You don’t have to do an in-depth study of popular culture to see how prevalent the occult is today. From Vampire Diaries and Goosebumps to newspaper horoscopes and Ouija boards, magic and sorcery are all around us. Usually presentations of the occult in TV, movies, comic books, novels and the like are presented as simple, innocent entertainment. The dangers inherent in the genre are dismissed and denied. However, the danger is still there. One of the greatest concerns, often unrecognized, is that when a person views a horror movie or a TV show with a paranormal theme, reads a supernatural thriller, or plays at having a séance, that person exposes himself to an entire worldview. There is an occult paradigm present, whether recognized or not. This is true because the world of the occult does indeed embody a particular belief system, a specific perspective on reality. To give but one example, the worldview of the occult is monistic in its view of ultimate existence. Let us take a moment and examine this.
In the study of philosophy or theology there are several basic views regarding the ultimate nature of reality itself. The Christian view is that there is one God who is both the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He made the universe; thus, He is separate from and above His creation. He is completely distinct from nature. So while He is omnipresent, that is, He exists everywhere and there is no place in all of nature where His is not present, He is not to be identified with the universe. There is a definite dichotomy between the Creator God and the created order.
Further, the very nature of God presented in the Bible shows Him to be a God of planning and purpose. The universe He originally created was a cosmos in the true sense of the word, that is, it is a unified and organized whole. There was structure, order and harmony in the original creation. This order is still evident in the universe today, although it has marred and corrupted by the effects of the Fall. Yet, it is important to emphasize that the unity and harmonious structure of all nature is still only a creation of God. It is not divinity itself. The cosmos is not God.
Another of the basic views of reality stands in stark contrast to the biblical view of God and nature. It is called monism. A monistic view of reality asserts that there is only one ultimate reality. Although the universe appears very diverse, if we could understand the true nature of things we would understand that all the different parts of the universe are really just aspects of the one reality. All is really one.
Monism simply states that there is only reality. It does not necessarily affirm the nature of this reality. So it is possible to be a monistic atheist. However, this position is rarely taken. Most monists are also pantheists. The word pantheism comes from Greek and simple means “all is God”: pan = all, theos = God. Thus, pantheism says that there is only one reality, and all that exists is divine, is God. God is not a Being above and distinct from the universe. He is the universe. He is not different from nature. Nature and God are identical. All that is, is God.
It is evident then that the Christian view of reality and the monistic or pantheistic views are very different. Indeed, not only are they different, they are incompatible. You cannot really believe in both. Monism offers a perspective on God that is less exalted than the Christian view. According to the biblical and Christian view, God is the Creator, above and superior to His creation. He is utterly and completely sovereign over all of nature. He exists in and of Himself. All other existence is derived from Him by divine decree and will. Existing in Triune fellowship, He is love itself (see 1 John 4:8). He is a Personal Being, who chose to create, chose to decree His will, chose to send His Son, chose (and still chooses) to love us with an everlasting love.
Monism/Pantheism stands in complete opposition to this. God is identical with existence. Nature (the universe, reality) and God are the same. Nature does not exist because there is a personal deity who chose to create it. Man does not exist because of the choice of a divine Being. He simply is here because that just the way things are. Furthermore, there is no separate and supernatural Deity to love and redeem us. Indeed, monistic and pantheistic belief systems consistently assert that if there is a personal god, he is not the ultimate reality. He is either only a myth, an illusion, or he is a lesser being that somehow emanated or proceeded from the true ultimate reality. God, the ultimate existence, is an absolutely impersonal being. This is the common belief of Eastern religions and philosophies. It is also the common belief in the world of the occult.
I cannot stress too much how important this is. I have noted that one of the inherent dangers of exposure to the occult is that a person can become deceived into accepting an occult worldview. Here is a place where we see this danger most clearly. Whether engaging in occult practices, accepting occultic belief systems, or simply opening your mind to the occult through popular entertainment, you are exposing yourself to a mindset that diametrically opposed to a biblical worldview. And constant exposure to this mindset will affect your own worldview. This is but another example of what we have written about previously—the Raindrop Principle.