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
I remember a number of years ago when we were still living in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania. Sue (my wife) had an appointment down in Uniontown, at the bottom of the mountain. I drove her to town, dropped her off and then went for a drive. After running a couple of errands, I thought I would find somewhere to relax and spend some time in much needed prayer and meditation. Having decided this, I drove onto the grounds of a monastery and retreat center that is located in town.
Before this, I had never explored those grounds. They are truly beautiful. This land had once been the estate of one of the local coal barons who prospered in the area decades ago. There is a stately, almost majestic quality to the landscape. Ancient trees overhang neatly trimmed lawns and dot the ridges of rolling hillocks. Scattered among these lovely old trees are a number of shrines and statues of various saints. There are also park benches placed at various spots, inviting you to stop and meditate. I took advantage of one such spot. Continue reading