The Dangers of Blending Religious Beliefs
This entry was posted on February 5, 2014.
- The following article is based upon a blog posting titled: Thank God for J. K. Rowling (click to read)
- and on a video featured within the same posting titled: Jerram Barrs on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (click to watch)
DANGERS OF SYNCRETISM
Blending truth and myth in an attempt to reconcile opposing philosophies, or religious worldviews
by Caryl Matrisciana, February 5 2014
I have recently read this article from the Eternity Bible College's Theology for Real Life, and watched the video by Jerram Barrs, Resident Scholar at the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary (where he teaches apologetics,) and am deeply concerned by the syncretism of many in the Christian world whose influence in our churches, Christian schools and seminaries are feeding unsuspecting millions with what has the appearance of light yet is dark, and has the taste of sweetness yet is bitter.
Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Sadly, within Barrs comments and Mark Beuving's blog is another heartbreaking example of confusion and compromise, showing how those calling themselves Christians are presenting evil as good and darkness as light. What may seem obviously dark and rooted in occult paganism within the storyline of Harry Potter is being repackaged and presented by Christians as Christian allegory and analogy, with new declarations. In this case, the message is that "self-sacrificing love is the greatest power in the universe". The twist is that a witch (Harry Potter is a Wizard, Shaman, Sorcerer) in his act of "sacrificial love" in the offering of his life for his friends is being compared to what Jesus did in the giving of His life for mankind. Harry's is the preaching of another gospel, written through another spirit, contrary to the Truth of Jesus, and cannot be compared to the uniqueness of God's Salvation in Jesus (2.Cor. 11:4).
Jesus' self-sacrificing gospel of Agape Love is the power of God unto Salvation (Rom. 1:18) because this greater power defeated the power of death which damns all mankind for separation from God for all eternity. No matter how self-sacrificing man is towards his enemies, friends and family, which is all commendable to a point, and certainly part of righteous living (denying selfishness to pursue Godliness is what Jesus Himself taught: Mat. 16:24). Biblical teaching doesn't promote the offering of one's life as Self-sacrificing Love or that that is the greatest power of the universe. The Bible does however promote caring love towards one's enemies and the pursuit of kindness, and taking the opportunity to turn a sinner from the error of his way which will save his soul from death, and Peter does remind us, "above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Pet. 4:8)
But Barrs clearly explains that the love Harry Potter is prepared to give in offering his life for his friends imitates what his mother did for him as a baby and is the greatest power of the universe. J.K Rowling's teaching, while claiming to be a church going Christian, contradicts Biblical teaching in that the love of a woman's blood shed is part of matriarchal pagan teaching that has seeped into the feminist/goddess movements and mocks the uniqueness of a Patriarchal Father God's authority which is placed first in man, because He created Adam first, second in woman, as she was created out of Adam. Most other world religions rooted in eastern mysticism, promote female power as the embodiment of creative forces and the agent of all change, such as seen in Hinduism's teaching of Shaktipat. Female goddess Shakti is the personification of cosmic energy represented in empowerment through the divine feminine, goddess creative power, Divine Mother and mental/spiritual liberation through Kundalini awakening. The latter is in the idea that interdependency of all being universal oneness is an awareness unto salvation, liberation from death, seen in the philosophy of reincarnation. This so-called salvation/liberation is an awareness brought to the mind, through the Yogic practice of altered states to produce the idea that within the self is divinity which snake-wisdom (kundalini) provokes. Such philosophy not only opposes God being a Person (not a force), but encourages serpent wisdom above Biblical discernment through the Holy Spirit and teaches that another supernatural power is able to co-create. But Biblical teaching shows God the Father to be the Creator of everything, above and below, through only the Creative Power of His Word. Any type of creating, visualising, mental gymnastics etc is rooted in using the powers of what the Bible teaches are lying spirits and demonic beings. They are beings and not a presence, or energy, be it feminine or otherwise. The Person of God who always existed and is called everlasting, created the angels, a third of whom fell when they followed Satan, known as the serpent of old, father of lies and god of this world. God's everlasting Word is Jesus Christ, Who became flesh and dwelt amongst us 2000 years ago, and we saw His glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn.1:14)
While righteous acts, even if performed in fiction as told in the story of Harry's mother dying to save him from evil, may be commendable, it's an act performed by a sinner and still seen to be as filthy rags. The Prophet Isaiah reminds us of this spiritual truth through the eyes of a Holy and Perfect God, "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6
While Harry's mother died in Harry's place when the evil Lord Voldemort attempted to murder Harry on Halloween night (disguised in the celebration of Guy Fawkes, also known as November 5th'and Bonfire Night, this pagan festival in Britain commemorates Samhain, the end of the witches year, a nature celebration) her act falls short of any Biblical self-sacrificing love which Barr calls "the greatest power in the universe". Proverbs 10:16 says, "The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin."
Only One is Righteous, "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10) and He is the righteous eternal life-giver Jesus. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Barrs likened the last Harry Potter book to being a meditation of the last months of Jesus life, as Jesus prepares Himself to go to the cross to offer Himself up for us a s sacrifice. He suggests Harry basically goes to "his cross" as he goes to meet with death. Barrs says there are many allusions to the last months of Jesus life in the last Potter book, which he explains as being "very, very beautiful". He gives an account of when he spoke at L'Abri at a conference on Harry Potter and a student, who later went to work at L'Abri, told him after finishing reading the last book on a Saturday night, he went next morning to Sunday worship and celebrate the Lord's Supper during which time he had the "deepest, most fulfilling experience of the Lord's Supper in my life, in my Christian life, because that (Harry Potter) book helped me understand Jesus' sacrifice for me more deeply than I ever understood it before...."
And, Barrs agrees he can say "amen" to that!
How telling that Christians, rather than relying by faith on the truths taught by the Word of God in Holy Scripture, are turning to fables and myths that teach many occult techniques, rituals, and the underlying philosophy of communication with the dead, and powers of being influenced by the spirit world which the Bible says are lying demons. Added to which the reading of such religious literature, and Potter is a religious book based on the religion of millions of witches, nature worshippers, occultists and pagans, brings about deep fulfilling experiences because it's rooted in the supernatural realm and teachers doctrines of demons. The IRS gives tax exempt status to the religion of witchcraft and the reading of this religious material is promoted in schools, published by Scholastic Inc. a provider of school curriculum, as a reading program when the reading of Bibles is banned.
After many years since the release of the Harry Potter books and movies, rather than the occultism being apparent, it is a tragedy to note that a Christian Seminary and apologetics teacher is able to blend and merge Biblical Truths with the teachings in the Harry series and movies. The Biblical worldview quite contradicts that of Harry's. The Biblical Jesus, His Holy character, His purpose to reconcile mankind to God through His shed blood on the cross for eternal life, etc is quite different to the message, intentions and character of Harry Potter. The twist is presented by Barrs in an attitude of what appears to be balance, humility, quiet reasoning, et al, yet falls short of the commission given by Jesus in Mat.28:19-20 to "make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you...." and opposed to "contending earnestly for the faith which was once for all was handed down to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
Biblical discernment commands us "not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1) The only method of testing a spirit, whether it be giving a true message or not, is to contrast its message, in its context within "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) found within Scripture itself.
In pondering the dangers of merging spiritualities and changing the reality of absolute truth, I sadly realize how far Christendom is sliding down the slippery slope of apostasy. I produced our DVD "Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged: Making Evil Look Innocent" over a decade ago hoping its impeccable research would help alert and equip Christian parents and grandparents of the pagan content of the series. Harry promotes Yoga (called "concentration"), dabbles in the occult world of dark magick (he can talk to snakes), communicates with his dead father (who appears as the God Pan, a stag, the horned god), and more. Harry has alarming dark experiences with the dark world of demons, and introduces children to this darkness presented in fantasy literature and films for children.
It is heartbreaking to see Harry's philosophy blending dark Satanic paganism with Christian terminology, promoted in L'Abri and Seminaries. Our DVD about Supernatural Powers: The Battle Between Good and Evil is sobering when it exposes that children, some now adults, talked about how they were introduced to dark powers in public school and through fantasy literature.
My autobiography Out of India: A True Story about the New Age Movement, couldn't be more compelling in its eye-witness account of what results I saw of the religion on that society at large. Its eastern contemplative philosophy and Yogic practises now permeate the Christian Church in the West and western culture has absorbed nature worship and the idea of pantheism, that all is divine and we are part of that self-worship. Initially the book, warning about the New Age Movement, was called God's of the New Age and despite its many reprintings and republications its message is still not headed by the sleeping Church. The New Age is alive and well within the Church and many of its members see God as a "flowing energy" or "creative force" and believe in "chakra" energy (psychic healing points along the spine that need to be "awakened" for arousal of Kundalini - snake power). Since the mid 80's when my book was first released, the warnings within its pages need to be heeded more than ever . I wrote then of New Age tenets, "The gap between good and evil is eradicated. In other words, there is no evil - all is divine". This New Age message is being promoted in the Church and can be seen in the example of Barrs fudging of the evil of Harry Potter portrayed as Christlike attributes.
When I noticed how aggressively the west has absorbed Yoga into its churches as well-being exercise, I returned to the India I grew up in for almost twenty years to interview Hindu Yogis asking if the physical aspects of Yoga could be separated from its spirituality (see DVD Yoga Uncoiled: From East to West ) and they said absolutely no! Yet alarmingly the merging of eastern mysticism is being taught by Christians and absorbed into the church.
Repackaging darkness and attempting to blend it with "christianese" and opposing worldviews (humanism, secularism, paganism, mythology et al), and promoting the spiritual concoction as fiction and fantasy for children is a dangerous place to go. Jesus warned the consequences of injuring children, "whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me. It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea". (Mat. 18:6)
Fiction, when it blends religious ideas, is an alarming way of crossing boundaries as the author avoids the accountability of staying True to the author of Truth. Jesus said, "I am The Truth" (Jhn.14:6). Therefore when His Truth, or His Word, the Bible is hijacked , seized by force in order to steal some its deepest spiritual opinions, its intellectual properties and to misrepresent the Author who is the Spirit of Truth, then an ethical boundary has been crossed. A Proverb (14:12) says, "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." In other words, any "way" outside of the One Who calls Himself the Only Way to God, is a liar. In the Gospel of John, 14:6, Jesus explains, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me". Jesus gave glory to His Father and His Holy Spirit, Who He said "is the initiative of the Father abiding in Him". The initiative of Truth and His intentions are being twisted when Christians claim Harry to represent Biblical Truth when in fact it's another gospel! Barrs claiming that sacrificial love is the greatest power in the universe without keeping it in the context of Biblical truth as it encompasses Jesus Christ is a misrepresentation.
Fusion gets complicated because in the act or process of fusing, the combination within the new entity loses the unique quality of its individuality, and many times one can't apply discernment to what exactly got lost. An example is, I do love to drink blended fruit drinks and enjoy blended vegetable soups. They are delicious and because I make them from scratch I am aware of what unique individual fruits and vegetables I have placed in the concoctions. But when I ask my friends to tell me what they think is in the mix, a hundred percent of the time they are not able to name each fruit or vegetable because they got lost in the blend. The blending of many religious philosophies into fables and fantasy literature pretending it to be "christian" has warped the truth of God contained only in His Word. In order to avoid deception in these last days, that enters most times as the Bible warns from within the church, we need to be like the Bereans who the apostle Paul said, "were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts.17:11)
May the Lord encourage you to check the blend of teachings against Scripture daily, with a ready mind, and watch out for what is taught, even if coming from Christians, even if accompanied by beguiling and fulfilling "deep experiences", if these do not correspond with the Holy Word of God turn away from such teachings and experiences. Experiences come from sensual emotions; faith comes by hearing the Word of God. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
- HARRY POTTER WITCHCRAFT REPACKAGED: Making Evil Look Innocent ORDER DVD | PREVIEW/ INFO
- SUPERNATURAL POWERS: The Battle Between Good and Evil ORDER DVD | PREVIEW/ INFO
- OUT OF INDIA: A True Story About The New Age Movement ORDER BOOK/ INFO
- YOGA UNCOILED: From East to West ORDER DVD | PREVIEW/ INFO
- EXPOSING THE QUANTUM LIE: God is NOT in everything! ORDER DVD/ INFO