Hillary Clinton’s Necromancy (Spirit Guides)

I remember this from an old documentary on the Clinton’s or an old documentary on spiritism. At any rate, here are some of the latest information on Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the occult as it get’s renewed in recent news cycles. I will start first with my most recent run-into the topic via POWERLINE:

This Washington Post story about a journalism dispute between Bob Woodward and ghost writer Barbara Feinman Todd is of little interest qua dispute. However, it pertains to a remarkable story about which I had forgotten — Hillary Clinton’s imaginary conversations, during her time as First Lady, with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi.

As far as I can tell, the matter was not raised or noted by the mainstream media during the 2016 presidential campaign. I didn’t mention it either, but would have had I remembered it.

If there were evidence of Donald Trump communing with the dead, even if twenty years ago or more, the mainstream media very likely would have been aired the story. It would have been touted as evidence of Trump’s weirdness.

Clinton’s seance, which her defenders call a “psychological exercise,” is evidence of her weirdness. According to Woodward, Hillary’s ghost writer, the aforementioned Feinman Todd, told him she found the seance, which she witnessed, troubling….

The media is trying to say this was merely a physchological excersise (even SNOPES is on this band wagon), but Hillary’s ghost writer wouldn’t describe this as “troubling.” Here Bill Clinton mentions it in public:


“I know that because, as all of you famously learned when I served as president, my wife, now the secretary of State, was known to commune with Eleanor on a regular basis. And so she called me last night on her way home from Peru to remind me to say that. That Eleanor had talked to her and reminded her that I should say that.” 


A good commentary on the New Age guru that became Hillary’s confidant can be found at WOMEN OF GRACE (11-2010):

The talk all weekend was about Delaware GOP Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell’s confessed dabbling in witchcraft during her high school years, but where was the rage when then First-Lady Hillary Clinton was taking advice from New Age guru Jean Houston who taught her how to hold imaginary conversations with the dead?

[….]

Hillary Clinton had a long and serious relationship with New Age guru Jean Houston, the same woman who taught her how to use guided imagery to conduct imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Ghandi.

Houston is well-known and even revered in New Age circles. In her own brochures, she describes herself as a “leading pioneer in the exploration of human potentials and human consciousness.” 

According to the New Age Encyclopedia, Houston claims a first grade teacher in a Catholic school treated her so harshly she escaped into some kind of profound mystical experience that was described as “pantheistic” and “monistic.”  (I guess this means it was the Church’s fault.)

Houston later married Robert Masters, the psychotherapist and sexologist who co-authored the notorious Masters-Johnson report. The Encyclopedia states that she and her husband experimented with LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs, believing that drug-induced altered states of consciousness were the best way to convey “psychic truth” to people.

Although she claims to have earned a number of Ph.D.’s, records show that she received a doctorate in psychology in 1973 from Cincinnati Union Institute, “an alternative education program,” that did not become accredited until 1985.

Needless to say, Houston has a definite New Age occultic world-view whose books attempt to teach students how to make contact with an entity called “Group Spirit” which is supposedly the collective consciousness in which we can find the wisdom and creativity of us all.

The fact that someone like this was spending long hours in the White House counseling a First Lady was first reported by CNN in 1996 when famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward published a revealing behind-the-scenes look at the Clintons, entitled The Choice.

In it Woodward describes Houston as an influential advisor who urged Hillary to write her book, It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us, and in the process “virtually moved into the White House” for days at a time to help with revisions.

Naturally, the White House hoped to keep her relationship with Houston a secret….

One should note that maybe, yes, seances were not actually done… but in New Age occultism finding a spirit guide or communing with these “spirit guides” is a path to communication with the dead (in the Christian view, these are demonic forces).

A good book on encountering such things is The Beautiful Side of Evil, by Johanna Michaelsen (the foreword is by Hal Lindsey). Johanna takes you on a personal whirlwind tour of her encounters while trying to find meaning in her young life. (As a disclaimer, I do not endorse every premise presented in that book.)

Again, such seances are not required to allow communication with entities which are known as “familiars” that had attached to the individual in question, during their lifetime. Another good example of this “spirit guide” seeking in in the following documentary:

Here is a bit more info on Jean Houston and the non-seance/seance via GOD REPORTS:

….One was Jean Houston, co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research, which studies psychic experience and altered and expanded consciousness. “She was a believer in spirits, mythic and other connections to history and other worlds,” Woodward noted in his book.

Houston describes herself and her late husband, Robert Masters, as founders of the human potential movement. In the 1980s, Houston launched The Mystery School, where students embark on a year-long study of mythic stories which are meditated upon and enacted.

“Houston believed that her personal archetypal predecessor was Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. She conducted extensive dialogues with Athena on her computer that she called “docking with one’s angel. Houston wore an ancient Hellenistic coin of Athena set in a medallion around her neck all the time.”

[….]

Unusual sessions in the solarium

On her visit to the White House in early April 1995, Houston proposed that Hillary dig deeper for her connections to Mrs. Roosevelt. Houston and Bateson met with Hillary in the rooftop solarium, set atop the White House with windows on three sides.

It was afternoon and they all sat around a circular table with several members of the first lady’s staff. One was making a tape recording of the session. (One can only wonder if the tape still exists and if it formed the basis for the remarkable recounting of details by Woodward.)

“Houston asked Hillary to imagine she was having a conversation with Eleanor. In a strong and self-confident voice, Houston asked Hillary to shut her eyes in order to eliminate the room and her surroundings, and to focus her reflection by bringing in as many vivid internal sensory images as she could from her vast knowledge of Eleanor,” according to Woodward’s source.

Hillary sat back in her seat and closed her eyes. “You’re walking down a hall,” Houston said, “and there’s Mrs. Roosevelt. Now let’s describe her.”

Hillary proceeded to describe what she saw.

Houston instructed Mrs. Clinton to go to Eleanor and speak to her, according to Woodward’s book.

Hillary entered into a long discourse directed toward the former first lady. Houston asked the first lady to further open up herself to Mrs. Roosevelt, borrowing a technique “practiced by Machiavelli,” who used to talk to ancient men. “What might Eleanor say?”

Houston encouraged Hillary to respond as Mrs. Roosevelt. “I was misunderstood,” Hillary replied, her eyes still shut, speaking as Mrs. Roosevelt. “You have to do what you think is right. It was crucial to set a course and hold to it.”

Regarding the first lady’s controversial role in governing the country, Eleanor reportedly told Hillary, “You know, I thought that would have been solved by now. You’re going to have to just get out there and do it and don’t make any excuses about it.”….

(Read it all)

Um, occultism is occultism. For more on this topic, see my post HERE.

Biola University Continues It’s Slip Into Eastern Metaphysics (Updated)

(Originally Posted June 2013)

“Fr. Thomas Keating teaches on centering prayer who tells us contemplative prayer is a way of tuning into a fuller level of reality that is always present …”(Open mind, Open heart p.37). He explains “My acquaintance with eastern methods of meditation has convinced me that … there are ways of calming the mind in the spiritual disciplines of both the east and the west … Many serious seekers of truth study the eastern religions, …”What he is promoting is the concept of God permeating the air as prana.” (Lighthouse Trails)

Over the years I have noticed that Biola is going down a road that is based not in Christ, but in Eastern philosophy. For instance, my first encounter wit this came from an assistant pastor at a church in my town. When I was talking about how contemplative prayer came to our current faith (India, Alexandria, the Desert fathers, Thomas Merton, and then Keating/Nouwen/Foster, and the like), this pastor was shocked, and recommended a book he was studying in a class at Biola entitled, “A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton.” In it you have the christian faith laid into the matrix of Buddhist thought. Over the years since this jaw-dropping encounter with a pastor from a “Biblically conservative” church not seeing any problem with the book HE recommended to me, I have become more interested in where Biola was heading. And over the years they seem to put a stamp of approval on things un-Biblical. The most recent being a video presentation on Biola’s YouTube by Phileena Heuertz. She gave a presentation on, you guessed it, contemplative prayer.

In a question directed at Mrs. Heuertz elsewhere, Janice Kraus asks:

  • “I am trying to learn more about ‘Who I am’ and starting to use Mediation for purpose of changing my ways of thinking : Do you have any links for this and How can I find out who am I?”

Mrs. Heuertz responds:

  • dear janice, thanks for your honesty. i think we will all spend the rest of our life learning more about who we are. if you like to read, i recommend books by Henri Nouwen, Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr to support your journey. you can also check out my website at www.phileena.com for a list of recommended books and various blog posts that may assist you. ~be well. breath deep.

This response alone is telling. As is her recommended reading list from her site, it is a who’s who of New Age influence and Eastern metaphysics in the guise of Christianese. For instance, let’s deal JUST with Henri Nouwen whom she recommended above, and I wish to quote from my chapter on this topic, IN WHICH I quote from David Cloud’s book (pp. 317-321), Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond (Port Huron, MI: Way of Life Literature, 2008). It touches on a few other characters as well in Phileena’s reading list, like Sue Monk Kidd, but Nouwen’s alignment not with the Good News, but with Eastern metaphysics becomes clear:


QUOTE


Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Roman Catholic priest who taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Notre Dame. Nouwen has had a vast influence within the emerging church and evangelicalism at large through his writings, and he has been an influential voice within the contemplative movement. A Christian Century magazine survey conducted in 2003 found that Nouwen’s writings were a first choice for Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy….

Nouwen did not instruct his readers that one must be born again through repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ in order to commune with God. The book With Open Hands, for example, instructs readers to open themselves up to God and surrender to the flow of life, believing that God loves them unconditionally and is leading them. This is blind faith.

“When we pray, we are standing with our hands open to the world. We know that God will become known to us in the nature around us, in people we meet, and in situations we run into. We trust that the world holds God’s secret within and we expect that secret to be shown to us” (With Open Hands, 2006, p. 47).

Nouwen did not instruct his readers to beware of false spirits and to test everything by the Scriptures. He taught them, rather, to trust that God is leading in and through all things and that they should “test” things by their own “vision.” Nouwen claimed that contemplative meditation is necessary for an intimacy with God:

“I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person without stillness and silence” (quoted by Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ, p. 65).

He taught that the use of a mantra could take the practitioner into God’s  presence.

...Nouwen's Last Book

At the end of his life, in the last book he ever wrote (Sabbatical Journey), Henri Nouwen said the following:

  • Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.

Even though such a statement does not at all fit within biblical Christianity, and in essence denies the very foundation of Christ’s work on the Cross, Henri Nouwen is touted as a great spiritual figure by countless Christian leaders, pastors, seminary professors, etc.

(A response from the editor at Lighthouse Trails)

“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart … This way of simple prayer … opens us to God’s active presence” (The Way of the Heart, p. 81).

He said that mysticism and contemplative prayer can create ecumenical unity because Christian leaders learn to hear “the voice of love”:

“Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love. … For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (In the Name of Jesus, pp. 6, 31, 32).

In fact, if Christians are listening to the voice of the true and living God, they will learn that love is obedience to the Scriptures. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).

Nouwen, like Thomas Merton and many other Catholic contemplatives, combined the teaching of eastern gurus with ancient Catholic practices. In his book Pray to Live Nouwen describes approvingly Merton’s heavy involvement with Hindu monks (pp. 19-28).

In his foreword to Thomas Ryan’s book Disciplines for Christian Living, Nouwen says:

“[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian and does not hesitate to bring that wisdom home” (Disciplines for Christian Living, p. 2).

Nouwen taught a form of universalism and panentheism (God is in all things).

  • “The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being” (Here and Now, p. 22).
  • “Prayer is ‘soul work’ because our souls are those sacred centers WHERE ALL IS ONE … It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of THE UNITY OF ALL THAT IS” (Bread for the Journey, 1997, Jan. 15 and Nov. 16).

He claimed that every person who believes in a higher power and follows his or her vision of the future is of God and is building God’s kingdom:

  • “We can see the visionary in the guerilla fighter, in the youth with the demonstration sign, in the quiet dreamer in the corner of a cafe, in the soft-spoken monk, in the meek student, in the mother who lets her son go his own way, in the father who reads to his child from a strange book, in the smile of a girl, in the indignation of a worker, and in every person who in one way or another dreams life from a vision which is seen shining ahead and which surpasses everything ever heard or seen before” (With Open Hands, p. 113).
  • “Praying means breaking through the veil of existence and allowing yourself to be led by the vision which has become real to you. Whether we call that vision ‘the Unseen Reality,’ ‘the total Other,’ ‘the Spirit,’ or ‘the Father,’ we repeatedly assert that it is not we ourselves who possess the power to make the new creation come to pass. It is rather a spiritual power which has been given to us and which empowers us to be in the world without being of it” (p. 114).

The radical extent of Nouwen’s universalism is evident by the fact that the second edition of With Open Hands has a foreword by Sue Monk Kidd. She is a New Ager who promotes worship of the goddess! Her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine was published in 1996, a decade before she was asked to write the foreword to Nouwen’s book on contemplative prayer. Monk Kidd worships herself.

  • “Today I remember that event for the radiant mystery it was, how I felt myself embraced by Goddess, how I felt myself in touch with the deepest thing I am. It was the moment when, as playwright and poet Ntozake Shange put it, ‘I found god in myself/ and I loved her/ I loved her fiercely (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 136).
  • “Over the altar in my study I hung a lovely mirror sculpted in the shape of a crescent moon. It reminded me to honor the Divine Feminine presence in myself, the wisdom in my own soul” (p. 181).

Sue Monk Kidd’s journey from the traditional Baptist faith (as a Sunday School teacher in a Southern Baptist congregation) to goddess worship began when she started delving into Catholic contemplative spirituality, practicing centering prayer and attending Catholic retreats.

Nouwen taught that God is only love, unconditional love.

“Don’t  be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, and disappointment to the One who is love and only love. … [Pray] `Dear God, … what you want to give me is love–unconditional, everlasting love”’ (With Open Hands, pp. 24, 27).

In fact, God’s love is not unconditional. It is unfathomable but not unconditional. Though God loves all men and Christ died to make it possible for all to be saved, there is a condition for receiving God’s love and that is acknowledging and repenting of one’s sinfulness and receiving Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour.

Further, God is not only love; He is also holy and just and light and truth. This is what makes the cross of Jesus Christ necessary. An acceptable atonement had to be made for God’s broken law.

In his last book Nouwen said:

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Sabbatical Journey, New York: Crossroad, 1998, p. 51).


UNQUOTE


This radical rejection of the major tenants of the Christian Worldview, and acceptance of major tenants within Eastern metaphysics causes all sorts of interpretive problems for Phileena. Take for instance her understanding of the clear thesis/antithesis Jesus sets up in comparing His mission and how the world should understand the absolute worldview entwined in that mission. Here is a great Commentary on these words spoken of in Matthew 7:13:

Enter ye in at the strait gate,…. By the “strait gate” is meant Christ himself; who elsewhere calls himself “the door”, John 10:7 as he is into the church below, and into all the ordinances and privileges of it; as also to the Father, by whom we have access unto him, and are let into communion with him, and a participation of all the blessings of grace; yea, he is the gate of heaven, through which we have boldness to enter into the holiest of all by faith and hope now; as there will be hereafter an abundant entrance into the kingdom and glory of God, through his blood and righteousness. This is called “strait”; because faith in Christ, a profession of it, and a life and conversation agreeable to it, are attended with many afflictions, temptations, reproaches, and persecutions. “Entering” in at it is by faith, and making a profession of it: hence it follows, that faith is not the gate itself, but the grace, by which men enter in at the right door, and walk on in Christ, as they begin with him. (Source)

Here is how Phileena sees it, and it is more about her and her experience than about Jesus and the source for grace:

What makes this personalizing Jesus’ message all-the-more odd is that in reality Phileena believes in some form of universalism — and we know this by the authors and people whom she recommends as well as posting a video of Thomas Keating recently (a small portion of which is below, right) on her front-page of her blog. Making one wonder how universalism is now understood as the narrow way? For instance, let us now deal with Thomas Keating’s universalism:

A KUNDALINI BREAK

This short video sample is from Chapter 6 and Chapter 8 of our video, The Submerging Church. It goes into how the Emergent Church are bringing the Contemplative Prayer, Mysticism and New Age practices into the church.


QUOTE


…Keating combines contemplative practices with humanistic psychology, eastern religion, and New Age, and he has been deeply influenced by his pagan associations.

He believes that man has a “false self” built up through one’s life experiences and this false self is filled with guilt because of a false sense of sin and separation from God. The guilt supposedly is not real and the false self is “an illusion.” The objective of contemplative techniques is to reach beyond this false self to the true self that is sinless and guiltless and already in union with God.

This is a universalistic doctrine that denies the fall and salvation through faith in the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

Keating says:

“As we evolve toward self-identity and full self-consciousness, so grows the sense of responsibility, and hence guilt, and so grows the sense of alienation from the true self which has long ago been forgotten in the course of the early growth period. This whole process of growth normally takes place without the inner experience of the divine presence. That is the crucial source of the false self. … THERE’S NOTHING BASICALLY WRONG WITH YOU, it’s just that YOUR BASIC GOODNESS has been overlaid by emotional programs for happiness which are aimed at things other than the ultimate happiness which is your relationship with God” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995).

Keating describes thoughtless meditative prayer in Hindu terms as being united with God in a mindless experience.

“Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart, our whole being, to God, the Ultimate Mystery, BEYOND THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND EMOTIONS. It is a process of interior purification THAT LEADS, IF WE CONSENT, TO DIVINE UNION” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995).

Keating describes centering prayer is “a journey into the unknown” (Open Mind, Open Heart, p. 72).

Keating wrote the foreword to Philip St. Romain’s strange and very dangerous book Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (1990). Keating says, “Kundalini is an enormous energy for good,” but also admits that it can be harmful….

….He recommends that kundalini “be directed by the Holy Spirit.” He postulates that the meditative prayer practices of Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross might have been associated with kundalini energy. Keating concludes by saying: “This book will initiate Christians on the spiritual journey into this important but long neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.”

Kundalini is a Hindu concept that there is powerful form of psychic energy at the base of the spine that can be “awakened.” It is called the serpent, is purely occultic, and has resulted in many demonic manifestations.

[….]

Keating and the Snowmass Conference published eight “Guidelines for Interreligious Understanding,” including the following.

✦ The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate reality to which they give various names: Brahman, Allah, Absolute, God, Great Spirit.

✦ Ultimate Reality cannot be limited to any name or concept.

✦ The potential for human wholeness–or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, nirvana–is present in every human person.

✦ Prayer is communion with Ultimate Reality, whether it is regarded as personal, impersonal or beyond them both

This is blatant universalism, and it is fruit of contemplative spirituality and interfaith dialogue. 

Keating is past president of the Temple of Understanding, founded in 1960 by Juliet Hollister. The mission of this New Age organization is to “create a more just and peaceful world” by achieving “peaceful coexistence among individuals, communities, and societies.” The tools for reaching this objective are interfaith education, dialogue, mystical practices, fostering mutual appreciation and tolerance, and promotion of the contempt of global citizenship. ….


UNQUOTE


This goes a long way to show that Phileena parrots (see right) the universalist line that incorporates Eastern metaphysics into its ethos. And it should be yet ANOTHER wake up call to Biola… the question is, who is listening over there?

In another portion of a video presentation by Phileena, she mentions the types of prayers under contemplative practices, as well as giving a partial history or etymology of the practice. She forgot, however, to include that before the desert mothers and fathers the practice came first through/from India through Alexandria, to these early “mystics.”

Ray Yungen makes this point in his excellent article, “THE DESERT FATHERS – BORROWING FROM THE EAST


QUOTE


….In the early Middle Ages, there lived a group of hermits in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They are known to history as the Desert Fathers. They dwelt in small isolated communities for the purpose of devoting their lives completely to God without distraction. The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks who promoted the mantra as a prayer tool. One meditation scholar made this connection when he said:

The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East … the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery.

Many of the Desert Fathers, in their zeal, were simply seeking God through trial and error. A leading contemplative prayer teacher candidly acknowledged the haphazard way the Desert Fathers acquired their practices:

...Seekers or Finders?

…Thomas Keating who teaches on centering prayer explains, “He is acquainted with eastern methods of meditation …and writes “many serious seekers of truth study the eastern religions,…”

But a Christian is no longer a seeker but a possessor of the truth – when he walks by the word of God and in the Spirit. A believer in Christ does not call himself a spiritual seeker (beginner or seasoned) they have found the truth in Jesus Christ. But this is what the emergent movement is about, they are restless not finding peace in Christ they continue their spiritual journey

(From Let Us Reason ministries)

They took him and brought him to the Areopagus, and said, “May we learn about this new teaching you’re speaking of? For what you say sounds strange to us, and we want to know what these ideas mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new. Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed:

  • TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

(Acts 17:19-23)

It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.

Attempting to reach God through occult mystical practices will guarantee disaster. The Desert Fathers of Egypt were located in a particularly dangerous locale at that time to be groping around for innovative approaches to God, because as one theologian pointed out:

[D]evelopment of Christian meditative disciplines should have begun in Egypt because much of the intellectual, philosophical, and theological basis of the practice of meditation in Christianity also comes out of the theology of Hellenic and Roman Egypt. This is significant because it was in Alexandria that Christian theology had the most contact with the various Gnostic speculations which, according to many scholars, have their roots in the East, possibly in India.

Consequently, the Desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere–anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus. A current practitioner and promoter of the Desert Fathers’ mystical prayer still echoes the logical formulations of his mystical ancestors:

In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept the learnings of particular Eastern religions … What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent … this is important to remember in the face of those Christians who would try to impoverish our spiritual resources by too narrowly defining them. If we view the human family as one in God’s spirit, then this historical cross-fertilization is not surprising … selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life.

Do you catch the reasoning here? Non-Christian sources, as avenues to spiritual growth, are perfectly legitimate in the Christian life, and if Christians only practice their Christianity based on the Bible, they will actually impoverish their spirituality. This was the thinking of the Desert Fathers. So as a result, we now have contemplative prayer. Jesus addressed this when he warned His disciples: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do.” (Matthew 6:7)

It should be apparent that mantra meditation or sacred word prayer qualifies as “vain repetition” and clearly fits an accurate description of the point Jesus was making. Yet in spite of this, trusted evangelical Christians have often pronounced that Christian mysticism is different from other forms of mysticism (such as Eastern or occult) because it is focused on Jesus Christ….


UNQUOTE


So again, to be clear, Biola is pushing a form of Eastern Metaphysics and universalism onto its student body.

How sad! Where is the adherence to the word and Jesus’ own warnings? Or does experience trump all else in Western Christianity?

The best resource in one-place on this topic is Lighthouse Trails. They have the most books, articles, and media on the matter. Apprising Ministries as well has a in-depth “category” section that helps narrow down topics and people in the movement (right hand column of their site). I recommend also my review of a book used at Biola, as well as my reasons for leaving a church after 12-years of investment (this post is a bit choppy, I apologize). Also, I recommend highly my chapter from my book on the matter as well, it is entitled “Emergen[t]Cy – Investigating Post Modernism In Evangelical Thought.”

UPDATES will appear below here and may include my thoughts to comments made about the above post from FaceBook or elsewhere (I may edit a bit my remarks to make understanding here easier):


UPDATES


M.S. mentioned the following:

  • I am a current student at Biola and have not currently nor ever experienced what this article suggests. That does not mean it does not happen, but I have not witnessed it.

I respond:

I imagine that like in most large universities there is a divide… Like in the apologetics program — I doubt this topic will come up at all, but in the Biblical counseling or psychology type classes I bet this is touched on. In fact, a pastor showed me a book he was using in the classroom there (offered to let me borrow it, I got a used copy instead). He couldn’t see anything wrong with it, so I wrote about all the “wrongs” in it for him: “A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton” (http://tinyurl.com/cfalael). The book wasn’t being taught — at Biola — with a critical eye or a discerning spirit… but as wholly acceptable.

Mind you, when I had this discussion I had recently left my church of twelve years for getting elbow deep into the emergent movement. I tried to hang in there for a year, had a few discussions with the pastor, whom I knew and respect still, but the last straw came when the men’s college class started using the book “Irresistible Revolution,” by Shane Claiborne, with a forward by Jim Wallace.

So while I am not on campus at Biola and am not intimate with the vibe… I can tell you that most practices of centering prayer and the like are not founded in solid Biblical practice but as Ken Kaisch (quoted by Ray Yungen — linked in my post) said:

It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.

I went through to my Masters and only encountered it (this emergent influence) in my last semester of Biblical counseling. Until then it was all kosher! Even the mandatory books on the syllabus for the class were fine. But the books recommended at the bottom that were not mandatory but recommended, kicked off my four-year-long study of the issues at hand.

I am glad you haven’t encountered it as of yet ~ The Angels Smile.

But the chapel at Biola didn’t have Phileena in like they would a “Sam Harris” in or “Richard Dawkins,” someone they are clear about being un-Biblical in their view, but want to have a debate, a thesis/antithesis, or a “hey guys, we do not advocate this, but you should know about it”... type “warning.” No, this is pushed as mainstream.

QUESTION [for you] M.S. — I would be curious what your professors think about Richard Foster? Maybe over the next few months just bring him up in general conversation with folks on campus, get a vibe from them… and then message me and we will talk about it. I have noticed Foster is a good dividing line to show if people are really using the Word for doctrine and reproof, the testing of spirits (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 4:1). I would love to hear back from your sociological experiment.

An Updated Dallas Willard Tribute (Critique Expanded)

A fellow bibliophile passes (updated tribute).

….Because Dallas wrote on spiritual formation and taught philosophy at the University of Southern California, one might think he came from a background associated with richness of education and culture and resources. In fact, he grew up in very poor circumstances in rural Missouri. His mother died when he was two; her last words to her husband were: “Keep eternity before the children.”

Because of impoverished conditions, Dallas grew up in a circle of different families; electricity did not come until he was mostly grown up.

He read a book by Jack London once that contained a passage describing the world from an atheistic point of view. Dallas said that he’d never known books could contain such thoughts and ideas, and his mind was never quite the same after that awakening. He was nine years old at the time.

He became an insatiable reader. He attended Tennessee Temple and did graduate work at Baylor before receiving his Ph D in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then teaching for nearly 50 years at USC, where for a time he was director of the philosophy department. His particular area of study was the philosophy of mind and logic, and he is regarded as a leading translator and authority on the work of the German phenomenologist Edmund Husserl. He was, along with scholars like William Alston and Alvin Plantinga, a significant influence in a renaissance of evangelical thinkers in contemporary academic philosophy.

His home, like his mind, was furnished mostly with books. He had a secondary library that occupied a second house; a tertiary library that filled his office at USC. After his diagnosis, a group of us packed up well over 100 boxes of books that only made it to his quaternary library in a nearby garage, books in multiple languages stretching from Homer to the present….

(Christianity Today)

Take note that while a solid believing Christian can glean some practical wisdom and life organizing skills from Dallas Willard… this same Christian should be wary of Dallas’ theological bent. Dallas was off in his theology…he was a UNIVERSALIST in the mold of other Emergent theologians:

The short video (above) gives a critical eye into some thoughts of Dr. Willard, as well as this article by Bob DeWaay. SOLA SISTERS has some good commentary to “garnish the above:

Dallas Willard and popular author John Ortberg have teamed together to create a new product being launched right now called Monvee.  What is Monvee? Monvee, which bills itself as “the future of spiritual formation,” is an online assessment tool that is used to “handcraft” a personalized plan for spiritual development for its participants.  That sounds great, except that there’s a problem.  And that problem, one of them anyway, is Dallas Willard.

Dallas Willard, for those who don’t know him, has been a darling of the evangelical world for years.  He has been a prolific writer in Christendom, churning out very popular books such as The Divine Conspiracy (Christianity Today‘s Book of the Year in 1998), The Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, Renovation of the Heart, and, most recently, The Great Omission.  But Dallas Willard, though he is identified as an evangelical, is anything but orthodox in his views.  In a recent interview, Willard made these shocking statements:

“Now, I believe that everyone who deserves to be saved will be saved no matter where they are or what they do.” 

“(God) is open and in touch with everyone in the world, and for all who seek them with all of their heart—and that is defined in terms of coming to love Him, and not just have the right beliefs about Him—but coming to love Him, and loving their neighbor as themselves.”

And then on Dallas Willard’s own website, he makes this universalist statement:

“I am not going to stand in the way of anyone whom God wants to save. I am not going to say ‘he can’t save them.’ I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can.  It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”

In these statements, Dallas Willard – a professing Christian, might I remind you – is making the classic argument put forward by all skeptics who don’t want to believe Jesus when Jesus said these words: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father but by me.”  And that argument is this: what about the “good Buddhist” or the “good atheist?” I know that it feels good and more loving to think that God will save people, who to our eyes anyway, appear to be good, decent, moral people.  Our error comes when we view this problem with human eyes, and not with God’s eyes.  More importantly, we use our own standards for “good” to gauge a person’s “goodness” or “worthiness” rather than God’s holy standard.

[….]

So my final question is, if Dallas Willard is a Universalist, as it appears to me, where does that leave John Ortberg, his partner and co-creator of Monvee?  And what does that make Monvee…..a good thing or a bad thing?  We’ll look at that in more detail in an upcoming post.

The following [long] audios comes by way of Chris Rosbrough from PIRATE CHRISTIAN RADIO. They are — again — long, and allow the astute listener some insights into where the late Dr. Willard may have been missing the Gospel target.

But Dallas Willard is not the only person promoting some bad theology via New Age authors and books (like the below) and authors:

Dr. J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy for Biola, tells us in his 2007 book Kingdom Triangle that “spiritual formation should be studied…and insights gained should be implemented.” Then among the four books he would “invest” himself in “absorbing” is “Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline [which] has earned the title of a contemporary classic” (157).

Reformed theologian J.I. Packer says in the foreword of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald Whitney, said: “Ever since Richard Foster rang the bell with his Celebration of Discipline (1978), discussing the various disciplines has become a staple element of conservative Christian in-talk in North America. This is a happy thing” (9, emphasis mine).

(source)

I will explain why anyone recommending this work is either ignorant of it’s contents, or theologically soft on cults and the occult. Celebration of Discipline is a New Age book, here are some scans of a couple worrisome parts (click to enlarge). Here are pages 27 through 28 from Richard Foster’s book:

And page 170 from the 1st printing (this was changed in later printings):

UFOs or Demons

(This post is tied to a similar discussion of Ghost)

Take note I do not endorse everything noted in this documentary or the articles, but the similarity between alien encounters, spiritism (like mediums), ghosts, the occult, and the like, is the important issue here ~ NOT “government conspiracies” or the like.

While this documentary is dated, the DVD for purchase (I did edit it a bit), and here.

Two decent articles on the issue of UFOs and the Christian worldview, are as follows:

And the best books on the subject are by William Alnor!

Another great book, and a quick read, is Ron Rhodes book,

A note from my Facebook about this and my other post:

I posted two older documentaries (they are from the 80’s, so expect the pat narrator and eerie music) and some links of my own thoughts on the matter.

These two posts give a theistic-Christian interpretation to UFOs, ghosts, spirit mediums, and the like. You can break the world’s 10,000 religious beliefs down to a handful of worldviews and each worldview has a distinct interpretation of the evidence. So if you are a Christian, you cannot believe a ghost is a departed love one or a soul lost and wandering the earth (Hebrews 9:27[note]).

So what is the explanation for these apparent metaphysical encounters?

Well, you will have to see and watch for yourself:

UFOs or Demons
Spiritism and Ghosts ~ The Christian View


[Note] Mind you, it seems clear that before their real conversion to the idea of who Jesus was (God Almighty), the Disciple also believed in ghosts (https://carm.org/did-the-disciples-of-Jesus-believe-in-ghosts).

So I am not saying the person who does believe in these things are retarded or dumb. All I am saying is in the Christian worldview these interpretations do not fit the evidence. I would challenge the believer to mature in their understanding of what their view says and how believing in ghosts being departed people, ETs that posses people, etc,…

…are borrowing from other worldviews and cutting-n-tapping it into the worldview of Christianity.

Do You Believe in Ghosts? The Christian View of the Paranormal

Excellent two part video series by God and Science:

– the author of these videos id Richard Deem

Michelle Pfeiffer Reveals Past Connection to Dangerous Cult (UPDATED WITH SPONGEBOB!)

Hollywood seems to be susceptible to the cults, at a higher rate than the general public. One cult that has less influence in Hollywood than say, Scientology, is “Breatharianism.” Michelle Pfeiffer shared recently that she was involved many years ago in the cult when she first came to Hollywood and was very impressionable (Breitbart). She talked about how her first husband, who worked on a movie about the Moonies, helped her see the cult like aspect of this group:

“They worked with weights and put people on diets. Their thing was vegetarianism,” Pfeiffer said. “They were very controlling. I wasn’t living with them but I was there a lot and they were always telling me I needed to come more. I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining.”

Ellen Greve (AKA, Jasmuheen)

Ellen Greve, the cults leader/”guru”, herself claims to have eaten nothing since 1993, surviving only on air and light. [Editors note: Bullllshit]

“They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian,” the actress added.

According to Pfeiffer, she did not realize she was a member of a cult until she married former husband and fellow actor Peter Horton, who at the time was researching for a role in a movie about the Unification Church, founded by Sun Myung Moon. Members of the Unification Church have traditionally been referred to by the term ‘Moonies,’ though it is today regarded as a pejorative by the current leaders of the church.

“We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and I just clicked,” Pfeiffer told Stella magazine. “I was in one.”

(NewsMax)

I am glad she got out, but with many in Hollywood, the New Age is the biggest draw, then Scientology. The French have been vigilant in keeping an eye on the group:

French authorities have put a retreat organised by Australian self-styled guru Ellen Greve [pictured to the right] under surveillance, the Le Parisien newspaper reports.

The newspaper says the authorities are worried that it is a dangerous cult that has had a role in the deaths of three people around the world.

Jean-Michel Roulet, the head of the French Government’s anti-sect unit Miviludes, has told the newspaper that the prolonged fasting preached by Ms Greve is “aberrant”.

Mr Roulet says Ms Greve’s group has used “a veritable attack on an individual’s freedom by way of mental manipulation”.

A seminar in the south-eastern village of Devesset headed by Ms Greve, who calls herself ‘Jasmuheen’, is under “high surveillance”.

However, officials say those attending are all adults and that, barring a mishap during the gathering, there are no grounds for police to break it up.

Ms Greve, 48, teaches that people can live almost entirely without food or water under an approach she calls ‘breatharianism“.

(Religion News Blog)

An Introduction to Apologetics w/ Small Critique of Beth Moore

This will be a very basic introduction to why many — like myself — believe apologetics to be very important in the believers life. A “WHY APOLOGETICS 101,” so-to-speak.

What is the word “apologetic” even mean? How do we defining the word, Biblically. Apologetics is explaining to the non-believing friends, co-workers, family, the soundness of the Christian collection of beliefs about life and the universe in easy to express ways that allows co-operation of our created will and intellect with the Holy Spirit in evangelizing those around us. We are not robots under God’s divine hand (automatons) but individuals whom God works through keeping our personality intact in sharing the Gospel effectively and showing how Christianity stands in stark contrast to competing beliefs around us. The non-believer is not expected to interpret the data of history, psychology, and morality (let alone theology and miracles), as does the Christian. However, he must be given such data as the Christian interprets it… Otherwise he is not being witnessed to by a Christian.

1 Peter 3:15 – “… and always be ready to give a defense [or answer in some translations] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Defense/Answer: is the Greek apologia, from which we get our word “apologetics,” meaning the careful, logical defense of the Christian faith showing its validity as the true saving gospel of God, our Creator and Savior. In effect Peter is admonishing believers to be always prepared to give an apologetic for the faith, especially when confronted by those who deny it and would destroy it if they could.

Jude 3 – “although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Contend: Should be “earnestly contend.” The Greek, epagonizomai, refers to athletes intensely agonizing in the grueling training for a coming contest. Thus Jude graphically stresses the urgency of defending the faith. The defense of the gospel is no indifferent matter to be left to a few specialists, but one to which all believers should be trained and committed.

Philippians 1:7 – “…whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.” Defending: A legal term referring to a formal defense as in a courtroom. Many modern evangelicals think the gospel does not need to be defended — just preached. Paul and Timothy are saying different here.

For instance, apologetics should stir ones knowledge base about their own faith and understanding towards positions Christianity naturally takes. Or, what are known as “truth statements,” i.e., “Jesus rose from the grave,” “God exists,” “God changed my life,” “Jesus is not like the Buddha,” “God is creator,” and the like. People often times will stop you at one of those points and ask you to elucidate. You should be prepared to.

“I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers that impose upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition”

Morimer J. Adler, “A Philosopher’s Religious Faith,” in, Kelly James Clark, ed., Philosophers Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of 11 Leading Thinkers (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 207.

Apologetics is one of the steps one takes (should take) in advancing their faith past milk by increases one’s “awareness” about the world in which they live and parts of it we should separate ourselves from. This includes as well aberrant thinking in our own camp.

“Instead of thinking of Christianity as a collection of theological bits and pieces to be believed or debated, we should approach our faith as a conceptual system, as a total world-and-life view…. Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity”

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992], 19, 9.

1) Apologetics helps with correct belief (truth) and in this regard is very important:

Believers may not fully comprehend or may have genuine misunderstandings or even limited exposure to and about Christian truth, but there are doctrinal parameters outside of which a person cannot cross without suffering apostasy and divine judgment. Embracing a false Christ and/or a false’ gospel leads to dire consequences. Paul’s warning to the Galatia church concerning a different gospel dramatically underscores the importance of sound (biblical) doctrine: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8)

2) Christianity as a truth position, a worldview, necessitates an apologetic response:

Christian apologists must take the religions of the world seriously. The effective apologist will come to know other religions and their adherents with an insider’s mastery. Only then can he or she graciously expose a given religion’s flaws in light of essential Christian truth. Not an easy task for the apologist for sure, however, a well-done expose can have a powerful effect. This endeavor seems to be what Scripture calls for in terms of the apologetics enterprise. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

3) Apologetics offers People, deservedly, the proper respect:

As creatures of God, all people bear the imago Dei and therefore have inherent dignity and moral worth. Every person consequently deserves respectful treatment regardless of race, sex, social class, political, or religious belief. Christians are called by God to guard the individual right of others to believe what they choose, whether their particular beliefs are wrong, absurd, or contrary to Christian truth. This regard basically amounts to respecting human personhood, volition, and individual moral responsibility. Christians should even tolerate the practices (religious and otherwise) of others, so long as those practices are legal, moral, and prudential. However, respecting another person’s beliefs must not be misconstrued as approving those beliefs. Christians are responsible to use their powers of persuasion to convince others of truth, especially the ultimate truth of, Jesus Christ. While being socially tolerant, Christians must at the same time be intellectually intolerant of conflicting truth claims.

(#s 1-3 are from: Kenneth Richard Samples, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004], 178-180)

Ravi Zacharias tells a story that is worth repeating, it is called “The Bell Tower”:

There’s a story of a man who used to go to work at a factory and every day would stop outside a clockmaker’s store to synchronize his watch with the clock outside. Seeing this routine, the clockmaker finally asked the gentleman, “Excuse me, sir, I see that every day you stop and adjust your watch with my clock. What kind of work do you do?” The man replied, “I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but, I keep the time at the factory nearby, and I have to ring the bell at four o clock every afternoon when it is time for the people to go home. My watch doesn’t work very well, so I synchronize it with your clock.” The clockmaker sheepishly responded, “I’ve got bad news for you. My clock doesn’t work very well either, so I synchronize it with the bell that I hear from the factory at 4:00 every afternoon.” …. Even a clock that doesn’t work may show you the right time twice a day…but it’s not because it’s keeping time.

Adapted from Ravi Zacharias, “Address to the United Nations’ Prayer Breakfast.”

Apologetics is analogous to wearing a pair of glasses:

The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas.

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 17-18.

Below is a wonderful graphic of what the person seeking to use and learn apologetics properly should look like. It is from the first chapter in a book I am currently reading and it has helped me to understand the delineations  (or sub categories) to a healthy, well-balanced study of apologetics. Gregory Ganssle, in the before-mentioned book (Come Let us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics, by-the-by, this is not a good introductory book on apologetics… it is a bit technical), points out the areas of study one might find him or herself in the “theological theme” (tt) of the pyramid:

… This angle [tt] includes a variety of topics, such as the scope of common grace, the nature of general revelation, and the effects of our sinful condition on our reasoning.

Exploring these topics theologically helps us develop a realistic understanding of what we ought to expect in our encounters with those who are not yet believers. Theological themes, then, are relevant to our thinking well about apologetics.

UntitleTriangle Apologetics

As one enters into studies on topics like these, red flags may appear in your reading general books by Christian authors. Does this mean you shouldn’t read these books or get information from such people. Not necessarily. It really depends how far they twist major doctrines of the Gospel [Bible]. For instance, would I tell a person (like my wife for instance) not to read Beth Moore? Of course not. I would however, as the spiritual leader of my household, explain some of my “red-flags” I encountered in reading her stuff and mention that an author highly recommended by her is a person I WOULD  NOT read. (That being said, as I learn more about what is aberrant, I find my reading of these books has increased for my own personal apologetic studies, not as books that I incorporate into my walk.)

To better explain myself, here is the small portion that sent a red-flag up for me and is found near the end of Beth’s book, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (p. 290):


BETH MOORE


So the question is, 1) who is Brennan Manning that so influenced Beth Moore to have evoked her to [highly] recommend his book, Ragamuffin Gospel? and 2) where does he fall on the major doctrines we hold so dear to? This is where a decent study of theology comes in and should make aberrant teaching smoother to spot. I wish to allow Dr. Norman Geisler to lead off a quick summation of some of the doctrines the postmodern movement Mr. Manning finds himself in the thralls of:

Pastor Gary Gilley, after bullet pointing some of the problems in Manning’s book introduced to many people through Moore’s book, says this:

Add all of this up and we have a book that makes some good points, especially about God’s grace, but distorts so much about God and truth as to render it worse than useless—it is downright dangerous.

[…here are the bullet points that preceded the above…]

✦ The sources for his philosophy of life range from Catholic mystics to Paul Tillich to Norman Mailer to Carl Jung.

✦ His use of Scripture is scanty but when he attempts to support his views from the Bible he usually goes astray (e. g. pp. 37, 142, 166-7, 220).

✦ He confuses “loving sinners” with “accepting their sin” (p. 33) and believes that forgiveness precedes repentance (pp. 74, 167, 181). This leads to continuous hints of universalism (pp. 21, 29, 31, 33, 37, 74, 223, 232) although he never directly claims to be a universalist.

✦ He is heavily soaked in pop-psychology which taints all he says: accepting self (pp. 49, 152, 229); self-intimacy (p. 49); loving ourselves (pp. 50, 168); inner child (p. 64); forgiving yourself (p. 115); self-image (pp. 147-148); self-worth (p. 148).

✦ He accepts a postmodern worldview and calls for us to be open-minded about truth, reality and Christ (p. 65).

✦ He consistently presents a lopsided view of God. God is loving and forgiving but never a judge, disciplinarian or punisher (p. 75), contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.

✦ God is not man’s enemy, contrary to Romans 5 that says we are the enemy of God if we are not saved (p. 76).

✦ We are told that God does not test us or promote pain (p. 76).

✦ He believes that God speaks today outside of Scripture (pp. 94, 117, 186-187, 229) and that the presence of God is a felt experience that we should seek (pp. 45, 46, 94, 162, 229).

(read more — empahis added)

This short critique (above) by a pastor should send up some warning flares and stir in us an apologetics bent to understand more how these associations can lead a weak Christian astray. For instance, let us “rabbit trail” some positions of this Catholic mystic. Manning recommends highly and even quotes the mystic/New Ager, Beatrice Bruteau in one of his books:

See:

In Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning says that Dr. Beatrice Bruteau is a”trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.” Who is Beatrice Bruteau and what does she believe? She is the founder of The School for Contemplation, and she believes God is within every human being. She wrote the book, What We Can Learn from the East,

“We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not “I am a this” or “I have that quality.” Only unlimited, absolute I AM” [A Song That Goes On Singing Interview with B.B., one can read the entire section under “Human Choice” to understand just how New Age Beatrice is].

(Source)

“I AM,” of course, is one of the biblical names of God (Exodus 3:14). Why would Manning recommend Bruteau with no warning if he does not agree with this blasphemy?

This isn’t “guilt by association” — so one knows the difference — it is “guilt by proxy.” A much more powerful legal term.

In The Signature of Jesus, Manning gives this quote from the mystic Catholic priest William Shannon and the Catholic Buddhist Thomas Merton:

“During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: ‘How can we best help people to attain union with God?’ His answer was very clear: WE MUST TELL THEM THAT THEY ARE ALREADY UNITED WITH GOD. CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER IS NOTHING OTHER THAN COMING INTO CONSCIOUSNESS OF WHAT IS ALREADY THERE” (p. 218).

Merton was a Trappist monk who promoted the integration of Zen Buddhism and Christianity. The titles of some of his books are “Zen and the Birds of the Appetite” and “Mystics and the Zen Masters.” He is of course famous for saying, “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” I critiqued Merton because of an associate pastor at a local Bible centered church (in Castaic) saying he loved Merton. Mentioning that his professor at Biola was using a book in class that he didn’t find anything wrong with.Very sad and maddening at the same time. Simple care in learning our doctrines in fun ways (evangelism) can be a big help in leading us away from heresy.

As with many such teachers who gain popularity by tickling ears, Manning overemphasizes the love and grace of God while ignoring His attributes of justice, righteousness and holiness. He teaches that Jesus has redeemed all of mankind. His “good news” is that everyone is already saved. Manning quotes David Steindl-Rast approvingly in his book, The Signature of Jesus (pp. 210, 213-214). Steindl-Rast, a contemplative Roman Catholic priest, said:

“Envision the great religious traditions arranged on the circumference of a circle. At their mystical core they all say the same thing, but with different emphasis”

(“Heroic Virtue,” Gnosis, Summer 1992).

Manning quotes Matthew Fox approvingly in two of his books, Lion and Lamb (p. 135) and A Stranger to Self Hatred (pp. 113, 124). Fox says:

“God is a great underground river, and there are many wells into that river. There’s a Taoist well, a Buddhist well, a Jewish well, a Muslim well, a Christian well, a Goddess well, the Native wells-many wells that humans have dug to get into that river, but friends, there’s only one river; the living waters of wisdom”

Quoted from John Caddock, “What Is Contemplative Spirituality,” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 1997.

Even Manning’s approach to prayer is aberrant. In The Signature of Jesus Manning promotes the dangerous practice of centering prayer, which involves chanting “a sacred word” to empty the mind and allegedly enter into silent experiential communion with God within:

“[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer. … enter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard. … Choose a single, sacred word … repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often” (pp. 212, 215, 218).

This is a New Age/Eastern concept of prayer.

Not a Christian concept of it.

So where does this example leave us? It leaves us at a couple of places. Some of the critique I use above comes from a book that I would recommend to a friend/believer, but with a caveat. The author can be very legalistic and I would point out that some aspects of how the author applies their understanding of the Gospel is dealt with in Galatians (maybe mentioning Luther’s commentary on Galatians as a resource to better grasp this concept of the freedom we have in Christ). The book is Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, by David Cloud.

Likewise, I am sure the believer who is well moored in the foundational beliefs and how they work themselves throughout our culture can read Beth Moore and glean from it helpful input into one’s faith. Should it be at the top of a recommend list for one God fearing woman to recommend to another, no. Can it be of benefit as a resource for a woman struggling with issues, of course, as long as the person doing the recommending adds a cautionary note. Like I did with my recommended resource.

Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master. (Jude 3-4, The Message)

As one studies all the facets of apologetics, rabbit trails will appear, but in them all remember a key thing, harkening back to Dr. Ganssle when he mentioned that our sinful condition has even effected our reasoning skills. Building on that take note that even if we have thought through a matter, worked on it, got it to line up with orthodoxy and have sound reasoning… often times our intentions in presenting it as well as the delivery and how the other corrupted person hears it are all at play. Which is why we say the Holy Spirit must be the Prime Mover at the deepest levels for a person to be moved by a truth, by thee Truth. Quoting Dr. Ganssle again:

Each one of the three angles or themes concerning apologetics is legitimate and fruitful. Each is worthy of careful study. Despite this fact, there are two trends I wish to point out First, most of the thinking about apologetics has been on the academic themes. While this weight of attention is not in itself a bad thing, it may allow us to forget the other angles of apologetics. Second most of the criticisms of the usefulness of apologetics find there root in confusing the academic angle of apologetics with the entirety of the apologetic enterprise. Those of us who work in the academic angle bear much of the blame for this confusion. Sometimes we are overzealous about the strength of our arguments or how interesting they ought to be to nonbelievers. [This includes discussions with fellow Christians and topics.] Sometimes we neglect the large distinction between arguments that are technically strong and those that might be persuasive to a given person. Sometimes we neglect the missional themes in the apologetic task and thereby reinforce the notion that coming to believe that Christianity is factually true is the main task in our witness. By articulating the importance of the missional angle, as well as of the theological angle, we can defuse many criticisms of apologetics. (emphasis and addition in box quotes mine.)

I hope this short introduction to apologetics was and is helpful. There are three books I highly recommend as great starter points to both understanding the importance of apologetics as well as seeing the differing models of thinking in the world compared. These three resources are technical enough to invigorate the thinker as well as great introductions to the subject accessible to the layman.

  1. Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith;
  2. Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists;
  3. Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding Apologetics (Holman Quicksource Guides)

Sweat Lodge Altered by New Age Equals Death

An update on the cult associated somewhat with Oprah Winfrey (who is very much involved in the New Age) from Religion News Blog:

Jurors in the manslaughter trial of James Arthur Ray have heard the complete briefing the self-help author gave to dozens of people before they entered a northern Arizona sweat lodge ceremony he conducted, AP reports.

Prosecutors had earlier played snippets of the recording, but defense attorneys contended the snippets had been presented out of context.

CNN says:

In the recording, Ray told participant, who paid up to $10,000 each to attend the event, that as “true spiritual warriors” and their “altered state” they would endure heat so intense it would make it feel like their skins was coming off of their bodies.

“I will be right there with you,” he said.

“You will have to get to a point where you surrender to death,” Ray said. “When you are going into the lodge symbolically you are going back into the womb of mother earth.”

“It is such a great metaphor …” the author said. “My body dies but I never die.”

Prosecutors maintain Ray psychologically pressured participants to remain in the lodge even when they weren’t feeling well, contributing to their deaths.

This video demonstrates what normally occurs in a sweat lodge ritual (not associated with James Arthur Ray):

Conversation Series: Cults from the 70’s

(Originally posted at my old blog July 26, 2007)

During conversation the other day with a customer at Whole Foods, it was revealed that this person was, is, enamored with a “hippie movement” from the late 60’s (some say 68′, others 69′) that was situated for many years in the Seattle Washington area. The group is commonly called Love Israel, named after its founder… who’s real name is Paul Erdman. But this “organization” has gone by a few names: Jordan Village Farms, Love Is Real Family Inc., Love Family, Church of Jesus Christ at Armageddon, Church of Armageddon.

Is It a Cult Though? (click to see)

Israel Love’s (Paul Erdman) followers renamed themselves in like fashion, for example: Patience Israel, Serious Israel, Charity Israel, Abishai Israel, Honesty Israel, on-and-on. With “love” being the central tenant, this New Age cult – like most others – quickly fell into drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, family’s torn apart, bankruptcy, mind-control tactics, and yes… even death. In fact, Erdman’s sexual activities were the subject of much scandal, not to mention the fact that he fathered a dozen or more children with many different women. One dispute after another involved the group in various legal battles, which included zoning and housing violations. All this combined with the many lawsuits from families of cult members led to a mass egression in the mid-eighties of most of its followers. (The lawsuits were mainly to get back savings accounts, property and possessions back after they ere “donated” to Paul Erdmann.)

Revelations

This movement got its start with revelation Paul Erdman received that indicated that he represented the authentic message of the New Testament. Thus, he and his followers felt they were the “true” Christians as well as the “true” Israelites. Old Testament dietary laws were incorporated into this group’s lifestyle while at the same time Old Testament restrictions on “altered states of consciousness” were ignored. Speaking of which, altered states of consciousness were reached by ritualized inhaling of the vapors from an industrial solvent called toluene. Paul Erdman taught that inhaling these vapors was a religious ritual that his members must follow. Follow, that is, until two members died from it in 1972; at which time this practice was “stopped.” I say “stopped” because the group continued to use hyperventilation, hallucinogens and marijuana as aids to altering consciousness. Reportedly all members of the group had visions, dreams, and revelations that explained their purpose on earth. Duh! You could include most of the “Orange Sunshine” consuming hippies in this “revelational” category. Cocaine, of course, later became the drug of choice for Paul Erdman. Shortly after the egression of about 350-or-so people in 1983, the Church of Armageddon was officially disbanded in 1985. While officially disbanded, a small core of people still follow the religious leader Love Israel. Recently Brotherhood Israel sold ecstasy to two undercover agents reconfirming the addiction to drugs this cult has.

Hollywood Connections

As with other cults of the day (Manson Family for instance), the Church of Armageddon had its own connection to Hollywood. The son of the father of talk television, Steve Allen, was part of this group for some time which prompted Steve Allen to write a book on the subject. The book is entitled Beloved Son: A Story of the Jesus Cults, and is currently out of print (I have a copy of course) and should be considered a dated read, however, it is still “chalked full of nuts,” literally!

The Communal 60’s and 70’s

The hippie movement of the sixties produced a mix of Marxian communal living arrangements with a dash of Christianity and New Age (Eastern) thinking thrown in for authority in edicts and lifestyles. Groups such as At Twin Oaks (Virginia), East Wind (Missouri), Ganas (New York), The Farm, and the like popped up all over the place.

Marriage

Similar to these groups the followers do not marry each other with the classical understanding of the monogamous relationship, but considered themselves married to each other in the universal marriage of Jesus Christ and are not bound by “worldly traditions” of matrimony. Love Israel and other leaders had the prerogative (still does, just with fewer people) of permitting couples temporary bonding for the purpose of having children. The humorous question is has thinking spread to the modern left of today? The Church of Armageddon got its name from Revelation 16:16 where Armageddon is mentioned as the gathering place of the end-time.

(1977 “Love” Passover)

Positive Aspects?

Of course. Nothing is purely negative. The group farmed and fished and they developed a free restaurant and a 24-hour inn where guests were housed and fed at no charge. Members distributed food from their farms and fishing boats to needy neighbors. But the good is outweighed by the bad theology, brainwashing, and fear tactics.

Bankrupt! (2003 article By Jennifer Langston)

No longer in the “Queen Ann” area of Seattle, likewise no longer in Arlington, the cult has had to move after declaring chapter 11 bankruptcy. Something ironic since the “Church” rejected worldly laws and governing bodies. The few members (about 30) have moved due to this bankruptcy, selling its spiritual center to a Jewish organization in late 2003. They then moved to the Canadian border and at last report had fewer than 50 members. The Love Israel Family has set up tents along 52 acres near China Bend, a scenic river bench about 10 miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border in Stevens County.

Interesting Factoid

Because of the growth of the many cults during this time, there were many kidnappings and deprogramming done. Family members would pay for the cult member to be kidnapped and then have cult-deprogrammers talk these people through what constitutes the movement as a cult and try to deprogram the influence of the movement on this individual. The first taken from the Love Family was Cathy Crampton. Cathy’s parents allowed CBS to film the kidnapping and deprogramming, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Exit counseling got its start in these times, and many great books and insights have come from the study of brainwashing since.

Modern Day Thinking

Of course, in our Politically Correct environment, all opinions and actions are considered equal in weight and judgment. What is true for you may not be for me! Who are you to say I am wrong in my choice? There are no absolute moral laws. Moral choices are decided by the individual or by society and are not subject to intervention by you… if you do you are considered intolerant. This type of thinking will create more cults and more people who will unite and I am sure in the future we will hear of it. We will hear of the punch being drunk to catch a ride on a comet or to leave this horrible life for a better one. The more the West steps away from the Judeo-Christian-Grecian culture, the less rational and logical thinking will be applied to peoples personal lives. Thus, relativism will “seize the day.”

The below is from Steve Hassan’s site:

Description:

Founded by Paul Erdman, aka “Love Israel” in 1968 in Seattle, Washington. Purports to be fulfilling the vision of Jesus Christ on Earth by working toward a vision of a community that is committed to “love” one another and forgive one another.

Reached zenith of membership in the mid-80’s with nearly 400 members. Dissolution of the majority of the group came about when families of members sued for return of property turned over to the family and allegations of monetary and property mis-management occurred.

The remaining members moved to a 290 acre ranch near Arlington, Washington. During the 90’s the leader and his lead “elder” Serious have formed multiple “corporations”, one of which is The Love Is Real Family, Inc., reportedly a non-profit corporation. Additionally, Serious is the registered agent for: The Jordan Village Corp., The Golden Triangle Development, Inc., The Bistro, Inc., and The Love Is Real Family, Inc. The Bistro is a restaurant concern in Arlington, Washington, reportedly owned and operated by the family. Also reported in the Seattle Times is a evening coffee club called the Compassion Cafe. Members confirm that this is a Family concern but at this point I’ve been unable to obtain documentation to confirm this connection.

I. Behaviors

Great cultural pressure to adhere to group’s norms of dress, styles, manner of talking.

Communal living idealism, so food is regulated by the core group. Key members of the group do not go without food or sufficient provisions. Out of favor members tend not to be taken care of as well or poorly.

Early morning meetings are de riguer and the lifestyle encourages late evenings as well, therefore, not much sleep occurs.

Members are encouraged to contribute all to the family upon joining. Households are reportedly self-sufficient, but must contribute (as of 10/00) 1/3 of their income to Love so that the payments on the property may be made.

Leisure activities of the members revolve around the family actitivies. Love Israel frequently takes trips around the world, particularly Europe. Lesser members never, if ever, travel.

Must always ask permission to make major decisions. Marriages must be “sanctioned” Otherwise, less formal couplings are neither discouraged nor encouraged, although couples are encouraged to experiment outside their union.

Morning “prayer” meetings are often used for getting to what people think/feel.

If you are in favor, you get more food, greater benefits, more freedom. Out of favor and you get job assignments that aren’t as welcome… punishments, group pressure, etc.

There are many rigid rules and regulations. Dependency is wrought first by financial dependency developing into emotional dependency and “learned helplessness.

Perhaps the only real autonomous people there are Love Israel and Serious Israel.

II. Information

Leaders decide who needs to know what. Likely only Love Israel, Serious and their most trusted companions know key areas of the business dealings of the two men.

III. Thought

Must internalize the group’s truth as truth

Loaded language techniques are rampant.

No critical questions about Love, his doctrine or his policies are legitimate. You are a traitor if you question him.

IV. Emotional

Excessive use of fear. Many of the people who have been there for 20 or so years have developed such an indoctrination to the culture that living outside the “family” has become extremely difficult.

(Wiki Source for Photo)

References and Sites Used For This Bio

Websites used:

Some books I used:

A Crash Course in Popular New Age

New Age Pop-Culture

Current thinking in modern “Eastern” thought

Daytime television is full of shows with gurus and psychics, sages and those who talk to the dead. Oprah Winfrey often has New Age devotees on her show that channel spirits, or guests who accept an Eastern mystical worldview that purport to be healers, doctors, or psychologists, and the like. While the New Age movement is not monolithic in its teachings (in fact varying wildly), it does have one thing in common, and that is that the viewers of such shows and personalities rarely – if ever – investigate these people’s philosophy and their claims. And so, I will attempt to meld a few of my papers as well as add some pertinent information that will enlighten the curious.

Laws of Logic

When we look to nature, we see that there are laws within nature, such as the law of gravity; just as there are laws in nature, there are also laws of thought, or, laws of logic. Like Sir Isaac Newton being the first to encapsulate the law of gravity, so to was Aristotle the first to encapsulate many of the “laws of logic.” These laws can assist us in the delineation between what is coherent, and what is likewise incoherent. I will give some examples of a law in action, and then define this particular law. The example involves the nature of truth, always a sticky situation.

Everyone has at one time or another heard the phrase, “what’s true for you may not be true for me.” It is the idea that there are no universal truths that both you and I should adhere to. This is called relativism.[1] It asserts that truth is relative, or, whatever the individual accepts as true or not true – it’s all relative to the individual. Again, relativism claims that all so-called truth is relative, that there really is no absolute truth that man can know, but that different things (whatever they may be) may be true for me but not for you. (This is at times called perspectivalism.)

  • Statement: There is no such thing as absolute truth; [or alternatively, there are many truths.][2]

Is this philosophy of relativism making the statement that this is the ultimate, absolute truth about truth? In that case, it actually asserts what it denies, and so is self-deleting, simply logically incoherent as a philosophical/logical position[3] and in violation of the Law of Noncontradiction (LNC), one of the most important laws of logical thought.[4]

Another example of this law used is illustrated in this mock conversation between Steven and George:[5]

  • Steven: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”
  • George:“I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that statement. Do you mean I have no right to an opinion?”
  • Steven: “You have a right to your opinion, but you have no right to force it on anyone.”
  • George:“Is that your opinion?”
  • Steven: “Yes.”
  • George:“Then why are you forcing it on me?”
  • Steven: “But your saying your view is right.”
  • George: “Am I wrong?”
  • Steven: “Yes.”
  • George: “Then your saying only your view is right, which is the very thing you objected to me saying.”[6]

One may be wondering what this has to do with the subject of the New Age movement that is popularly found in such writers as Deepak Chopra. I am merely using the above as an example of a concept, but be sure that statements about truth being relative are ripe within the New Age movement… of which Dr. Chopra is a part of. Let us continue on with the examples that will encapsulate this law, then I will give some examples as to how this applies to Eastern thought and its disciples. The law of Noncontradiction is simply this: “‘A’ cannot be both ‘non-A’ and ‘A’ at the same time.” In the words of professor J. P. Moreland:

“When a statement fails to satisfy itself (i.e., to conform to its own criteria of validity or acceptability), it is self-refuting…. Consider some examples. ‘I cannot say a word in English’ is self-refuting when uttered in English. ‘I do not exist’ is self-refuting, for one must exist to utter it. The claim ‘there are no truths’ is self-refuting. If it is false, then it is false. But is it is true, then it is false as well, for in that case there would be no truths, including the statement itself.”[7]

Pantheism

Now that we have defined what the Law of Noncontradiction is, lets apply it to some basic Eastern thinking. All Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers (etc), are pantheists. The term Pantheist “designates one who holds both that everything there is constitutes a unity and that this unity is divine.”[8] Most pantheists (Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, etc.) would hold that physical reality, and all the evils it produces, is merely an illusion. This holds true for the personality of man as well. This distinction explains why, in both Hinduism and Buddhism, the personality is seen as an “enemy” and is finally destroyed by absorption into Brahmin or Nirvana. Not only is the material creation absorbed, but human existence are either an illusion, as in Hinduism (maya), or so empty and impermanent, as in Buddhism (sunyata), that they are ultimately meaningless.

But is an impersonal “immortality” truly meaningful when it extinguishes our personal existence forever? Is it even desirable? As Sri Lanken Ajith Fernando, who has spoken to hundreds of Buddhists and Hindus, illustrates:

“When I asked a girl who converted from Buddhism to Christianity through our ministry what attracted her to Christianity, the first thing she told [me] was, ‘I did not want Nirvana.’ The prospect of having all her desires snuffed out after a long and dreary climb [toward ‘liberation’] was not attractive to her.”[9]

In the end, man himself is a hindrance to spiritual enlightenment and must be “destroyed” to find so called “liberation.” As Dr. Frits Staal comments in an article entitled, “Indian Concepts of the Body,” “Whatever the alleged differences between Hindu and Buddhist doctrines, one conclusion follows from the preceding analysis. No features of the individual[‘s] personality survive death in either state”[10]

With the above in mind, take note of a major problem that faces the pantheist visa viz, “that there is no reality except the all-encompassing ‘God’.” Using the Law of Noncontradiction we can see that this is a nonsensical statement that is logically self-refuting. If everything is illusion, then those making that statement are themselves illusions. There’s a real problem here. As Norman Geisler pointed out, “One must exist in order to affirm that he does not exist.”[11] When we claim that there is no reality except the all-encompassing God, we are proving just the opposite. The fact that we exist to make the claim demonstrates that there is a reality distinct from God, which makes this key doctrine of pantheism a self-defeating proposition. It is an untruth – by definition.

Another quick example for clarity’s sake before we move on in our thinking:

… most people assume that something exists. There may be someone, perhaps, who believes that nothing exists, but who would that person be? How could he or she make such an affirmation? …. no one ever consciously tries to defend the position that nothing exists. It would be a useless endeavor since there would be no one to convince. Even more significantly, it would be impossible to defend that position since, if it were true, there would be no one to make the defense. So to defend the position that nothing exists seems immediately to be absurd and self-contradictory.[12]

Reincarnation

Another belief that is accepted by all Eastern philosophies as well as the New Age movement is that of reincarnation. I will explain the concept with some examples, after I define the term. Reincarnation is a “belief in the successive rebirth of souls into new bodies, as the soul progresses toward perfection.”[13]

Some examples of this “karmic law” are warranted: first, lets assume I beat and abused my wife horribly, treated her like the dirt on my shoes, I would be storing up some pretty bad karma. When I come around for my next human life, after, of course, traveling through the insect, and animal lives, I would come back as the woman being beat. This is karma’s answer to evil, which is really no answer at all. In fact, it perpetuates evil. How so? It necessitates a beatee,” which mandates a “beater.” Karma, then, creates a never-ending circle of violence, or, “evil.” In addition it states (emphatically I might add) that we choose our current destiny (or events) in this life due to past life experiences and choices. This is why the holy men in Buddhist and Hindu nations generally walk right by the maimed, injured, starving, and uneducated, and do not care for them. This next true story drives this point home.

Ron Carlson, while speaking in Thailand, was invited to visit some refugee camps along the Cambodian border. Over 300,000 refugees were caught in a no-man’s-land along the border. This resulted from the Cambodian massacre under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the mid-70’s (which is known as the “killing fields”) and then subsequently by the invasion of the Vietnamese at the end of the 70’s. One of the most fascinating things about these refugee camps was the realization of who was caring for the refugees. Here, in this Buddhist country of Thailand, with Buddhist refugees coming from Cambodia and Laos, there were no Buddhists taking care of their like-minded brothers. There were also no Atheists, Hindus, or Muslims taking care of those people. The only people there, taking care of these 300,000[+] people, were Christians from Christian mission organizations and Christian relief organizations. One of the men Ron was with had lived in Thailand for over twenty-years and was heading up a major portion of the relief effort for one of these organizations. Ron asked him: “Why, in a Buddhist country, with Buddhist refugees, are there no Buddhists here taking care of their Buddhist brothers?” Ron will never forget his answer:

“Ron, have you ever seen what Buddhism does to a nation or a people? Buddha taught that each man is an island unto himself. Buddha said, ‘if someone is suffering, that is his karma.’ You are not to interfere with another person’s karma because he is purging himself through suffering and reincarnation! Buddha said, ‘You are to be an island unto yourself.’” – “Ron, the only people that have a reason to be here today taking care of these 300,000 refugees are Christians. It is only Christianity that people have a basis for human value that people are important enough to educate and to care for. For Christians, these people are of ultimate value, created in the image of God, so valuable that Jesus Christ died for each and every one of them. You find that value in no other religion, in no other philosophy, but in Jesus Christ.”[14]

Do you get it now? It takes a “Mother Teresa” with a Christian worldview to go into these embattled countries and bathe, feed, educate, care for these people – who otherwise are ignored due to harmful religious beliefs of the East.

Another example is a graphic one, but it drives the point home. While at home on my day off, my work calls me in due to an emergency. I cannot find a sitter for my youngest son, so I call a family member, say, uncle Steve. While I am at work, uncle Steve rapes and sodomizes my son. Should I call the authorities?? If I am a believer in reincarnation, then I must realize that this “evil” is an illusion, number one, and number two, this “evil” was brought on my son most likely because of something my son did in a previous incarnation. Something my son did in a previous lifetime demands that this happened to him in this lifetime. (Or something I did, or my wife did, whomever.) Only recently have some Indian people rejected reincarnation and started to kill the massive infestation of disease-ridden rodents that inhabit India’s cities.[15] These rodents carry and transmit many diseases as well as destroying and infecting large portions of food that could have made it to the starving population. Most, however, continue to nurture or ignore these disease-carrying animals in the belief that they are a soul stuck in the cosmic wheel. This is just one example of a horrible religious practice that is part of the many destructive practices that are hurting precious people. The caste system mentioned before is another that promotes and encourages racism, malnourishment, lack of education, and death.

Pain & Suffering

Another problem in pantheism is God’s inability to deal with or solve the problem of evil. In fact He is the cause of it… remember, pantheists believe all is God. Pantheism may try to ignore this problem by claiming that sin and suffering is an illusion (maya), but let’s bring this philosophy down to the real world. Try to convince a man dying of cancer or a mother who just lost a child, that evil and suffering are merely illusions. Even if evil is an illusion, the illusion itself is real. In either case, evil exists. As Geisler asked, “If evil is not real, what is the origin of the illusion? Why has it been so persistent and why does it seem so real?… How can evil arise from a ‘God’ who is absolutely and necessarily good?”[16] The answer must be that if pantheism is true, God cannot be good, and He must be the source of evil.

Between karmic destiny and the god[s] of pantheism and its dealing with pain and suffering (and consequently the promotion of it) by claiming everything is an illusion just doesn’t make sense. Mustn’t we live as if this illusion is reality? Pantheists may pawn this inane philosophy on people, but no one can live it out consistently. And when a large population tries, like in India, one can see the fruits it produces.[17] The promulgation of suffering and the inability of the religious Hindu to stop and help a suffering child or the rampant infestation of disease spreading (crop eating) pests, etc., is all a loud explanation of trying to live an unlivable philosophical proposition.

I have debated many persons over the Internet that are pantheists that will laud the evils done by the Christian church. In these debates I point out that these persons are in fact using the Judeo-Christian moral absolutes in interpreting history and delineating between “good” and “bad.” For in Eastern thought, there is no “evil,” or “good.” If these people really believed it, they would come to realize there is no real good or evil!

The inquisitions, for instance, were merely the outgrowth of the victim’s previous lives – incarnations. The Christian church, then, would merely be an instrument in perfecting these person’s karmic lives. Therefore, when some here who are defending karmic destiny in other strains speak of the horrible atrocities committed by religion,” they are not consistently living out their philosophy of life and death. The victims of the Inquisitions or Crusades then are merely being “paid back” for something they themselves did in a previous life. It is the works these people did prior that creates much of the evil upon them now. So in the future when people like John (a believer in reincarnation) says that Christianity isn’t what it purports to be because of the evil it has committed in the past, I will remind such people that evil is merely an illusion (maya – Hinduism; Sunyata – Buddhism) to be overcome, as karmic reincarnation teaches.[18]

In addition, monistic philosophies provide no explanation for the diversity within creation. If “God is truly one,” the only reality, then diversity (all creation) is by definition part of the illusion of duality. That includes all morality, all human hopes and aspirations. In the end, despite having an infinite reference point, we are left with only a destructive nihilistic outlook on life. To think otherwise is to adopt or borrow portions of another worldview. As Charles Manson noted, “If all is one, what is bad?”

The desire of every Buddhist, for example, is to be free from the problems of life – to be free from pain and suffering. As the Buddhist saying goes, “As the water of the sea tastes of salt, so all life tastes of suffering.” Their goal is to develop a detachment from life. Buddha taught that desire is the root of all evil. To exist is to suffer! The answer to suffering is Nirvana (annihilation), which is achievable by successive reincarnation. Hence, Buddhism insists, “Those who love a hundred have a hundred woes. Those who love ten have ten woes. Those who love one have one woe. Those who love none have no woes.” The goal of life is to reach the stage of desirelessness. When one ceases to desire we have overcome the burden of life. How one is suppose to be desirelessness without desiring that quality is a problem few have any time (or desire?) to answer.

Conversations with God?

Many claims of divination and channeling are becoming more and more accepted today. Neal Donald Walsch’s book, Conversations with God, is just that, a supposed conversation with God. Helen Schucman’s A Course In Miracles, is yet another example of a literal encounter with God The Urantia book is yet another popular encounter with “God,” as well as the other innumerable channelings of the “true” Jesus or God. What all these conversations have in common is that the Jesus of the Bible is a false, or misunderstood figure, not to mention that the following new revelation holds the true understanding of Jesus.

Neal Walsh, or should I say God (with whom he conversed), says that pantheism is the true religious belief to be accepted. That we are “all one with God” (in monistic terms) is the central, recurring theme in his books. Walsch asserts it even before his friend “God” starts talking, and it is repeated often. Since we are one with God, we are divine, and God tells Walsch, in one of his little ditties, “Your Will and Mine, is that will which is Divine,” (1:224[19]). Not surprisingly, we learn that as part of Walsch’s spiritual journey before writing the Conversation with God books, he spent time with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, whom he claims taught him about a God who would never judge; then he explored several religions, including Buddhism, finally becoming an enthusiastic follower of a woman named Terry Cole-Whittaker, who was a minister with The United Church of Religious Science, a New Thought church. So prior to publishing this book, Walsch already believed in this particular God that he is now speaking with.

In fact, Walsch is told by “God,” much like in Hinduism and Buddhism, that he can really live this truth out, and be one with the All that Is, then others may call you “God, or the Son of God, or the Buddha, the Enlightened One, the Master, the Holy One–or, even, the Savior,” because Walsch will be saving everyone from forgetting their Oneness (1:409) since we are all “The Alpha and the Omega,” (1:249).

Another perplexing problem that Walsch’s God leads us into is that of right and wrong, what philosophers call the “ought,” or “duty,” of our conscience. I will let C. S. Lewis deal with explaining this more in-depth, and again, I apologize for the length of this paper, but it will be worth it’s weight in enlightenment:

Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”“That’s my seat, I was there first”“leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”“Why should you shove in first?”“Come on, you promised”“Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine.” People say things like that every day, from educated grown-ups to little children.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of behavior, which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man seldom replies: “To hell with your standard!” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard [thus proving the standard], or that if it does there are some “special” excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off from keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much like both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they had. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of understanding or agreement as to what Right or Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a hockey player had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of hockey.

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the “laws of nature” we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law – with great difference, that a body could choose to disobey or obey this Law of Nature.[20]

Neal Walsch is on opposite sides of this well understood concept of distinguishing between right and wrong, good or bad:

  • Walsch: Are you saying I shouldn’t feel bad about the starving children….?
  • God: There are no “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” in God’s world. (1:38)

In Walsch’s world there are no wrong choices, for God told him: “I have never set down a ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ a ‘do’ or a ‘don’t.’ To do so would be to strip you completely of your greatest gift — the opportunity to do as you please, and experience the results of that; the chance to create yourself anew in the image and likeness of Who You Really Are” (1:39). Neal’s God teaches hedonism in other words. Another “philosopher” said something similar to Neal’s statement above (that is, “the opportunity to do as you please”), this revelation was given by a spirit that appeared to him while he was touring the pyramids in Egypt and it said simply, “do what you will.” The man I speak of is Aleister Crowley, who has been venerated by the likes of the Beatles, Daryl Hall (Hall & Oats), Ozzy Osbourne, and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) [just to name a few], all of whom were, or still are, pantheists.[21] Crowley also said “Lust. Enjoy all the things of sense. Fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.” These statements are very similar, and were both received by supposed conversations with a spirit being. The only difference being that Aleister Crowley founded modern Satanism in Britain, and Walsch is merely forging a “New Gospel.”

Walsch’s God adds to this “New Gospel” this phrase, “OURS IS NOT A BETTER WAY, OURS IS MERELY ANOTHER WAY,” (1:375). This is a phrase, always in all-caps, introduced earlier in the book without explanation, which is now declared to be part of The New Gospel. There will be a “shift” to this thinking, God announces, although those opposed to The New Gospel might cause “chaos,” (1:404). Stating that it is the “only message that can change the course of human history,” (1:373) which is a statement that his New Gospel is superior. Thus, God proves that he is not above judgment, as he said he was. In fact, he is contradicting what he has said about himself and what he has been teaching Walsch.

This “valueless” value system of pantheism, that is, everything is God, and everything is acceptable, leads God to say, “So stop making value judgments” (1:79). Having posited a pantheistic, valueless universe, “God” tells Walsch that the typical human attitude is to attack, reject, or label as wrong that with which we do not agree (thus protecting himself [Walsch] from critical examination). Then he says, “In this you err, for you create only half a universe. And you cannot even understand your half when you have rejected out of hand the other” (1:84). Yet Walsch’s God does the very same thing! In rejecting any value judgment, he has rejected just about everything. By his own standard, this God errs in saying, “You err.” This God of Walschs’ is self-defeating, or, irrational. In one stroke he says not to attack or judge, in another he says that Christian beliefs are wrong.

At one point, God tells Walsch that the idea of a God who does not punish is considered heretical, and that he (Walsch) might have to “abandon the church in order to know God. Without a doubt, you will have to at least abandon some of the church’s teachings,” (1:67). There is no reference to other religions. Walsch’s God is unusually preoccupied with abandoning “the church’s teachings.” Since life is an illusion, so is evil, and we should accept everything (except the “church’s teachings,” take note that God is contradicting himself here), even things we disagree with. “You would have us embrace the devil himself, wouldn’t You?” challenges Walsch. To which God replies: “How else will you heal him?” (1:321). Meanwhile… Adolf Hitler did the best he could with the knowledge he had. “The mistakes Hitler made did no harm or damage to those whose deaths he caused. Those souls were released from their earthly bondage” (1:42), comments like these are repulsive to most individuals!

We must abandon Christianity, but embrace Hitler? All while believing we are gods, you know, there is a verse in the Bible that sounds strikingly familiar:

  • “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.”[22]

A Course in Miracles

Much like all the above, A Course in Miracles is just as imbued with Eastern mythology. The author, a professor of psychology at Columbia University, Helena Schucman, wrote this textbook via a spirit speaking to her as she dictated (automatic writing[23] & [24]). What is perhaps the primary mistake of Christianity, according to the Schucman, er, excuse me, Jesus, is Man’s inability to distinguish between that which is real and that which is illusion. As the Course explains, man has not left Heaven. Man is still in the presence of God, but has created this illusionary world from “…false perceptions. It is born of error, and it has not left its source,”[25] because man believes he is separated from God, through his own ego and mistaken beliefs, man has created the reality in which he now finds himself.

Much like Hinduism, if the world is an illusion or dream-state, then by necessity, everything that the physical body does in this make-believe world must also be an illusion. This would necessarily include the false actions of sin and death. As Volume 2 of the Course demands, “…sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause.”[26] “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what he creates must be eternal as himself.”[27]

Again, I have already shown how this idea is self-refuting. The sad side-note in all this is that Professor Schucman spent the last two years of her life in the blackest psychotic depression Father Benedict J. Groeshel, C.F.R., who gave the eulogy at Schucman’s funeral, has ever seen.[28] Ironically, one does find truth in the writings of the Course. The following quote would be humorous if it were not for the sad ending of Mrs. Schucman’s life, and the influence the Course has had on thousands of individuals. In chapter 9, section IV, paragraph 8, of the text, page 170 states:

  • “Anyone who elects a totally insane guide must be totally insane himself.”[29]

Chapter 25, section VII, paragraph 8, of the text, page 533, again states:

  • “It would be madness to entrust salvation to the insane.”[30]

Much like Walsch’s “conversation,” all religions are on the right track, except Christianity. Similar to Walsh’s quoting of God, “Your Will and Mine, is that will which is Divine,” (1:224), we find that Dr. Schucman’s “God is incomplete without [us],”[31] and there being “no difference between your will and God’s.”[32] One of the modern popularizer of A Course in Miracles is Kenneth Wapnick, who has written many books on the Course. Wapnick claims to be a Catholic Christian, but in an interview with the SCP Journal in 1987, Wapnick frankly admitted that:

  • “The Course is not compatible with Biblical Christianity. There are three basic reasons. One is the Course’s idea that God did not create the world. The second is the Course’s teaching that Jesus was not the only Son of God. The third involves the Course’s assertion that Jesus did not suffer and die for our sins.”[33]

Bottom Line

And really, this is the bottom line. The fact “is that while worldviews at first appear to proliferate, they are made up of answers to question to questions which have only a limited number of answers. For example, to the question of prime reality, only two basic answers can be given: Either it is the universe that is self-existent and has always existed, or it is a transcendent God who is self-existent and has always existed. Theism and deism claim the latter; naturalism, Eastern pantheistic monism, New Age and post-modernism claim the former.”[34]

Both cannot be right at the same time, for this would violate the Law of Noncontradiction. Some who espouse some form of eastern religion or New Age teaching will dismiss an appeal to logical consistency. These belief systems (Eastern thought and New Age) often encourage people to hold contradictory ideas together. One professor, William Lane Craig, frankly admits that such ideas “frankly crazy and unintelligible.”[35] The claim that logic and other self-evident principles are not universally true “seems to be both self-refuting and arbitrary.”[36]

He asks us to consider the claim that “God cannot be described by prepositions governed by the Law of Noncontradiction.” [37] if this statement is true, then it itself expresses a proposition that is not governed by the Law of Noncontradiction. but that means that its contrary is also true: God can be described by prepositions governed by the law of contradiction.[38] The following is a classical approach to showing the inadequacies that permeate worldviews that accept pantheism:[39]

Most nontheistic religions have affirmed one of the many forms of pantheism, all of which in some way identify or equate God with the “All” – so that God is in some sense the ultimate and only Reality. Pantheism is closely related to monism,[40] according to which reality is ultimately one and not many, a unity rather than a plurality. The rediscovery of Eastern (particularly Indian) culture and the promulgation of Eastern thought in the West have stimulated pantheistic thinking in Western culture, notably in what has come to be known as the New Age movement.

[Norman] Geisler notes that pantheism is a comprehensive philosophy that focuses on the unity of reality and seeks to acknowledge the immanence and absolute nature of God. In spite of these positive insights, pantheism is an inadequate worldview because “it is actually unaffirmable by man.”[41] Specifically, it is self-defeating for a pantheist to claim that individual finite selves are less than real.[42] To assert I believe that I am not an individual” is to utter a self-refuting statement (because it assumes the existence of the individual who says “I” while at the same time denying it). Pantheism wrongly assumes “that whatever is not really ultimate is not ultimately or actually real.”[43] Pantheism also cannot adequately account for evil (its assertion that evil is an illusion is meaningless, since pain that is felt is real), and it is unable even to distinguish good from evil (since in theory all is one, nothing can be evil as opposed to good). Geisler also argues that to say that God and the universe are one says nothing meaningful about God and is indistinguishable from atheism.[44]

Using the laws of logic, we can see that Eastern thought breaks down under examination. Which popular culture does not do, nor know how to do. So when Oprah has Deepak Chopra come before her audience and teach the occult medical method of “Maharishi Ayur-Veda” (a Westernized form of Hindu ayurvedic practice), along with TM (Trans Meditation[45]), they neither know the self-refuting aspects of the philosophy Deepak is teaching; or do they know of the history and negative health affects of Trans Meditation.[46] TM was first banned in New Jersey public schools, other school districts soon followed.

Which Worldview

Worldviews should be tested not only in the philosophy classroom but also in the laboratory of life. It is one thing for a worldview to pass certain theoretical tests (reason and experience); it is another for the worldview also to pass an important practical test, namely, can the person who professes that worldview live consistently in harmony with the system he professes? Or do we find that he is forced to live according to beliefs borrowed from a competing system? Such a discovery, I am suggesting, should produce more than embarrassment.

Only the presuppositions of historic Christianity “both adequately explain and correspond with the two environments in which every man must live: the external world with its form and complexity; and the internal world of the man’s own characteristics as a human being. This ‘inner world’ includes such human qualities ‘as a desire for significance, love, and meaning, and fear of nonbeing, among others’.[47] This is a point I explained to a family member:

Dave, when a Buddhist or Hindu move into a new home or apartment building in, say Ha Noi, Veitnam, or, Bangalore, India, they are living in opposition to their worldview. You see science and even mathematics are constructs that are viewed in the logic and empiricism of Western culture and its worldview. Eastern philosophy says these “things” are mere illusions, and at best are fruitless endeavors. However, it is this same understanding of physics, math, and geometry that they now live under that we here in our worldview take for granted. So the Hindu of Buddhist, even if they do not consciously think of it, must reject their worldview to live in ours (a building constructed using Western principles). Much like when a Christian Scientist (a mind science cult) breaks his or her arm, and they have been raised to believe that the reality around them is an illusion, they still go to the hospital and get a cast.[48] They are living in rejection of their worldview while adopting that of others.

And any scientific theory, educational construct, or religion that cannot satisfy its own demands (e.g., a pantheist saying he doesn’t exist, but in order to say so must exist), is illogical, not because I say so, but because the rules of logic say so. One may not believe in the rules of logic, but like the Hindu or Buddhist not believing in the reality of math, geometry, or physics, they suspend their beliefs to accept that of the West in order to “live in reality.”

I contend that while a person will stand in front of me and claim to be a believer in a pantheistic worldview – whether a Hindu or New Ager – that person will almost in the same sentence, use principles in logic and speech that are at variance with their worldview. They will speak of themselves as “I,” but they reject such a position. This leads to confusion. Theism, especially Christian-theism, better responds to the real world than other worldviews.

Theism affirms the existence of evil, by doing so we can then deal with it. Rape, in the theistic worldview, is wrong at all times and in all places in the cosmos. Pantheism says rape is an illusion, atheism says that if it benefits the survival of the fittest, then it is of value (some time in our evolutionary past, then, rape may have been the only way for the species to survive). You see, these ideas have consequences.

Consequences

In Auschwitz the words of Hitler are clearly stated:

  • “I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality… we will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence – imperious, relentless and cruel.”

Hitler was creating young people whom the world would tremble at, how? By removing the moral conscience of its people. Compare to the words of Hitler’s crony, Mussolini:

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”[49]

If atheism, for example, gains its life-sustaining support from atheistic evolution, then it cannot shut the floodgates to the tidal waves of its philosophical implications.

Note that Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist, made that connection as well:

  • “The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consistently sought to make the practices of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.”[50]

It is important to keep this perspective. Augustine warned that it is not wise to judge a philosophy by its abuse. But the domination of the strong over the weak is not the abuse of natural selection; it is at the heart of it. Hitler unintentionally exposed atheism and dragged it where it was reluctantly, but logically, forced into its consequences. The denuding of people, in every sense of the word, that took place in the concentration camps, brought about the logical outworking of the demise of God and the extermination of moral law.

Keep in mind that to call such acts – such as those committed in Auschwitz – evil, is to adopt the theistic view of life. For pantheism and atheism cannot call such acts morally evil in the same sense a theist can.

To Conclude

I am not arguing that all non-Christian religions as well as non-Christian worldviews are false. Rather, I am arguing that non-Christian belief systems incorporate significant truths, but also contain grave errors about God and his relation to the world, and in the end must be deemed inadequate. Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman explain it well when they said:[51]

  • Thus, non-Christian belief systems do contain truth, but as a whole their final answers to life’s most fundamental questions are false…. C. S. Lewis frequently asserted that other religions contained much truth. “And it should (at least in my judgment) be made clear that we are not pronouncing all other religions totally false, but rather saying that in Christ whatever is true in other all religions is consummated and perfected.([52])

The hope here is that those who read this essay will have some resources to better understand their own belief, and look to the more perfect union of it in Christ. I want the reader to take note of this short poem:

If chance be the Father of all flesh,

Disaster is his rainbow in the sky,

And when you hear:

  • …State of Emergency!
  • Sniper Kills Ten!
  • Troops on Rampage!
  • Whites Go Looting!
  • Bomb Blasts School!…

It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker. (From, Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism, pp133-134 [added 6-17-09])

Robert Hume comments in his book, The World’s Living Religions, that there are three features of the Christian faith that “cannot be paralleled anywhere among the religions of the world.” These include the character of God as a loving Heavenly Father, the character of the founder of Christianity as the Son of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Further, he says: “All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances. Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent ‘God-consciousness,’ a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion.”[53] And it is this “consistency” that separates the Judeo-Christian faith from all others.


Appendix[54]


More Examples

  • Steven: “You shouldn’t force your morality on me.”
  • George: “Why not?”
  • Steven: “Because I don’t believe in forcing morality.”
  • George: “If you don’t believe in it, then by all means, don’t do it. Especially don’t force that moral view of yours on me.”
  • Steven: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”
  • George: “Correct me if I’m misunderstanding you here, but it sounds to me like your telling me I’m wrong.”
  • Steven: “You are.”
  • George: “Well, you seem to be saying my personal moral view shouldn’t apply to other people, but that sounds suspiciously like you are applying your moral view to me. Why are you forcing your morality on me?”[55]

Who Are You?

“Most of the problems with our culture can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Who are you to say?’”[56] So lets unpack this phrase and see how it is self-refuting, or as Tom Morris[57] put it, self-deleting.

  • When someone says, “Who are you to say?” answer with, “Who are you to say ‘Who are you to say’?”[58]

This person is challenging your right to correct another, yet she is correcting you. Your response to her amounts to “Who are you to correct my correction, if correcting in itself is wrong?” or “If I don’t have the right to challenge your view, then why do you have the right to challenge mine?” Her objection is self-refuting; you’re just pointing it out.

The “Who are you to say?” challenge fails on another account. Taken at face value, the question challenges one’s authority to judge another’s conduct. It says, in effect, “What authorizes you to make a rule for others? Are you in charge?” This challenge miscasts my position. I don’t expect others to obey me simply because I say so. I’m appealing to reason, not asserting my authority. It’s one thing to force beliefs; it’s quite another to state those beliefs and make an appeal for them.

The “Who are you to say?” complaint is a cheap shot. At best it’s self-defeating. It’s an attempt to challenge the legitimacy of your moral judgments, but the statement itself implies a moral judgment. At worst, it legitimizes anarchy!

Moral Duty ~ Something Pantheists Are Missing

Our language is another key that reveals what we really believe. It’s virtually impossible for someone who believes in the truthfulness of relativism to communicate in a way that is consistent with his or her beliefs. The words we use for speech testify to our deepest intuitions about the surrounding world we live in.

In speaking with said person, you can usually show them to be inconsistent in only a few minutes when moral words like should or ought creep into the conversation. When these words appear, you should show the relativist how they are undermining their own stated position. You see, morality is in our nature, it is built in. Human beings have an innate capacity to reason in moral categories and to make moral judgments. Instead of arguing for morality, we simply ask a question or make a comment that gets the person in touch with his or her own moral intuition. We then ask her to make sense out of her response in light of her relativism. Most will recognize this as the Socratic method.

A Challenge In The Classroom (for clarity purposes this actual conversation has been excerpted from the book Relativism)[59]

Teacher: “Welcome, students. This is the first day of class, and so I want to lay down some ground rules. First, since no one person has the truth, you should be open-minded to the opinions of your fellow students. Second… Elizabeth, do you have a question?

Elizabeth: “Yes I do. If nobody has the truth, isn’t that a good reason for me not to listen to my fellow students? After all, if nobody has the truth, why should I waste my time listening to other people and their opinions? What’s the point? Only if somebody has the truth does it make sense to be open-minded. Don’t you agree?”

Teacher: “No, I don’t. Are you claiming to know the truth? Isn’t that a bit arrogant and dogmatic?”

Elizabeth: “Not at all. Rather I think it’s dogmatic, as well as arrogant, to assert that no single person on earth knows the truth. After all, have you met every single person in the world and quizzed him or her exhaustively? If not, how can you make such a claim? Also, I believe it is actually the opposite of arrogance to say that I will alter my opinions to fit the truth whenever and wherever I find it. Moreover, if I happen to think that I have good reason to believe I do know truth and would like to share it with you, why wouldn’t you listen to me? Why would you automatically discredit my opinion before it is even uttered? I thought we were supposed to listen to everyone’s opinion.” [59]


Footnotes


[1] “The denial that there are certain kinds of universal truths” Edited by Robert Audi, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (Cambridge Univ; 1999), p. 790.

[2] Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies (IDG Books; 1999), p. 46

[3] Ibid.

[4] “…[the Law of Non-contradiction]…is considered the foundation of logical reasoning,” Manuel Velasquez, Philosophy: A Text with Readings (Wadsworth; 2001), p. 51 [my college textbook]. “A theory in which this law fails…is an inconsistent theory”, edited by Ted Honderich, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, (Oxford Univ; 1995), p. 625.

[5] Adapted from Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl’s book, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.

[6] See appendix for more examples, pp. 12-13.

[7] J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1987), p. 92. I recommend Francis Beckwith (Ph.D., Fordham University) & Gregory Koukl’s (M. A. Trinity Law School) book, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly In Mid-Air. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1998).

[8] Ted Honderich (editor), The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, (Oxford Univ; 1995), p. 641; “[T]he doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God’s personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature,” Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (Random House Inc, 1999), CD, see: Pantheist.

[9] Ajith Fernando, The Supremacy of Christ, p. 241

[10] Somantics: The Magazine/Journal of the Bodily Arts and Sciences, Autumn/Winter 1983-1984, p. 33.

[11] Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1976), p. 187.

[12] L. Russ Bush, A Handbook for Christian Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 70.

[13] Debra Lardie, Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2000), p. 218.; …“Proponents base their beliefs on the idea of karma, the Hindu concept of the force generated by the sum total of an individual’s actions, especially religious or ritual actions both good and bad. Hinduism teaches that the lives of people are an accumulation of both good and bad karma. The imbalance of this accumulation determines the circumstances for the next reincarnation life” (Ibid., pp. 218-219).

[14] Ron Carlson & Ed Decker, Fast Facts on False Teachings. (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1994), pp. 28-29.

[15] From a show seen by the author a few years ago on The Learning Channel.

[16] Geisler, Christian Apologetics. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1976), p. 187..

[17] Rabi R. Maharaj, Death of a Guru: A Remarkable True Story of One Man’s Search for Truth (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1977).

[18] From an on-line debate the author had. You could also include the deaths of innocent civilians in the currant Iraqi war… these innocents that died by a misplaced U. S. bomb deserved so due to a previous life choice. The critic of this war who is a New Age student of Eastern thought looses all power to criticize such “evil” acts.

[19] 1:224 represents book one, out of the three, of the Conversations with God, page 224. Neal Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Pub; 1997).

[20] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Macmillan Inc; New York: N.Y. (1943), pp. 17-18.

[21] The reason I will be pointing out what religiously held philosophy these and other people hold to is to clarify what worldview these people are; worldview:

People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By “presuppositions” we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions. “As a man thinketh, so he is,” is really profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world. Then, having thought, a person can bring forth actions into the external world and thus influence it. People are apt to look at the outer theater of action, forgetting the actor who “lives in the mind” and who therefore is the true actor in the external world. The inner thought world determines the outward action. Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what worldview is true. When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, “not many men are in the room” – that is, although worldviews have many variations, there are not many basic worldviews or presuppositions – Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, Crossway Books, Wheaton [1976], pp. 19-20.

[22] The Holy Bible: New International Version. (Genesis 3:4-5). Grand Rapids: Zondervan (1996, c1984)

[23] Ron Rhodes, The Culting of America, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), p. 120.

[24] “…A phenomenon in which a spirit entity takes control of a human host and causes the medium to write apart from her of his awareness. Automatic writing typically occurs when the medium enters a trancelike state and establishes communication with the entity, such as a spirit of a deceased person,” Debra Lardie, Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age, p. 35.

[25] Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles, (Foundation for Inner peace, 1975), vol 2, p. 403; quoted from Tal Brooke, The Conspiracy to Silence the Son of God, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1998), p. 120.

[26] Ibid., p. 179; p. 120.

[27] Manual, p. 85; quoted from John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), pp. 1-16

[28] “A Course in Miracles,” by Edward R. Hryczyk. Taken from:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/NEWAGE/Course.TXT

[29] ibid.

[30] ibid.

[31] Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles, (New York, New York: Viking Press, 1996), p. 165; quoted from John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), pp. 1-16

[32] Ibid., p. 150.

[33] Texe Marrs, Texe Marrs Book of New Age Cults & Religions, (Shiloh Court, Austin, Texas: Living Truth Publishers, 1990), pp. 86-87.

[34] James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1997), p. 194 (3rd edition).

[35] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 1994), p. 41.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Which are what Eastern philosophies and the New Age teach, for all intent and purposes.

[38] Reasonable Faith, p. 42.

[39] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, (Colorodo Springs, Co: NavPress, 2001), pp. 113-114.

[40] “The metaphysical view that reality is fundamentally one. The monist thus holds that the plurality of objects we seem to experience is merely appearance or is less than fully real.” C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion, (Downers Grove: Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 77.

[41] Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Grand Rapids, Mi: Bake Book House, 1976), p.187.

[42] This is an important concept to grasp.

[43] Ibid., p. 188.

[44] Ibid., p. 189.

[45] Maharishi Mehesh Yogi re-fashioned TM for Western consumption by replacing much of its religious terminology with psychological terms and emphasized the pragmatic concern for immediate results (rather than through the long karmic cycles). It was brought to Los Angeles first in 1958. The Beatles even followed this guru for some time, until even they realized that this guru was a fraud. John Lennon called him “a lecherous womanizer.” After the 70’s, Maharishi re-packaged it again, stripping TM of all religious connotations and replacing it the language of psychology. (Taken from: George Mather and Larry Nichols (editors), Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, [Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993], pp. 277-279. I have actual video footage of his compound and brainwashing techniques he used here in the U. S. in the 80’s, he was finally indicted and sent home to India. (Video: Meditation: A Pathway to Deception)

[46] TM was first banned in New Jersey public schools in 1977, other school districts soon followed. (Ibid., p. 278)

[47] Thomas Morris, Francis Schaeffer’s Apologetics, (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Books, 1987), p. 21.

[48] Christian Scientists do not believe in the reality of sickness, or injury, all reality is illusion. So when the children of this religious belief get sick, they are routinely ignored, and many succumb to illnesses that medicine can easily heal. A good book on the subject is Dr. Linda S. Kramer’s book, The Religion That Kills: Christian Science: Abuse, Neglect, and Mind Control.

[49] Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.

[50] Sir Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1947), p. 230.

[51] Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity, (Colorodo Springs, Co: NavPress, 2001), pp. 113.

[52] C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, (Grand Rapids, Mi: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing ,1970), p. 244.

[53] Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions, (), pp. 285-286.

[54] Much of this appendix is taken directly from Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air.

[55] Adapted from Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl’s book, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.

[56] Dennis Prager, radio talk show host, rabbi, and author.

[57] Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies (IDG Books; 1999), p. 46

[58] Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.

[59] Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Book House; 1998), p. 74. This quote is referenced to Allan Bloom, and, I am assuming to his book The Closing of the American Mind (Simon & Schuster; 1987).

[59] As usual, if there are any questions or comments, my e-mail address is: seang200@hotmail.com

Leonard Sweet and Rick Warren: New Age Gurus (of sorts)?

Here (“Calvary Chapel Albuquerque States: Leonard Sweet Will Not Be Speaking at Conference – Lighthouse Trails Calls For Answers“) is an update to an old story imported/reproduced at my old site (“New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet To Speak at Pastor Skip Heitzig’s Calvary Chapel Church“). In this newsletter is a link out to another post about Rick Warren and his dangerous game of footsies he plays with New Agers, I would say enjoy, but…

Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet Riding the “Tides of Change” on the Heels of Mysticism

In 1995, just a year prior to the release of The Jesus Prescription for a Healthy Life Warren and Sweet did an audio series together called Tides of Change. Ray Yungen in his book, A Time of Departing, discusses the audio series as well as the Warren/Sweet connection:

In the set, Warren and Sweet talk about “new frontiers,” “changing times” and a “new spirituality” on the horizon.

Later, in Sweet’s 2001 book, Soul Tsunami, Warren gives an endorsement that sits on the back as well as on the front cover of the book. Of the book, Warren says:

Leonard Sweet … suggests practical ways to communicate God’s unchanging truth to our changing world.

Some of these “practical ways” include using a labyrinth and visiting a meditation center. Sweet also says, “It’s time for a Post Modern Reformation,” adding that “The wind of spiritual awakening is blowing across the waters.” He says that times are changing and you’d better “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die.”

To better understand Leonard Sweet’s spirituality, I would like to draw your attention to a book he wrote a few years prior to the Tides of Change audio set–Quantum Spirituality. I highly recommend you take a look at this book yourself–Sweet has now placed the book on his website at www.leonardsweet.com in a format easy to download, which, of course, shows that he still promotes its message. The acknowledgments section of Quantum Spirituality shows very clearly Sweet’s spiritual sympathies. In it, Sweet thanks interspiritualists/universalists such as Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ), Episcopalian priest/mystic Morton Kelsey, Willis Harman (author of Global Mind Change) and Ken Wilber (one of the major intellectuals in the New Age movement) for helping him to find what he calls “New Light.” Sweet adds that he trusts the Spirit that led the author of The Cloud of Unknowing.”

In the preface of the same book, Sweet disseminates line after line of suggestions that the “old teachings” of Christianity must be replaced with new teachings of “the New Light.” And yet these new teachings, he believes, will draw from “ancient teachings” (the Desert Fathers). This “New Light movement,” Sweet says, is a “radical faith commitment that is willing to dance to a new rhythm.”

Throughout the book, Sweet favorably uses terms like Christ consciousness and higher self and in no uncertain terms promotes New Age ideology: [Quantum spirituality is] a structure of human becoming,
a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience.

The Bible does not describe Jesus Christ as an energy channeling its way in and through us. Without a doubt, this is New Age lingo. The wonderful thing about the Gospel that is presented in Scripture is that Jesus Christ is presented as a personal God who loves us and will have a relationship with anyone who, by faith, comes to the Father through Him. This is where the contemplatives have it wrong. They believe that through this meditative prayer they can reach God. Sweet also tells his readers that humanity and creation are united as one and we must realize it. Once humanity comes to this realization, Sweet says: Then, and only then, will a New Light movement of “world-making” faith have helped to create the world that is to, and may yet, be. Then, and only then, will earthlings have uncovered the meaning … of the last words [Thomas Merton] uttered: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.”

Leonard Sweet is what could be called an Alice Bailey Christian because his views on the role of mysticism in the church are evident. He states:

Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center…. In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology.

It is this same mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer) that I believe Rick Warren is also promoting. Warren extends his promotion and endorsement of Sweet to his pastors.com website. Nearly a dozen times Sweet is referred to positively, including an article featuring Sweet and another article written by him.( A Time of Departing , pp. 158-160)

While many have no problem speaking out against emergent heresies, they will emphatically uphold and defend the Purpose Driven paradigm, when in reality, in all things that matter, they are going in the very same direction. Now the question that each believer must ask, Just what is that direction, and does it line up with the direction the Bible tells us to go?

For those who still have doubts that Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet are on the same page spiritually, take a look at a document on Warren’s website, dated 4/4/2001 (the 3rd edition of his newsletter). It is titled, 24 Transitions For Moving Into The 21st Century.

Listen to some of these transitions:

“From control to out-of-control”

“From critique and pick-apart [discern] to celebrate and pick up”

“From structure to rhythm”“From ‘Does it Make Sense’ to ‘Was it a Good Experience?’”

“From Excellence to Authenticity — From Performance to Realness”

“From Denominations to Tribes”

This is where the emerging church is going.

…(read more)…

Here are some links out to various people and topics involved in this important subject:

Emergent/Emerging