By the Pricking of My Thumbs

I remember counseling a woman who was suffering from a great deal of fear in her life. Over the course of several weeks, I discovered that this woman had had several experiences with occult undertones. I felt that an intensive exploration of occult influences in her life was necessary. We sat down one evening and spent about two hours diagnosing her exposure to the occult. Although she was raised in church, and had a rather ordinary life, we found that she had experienced about 25 different instances of involvement in things of a demonic nature. This included everything from yoga and seeing ghosts to ouija boards and seances. No wonder there was a spirit of fear in her life!

Sad to say, this woman’s experience is not unique. I would dare say that the vast majority of people in America today have had some exposure to demonic influence, most with no knowledge of the seriousness of what has happened to them. There are literally scores of ways that the occult is infiltrating people’s lives. Some overtly evil, some apparently benign—but all destructive and harmful. We are surrounded by forces and influences beyond our understanding, but which work to our injury. Evil, wicked, malicious spirits conspire against us constantly, while we live lives of troubled ignorance. It is indeed very, very sad.

Now I am not foolish enough to believe that most people will ever become openly involved in demonic activity. Not many will become satanists or witches or pagans. Yet, so very many have already become the victims of satanic influence, swayed by his deceit, without even realizing it. This happens so subtly, with such apparent innocence, that for me to sound a warning cry seems harsh and mean-spirited. It is not. Rather, it is a spirit of moral concern and heartfelt compassion that prompts me to cry out.

Black masses, infant sacrifices and malevolent spells are obviously evil. But what is so wrong about other occult practices? Is there really anything so bad about reading horoscopes, having your fortune told, or calling a psychic hotline? Simply put, the answer is yes. And there is a very simple reason why these things are so wicked. You see, occult practices and tenets are based in a belief system that is not only different from the Christian world-view, but is diametrically opposed to it. The world of the occult is truly a different world.

There is one underlying concept that lies at the root of the occult world-view. It is monism. What is monism? Monism is the belief that all reality is one. Monism asserts that there is only one essential substance to existence. All is one. Everything that exists is part of this one actuality. There are various monistic interpretations in the world. If the one reality is conceived of as deity, then this form of monism is called pantheism (“All is God”). But you could be an atheistic monist. Truly committed materialists are really monists. They believe that only matter exists (or energy, if you want to be Einsteinian).

All occult systems are monistic in principle. Occultists believe the universe is truly only one reality, manifest in various forms. All specific things are part of the one, the whole. And because all things are one, united, part of the whole, then whatever happens in one part of the universe affects the whole. For example, what happens to a group of stars affects my life (hence astrology). The lines in my palm are of one existence with the entire scope of my life (hence palmistry). The incantations that I chant over a photo are in union with the person that the photo represents (hence magic). The microcosm (my life, my hand, my words) is a reflection of the macrocosm (the whole, the universe, the big picture); and vice versa. What happens in heaven is mirrored by happenings on earth (“As above, so below”). Everything is joined. Everything is in union. Everything exists together. All individual things (including people) are joined in existence, joined like some kind of vast family of supernatural Siamese twins. Each one thing is connected to each other thing. This monistic philosophy is the basis for all magic, sorcery, divination, fortune telling, etc. From Voodoo to Satanism to omens—all occult belief is founded in this basic monism.

And that is why witchcraft and horoscopes and superstitions are so bad. They deny the truth of what reality is all about. They deny the God of truth. For we know that the true God is not identical with His creation. Indeed, the universe is just that—a creation. Once the universe did not exist. Then the Almighty created it. Although nature does reflect Him, it is not part of Him. Even though we see His hand in the cosmic order, God is not to be identified with the cosmos. He is a living Being above, antecedent to, and wholly other than the creation He made. However, monism and the occult both demean God. They bring Him down to the level of the created order. They denigrate His Person and His Being. They make Him less than He is. This is unbiblical, un-Christian, and untrue.

There is a further concern here, though. For occultism is not only monistic, it is also dualistic. This may seem strange to say at first. It appears paradoxical. However, this is a common tenet of most monistic philosophies. Most religions or belief systems that espouse monism, also assert that the one reality (the cosmos, the universe, nature, god, whatever you want to call it) is revealed or manifest in two separate and opposing realities. From the one comes two.

This monistic/dualistic faith is clearly illustrated in the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism. Attributed originally to the bureaucrat turned philosopher, Lao Tzu, this belief system asserts that there is one basic, underlying reality in the universe called the Tao. The Tao is all, and is one. All individual things are parts or reflections of this one thing. However, the encompassing unity of the Tao is manifest in the world in two ways, called yang and yin. Yang is all that is good, positive, light, hard, masculine, and initiating; while yin is all that is evil, negative, dark, soft, feminine and receptive. It is the interplay and complementary activity of yin and yang that makes the world what it is.

The principles of yin and yang are often displayed in a single symbol—those two interlocking, swirling tear drops that together form a circle. This symbol is prominently displayed on the flag of Korea, as well as in martial arts studios. This yin-yang symbol demonstrates the way nature operates. The one, the all, the Tao is experienced in the world as either yin or yang. The yin and the yang are connected, complementary and in mutual opposition. Further, in the center of the yin side of this emblem, you see a tiny spot of yang, and vice versa. The one is contained in the other.

Sounds great. Many people like this concept of apparent “harmony and wholeness.” But the superficial attractiveness of this dualistic philosophy belies a deep evil. For in such a belief system there are no absolutes, no clear demarcations between bad and good, light and dark. The Tao, the Ultimate Reality, is equally expressed in yin (dark, negative, evil) as well as in yang (light, positive, good). The lines between good and evil are fuzzy, at best, and really non-existent, if properly understood.

And this same dualism that is found in Taoism is integral to the understanding of the occult. There is a white and a black magic, for instance. There are supposedly good and bad witches. Spells, incantations and spirit summonings may be used for good or ill, depending on the practitioner. According to the magicians and witches and satanists, all things exist in opposing and complementary modes. Occultists call this the “union of opposites.” It is the basis for all kinds of demonic beliefs and practices—from the Force in Star Wars, acupuncture, and Tai Chi to Kung Fu, Feng Shui and Black Masses. All these promote the same fundamental view of the world—monism expressed through an inherent dualism.

Is it any wonder that the Devil is portrayed with two horns?

It is extremely important for us to understand the serious and wicked nature of this world-view. Currently, it is manifest in many forms: Magic, fortune telling, superstitions, Eastern cults and philosophies, divination, contacting the dead, charms, occult comics and games… and the list goes on and on. From Sabrina and Buffy to Harry Potter and Twilight, we are bombarded with occult beliefs and images. Witches, wizards, vampires, werewolves, and zombies are as common as rocks. It seems the occult is all around us.

How are we to respond to this? Easy. With a total renunciation of this faith. We reject the concept that all is one. God is not His creation. We also reject the belief in two gods, two forces, two spheres of influence. We know that the Lord God Almighty is the One true and living God. He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. And his call, and desire, for all His children is to live as children of the light (not light and dark!). Rather than embrace and condone the dark side of things, we are to reject and “expose the unfruitful works of darkness.”

All of this is of vital significance for us. For if we are not wary and on guard, we may easily be entrapped in a belief system that is not only different from the Christian world-view, but actually operating in opposition to the Christian faith and the God of the Bible. And we could find ourselves doomed. God deliver each of us from such a fate.


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