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. Continue reading
“What is the sound of one hand clapping?” “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound?” Ever hear these odd questions? We usually think of them as silly, humorous, even nonsensical statements. What most people don’t realize is that these are genuine expressions of Zen Buddhist belief. Called koans, these questions are meant to cause a person to go outside rational thought and experience an intuitive understanding of reality. This flash of spiritual perception, called satori, is the goal of the Zen practitioner. Zen teaches that enlightenment is not basically a matter of belief, or intellectual comprehension. Instead, it is a non-rational experience of the divine, of recognizing one’s own identity with “the all.” It is emptying the mind of thought so that a person comes into an immediate perception of ultimate truth. One man defined Zen practice as “concentration with an empty mind.” Continue reading
This book by Dr. Eben Alexander relates the account of his near death experience, and his vision of the afterlife. While popular, even among some Christians, this book presents perspectives on God, spiritual truth, and the hereafter that are problematic for Bible-believing Christians. You can read an in-depth critique of this book here.
Proof of Heaven
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! Continue reading