecies
    • The Bible's amazing internal harmony
    • The Bible's incredible scientific accuracy and foresight
    • Thousands of archaeological discoveries
    • Numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated by extrabiblical historical sources
    • And so on

    Another reason you can be confident God exists is…

    5. CHRIST

    Many who doubt the existence of God have reassured themselves with the thought, “If God wanted us to believe in Him, He would appear to us.” Well, we have to be careful when we talk about wanting God to appear to us. If He were to do that in all His glory, while we were in our sinful fallen condition, the Bible says we would not live through the experience (Exodus 33:20, 1 Timothy 6:15-16, John 1:18) . But what if God was to veil His glory and appear to mankind in the form of a man, someone mankind could really relate with? What kind of a man would God be?

  51. Someone wisely pointed out that, “We would expect Him to be sinless; we would expect him to be holy; we would expect His words to be the greatest words ever spoken; we would expect Him to exert a profound power over human personality; we would expect Him to perform supernatural doings; and we would expect Him to manifest the love of God.” [John MacArthur summarizing a teaching by Bernard Ramm.]

    Hmmm. Has anyone ever come on the world’s scene, who claimed to be God and who met all of those criteria? Ahh, of all the human beings who have ever lived, Jesus Christ alone met these criteria. When someone says, “If God wanted us to believe in Him, He would appear to us,” I like to tell them that is what God has already done.

    The Bible tells us that Jesus was God in human flesh (Isaiah 9:6, Colossians 2:9, John 20:28) and Jesus Himself made that clear in verses like John 5:18 and John 8:58.

    And Jesus didn’t just claim to be God. Anybody can do that. So Jesus proved that He was God by doing things that only God can do:

    • He opened the eyes of the blind
    • He healed the lame
    • He raised the dead
    • He walked on water
    • He lived a sinless life
    • He rose from the grave three days after He was put to death
    • And forty days later, He ascended visibly into Heaven

    These are just a few of the miracles the disciples recorded for us in the New Testament that help substantiate Jesus’ claims to deity.

    SKEPTIC: “Hold on here a second Charlie!
    That doesn’t mean that what the disciples said about Him was actually true. Maybe they were making up the whole story about His resurrection!”

    Well, I’m not sure what their motivation would have been for doing that. Liars lie to get out of trouble or gain some type of advantage or benefit. But what the early Christians said about Jesus, didn’t get them out of trouble or result in any kind of benefit. The things they said and wrote about Jesus got them in trouble. What they received was rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks! That, to me, is compelling evidence these men were telling the truth about Jesus.

    So, we've considered five lines of evidence for the existence of God...

    1. The Cosmos
    2. The Conditions for Life
    3. The Complexity of Life
    4. The Canon of Scripture
    5. The Christ

  52. Friends, this evidence from cosmology, biology, philosophy, history, and the Bible is a reminder that there is a God! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you haven’t followed after cleverly devised tales. Your faith isn’t grounded in wishful thinking. Your faith is grounded in the truth. There is good evidence that the God of the Bible is actually there.

    What good news this is!
    You are not part of some gigantic cosmic accident! You are not just some conglomeration of cells walking around without meaning on a random planet in a purposeless universe. You’re not the result of millions of years of evolution. No. You are one of God’s creations. He formed you in your mother’s womb. The Bible says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that God has a purpose for your existence. Do you know that? God loves you! And He desires to have a close, intimate, personal relationship with each one of you.

    Do you have that kind of a relationship with God? You can.
    Two thousand years ago Jesus (God in the flesh) died on that cruel wooden Roman cross to take the punishment for your sins so that you could be forgiven, saved from eternity in Hell, and come to experience the greatest relationship you’ll ever know:

    Knowing God personally, not only in this life
    but throughout eternity.

    Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and today He is offering mankind the "free gift" (Romans 6:23) of salvation and everlasting life for those who will turn from their sins and place their faith in Him.

    I exhort you friend to do that if you never have. A day of judgment is coming. You can stand before God still in your sins or forgiven. Standing before God still in your sins will result in condemnation and eternity in Hell. Being forgiven will result in everlasting life in paradise. The choice is yours. The ball is in your court. God made the first move. Now it's your turn. Place your faith in Jesus, and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior!

  53. Tarot Cards: What's the Harm?

    The use of tarot cards does not seem to be a religion in the sense that it does not involve the worship of deities. However, in another sense, it is very much a religion (or some would say obsession) when it becomes a practice or activity that someone is completely devoted to. At some point, it can take on cultish or occultish aspects. In fact, there are many people who place tarot cards in the same category as other occult fortune-telling techniques such as the ouija board, astrology, crystal balls, palmistry, and tea leaves. Of course, some maintain that tarot cards are just harmless fun. Tarot cards fit in well with the New Age movement that is so prevalent these days. New Agers use certain practices or methods to "get in touch with their inner spirits," and tarot cards can be a perfect way for them to channel their thoughts and connect with the "Oneness of the Universe."

    So where is the harm in tarot cards? If those who use tarot cards are not worshiping Satan and are not conjuring up evil spirits or sacrificing virgins, how can tarot cards possibly be a danger to anyone? Oddly enough the danger of tarot cards is admitted within the ranks of tarot card readers themselves. The readers cannot explain how the tarot readings work, and the decision to use a particular system in reading the cards is entirely a matter of the personal preference of the reader. In other words, two readers could read the same spread of cards and come up with entirely different interpretations of those cards. Tarot card readers also say that the tarot can only provide a static "photograph" of a situation, and that our own choices and actions determine our future-not the cards. If this is the case, why use the tarot cards at all?

    Tarot Cards: No Hope for the Future
    Tarot cards represent the fact that we all want to know what the future has in store for us. One could argue that it's actually commendable to want to make good decisions in the present based on our knowledge of the future. However, since the future hasn't happened yet, there is no power here on earth that can tell us what's in store. In order to have a hope for the future and gain the wisdom to make sound decisions now, we must tap into the power of the Creator of the universe - the only One who knows our future - God. Your future is written in the pages of God's Word, the Bible; and God never changes, and His Word is not open to multiple interpretations. So, rather than basing your actions on a deck of cards and betting your future on the whims of card readers who admit that "nothing is written in stone," why not place your trust in the unchangeable God who wants to be personally involved in your future.

    Biblical Prophecy: Divine Inspiration?
    Biblical Prophecy is evidence Christians hold to validate the Bible's claims of Divine inspiration. Is this authentic evidence or an illegitimate claim to bolster Christianity? Prophecy is defined as a Divine declaration of events yet to pass. As natural man is unable to foresee future events, prophecy would be an acceptable evidence of Divine inspiration. The Bible, written by at least 40 authors over a period of at least 1,500 years, is comprised of 66 books. These 66 books claim to contain over 1,000 Divinely inspired prophecies. We will examine a few...

  54. Biblical Prophecy: Ezekiel 26
    One example of Biblical Prophecy is found in the Book of Ezekiel. Chapter 26 of the Book of Ezekiel claims to have been written in 586 BC, the 11th year of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. On nine separate occasions throughout the chapter, the writer claims to have been inspired by God with statements such as "thus says the Lord GOD." The text describes the fall of mainland Tyre to the armies of Nebuchadnezzar the following year. It further describes the events of Alexander the Great's siege against the island fortress of Tyre (a half mile off the coast of mainland Tyre) 253 years later. The chapter describes how the invaders would tear down the ruins of mainland Tyre and throw it into the sea. That they would "scrape her dust from her and leave her as the top of a rock" (v4). That "they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water" (v12). "I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets" (v14). Secular history records that Alexander the Great laid siege to the island fortress of Tyre in 332 BC. His army demolished mainland Tyre and threw it into the sea. In their effort to construct a causeway to the island, they scraped even the dust, leaving only bare rock. Historian Phillip Myers in his history textbook, General History for Colleges and High Schools (Boston, Ginn & Co.), writes, "Alexander the Great reduced Tyre to ruins in 332 BC. Tyre recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site of the once great city is now as bare as the top of a rock -- a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry" (pg.55). The fate of mainland Tyre was accomplished as foretold in the book of Ezekiel.

    Biblical Prophecy: The Book of Daniel
    Another example of Biblical Prophecy is found in the Book of Daniel. Because of the stunning foresight found within the Book of Daniel, it is claimed by its critics to have been written after the events it describes. For example, chapter 11 describes in such detail the interactions between the Ptolemies and the Selucids from the death of Alexander the Great to the rise of the Roman Empire, that critics insist it must have been written after 160 BC. However, Flavius Josephus, court historian for three successive Roman Emperors, records (Antiquities of the Jews XI, viii, 3-5) Alexander the Great receiving a copy of Daniel upon his annexation of Jerusalem in the autumn of 332 BC (immediately following his conquest of Tyre). Furthermore, the Septuagint (LXX) was translated from Hebrew into Greek in the 3rd century BC. Daniel is included in the Septuagint version. Daniel is also included in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is dated from about 200 BC.

  55. Biblical Prophecy: Daniel 9:25
    A most compelling Biblical Prophecy is found in Daniel, chapter 9, verse 25. Written 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ (the oldest preserved copy dating 200 years before the birth of Christ), it foretells the very day Christ would enter Jerusalem. The prophecy states: 69 weeks of years (69 x 7 = 483 years) would pass from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, until the coming of the Messiah. This is according to the Babylonian 360-day calendar, since Daniel was written in Babylon during the Jewish captivity after the fall of Jerusalem. Thus, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days. According to records found by Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson in the Shushan (Susa) Palace, and confirmed in Nehemiah 2:1, this decree was made on March 14th, 445 BC, by Artaxerxes Longimanus. Exactly 173,880 days later, on April 6th, 32 AD, Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem upon a colt (fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9). The world celebrates this day as Palm Sunday. Four days later, Christ was murdered upon the cross. Actually, the form of His execution and even His last words were foretold in Psalm 22. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, fulfilling numerous other prophecies of our Messiah.

    Messianic Prophecy: What Is It?
    Messianic prophecy is the collection of over 100 predictions (a conservative estimate) in the Old Testament about the future Messiah of the Jewish people. These predictions were written by multiple authors, in numerous books, over approximately 1,000 years. Messianic Prophecy is so dramatic today, because with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the reliability of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament (both of which have been proven to exist prior to the time Jesus walked on the earth) you can be assured that these prophecies were not “conspired” after-the-fact.

    Messianic Prophecy: Fulfillment by Jesus Christ
    Messianic prophecy was fulfilled by the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Although many Jews did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, many did, and they became the Jewish sect later known as the Christians. Christianity, based in dramatic part on the fulfillment of historical prophecy, spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire of the 1st Century. Examine the prophecies yourself, and calculate the probability of one man fulfilling just a handful of the most specific ones, and you’ll be amazed.

    “Jesus said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’” Luke 24:44 (NIV)


  56. The Old Testament verses are the prophecy; the New Testament verses proclaim the fulfillment. Check them all out for yourself!

    • Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)
    • A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)
    • Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33 Hebrews 7:14)
    • Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
    • Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
    • Herod´s killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
    • Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17)
    • Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)
    • Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)
    • Would preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21)
    • Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13)
    • Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11)
    • Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)
    • Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; 1 Peter 2:7)
    • Die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:
    1. rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5, 48)
    2. betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18)
    3. sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15)
    4. beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26)
    5. spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30)
    6. piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31)
    7. being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
    8. praying for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
    9. piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
    10. given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36)
    11. no broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36)
    12. buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
    13. casting lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
    • Would rise from the dead!! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
    • Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
    • Would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)

  57. Messianic Prophecy - What Are The Odds of Fulfillment Without God?
    Messianic Prophecy is so powerful because of the statistical odds that one man would fulfill every single one of them. If we just analyze seven of the more specific prophecies in the Old Testament, that were later fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ, we are stunned by the statistical impossibility of such an historical reality. As an illustration, we have inserted some conservative "odds" alongside seven established prophecies. Please feel free to propose your own prophecies and your own odds - the dramatic point will still be made!

    Messianic Prophecy - The Challenge
    Messianic prophecy is phenomenal evidence that sets the Bible apart from the other "holy books." We strongly encourage you to read the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament fulfillments on the previous page. Better yet, get a Jewish Tanakh (the Hebrew scripture read in the Jewish synagogues) and read the Messianic prophecies from there. It is dramatic, eye-opening and potentially life-changing!

    WHAT DO YOU THINK? - We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

    What is your response?

    Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

    Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

    I still have questions

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  58. What kinds of things can open you up to demonic oppression?

    by Matt Slick

    The Bible tells us that there are demons who war against God and his people (Eph. 6:12). And if that weren't bad enough, sometimes people open themselves up to demonic oppression without realizing it. Now, if you're a Christian, you need to understand that you cannot be demon possessed. Demonic oppression, on the other hand, does occur against Christians. Demonic oppression is the attack by demonic forces that can result in illness, depression, financial difficulty, abnormal fear, etc. So, it is a good idea to be aware of things that can open up a person to spiritual oppression. Let's take a look.

    • Past involvement in occult activity--Occult activity includes such things as Ouija boards, witchcraft, tarot cards, astrology, séances, necromancy (contacting the dead), and divination.
    • Past involvement in false religion--False religions are, ultimately, doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1; Matt. 24:24). To dabble in them is to directly dabble in demonic activity. Such false religions would be Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, Roman Catholicism, etc.
    • Drug use--Drugs alter the state of the mind and can invite demonic activity since it promotes the loss of control of the mind as well as denies God’s intention for us to be soberminded. The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakeia (Galatians 4:20; Revelation 9:21; 18:23).
    • Pornography--this is a sin of lust that can easily open a person up to having demonic influences and control.
    • Occult meditation techniques--Emptying the mind, centering prayer, repeating a single word or phrase for long periods, etc., are all practices that can induce an altered state of consciousness and can promote the loss of personal control of your mind.
    • Curses from other people--Sometimes people involved in occult activity will curse you or your family. It is not that you can actually be cursed as a Christian. Rather, those who are against Christ and his people can focus demonic activity on you.
    If you are aware of what can cause a problem, you can take steps to avoid it. Likewise, if you're aware of what might cause demonic oppression, you can take steps to avoid it.

  59. What should I do if I suspect demonic oppression?

    If you suspect that you are being demonically oppressed, you must first pray and ask the Lord to protect you. It is a spiritual issue, so you must fight it spiritually. Prayer is always the first step.
    Second, you need to take a survey of your life to make sure that you do not have open doors for demonic activity. Things like tarot cards,witchcdraft, astrology, séances, drug abuse, pornography, Ouija Boards, demonic music (forms that exalt evil), etc., can invite demonic involvement. You will need to renounce all of these things, confess them as sin, and seek the covering of Christ.

    Third, remove all cult material and objects from your home. Remove things like Watchtower Magazines, the Book of Mormon, pornography, illegal drug paraphernalia, false religious material, New Age crystals, etc. If you must, block certain TV channels and/or shows that might be pagan in subject matter. I'd like to note that studying cult material for the purpose of education so you can know the methods of the enemy is fine. Just pray over the material, ask God to protect you from its false teaching, and study away.

    Fourth, make sure that your family and friends are not into those things (listed above) that can bring spiritual oppression. If they are and they won’t stop (maybe they aren’t Christian), then pray for protection, for God’s intervention, and for their salvation.

    Fifth, if things don’t get better, get the elders of your church involved. It might be necessary for them to come to your place and pray. If they won’t do it, find someone who will.

  60. As Christians, we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and are indwelt by the living God. Sometimes it is necessary for us to review our past lives and openly confess, repent, and ask the Lord to cleanse us of various activities that could have opened the door to demonic oppression. I suggest that people pray aloud to the Lord--confessing their specific past sin. They must label it as sin and asking the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse it, asking the Lord to bind any demonic forces that are attached to it, and then verbally proclaim that they've renounced it and are resting in and trusting in Christ alone. It isn’t that this is a formula on what to do, but it is the public declaration before God that you belong to the Lord, you renounce sinful things, and are trusting in Christ.

    Finally, consider anointing your home with oil (which biblically often represents the Holy Spirit) and praying over every room. Anointing with oil is not a magic formula that produces a certain result if performed properly, but there is something about the ceremony of taking oil, placing it upon the fingertips, going through every room of your home, and praying aloud as you touch walls and objects.

    Finally, remember that greater is He (God) that is in you than he (the devil) that is in the world (1 John 4:4).