Monday, August 26, 2013
If you want to witness to pagans, witches or other occultists, there are some things you should know. Because if people don't respect you, they're not going to listen to you. And pagans will not respect you if you go around spouting off misconceptions as though they're facts.
Christians already have a reputation among occultists as ignorant and uneducated, and they are greatly annoyed by Christians who speak falsehoods about them.
If you know a little something about what you're talking about, at least enough to avoid spouting off myths, you're more likely to be heard when sharing the Gospel.
Here are ten common misconceptions you can learn the truth about so you can be a more effective witness:
1. The words cult and occult are interchangeable.
They are not. Whenever someone accuses an occultist of being "in an occult," if they don't laugh out loud you can be sure they're at least cringing inside.
The word occult means "secret or hidden knowledge, even though, ironically it's becoming mainstream and not so secret anymore. It refers to teachings and practices that attempt to bring powers of the supernatural under control.
The word cult refers to a specific spiritual system or group that adheres to a spiritual system. This is a group of people or the cultic religion they adhere to.
Some cults are occultic and some are not. And some occultists are in cults and some are not. When I was in the occult, I spent some time in a cult, and some time as a solitary practitioner.
2. You can identify occultists by the way they dress.
Not all occultists dress in all black or wear lots of gaudy costume jewelry. When I worked at a psychic line, there were some who wore stereotypical gypsy garb, some who wore pajama pants and some who wore jeans.
Many occultists look just like everyone else, and some occult professionals wear business attire just like other professionals.
Often they will have at least one jewelry item that identifies their beliefs, but they don't always wear these. I had a variety of items in my wardrobe. There were times I sported pentagrams and crescent moons, and other times I donned classic pieces that had no symbolic meaning at all.
Most occultists dress the same way others do: for the occasion.
3. People in the occult are very gullible and not very intelligent. At best they are insane.
Ironically, many occultists think the same thing about Christians.
The truth is that many occultists are highly educated people who exercise critical thinking very well, in many areas of their lives. Many of them are doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, political leaders, professors, police, fire fighters and computer systems analysts.
It's not lack of intelligence that causes occultists to be deceived. It's a lack of wisdom. Wisdom does not come from intelligence. It comes from a fear of the Lord.
4. All occultists love satan and enjoy being evil.
You might be surprised how kind, loving and humanitarian many occultists are. In fact, most of them believe they are serving the Light (usually spelled with a capital L, the way we spell God with a capital G) and do not believe in any kind of devil.
When they are sinning, like most people, they don't think of it as sin. When they are doing evil, they believe they are doing good.
They're not sitting around rubbing their hands together and laughing sinister laughter while they plot how they're going to destroy Christians. At least most of them aren't. And most of them do not take pleasure in causing harm to anyone. In fact, many of them are very much against causing harm to any living being.
They just believe, mistakenly, that Christians have been misled and they want to disabuse them of their so-called false beliefs. They really want to make the world a better place. They've just been deceived about what that means.
5. Occultists fear crosses and Bibles.
Actually a lot of them wear crosses, and many of them read the Bible more than the average Christian. In fact, I quoted it often and even used scripture in some of my pagan/new age articles. Many occultists love the Bible. They just interpret the Bible differently and they either don't believe in the whole thing, or they believe in it symbolically. Some actually use passages from the Bible in incantations.
Contrary to what has been shown in some deliverance videos, most occultists will not scream if you put a Bible on their heads.
Although, I did know a witch once who screamed "I'm melting" when someone threw holy water on her in a restaurant. But that was a joke. She never really melted.
By the way, holy water isn't really holy, but that's another article.
6. Witches worship a god named Sam Hain and Halloween is his birthday.
The word Samhain is pronounced "Sowen," like cow and pen, and means "summer's end." Sam Hain is not only a mispronunciation but also an urban legend.
Halloween, or Samhain, is a celebration that marks the point between autumn equinox and winter solstice, which is in some ways more interesting than a god named Sam Hain, if you understand the significance of the equinoxes and solstices among witches.
Since much of witchcraft was originally driven by a desire to please the gods so the crops would grow, the course of the sun (which is worshiped by many witches) is very important to them.
7. All occultists are Wiccans.
Wiccans are witches, yes, but not all witches or occultists are Wiccans.
Just as Christianity has many denominations, there are many different traditions of witchcraft. Aside from Wicca, there are also the Asatru, the Alexandrians, the Gardnerians, Dianics, Romanis, Druids, Teutonics, Discordians, Georgians, Celtics, Thelemics, Deboreans, and Eclectics, to name a few. There are also traditions of Qabala, Stregheria, Voodoo, Shamanism, Hermeticism, Santeria, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and many more.
If you meet someone who is an occultist, ask the person what tradition he or she follows, rather than automatically referring to Wicca. It will be appreciated and you are likely to learn something about the person that could help you further in your witnessing.
8. All witches are meat eaters.
Actually, vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity in a lot of pagan circles. It is true that they like to eat meat with their hands and get it all over themselves, which is a lot less appealing in real life than in the movies, especially after five days in the woods or the desert.
But there is a huge movement toward vegetarianism that has been catching on for some time.
Some of it stems from Hindu teachings which state that animals are our ancestors reincarnated. Other influences come from the Mother Earth agenda, which is related to indigenous teachings, and says that it's harmful to the earth to eat meat because it consumes too many of our natural resources.
This is one reason Whole Foods is so full of pagans.
9. Occultists stay out of churches.
Occultists of all kinds attend churches. In fact, that's where they find many of their recruits. It's quite possible, even likely, that you have at least one occultist in your church.
I knew a Voudon priestess who attended a Baptist church. I knew Wiccans who attended Methodist churches. I knew Theosophists who attended Presbyterian and non-denominational churches. And as an infiltrator, I attended a variety of churches.
Not all who attend church are doing it to infiltrate. Some are doing it to socialize, some for the sake of their children, and some actually believe erroneously that Christianity is compatible with their beliefs. Their beliefs might be okay with Christianity, but Christianity is not okay with their beliefs. But again, that's another article too.
10. Occultism is all about symbols and hand signs.
No, witches are not running around flashing one another back and forth with hand signs, and the symbols they use are not of utmost importance to them.
Yes, hand signs and symbols are significant to them and are indeed used, not only to communicate certain things but also to perform magick.
But symbols and hand signs are not the bulk of what consumes most occultists. They use symbols and hand signs, as well as many, many other things. Study, spell work, worship of deities, self-evolution, global ascension, and healing others are just some of the things that take priority in occultists' lives.
If you learned anything new from this article, you are now a little bit better equipped for witnessing to occultists. You will gain a tremendous amount of respect for having taken just a few moments to educate yourself.
Jesus died for occultists too. The least we can do is be a little less annoying and a little more informed.
Image courtesy of [Lindsay Polyak] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Monday, August 12, 2013
You might have heard some Christians say "Manipulation is witchcraft." Is that true, and where does this idea come from?
When I was nineteen years old, a girl I knew from high school asked to interview me for a college paper. One of her questions had to do with what I had learned in life that I considered valuable. At the time I had no compunction about providing an honest answer:
I valued what I had learned about how to manipulate the world around me to my advantage.
Of course, what I was referring to at the time was witchcraft, along with other spiritual techniques that could also be classified as such.
When I first became a Christian, along with a whole host of other character defects, I discovered I had a serious manipulation problem.
I have discussed power and control in previous posts. Manipulation is an offshoot of power and control, a manner in which they are applied. It is one of the most nefarious because it is so covert and deceptive, it often deceives even the one who is using it into being unable to recognize it. In fact, most of the time when people are manipulating, they are unaware of it.
The first definition for the word manipulate on Dictionary.com says, "to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner."
It seems to me that the key word here is unfair.
I'm sure most of us would agree that managing or influencing skillfully in certain cases is sensible, even wise at times. It's when it becomes unfair that it goes from managing to manipulating.
Add selfishness to managing and/or influencing and you have manipulation. Selfishness is never fair. It's too concerned with self to concern itself with others.
True fairness requires compassion. The compassion of Jesus. Only Jesus knows what each person needs in order for true fairness to exist. What we may deem fair nearly always falls short, and sometimes what we deem unfair is actually right in God's sight.
However much we know or don't know about another person, manipulation insists on getting its own way, regardless of what the other person needs.
Concerning oneself with others requires a radical ability to take a blind leap into the unknown. It requires a sacrifice of the self, a dying to the self, and if you want to do it right, it's a death of self that lets Jesus live in us.
Manipulation is an unwillingness to "let go and let God," so to speak. It utilizes the power of the flesh rather than trusting in God's power. It seeks ones own glory - or vindication, or absolution, or some other similar benefit for self - before, or rather than, the glory of God.
All the same things could be said of witchcraft as well. That's because manipulation is the heart of witchcraft. Even when utilizing of the power of the flesh. A witch might think of his or her workings as purely spiritual but they always begin with the desires of the self (which is the flesh) never with the desires of God. After all, God condemns witchcraft in His word.
As much as some witches would like to claim the ethics of never violating another person's free will, that is exactly what witchcraft does. It forces, or attempts to force another person to do what he or she would not do otherwise.
Likewise, that is what manipulation does.
Manipulation uses the needs of others as leverage for one's own agenda. It may even pretend to be kind and good, helpful and trustworthy while gaining the upper hand for ulterior motives.
Jezebel is often referenced as a witch. In 1 Kings 21, she tricked Naboth by setting him on high among the people in order to obtain his property for her husband. Just as she manipulated her community, so witches manipulate the spirit realm in order to obtain their desires.
I've heard it said that manipulation is like a dog that's licking your face while urinating on your shoes. I can tell you this: every person who ever spiritually deceived me flattered me in the process.
A manipulator has to be the one who makes all the rules, and is only concerned with how he or she benefits from them. Never mind the risk or cost to another.
Now, does that mean every person who seems to manipulate is a witch? Not necessarily. I'm sure almost everyone has manipulated at some time or another. That doesn't make a person a witch.
Also, we don't always know every detail of a person's situation, and sometimes people who accuse others of manipulating are doing so out of their own selfishness. Take for example, the Nazis who tried to shame Corrie ten Boom for lying about hiding Jews during the holocaust. They weren't exactly being selfless.
Each of us can only look at ourselves and check ourselves against the Word and the Holy Spirit to see whether we are submitting to God's will or being selfish. One question we can ask ourselves in any given situation is, "Who benefits?"
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3)
The best way each of us can avoid manipulation is to put others before ourselves. And that should be easy to do when we put Jesus first.
So, what it comes down to is our heart's allegiance. Is our heart's allegiance with Jesus or with ourselves?
When someone is doing witchcraft, this is what's at the core of the matter. The heart's allegiance is to the self. Even in many new age teachings, self is revered, sometimes to such an extreme that it's spelled with a capital "S," because the "Self" is "God."
As Christians we know how absurd that is, but when we begin to place self before God, even in the slightest, we are treading on thin ice. And beneath that ice is the cold reality of witchcraft, just waiting to take us under.
The thesaurus at Dictionary.com says that the opposite of manipulate is to leave alone. If you find you have manipulated a person, or you are tempted to, the best thing you can do is step back and get alone with Jesus.
Where have you been afraid to trust in Him? What is it that you're really afraid of? If you make the Lord your stronghold, you will have nothing to fear.
We all have our moments of humanness, but the more we seek Him, the more we find Him. When we are manipulating, whether spiritually or otherwise, we are not seeking Him.
Our security is in Him. When we seek Him first He teaches us the compassion that we need to put others before ourselves. And when we have the compassion of Jesus, manipulation ceases to be a temptation.